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.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Help Win in November at the Progressarita Party!

THIS SUNDAY AFTERNOON, Fellow progressive activist David Teeters and I are throwing a party, and I wanted to make sure that both of this blog's readers — yes, that's you — are invited!

The idea is to get a bunch of Alamedans together under one roof (David's house, in this case), talking and munching and drinking — specifically, David's amazing Margarita. Two years ago at a similar event he called it the Obamarita; this time around it's the Progress-arita!

And, most importantly, we're trying to raise some money to help out Democrats (mostly progressive, or as progressive as we're gonna get) in their fight against the bizarre, often over-funded Tea-Bagger Republican challengers. We have chosen a handful of candidates who will get your donation — equally divided, unless you choose to split it up some other way.

The party is in Alameda of course — but if you happen upon this page and you are not in the area, or you can't make it, you are welcome to make a contribution in any case to help out!

Just head over to this page for details about the party and to make your contribution on-line, preferably in advance. (Or, bring your checkbook or credit card with you.)

We hope you can come!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My Endorsements for Alameda Mayor and City Council

Today, Lauren Do posted here election roundup page. I guess that means I had better get on the ball and put my endorsements up; maybe if I ask nicely, Lauren will include these on her chart.

I'll write these over the course of a few days; I'll start with my endorsements for Mayor and City Council.

For Mayor I recommmend Marie Gilmore. This decision does not come lightly; I like several of the other candidates, so this was hard — at first. But I have noticed of late how Ms. Gilmore is one of the only two people on the City Council that seem to really give a darn about the terrible abuses of power that have been going on by our (current) Mayor, our City Attorney, and our Interim City Manager. Of the mayoral candidates, Gilmore is the only one who has spoken out, publicly and privately, against these abuses of power. I was really hoping that we would hear more, proactively, out of the other candidates, but the others have been disappointing.

Of course, that's just one issue — but a big one, because we need a leader who is willing to stand up to the staffers who seem to have a stranglehold on City Hall. City staff is supposed to answer to the City Council (who is supposed to answer to us), not the other way around.

I have observed the leadership styles of Gilmore, Matarrese, DeHaan, and Daysog on the council over the years. I have not really liked DeHaan's style, though away from the council seat he's truly a nice guy. Daysog and Matarrese have their hearts in the right places, but they haven't been as effective at turning the values they espouse into realities as I would like. Gilmore has a different style. She is often quiet and reflective, but then has a lot of insight, and jumps into action.

Though it is clear from looking around Alameda that Doug DeHaan is winning the "how many yard signs" race, I have noticed that most of the people I know (or know of) in Alameda that are really involved and interested in local politics are supporting Marie Gilmore. That probably explains the many endorsements she's been racking up from local organizations.

City Council: Lena Tam and Rob Bonta (with an honorary mention of Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft).

(Three names? Well, we can only vote for two — but if Marie Gilmore becomes mayor, vacating her council seat, the third-place winner will likely fill that spot. So I'm hoping that these are the three we get.)

If you look at Lauren's Chart, you will see that Tam and Bonta are racking up endorsements left and right. That's pretty impressive considering how an endorsement from an organization requires a pretty hefty super-majority, and the fact that we have so many candidates for council.

So am I just playing "me too" here? Well, no — I've actually known — and been a supporter of — both Rob and Lena for a while now. I have found that both of these candidates are super-intelligent and interested in making Alameda a better place.

Of all the candidates vying for a new spot on the city council, I think that Rob has the best mixture of qualifications, enthusiasm, intelligence, and values. (And Marilyn is right up there too; her experience on the planning board and her approachability have been stellar.)

Lena deserves another term on the City Council; I hope that enough people will understand that all of the controversy that was dragging her name through the mud was nothing but a politically motivated attack. For some, unfortunately, it seems that even an official exoneration is not enough. I hope that this is just a vocal minority.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New Poll! Maybe just a bit pushy...

I had read about the robo-call anti-Matarrese push-poll making the rounds; I didn't get to hear it myself. But this evening, mere minutes ago, I got to participate in a call (made from a call center in Utah) about local politics. It was a bit more detailed, but I still think it had a "pushy" demeanor to it.

