“The comedy of #Alameda elected officials downplaying great economic news because it undercuts austerity plans is very evident [at the April 16 Special City Council Meeting on the budget,]" the East Bay Citizen’s Steve Tavares, tweeted that evening.

Almost every city in California faces significant long-term unfunded liabilities for medical benefits, "Other Post-Employment Benefits" (OPEB) and pensions in the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) of its retired workers. The liability is "unfunded" because the city hasn’t set aside enough money for it.

The chant coming from City Hall is a familiar one: "What do we want? Another consultant! When do we want it? Now!"

Hiring consultants help at times, but when an issue has been studied to death, it’s make-believe to think that anything is being accomplished.

Following the lead of Councilman Tony Daysog, the City Council recently voted 4-1 to spend up to $400,000 to hire a consultant to draft a city-wide transportation plan on how to reduce single occupancy vehicle trips. Mayor Trish Spencer voted no.

Having spent much of the previous year trying to coach teens in a private baseball program in Alameda, I witnessed some disturbing to downright shocking treatment of children that I’m compelled to share with the community.

Built more than 50 years ago, the lagoons that stretch from Court Street to Westline Drive have evoked mystic phrases like, "Venice of California." They border some of Alameda’s nicest homes. On Google Maps, the lagoons look like a thin blue cutworm crawling across the city of Alameda. But beauty and cache come at a price. Some see the lagoons as an attractive nuisance. Recently a man was seen dumping a tub of soiled cat litter over the railing of his second floor balcony.