Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 14, 2006

Alameda Democratic Club Candidate Forum

Filed under: Alameda, Election — Lauren Do @ 11:39 am

Last night, Sept 13th, I attended my first candidate forum in Alameda at the Alameda Democratic Club meeting.  The club membership has turned out a good number of people and they allowed us non-members to sit in and listen to the candidates, although we were shooed out before they got down to the real nitty gritty of endorsement talk.  It was way past my bedtime at that point, so I left before finding out who the club endorsed, so if anyone has that information, please post it.  Thanks in advance.

Of course, since this was a democratic club meeting, non democrats were not invited to speak, as the club would only endorse democrats anyway. 

It started off a little slow with the AC Transit Ward 3 candidates, Tony Daysog and Elsa Ortiz.  I was very “meh” about both candidates, no one seemed that passionate about the bus system.  Tony Daysog seemed a little more invested in it than Elsa Ortiz because he was a devoted public transit user.  

Then we moved to the Superior Court Judge race between Dennis Hayashi and Sandra Bean.  For me personally, I found Dennis Hayashi more compelling than Sandra (Sandy, as she introduced herself) Bean.  They both were very personable and by far the best speakers out of all the candidates there (probably from countless hours in the courtroom).  I felt as though Sandra Bean was pandering a little to the crowd, really hyping up her work around elder abuse cases, because if you have ever been to a Democratic Club meeting you would probably know that no one would mistake this for a meeting of the Young Democrats club.  But both are very able and capable people, I think we couldn’t go wrong with either. 

Then the Alameda Hospital Board, only one democratic candidate (shocking!) for three open seats!  So of course Nancy Hoffman was endorsed by the club.  She wasn’t there, so she had a representative speak for her, which was fine.

Finally, we get to the good stuff…not the main event yet, but this is when the drama starts kicking in.  And there is nothing more exciting than local political drama.  And yes, I’m talking about the local School Board election.  There are only two seats for three candidates and all are democrats.  They were effective speakers, but it didn’t get good until the question and answer period.  There was a softball question about something that I have totally forgotten now, but then someone asked about how do we stop the school district from losing their kids to private schools.  Now keep in mind, one of the candidates, Dan Herrera has his kid enrolled in private school, which I don’t know if everyone knew that at the meeting.  They probably found out during the discussion period.  Anyhow, he got to talk first and said something to the point of we need to make sure that our public schools are as good as or superior to private schools so that parents will prefer them over private schools.  So, when Tracy Lynn Jensen gets up to speak, she looks pointedly at Dan Herrera when talking about how some parents choose private over public schools.  It was a beautiful moment.  Of course, no one came out and pointed a finger at him to say, “Why isn’t your kid in public school?” that would have been the highlight of the night, but alas, people still have their “nice” hats on and I’ll have to wait for another forum. 

Now, the lead up to the main event.  City Council.  There are three candidates there: Mike Rich, Frank Matarrese, and Lena Tam.  When they are introduced, our moderator tells us that Mike Rich was invited by accident and that he is not, in fact, a democrat, but rather a “decline to state.”  Which I have never understood, there are so many parties out there: Demo, Republican, Independent, Green, Libertarian, etc…, I mean, really, shit or get off the pot, make a decision already and if you have already decided but want to be a waffler and “decline” to state, then how about I “decline” to vote for you?  So, because he is not a democrat, he will not be eligible for endorsement by the club, but since it was too late to cancel him, the club allowed him to speak and answer audience questions.  He pimped his website ( and talked about what he will bring, something about a “middle ground” and not the extremes of one side or the other.  Then Lena Tam and Frank Matarrese spoke and spoke very eloquently as well.  Frank Matarrese refuted accusations that he was a “career politician” by telling us all that he has a full time job and only gets paid $41 per city council meeting.  To which Lena Tam countered in her opening statement that she did’t get paid anything for being on the hospital board.  A little humor goes a long way, particularly since we were in hour 2.5 of this event.   There was a question about Alameda Point and whether they prefered the plan which was Measure A compliant or the non-Measure A compliant one.  All of the candidates sort of danced around the issue, but Lena Tam actually brought something up that I had never though about and that no one has ever raised that needs to be considered for the Point which is a health care facility.  If and when the Point gets developed, a clinic or some other facility (maybe not a full hospital) should be in the plans for the Point. 

