Blogging Bayport Alameda

November 19, 2014

Appoint taken

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

Commenter “Election Aftermath” keeps reminding us that with the election of Trish Spencer there will be a vacant seat on the School Board.  And, as Niel Tam is very ill and I’m not sure if he is necessarily interested in returning, there might be two instead of one vacant seat to be filled the question becomes how should the School Board move forward will filling that seat.

There are two ways the School Board could approach it: 1) appointment or 2) hold a special election.  The downside of an appointment is that it will fill seats with two years remaining left on its term and, well, as suggested by Election Aftermath, not allow voters to weigh in on 1/5 or perhaps even 2/5s of the make-up of the School Board.  The upside of an appointment in that it gets warm bodies into those seats immediately when the School Board needs some warm bodies.

The upside of a special election is that it gets into those seats someone who — ostensibly — matches the “will of the voters”.  The downside is that it will be costly and those seats will go unfulfilled until the election.

Personally, I lean more toward the “fill it now” because of 1) the cost issue and 2) the time issue.  Because, let’s face it.  Given the make up of the Board right now and given how voters have pretty much endorsed all of the AEA picks, we’re probably going to get the same set of Board members either way.

So here are possible options if the Board goes the appointment route.

Experience and knowledge: Mike McMahon or Ron Mooney.  Both of these former School Board members have a lot of background on how school finances work, plus a lot of institutional knowledge about AUSD in general.  That is a big deficit on the Board right now.  None of the newer Board Members have the level of knowledge that either of these two have in history and in school financing.  It would be good to have someone on the Board that understands these issues deeply and broadly.

Union appeal: Gray Harris.  The former AEA president and Alameda resident is a political force to be reckoned with.  AEA would probably love to see her appointed to the Board and they would have a solid pro-labor Board — with Barbara Kahn as the wild card — to ease the way through the negotiation process.

School appeal: Michael Robles-Wong and Tom Lynch.  Both men ran in 2012 and were impressive from a “caring about schools” point of view.   Tom Lynch was slightly not ready for prime time back in 2012, and Michael Robles-Wong was edged out by the power of the AEA endorsement of Barbara Kahn and Trish Spencer.   Both would be independent votes and voices on the School Board.

Longshot: Lena Tam.  I had heard Lena Tam’s name bandied about as a possible candidate for School Board a while back.  I was disappointed when I first has heard that she was running for Bart Board hoping that she would take a stab at the School Board instead.  While she doesn’t have any children in Alameda schools what Lena Tam does bring is a good relationship with labor but with an understanding of the bigger picture.  You won’t ever hear her utter the Trish Spencer words of “has AEA been consulted about this” despite her good relationship with labor and she will help provide some leadership that may be lacking in this new composition.


  1. Split the difference:

    If only 1 seat is vacant, use the appointment process for the cost savings & expediency. If 2 seats, hold an election because that is a much larger portion of the board, the public ought to have a voice there.

    Comment by dave — November 19, 2014 @ 6:20 am

  2. HaHa- Lena Tam? Gray Harris? These two are tied to the Firefighter’s Union. Neither would represent “the will of the people.” The union made a ham handed attempt to get Harris on the Board already to replace Niel Tam who wanted to be Superintendent. That dog won’t hunt. At least you didn’t say McMahon.

    I predict the Board will opt for a “special” election, and that the Firemen will again spend up a storm to support a slate of candidates. We shouldn’t miss this opportunity to get more money from Southern California to influence our elections!

    Comment by Breathless — November 19, 2014 @ 6:42 am

  3. I actually did say Mike McMahon, he was my first pick for “Experience and knowledge.” Mike McMahon may not be the warmest or the fuzziest of electeds, but even his detractors cannot take away the fact that the man knows his stuff and understands it better than probably anyone else in this town, although Ron Mooney probably comes a very close second.

    Comment by Lauren Do — November 19, 2014 @ 7:36 am

  4. The school board doesn’t negotiate with fire fighters Breathless, so Ha-Ha to you. Really excited to think of Lena serving on BOE.

