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Sunday, May 1, 2011

City Attorney Fires Back Against Bukowski Ballot Initiative

City Attorney Hires His Own Attorney
Biddle Says Ballot Initiative Is Illegal

City Attorney Mike Biddle has notified the city council that a ballot initiative measure calling for Mr Biddle's ouster and started by councilman Ken Bukowski is illegal.  Mr Bukowski is calling for a vote of the people to decide if Emeryville's city attorney position should be replaced with attorneys to be hired as sub-contractors and used by the city on an 'as needed' basis, mostly to save money.
In a April 29th letter to council member Bukowski, obtained by the Tattler, the city attorney says he hired his own attorney that maintains such an initiative is "beyond the scope" of the initiative process and the resident citizens may not make such a change, only the city council wields that power.

Lawsuit Threatened
Mr Biddle indicated in a separate Friday evening e-mail to Mr Bukowski and cc'ed to the entire council that he will seek "declaratory relief" from the council, relieving him (Biddle) of his duty as city attorney to prepare the ballot initiative for citizens signature unless Mr Bukowski withdraws his ballot measure.  He ended by threatening the councilman and the city as a whole, "I ask that you give careful consideration of the opinion and withdraw the Measure so that the City can avoid the time, cost and expense of unnecessary and avoidable litigation".
Council member Bukowski is calling Mr Biddle's direct involvement in the handling of the case a conflict of interest and has characterized his action as an act of "gross misconduct".  Says Mr Bukowski, "I don't think it is ethical or proper [for the city attorney] to handle any aspect of this ballot measure since it affects [him] personally".

Mr Biddle has sought legal opinion from Manuela Albuquerque of the high powered law firm of Burke, Williams & Sorensen LLP, a Los Angeles based company.  Ms Albuquerque, a former Berkeley city attorney, flatly stated in a letter to Mr Biddle that the people of Emeryville are not allowed to decide about the issue since, "The subject of the Measure is an administrative act and not a legislative one".
Presumably, the taxpayers of Emeryville are paying for the services of Burke, Williams & Sorensen.

The city attorney will ask for the declaratory relief from his duty to forward the ballot measure to the voters on Tuesday night before the city council.  The city council will vote on Mr Biddle's contract and whether to extend it or not also on Tuesday but that vote is incidental to the question of the ballot measure since the terms of Mr Biddle's existing employment contract are up for consideration regardless.


  1. Biddle is an incompetent weasel. He's fighting hard to retain his job, because there isn't a city council anywhere else in California dumb enough to hire him.

  2. Can someone say "conflict of interest"!?