Blogging Bayport Alameda

December 8, 2016

Profiles in discourage

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

Remember this post about Trish Spencer’s Council Referral to have the City Council do something that she could have done as a private individual but instead chose to turn the platform of the City Council into her own personal political speech limiter?   Well on Tuesday night the City Council (minus Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft who was absent) decided to take action on the item, which, as you can imagine went exactly the way that Trish Spencer wanted without two members of the City Council pushing back against the precedent set by this action.

Both Tony Daysog and Frank Matarrese who were both on the receiving end of negative campaigning in their respective elections decided to conflate negative campaigning in general and their hurt egos with this particular Council Referral which was to file a complaint with the FPPC about improperly identified campaign material.  Quick someone file an FPPC complaint against Tony Daysog who failed to label one of his ads in the Alameda Sun!

So long story short both Frank Matarrese and Tony Daysog supported filing the complaint to “send a message” but that’s not the real point of this post. No, the point of this post is to showcase the hypocrisy displayed by both Frank Matarrese and Tony Daysog on Tuesday night.

During the public comment, it was clear that some of the speakers had confused where the anonymous mailers came from.  Some attempted to pin them on the Alamedans United PAC, others seems to place the blame on the two successful candidates.  Some were confused about “negative” campaigning in general and felt as though Jennifer Roloff, who by the way had no negative mailers sent about her, was also unfairly maligned like Tony Daysog.  But it was clear that these speakers were largely confused, but definitely upset about the outcome of the local election, but here’s where the public comment took a turn for the worse.

But let me back up just a wee to provide some additional context.  Shortly after the election results on a public Facebook group Councilmember Frank Matarrese posted a longish piece on the state of discourse in the US and then attempted to tie it to the Alameda election.  This was the part I took exception to:

Disbelief, anger, feeling helpless, are piled on top of emotions ignited by national news full of invective and overt racist and misogynist rhetoric.

We’ve been seeing, right here in Alameda, hints of what we saw on the national level: from rudeness to others with different views at public meetings, anonymous “hit pieces” mailed during the local election through the racist, criminal graffiti painted on an elementary school last week. I was depressed that Alameda is not immune. There is no place or excuse for this behavior, here or anywhere, really.

My response was this if you’re interested.

But keep that snippet in mind when you watch this video of how a public speaker, during that agenda item, spoke about two City Councilmembers:

It’s really worth watching since I don’t think a transcription would do it justice.

But some of the greatest hits is the suggestion that Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft couldn’t “stand the heat” and that’s why she wasn’t there.  Also that she should be “chastised” for mailers that she had nothing to do with.   But the most bile was reserved for usurper Malia Vella who was held responsible for mailers she had nothing to do with and was dismissively referred to as “crawling out from under a rock.”  And, the kicker, claiming that she needed to do “hard time” for these mailers she had nothing to do with evoking the old “lock her up” chant we heard so much of during the national election.

In case you thought that Frank Matarrese would have pushed back against this sort of “rudeness” and “invective” he instead was more concerned about personal comments on the internet as opposed to making a statement right there that the way that the public speaker was spreading misinformation and the type of rhetoric used was not going to be tolerated.

And then there was Tony Daysog lamenting the level of “odiousness” during the campaign.  But yet also remained silent about the language and the rhetoric used by the public speaker above.

It is easy to speak out against language and people that one finds reprehensible.  Condemning Nazis?  Easy.  It’s much more difficult to consistently speak out when the language might be reprehensible but the person speaking that language is a friend or a supporter.   To consistently do what is right despite the personal cost and toll it might take is hard.  In this case both Frank Matarrese and Tony Daysog chose partisanship and maintaining their ring (or potential ring) of supporters as opposed to actually speaking out against the kind of “odious” rhetoric that they were handwringing about during their comments.  They chose to ignore the statement made above because it was politically expedient.  That’s not leadership.


  1. I am disappointed that our council members did not speak out in support of Malia. When we are silent, we condone this kind of sexist rhetoric. The least the council could have done was ask the speaker for some proof of his assertions and mention the many times Malia appeared at council. We can do better and I certainly expect our city council to lead against this kind of misinformation.

    Comment by Angela — December 8, 2016 @ 7:43 am

    • For the benefit of the rest of us, could you please list the “many times Malia appeared at council”? Because I must be getting senile…I can’t remember more than one. Thank you. By the way, why is it “sexist rhetoric” when spoken against Malia, but not “sexist” when spoken against Trish? Trish has raised 4 girls…wife, mother, and mayor. I think she qualifies as a woman.