    Comment by MI — November 19, 2014 @ 8:23 am

  5. Mike McMahon, certainly, if only to keep his everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-schools web site up and open. (He really ought to get paid just for that.) Robles-Wong is already knowledgeable and has shown he’s not just talk. Don’t think we’d need an election to establish either one.

    Lena? Lena!! Wow, new thought. We know she has the right stuff to sit on a board. She’s smart and a quick study, so would get up to speed fast. With construction, land use, bond financing, etc., coming up in a big way, having a registered civil engineer on board makes really good sense. Not having her own children, she has been free to support all of ours, and has with her presence and her pocketbook, for years. Yes, good idea, if she’d do it. Come to that, what about Marie?

    Comment by Li_ — November 19, 2014 @ 8:24 am

  6. An appointee should have significant experience with school issues. There needs to be ample justification for tapping someone without a public vote. She doesn’t have that.

    If she runs and wins, so be it, but she’s not a particularly defensible candidate for an appointment. McMahon & Mooney are vastly better choices.

    Comment by dave — November 19, 2014 @ 9:09 am

  7. And the hits just keep on coming. Gray Harris LITERALLY in bed with the firefighters…Lena Tam: no children in Alameda school, no children at all. A mere technicality. Must be what made her qualified to run for RART board.
    I can always count on this blog to be Totally Out Of Touch With Reality regarding Alameda governance. Keep the tin hats on, Lauren, Mark,…where’s piziali? you look good in them.

    Comment by vigi — November 19, 2014 @ 9:13 am

  8. I like Mike. I think he has done a great job over the years, but he kind of dug his own grave here. He didn’t run any re-election campaign and the voters have spoken. Why would the board appoint someone the voters clearly didn’t want?

    Comment by KC — November 19, 2014 @ 9:48 am

  9. #7, vigi, I think you meant, “totally out of touch with (MY) reality regarding Alameda governance”. But I will give you credit for spelling my name right.

    Comment by John P. — November 19, 2014 @ 10:52 am

  10. Tin foil hat reference: you’re doing it wrong.

    Comment by Lauren Do — November 19, 2014 @ 10:57 am

  11. The thing with a special election you probably would get maybe 4,000 people voting and it would cost a lot, Trish has already cost the City a lot of money, maybe she would be willing to pay the cost of a special election. Maybe appoint someone short term until the next regular elections in 2016. Personally I would like to see Mike and Kevis who although Kevis has never ran for anything she has had kids in School here and I respect her.

    Comment by Jake — November 19, 2014 @ 12:02 pm

  12. I think the Board should appoint Marie Gilmore to serve out Trish’s term.

    Comment by jack — November 19, 2014 @ 12:06 pm

  13. dave, I assume you are talking about Lena? “defensible”? who needs to defend anything? she does not have kids, and she has never taught either, but so what ? Did Vital have kids when she was hired? Isn’t it better to understand infrastructure and finance than to have been a parent? her depth of knowledge and experience with public service goes deep even before elected positions and what she does have is empathy for people with kids. You can question certain decisions or positions she has taken, but I can’t think of anybody who has ever been more clear and precise when asking questions or stating a position from the dais.

    quack quack, vigi.

    Comment by MI — November 19, 2014 @ 12:09 pm

  14. Vital didn’t have kids when hired but she had over a decade of relevant experience. Lena Tam doesn’t. As for infrastructure and finance, the city’s are very very different from the school district’s, and Mooney & McMahon know them a lot better than Lena Tam does.

    Comment by dave — November 19, 2014 @ 12:23 pm

  15. actually it would be interesting to know exactly what Lena does know about school funding issues. I bet it’s quite a lot actually. Infrastructure for schools is far simpler isn’t it? admit it dave, it;’s not her qualifications , you just don’t like her. unions, Sun Cal etc.

    Comment by MI — November 19, 2014 @ 12:35 pm

  16. I plead guilty to being underwhelmed by her record. That still doesn’t change the fact that she doesn’t have anywhere near the relevant experience that others have, and it is not a credible choice for an appointed seat.

