Blogging Bayport Alameda

October 6, 2014

City Council candidate profile 1 of 3: Stewart Chen

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

Stewart Chen is an incumbent City Council member, he won third place two years ago and secured a seat when Rob Bonta was elected to the Assembly.  His campaign website is located here.  All my posts referencing Stewart Chen are located here.

Stewart Chen maybe best known — for those that follow politics at all — for his past run-ins with the law involving insurance fraud.  I’m going to guess that this will be a blip on most people’s radars if there aren’t significant mailers hitting people’s mailboxes constantly reminding voters of this little factoid.

Stewart Chen and opponent Frank Mattarese used to be fast friends as well, which makes Frank’s foray into this election surprising because he could bump off his good buddy who he was in the spotlight with only a year ago over their joint organization of a cultural celebration.

“This was not just about a flag raising,” said City Councilman Stewart Chen, who helped organize the event. “It was about celebrating our culture. One-third of the residents of Alameda are Asian-Americans. This was about recognizing them and their contributions to our city.”

Frank Matarrese, an organizer of the Alameda event, said he was disappointed protesters had forced a last-minute cancellation.

“Our mission was always to promote a greater understanding between cultures,” said Matarrese, who helped foster the sister-city relationship with Jiangyin when he served on the Alameda City Council five years ago. “But I understand the passions of those who wanted to protest.”

Here’s his campaign statement

Occupation: Alameda City Council member/Doctor of Chiropractic

As a healthcare provider and community volunteer, I have always believed in helping people by working together. As your City Council member, I have worked with the Mayor, my colleagues and countless members of the community to earn real achievements for Alameda.

We recently earned an AA+ credit rating, saving the City millions in bond refinancing. We have also successfully renegotiated pension contributions with out public employees. We have collaborated with AUSD to maintain city services for our students and the public, including the access to public swimming pools. We continue to keep police and fire staffing levels strong.

I have worked hard to protect parks and open space, helping secure grant funding for Jean Sweeney Park, and I continue to advocate for adequate parks and open space at Alameda Point.

Together, I believe we can continue this progress in the coming years and achieve significant results in local job creation, recreational opportunities, the quality of our schools and new solutions to traffic problems.

I have over 13 years of experience serving Alameda on the Social Services Human Relations Board, Alameda Healthcare District Board, and City Council. It would be an honor to continue serving your on the City Council.

Add to the wiki but if you do make sure that you reference it with a link.  There are various questionnaires floating out there with varying levels of readability. You can start with those if you like.



  1. I like Stewart Chen. He works well with others – even those he disagrees with. He asks great questions on the dais and is thoughtful and careful before casting a vote.

    His answers are strong and resolute when asked a question about his vision for the city – and he is willing to explain his past voting record when asked. He has ideas and solutions for the problems we face and is willing to share them. He’s also a great listener — all of the things I mentioned above are important qualities that we want in our leaders.

    I’m pretty excited that we have Stewart Chen running for City Council.

    Comment by Karen Bey — October 6, 2014 @ 6:52 am

  2. What was Chen’s answer when asked to identify the top three Caucasian groups in Alameda?

    Comment by Pygmy — October 6, 2014 @ 9:48 am

  3. #2. Hispanic, Vegetable Soup, & Italian would be my guess. We are mostly Hispanic, with 3 new additions on the 19th (all legal).

    I have a hard time voting for Chen not because of his race but because of the insurance fraud thing but the alternative is Frank who I like, but now doesn’t want any new housing on the base…we will most like vote for Frank.

    Comment by Jake — October 6, 2014 @ 10:22 am

  4. Chiropracty is an insurance scam.

    Comment by Spanky McDoogle (@SpankyMcDoogle) — October 6, 2014 @ 10:52 am

  5. Test

    Comment by test — October 6, 2014 @ 2:25 pm

  6. Chen says,” I have worked hard to protect parks and open space, helping secure grant funding for Jean Sweeney Park, and I continue to advocate for adequate parks and open space at Alameda Point.:

    So what’d he do to preserve open space at Crab Cove? —-not much, until citizens took it upon themselves to shake up the city council!

    Comment by A Neighbor — October 6, 2014 @ 2:40 pm

  7. # 6 Stewart Chen was asked this very same question at one of the forums. I heard him say that the community wanted to save this land for parks and we listened. I think he even went a step further to vote to make sure the language in the ordinance was clear that the Neptune land would be saved for parks. So you won this battle – why are you still fighting it?

