Blogging Bayport Alameda

March 11, 2011

A man who doesn’t know how to sell the contradiction

Filed under: Alameda, School — Tags: , , — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

Okay, maybe a few last things to wrap up the Measure A election.   Personally I found it rather interesting that the statement from the Committee Against Measure A camp after Tuesday night was so full of bitterness that CAMA spokesperson David Howard couldn’t be bothered to compare the results to historic elections and turnout for previous election.   From Michele Ellson’s The Island:

“Less than 32 percent of registered voters imposed an unfair, regressive tax on the residents of Alameda. This is a setback for the children of Alameda and their families,” the Committee Against Measure A’s David Howard wrote in a statement Tuesday. “Alameda residents will be surprised next year when they see their tax bills and realize what they voted for.”

First of all, it’s incredible that David Howard thinks that voters are so foolish that they couldn’t do basic math ($0.32 x your home’s square footage = Measure A parcel tax) and figure out what their potential tax liability would be.   It’s also unclear how ensuring that kids aren’t crammed into a classroom with 31 other students is a “setback.”  You know because all kids want to battle it out with 31 other children for a sliver of attention from his/her teacher.

So despite the fact that Alameda SOS worked their butts off to turnout the votes and get a super majority of voters to vote “yes” Dave Howard wants to reduce that to “less than 32 percent of registered voters.”   And in reality it’s 34% of registered voters.  And the raw number of people who voted in favor of Measure A (14,342)  exceeds the raw number of people who voted against Measure B (13,797).   The Measure B vote is, of course, David Howard’s pride and joy which has sustained him politically even though last November’s defeat of his favored candidates.

Adding to the overwrought communication from CAMA was this nugget, part of an open letter from “Action Alameda News publisher David Howard”, which a commenter posted earlier in the week:

The collusion of the state, media, civic organizations and loosely organized individuals to silence opposition to a government initiative is the sort of oppression that residents of Tunisa, Algeria, Yemen, Egypt and Libya have fought, or are still fighting, to overturn. This sort of intimidation – which we have seen in past school parcel tax elections – has no place in democratic society.

It’s amazing though, right?  The comparison of a very heated democratic campaign to the turmoil currently being faced in North Africa and the Middle East.   By someone who, ostensibly,  has as much access to the media as the next person, being a “Publisher” and all.   Let’s not forget that in addition to being a media type person, David Howard was also paid by (or rather he invoiced) the CAMA campaign for consulting services in the amount of $1291.74.   Although he did neglect to disclose that information to the readers of his site which would have been the ethical thing to do.

That’s right a person who has spammed the internet far and wide using every form of social media possible and free PR newswires to make it seem as though his message had more legitimacy than it actually deserved actually complaining about being silenced.   It would be hilarious if you didn’t know that he is probably being deadly serious.

As an added bonus, on Action Alameda “News” there was a letter by former Vice Mayor Barbara Thomas complaining that pro Measure A “folks” had filed a complaint about a letter that she was circulating. Specifically a section where she writes:

“Call and email at least 10 of your like minded friends, relatives and neighbors and remind them of their civic responsibility to Vote… Offer to drive friends, pick up absentee ballots and hand deliver them to the City Clerk.”

Barbara Thomas claims that the pro Measure A supporters want limited turnout (I guess she bought into the whole Trish Herrera Spencer theory that a lower turnout would spell a victory for Measure A while a higher one would not) and then she wrote:

Pro Measure A forces claim that I somehow urged illegal activity by the Against A Committee persons. I did no such thing. But perhaps I could have been more detailed and explicit. That, I will fix:…

She goes on to “clarify” her initial statement, which indeed did encourage illegal behavior without her clarification statement.  Because someone must have pointed out to her that her initial statement urged people to “pick up absentee ballots” for people and “hand deliver them” which is not allowed under the law unless that person lives with the person unable to drop off their ballot in person themselves.   Also, she told people to drop these ballots off to the City Clerk, and while that was not illegal, it was bad information since the City Clerk was not authorized to accept ballots for this election.  But instead of accepting this critique, she decided to frame it as “filing a complaint.”

Anyway, I am glad this election is finally over.   And I just want to point out that Alameda SOS did an excellent job of communicating to the voting public how important a “yes” vote on Measure A was for the kids of Alameda and for Alameda in general.   Thanks!



  1. Back under a rock for them. American democracy usually ignites religious-like fervor: we have never become fully rational beings, and judging by Wisconsin, we probably never will.

