Blogging Bayport Alameda

July 26, 2012

The edge of seventeen

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Election — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

So a few days ago (like ten or so) Vice Mayor Rob Bonta, who is just happening to run for the State Assembly, received a pretty huge endorsement by winning the Democratic Party endorsement, which you get by having a bunch of delegates vote for you, with 63% of the vote.   He put out a press release about it here.  Shortly after receiving the Democratic Party endorsement, he got the endorsement from Sandre Swanson, who will term out as Alameda’s Assemblymember.

Here’s the funny thing though, before the caucus to vote for the endorsement for this Assembly District, someone decided to put up a petition on regarding Rob Bonta and a possible endorsement from the Democratic establishment:

As you notice, it asks the “Chairman and Executive Committee” to stop the endorsement of Rob Bonta.   Apparently not understanding how the endorsement process actually works and that it would be unseemly if one person (or even an executive committee of people) decided to hand over an endorsement to someone else because 16 people on a on-line petition said that they should.

The funny thing is that the goal was only to get 100 signatures and in 30 days the organizers (which includes Leland Traiman who is still deciding whether he wants to run for City Council, School Board, and the Hospital Board, perhaps he’ll end up trying for all three).  In the 30 days since it went up they only managed to get 16 signatures (Denise Lai signed twice) and I couldn’t figure out if “Not-Joel Young” was ironic or not.



I enjoyed the tossing in of the “Citizens United” as though it’s some knee jerk bogeyman for progressives.  I guess you can just add this to the other petition that pretty much went no where.

In other election-y news, the California Nurses Association has endorsed Rob Bonta in the Assembly, but haven’t un-endorsed Abel Guillen either.  So it looks like the CNA is hedging their bets by endorsing both candidates.



  1. Making a dual endorsement is “insider” stuff. Voters cannot make a dual vote. It essentially means the endorser wants a place at the table, but it is not helpful for voters.

    Comment by Irene — July 26, 2012 @ 7:50 am

  2. One could argue that Ranked Choice Voting (or some form of that) would allow for dual (or multiple) votes by a voter and wouldn’t necessitate actual run-off elections.

    Comment by Lauren Do — July 26, 2012 @ 9:57 am

  3. While the Ranked Choice Voting eliminates the need for runoff elections, the downside is that actual voters who went to polls have their ballots totally eliminated as if they did not vote. In the Oakland Mayor race approximately 13% (16,000 votes) who voted ended up not participating in a decision between Perata and Quan.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — July 26, 2012 @ 4:25 pm

  4. Mike, that is erroneous. Everybody had their say. There was no run off between just Perata and Quan, it was all one process and everybody had three choices. People where participating in the decision about Quan and Perata when they cast those votes.

    Single Transferrable Voting would be of particular advantage to our multi-seat/plurality (“first past the post”) Council elections where even more people are potentially not participants in the decision according to your logic in 3. Quan at least was elected by a majority, where as we can have official elected by minorities.

    Comment by M.I. — July 26, 2012 @ 6:38 pm

  5. Ranked choice voting is meant to eliminate runoff elections. I get it. I am just pointing out IF there was a runoff those 16000 voters whose ballots were eliminated would have had another opportunity to have their say.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — July 27, 2012 @ 7:27 am

  6. We now have an “open primary” which essentially eliminates runoff elections.

    Because we now have only two candidates to choose from in the general election, a dual endorsement is not helpful to the voters. In fact, it sends the message that it doesn’t matter which one gets in, that there’s nothing at stake, so you don’t even need to vote.

    Comment by Irene — July 28, 2012 @ 10:15 am

  7. 5. Yes, and aside from lengthening the election process and costing tax payers more money for another unnecessary ballot, such run-offs give special interests another chance to skew the election outcomes by pouring money into a more focused campaign. I asked a lot of Oakland people about what votes they cast and most did the anybody but Perata ballot, which you must admit is more or less an anomaly for most elections which don’t have a “viable” candidate with such high negative ratings. If Perata had gone head to head against Quan you can bet the big money poured into his campaign. People who don’t get RCV pout at that lost opportunity because Perata was highest plurality. Duh. That 13% had THREE votes and didn’t cast one for either Quan or Perata, right.? How have they somehow been disenfranchised? I don’t think there is any significance, or frankly any validity, in your point that in some technical fashion a number of voters were somehow denied participation in the process. Over time, Mike, I take your negativity about RCV as more contrarian than rational, no offense. 99 times out of 100 I would defer to a person like yourself who has superior grasp of stats and numbers but I’ve been a student of RCV for years and frankly it’s not that complex, though it continues to confuse people, especially those who don’t like new things. I don’t think that is you because I know you do get how it works, but that why your resistance bugs me even more. BTW Australian RCV ballots allow ranking ALL the candidates and they haven’t chucked the system.

