Blogging Bayport Alameda

November 9, 2012

Minority majority

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Election — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

I sort of mentioned it yesterday, but wanted to clarify even more an interesting tidbit about the new face of the Alameda City Council.   I think the changes that happened on November 6th nationally is reflected in our own local City Council.   One big thing that came out of Tuesday’s election was: don’t bet against Nate Silver, he will own you almost every single time.   The second thing is, people of color are going to continue to grow in prominence in elections as the complexion of the nation changes.  And while some people are freaking out over the purported demise of “traditional America” (read: white America) in Alameda, the change happened so gradually and organically that it didn’t even dawn on me until someone pointed it out.

As I noted yesterday, come December, there will not be one white male sitting on the City Council dais, with the exception of John Russo, but he’s not an elected officer.  This is notable given that only in recent memory were we able to note that Alameda had its first non-white City Council person in Hadi Monsef (1985).   It’s first Black vice mayor and acting mayor in Al DeWitt.  And in 1996, its first Asian Pacific Islander American Council person in Tony Daysog .   Shortly after that came Alameda’s first female Asian American city council member in Lena Tam, then Alameda’s first Black female mayor in Marie Gilmore.

So, when I wrote the whole “white male” thing, I was under the false assumption, like I think most people are/were that Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft was white.   And by “white” I mean the whole anglo-saxon white, trace your lineage back to the Mayflower kind of white.   Turns out, I was mistaken.   Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft is in fact 100% Arab-American.    Her background is an even mixture of Syrian and Lebanese.

I will caveat this all by saying, technically, if we’re to go on the whole census classification thing, people of Middle Eastern backgrounds are classified as “white” for census purposes, but I think we all know that in the wake of September 11, folks with Middle Eastern heritages don’t necessarily have the same type of American experiences as say someone with a European lineage.

On the Council now, with the addition of Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, Tony Daysog and perhaps Stewart Chen if the vote holds for Rob Bonta, we will have a Council with three Asian Pacific Island Americans,  one African American, and one Arab-America.  I can say that Alameda has come a long way from the days when it was perceived as a town hostile to people of color.


  1. Lauren, as an “Old White Male” I guess I won’t be running for office anytime soon. Oh well.

    Comment by John P.(L) — November 9, 2012 @ 7:48 am

  2. ” I can say that Alameda has come a long way from the days when it was perceived as a town hostile to people of color.”

    But don’t be a white male…..Then you are fair game.


    For someone who has been so Hostile to White Males on this Doooo Rag…..The Kevin Kearney’s, Kevin Kennedy and Doug DaHaan by throwing Dooooo hangrenades at any chance . As the Chief of Police commented when working with the two Kevins “I read people pretty well and these are good people who are doing what is best for the city. He has a totally different perspective on how you have betrayed these people.

    Comment by John — November 9, 2012 @ 8:02 am

  3. Comment by Lauren Do — November 9, 2012 @ 8:21 am

  4. Lauren, thanks for the idea its great. I’m going to move to the suburbs and become an old white male rocker.

    Comment by John P.(L) — November 9, 2012 @ 8:35 am

  5. Well if she is of Syrian and Lebanese ancestry that would make her Asian

    Comment by frank — November 9, 2012 @ 9:01 am

  6. “trace your lineage back to the Mayflower kind of white”??? Does that mean you don’t consider Irish, Italians, Germans, & Jews white?

    Comment by vigi [G,J] — November 9, 2012 @ 9:42 am

  7. Hey if Vigi and you are correct then I wouldn’t be considered white, my dad was born in Italy. This may help me in a future election.
    sorry for the silliness, but since Tuesday night I haven’t stopped celebrating.

    Comment by John P.(L) — November 9, 2012 @ 10:00 am

  8. I forgot Polish, Bohemian, Armenian, et al & all those other Eastern Europeans who played a role in settling & developing Alameda. And why don’t we have any Latinos on the City Council? Dammit where are the Mexicans when you need them?

    Comment by vigi [G,J] — November 9, 2012 @ 10:00 am

  9. Figures they’d do away with affirmative action just when white males might qualify. Sucks to be you!

    Comment by Denise Shelton — November 9, 2012 @ 10:29 am

  10. Oh, I also forgot:that must be why Bonta keeps bringing up his parents’ association with Cesar Chavez! Closest we’re gonna get to having Hispanic California represented on our City Council. Sorry, but it looks like an Asian majority to me-Oh wait, that’s what you meant by the title of your post! Silly me.

