Editor’s note: This letter was received and published prior to knowing the results of the Nov. 6 election.
Remove Oddie, Release Tapes
The issue of our City Manager and her forced departure from our city has been troubling and disruptive to our city’s ongoing operation. In my opinion, many are incensed with Councilmember Jim Oddie’s conduct in the recent hiring of a fire chief. The Councilmember has been cited by both an independent, city-led investigation and the District Attorney (DA) for violating the City Charter.
Therefore, in accordance with Charter section 7-3, this violation calls for his immediate removal.
The recent DA report “concluded that during the Aug. 16 meeting both Vice Mayor Malia Vella and Oddie “supported and recommended Captain Weaver as the next Fire Chief.”
This is troubling as a resident of Alameda.
For the record, I respect councilmember Oddie for what he has done for our city: standing with working families; being a vocal advocate for union employees; and supporting our Sanctuary City resolution. There is much good that many of our elected officials have done, both legislatively and personally in, and for, our community.
And yet, they are elected by the people, and are sworn to uphold Alameda’s laws and ordinances as codified in the City Charter. They are also sworn to uphold those laws of the state and the U.S. Constitution.
There is no greater respect I have than that for those who are sworn to serve their country or their city.
As a nation that operates by the rule of law, I would be remiss and even a hypocrite if I were to continue to fight against this current federal administration’s relentless attack on our constitutional rights and flagrant illegal activities that also required an independent investigation — if I also did not fight against what I feel is the the flagrant attack on our City Charter by Councilmember Oddie.
There is much we should celebrate in politics when things go our way to benefit the people: as activists and residents, as women and students, as special interested people and organizations.
However, at the beginning and the end of each day there is the law. And that law is enshrined within, and as, our City Charter. We cannot turn a blind eye to those who — in name — lead us in both good policy or bad, when they clearly have crossed the legal threshold that holds the very fabric of our city and of our nation together.
That is why I believe that Councilmember Oddie should resign from office effective immediately or, if necessary, for the City Attorney to officially uphold the charter and remove him. Additionally, the city must release the full transcripts of the taped conversation between Oddie, Vella, and former City Manager Jill Keimach for transparency in government with regards to these findings.
Jim Oddie has become a liability to the City of Alameda. His actions have put us in a charter crisis. The Alameda Charter section 7-3 clearly states:
“Sec. 7-3. Neither the Council nor any of the members thereof shall interfere with the execution by the City Manager of his or her powers and duties. Except for purposes of inquiry, the Council and its members shall deal with that portion of the administrative service for which the City Manager is responsible solely through him or her. An attempt by a Councilmember to influence the City Manager in the making of any appointment or the purchase of any materials or supplies shall subject such Councilmember to removal from office for malfeasance.”
This crisis began in August 2017. Two independent investigations now have both upheld the City Manager’s assertions of the Councilmember’s actions. I say enough is enough.
The cost of this charter crisis lays heavily on the credibility of our community’s faith and trust in its governmental institution and has financially cost us more than $1.4 million.
I respectfully call on the City Attorney to release the tapes and immediately remove Oddie from office to uphold our Charter, so that we may begin to restore the community’s faith and trust in the sanctity of our institutions and in those whom are elected to serve within them.