Blogging Bayport Alameda

October 31, 2014

Change your mind

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Election — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

I have to say that I was always a little surprised of who came out to rally behind Frank Matarrese when he ran for Mayor against Marie Gilmore and Doug deHaan.  However, you didn’t get the full sense of the transition of support for Frank Matarrese until this election.  It’s funny because if you look at the list of people and organizations who donated to the Slate back in 2006, it mirrors the list of supporters for Frank Matarrese today.

It’s so strange to see the transformation of Frank Matarrese from being in the “developer’s pocket” to now the protector of all that is good and righteous.  I don’t know if it reflects more on him as a politician or the people who are rallying around to prop him up that formerly were the ones lobbing stones at him.

Of course back in 2006, Frank Matarrese was not as reluctant to take money from groups that he said that he won’t take money from today.  Naturally it’s always easier to take a principled stance on not accepting money from groups that are currently contracting with the city or in negotiations —  or whatever soundbyte is being pushed — from groups when it wasn’t going to be offered in the first place.  But it’s hard to reconcile that stance with history of taking money from the Firefighters Union ($2500 for the 2006 re-election campaign).  Or not taking money from Harbor Bay ($2500 for your 2006 re-election campaign).

It’s also rather interesting to see the pearl clutching over the PAC money that is being funneled to support Stewart Chen and against Frank Matarrese. As if this has never ever happened in Alameda before today.  As a refresher, similar accusations and wagging fingers of disappointment were directed at Frank Matarrese also back in 2006, when Frank Matarrese, Beverly Johnson, and Lena Tam were all beneficiaries of a independent mailer funded by “Rebuilding California” which took in money to, mainly, support a bunch of statewide propositions.  Frank Matarrese was accused of being in the developers’ pocket back then, but now that he is on the other side, I guess he has climbed out of that pocket.

It’s really too bad that Don Roberts’ site is gone because that’s where a lot of the really juicy stuff about Frank Matarrese was, Don Roberts really was not a fan for a while.  Here’s a good one that I screen capped on my blog back then, excerpt:

On the other hand, if you want four more years of ‘politics as usual’ with decisions being dictated by out -of-town developers behind closed doors, vote for incumbents Beverly Johnson and Frank Matarrese.

Also, there was a whole deal about a “push poll” in that election too, in which accusations were made that Frank Matarrese and Beverly Johnson funded that telephone survey.  The push poll was called a “hit job” and a “dirty trick”  excerpt:

This evening I had a telephone call from EMC Research. The caller wanted me to answer “a few questions about local issues”…

My main question here is: Who is funding this “research” project? My guess is: Not Ash Jones. Not Kenneth Kahn. Not Eugenie Thomson. Not Pat Bail. Not Doug deHaan. Not Mike Rich. Each of these candidates has said they are running on a small (or verrrry small) budget of donations.

But enough about how the 2006 election is nearly identical to this year’s election with the difference that Frank Matarrese went from unwitting perpetrator of all things nasty and awful about campaigning in 2006 to the sad victim in 2014.

Here’s a succinct characterization that pretty much sums up why I am reluctant to vote for Frank Matarrese ever again:

It has been my experience that Frank Matarrese sometimes says one thing and then does another. I would pay more attention to how he turns his wheels than how he signals.

Here are a few things I could find in my archives that slowly made me not a fan of Frank Matarrese because initially his work on the Theatre made me a huge fan of his.

If I had to guess though, I think Frank Matarrese’s name recognition might be slightly more powerful than Stewart Chen’s (even as a sitting City Council member).  The likelihood of him winning is high, so I just wonder which Frank Matarrese we’ll end up seeing this time on the dais.


  1. If you think the “likelihood of him winning is high, ” don’t you also think that the same people who vote for Frank (and against Chen) will vote for Trish Spencer? An informal “lawn sign survey” coupled with similar anti- developer and anti- union money stances would indicate in the affirmative. The interesting question really is, who is riding on whose coat tails? The vote count will tell.

    Comment by Breathless — October 31, 2014 @ 6:29 am

  2. When the other choices are a slimy felon and a pandering empty suit, Frank starts to look like the Philosopher King.

    Comment by dave — October 31, 2014 @ 6:31 am

  3. People are allowed to change their minds about issues over time. New information and changed circumstances present opportunities for open minded people to reconsider things.

