Blogging Bayport Alameda

February 27, 2017

Take caretaker

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

Tomorrow night the School Board will take the first step to decide how to fill Solana Henneberry’s vacated seat.  We’ve been through this a few time in the last few years so as a reminder here are the two options from the staff report:



It is unlikely that the Board will opt for the Special Election given the cost.  So we’re back to the appointment process once again.  The last two time we did this it was, to put it mildly, kind of a mess.  Deadlocks, ranked voting, moving people up to next level rounds that didn’t get substantial consensus in previous rounds: a mess.

The appointment process to fill Trish Spencer’s seat was fraught with bickering and negativity and ended it one of the prospective appointees stepping down rather than the school board making a decision.

The appointment process to fill Niel Tam’s seat was no less dramatic, but did result in someone actually making a leadership decision to break the deadlock.  I will point out that back in 2015 when the appointment of Gray Harris was made some folks assumed that Phil Hu was playing some long drawn out political game to make himself look good.  Well fast forward to 2017 and Phil Hu is no longer on the School Board, opting to not run for election even though he would have had the benefit of incumbency.

That leads me to who I hope will be appointed this time around: I really hope that whoever steps forward will fill the role as a “caretaker.”  By that I mean, I’m hoping for a Phil Hu type of appointment again where — at the end of the term — that person elects not to be elected.  While there is nothing wrong with someone using an appointment to launch their  political career, this process — as we have seen –has been nothing but contentious and difficult because of the probability for a tie vote.  A promise that the individual selected will act as a “caretaker” will free that individual to make decisions based on ideology about the state of education in Alameda rather than building goodwill in preparation for a run in 2018.



  1. We had three seats up last year and 6 acceptable candidates with record turnout. Give it to the 4th place vote getter from 2016.

    Comment by BMac — February 27, 2017 @ 8:01 am

  2. That makes the most sense. We just had this election. I hope that person applies. They would have the greatest support from the community built in. It would be the most democratic choice.

    Comment by Angela — February 27, 2017 @ 8:45 am

  3. Wasn’t Ed Lee supposed to be a caretaker? That sure didn’t stick, and nothing would stop whomever is appointed from doing the same thing. I think the board should evaluate the applicants based upon their merits and not potentially shifting positions about future runs.

    Comment by AK — February 27, 2017 @ 1:38 pm

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