The caller asked for the male voter of the household. Interesting — the conductors of the poll (Hi, whoever you are!) are either trying to convince the men in the households, or maybe they are really want to find out what men in Alameda think about this.

After a bunch of basic questions, they got into the heart of the call. They asked for three priorities for the upcoming city council. They listed a number of choices. It was an interesting list, though by no means comprehensive. There were several choices that had to do with the running of city government (transparency, waste of taxpayer money on "witch-hunts," corruption in city hall, new jobs in Alameda, spending, etc.) but certainly there would be many possible priorities that some might have that were not listed in the choices, e.g. developing Alameda Point, improving our schools, solving transportation issues such as non-automotive access to Oakland for people on the West half of the island, and so forth.

One question went into great detail to mention the exoneration of Lena Tam by the District Attorney, asking if I was more favorable to her after hearing that she was declared innocent.

Finally, the pollster asked who I was planning on voting for in the local race. (I helped her pronounce "Matarrese" for the benefit of the next victim of her call!)

All in all, it certainly seemed less obnoxious and blatant than the annoying robo-call that was going around a few days ago. Whoever commissioned the call probably was trying to get a state of the campaigns, but also tried to make sure that people got the message out about Lena Tam's exoneration. Maybe they really were trying to see if knowledge of this would change people's minds enough.

In any case, I feel just a bit slimy from having gone through the poll. But I did it for both of you readers of this blog, so that you will be forewarned should your phone be the next to ring.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Alameda Democratic Club Endorsements

I just got the results from last night's meeting of the Alameda Democratic Club where a huge crowd attended to help shape the upcoming election.

I couldn't be more pleased with the results.

From a very crowded field of candidates for City Council, Rob Bonta and Lena Tam reached the 60% threshold needed to get an endorsement. Bonta's endorsement was not a great surprise, considering he has been such an integral part of the club for several years; Lena Tam's endorsement showed that most of the club's members are ready to move on from the "hit job" that she was subjected to this summer, and let her get back to work in a new term.

Marie Gilmore got the endorsement for mayor. I had expected there to be too much competition (especially from Frank Matarrese and Doug DeHaan) to reach the 60% threshold, but there you go. Gilmore is a great choice; while I like and respect many of the other candidates, I think that Gilmore has shown tremendous leadership over the years; she is also the only mayoral candidate who has really stuck her neck out to try to expose "Paradegate."

Robert Raburn got the endorsement for BART board. This is a huge victory and a great step in bringing down the juggernaut incumbent Carole Ward Allen (whom I recently discovered was once a major Republican activist during the 1990's)! While Ms. Allen seems to be getting endorsements from elected officials in the area, showing that she has a lot of powerful friends, Robert Raburn and his message seems to resonate with ordinary citizens who are interested in stopping BART's Airport Connector Boondoggle and actually improving the status quo.

School Board endorsements were Mike McMahon (a long-time pillar of the club) and Margie Sheratt (the only other serious candidate for the position, from what I could tell). For Hospital Board, Stewart Chen and Leah Williams were given the nodd. For AC Transit, Elsa Ortiz (whom I supported when she was first running for the position) and Joel Young were endorsed.

All in all, a good show. The fact that so many endorsements were able to happen shows that Alameda Democrats are actually unified pretty well. Still, it will be a big fight come November— there are many supporters of DeHaan (at least, judging by the number of signs around town); I expect that many Measure-A-or-die fanatics will be supporting Jean Sweeney (who is, outside of the political arena, a very nice woman, but just doesn't seem to be able to deal with anybody who even slightly disagrees with her).

Monday, September 13, 2010

Great Editorial about BART Fare Reduction

Did you see the editorial in the Alameda Journal last Friday? Here it is online.

The BART board of directors — Our representative is Carole Ward Allen — have so blatantly come up with this election-year scam. They think we are stupid enough to fall for it.

Maybe they think a nickel fare reduction (for a six month period) will make people forget about their boondoggle Oakland Airport Connector.

Well I'm not, and I'm sure you aren't going to fall for it either.

Carole Ward Allen, it's time for you to step aside.

(Later, I'll be posting a bit of information about Robert Raburn, my choice to replace her.)