    Apart from the many changes in Alameda over the past eight years since 2006, the relationship between candidates and “independent” supporters is also different now in the wake of the Citizens United decision in 2010. Here’s an article from yesterday shedding light on some of those changes:

    Comment by Slime Mail — October 31, 2014 @ 7:13 am

  4. So the entries for this year’s election guessing game are trickling in. Pick the winners in all of the Alameda races.

    I will publish the summary of the guesses around 730pm on Tuesday night. My election night vote tabulation were will be tweeted out.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — October 31, 2014 @ 8:00 am

  5. 1, 3: Frank did, in fact, change his views on development at Alameda Point (and on transportation/development/land use issues in general, it seems) over the years that he served on the City Council (2002-2010). It is quite logical that the people who agree with his more recent positions may not be the same folks who supported his prior ones. He is still the dedicated, smart, and capable person who co-chaired the library efforts years ago.

    I supported Frank and helped in his first City Council campaign. At the time, he supported denser development along with more transit-based transportation policies. He has every right to change his approach to development, but I no longer support him politically because I cannot support his “new” stance on development, which he has espoused since 2010. (He may be smart band capable, but I firmly believe that his “new” views on development are not good public policy for Alameda.) While Frank lost my support when he changed his views, he gained new supporters, too. That’s normal.

    2: I must stand up for Jim Oddie against the nasty and inaccurate comment above: Jim is far more than “a pandering empty suit.” I have worked with Jim Oddie on many local and legislative issues, and have always found him to be well-informed and effective in solving complex problems–with others and alone. He *does* get things done, and–unlike some political players in Alameda’s past and present–he “plays well with others and *does not* “run with (verbal) scissors” in the process. We need all of our elected officials to champion transparency and accountability–as Jim has–and who will work effectively with their elected colleagues, the city staff, and volunteers to solve our very real problems…

    Comment by Jon Spangler — October 31, 2014 @ 8:11 am

  6. Here’s the thing about the five items that you listed that turned you against Frank despite liking his stance on the theater project. As the decades roll on, the theater will continue to have an enduring impact on the lives of people, most of whom like the outcome. As the decades roll on, the new Main Library that Frank and his co-chair Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft led to completion will have an enduring impact on the lives of people, most of whom like the outcome. As the decades roll on, the renovated Bridgeside Center, which Frank was a leading force behind, will have an enduring impact on the lives of people, most of whom like the outcome.

    The five points that you listed for turning against him will not have the same enduring impact on the lives of people. A similar list of negative puny points can be dug up on almost anyone who has served eight years in public office, including the current mayor. The measure of a public servant is their accomplishments, not their missteps and mistakes. I just cannot fathom the pathological dislike for someone like Frank who has made enduring and positive contributions to our community.

    Comment by Richard Bangert — October 31, 2014 @ 8:13 am

  7. Lauren How immature …..
    Peoples change their mind all time , you no longer eating and giving Chicken nuggets to your children….{at least you said so}
    Jerry Brown who promised to reform the education system; Yet we have another tax measure ??? thanks Jerry !
    Life was so much simplier when I had you as regular guest with Linda ….

    Great Alameda Hospital board supervisor are taking credit for “saving ” the Hospital when in reality it is in a more sorry state than ever before …that would be both Chen and Oddie .

    What We are all witnessing is nothing else but the slow and painful death of the Democratic party , While Attorney Oddie and Convicted Felon Chen His teammate { He cannot say He got bad legal advice this time } are throwing Garbage at Mr Matarrese .
    One has to smile at the Fire Dept and Police union amount of money they have been pouring into these negative elections , yet they both say we do not leave in Alameda because we can’t afford it , yet it is Danville , Alamo ,St Ramon , Lafayette etc… for them

    I have yet to come across one single garbage statement from his side toward them and He could as the facts are irrefutable , {no result at the Alameda Hospital and Chen resume } that is class , the class we need .
    -then using sub entities which have only one allegiance the election money with the assistance of Unions from which basically no Members reside and leave in Alameda , some leave as far back as Nebraska , Seattle , New York they are also disseminating doubt among voters.
    Can we trust a Party in which they all squabble like street hooligan at a time 70% can’t barely stay on their feet , or just recovered .
    the Economy has changed , so is the demographic landscape more and more large corporations are leaving the State , Thousands of Jobs at the time .

    Within a few years California will be easy picking for the GOP .
    Prove me wrong

    Comment by joel Rambaud — October 31, 2014 @ 9:32 am

  8. joel, in a few more years you will be proved wrong, and I will still be right here, but not easy pickings for the GOP>

    Comment by John P. — October 31, 2014 @ 10:19 am

  9. Lauren, it is strange that you hold Matarrese’s past against him, but you don’t hold Stewart Chen’s past against him.

    For the record, Bev Johnson was pro-SunCal when she was mayor, but when she successfully ran for City Council after being termed out as mayor, she ran as an Anti-SunCal candidate.

