Blogging Bayport Alameda

August 15, 2008

Four for two

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Election — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 7:09 am

So, it’s official, there are only four candidates running for City Council this election.   It’s interesting because generally because of the high turnout that results from Presidential elections, this should have been a jam packed year full of candidates testing the waters.    But now, there are only four.  Two incumbents and two challengers.

For those who have been underground for the past week or so, they candidates are, in alphabetical order:

  • Doug deHaan, incumbent
  • Marie Gilmore, incumbent
  • Justin Harrison, challenger
  • Tracy Jensen, challenger

So, what does this mean?  We have been hearing a lot from a certain segment of Alameda, as we always do, that the populace at large is unhappy with the direction the City is moving toward and that we need a change.  So what happened?   Why is it that, ostensibly, we only have one challenger for each incumbent.   Could it be that the large majority of folks are happy with the realtive direction of the City?  

Stop, Drop, and Roll has an insightful commentary about the weeks leading up to the filing deadline where certain members of our community had decided to do into attack mode against Marie Gilmore in regional publications, but not local ones like the Sun or the Journal.   Let’s put to the side that the issues that they were going after her on went unchallenged by fellow Councilperson, Doug deHaan, who made the same votes as she did.   The only reason why they would go after her so viciously is if they were going to run their own opposition candidate in order to unseat her.   After all, that would make logical sense, but instead we have a pretty small field of candidates. 

Also very telling are the candidate statement submitted by the four hopefuls, which I hope to parse down in greater detail some other day, but here they are.

Doug deHaan:

As your Councilmember for the past four years, I have had numerous accomplishments to be proud of such as the renovation of: Park and Webster Streets, Bridgeside, Towne Centre, Alameda Theater and development of Harbor Bay Business Park, while strving for open and inclusive governent. Alameda is now at an unprecedented junction in its history. Do [sic] to the country’s major economic downturn, Alameda is facing its own budget crisis with a decrease in revenue, while trying to maintan quality services: Fire, Police, Parks, Library, Schools and Public Works. My challenge is to continue to meet quaity of life needs for Alamedans, without compromising needs for present or future generations (fiscal and environmental sustainabilty). Alameda continues to be engaged in large development/redevelopment opportunties. We must avoid past oversights, such as serious traffic problems that are currently impacting our island. As we continue to develop our city, I am proud to say that I have never, nor will I ever take funding from developers. I ask for your vote once again to continue my work. I will provide the leadership required to offer every Alamedan an equal voice in maitaining Alameda quality of life as we continue to build upon our future.

Marie Gilmore:

I am proud to have served Alameda for 15 years, as a Recreation Commssioner, a Planning Board member, and for the last five yeas, as your Councilmember. With my fellow Councilmembers, I have worked hard to improve our community and increase city revenues. We recently restored the historic Alameda Theatre, providing residents with a major local movie theatre for the first time in over 25 years. We have a brand new library, enhanced street landscaping on Park and Webster streets, new local businesses and restaurants, a renovated Alameda Towne Centre, including the new Nine West and Borders Bookstore, which will aid Alameda’s economic revitalization.

But we still face serious chalenges. We must balance our budget while maintaining public safety services, preserve open space, appropriately redevelop Alameda Point, and reduce traffic congestion. We must address these critical issues without sacrificing the culture and character that make our community so special. Issues like these require leadership, experience and creativity. As your Councilmember, I will continue to be accessible to you and continue to provide thoughtful leadership to keep Alameda prospering.

I graduated from Stanford University and received my law degree from Boalt Hall (UC Berkeley).

Justin Harrison:

Born in Alameda , I’m a life-long resident of the West End. I bring a deep knowledge of our town and a commitment to establishing positive solutions that address current financial, educational and residential problems facing Alameda. A graduate of Encinal High School and former “Youth of the Year,” I earned an AA from Feather River Community College, a B.A. from New College and am currently pursuing a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Argosy University with a focus on Community Psychology. I am a member of the Alameda Democratic Club, Alameda Rotary Club, Vice President of the Board of Directors for Alternatives in Action, Founder and member of On The Verge-Leadership Development Program, and a member of the Alameda Youth Collaborative. I have worked with and consulted for the Boys & Girls Club, the McCullum Youth Court, Community One Financial as well as the City of San Francisco. I have always been dedicated to the process of reinvigorating Alameda Point. Several major projects on Alameda Point that I’ve been involved in include building of the City View Skate Park, creation of the Community Garden and renovation of 2750 Todd Street, from a former Officer s Club, into a thriving educational center.

