A Progressive Alamedan

Various writings from a resident of Alameda regarding the political scene. The local perspective of local, state and national politics and a few other odds and ends of local concern. May not be particularly interesting to people outside of the Alameda area.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Update on the County Supervisor's Race

One race I that has been difficult to decide upon is the race for County Supervisor. There are numerous candidates, but the main three are incumbent Alice Lai-Bitker, Jim Price, and Shelia Young. (I've linked to their campaign sites becuause they have such low Google juice!)

It's been a difficult choice. I don't think that Alice Lai-Bitker has been that effective. She has a lot of support here in Alameda, but I just don't feel that she has really stood up to protect our rights. She has been as wobbly as can be on the issue of electronic voting, succumbing multiple times to pressure to give inherently flawed Diebold and Sequoia machines the benefit of the doubt, instead of the boot! A friend, whose politics I respect, defends her seeming lack of strength to cultural differences and language skill issues, saying that she is warm and genuine and intelligent. I can certainly respect cultural differences, but I believe that for somebody to do a job effectively, they need to have the skills required for that job, transcending or compensating for any challenges that their upbringing has provided them.

Jim Price signs are everywhere in Alameda, so he has a lot of support, but I truly wonder where he stands. I spoke to him a few weeks ago, and he was frantically telling me about waste and underutilitized employment opportunities at the County Hospital. I do agree with his statement about the importance of paper trails and auditable voting machines, but something about him rubs me the wrong way. He's endorsed by ultraconservative former City Council Candidate Pat Bail; a progressive friend calls him a "right-winger". This really worries me. I don't think I can support Price.

Which brings us to Shelia (prounced like Shiela) Young, nearly done with her term as Mayor of San Leandro. She doesn't seem to have much of a "ground presence" at least in this part of Alameda; I haven't seen any lawn signs, for instance. It's only because of her mailing that I know she's a serious/major candidate. One friend didn't have anything positive to say about her, but didn't give details. On the other hand, another friend, a progressive former Alamedan who now lives in San Leandro, had a lot of good to say about her:

Shelia is a very outspoken and determined person. Sheila has really put a lot of energy in San Leandro and is trying to put it on the map. If I had to compare her to [Alameda Mayor] Bev Johnson there is no comparison. Sheila is really into Seniors and Senior Services. Our downtown has been getting renovated and she is working on a committee to encourage public transportation by working with BART to encourage people to leave their cars behind... Sheila is a go getter and does not take no for an answer.

I called the phone number on her website, and talked to her on the phone. I wanted to know where she stood about the voting machines issue, and I was pleased with her response. Based on my conversation with her, I have found the candidate to back. I just hope that she is able to get her message outside of San Leandro. I think we need a supervisor who is levelheaded and will fight for the interests of his or her constituents. That's not Lai-Bitker, and that's not Price. I think Young will be able to do that job well.


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