    Frank is the THIRD person to run for Council after being termed out [compare Johnson & Daysog]. Which makes the negative mailers going out with Chen & Oddie on them particularly Odious… not to mention illogical, disingenuous, etc.

    And, last night as the Alameda Haunts competition was being judged next door, someone stole one of my two Trish lawn signs. More immature behavior from the opposition

    Comment by vigi — October 31, 2014 @ 10:23 am

  10. I’ve been digging into the history of development in Alameda since the based closed. Being a “newcomer” to town, my info is based on what I’ve been able to find on the internet (much from Lauren & other regular posters here, as well as other blogs) and my spouse, who worked with some people who are now on Boards or Council on other community initiatives “back in the day.” As part of my involvement in neighborhood planning for the Northern Waterfront, I’ve also had offline discussions with people (disclosure: I’ve met & chatted with several of the candidates & PLAN! chose not to endorse any candidate or allow “negative” postings on our FB page). I’ve come to the following conclusions:

    1. Local politics seem to have evolved over since the early/mid-aughts; candidates have come from the community with best intentions and the nature of politics in the U.S. in general (technology, Citizens, etc,) has made things complex for anyone in a small town/city who wants to serve their community. Running for office now is incredibly different than 4-8 years ago. It seems incredibly distracting & thankless, but I’m not doing it, so, hey….

    2. Frank Matarrese thinks about things and he can point to concrete projects that he helped come to fruition in the course of his public service. I’m personally OK (more than OK) with anyone changing their mind if it’s based on new thinking, learnings, etc. and not because it makes a good sound bite or is convenient. Frank’s current thinking on development may not reflect the current Council thinking, but I think that’s OK. When I read his comments & in our brief discussion a couple months back, I was comfortable that his opinions come from a place of thinking and data. There are 5 Council members; difference of opinions & discussion of any given issue is better for the community.

    3. There are people who are inclined to vote “not incumbent.” They break down further into 2 groups: 1) “not incumbent” will do a better job; and 2) send a message to the incumbent. My sense is that there is some overlap, but more of the latter.

    Comment by Alison Greene — October 31, 2014 @ 10:42 am

  11. Vigi, i think trish only has two lawn signs so she needed to move yours to another site.

    Comment by notadave — October 31, 2014 @ 10:44 am

  12. #4 – Mike, in your prediction poll for the questions on BART, Measure I and voter turn-out, are you looking for overall (region/state-wide) or just in Alameda? Sorry – geek party pooper question…

    Comment by Alison Greene — October 31, 2014 @ 10:48 am

  13. John
    I do not know where I will be …..
    I am willing to put my money where my mouth is so I am reserving $100 so we can share a drink , however looking at the way food and beverage is going it might be only enough satisfy the server’s tip.

    Comment by Joel Rambaud — October 31, 2014 @ 12:05 pm

  14. wow. how long have you been doing this Lauren? It’s weird reading comments by Jack from 2009.

    I didn’t recall the mayor’s race being between Frank, Doug, Marie AND Tony, but had memory jogged by County election stats. . For council, Bonta was big winner with 20% with Tam and Johnson just behind at 17% -ish, Sweeney about 16-% and Marilyn 12+%. The SunCal measure B was earlier that same year but the mayor and council outcome didn’t seem to be a direct correlation to the landslide failure of B. Alameda politics are weird. There was a bullet voting campaign for Sweeney.

    2012 had a long field including two “marginals” who together still got 11% which if redistributed could have made a lot of difference. Marilyn was the clear front runner with 24%, but Tony and Chen at around 17% could have easily been caught by Cambra or Sullwold depending on how that 11% would have been spread around.

    I don’t think Bridgeside is any great shakes but more generally I’m not impressed when people take or get too much credit for things which more or less happened on their watch which would have happened anyway. Frank does deserve credit for his position on the theater and taking heat for it but it’s not like he was at the helm and engineered the project. Tony ( hi Tony) has a conspicuous habit of trying to stuff his resume in this respect. Bridgeside is a non-starter. It’s the developers themselves who persist with their money who are essential ingredient. The theater and garage were unusual in that there was a lot of decision making like buying the Videomaniacs lot, a complex lease, restoration of the historic theater etc. I think in the long run the bond debt is offset by all the other positives of having the theater, a domino effect, while dave and others may disagree. It’s still not clear to me whether Conner got too good of a deal from the City. Some of those details get forgotten in the whole feel good part and they sure don’t stick to politicians. Few projects are clearly 100% good or bad. Frank and Marilyn did spend years leading the library effort and that distinguishes them for sure, but that campaign took the effort of a lot of folks. We are lucky they persisted until that state bond opportunity came along or we still might not have a library.