    Comment by dave — November 19, 2014 @ 12:42 pm

  17. Even if it takes a few months and includes the cost of an election to do this right, it seems important to do this in the most fair way by a special election so there won’t be two years of grumbling about this. It is a unique circumstance to have a sitting school board member leave to become Mayor and another out on an indefinite medical leave.

    The conversation here shows that with *any* appointment the school board would make they’re likely to be criticized for picking the wrong person.

    One suggestion above is to appoint someone if there is one seat to be filled but hold a special election if there are two. How about the following variation on that as a way to provide the best possible chance for everyone to accept the new member or embers and move on?

    The Board holds a special only election, makes it vote by mail only to keep the cost down, and announces ahead of time that if Niel Tam’s seat does open up later on because he decide not to return, they will then appoint the second place finisher in the election to that position for the remainder of his term. That way anyone who might be interested in being on the school board for two years would know to go ahead and run in the special election. Voters will get to shape the next two years. Then everyone can go ahead and this won’t be a lingering issue with people spending the next two years complaining about a backroom deal anytime they don’t like something the school board does.

    Comment by Election Aftermath — November 19, 2014 @ 1:28 pm

  18. If there are going to be 2 seats, they definitely need to have an election. If a member is appointed, I think it’s important not to throw oil on a fire. The choice of Gray Harris or Lena Tam would antagonize an awful lot of people. There are people who are qualified (perhaps more qualified) than Harris or Tam who would not rile up a huge number of voters. The board needs to remember that there’s a parcel tax expiring in a few years and they need to act in a way that will not completely piss off a big pool of voters.

    Comment by Oh the Irony! — November 19, 2014 @ 1:40 pm

  19. Define 7 people and go through an interview process developed by a variety of people who understand what the school board really does. Mike, Neil and a few others develop the outline of questions and priorities. Have maybe one school board member involved in the interviews and a few others who are respected in the community who have some skills at interviewing, job placement and mature enough to handle it.

    Comment by Bill — November 19, 2014 @ 2:13 pm

  20. “Isn’t it better to understand infrastructure and finance than to have been a parent?”. MI, aren’t you the one who keeps calling the AUSD board the BOE, as in Board of Education? Lena frequently spouts such malaprops as “robbing peter to pay paul and Mary”. Sometimes it’s embarrassing to admit she graduated from my alma mater, too. What education?
    #10; lauren…mark…piziali…you are all wearing tin hats that are connected to each other on the same frequency. You all agree with each other, all the time, so your opinions are completely predictable.

    Comment by vigi — November 19, 2014 @ 5:00 pm

  21. Is anyone else not comfortable speculating publicly about a second vacancy and who and how to fill it?

    Comment by BMac — November 19, 2014 @ 5:21 pm

  22. Without kids in school or a relative working for AUSD, Lena Tam would not have the conflict of interests that I have seen launched at Mike McMahon, Barbara Kahn, Trish Spencer or Ron Mooney. She can’t be accused of showing favoritism to a school because her kid attends Franklin School, or ACLC or Maya Lin, or Bay Farm Elementary or works at Paden, Encinal or Haight. It would be refreshing to have someone that actually knows how to run a meeting and obey sunshine laws. She would be an objective, logical and fair-minded person on the school board with some experience in governance, especially with pending renewal of a parcel tax. Lena would be able to garner votes from her years in public and elected office. Does anyone know if she is even interested?

    Comment by Alan — November 19, 2014 @ 5:23 pm

  23. post # 20 you got us there vigi, thank goodness your opinions are always so well thought out. Especially the gossipy ones.

