Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 23, 2013

But it won’t do that

Filed under: Alameda, Election, School — Tags: , , , , — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

If you all missed JKW’s comments yesterday about AUSD’s Measure C and what the sort of main talking points were, you can revisit them here.  So given that he shared a copy of those campaign materials with me, the first thing I did was drop all the text into a word cloud generator to pick out the top 50 words that cropped up in relation to the campaign:


Notice, not one of the top 50 words included “Historic” anywhere.

Most of the words refer to basic things like “plumbing”, “electrical”, “air conditioning”, “heating.”

But for those unwilling to accept that the Measure C campaign largely circulated around the need to upgrade aging facilities for all Alameda schools, here are the campaign mailers and doorhangers that were circulated back in 2004.

Here was the logo, and more likely than not, probably the lawn sign since it looks very lawn sign-y.


Door hanger, front and back:


Mailer #1 front and back:

mailer1back mailer1front

Mailer #2 front and back:

mailer2back mailer2front

Mailer #3 front and back:
mailer3_back mailer3_front

The only mailer that mentions Historic Alameda High School is the second one and in that case, it would be a stretch to argue that one or two lines in one out of many pieces of campaign literature is a “main selling point.”     It’s unfortunate that there wasn’t enough money to fix everything on the list — I don’t hear too many people crying for the Phase V projects at Franklin, Wood, Bay Farm, Longfellow, and Woodstock that didn’t get completed either — but that was a pretty hefty list of needs.   Now as we have seen, the costs for HAHS would have taken up at least 1/3 if not more of the money collected from Measure C (plus the funding from the State).   Instead of attempting to recast Measure C as something it was not, we should probably be talking about a new bond measure and how much should be raised if we are going to, sigh, do the full scale renovation of the HAHS and all the other facilities projects.

For a while I thought that if HAHS was going for the full monty the two bonds should be bifurcated, now I think it should be one mega-bond so that the folks who are gung-ho for the HAHS for reasons varying from nostalgia to loving all things “historic” will be part of a coalition to help ALL schools and not just one particular one.


  1. I’ve been thinking about the differences in the way Lauren and jkw interpret the campaign and the way that other people have and I think it may have something to do with age. If someone is 60 or 70 years old and went to Alameda High School, they think of the “aging facilities” in terms of themselves. The HAHS buildings are iconic for Alamedans who have been here a long time. When you say anything about old facilities needing upgrades, the elders think of that, not Amelia Earhart or Wood School that they remember being built “just the other day.” Once you no longer have kids in school, the most you are likely to see of an AUSD facility is going to events like “The Nutcracker” or the DARE graduation at Kofman. In your mind, these represent the district, even though, intellectually, you know that there are many other aging buildings. It’s a shock for those of us on the shady side of 50 to realize that “the other day” was 30 or 40 years ago. It’s easy to see why people who have young kids in school and who have not been here as long fail to understand this. I don’t think anyone is being untruthful or trying to twist the facts. The facts are always colored by our perceptions. And Lauren is right, enough already. How are we going to pay for this mother?

    Comment by Denise Shelton — May 23, 2013 @ 7:39 am

  2. Thanks for the mea culpa Denise. I’ve always appreciated strong, opinionated people who can recognize that they’ve staked out a position which aren’t supported by facts and admit it and move on.

    I can completely agree with you that it’s possible that some voters may have decided to self-interpret the language of the Measure C campaign, which was about plumbing and electrical work and maps of over a dozen school sites and determine that it was specifically about maintaining their own personal vision for how HAHS is the only building in the city that matters.

    However, there are those who are actively attempting to re-write the history of Measure C in order to explicitly state that the campaign was based on lies, and others who are jumping on the anecdotal drivel to support their own preconceived notions of AUSD untrustworthiness. I disagree with you that the former individual is somehow just a person with a different perspective who mean no harm, but I’ll agree that those that mistakenly follow him down the rabbit hole for some unknown reason are.

    Knowing that a good many of the seniors in town attended Encinal High (or others) and that many others didn’t attend high school in Alameda, the number of people with an intrapersonal vision that Measure C was all about HAHS seems pretty low and supports the idea that the 72% of voters who approved Measure C were not duped, that they were aware that the bonds were for many schools and many issues.