    Comment by SFB — March 11, 2011 @ 6:23 am

  2. Sorry to hijack the thread, but curious what does the “evacuation alert” mean for Alameda???

    Comment by alameda — March 11, 2011 @ 7:17 am

  3. Never mind … looks like the coast is expecting 2-3′ waves.

    Back to the regularly scheduled programming.

    Comment by alameda — March 11, 2011 @ 8:02 am

  4. Alameda,

    I recall reading the EIR for the South Shore redesign, and it included a Tsunami section. I don’t remember the exact wave heights, but essentially, a huge wave hitting the Golden Gate Bridge would translate into about 1 foot waves at South Shore. (I’ll try and dig this up at some point and repost.) because of the bottleneck at the Gate, the wave dissipates as travels through the bay.

    Comment by John Knox White — March 11, 2011 @ 8:36 am

  5. Thanks you guys, I just came down from my roof where I spent the night. You know the West End is right on the Bay.

    Comment by John P. — March 11, 2011 @ 9:04 am

  6. It is too bad that an attorney for the opposition cannot take the time to be sufficiently careful with the state’s election laws. (Recommending illegal behavior is not one of the bar’s ethical principles, is it?)

    Howard invoicing CAMA for his editorial services leaves me speechless.

    DH endlessly and falsely claimed that I was paid by Suncal for supporting their AP development plans. (The false rumor popped up again during the Measure A campaign.)

    And now we find out that he is invoicing the CAMA campaign, when all along he was purporting to be acting on principle…

    Comment by Jon Spangler — March 11, 2011 @ 10:14 am

  7. The great thing is that it came at low tide, and our high tide is lower than what was expected in the way of the rise. So get down off your roof!

    Comment by Kate Quick — March 11, 2011 @ 10:16 am

  8. While certainly not in the same league as Mr. Howard, Gary Fanger also injected himself into Measure A election, which is ironic. You see Mr.Fanger purported to have 11 financial reasons for not supporting the parcel tax. In a face to face meeting with me, he admitted that his real reason for his objection to AUSD is the adoption of anti-bullying curriculum for elementary schools. The irony is that co-chair of the Committee Against Measure A Leland Traiman was a staunch supporter of the curriculum. Takes the meaning of strange bedfellows to a whole new level.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — March 11, 2011 @ 10:17 am

  9. Too bad the fear mongering by Measure A won the day (“it’s about children”). Uh-huh … how long before Vital and the rest of the AUSD folks get a pay hike?

    We need Wisconsin style reform here, before it is too late. Unions are over-rated and the welfare queens and breeder Octomoms must be cheering about Measure A, as somebody else gets to foot the bill … while they continue to free ride.

    Comment by Jasket K — March 11, 2011 @ 11:47 am

  10. Jasket K. Gov. Walker needs you in Wisconin right now, I think I can come up with Bus fare for you.

    Comment by John P. — March 11, 2011 @ 12:00 pm

  11. How long before Alameda hits the same problem with unfunded pensions and bloated benefits?

    But hey, what’s another parcel tax between friends?

    Comment by Jama C — March 11, 2011 @ 12:48 pm

  12. david howard preaching about intimidation? david, 2 size too small t-shirt wearing, shouting, rudely stomping in and out of meetings while the opposition spoke, in your face videotaping howard preaching about intimidation? who would have thought….

    Comment by notadave — March 11, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

  13. The bummer about DH, in my opinion, is that sometimes he is right and has good points. He has the courage to go places that others entrenched in their alliances and ideologies won’t go and there is value in alternate/dissenting views. But it’s hard for open minded people to digest such conduct.

    Follow ol’ Jerry’s simple advice and it will work wonders:

    Comment by Jack B. — March 11, 2011 @ 1:01 pm

  14. JackB. I understand your point, however the word “courage” somehow does not connect to D.H. To your point, its hard for open minded people to have any kind of communication with some one who is so deceitful, and underhanded.

    I can go with alternate and dissenting views, such as my friend Jack Richard.

    Comment by John P. — March 11, 2011 @ 2:07 pm

  15. “Great people talk about ideas.
    Average people talk about things.
    Small people talk about other people.”

    Comment by Smart voter — March 11, 2011 @ 2:20 pm

  16. What does David Howard do for a living? Is he actually a “consultant,” and for whom, besides his various front groups? I don’t think “gadfly” pays a living wage…

    Comment by Curious — March 11, 2011 @ 2:39 pm

  17. “Smart voter”, That must mean you voted yes on “A”.

