On December 15, 2020, three women, Oakley residents, demonstrated courage, tenacity, wisdom, and commitment to the City of Oakley and Laurel Elementary School. Rachelle “Shelly” Fitzgerald, RN, Andrea Wacker, and Eve Dooms filed protests regarding an ABC license issuance for the 7-11 at Laurel Rd and O’Hara Rd (1050 Laurel Rd). On December 15, 2020, they presented their cases in an ABC hearing that lasted six hours.

                The three had taken considerable time and effort to prepare for the hearing. The three researched the case carefully and then organized the material well, which resulted in a dynamic and rugged case to deny the 7-11 permit. 7-11 hired Hinden and Carmichael of San Francisco to represent them. Hinden and Carmichael is a law partnership that has extensive experience with ABC cases. The firm sent Gillian Garrett to present the 7-11’s case for the permit.

                Ms. Garrett was unrelenting in her objections to Ms. Fitzgerald’s, Ms. Dooms’, and Ms. Wacker’s case. Ms. Garrett was tormenting the three in my perspective. Fortunately, the ABC hearing officer did not allow Ms. Garrett with her bullying. The three women maintained their professional composure and were highly articulate when presenting their positions.

                It became evident that Ms. Fitzgerald, Ms. Wacker, and Ms. Dooms were motivated to protect the children at Laurel Elementary School and maintain the integrity of their neighborhood. The persistence and unrelenting courage to step forward for the community regarding the issue was highly respected and admired by myself. The community benefited from their commitment to the values and well-being of Oakley.

                Ms. Diane Merritt did appear as a witness for Ms. Wacker.

                An announcement of the verdict will likely occur in mid-January 2021. More than likely, there will be additional issues to be discussed at that time. I can only hope that Oakley citizens will support them as the case moves to a conclusion.

George Fuller, MPA, MA

Leave a Reply