Blogging Bayport Alameda

January 22, 2015

Round 1

Filed under: Alameda, School — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

I was going to try to create this elaborate Venn diagram type thing which cross referenced all the candidate and broke them up by things like “charter” and “east end” and “PTA” but then I got lazy and realized that since the School Board is going to select finalists tonight, chances are people have pretty much pre-determined who they are going to be selecting to go into the finalist round.

I’ll be honest and say that I was super disappointed when I found out the Jannett Jackson had opted to withdraw her name.  Not because there aren’t other great candidates, but because she was sort of the ideal candidate when you think of someone who wouldn’t traditionally run for office, but would be a great fit for the position.  Education background and strong connection with Alameda Unified while she was President of the College of Alameda.  She worked in the West End neighborhood and has connections with West End schools.   But anyway, that is all sort of water under the bridge now since she has decided to not be in the running.  Plus, c’mon, think of the wealth of Janet Jackson song lyrics I could have tapped into.

Anyway, one of the more interesting candidates was also one that I dismissed pretty quickly mentally, but thought that if he stayed involved he could definitely be a contender in a few years: Philip Hu.  He was a School Board member where he previously lived, has a background in teaching, and is a union guy.  But he has only lived in Alameda a few short months so while his resume is impressive, he hasn’t really put in the time quite yet.

Another candidate under the “interesting, but probably a non starter” is Steve Good, who currently serves as the Exceutive Director for the Five Keys Charter School in San Francisco which serves an incredibly difficult to serve population.  After some quick googling I was impressed with this statement from an interview:

For me, why I continue to do this work is because I feel that poverty and lack of education affect not just our students, but everyone. And especially for our students who are disadvantage by circumstances they did not choose, like having parents who are substance abusers or incarcerated, their education is big social justice issue.

However, his involvement in larger district side issues is pretty low compared to other candidates.

So those are the interesting but long shots.  The next tier are former Alameda School Board member Mike McMahon and Barbara Rasmussen.   You all know how I feel about Mike McMahon.   I think the School Board could definitely use someone like Mike McMahon on this particular board again.  Barbara Rasmussen I had heard good things about in general, but was underwhelmed when I had heard that she attended Tuesday night’s City Council meeting to ask during the Alameda Point Partners presentation where all the kids would go to school.  I would expect a former school board member and someone trying to get appointed to that seat again to be paying attention to issues.  I know for a fact that Mike McMahon knows the answer to that question.

The next tier includes the highly involved parent/community members.  In this category I lump folks like Sean CahillAnne DeBardeleben, Jane Garrison GrimaldiTom Lynch, and Ron Matthews.   These are all folks who have stayed seriously involved in issues involving schools and youth and would be solid choices.  I really believe it’s from this batch that the candidate will be chosen.

Then there are some other strong candidates that have more of a not-school related appeal like Jeff Cambra and Gina Mariani and some not as strong ones.

I wonder if they’re going to do ranked choice to whittle the list down.



  1. “I wonder if they’re going to do ranked choice to whittle the list down.”

    How will that whittling down happen and when will applicants and interested community members be able to find out how that process will work?

    Comment by Election Aftermath — January 22, 2015 @ 6:47 am

  2. Have you broken it down by race, ethnicity, and gender? There is a comparison to be made. When Gilmore was appointed to the City Council in 2003 it was to replace an African American, Al DeWitt. Trish Herrera-Spencer is Hispanic. The school district is much more diverse than the Board. And there hasn’t been an African American on the Board since Larry Spencer.

    To appoint McMahon would be to subvert the Democratic process, and go against the wishes of the unions. I also thought Hu was a good candidate, But his former Board was more fractious than Alameda’s. We will also see if the Union has any juice with their recommendation, and if the two current members they endorsed follow it. With 21 candidates, it is clear that many people think they can do as a good or better job as the old Board led by Kahn and Tam who always followed whatever pay raise, tax, earthquake fence, or new office request Superintendent Vital wanted.

    Comment by Breathless — January 22, 2015 @ 6:52 am

  3. 2. Non sequitur (again): “With 21 candidates, it is clear that many people think they can do as a good or better job as the old Board led by Kahn and Tam who always followed whatever pay raise, tax, earthquake fence, or new office request Superintendent Vital wanted.”

    Comment by BC — January 22, 2015 @ 7:47 am

  4. The whittling down happens tonight when the school board members select their “finalists” to go into the smaller Q & A period at the next meeting in February which is why I gave up on the diagram because I’m sure that some Board Members have already mentally decided on their finalists.