    Comment by John P. — March 11, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

  18. ‘It ain’t over til’ the fat lady sings’

    Comment by Smart Voter — March 11, 2011 @ 6:56 pm

  19. She done sung already

    Comment by dave — March 11, 2011 @ 8:01 pm

  20. I’ll use the reference to singing as a segue to insert a comment about the Alameda High musical “Urinetown” which is having it’s final performance to night.

    It is one of the best shows in a long time, with some fantastic talent. Productions like this are one of things being saved by Measure A, so it is about the kids whether opponents begrudge that or not. It was absolutely exhilarating and empowering to see a high school production this strong.

    The play is perhaps not as politically sophisticated Brecht, but I found the theme appropriate to current events like our parcel tax and the Republican’s in Wisconsin who are pissing on us and trying to tell us it’s rain.

    People among the middle classes are being turned on each other with jealousies over who among us may or may not be better compensated, or over compensated, often using tortured apples and oranges comparison like those made by “John” and Gary Fanger.

    America, quit blaming public employees and wake the fuck up!

    Comment by M.I. — March 12, 2011 @ 10:50 am

  21. Get an umbrella, Mark and take two sleeping pills.

    Comment by Jack Richard — March 12, 2011 @ 11:37 am

  22. Lefties schmoozing about one of the best shows in a long time, with some fantastic talent.

    AMY GOODMAN: Noam, I wanted to play for you what President Obama had to say yesterday

    PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We have spoken out on behalf of the need for change.

    AMY GOODMAN: That was President Obama speaking yesterday in the White House.

    NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, Obama very carefully didn’t say anything.

    AMY GOODMAN: Ten seconds in the segment, Noam.

    NOAM CHOMSKY: Pardon?

    AMY GOODMAN: Ten seconds left in the segment.


    AMY GOODMAN: Make your point on Eisenhower.

    NOAM CHOMSKY: Yeah, shall I go on?

    AMY GOODMAN: Five seconds. If you could—we’ll save that for our web exclusive right afterwards.

    Comment by Jack Richard — March 12, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

  23. Jack, you’re all wet as they say. I’m thinking of lines about who has the sense to come in out of the rain, etc.

    How ’bout, I don’t need no steenking umbrella, I have brain.

    I think the best line about Obama is that if Hillary gave him one of her balls he’d have three. I’ve never considered myself to be one of those Rahm was calling “f-ing retards”, but I am finally getting a little tired of the show and the Great Equivocator. Hardly look forward to Newt being the great savior.

    I found a great speech by Teddy R about Progressivism in 1912 where he is critical of Taft. Some prophetic stuff about the Republican Party needing to decide what it stood for. I’ll try to post a salient quote or two.

    Comment by M.I. — March 13, 2011 @ 10:15 am

  24. Wow, did I screw up that joke! “If Hillary gave him one of hers they’d both have two”

    Comment by M.I. — March 13, 2011 @ 10:17 am

  25. 11

    If your running a School District with 95% Labor Costs ( STAFF, ADMINISTRATORS,TEACHERS with an average Salary, Benefits and Pension cost of over 100,000.00) per employee is there any wonder how you can run a School District on 5% with so many other costs .

    I wonder what % is going actually to Students if 95% going to Staff Administrators and Teachers with all the other costs.

    Jon Spangler says alot of companies run on 95% Labor costs. I’m sure he will give a list of his top 10 favorites .

    Most companies and even Non profits run 7 – 38% labor costs. Anything over 50% labor costs is considered very shaky at best.

    Labor Costs in the AUSD Ran Well under 50% when I went to school . If the district ran at 50% labor costs That would mean about 4,000.00 to Each student in AUSD for extra stuff that is now going to STAFF ADMINISTRATORS TEACHERS that should be used on them.

    I would Gladly Pay Double the Tax if it actually was going to the Kids.

    Comment by John — March 13, 2011 @ 10:55 am

  26. California Teachers Association and the California State Council of Service Employees – spent more than

    $300 million on political activities over the last 10 years. And not coincidentally, since collective

    bargaining went into effect for state employees, state spending on employee retirement benefits has

    nearly doubled as a percentage of total state spending and now even exceeds state spending on the

    University of California and California State University by 40 percent.

    Comment by John — March 13, 2011 @ 11:08 am

  27. Collective bargaining is a good thing when it’s needed to equalize power, but when public employees

    already have that equality because of civil service protections, collective bargaining in the public

    sector serves to reduce benefits for citizens and to raise costs for taxpayers.

