City Should Release Keimach Recording

On Nov. 2, I notified the Alameda City Attorney and City Manager of my perspective that the audio recording of the conversation between me, former City Manager Jill Keimach, and Councilmember Malia Vella should be released. 

It is illegal in California to tape private conversations without the knowledge and permission of all parties. The former City Manager violated these ethics and was investigated for doing so. 

Imagine if you discovered after several months that one of your friends or work colleagues had been secretly taping your private conversations without your knowledge, for public use. No matter how harmless or mundane the conversations, your first reaction would undoubtedly be shock and consternation. I can’t tell you how many people contacted me after this incident wondering about whether they had been taped simply “shooting the breeze” or discussing an important policy matter with the former City Manager. 

After getting over my surprise and frustration, I had no hesitation in agreeing that the audio recording should be released — why?

I simply have nothing to hide.

What you will hear or read is that I favored one of the finalists for Fire Chief. That candidate ultimately withdrew his candidacy, and the city hired a different candidate who is highly effective, capable and doing a great job serving Alamedans. I have tremendous respect for Fire Chief Edmond Rodriguez and look forward to continuing to work with him.

Those of you who have worked with me know that my style is direct and straightforward, and my role in that conversation is no different. For anyone who feels I should never have had the conversation or who is offended in some manner by it, I can only say that I understand and accept that Alamedans hold their elected leaders to the highest standards of transparency and conduct. I, too, embrace and believe in these high standards — and will continue to work to earn your trust and respect.

In comments made earlier this year, I agreed with recommendations for additional training for Councilmembers. Updating and clarifying the city’s outdated Charter is also needed. These activities are important to supporting first-time elected officials, clarifying city leadership roles, and avoiding any distractions like these in the future. 

It has been the greatest honor to serve as your Councilmember.In the last few months alone, working together we’ve strengthened Alameda tenant protections, expanded senior housing on the Point, invested even more in 911 emergency medical/fire response, improved bike trails and local walkability, promoted historic preservation and the creation of more local parks and talked as a community about how to fight gun violence.

I pledge to continue to speak honestly, be transparent and accountable, embrace and fight for the values and quality-of-life services Alamedans stand for, every day that I serve you as Councilmember. 

 

Councilmember Jim Oddie has represented the City of Alameda since 2014.