Oddie and Vella Should be Recalled to Restore Honor and Trust

Dear Editor:

The Grand Jury report released last week highlighted the clear abuse of power by two of Alameda’s City Council members, Jim Oddie and Malia Vella. The report is unequivocal in its conclusion that Oddie and Vella tried to coerce then City Manager Jill Keimach to hire a specific candidate for the role of fire chief. Just as infuriating, the actions of Oddie and Vella have cost the city $1MM in payouts and legal costs. Adding insult to injury, they are now seeking reimbursement for their own legal costs to the tune of $200K while ridiculously claiming to have been “exonerated.”

I’m struck by the similarity of this situation and what is playing out on the national stage. The Mueller Report was clear that President Trump took actions designed to obstruct justice. The only reason he was not formally charged was because he is a sitting President. Many are calling for his impeachment based on those findings. I agree with those calls. President Trump has truly disgraced the office in more ways than I can count.

Yet calls for Oddie and Vella to step down have been shockingly absence. These are two politicians who have damaged the integrity of Alameda’s government, proven that they are willing to put politics, cronyism and special interests above the law, and are brazenly asking Alameda residents to continue paying for their actions. Allowing Oddie and Vella to stay in office amounts to tacit approval of their actions and a license to repeat them. Somehow I doubt that the same people ignoring this malfeasance would have been as silent had it been Mayor Spencer or Council Member Daysog who committed it.

If you believe that Trump should be impeached after reading the Mueller Report, yet feel Oddie and Vella should not after reading the Grand Jury report, then you need to be honest with yourself: You’re not standing on principle. If you believe it is NOT right for the President to violate the Constitution but are OK with your local city representatives violating the City Charter, you’re just playing politics and exacerbating the “party-first” extremism that is pervading our political dialogue.

Council Members Oddie and Vella need to be removed from office, so we can restore some semblance of honor and trust to our city government.

Todd Wehmann