Tracy Jensen:

Alameda voters have twice elected me to the school board. I’m proud of my contributions to Alameda public schools. We’re competitive and efficient. During my 6 years as a School Board Member I’ve been inspired by Alameda’s familes – both longtime residents and the families that recently moved here.

I grew up here, attended local schools and then moved to Washington to work in the Clinton administration. But when it came time to begin my own family, I came home.

I came home because my family and I value what Alameda offers: good schools, safe streets, open space and a family friendly atmosphere. Our grandparents, parents and children make Alameda a special place.

Now it is time for Alameda’ s City Council leaders to make a commitment to support our community’s family oriented character. That is why I’m running for the City Council – because I have a family myself. And I have the experience and the integrity to move Alameda forward.

I would like your vote.

A few thoughts off the top of my head, (1) if you are going to submit your candidate statement, as least have someone, or several someones proof your statement.  Seriously.  (2) It appears that Doug deHaan also knows which side the proverbial bread is buttered on and is now listing the opening of the Alameda Theatre as part of his “accomplishments” while sitting on the City Council.   And more surprisingly, the “development of Harbor Bay Business Park” considering the last Harbor Bay Business Park development that came before the Council he decided to abstain on.

It’s really fascinating how each candidate approached these statements.   The incumbents taking the “here’s what I’ve done to make Alameda better” point of view.   Marie Gilmore did it better in my opinion.   And the two challengers taking diametrically opposing routes to one another.   Tracy Jensen with the heartfelt, “here’s why I love Alameda and why you should choose me.”  And Justin Harrison with going the resume route, probably because he is an unknown entity and has something to prove against three folks who have name recognition in the City.

I’ll be adding an “Election 2008 Roundup” page to my sidebar to keep track of all Election related materials, so keep an eye out for it.


  1. Probably aiming for “Do” vote.

    Comment by flytrap — August 15, 2008 @ 8:30 am

  2. As with the presidential election, I once again find my self with no one to vote for. Accordingly, the question has become: Who will screw things up the least and be the least full of crap? I think that I’ll give the two newbies a shot … it is time for a changing of the guard.

    Comment by Jeff R. Thomason — August 15, 2008 @ 8:44 am

  3. Hear ya, Jeff…. you can always write in Donald Duck.

    Comment by Jack B — August 15, 2008 @ 8:49 am

  4. The last couple of elections may have scared off potential candidates. It used to be that our local council races were low budget. Nowadays, you need to raise a lot of money in order to get elected to a position that pays nothing. This does not sound like a good investment to most people. And then you have to put up with all that criticism from bloggers…

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — August 15, 2008 @ 9:43 am

  5. Unless I’m missing something, none of the other candidates came close to spending as much as Pat Bail did ($100k and still lost).

    As for criticism from bloggers, how does it go: “if you can’t stand the heat …???” 🙂

    Comment by alameda — August 15, 2008 @ 11:25 am

  6. Why should Doug take money from developers when he has Pat Bail to fund his campaign, except oops, this time he probably doesn’t since he now seems to be trying to take credit for every project Pat hated. I wonder why Doug didn’t take credit for the library as well.

    As for Justin, try joining a city board or commission first so you learn a little more about some of the issues going on, and then run for city council.

    Comment by notadave — August 15, 2008 @ 11:53 am

  7. “For those who have been underground for the past week or so, they (sic) candidates are, in alphabetical order:”

    another sic for a do.

    Comment by flytrap — August 15, 2008 @ 12:10 pm

  8. Considering I rarely proof what I write, I hope I can be forgiven for that and other typos.

    And “sic” is generally bracketed not placed in parenthese.

