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.
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.