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Thursday, February 7, 2013

The City Manager Doesn't Read The Secret News (or the Tattler)

"I Normally Don't Read..."

The Secret News, a news blog City Manager Pat O'Keeffe does not read he informs us, recently reported on rumors that he, Mr O'Keeffe has met behind closed doors with potential developers for building out the Sherwin Williams site, the last large piece of fallow land in Emeryville.  The story wasn't intended to highlight that but rather to explain the need for citizen diligence with the selection of a replacement, owing to his looming retirement.  The closed door meetings at City Hall were only mentioned in the story to illustrate the need for a change in the culture as we seek a new city manager.
In fact, it's hardly newsworthy that Mr O'Keeffe would meet with developers for the Sherwin Williams site behind closed doors, the public not invited, to plot out the development.  That's the way it's been done for years here.

"I normally don't read The Secret News 
or the Emeryville Tattler"
Ooops, your pants
are on fire!
Pat took umbrage to the Secret News story however, and he fired off a February 1st e-mail to the city council denying he had conducted any such closed door meetings.  He also took the opportunity to tell the council that "I normally don't read" The Secret News (or the Tattler for that matter).  He did note that his underlings had conducted closed door meetings with would be Sherwin Williams developers but not him...only his subordinates...and there is nothing improper going on... and he doesn't read The Secret News.

The e-mail failed to mention The Secret News by actual  name, readers might like to know, rather Pat called it "One of the two blogs that like to poke at City Hall".  This was done in furtherance of Pat's refusal to utter the words "The Secret News" or "the Tattler" in any public setting.  This longstanding policy, also adapted by councilwoman Nora Davis it should be noted, is emplaced because of the severe negative health effects Pat and Nora would experience as a result of their heads exploding upon those words passing their lips.

Pat wants the council to know that although he doesn't read The Secret News (or the Tattler), he can report on their "lack editorial discipline", not like the discipline that City Hall demonstrates as they pursue their ideologically driven pro-developer 'public' policy you see.  The reporting by The Secret News and the Tattler, critical as they are of the doings at City Hall, don't meet with Pat's approval he says (although he doesn't read them) for they are "designed to misinform."  Got that?  Emeryville City Manager Pat O'Keeffe is complaining about misinforming the public, people.
"The Secret News"...Kabloom!
It's not like the old days before The Secret News and the Tattler when there was no reporting on the business being conducted in the council chambers and back rooms at City Hall whatsoever.  A little light is anathema to the traditional way of doing things at City Hall.

The back room culture at City Hall has been well documented and has been standard operating procedure since the days of the previous City Manager, John Flores.  In fact, Residents United for a Livable Emeryville (RULE) was initiated to counter this back room dealing with developers.
Both John Flores and Pat O'Keeffe came from an economic development background and both were extremely tenacious and single minded in their quest to attract development to our town.
Emeryville's city manager's backroom style it should be noted is not like Berkeley where there's a very active citizenry and democratic action is the norm.  Contributing to this is Berkeley's robust local media, keeping city hall honest.  All told, it's pretty messy and not a very good way to quickly and massively develop a town however.

In Emeryville now, we seem to be leaving our adolescence.  Toes are getting stepped on. The Secret News, the Tattler, RULE; it seems an awakened citizenry is something Pat is uncomfortable with.
We hereby invite Pat to start reading The Secret News and the Tattler (we'll have to e-mail this to him).  He may find it's even worse than he thinks it is (presuming he doesn't read them).


  1. Of course Mr. O'Keeffe doesn't read about practical and constructive criticism. He belongs to a Political bent that is focused on selling Property Tax Payers down the River. Again, ECCL is an ill conceived project that is not needed. Yet, it proceeds, with well meaning people spending lots of time and resources. Our $5 million is already spent, to promote "Community Involvement". It makes me sick!

    I wonder what's in it for him???

    1. What's in it for him? Salaries, Benefits and a full ride Retirement on the backs of all of this city's residents.

  2. It could be our city manager is just kidding about not reading the Tattler or the Secret News, and he may be just kidding about some of his other denials as well.