    Comment by John P. — November 19, 2014 @ 5:45 pm

  24. So now we’re holding up Vital as a sterling example of what AUSD needs? Nothing but trouble from the get go and then, after they line her pockets, she exits stage right. McMahon is the only one of those suggestions I would support. He at least had the sense to vote against Vital’s ill-timed and politically disastrous benefits boost. Mooney, on the other hand, thought it was a fine idea, and the dominoes began to fall.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — November 19, 2014 @ 6:32 pm

  25. For those of you who interested in the law regarding the process for filling a vacancy on a school board here are the Education Code sections:

    5090. Vacancies on school district governing boards or community college district boards are caused by any of the events specified in Section 1770 of the Government Code, or by a failure to elect. A vacancy resulting from resignation occurs when the written resignation is filed with the county superintendent of schools having jurisdiction over the district, except where a deferred effective date is specified in the resignation so filed, in which case the resignation shall become effective on that date. A written resignation, whether specifying a deferred effective date or otherwise, shall, upon being filed with the county superintendent of schools be irrevocable.

    5091. (a) Whenever a vacancy occurs, or whenever a resignation has been filed with the county superintendent of schools containing a deferred effective date, the school district or community college district governing board shall, within 60 days of the vacancy or the filing of the deferred resignation, either order an election or make a provisional appointment to fill the vacancy. A governing board member may not defer the effective date of his or her resignation for more than 60 days after he or she files the resignation with the county superintendent of schools.
    In the event that a governing board fails to make a provisional appointment or order an election within the prescribed 60-day period as required by this section, the county superintendent of schools shall order an election to fill the vacancy.
    (b) When an election is ordered, it shall be held on the next established election date provided pursuant to Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 1000) of Division 1 of the Elections Code not less than 130 days after the order of the election.
    (c) (1) If a provisional appointment is made within the 60-day period, the registered voters of the district may, within 30 days from the date of the appointment, petition for the conduct of a special election to fill the vacancy. A petition shall be deemed to bear a sufficient number of signatures if signed by at least the number of registered voters of the district equal to 1 1/2 percent of the number of registered voters of the district at the time of the last regular election for governing board members, or 25 registered
    voters, whichever is greater. However, in districts with registered voters of less than 2,000 persons, a petition shall be deemed to bear a sufficient number of signatures if signed by at least 5 percent of the number of registered voters of the district at the time of the last regular election for governing board members.
    (2) The petition shall be submitted to the county superintendent of schools having jurisdiction who shall have 30 days to verify the signatures. If the petition is determined to be legally sufficient by the county superintendent of schools, the provisional appointment is terminated, and the county superintendent of schools shall order a special election to be conducted no later than the 130th day after the determination. However, if an established election date, as defined in Section 1000 of the Elections Code, occurs between the 130th day and the 150th day following the order of the election, the county superintendent of schools may order the special election to be conducted on the regular election date.
    (d) A provisional appointment made pursuant to subdivision (a)confers all powers and duties of a governing board member upon the appointee immediately following his or her appointment.
    (e) A person appointed to fill a vacancy shall hold office only until the next regularly scheduled election for district governing board members, whereupon an election shall be held to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the unexpired term. A person elected at an election to fill the vacancy shall hold office for the remainder of the term in which the vacancy occurs or will occur.
    (f) (1) Whenever a petition calling for a special election is circulated, the petition shall meet all of the following requirements:
    (A) The petition shall contain the estimate of the elections official of the cost of conducting the special election.
    (B) The name and residence address of at least one, but not more than five, of the proponents of the petition shall appear on the petition, each of which proponents shall be a registered voter of the school district or community college district, as applicable.
    (C) None of the text or other language of the petition shall appear in less than six-point type.
    (D) The petition shall be prepared and circulated in conformity with Sections 100 and 104 of the Elections Code.
    (2) If any of the requirements of this subdivision are not met as to any petition calling for a special election, the county superintendent of schools shall not verify the signatures, nor shall any further action be taken with respect to the petition.
    (3) No person shall permit the list of names on petitions prescribed by this section to be used for any purpose other than qualification of the petition for the purpose of holding an election pursuant to this section.
    (4) The petition filed with the county superintendent of schools shall be subject to the restrictions in Section 6253.5 of the Government Code.
    (g) Elections held pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (c) shall be conducted in as nearly the same manner as practicable as other governing board member elections.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — November 19, 2014 @ 8:47 pm

  26. That provision in section 5091 requiring a special election if there is a petition “signed by at least the number of registered voters of the district equal to 1 1/2 percent of the number of registered voters of the district at the time of the last regular election for governing board members” submitted to the county superintendent is interesting.