      Comment by vigi — December 8, 2016 @ 10:22 am

  2. I sent this yesterday:

    Dear Vice Mayor Matarrese (and City Council):

    I watched the council discussion on the Mayor’s referral regarding anonymous mailers in the 2016 election (12/6/16). You spoke about the need to stop the negative, personal attacks on the internet and to speak out about negative campaigning and reminding people they need to be civil. I am disappointed that you and your fellow members missed an opportunity to confront this problem head on last night.

    Moments before your discussion, you all listened credulously to a man go on a tirade. His ignorant, vicious, corrosive rant could have come straight out of the comment section of a Breitbart News hit piece. He attacked our newest elected council member as “villainous,” said she “crawled out from under a rock,” said she had never served on any board or commission in this city, and should do “hard time” for what she has done (apparently referring to anonymous mailers attacking Council Member Daysog). These Tony Daysog defenders could have come right out of a Trump rally, chanting “lock her up!”

    Instead of speaking truth to ignorance, like Sen. John McCain famously did to an ignorant questioner in a 2008 town hall, the council let those comments stand last night, tacitly approving the spread of misinformation and personal smears with your silence. You all had a chance to point out that Ms. Vella was born in Alameda and has deep roots here. She has served for years in the community, including on the Historical Advisory Board, most recently as chair. You could have pointed out that independent expenditure committees that spend money in our elections, by law, are not allowed to consult or coordinate with any candidates they have chosen to support. You could have told this man that the anonymous mailers in question last night were just that, anonymous. We do not know who sent them. Allowing the slander that they were sent by a candidate or even a particular union or independent expenditure committee to pass unchallenged in Council Chambers is dangerous and disappointing. Calling for candidates to go to prison because you support someone else in the election, well, we know how that worked out nationally. This nonsense must be challenged and corrected whenever we see it.

    I fear the outcry against the sometimes harsh tone of this election and proposals to quash certain types of political speech in Alameda. I worry that what some of these people really want is to silence any voices that cannot speak from a personal checkbook with an Alameda address. Residents that must band together and pool their resources need not apply. If you are an Alamedan that belongs to a union whose headquarters is across the estuary, your voice is not welcome here. If you join forces with renters across the community and speak through an organization with infrastructure in other Bay Area cities with mature rent stabilization laws, your voice is not welcome here. I beseech you all to be very careful in whose voices you amplify and whose you try to silence.

    Brian McGuire

    Comment by BMac — December 8, 2016 @ 7:52 am

    • Dang it, forgot to erase the name. Now people will know who I am.

      Comment by BMac — December 8, 2016 @ 10:33 am

  3. Brian, I was just going to sit down and write exactly what you just wrote. I could not be more disgusted with our present council, sitting at the podium and allowing a commenter to say the things he said. I sit on the H.A.B. with Ms. Vella who is currently our Chair, the council members know full well who she is and how she has served Alameda. I truly expect more leadership from Frank, I am puzzled as to why he did not speak up.

    Comment by John Piziali — December 8, 2016 @ 8:25 am

    • “…sitting at the podium [I think you mean “on the dais”] and allowing a commenter to say the things he said.” Uh, that is the very definition of free speech. Why are you liberals always the ones unclear on the concept? No matter what he said, the speaker identified himself and is now immortalized on videotape. He has taken responsibility for his remarks, unlike whoever circulated those anonymous hate-filled election mailers.

      Was it Patrick Henry who said: ” I may not agree with what you said, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”? Or was it some other Founding Father?

      It is always amusing that the same people who complain that the Electoral College isn’t “democratic” enough, are the same ones who want to shut up everyone who disagrees with them. Thank God Trish, Tony, and Frank understand how free speech is supposed to work.

      Comment by vigi — December 8, 2016 @ 9:22 am

      • Missing the point again? Did anyone say that the City Council should have not allowed the public speaker to say whatever he wanted to say? No. The sentiment expressed is that these City Council people who were hand-wringing about civility and the need for it failed in their first attempt to denounce incivility. Allowing people to say whatever hateful things they want to is one thing. It’s a whole other thing allow your silence to stand as tacit approval of the language.

        Comment by Lauren Do — December 8, 2016 @ 9:30 am

        • Bullshit

          Comment by jack — December 8, 2016 @ 9:39 am

        • Your eloquent response is noted.

          Comment by Lauren Do — December 8, 2016 @ 9:40 am

        • You are the one missing the point. Condemning what is said at the podium from the dais usually has a chilling effect on public participation. And I guarantee you there are many people in the 94501 zip code who voted for Trump who are too intimidated by the liberal bias in this town to share their thoughts on a deceptively-named FB site called “Promoting Alameda Civic Engagement”—probably why it has only 125 members.