    Comment by Lauren Do — August 15, 2008 @ 12:30 pm

  9. Nitpicking over typographical errors: It’s not just for award winning daily newspapers anymore!

    Comment by Michael Krueger — August 15, 2008 @ 1:27 pm

  10. Last CC campaign all the candidates spent over $30,000 each EXCEPT for the 3 who ran as a slate. Those 3, (Pat Bail, Eugenie Thomson, and Doug deHaan) spent only $10,000 each.

    Since Americans are so gullible to marketing, maybe we choose chose election winners by which candidate who met a threshold of # of votes (10%) spent the least money per vote. Think how that could change elections. Maybe we would see some reasonable working class representation.

    Comment by David Kirwin — August 15, 2008 @ 3:22 pm

  11. Actually, according to last filings from the 2006 election (Jan. 2007) here were the total expenditures made (I’m rounding here):

    Action Alameda: $33K
    Beverly Johnson: $29K
    Frank Matarrese: $35K
    Mike Rich: $3K
    Lena Tam: $32K

    The Slate spend $33K collectively on joint collateral (signs, advertising, mailings) you can’t divvy it up now and say they only spent $10K a piece, because that’s not how the campaign was run.

    Comment by Lauren Do — August 15, 2008 @ 3:50 pm

  12. How much did the Democratic Party and regional Democrats pay for the slick flyers promoting Johnson, Matarrese, and Tam in 2006?

    Comment by R M — August 15, 2008 @ 4:14 pm

  13. I don’t know, that wasn’t the topic of David K.’s comment, his comment was about how much each candidate spent individually.

    Perhaps you have those numbers and would like to share?

    Comment by Lauren Do — August 15, 2008 @ 4:32 pm

  14. In 1996, there were ten candidates running for two positions:

    My recollection is that campaigns 10-20 years ago were shoe-string affairs of $5000 or so. If anyone has access to the campaign expenditures back then, I would be curious. Right now, it looks you need at least 30K to be competitive.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — August 15, 2008 @ 5:01 pm

  15. Actually Lauren the thread was about campaign costs, and the slate was made up of three candidates. With the cost of campaigns – is there any wonder why the working class is under represented?

    Thanks though for coming up with the list of partial campaign expenditures. Obviously it is vital to have friends with deep pockets who will help out. Those friends can be especially generous when they are spending other people’s money, like the state’s Democratic Party treasury. Of course not all Democrats agreed which Democrats should have been supported with our money.

    Comment by David Kirwin — August 15, 2008 @ 5:54 pm

  16. Here is what I am hearing: A developer in Alameda hasn’t got the votes to get his project approved by the council. Hence, the candidacy of Tracey Jensen. Just like the Mayor, her campaign will be funded by Don Perata.

    Comment by Bill on Central — August 19, 2008 @ 12:34 am

  17. Ever serve with the swift boats, bill?

    Comment by notadave — August 19, 2008 @ 7:31 am

  18. Agree that’s a cheap shot, notadave, but it does bring up the very off topic point that elections are pretty easy to buy in this town. Even if every candidate spent like Pat Bail, it wouldn’t be a significant hurdle for a sizable developer or a middling PAC.

    Just sayin’

    Comment by dave — August 19, 2008 @ 7:56 am

  19. Actually, elections are very hard to buy in this town – just ask Pat Bail. Anyone who spends an excess of money is immediately suspect. The real trick is to get elected while spending a reasonable amount. Some good folks have done that in the past.

    I love how people, including you dave, throw out statements that you expect to be taken as truth, but have no factual backing at all. Name one election in Alameda that has been bought, and back it up with some facts.

    Comment by notadave — August 19, 2008 @ 8:26 am

  20. Calm down there, Ace, just making a point that the small campaign budgets could be easily trumped by outside money.

    Comment by dave — August 19, 2008 @ 8:41 am

  21. #16 I agree. AUSD board members are working with Warmington Homes for their low-income teacher housing project. She was at the 36 unit roll-out meeting along with other board members. She was definitely not there to oppose. The connection is easy to make.

    Comment by Alameda Angel — September 16, 2008 @ 12:55 pm

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