    #1- without endorsing the exact adjectives used in #2, I think dave’s general point is correct.

    mayor is two way split requiring 50% plus one, I’m picking Marie. I’ve seen a couple lawns with signs for Marie and Frank. Go figure. Not everybody supporting Frank will be doing so for precisely the same reasons, but his history and service are long. Chen is an incumbent and for all his negatives he has a massive number of signs. so to unseat him Oddie would need some serious community support. With only those three running I’m looking to see Frank and Chen be elected. I think the off island flyers are stupid and if anything will have the reverse effect intended because a voter who might be fooled would not be very engaged and therefore less likely to vote, while those of us who do get it will likely have a negative reaction. The flyers indicate they were not mailed with official authorization of Chen or Oddie, but I think most folks who react negatively would extend that these two.

    I predict there will be more strategic bullet voting in this election than ever before. It will be interesting to see if post election forensics can in any way verify this.

    Comment by MI — October 31, 2014 @ 12:09 pm

  15. Off thread But ALL Arson charges were dropped against Stephen Peterson today

    Comment by frank m — October 31, 2014 @ 12:22 pm

  16. #13, Joel, I better put a $100.00 also so we can at least get two drinks, see you then.

    Comment by John P. — October 31, 2014 @ 1:52 pm

  17. 15. wow. I’ve been waiting for this, but wonder what took so long. the FB site says “in light of recent evidence” the charges have been dropped. did they mean recent lack of evidence? It’s been established for a while that the two suspects didn’t know each other. Can we finally learn why APD thought the guy’s alibi wasn’t valid? It’s nice to be well protected, but this is not O.K..

    Comment by MI — October 31, 2014 @ 2:32 pm

  18. #5 Jon I see the Sierra Club endorsed Frank Matarrese

    Comment by frank m — October 31, 2014 @ 3:51 pm

  19. In today’s mail our household received another, different slime hit piece on Frank. One side of the piece lines up pretty well with the “changing your mind is bad” theme of this blog posting. Among other things, it also makes the ridiculous suggestion that he was responsible for cuts to schools, presumably because he masterminded the great recession that led to cuts in state funding of education. The other side of the piece is a smiling Stewart Chen and some claims of his accomplishments that seem questionable at best.

    It’s from the Golden State Leadership Fund PAC so everyone can claim it was an independent expenditure. It’s dirty.

    Comment by Slime Mail — October 31, 2014 @ 5:44 pm

  20. #19 I got it also. Also claims Chen is responsible for (a) balanced budget (b)Million reduction in pension cost (c) out of town developers kicked out and Alameda Point prioritized for jobs, parks and open space

    Comment by frank m — October 31, 2014 @ 6:07 pm

  21. 14
    and back then small ‘d” dave actually called himself David Hart

    Comment by jack — October 31, 2014 @ 7:43 pm

  22. I received that 8×11 postcard slamming Matarrese today.

    Tonight there was a tv ad about the Golden State Leadership Fund PAC–the speaker had a pile of campaign postcards (it looked like the pile on my table here) slamming various candidates.

    The woman in the ad clearly showed a postcard with the return sender as the Golden State Leadership. She noted one particular candidate and said that a tea partier had spent a bundle –was it one million dollars? to defeat a particular candidate. It was not Matarrese–but a candidate I did not recognize.

    So they are spending big bucks and disrupting local elections elsewhere, also.

    The candidate who was the object of that smear campaign had the cash to defend himself and defend himself, with at least one tv ad.

    Yes, it’s dirty.

    Comment by A Neighbor — October 31, 2014 @ 8:57 pm

  23. Alison – Guesses for BART (the race results for the entire district 4), Measure I (is Alameda specific only) and voter turn-out (is Alameda city ).

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — October 31, 2014 @ 9:37 pm

  24. The Sacramento Bee has been investigating the significant, growing role of these “independent” spending groups and has a story on it today:

    The fact that hidden interests are trying to avoid the sunshine, buy elections and avoid limits on campaign contributions in new ways and on a larger scale than in the past presents a serious policy problem for democracy and transparency, in Alameda and throughout the state. Dismissing those concerns as “pearl clutching” as in the blog post above is wrong.