    The facts are pretty clear, the district has honored both the letter and the spirit of the promise made to voters, and future voters should be able to trust the district when they come forward needing more money to modernize and fix our facilities.

    Comment by jkw — May 23, 2013 @ 9:09 am

  3. Trust but verify.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — May 23, 2013 @ 9:21 am

  4. 2
    ” I disagree with you that the former individual is somehow just a person with a different perspective who mean no harm,…”

    I agree totally. The person of many handles is a plant.

    Most comments on this blog break along political philosophy. On one side (Blog Hostess included) are those who believe that government can be controlled and managed in order to meet their social goals and on the other side are those with more conservative views who distrust a large intrusive government at all levels. Ideally each side presents their commented positions in a manner that seeks to convince others to side with them.

    There are methods, however, that can be employed which can sway opinion other than utilizing a logical effective presentation of facts. One method is to plant anonymous comments with illogical overbearing repetitive voluminous lists of data which, on their face, may seem to support the side’s opinion but in reality are nauseous fog-generating half truths meant to turn opinion away from side purporting to support.

    Comment by Jack Richard — May 23, 2013 @ 9:54 am

  5. I don’t think that John would appreciate being called a “plant.” I have been asked numerous times by numerous people to simply IP ban him, but I think that you, Jack R., would be one of the first to wonder where he had gone and be the first to cry censorship.

    Comment by Lauren Do — May 23, 2013 @ 10:05 am

  6. 5. You mean “John” is really a jkw or Lauren supporter trying to make people who hold views different from theirs look bad? Interesting theory, Jack but I’m not sure I buy it. The simplest explanation is usually the right one. John does this just because this is what John does. That’s what I think, anyway. And who is this “Jack Richard” guy, anyway. What a phony name. Sounds like somebody Tom Cruise would play in a movie. 😉

    Comment by Denise Shelton — May 23, 2013 @ 10:25 am

  7. You don’t have to ban me or censor me…….I’m not a “Plant”…… If I was a Plant who the hell am I a plant for…..If trying to fix a broken system by making comments is a Plant……then I’m a plant…….I’m not paid by anyone or any group to support anything or any agenda.

    I try and do it with humor at times…… and might be taken the wrong way.

    Obviously I’m not adding anything and will not post anymore.

    Comment by Obviously I'm not adding anything and will not post anymore. — May 23, 2013 @ 10:36 am

  8. Did I ask you to ban anybody? I merely pointed out a method.

    Comment by Jack Richard — May 23, 2013 @ 12:03 pm

  9. There is exactly 1 person who ever claimed that the historic AHS was a major selling point for Measure C and I don’t think we need to waste any more time responding to that one person. Measure C was for all of the schools and most people thought of it in terms of the schools that they were most familiar with– heating and cooling and plumbing and painting being needed at most of them. Let’s move on– Lauren you have gone to a lot of work proving this one person wrong and it is really not necessary.

    Comment by Kevis Brownson — May 23, 2013 @ 5:45 pm

  10. 6
    You’re right, my real name is Ben Dover.

    Comment by Jack Richard — May 23, 2013 @ 7:23 pm

  11. #9

    There is more than 1

    1989: Alameda voters pass a $47.7 million school bond that includes money to retrofit Historic Alameda High School and to build a new gym there; the school district runs out of money before completing all the fixes the bond was supposed to cover, so only the central portion of the campus, which includes the auditorium, is retrofitted. Additional renovations – but not seismic retrofits – are paid for by the nonprofit foundation.

    1995: A retrofit of Kofman Auditorium is completed, and the project is certified by the state in 1998, district documents show; the work, which includes insertion of “seismic joints” between the auditorium walls and connected campus buildings, make the auditorium building – which is topped by classrooms – safe for student use.

    1998: Alameda’s Main Library is moved to Historic Alameda High from its old Carnegie Building digs after they are determined to need retrofitting; the library remains at the old school facilities until a new library opens in 2006.

    2004: Alameda voters pass the Measure C bond, which promises to fund seismic repairs at Historic Alameda High. The plans are scaled back as construction costs outpace the funding that’s available and are ultimately unfunded.

    Comment by Not a Paid Political Advisor or Plant — May 23, 2013 @ 10:45 pm

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