    It sounds like if the school board does decide to fill any vacant seat by appointment instead of by a special election, it would be a good idea for them to pick someone unlikely to be divisive, since a petition signed by 700 registered voters would seem to be sufficient to override that and force an election anyway.

    Since the 1.5% number needed to force a special election is so low, that provision seems to suggest the appointment power was intended to be reserved for shorter term provisional appointments, not two year terms, or for provisional appointments of officials likely to have very wide support and acceptance, not divisive appointments in places with 50-50 splits.

    Comment by Election Aftermath — November 20, 2014 @ 6:43 am

  27. 22. excellent. But I will defer to people who suggest Lena would be divisive choice, but it’s simply true. But in my opinion that is because a lot of folks can’t differentiate between BOE and City Council responsibilities.

    Comment by MI — November 20, 2014 @ 8:15 am

  28. Re: PP&M. While it is true that the original statement did not include Mary, it was also about taxes and loans. I have no idea who first made the extension, but certainly the trio was still popular when I first heard it. I think I was in an accounting class about bankruptcy due to credit cards. The discussion was around having more than one account and putting minimum payments on each. I’ve heard it said elsewhere and since, too. Not a sign of academic failure at all. In fact, pretty much how many people live well today and we could now probably add Martha, John, and Sam they are spread so thin.

    A commenter on the Motley Fool put up a string of PP&M’s songs that traced the woes of borrowing several years ago. Maybe I can find it again. Fun.

    Comment by Li_ — November 20, 2014 @ 9:20 am

  29. vigi, cliches may be overly familiar ( tired) but they exist for the same reasons as stereotypes, which must be take with a grain of salt but have their place at least as a point of reference. But to seriously take issue with such minor choices in language as a legitimate gauge of the qualifications of a speaker or the veracity of the point being made is to completely lose sight of priority. But that is you, isn’t it? Always veering off on some inane rant over bullshit trivia. BTW-what erudite alternative meets your lofty standard ? It better be good.

    Comment by MI — November 20, 2014 @ 9:43 am

  30. 11. Jake, thank you for thinking of me. I would just say, I am working in the community in other ways (AAUW Tech Trek and AAPS Plaque Program). I continue to be interested in AUSD, but, from a distance.

    Comment by Kevis Brownson — November 20, 2014 @ 4:33 pm

  31. Looks like Fremont School Board is going through process as one their school board gets elected to City Council.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — November 20, 2014 @ 5:08 pm

  32. Further to 29: vigi, I fear you may have misused “malaprop[ism].” When trying to appear smart, check the dictionary first. You’d do better by lightening up and occassionally showing a bit of self-defecating humor.

    Comment by BC — November 20, 2014 @ 5:18 pm

  33. self-defecating

    Excellent! The Raconteur’s Lexicon is one entry longer.

    Comment by dave — November 20, 2014 @ 6:11 pm

  34. Estimated Election Cost for Alameda County Registrar of Voter Website
    Type of Election
    Cost Per Voter*

    Standalone Special City Or District $12 – $15
    Standalone All VBM $7 – $9
    Countywide Consolidated $4 – $6

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — November 20, 2014 @ 6:26 pm

  35. In today’s Alameda Journal the outgoing school board president suggests the new school board will be appointing a successor to fill the new mayor’s vacated seat on the school board, not that the new board will consider whether to appoint some one or hold a special election and if they choose to have an election, whether to have a traditional election or a less expensive vote by mail election.

    She writes: “With school board member Trish Spencer winning the race for mayor, her seat as a board member will be vacated and the new school board will soon consider applications from the community. Hopefully, in January, the board will vote to appoint a new member to complete the remainder of Spencer’s term.”