    It seems clear that the Golden State Leadership Fund PAC is the vehicle through which some not yet identified interests (labor? development?) are trying to slime Frank M and boost Stewart C here in the final hour to promote their agenda in Alameda. We’ll find out soon whether it worked here this time.

    Comment by Slime Mail — November 1, 2014 @ 8:27 am

  25. Here is a link to 2010 recap of the seventy plus predictions for the last Mayoral race and other local races:

    Want to participate in the 2014 predictions for the Mayor race and other local races?

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — November 1, 2014 @ 12:07 pm

  26. Slimy mailers don’t seem to be hitting Oddie.

    Oddie’s boss is newly connected to big league cash in Sacramento.

    Life is so full of strange coincidences.

    Comment by dave — November 1, 2014 @ 1:15 pm

  27. It seems they just don’t want Matarrese making any decisions for Alameda.

    If they get Chen and Oddie on the council, and keep Gilmore in her seat, along with Bonta in Sacramento, these big money guys think they’ll be able to build the Alameda of their dreams.

    And then, who is Alameda’s lobbyist (or chief lobbyist) in Sacramento? Is that still Don Perata?

    Yes, life is so full of strange coincidences.

    Not too hard to connect these dots. Just connect the dots and follow the money.

    Comment by A Neighbor — November 1, 2014 @ 2:09 pm

  28. Just finished our regular Saturday drive around the Island. West end building like mad, Michaels’ Landing store open for business today grand opening tomorrow. Just think all this West end beehive of activity and one dinky little two lane 2nd oldest tunnel in the United States (86 years) exit strategy. God help us poor innocent nattering nabobs with our heads in the sand trying to exit this Shining Pony when the shit hits the fan.

    Comment by jack — November 1, 2014 @ 3:38 pm

  29. Of course with the Auctions by the Bay on the first Sunday of the month it is already a parking lot from 2pm until the traffic clears. Some of us remember that it was parking lot every afternoon after 3pm during the week in the 1980s when the workers from Naval base tried to leave Alameda.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — November 1, 2014 @ 5:42 pm

  30. I agree the Antiques Faire should find another venue and the NADEP should close. But better yet the citizens of Alameda should place an initiative on the next ballot to halt all west end development until more entrance/exit points are built so we can keep the base open and the Faire stay.

    Comment by jack — November 1, 2014 @ 7:00 pm

  31. Just a few years ago you supported Measure B, the Suncal Plan (and even stated a willingness to pay taxes toward its fulfillment!)

    Such an about face is curious, can you explain why you no longer support West End development?

    Comment by dave — November 1, 2014 @ 7:22 pm

  32. I thought I made that clear. Stop the Suncal Plan until dave admits Democrats are the most destructive dirty political party since the Bolsheviks.

    Comment by jack — November 1, 2014 @ 7:59 pm

  33. post #30, I’m with you Jack, no more development, not even room additions because that means more people and more cars, no more new business because that means more people and more cars, actually no more babies because that means more people and more cars. Close the base and make it just one big empty lot. The Least Tern will really appreciate this new attitude of ours.

    The next step would be to expel all of the dirty destructive Democrats , those lousy Bolsheviks. Then it would be just you and me.

    Comment by John P. — November 2, 2014 @ 5:07 pm

  34. JP, John you got it right. Send dave back to the swamps where he can start over moving from state to state snarking his way from sea to shining sea but, God help us, we need him here on this blog much more than we need LD.

    Comment by jack — November 2, 2014 @ 8:13 pm

  35. With apologies to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

    dave likes numbers. When you tell him about a new friend, he never asks questions about what really matters. He never asks: “What does his voice sound like?” “What games does he like best?” “Does he collect butterflies?”. He asks: How old is he?” “How many brothers does he have?” “How much does he weigh?” “How much money does his father make?” Only then does he thinks he knows him.

    The earth is not just another planet! It contains one hundred and eleven kings (including, of course, the African kings), seven thousand geographers, nine hundred thousand businessmen, seven-and-a-half million drunkards, three-hundred-eleven million vain men; in other words, about two billion grownups.

    Comment by jack — November 2, 2014 @ 10:33 pm

  36. FYI – I spoke with a few people over the week-end about what’s happening at Alameda Landing and everyone I spoke with (East End folks) are happy with it. They like the fact that “I won’t have to leave the Island” to shop.

    Comment by Karen Bey — November 3, 2014 @ 6:43 am

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