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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

City Attorney Election: Council Wall Of Opposition Collapses

Davis & Brinkman holdout to the end:
Atkin Relents, Election Will Go Forward

Barraged with calls and e-mails from constituents, councilwoman Ruth Atkin finally relented today and agreed to permit a November ballot initiative about removing the Emeryville City Attorney to move forward.  Ms Atkin's change of heart marked the culmination of a week of high drama in the City Attorney election fight that started with a solid wall of opposition among her colleagues but ultimately withered, leaving Ms Atkin as the swing vote and exposed to the resident's wrath.
The initiative began last April as a petition to replace the City Attorney with subcontracted legal work for the city, mostly as a cost cutting measure, by council member Ken Bukowski.  Mr Bukowski submitted the signatures to the County Registrar of Voters for certification and it was announced on Friday that the election could move forward if the city council OK'ed the County certification in time.  Problems arose when the rest of the council demurred on a required August 2nd certification meeting, citing long held vacation plans, regardless of council protocol permitting voting by telephone.  Failure to meet on August 2nd would sink the whole thing, owing to a State mandated time schedule.

After a couple days consideration, councilwoman Jennifer West told the City Manager she would be willing to participate in the required August 2nd and follow-up meeting.  She challenged the other council members and invoked a moral duty to democracy, stating, "The council must show that we hear all 567 people who signed the initiative and we should place this item on the ballot in November".

Ruth Atkin's change of heart today joined with her colleagues Ms West and Mr Bukowski and crumbled the city council's wall of opposition.  Left standing and resisting the November election, and the people they serve, are council members Nora Davis and Kurt Brinkman.

Council member West's explanation of her position on this matter can be read in The Secret News


  1. They agreed to the meeting. One step at a time. Thank you Jennifer and Ruth for meeting during your vacations.

  2. Wow..way to go Emeryville! We're really growing up. Now we get to vote in elections just like other cities do.

  3. per usual mr or ms anonymous contributes nothing to transparency and the tattler continues to talk about the latter while refusing to insist,like adult newspapers do re letters to editor ( eg sf chron), that people use their names or not be published...

    good that election will occur and preferably will result in biddles' removal... as usual the ever sly, stone faced, close mouthed ciy mgr okeefe is attempting to remain under the radar...he has refused to take responsiblity for any of the city's problems and he continues to get away with that...

    too bad there cannot be a vote by the people on removing okeefe but actually, by contacting the council and insisting that he be fired for failing to perform, thus removing the obscene amount of salary and benefits he receives for that failed performance, we can help our city do the right thing..

    walt watman

  4. To Mr Watman
    Anonymous letter writers may not contribute to transparency but they don't detract from it either. It's just an anonymous opinion. If you choose not to give anonymous letters any credence then by all means don't. The transparency the Tattler calls for is that which should flow from the centers of power in the formulation of public policy.

  5. unwilling to dialogue with you since you actually do not take in any one elses opinion.

    the issue is the policy of the tattler and you have decided to include anonymous letters.

    bad decision. we do not agree. do as you wish.