          Comment by vigi — December 8, 2016 @ 10:13 am

        • You know what has a chilling effect on public participation? Threatening to jail someone because you falsely assume that campaign mailers that you didn’t like originated from that campaign. You know what else has a chilling effect on public participation? Hand-wringing about civility from our elected officials who won’t speak out against incivility when it stands in front of them spitting out bile and “rudeness.”

          Comment by Lauren Do — December 8, 2016 @ 10:17 am

        • Oh, please. Consider the source. That powerless non-office holding individual’s remarks have no value compared to the remarks coming out of the mouths of councilmembers, whose every word is weighed, usually by you.

          Comment by vigi — December 8, 2016 @ 10:25 am

        • And the City Council, by sitting there without addressing it, gave the words and the sentiment an air of validation by not repudiating it.

          Comment by Lauren Do — December 8, 2016 @ 10:36 am

        • Well why not? Maybe they agree with what the eloquent speaker spake.

          Comment by jack — December 8, 2016 @ 12:07 pm

      • vigi, there is free speech and there are lies, you are free to say anything you want to. However we also have the right to call someone out when they lie.

        Comment by John Piziali — December 8, 2016 @ 10:38 am

  4. It’s offensive to listen to the speaker suggest that the election of a young person of color means that something went very wrong with the election process.

    The speaker obviously believes that the only voices on the City Council should be the voices that mirror his own beliefs. His suggestion that someone needs to go to jail as a result, is a warning to those who have different views than the majority – to stay away! I disagree, I think we need to be more inclusive.

    As a community, we need to be careful that we are not sending the wrong message to people of color, and young people seeking to be part of the political process.

    Comment by Karen Bey — December 8, 2016 @ 9:32 am

    • “As a community, we need to be careful that we are not sending the wrong message to people of color, and young people seeking to be part of the political process.”

      You are talking about Tony right?

      Comment by jack — December 8, 2016 @ 9:41 am

      • I missed where a public commenter at a public meeting said that Tony Daysog needed to “do hard time.” Remind me when that happened again.

        Comment by Lauren Do — December 8, 2016 @ 9:52 am

        • I think the point was, no matter how much the speaker wanted to join the very much non-partisan Year 2016 Club by making rude comments, he was not likely motivated by a desire to send the wrong message to persons of color, given that: (1) the speaker did not say that and (2) the apparent target (Tony Daysog) of the hit piece mailer that was the subject of the agenda item or other mailers that upset the speaker (he seemed to reference more than one mailer) — which the speaker probably unfairly blamed on Malia Vella – is himself a person of color.

          Comment by MP — December 8, 2016 @ 10:27 am

        • I’m not an expert on bias, but I bet a smart person could explain that Tony’s heritage does not necessarily mean that angry dude’s comments weren’t colored by racial and/or gender bias.

          Comment by BMac — December 8, 2016 @ 10:37 am

        • “Some of my best friends are _____________”

          Comment by Lauren Do — December 8, 2016 @ 10:38 am

        • OK, well, is there something that should make me think that the comments were so motivated?

          Comment by MP — December 8, 2016 @ 10:45 am

        • Some of my best friends aren’t white.

          Comment by jack — December 8, 2016 @ 12:09 pm

        • MP, just all of recorded history.

          Comment by BMac — December 8, 2016 @ 1:40 pm

        • Sorry, angry dude. You’re on your own for now. All of recorded history is a bit much for me today.

          Comment by MP — December 8, 2016 @ 2:14 pm

        • For all you guilt ridden white dudes

          Comment by jack — December 8, 2016 @ 4:29 pm

    • Identity politics work, when your identity is reduced to race and gender. Otherwise, not so much.

      Comment by Alameda Landlord — December 8, 2016 @ 12:41 pm

  5. Well put vigi, but I fear the left is well on its way in squashing the first amendment:

    Comment by jack — December 8, 2016 @ 9:37 am

    • Bullshit.

      Comment by baby mama — December 8, 2016 @ 10:34 am

      • Your eloquent response is noted by Do.

        Comment by jack — December 8, 2016 @ 12:11 pm

  6. The problem is when your hateful speech is just music to others ears, and when your hand-wringing about civility, rings hollow to those that attended Trump’s San Jose speech several months ago. In other words, it depends on whose ox is being gored. One imagines that those protesting, are not Tony Daysog fans.

    Comment by Alameda Landlord — December 8, 2016 @ 9:41 am

  7. Lets agree that everyone missed there profiles in courage chance, so we can all get on with celebrating hanukah, kwanzaa, christmas, the winter solstice, and even festivus. Apparently in nearby Martinez this past november there was also mudslinging similar to what happened here but officials, including an assemblymember, took a stand against that. So if council was wrong to not exhibit profile in courage this past tuesday, then let’s agree everyone in alameda who stood by silently in the weeks leading up to the november vote were equally wrong.