    Comment by Lauren Do — January 22, 2015 @ 7:55 am

  5. I hope the AUSD Board chooses someone with serious number-crunching and analysis capabilities. I love Mike McMahon for his ability to cut through the blizzard of figures and propaganda, and the unions don’t need “their” candidate(s) if teachers are doing their jobs (they are) and the district is in a sound financial state (it’s getting there). The AUSD board is heavy on people who have philosophical views and educational experience, but the board needs to manage lots of numbers and dollars well.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — January 22, 2015 @ 8:04 am

  6. It still isn’t clear whether they are whittling down from 21 to, say, ten or five or three or any other number and isn’t clear the method they’ll be using for that. One might approach one’s comments at the meeting differently depending on the number of finalists they are looking to find and method the Board will use to get there.

    Comment by Election Aftermath — January 22, 2015 @ 8:12 am

  7. Perhaps we need someone who does not see East v/s West or someone who is not an Ex-pert ….. without connection to the business or peoples they will have to make decision on .
    One has to be afraid in the amount of taxes being pumped into the system with little result {s} Check your Home owner tax bill ………

    Comment by Joel Rambaud — January 22, 2015 @ 8:22 am

  8. From what I understand there was one Black Board Member after Larry Spencer, Berresford Bingham. Can someone with better School Board knowledge, confirm?

    Comment by Lauren Do — January 22, 2015 @ 9:19 am

  9. HU…’He was a School Board member where he previously lived, has a background in teaching, and is a union guy.’

    Three strikes against him at the outset

    good ‘… students who are disadvantage by circumstances they did not choose

    Who chooses circumstances to be disadvantaged?

    Where’s the candidates who want to switch all public schools to Charter Schools, kick all teacher unions off the island and eliminate tenure?

    Comment by jack — January 22, 2015 @ 10:08 am

  10. Mr. Bingham was tragically murdered in Oakland in a still unsolved case. RIP.

    Comment by --- — January 22, 2015 @ 10:14 am

  11. #9, Jack I think all of those candidates are in Texas.

    Comment by John P. — January 22, 2015 @ 11:56 am

  12. what has happened with teachers at NEA and ALCL wanting to unionize ?

    Comment by MI — January 22, 2015 @ 1:15 pm

  13. 11
    Check out Tx vs Ca

    Comment by jack — January 22, 2015 @ 2:45 pm

  14. Jack, when I play golf the lower my score the better I am doing. So looks like Calif. is doing pretty well.

    Comment by John P. — January 22, 2015 @ 5:18 pm

  15. So after a momentarily hesitation, the Board are moving 10 candidates to the February 3rd meeting. They are: Grimaldi, Hu, Kim, DeBardeleben, Forrester, Cahill, Good, Peterson, Youngblood and, Lynch.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — January 22, 2015 @ 9:04 pm

  16. Jane Garrison Grimaldi) spending and measure I bond money
    Points for: been involved in ASUD activities, Cal Grad
    Points against: Weak on answering II. d) too boilerplate sounding
    I would not select

    Anne DeBardeleben) funding (could be selected0
    Points for: been heavily involved in AUSD activities, Accounting degree, Since she’s a Realtor, can connect the dots between quality of schools and housing value
    Points against: Hasn’t been an Alameda resident very long, Weak on answering II. d)
    Good chance if she passes verbal

    Patricia H. Petersen) securing and managing funding (won’t be selected)
    Points for: Answered II d) as it was asked
    Points against: weed pulling a board member does not make. Not long enough in Alameda
    I would not select

    Blanche Kim) how bond measure I will be utilized to implement the FMC
    Points for: Cal grad, Enthusiasm, answered II d)
    Points against: Skimpy experience, too many non-applicable degrees
    I would not select

    Sean Cahill) bargaining unit contract renewals
    Points for: Answered II.d), Has AUSD related experience
    Points against: Answer to II b) too boilerplate sounding
    I would not select

    Steve Good) labor negotiations
    Points for: Answered all questions well including II d), good experience
    Points against: none
    I would select

    Philip Hu) rebuilding trust and restoring goodwill
    Points for: good experience in school issues
    Points against: those school issues were not AUSD issues, answer to II. d) was a running narrative of San Gabriel history and how it relates to Hu.
    I would not select

    Sherice Youngblood) selection of a qualified leader
    Points for: Clearly answered questions though made some grammatical errors in a couple places, good experience
    Points against: Through her answers, if she’s selected, she promises to be a thorn in the side of current members and those citizens who don’t want to spend more money on schools.
    Probably will get selected though I wouldn’t select

    Helen (Suzy) Forrester) historic AHS
    Points for: Born here, Cal grad, experience on various and sundry boards and stuff
    Points against:, Left here for 20 years, Messy penmanship and obviously didn’t take the application seriously
    I would not select.

