Election Section

Elect Keefe in Albany

By Dr. James D. Cleveland
Wednesday October 27, 2010 - 09:43:00 AM

Perhaps no one worked harder than I did to elect Atkinson and Wile in 2006. But their actions since then eroded the trust I once had. They joined with Bob Lieber to vote as a Bloc of 3 more than 90%+ percent of the time.  

They repeatedly violate the most basic rule 84% of CA cities Albany’s size follow: to rotate the Mayor’s position. They rotate it only among Lieber’s Bloc.  

I think it is critically important that we elect other candidates. Caryl O’Keefe is the only candidate that 18 past Mayors and School Board Presidents have endorsed. (Only two former mayors have endorsed Atkinson and Wile). My 2nd choice, Francesco Papalia will also put Albany interests first and vote independently on issues.  

I’ve lived in Albany 43 years. It changed from ranking 4th among the 5 cities from Oakland to Richmond to become first in terms of school quality, personal safety, and quality of life. Do we want to risk Albany slipping back to become another Oakland, Berkeley, or Richmond by reelecting Joanne Wile and Marge Atkinson?  

The Lieber Bloc’s actions threaten what we value in Albany. They don’t govern. They impose.  

Most recently they imposed their own personal pay raise by retaining a 100% City-paid health care coverage that they took away from career City staff. They voted again as a bloc saying they did not get enough pay so you taxpayers should pay more for their health care. Albany’s charter governs Council pay. It does not compare Albany to other cities. The Bloc imposed its interests, not Albany’s interest.  

Their arrogance shows they are not fiscally responsible. How can people with such contempt negotiate with the employees who work for Albany in such economically difficult times? Lieber’s Bloc is totally contemptuous of the values of our first 98 years as a city. To defend their act, all 3 of Lieber’s Bloc said they do not consider themselves Albany employees. They said they do not work for the city. Instead they said they exempt themselves as the people’s representatives.  

The Lieber Bloc controls a minimum 60% of appointments on 5 member City Committees. With larger committees they appoint a higher majority percentage.  

Yet even with their committee majorities, 60 to 100 % majorities of different city Committees and 80% of past Albany mayors who still live in Albany all oppose the direction the Lieber’s Bloc of 3 is taking the city. Don’t forget in 2008 this same Bloc tried to create 16 year continuous Council terms for themselves with their Measure Y that Albany voters rejected. The Bloc forced Y onto the ballot when their own Charter Review committee majority would not support them.  

Our predecessors made Albany the city it is today—not Lieber, not Atkinson, not Wile.  

Please choose Albany first. Elect Caryl O’Keefe, the candidate 18 of 20 past Mayors and School Board Presidents endorse. Please also support Francesco Papalia. I now have zero trust in the two I voted for in 2006.