    As quick editorial aside, if I lived in Oakland I would have voted for Kaplan, the former TV producer guy, and Perata as third choice because despite her credentials as some sort of social liberal I’ve always thought Ms. Quan to be extremely fuzzy/lame and I think that opinion is somewhat validated. After suffering Ron Dellums ineffectual tenure and now Quan, it seems like Oakland might have been better off risking Perata, though every time I go to an A’s game and see Mount Davis I grind my teeth.

    6. Irene, didn’t we have this open primary once before for a short period? I understand your complaint and agree but also can’t get too bent out of shape over one such fickle endorsement, or even a couple. Since you probably know, can you comment on what faction or interest group lobbied for the current open primary and why you think they did? My guess is either a group of Dems or Republicans or both, because of duopoly and their desire to quash any alternatives like Greens.

    Comment by M.I. — July 28, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

  8. Mike. make it 100 out of 100. My spouse’s marginal resistance to RCV has been more intuitive than steeped in the math, but she ran it by me again and damn if I don’t finally see the light on the math. Apologies, but I’m still suspect that your bias against RCV goes beyond math because of the discussions we’ve had. That said, I think in a field of ten where three are considered reasonably strong contenders and a voter with three choices happens not to choose one of the two strongest, the fact that they disliked those two strongly enough to pass says something. Pragmatically, among 16% who didn’t vote for Quan or Perata who do you suppose they disliked more? Isn’t that the unknown that might have effected the election?
    I may in fact seem the contrarian because I said Oakland would be better off with Perata and I think it can be argued that his money might have allowed him to trumped Quan in a run off, but to me the process is more important than seeing a preferred candidate win.

    Looping back to our multi-seat race in Alameda, our plurality system is worst of all systems and never has clear outcomes with regard to all voters having full participation in the outcome. There are also never runoffs of any kind. Single Transferable Voting is a form of Ranked Choice, but not a run off system, just much more equitable than current plurality. The mayors race is also plurality but is for a single seat so has an even clearer capacity for denying participation in the outcome. I would always advocate for IRV, but if we switched mayors race to simple majority with a traditional run off, would you concede that STV would better serve us in our council race?

    Comment by M.I. — July 28, 2012 @ 3:40 pm

  9. I am agnostic when it comes to the elections process. One of the primary benefits of a ranked choice voting process is that the leading contenders tend not to engage in negative campaigning in attempt to gather second and third choice on ballots. As for the negatives. I pointed it out above. Interestingly, one of the biggest supporters was former Mayor Tony Santos from San Leandro but quickly changed his tune when he lost in a recent mayoral election. He now goes around to cities considering RCV to advocate against adopting RCV.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — July 28, 2012 @ 9:08 pm

  10. “Since being defeated by Stephen Cassidy in the November 2010 San Leandro mayoral election, [Tony] Santos has made no secret of his bitterness and resentment. He has blamed anyone and everyone (excluding himself) for his defeat and has committed his forced retirement to the cause of defeating “ranked choice voting” throughout the country. … Santos later said that [he] supported RCV because he had been told RCV mostly benefited incumbents.”

    “While he delighted in attacking Cassidy through a friendly blogger, [Santos] didn’t feel compelled to put much effort into his campaign. He rarely walked, never fliered, and his first mailer did not even arrive until several days after absentee voters had received their mail-in ballots.”

    “When all is said and done, Santos has nobody to blame for his defeat but himself: he antagonized voters by treating them callously during public fora and by taking unpopular positions …, he put little effort into running his campaign and he did not take RCV into consideration in his campaign strategy. Other incumbents can learn from his mistakes.”

    Comment by Irene — July 28, 2012 @ 10:27 pm

  11. Oops! The source link for the “San Leandro Talk” blog wasn’t included in my message above, #10. Here it is:

    Comment by Irene — July 28, 2012 @ 10:31 pm

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