Now…ding ding ding…we get to the main event!  Mayor! The Battle for the Soul of Alameda!  Doug DeHaan vs. Beverly Johnson.  (I guess Kenneth Kahn wasn’t invited either.)  This is where it gets good.  First things first, Doug DeHaan brings up some board, at first I thought it was a Slate sign, and I muttered, to no one in particular, “teaching props.”  But in fact, it was a map of Alameda with little signs pointing to various location representing new and newish developments in Alameda, although he really didn’t explain it in too much detail.  Maybe they should put it on their website.  He told the audience not be be distracted by the board and then launched into his spiel.  And then Beverly Johnson launches into hers.  Okay, pretty standard stuff, but the fun starts when it’s question and answer time. 

The questioners just hammer Doug DeHaan and it starts with an elderly gentleman who I was sitting next to for the whole of the forum.  He seemed harmless and was quiet throughout the whole forum, until this point.  When Q&A time comes he immediately raises his hand, stands up holding a letter in his hand.  Because of my proximity to him, I peer over to see what he is holding and it looks like a letter sent out to residents by “The Slate.”  I can only tell because the photo of the three slatemates is at the top of the letter.  What I also see is writing all along the margins of the letter in neat black ink, so I wasn’t sure whether this was going to be a good or bad thing for Doug Dehaan.  Turns out, it was a bad thing.  He basically chided Doug Dehaan over the allegations in his letters that there were illegal things happening behind “closed doors” and he asked Doug Dehaan whether he knew that there were currently residents already on Alameda Point, I believe he was asking Doug Dehaan whether he was “representing” their interests.  Of course, I don’t have a copy of the letter because we weren’t sent that mailing.  Doug Dehaan is getting a little flustered at this point, because I don’t think that he thought that he would be greeted rather negatively by the audience since he is a Democrat.  The only time that Beverly Johnson was a little lost on things to say was when a gentleman asked about what they were going to do to help Alameda be environmentally sound, at least Beverly Johnson stayed on point, but Doug Dehaan took the opportunity to readdress issues from prior questions, and then threw in something about electric cars and electric city at the very end. 

And finally, according to Doug Dehaan, “The Slate” is only going to be spending $30K on the campaign collectively.  Yes, he said $30,000. will be spending $30K per person.  (Thanks Linda H. for the correction, we thought we heard $30K for all 3 of them)  So that’s $90K…


We’ll see.


  1. I couldn’t make it, too much stuff happening at work.

    I hear that they endorsed Beverly Johnson, Frank Matarrese, Lena Tam and Dennis Hayashi (among others).

    Comment by alameda — September 14, 2006 @ 12:00 pm

  2. I was a teacher at San Leandro High School when Dan Herrara was an assistant principal. The year he did not return is the year I left. Dan was the best administrator with whom I have ever worked and believe me this opinion was shared with the staff and faculty. Dan is a very hard worker and a fair person and asks for personality responsibility. Alameda would be very well served to have him on the Board of Education. I would be happy to provide more information about Dan.

    If Dan’s child does not yet go to public school it is not because he doesn’t believe in public education. Check his resume. I only know Dan through work but I know him to be an honorable man who must have a great reason for his child not attending public school at this time.

    Comment by Karen Green — September 14, 2006 @ 12:38 pm

  3. I, too, attended the ADC’s endorsement meeting. They endorsed the following:

    Mayor-Beverly Johnson
    Council-Frank Mattarresse, Lena Tam
    School Board-Tracy Jensen (Mike McMahon failed to get an endorsement by .08%, according to the meeting moderator).
    AC Transit-No endorsement. A rebuff to Tony Daysog?