    Comment by Election Aftermath — November 21, 2014 @ 7:26 am

  36. wow i just read this about Niel Tam, might not want to come back, because he is seriously ill? He is doing better Lauren Do.

    Comment by nieltam — December 1, 2014 @ 11:35 pm

  37. this is his son, Austin who just commented on the site thank you, i just wanted to let you know that.

    Comment by nieltam — December 1, 2014 @ 11:58 pm

  38. Thanks Austin, it’s good to know that Niel is doing better. Thank you for the update!

    Comment by Lauren Do — December 2, 2014 @ 5:51 am

  39. Here’s The Alamedan’s write up on last night’s school board meeting:

    Trish will be stepping down from the school board to serve as Mayor, Niel Tam attended last night’s meeting, and the new board voted to appoint a replacement for Trish rather than hold a special election. After they appoint someone in January or February to complete Trish’s term, if 700 registered voters don’t like the appointment they can file a petition forcing a special election, though that seems unlikely to happen.

    So now we get to see who tries to take a short cut and get on the school board for two years without having to campaign and get many thousands of votes to get elected. All they’ll need now is support from three current board members and they’ll then be overseeing public education in Alameda and the school district’s $90 million budget. Let’s hope some qualified, non-divisive people apply.

    Comment by Election Aftermath — December 10, 2014 @ 7:15 am

  40. Deciding to run for public office is a big step. Anyone who applies for the appointment may have been interested in running but chose not to run in the November for a number of reasons. Looking toward 2016 is clear that there will be plenty of opportunity to run school board. Therefore, anyone who believes they have something to contribute from dais should apply for the vacancy in order to make their intention to run for 2016 clear. Since the Board can only select one applicant, those who are not selected can begin to follow school board matters more closely as well as build relationships with various community stakeholders.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — December 10, 2014 @ 7:34 am

  41. Here is a story about dedicated teacher who decided to run LAUSD school board and won.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — December 10, 2014 @ 7:47 am

  42. Last Friday was the deadline for people to apply to be appointed to serve out the remainder of new Mayor’s term on the school board. It will be interesting to learn who applied for that opening and then to see whether and how three of the current four school board members can agree on one of the applicants. As discussed in comments here in November, if the school board make an appointment that is not well received, a petition by just 1.5% of registered voters (less than 700 people) is sufficient to force a special election under Education Code 5091(c). That doesn’t seen very likely, but 700 signatures isn’t 7,000 and is well within the realm of the possible in Alameda.

    Also, if three of the four board members do not agree on an appointment, it looks like there would still be a special election, since Election Code 5091(a)(2) says “In the event that a governing board fails to make a provisional appointment or order an election within the prescribed 60-day period as required by this section, the county superintendent of schools shall order an election to fill the vacancy.”

    There’s understandably more attention now on the new city government than on the school board, but school district governance is interesting and important too.

    Comment by Election Aftermath — January 11, 2015 @ 9:04 am

  43. Yes and even if the Board decides on a candidate, the Alameda voters can force a special election (estimated cost above $75,000) with a signature drive. This just happened in the Twin Rivers school district.

    Word on the street is that 20 individuals submitted their application for consideration.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — January 11, 2015 @ 11:07 am

  44. In this situation, one of two political scenarios usually ensues. The first is the sitting Board chooses a person who is capable and trusted but has declared no interest in seeking election, thereby insuring a “no-incumbent” field come regular election time. The second is that the sitting Board chooses a person whom they would like to see in the position for a longer time and know that being an incumbent gives a certain advantage at election time. Take your pick, and the choice often comes down to who is in the field of candidates presenting themselves for appointment. An election would be an unnecessary expense to the district right now and it would be totally understandable that the sitting board would want to make an appointment. As to Neil Tam’s seat, I think it is presumptuous to speculate since he has not made his needs or desires known. We all wish him well and hope that he regains his health. Not because he is on the School Board, but because he is a worthy human being.

