Blogging Bayport Alameda

February 9, 2015

Blank slate

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

As mentioned the video for the School Board meeting was posted on Thursday, it’s worth a watch if you care about seeing how all the votes shook down.   I really think that the School Board made an error the first time around when they allowed each Board Member to select candidates from the Pick 2 and 3 process that did not have at least two votes to move forward.  The processed used the second time around seemed much more “fair” because it required that — at the very least — there was at least two School Board members willing to support a particular candidate.  That’s why — and no offense to Sherice Youngblood — the whole handwringing over her scuffle with Barbara Kahn is being majorly trumped up because she should have never gotten past the “Pick 3” round the first time around.  She only made it as far because she was Gary Lym’s candidate as he mentioned several times that she was “his candidate.”

About that back and forth between Barbara Kahn and Sherice Youngblood. Here’s the thing, yes Barbara Kahn was incorrect in her assessment that Sherice Youngblood did not disclose that she sat on the Academy of Alameda board.  Although on a second listen, Barbara Kahn did qualify her statement that Sherice Youngblood did not share that information “tonight” so she could have meant that she expected her to include that information in her public remarks that night.  On the other hand, neither did Barabara Kahn attack Sherice Youngblood for sending her child to AoA.  When Gary Lym defended Sherice Youngblood’s decision as choosing convenience, he was defending her against attacks that were not made by Barbara Kahn.   Similarly when Sherice Youngblood explained her rationale (convenience/lack of choice) for sending her child to AoA which I can totally understand, she was defending herself from an accusation that was never made. Her response to Barbara Kahn and the later public correspondence about this issue spoke to a level of defensiveness that would not have added a whole lot to this School Board even though her other qualifications would have. Defensiveness does not make for good leadership.

As to why Gary Lym was adamant on not using Ranked Choice Voting, well, it’s obvious.  His candidate of choice never would have emerged ahead given the result.  He claimed to be a math guy so he should have known, or might have even crunched the numbers ahead of time, to know that it would only be his attempt to ram his candidate forward that would even put her into contention.  Here are the results I received when popping the data into this calculator.  It uses a few different methods to show you the results as you can see it’s a tie between Jane Grimaldi and Phil Hu depending on which calculation method is used and some requiring a random tie breaker:

version1 version2

So the discussion really should have been — as it ended up being — a debate between Jane Grimaldi and Phil Hu.

When the second round, only taking candidates that had secured two or more votes and then whittling it down to choices 1 and 2, here are the results:

version3 version4


Again, mostly a tie depending on which method is used, although Phil Hu wins outright if using the Copeland and Small methods.  Jane Grimaldi would not win outright using any method, but would if the random ballot tiebreaker worked in her favor.

Although had Jane Grimaldi not removed herself from contention, I would argue that Anne DeBardeleben deserved to be thrown in as part of the debate since she was the only candidate that received three votes (albeit three second ranking votes) but that three of the four School Board members would have found her to be an acceptable compromise.

Anyway, in the end Phil Hu was probably the right eventual choice because in a political environment where everyone is concerned about “sides” he is a veritable blank slate.


  1. This seems like paying more attention to the recent selection process than is necessary. Will examining the selection votes again help the board deliberate in the future?

    Comment by Jon Spangler — February 9, 2015 @ 10:10 am

  2. Lauren, I 100% with your recap of the kerfluffle between Ms. Kahn and Ms. Youngblood. And at the end, I also agree that defensiveness is not a quality in a public official that contributes to productive civic discourse.

    Comment by Dya — February 9, 2015 @ 10:31 am

  3. If Grimaldi won then why isn’t she in the seat. It’s unfortunate there are some board members that put their political aspirations and egos ahead of what is right for children and distrct
    I think Phillip Hu should have been the one to step down, but that requires character. To his credit he has lived in Alameda for 6 months. He would have lost horribly in a special election but I’m sure the board was only trying to do the right thing. (wink, wink) Does he even know where Encinal High is?
    Time for a special election. This whole the thing is rotten.

    Comment by Paul M. — February 10, 2015 @ 12:26 pm

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