    In the meantime, the Jean Sweeney Open Space Park, the Cross Alameda Trails, the Estuary Park, and the 500 acre Nature Preserve at Alameda Point has all been approved by this Council for development. It’s real clear to me that the current administration is very serious about increasing park lands in Alameda.

    Comment by Karen Bey — October 6, 2014 @ 3:35 pm

  8. Let me correct my statement by saying all the above mentioned park land has been approved and zoned by this administration for parks.

    Comment by Karen Bey — October 6, 2014 @ 3:39 pm

  9. he is willing to explain his past voting record when asked


    Yes, Chen is always forthcoming with explanations for his past….

    Comment by dave — October 6, 2014 @ 3:51 pm

  10. Well, so far no one has dared to ask Stewie about his insurance fraud past, at one of these forums, to his face. Suggested question: “If you were not guilty, why didn’t you plead NOT GUILTY???? (instead of nolo contendere…or didn’t you know what that Latin phrase meant?).

    Since you are so excited about him running, Karen Bey, why don’t YOU ask him and clear this up for all the rest of us? It will sound better coming from a friend.

    but I am betting you are the gutless wonder I think you are…

    Comment by vigi — October 6, 2014 @ 6:22 pm

  11. The only thing is everyone wants all this open space and park land, but Bayport park is overused and threadbare in parts, Washington park is all brown, College of Alameda landscaping is a mess. I use to fight fires and with a match and wind all the open space and wildlife habit at the end of Alameda Point could be gone in less then 1 or so hours, the public land around Webster street tunnel is a mess. Maybe this is a problem before they address more open or green space how they will maintain it because green space is now brown space.

    If you want to know why your insurance and medical is high look at Chen.

    Comment by Jake — October 6, 2014 @ 6:40 pm

  12. vigi. “gutless”….. and you’re all guts. bowels…. filled to the brim and overflowing.

    Comment by MI — October 6, 2014 @ 7:16 pm

  13. We got raises for our backers of Council and Mayor…….Look what San Clemente

    Totally different Mindsets

    How much is Target Contributing to Our New Parks and Aquatic Center.

    Target Corp. Confirms Deal to Build New Store in San Clemente

    As we’ve discussed in previous blogs (found here and here), the plan for building a Target in San Clemente came about when the City of San Clemente was looking for ways to fund the construction of the La Pata/Vista Hermosa Community Park, a 45-acre park with various sport’s fields and an aquatics center. With the purchase of the left-over land in the La Pata/Vista Hermosa area, Target is contributing $13.8 million towards the necessary $23 million to build the park. Therefore, not only is there a brand new community park and aquatics center coming to San Clemente, but now residents get to enjoy a 142,000 square foot Target store. The Community Park and Target are both expected to be completed by the end of 2011, so San Clemente residents have some exciting new pieces of infrastructure to look forward to in the near future

    Comment by Totally different Mindsets — October 6, 2014 @ 7:30 pm

  14. vigi, being a jerk doesn’t make you more right

    Comment by ajryan — October 6, 2014 @ 8:45 pm

  15. Elections are rigged , 5 peoples decide ….the continuity .
    Why is it so wrong to ask the hard question ,
    Mr Chen you claim to be an intelligent , educated man , Right ?
    even a street punk knows he play guilty to cut a deal . no difference .
    Kind sad to have nothing else but convicted felon running for a seat .
    even worst to see people and organization endorsing Him while someone with a criminal record would not be able to get a job among them .

    Comment by joel rambaud — October 7, 2014 @ 12:44 am

  16. I made the comment #11 yesterday and it looks like some people from the Parks & Rec. are out there this morning looking at the condition of the grass at Bayport Park. If they keep playing on it like it is there won’t be any grass left in the middle of the soccer field as it is already down to dirt in several huge areas. Maybe the 49’s can donate some leftover turf.

    I am still up in the air on whether to vote for Frank or Chen, I wish there was another choice.