    Tom Lynch) ?
    Points for: Probably would be a decent pick
    Points against, Didn’t answer II. d)
    I would not pick

    Comment by jack — January 23, 2015 @ 11:45 am

  17. Patricia Petersen did not move on, David Peterson is a finalist.

    Comment by Lauren Do — January 23, 2015 @ 11:59 am

  18. Interesting vote breakdown per the tally sheets.

    Of the candidates who received three or more votes here’s how the vote shook down:

    1. Jane Grimaldi (Kahn, Hennberry, Tam)
    2. Suzy Forrester (Henneberry, Lym, Tam)
    3. Philip Hu (all four members)

    Comment by Lauren Do — January 23, 2015 @ 1:25 pm

  19. Do you have the rest of the votes, by chance?

    Comment by dave — January 23, 2015 @ 1:55 pm

  20. PDF of votes

    Comment by Lauren Do — January 23, 2015 @ 1:57 pm

  21. Thank you.

    Comment by dave — January 23, 2015 @ 2:04 pm

  22. David Peterson) finding future superintendent
    Points for: Good ‘real world’ degree, AUSD active participant in various roles, answered II. d) intelligently, admitted he had limited AUSD knowledge
    Points against: Admitted he has limited AUSD knowledge
    I’d select him

    Comment by jack — January 23, 2015 @ 2:42 pm

  23. 16. Anne DeBardeleben, Points against: Hasn’t been an Alameda resident very long, Weak on answering II. d) 13 years is not very long? II d) did ask for single most important and she did not mention implementing bond, but I didn’t think the answer she did give about funding was “weak”.

    Even though he hasn’t been here very long I’m intrigued Hu got four votes. I disagree with your points against him also. San Gabriel sounds worse than Alameda if you can believe that, but I thought his experiences there are relevant.

    Comment by MI — January 23, 2015 @ 3:48 pm

  24. That pdf of the votes in comment 20 is quite interesting since it shows which candidates each board member voted for as well as which candidates each board member did not vote for.

    There may be some people unhappy both about votes made and votes not made. For example, it is surprising that the first two candidates listed, Cahill and Cambra, received no votes from Kahn or Henneberry.

    It is also interesting that with ten votes available to cast, Kahn cast five, Henneberry cast five, Lym cast eight and only Tam cast all ten.

    Were these detailed results of the vote shared at the meeting with all the candidates present?

    Comment by Election Aftermath — January 23, 2015 @ 6:48 pm

  25. I don’t think they were presented at the meeting, they were part of a public records request. But Susan Davis tweeted out the general results last night: three candidates received 3 or more votes and the remainder earned at least two.

    Comment by Lauren Do — January 23, 2015 @ 6:58 pm

  26. I think casting five votes is pretty good strategy to condense the process and cut to the chase. Unlike ranked choice all votes carry the same weight.

    Comment by MI — January 24, 2015 @ 9:05 am

  27. The school district sent out a press release about this saying the video of the board meeting would be posted yesterday, but that doesn’t seem to have happened yet. Reports are that it was quite a show. Among other things, apparently the Mayor herself was there to speak to the school board. Looking forward to seeing how it all went.

    Comment by Election Aftermath — January 24, 2015 @ 9:26 am

  28. I’m very sorry the video is not yet up. AUSD relies on an outside vendor to index and post videos of meetings to the website. Our IT staff completed their end of the necessary work in record time after Thursday night’s meeting (as getting that video up was high priority for us), and.we mistakenly assumed it would be live by EOD yesterday. In retrospect, we should have said Monday AM, just to be safe.

    I will post a comment here and send a tweet as soon the video is up, but I apologize again for any confusion.

    Comment by Susan Davis (AUSD community affairs) — January 24, 2015 @ 10:51 am

  29. The video from the January 22 special board meeting is up on our website — our vendor has just not yet linked it to the agenda for the meeting. You can find the video here:

    Btw, you can always get to that page of videos via the Board of Education Agendas & Minutes page here:

    Comment by Susan Davis (Sr. Manager, Community Affairs, AUSD) — January 26, 2015 @ 10:11 am

  30. watched this immediately. Blown away and grateful for the choices. I think since this appointment is only for two years and we have the bond and choice of one or two high school to deal with, it might be wise to give that subject a little higher priority than one might in normal circumstances, but over all the qualifications and array of choices was almost mind boggling. It would be truly great to get three of these folks on the board, because as Barbara Kahn pointed out, we will have that opportunity at the next election.

    Despite his short tenure in Alameda and his education being in Creative writing as opposed to CPA or administration, I was really impressed by Philip Hu and because he was RE-elected to board in San Gabriel I hope he gets strong consideration. I would also normally be paranoid about a guy who administrates charters, but Steve Good said “I am not the charter guy”. The charters to which he administers are of the kind for which charters were innovated, not the boutique kind for parents who whine about “choice” and if I infer correctly from his remarks his charters have union employees with which he has to negotiate. I’d like to have BOE directly question the finalists, though with ten that might take a while.

    I’m studying PDF of votes carefully, pondering what might be inferred by who did or DID NOT get votes from the four board members.

    Comment by MI — January 26, 2015 @ 12:43 pm

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