    Vigi, “robbing Peter to pay Paul” as you know is the usual adage. Lena uses the “Paul and Mary” to give emphasis to the amount of money and number of other needs, merging the “Peter and Paul” and the well known group, Peter, Paul and Mary. You know that so why do you continuously bring it up to point out how stupid you think she is? It neither flatters you or her.

    Comment by Kate Quick — January 11, 2015 @ 3:49 pm

  45. 44 says “an election would be an unnecessary expense to the district right now.” Maybe. Maybe not. We’ll have to see how this appointment process all unfolds to be able to tell.

    If the issue here were an appointment by the current city council of someone to join the city council (instead of an appointment by the school board of someone to join the school board), it doesn’t seem it would satisfy most people to just say what 44 seems to be saying: “Well, since the council is a single unified body, this is all pretty simple and straightforward.They should just pick someone reasonable and be done with it and everyone will accept it.”

    It matters who sits in those seats on Tuesdays at City hall, for the city council and the school board. Let’s take this seriously, see how the process goes, find out whether they can agree, and if they can agree, who they pick before declaring that the full range of options allowed by the law are “unnecessary” to consider.

    Comment by Election Aftermath — January 11, 2015 @ 6:52 pm

  46. Number#44 was not advocating, she was saying that there is more than one way, politically to skin this cat. I do believe that an election expense is unnecessary, but that is just my personal opinion. Others may well think differently.

    Comment by Kate Quick — January 12, 2015 @ 6:57 am

  47. #45: When Al DeWitt died, Marie Gilmore was appointed to the City Council to fill the remainder of his term. That worked out very well, since she had the skills and experience to step in and do the job well.

    There is no reason why the AUSD BOE/Board of Trustees (either term works for me) cannot choose one appointee–or two, if need be–who can serve effectively and make good decisions on behalf of all the students, parents, staff, and taxpayers in the AUSD area.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — January 12, 2015 @ 10:26 am

  48. 47 says the appointment of Marie Gilmore to the City Council “worked out very well.” Do the 50.13% of Alameda voters who voted in November for a new Mayor agree? Probably not.

    Appointing someone to the school board with “skills and experience to step in and do the job well” just isn’t as simple in 2015 as 44 and 47 are trying to make it sound. Serving on the school board is not just a technical staff role as 44 and 47 seem to imply. In fact, as with the city council, on the school board there are elements of politics and policy involved too. As a result, the political leanings and policy positions of applicants on the issues are relevant, especially now that we are in the midst of what the former Mayor’s supporters have taken to describing as a 50-50 political split in Alameda. If we have a 50-50 split, how is someone appointed without extensive explanations of their positions and without community input going to have legitimacy?

    If the school board can find and appoint a capable candidate that is widely accepted, that will be a good thing. If not, a special election may be the most fair answer in 2015.

    Comment by Election Aftermath — January 12, 2015 @ 5:03 pm

  49. #48. The appointment of Marie Gilmore worked out more than well. She was appointed to the City Council in 2003, beating out Marilyn Aschraft and Jean Sweeney, and later elected twice to the Alameda City Council in 2004, garnering the highest number of votes to become Vice-Mayor. She has been in public service longer than Spencer has been in Alameda.

    Comment by Alan — January 12, 2015 @ 5:57 pm

  50. Well, if 49 is right, all the school board has to do is find the 2015 schools version of 2003 Marie Gilmore. Hope it happens, but just don’t yet see how that will work.

    Comment by Election Aftermath — January 12, 2015 @ 6:30 pm

  51. The lack of an election is regrettable, but understandable if — IF — there is some transparency about the process. The way things stand now, the board will decide the next member in a meeting that doesn’t include public comments. They invite the public to email letters of support, but the list of applicants is so far unpublished. How can the public support or recommend when no one knows which names are on the table?

    The usual transparency advocates are uncharacteristically silent on this one. What gives?

    Comment by dave — January 12, 2015 @ 7:08 pm

  52. Bullshit, you could pick 4 yahoos off Webster Street on a Saturday night at closing time and the academic results would be better.

    Comment by jack — January 12, 2015 @ 8:16 pm

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