    Come on, elections over, let’s all get on with life and celebrate this holiday season.

    Comment by anonymous — December 8, 2016 @ 10:25 am

  8. Seems that when nimby interests are sufficiently met in Alameda, daily postal delivery of distorted reality via off island, absurdly monied, anti M1 fliers are not a big enough issue for the sitting council, or public speakers to address in regards to negative campaigning. Never no mind the off island money for B1 or K1. I do hope Frank and Tony survive their public service PTSD.

    Comment by baby mama — December 8, 2016 @ 10:41 am

  9. I 100% agree with Vigi. And if anyone is going to bitch about Council not speaking up for their new member then both Ashcraft and Vella should be held to the same standard. Meaning, why then didn’t they speak out against many of those negitive Tony mailers when their pictures were on the other side of several of them? They could have easily said (in public, letter to the editor etc) I don’t endorse nor approve of my name being associated with such material. But nope, they didn’t do or say anything. That alone is worth a big fat Bullshit. And some holiday advice for Mr. McGuire: get a job, focus on getting healthy and spend less time writing tweets or letters to council and then re-showing others to show “look what I did”.

    Comment by FranklinB — December 8, 2016 @ 11:49 am

  10. If anyone thinks that the FPPC is going to ferret out who sent the mailers, they’re deluded. The FPPC doesn’t have those sorts of resources. And even if the FPPC was willing and able to figure out whodunnit, the most that would likely happen would be a warning not to do it again.

    Comment by Oh the Irony! — December 8, 2016 @ 2:20 pm

  11. any one of the four council members sitting there that night could have simply stated after the person spoke that, Ms Vella does actually serve on the HAB. as its chair.

    Comment by John P. — December 8, 2016 @ 2:20 pm

  12. Does anyone read those mailers? FYI, I voted by Malia because she came to my door. Yes, it helps that her platform made good sense, but I didn’t look at a single dingle mailer AND no one else walked & knocked to try to reach me.

    Hard work matters. Mud slinging doesn’t interest me.

    Comment by Sara — December 8, 2016 @ 8:44 pm

  13. Vigi, there is a difference between free speech and hate speech. Saying someone should be “locked up” for something they didn’t do blurs the line between free speech and hate speech. The four Council members get an F for remaining silent.

    Comment by eyeroll — December 8, 2016 @ 9:25 pm

    • Oh, please. Don’t be ridiculous. “Hate speech” is whatever the other side is saying that you don’t like. It has no coherent agreed-upon definition. To leftists, a Catholic priest preaching about the evils of abortion is “hate speech”. “Hate speech” has become the Orwellian term of the year.

      Eyeroll, you make me roll MY eyes.

      Comment by vigi — December 9, 2016 @ 9:30 am

  14. There are opinions, and there are facts. Facts can be tested for truth; opinions can’t.

    Free speech means you can say what you like, whether or not it’s true.

    Governance and leadership means you’re expected to stand up when what’s said is not true, whether mistakenly or willfully so. This can range from simply correcting a misimpression to strongly repudiating a lie.

    It’s sad when we’ll choose to silence the latter to allow people to say things which are not true, and call it free speech.

    Comment by Jim Meyer — December 9, 2016 @ 6:44 am

  15. Noel is no shrinking violet. He has never liked Marilyn and was simply ignorant when it comes to Malia being the presiding over HAB. Not the most important board perhaps, but he now should apologize or stick a sock in it. At a minimum Vella has plausible deniability when it comes to knowledge of the fliers, so benefit of the doubt and all that.

    Or chants of “Lock her up!”

    Comment by MI — December 9, 2016 @ 7:21 am

  16. This actually confirms for me that I did the right thing in not voting for Tony Daysog. If he is incapable of making an FPPC complaint himself about this mailer targeting him, then he really isn’t capable of doing the job of Coucilman for a city of about 80,000 people. We clearly need people on the council who are capable of lifting a pen or opening a laptop and doing some actual work, rather than just pawning it off on city staff as if they are his personal secretaries.

    I voted for him the last time around. I was able to correct that error this time around.

    Comment by JohnB — December 9, 2016 @ 8:36 am

  17. Wasn’t this a clear conflict of interest on Tony Daysog’s part to vote for this self serving city council decision?

    If there aren’t laws that forbid council members from voting on things that directly (very, very directly) benefit them, there is a serious hole in the anti-corruption and ethical protections for the citizens of Alameda. After all, how different is this than voting to have the city come over and mow your lawn if you are a council member?

    Comment by JohnB — December 9, 2016 @ 9:13 am

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