    Comment by vigi [actually Boh] — November 9, 2012 @ 10:31 am

  11. #5 You are kidding, right? People from the Levant can hardly be called Asian.
    In any case, congrats to all the new city council members!

    Comment by Kristen — November 9, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

  12. If you can’t laugh at yourself….Make fun of other people.

    Comment by John — November 9, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

  13. There was an Asian lady who married an English gentleman and moved to London. The poor lady was not very proficient in English, but anyhow managed to communicate with her husband. The real problem arose whenever she had to shop for groceries.
    One day, she went to the butcher and wanted to buy pork legs. She didn’t know how to put forward her request, and in desperation, lifted up her skirt to show her thighs. The butcher got the message and the lady went home with pork legs.
    The next day, she needed to get chicken breasts. Again, she didn’t know how to say, and so unbuttoned her blouse to show the butcher her breast. The lady got what she wanted.
    The third day, the poor lady needed to buy sausages. So she brought her husband to the store…because he spoke English.

    Comment by John — November 9, 2012 @ 3:24 pm

  14. #11 Both Syria and Lebanon are on the Continent of Asia. So….

    Comment by frank — November 9, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

  15. My inner fact checker insists you add Al DeWitt to your list of firsts-served 9 yrs including as vice mayor and acting mayor. Thanks.

    Comment by Li_ — November 10, 2012 @ 9:10 am

  16. Li……..Doooooooo sometimes get Confused and might miss a few things……If this bash blog doesn’t workout she can always fallback on her Clock Repair Skills.

    Comment by John — November 10, 2012 @ 3:23 pm

  17. Thanks Li!

    Comment by Lauren Do — November 11, 2012 @ 6:09 am

  18. Lauren, it is always a pleasure to read your informed and articulate insights on things topical. I tend to agree with you that local politics somewhat matches what just happened on the national stage. Personally, I welcome the changes as well.

    Comment by owen — November 11, 2012 @ 7:55 pm

  19. Lauren,

    Thank you for taking down your # 3 Video…..Plus it was the second time you posted…Kinda of a in your face racial stereo typing of Alameda White people…..Which I found extremely offensive……In my 50 years of living here doesn’t reflect the attitude or mindset of the community.

    My posts on your Blog # 12 #13 #16 were in response to your # 3 post of your Video. I tried to bring humor and show you how offensive stereo typing is when it hits home. It looks like you got the message.

    I work and interact with 90 – 95% of people of Color. I respect and have great empathy for what they have faced and overcome just to make it . Most are barely making rent and food let alone trying to raise their families.

    If I offended anyone by the videos or comments I apologize……My Intention was to show Lauren how unacceptable her video was.

    Comment by John — November 11, 2012 @ 10:25 pm

  20. I did not take down my video. The point of “Rockin the Suburbs” was a response to your lamenting white males being “fair game” after my post about how far people of color have come in this town with clear incidents of historic racial hostility. Rockin the Suburbs is about faux white anger from a privileged class.

    Given that your response to my response was not to rethink your ridiculous statement about “hostility” toward white males and instead to post racist and stereotypical jokes, just further solidifies my point.

    Perhaps this is a more pointed response to your first statement is this:


    Comment by Lauren Do — November 12, 2012 @ 5:50 am

  21. @Owen: thanks! Always enjoy your slice of the web over at Island Life as well.

    Comment by Lauren Do — November 12, 2012 @ 5:59 am

  22. This link is a bit off topic but then again if you read it, you might see how it relates. It is about irony in modern culture. I think it is brilliant and just wanted to post it somewhere to share. Here is an excerpt as a teaser: “For many Americans born in the 1980s and 1990s — members of Generation Y, or Millennials — particularly middle-class Caucasians, irony is the primary mode with which daily life is dealt. One need only dwell in public space, virtual or concrete, to see how pervasive this phenomenon has become. Advertising, politics, fashion, television: almost every category of contemporary reality exhibits this will to irony.”

    Comment by M.I. — November 18, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

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