    Comment by Jake — October 7, 2014 @ 9:01 am

  17. 15. “elections are rigged”. Maybe you think it’s no different but would you prefer a system like Hong Kong where people get to vote after the power elites on the mainland hand selects them. It is not the fault of the system and Sullwold’s theory that the power of the IAFF is responsible for the dearth of candidates is stretching things and motivated by sour grapes. If you are passionate about the validity of outcomes you can study Ranked Choice Voting systems for multiple seat races like our race for council. Single Transferable Voting ( a form of RCV) is a system which arguably enhances the voting power of minority constituencies. You bitch too much. How about some alternative ideas for change?

    Comment by MI — October 7, 2014 @ 9:20 am

  18. 17 is poorly written. The candidates for Hong Kong are hand selected. What is not the fault of our system is the dearth of candidates, or the advantages of people who are successful in working the system. We could strip every penny out of local elections, but endorsements are free speech and it is much harder to navigate them. Chen got AEA in last election by dumping Neil Tam.

    Comment by MI — October 7, 2014 @ 9:24 am

  19. Great news! The City won $2.2M for the Jean Sweeney Open Space Park. That coupled with the $2M from the Del Monte developer means the park has a great chance of getting built!

    Comment by Karen Bey — October 7, 2014 @ 7:52 pm

  20. Chiropractic practitioners are, by their very natures, fraudsters. There is no validity in the practice which is based on magic and unscientific nonsense. Any person who engages in fraudulent practices such as chiropractic or psychic readings will be precluded from my vote.

    Comment by Michelle — October 7, 2014 @ 9:37 pm

  21. There have been some factual information given by some here on the actual fate of a number of open space-parks in Alameda. It does sound like Mr. Chen was instrumental in helping their passage. The distractors cite Mr. Chen’s previous conviction for insurance fraud for urging others not to vote for him. If someone has paid their debt and made whatever restitution necessary I fail to see that alone a reason not to vote for someone. He seems to have participated in good government causes since then. Don’t people deserve a second chance?

    Comment by Anne Spanier — October 10, 2014 @ 3:59 pm

  22. a mixed bag Anne. I think part of what bothers people is the deal he cut to leave whatever he did in the past. He has been claiming he is innocent, but that is not the deal he cut. It wouldn’t be the first time an innocent was coerced into a plea but we don’t get a very deep explanation of just how he of all the fraud conspirators was innocent. On the one hand I understand that he didn’t campaign the first time by announcing this factoid about his past, but it’s part of his history no matter what golden path he may have tread since. As for my opinion of Mr. Chen it is largely rooted in more recent history and that is when he ran the first time and was seeking the endorsement of teachers union, he actually cut a deal to rescind his previous endorsement of his “friend” Neil Tam. Not a great day for Stew Chen or AEA.

    Anecdotally, I went to a chiropractor who was magically cured of an excruciating back injury he received while doing Judo, so he got religion and went to chiropractic school, but I have yet to meet any chiropractor who does not recommend to get regular maintenance indefinitely forever, as opposed to trying to diagnose the root problem so you don’t need to come to them anymore. I once was clobbered on my bike by a car and was recommended by a friend to a chiropractor who hooked me up with an injury lawyer who then tried to get me to go for all kinds of expensive medical treatment so that in the end the three of us could get big payoff from the insurance company. I was injured so this was not fraud, or was it? I passed after three treatments and got some money for my bike and those visits, but I didn’t need 47 ultrasonic message sessions. I don’t agree with # 20 that it is the nature of all chiropractors to be fraudsters, but the profession lends well to that sort of scam.

    Comment by MI — October 10, 2014 @ 5:51 pm

    • Thank you. It does seem that there is a problem with the plea deal as you pont out. I had read that his father was dying at the time and I order to resolve the issue quickly he agreed to this deal which undoubtedly was crafted by an attorney. The recent “deal” is confusing to me but if you believe it shows a character flaw I can accept that. Ias a health professional I do know that some chiropractors engage in some shady practices, fortunately not all.

      Comment by Anne Spanier — October 10, 2014 @ 8:06 pm

  23. 23. there is plenty of Medicare fraud among regular doctors too and in others areas of medicine. I don’t mean to single out and besmirch one profession, but I’ve been to half a dozen chiropractors since before my serious back injury 25 years ago dating back 35 years to that bike incident and though I’ve gotten pain relief in the short run from some, the over all efficacy has caused me to resort to Ibuprofen, an ice pack and yoga with equal or better results.

    Comment by MI — October 13, 2014 @ 9:38 am

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