As promised — and given that absentee ballots have already gone out — my election recommendations!
First, the sort of lighter stuff out of the way:
Vote YES on A1, because the Oakland Zoo is a regional jewel dammit. Have you seen those Sun Bears and their habitat? It is awesome. Did you read about how the Oakland Zoo saved four tigers that were living in some crazy personal zoo in Texas? That’s the kind of stuff you’ll be supporting.
Vote NO on Prop 32, I don’t know how this one stays out of the courts if it passes, plus it’s ridiculous.
Vote YES on Prop 37, because knowing what is going into your food empowers you to make better food choices.
Now on to the local stuff:
First regarding Measure D, I’m pretty agnostic about this one. It will pass because the words “Parks” and “Protect” appear in the ballot blurb.
Hospital Board: I’m enthusiastically voting for Jordan Battani for this one because there are few people who understand the problems facing the Alameda Hospital Board as she does. While I am also agnostic about the existence of the Alameda Hospital I can respect the fact that Alamedans voted to keep the Alameda Hospital going by levying a parcel tax upon itself. While the Hospital is open, I trust Jordan Battani to make sure that it stays solvent and work to create new revenue streams to make the Hospital less reliant on the parcel tax for every day expenses and eventually be able to divert those dollars to much needed capital improvements.
Also, I’ll probably vote for J. Michael McCormick as well, while less impressive than his fellow incumbent, he is definitely leagues better than his challengers, one who has publicly stated that she is only running in order to eventually be appointed to an open seat in the case of a Stewart Chen City Council victory and the other who has used this election to tilt at personal political windmills as opposed to running a true campaign on the issues affecting the Hospital Board.
So Hospital Board: Jordan Battani and J. Michael McCormick
City Council: I actually went into this election cycle believing I would vote a certain way, but this was one of the few elections where going to forums and reading everything written by the candidates actually changed my mind on my top two candidates.
The first candidate that was on my initial short list was Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft, I thought she was great two years ago when she ran, but the timing was a bit wrong, but this year she is the candidate at the top of my list and stayed there. Two years has done a lot to elevate her as a candidate and in that time, Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft has done her homework on all the issues that are important to Alameda right now. She’s bright and capable and you never have to worry about whether or not Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft has read all the information in her packet, her tenure on the Planning Board is proof of her professionalism and her willingness to go above and beyond the information available in Staff Reports.
On the other hand, my other short listed candidate was Jane Sullwold who is articulate and intelligent and sort of a non traditional candidate given that most of the candidates that eventually have won have come from either the Hospital Board or the Planning Board. I knew that she was not as well versed in all things City of Alameda, but figured that she would be able to come up to speed relatively quickly. However it was some of the blog posts that came from Jane Sullwold’s campaign that made me realize that she is not ready for prime time just yet. It was this post about the no cost Alameda Point conveyance where she suggested that the no cost conveyance might cost the City more than the previous deal that I hit my “ah ha” moment. The problem with the math that was presented in that post was missing the fact that the $108 million price tag was up to 1800 homes, anything built above that would incur a $75,000 per unit penalty. In no universe does a $75K/unit penalty with the $108 million price tag cost less than a $50K per unit penalty under the no cost conveyance. I do look forward to Jane Sullwold running in two years and I know that she will be the one to beat if she does decide to run and commit herself to learning every aspect of how the City of Alameda works.
My eventual second vote goes to Jeff Cambra who occasionally gets to caught up in the process of things, but sometimes that is a good thing. The benefit of having someone like Jeff Cambra on the City Council is that he will listen. And by “listen” I mean that he will make everyone feel as though they have a voice. While I believe that all elected officials technically “listen” to their constituents, sometimes some folks don’t feel “heard” because of lack of acknowledgement or whatever. Jeff Cambra is the type of guy that will never let anyone leave a meeting feeling as though they weren’t heard — at the very least — he will make them feel as though what they were saying was of value and that he would consider it.
So City Council: Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft and Jeff Cambra
School Board endorsement tomorrow, I have a lot to say.