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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: The real story on campaign tactics

The Journal coverage of the discussion of campaign tactics at the 12/16 El Cerrito City Council meeting missed the real story. The concern and frustration voiced by citizen after citizen does not stem from the sour grapes of supporting a candidate who lost.

They come from the fact that the tactics used by two incumbents in this election breached the arms length relationship that our elected officials must maintain between themselves and any developers, contractors or other interested parties that bring projects before them as the City Council or Redevelopment Agency.

The fact that Janet Abelson and Mark Friedman chose to write letters urging people to vote for Sandi Potter is not the issue. The issue is that they chose to collude with developer Charlie Oewel to distribute these letters through the alleged independent Committee for Good Public Policy. Oewel, who donated $10,000 to fund this committee, is working to develop the Del Norte area. In this capacity, he will be bringing his project before our Redevelopment Agency for assistance and approval.

Why would he spend this kind of money unless he believed it would give him an advantage in his future dealings with our City Council/Redevelopment Agency? This type of inappropriate relationship raises questions about the integrity of any actions taken by the City Council/RDA involving Mr. Oewel. Therefor, I urge our City Council to enact regulations or policies that will ensure an arms length relationship between any developers, contractors or other interested parties who bring projects or appeals before the City Council or Redevelopment Agency and all City Council candidates and incumbents.

Al Miller

Run dates: 2003-01-05 - 2003-01-19

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