Blogging Bayport Alameda

July 12, 2017

Gaylon Parsons: History’s back

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

Midterms are historically sleepy elections compared to the bombast of the Presidential election years. Voter turnout is lower, unless there’s an issue of national importance driving voters to the polls. Alameda’s mayoral elections are set for midterm years, and two of our four other city council members are elected. While the mayor is elected separately and has responsibility for running the meeting, they still only have one vote among five. So, even in years when we’re electing three of the five votes on council it can seem less consequential than those Presidential years.

That’s what I learned, back when history was at an end because western democracy won. Welp, history is fucking back you guys, and it’s terrible. There’s chaos and random people who’ve never been in politics making amazing TV ads like this one

(this election, in SC, is to fill Mick “I’m hating poors at the CBO now” Mulvaney’s seat).

The list of people running for governor in California is voluminous. Newsome of course is on the list, but John Chiang? When has the path to the governor’s mansion run through the treasurer’s office?

Our mayor portended all of this back in 2014 when she “skipped the line” to run for mayor, and won. Who’s going to be skipping the line this time here in Alameda? Who can’t wait to get to the next rung and is going to bug out early? (I’m not mad; ambitious people need to find where they can make the most impact.) And, for the comments, is our council’s progressive bloc safe after the 2018 election?

Note: This weak mayor system is awesome. It forces our council to work as a team with a facilitator (the mayor) and with a professional staff person — the city administrator — responsible for day-to-day running of the government. It also allows our city to essentially use volunteers to run our government. Tradeoffs, and I hope Lauren goes into all of this one day. Alameda’s going to need to reckon with those tradeoffs.



  1. Great clip! Hilarious to watch a democratic trying to act tough.

    Comment by jack — July 12, 2017 @ 7:44 am

  2. If the weak mayor system is so “awesome” and the council working as a team, then why worry about a progressive bloc? Why not different pov’s?

    Comment by Il Cane di Ferro — July 12, 2017 @ 8:42 am

  3. I’m not sure the premise of this article is correct — that there’s dramatically less voter turn-out in Alameda in the general election in nonpresidential election years. Besides, theres the November governor race — that usually drives turn-out across the state and locally too. I think Alameda tends to have good turn-out regardless. Maybe a few percentage lower but certainly not orders of magnitude off. But “sleepy”? Not sure this is so. Maybe the author can post some data?

    Comment by Let's Go A's! — July 12, 2017 @ 11:55 am

  4. FYI in Alameda in 2014 there were just under 21,000 total votes cast in the race for Mayor. In Alameda in 2016 there were just over 36,000 total votes cast in each rent measure. That’s a significant difference in voter turnout.

    Comment by Turnout Numbers — July 12, 2017 @ 6:17 pm

  5. Thanks #4! Measure L alone had almost 22,000 votes cast (11,900 yes and 9,500 no) . So if you just compare one significant race (2016 Measure L) against another one significant race (2014 mayor race)(because if you combine L and M’s turn-out you could be double-counting voters), there is indeed a drop-off — 22,000 for L in 2016 versus 21,000 voter turn-out in the 2014 mayor race. It’s not a significant drop-off but it is a drop-off nonetheless of roughly 1,000!!! Thanks #4!!

    Comment by Let's Go Giants! — July 13, 2017 @ 9:06 am

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