By Erica Madison
At last Wednesday night’s City Council meeting, Alameda City Manager John Russo vehemently defended Alameda City’s decision to hire Ruben Grijalva.
Ruben Grijalva has been hired to conduct an independent review of the Crown Beach tragedy.
City Manager Russo said that he is aware of many Alameda citizens’ concerns regarding the City’s decision to hire Grijalva and addressed these concerns by going over Grijalva’s qualifications.
First of all, Russo informed the City Council and the public that the incident calls for investigation into police and fire. Russo also mentioned that it’s hard to find someone who has experience in both professions, a quality Grijalva happens to posses.
“Grijalva’s the only person in the history of California to be a State Fire Marshal and Director of Forestry and Fire, said Russo. “His credentials are impeccable.”
Some people want a citizen’s review, but Russo warns that “this is not a recipe for discovering the truth; this is a recipe for grandstanding, politics and pre-existing conclusions.”
“The approach the city has taken is to hire the person who is the most qualified and has the most experience with police and fire,“ said City Manager Russo.
Grijalva is charging $195 an hour for a total of 100 hours. The City Manager believes the price is beyond reasonable and suspects the project will take longer than 100 hours.
Here’s what the city is paying Grijalva to produce:
• A three part report.
• The first part is going to review the last several years to help the city understand how they arrived at the Crown beach tragedy. However, Russo says the City of Alameda is not interested in passing blame.
• The second part of the report will be a minute by minute account of what happened on May 30th.
• The last part of Grijalva’s report will look at what steps the City has taken since May 30th and he will include recommendations for how Alameda City can improve and identify the City’s weaknesses.
“We’re looking for a professional report for the Alameda City Council to consider,” said Alameda City Manager Russo.
The report will be made public as soon as it’s finished and will be available at City Hall and online 12 days before the City Council meeting. The report is expected to be completed by late September. Russo is also encouraging the public to come to the city council meeting in September and ask questions. Grijalva will be there to present his report to the Council and answer questions.