Alameda County rebuttal to grand jury report unsurprisingly swats away sharp criticisms

Supervisor Wilma Chan confronting protesters
during an Alameda County Board of
Supervisors meeting in 2016.

A scathing Alameda County grand jury report last June included a number of sharp criticisms against the county and members of the Board of Supervisors. Among them, questioning the Board of Supervisors’ ability to shower unfettered amounts of district funds on community groups without sufficient oversight and allegations of political interference by one supervisor involving a county contract with a well-known Oakland church.

The grand jury’s finding are misguided and many of its recommendations are unwarranted, according a rebuttal to the charges and criticisms approved Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors.

In the case of the potential “dual role” capacity of Supervisor Keith Carson‘s staffer Elaine Brown, the iconic former Black Panther leader, and her connection to the housing non-profit Oakland and the World (OAW,) the grand jury found the supervisor’s use of discretionary funds for the group was a conflict of interest.

The county disagrees, saying Brown was not paid by the non-profit and therefore had no conflict. “Based on these facts, the employee was not financially interested in the contractual relationships between the County and OAW and was not barred from involvement with the contract,” according to the county.

Since its founding in 2014, OAW received $710,000 in funds from Carson’s district allocation of discretionary funds, the grand jury learned. It also alleged Carson attempted to conceal Brown’s connection to OAW in documents by referring to her as it chief financial officer and not its principal executives.

On this point, the county concedes it could have done a better job of transparency. “The board acknowledges in hindsight that in light of the direct involvement of the employee in obtaining county funding, the employee’s status as a county employee and officer of OAW should have been disclosed publicly and noted in the official records.”

The board strongly opposed a grand jury recommendation to significantly limit each supervisors use of discretionary funds, which are derived from county departmental savings, to $25,000 a year, calling it arbitrary. “The recommendation will not be implemented because it is not warranted or reasonable,” said the board.

An official response to the grand jury’s finding and recommendation are required by state law and are included in the subsequent year’s report, typically released in June. Because this is a civil grand jury, and not criminal, the body primarily acts as an independent monitor of county governments.

The board also pushed back on the allegation that Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan inappropriately sought to increase funding for Oakland’s influential Acts Full Gospel Church through the Probation Department, which had questioned whether greater services could be contracted from relsewhere and at lower costs. Again, the board disagreed.

The contracts were approved by the full board and not by Chan, said the rebuttal, and did not constitute influence by a single member.

Anti-interference rules, prescribed by the grand jury, “will not be implemented and is not warranted,” said the board. In addition, it is reasonable for supervisors to investigate and make determinations when it comes to matter involving department heads. Furthermore, any action is made by the full board and not one supervisor, the rebuttal argued.

The board’s grand jury response was not entirely disagreeable. On the subject of email retention among elected officials and county staff, they acknowledged the absence of adequate training and support for the board and employees when it comes to an email retention policy. They, however, noted that while the potential for accidental or negligent deletion of county emails exists, they are not aware of it ever happening.

10 thoughts on “Alameda County rebuttal to grand jury report unsurprisingly swats away sharp criticisms

  1. By MW:

    Related to the post of 2:19AM.

    Sometimes when a politician repeatedly engages in outrageous activity for awhile, for a long time there is little negative reaction from the public, but then things suddenly kind of explode all at once.

    That's basically what happened to Nixon, Pete Stark, John Edwards, and Hillary.

    And I think eventually Wilma Chan will have the same problem. For instance there are strong suspicions she changed her mind and then rolled over as a favor to someone “with clout.”

    She pretended to be strongly against having medical marijuana clinics, but then rolled over for Nate Miley AND VOTED IN FAVOR OF HAVING MEDICAL MARIJUANA CLINICS, and even though for years, AND IN FACT RIGHT UP TO THE TIME OF THE VOTE, she had pretended she was going to vote against it.

    So Chan should move to San Francisco and become the new Angela Alioto. In other words back when Willie Brown was San Francisco's mayor and Angela was on the Board of Supervisors, periodically Willie would come up with something even considerably more outrageous than his usual scams, and which would sometimes cause Angela to insist that there was absolutely no way she would vote for such an outrageous proposal, but then, and in spite of her previous statements, she would usually end up voting for it anyway.

    So just in case Willie becomes SF's mayor again, Wilma Chan would be perfect for a seat on the SF Board of Supervisors.

    Or if Chan stays in AC, and since Nate Miley seems to have become Alameda County's Willie Brown, and with the other four members of the AC Board of Supervisors just Miley's stooges, we could save some money by laying off the other four members of the Board and giving Nate Miley all five votes.

    (NOTE: And returning to the issue of Angela Alioto, Angela is a lawyer, so her extreme wishy washiness, and in which she displayed the intelligence and consistency of a mentally retarded five year old child, she was “proving” the “superiority” and “logical thinking” processes of lawyers. Remember that next Nate Miley has a lawyer from our County Counsel's office present us with some more lawyers' lies and garbage “proving” that: one, having medical marijuana clinics is a good idea; and two, will be trouble free.)


  2. By MW:

    Related to the post of 9:49PM. Shawn Wilson has been involved in so many antics, and especially in his very interesting relationship with Alameda County's Public Works Agency, that it could be an almost fulltime job for a newspaper covering only him and nothing else.

    In the future, and when I have some time, I will discuss some of the things I know about Shawn Wilson. Of course right now SW works for Scott Haggerty, the only member of the AC Board of Supervisors even sleazier than Nate Miley.

    Wilson and Hagggerty, how appropriate, truly a match made in heaven.


  3. “the employee was not financially interested in the contractual relationships between the County and OAW and was not barred from involvement with the contract”

    Technically this may be true: Brown has no financial interest. How about all the other local non-profits who don't have any inside person, an inside track, and inside influence with Keith Carson and the BoS. Is this arrangement fair and equitable for them?


  4. All bunch of dirty whores, especially Shawn Wilson from Haggerty. Flunkie was called out by past grand jury and bitch is still suckling on public tit. Dirty to the rafters!


  5. Wilma Chan never throws her weight around, including on such remote matters as the selection of a new fire chief for the City of Alameda. Oh, wait, she did try to do that.


  6. By MW:

    Having had the extreme displeasure of having repeatedly seen in action the weasels and con men in various agencies and departments of Alameda County government, and including the Board of Supervisors, DA's office, County Counsel's office, and Public Works Agency, etc, I am absolutely and unconditionally certain that we can totally trust them, and that therefore they do not need any oversight from the Grand Jury and/or anybody else.

    In fact, and based on the “liberals” “improved” version of “free speech,” the members of the Grand Jury should be severely punished for having committed the crime of making disparaging remarks about the wonderful and fantastic weasels and con men that infest Alameda County government.


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