    Comment by John — March 13, 2011 @ 11:11 am

  28. California’s largest public school teachers’ union is trying to panic voters by claiming this state’s government schools are pitifully underfunded.

    The CTA claims California ranked 47th in the nation in per-pupil spending in 2006, but only after applying an arcane formula that “adjusted for regional differences.”

    California public school teachers must be woefully underpaid, right? Not exactly. But let’s not quibble. Let’s use teacher union statistics.

    According to the CTA’s parent union, the National Education Association, California teachers were the nation’s top-paid, with $64,424 average annual salary in 2007-08.

    Don’t take just the NEA’s word for it. The other mammoth national public school teacher union, the American Federation of Teachers AFL-CIO, said the year before the CTA study that “for the second consecutive year, California had the highest average teacher salary in 2006-07 at $63,640, or about 25 percent above the national average.”

    Comment by John — March 13, 2011 @ 11:44 am

  29. 23
    It wasn’t the “rain”, Mark, that I was concerned for you about. It was your, “…the Republican’s in Wisconsin who are pissing on us…”

    I know I’m all wet but at least it’s water.

    Comment by Jack Richard — March 13, 2011 @ 11:51 am

  30. 23
    Teddy the Bull Moose.

    Comment by Jack Richard — March 13, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

  31. Steve Malanga point out in the City Journal that California’s schoolteachers are the nation’s highest paid; its prison guards can make six-figure salaries; many state workers retire at 55 with pensions that are higher than the base pay they got most of their working lives. All this when California endures an unemployment rate steeper than the nation’s. It will get worse. There’s an exodus of firms that want to escape California’s high taxes, stifling regulations, and recurring budget crises. When Cisco’s CEO, John Chambers, says he will not build any more facilities in California, you know the state is in trouble.

    Service Employees International Union has become the nation’s fastest-growing union: It represents government and healthcare workers. Half of its 700,000 California members are government employees. More and more, it wins not on the picket line but at the negotiating table, where it backs up traditional strong-arming with political power. It spends vast amounts of money on initiatives that keep the government growing — and the gravy flowing. Similarly, for the teachers unions — with the result that California and its various municipalities, especially Los Angeles, face budget shortfalls in the hundred of millions of dollars. California can no longer rely on a strong economy to support this munificence. Its unemployment rate runs about several points higher than the national rate and its high-tech companies are choosing to expand elsewhere. Why stay in a state with such higher taxes and a cumbersome regulatory environment?

    California is a horrible warning for the nation of how dreams can turn to dust. In most states, politicians face a contracting local economy and shortfalls in tax receipts. Naturally, they look to cut expenses but run into obstruction from politically powerful unions that represent state and local government employees, teachers, and healthcare workers who have themselves caused pension and healthcare insurance costs to soar. It is not an accident that in framing the national stimulus program, Congress directed a stunning percentage of the $787 billion to support public service employees.

    The lopsided subsidies for pension and health costs are a large part of the fiscal crises at the state and local levels. The subsequent squeeze on education and infrastructure investment is undermining the very programs that have made it possible for our economy to grow — thousands upon thousands of teachers let go, schools closed, mass transit slashed.

    Between New York and California, the projected deficits run about $40 billion — and that doesn’t account for projected billions of dollars in the operating deficits in the states’ mass transit systems or the multibillion-dollar unfunded liability in many of the state pension plans. New York is badly hit because it is being deprived of tax revenues by the government’s indiscriminate attack on the securities industry, which has been so critical to the economy of New York State and to the United States.

    City government was developed to serve its citizens. Today the citizenry is working in large part to serve the government. It is always hard to shrink government spending. It is particularly difficult when public sector unions have such a unique lever of pressure.

    We have to escape this cycle or it will crush us. One way is to take labor negotiations out of the hands of vulnerable legislators and assign them to independent commissions. They would have a better shot at achieving a fair balance between appropriate salary increases and the revenues and services of local municipalities. The electorate won’t swallow any more red ink.

    Comment by john — March 13, 2011 @ 1:08 pm

  32. 31
    “..and assign them to independent commissions.”

    Nah, just do what John Russo suggests. Put an initiative on the ballot that takes away public employee unions. If it fails, the citizens have no beef with raising taxes, losing jobs and an exodus of job makers.

    Comment by Jack Richard — March 13, 2011 @ 1:31 pm

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