Friends of Crab Cove, the proponents of a ballot measure set to come before voters at a special election next April, have never filed a campaign finance report since their effort began eight months ago.
In response, an Alameda resident filed a complaint with the statewide Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) Tuesday, saying the group is hiding behind a “cloak of secrecy” by not disclosing the individuals who funded the ballot initiative campaign.
“Transparency and honesty are critical in discussing matters critical to our community and its governance,”said Heather Little, the Alameda resident who filed the FPPC complaint. “If a group claims to speak for the community, but hides behind a cloak of secrecy about its members and its finances, then it calls into question their message and their true intentions.” Little is also chair of the city’s Open Government Committee.
Last week, the Alameda City Council voted to call a special election for April 9 that will cost taxpayers between $580,000 and $730,000. The qualified ballot measure backed by Friends of Crab Cove, if approved, would block a planned federal and state-funded $40 million project on McKay Avenue that includes a senior wellness center and services for the homeless.
Proponents of the ballot measure say the parcel was already slated for open space as part of an expansion of the adjacent Crab Cove park after voters in 2008 approved an East Bay Regional Park District bond extension that included funding for Crab Cove.
Their claim the McKay Avenue parcel is open space is disputed since nine dilapidated buildings currently sit there. City officials say there is no plan or funding set aside for a park at this location.
Friends of Crab Cove received a FPPC identification number on April 24. Any financial activity from that date to June 30, should have been disclosed in a campaign finance report sometime in late July. There’s no record of a report being filed.
The group’s expenditures before June 30 could be significant if paid signature-gatherers were employed. The cost per signature can run between $6 to $15.
Any activity since July 1 through Dec. 31 should be disclosed by Friends of Crab Cove in their year-end filing, which becomes public at the end of this month.