    A correction. Doug DeHaan said the “slate” had agreed to spend no more than $30,000 each (“per capita” was the phrase he used). Yet there are reports that Pat Bail told Don Roberts on his cablecast that she would spend more than she did on the last election (approximately $150,000). I would be very interested in a first-hand report of that program.

    And by the way, Elisa Ortiz was very impressive to me. I will vote for her.


    Comment by Linda Hudson — September 14, 2006 @ 1:26 pm

  4. There were 38 people voting. Mike received 22 votes which is very close to 57.9%. He needed 60%. or 22.8 votes. So if you want to talk about he was shy 2.1% or .8 votes.

    Comment by Karen Green — September 14, 2006 @ 1:40 pm

  5. Hmm, Lauren, now I’m scratching my head trying to picture who you might have been or where you were sitting! Then again, maybe you were there under an alias! 🙂

    I, too, was impressed by Ortiz; but even moreso, I was non-impressed with Daysog. Even though he’s a nice guy, he’s a lousy leader. I’m glad he rides the bus, but that would be just icing-on-the-cake, not enough of a qualification.

    I asked the first question of the mayoral candidates, about what the slate means and what having a wide variety of party idelogies means to the decision making process. I wasn’t particularly impressed by either candidates’ responses, since they mostly talked about the money behind the slate. In any case, it certainly got DeHaan on the defensive, and the letter you mentioned continued the job. DeHaan, also a nice guy when you’re chatting with him, is a stone wall in the decision-making process, and if you say something he doesn’t agree with already, he gets angry and won’t listen to you.

    I wish Beverly Johnson were a better leader, but I certainly wouldn’t trade her in for DeHaan, especially because he’s in this slate (which, to me it seems could become a caucus) with an Ultra-Republican like Bail.

    Comment by Dan Wood — September 14, 2006 @ 2:25 pm

  6. I’m afraid I have to chime in on the Ortiz-versus-Daysog match-up. Mr. Daysog is a nice guy who may be a “devoted public transit user,” but the most passionate devotion I’ve seen from him in his many years on the council is his devotion to talking about his use of public transit.

    Back in 2003, AC Transit proposed brutal cuts that would have left large portions of Alameda without any bus service. Mayor Johnson, Councilmember Matarrese, and Councilmember Barbara Kerr (whom nobody would accuse of being an overly zealous transit advocate) all attended AC Transit meetings and defended Alameda against the cuts. Councilmember Daysog, who heard all the same pleas from transit riders and advocates, was a no-show.

    It’s always easy to talk the talk, but much harder to walk the walk. We need a representative who will be there for us when it counts.

    After losing his bid for the State Assembly and flirting with the idea of running for mayor, Mr. Daysog seems to be approaching the AC Transit race as some kind of political consolation prize. What does it say about his seriousness and commitment that he can’t even be bothered to update his Web site to say what office he is seeking this week? Maybe he’s still trying to keep his options open. 😉

    Comment by Michael Krueger — September 14, 2006 @ 2:57 pm

  7. Lauren – let me see if I get this right. When Pat Bail suggests anything other than high-density housing for Alameda Point, she’s a crackpot, but when your girl Lena Tam suggests a Health Care facility, it’s a thing of beauty?

    Is that your take on the matter?

    Comment by keepmeasurea — September 14, 2006 @ 5:24 pm

  8. I am supporting Tony Daysog for the AC Transit Board because Alameda is bypassed by and large by AC Transit decisions, and it is time that we had representaation on that board. Elsa may have the backing of the big guns for that office as did the previous rep. who was si;g;n;ifican;tly absent form this community. I do not agree with Tony on many issues, but this is one area where I th;ink he is the absolutely ri;g;ht candidate for this office.

    Comment by Barbara Kahn — September 15, 2006 @ 10:04 am

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