Public Comment

Time for a Change in Albany

By James D. Cleveland
Thursday October 23, 2008 - 10:05:00 AM

In its Centennial year could Albany commit both civic and financial suicide? 

How? The arrogant, incumbent Political Action Committee (PAC) endorsed Council majority, led by Berkeley born and raised, Mayor Bob Lieber, plus Wile, and Atkinson whom I label the PAC3, have seized control of Albany. They forced measure Y onto your ballot. Neither your city committees, nor 80 percent of public hearings speakers, nor nine of your 10 past mayors approve Measure Y. 

Your 2008 decision? Do we preserve the system we have used successfully since 1927? It’s a system that 84 percent of all cities Albany’s size such as Emeryville, Piedmont, Orinda, Moraga, and all Marin cities south of San Rafael use. Do you want to impose on Albany the Measure Y, PAC-funded, big-city-entrenched politics of our nearest Measure Y cities: Berkeley, Oakland, or Richmond? Why threaten the value of the modest entry-level Albany home which currently ranks first in price among its five neighbor cities? 

Check for yourself! Watch the two entire Council meetings (July 21 and August 4) with their Public Hearings on Albany’s Web page at Albany Rewind. A website—www.robert—excerpts Lieber’s council actions. Watch just three people take control of Albany for their own ends overruling all safeguards. Watch Lieber silence our Charter Review Committee (CRC) spokesman Bart Grossman. Watch them repeal your 1996 Campaign Finance Reform Act limits so 2008 PAC-endorsed slate candidates (Toomey, Panian, and Lieber himself) can take unlimited PAC funds. 

We have only one choice. Two PAC3 members are incumbents. Only one more PAC-endorsed vote will irreversibly change politics where all future candidates will need tens of thousands of PAC dollars to compete. 

For Albany’s future we must elect the three independent candidates (former Mayor and also former School Board President Peggy Thomsen, incumbent Farid Javandel, and environmentalist Nick Pilch). All three “Albany Values” candidates reject PAC money. A local newspaper endorsed all three. Only these three voluntarily obey the Campaign Finance Reform Act limits that the PAC3 repealed. Independents can restore and update that act. Their election enables future independent candidates to run for a few hundred or a few thousand dollars and keep PACs agendas out of Albany elections. 

Albany, as we know it, is as stake. Since 1967 I’ve watched Berkeley, Oakland, and Richmond irreversibly change. We have a city that works. Don’t irreversibly change and lose Albany. 

No on Measure Y! No to PACs! Elect the three independent, “Albany Values” candidates. 


James D. Cleveland is an Albany