Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 26, 2018

Birtherism, Alameda style

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

As only Alameda could do it, we have taken the “you’re not an Alamedan until you’ve lived here for x number of generations” a wee too far.  As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the new hotness in the critiques of Malia Vella is around her residency in Alameda. Specifically, from Malia Vella’s twitter:

It’s interesting that the young woman of color is being asked to prove her residency in the city above and beyond her saying that she lives in the city and that she has filed the appropriate paperwork which asks that question when she first ran for City Council.

I can’t remember this question ever being raised with any other candidate or any other City Council member since I started following Alameda politics around 12 years ago.

If decent people, even people who are not fans of Malia Vella, do not denounce these forms of attacks — look these rumors did not germinate from nowhere, it took time and cultivation and probably a lot of misunderstood whispering to get to this place — then we’re no better than folks who allowed the whole Obama Birtherism story to spin wildly out of control.   So if you look at that and feel disgusted by it, you should equally feel disgusted by this.

Just to stave off the whataboutism that is inevitably coming.  When Tony Daysog was criticized and “attacked” [insert eyeroll here] the folks behind those mailers smartly used Tony Daysog’s own words against him.  This people, this is crafted from whole cloth and stinks of the xenophobia that plagues Alameda’s reputation and has created an otherness around Malia Vella setting the stage for the next step which is to insist that her otherness is foreign to the beliefs and ideals of “real” Alamedans.


  1. Thing is Vella is trying to play the poor me victim card and it rings hollow. She has over stepped her position more than once. And while the investigator’s report said she didn’t violate the Charter, there are plenty of people who believe she crossed a line and they are fed up with unions running Alameda.

    Comment by Eyeroll — June 26, 2018 @ 8:46 am

    • well, we all have opinions and that is what you just expressed. but you have not given any facts just your opinion. there are plenty of people who think Ms. Vella does an excellent job and has always acted with the highest integrity. I will certainly support her again if she has to defend a recall.

      Comment by JohnP.TrumpisnotmyPresident. — June 26, 2018 @ 9:17 am

    • Denounce the birtherism, Eyeroll. Even if you disagree with her politics, you can at least acknowledge that that particular line of attack is gross.

      Comment by Lauren Do — June 26, 2018 @ 9:20 am

      • I will denounce the birtherism and a lot of the horrible things that were said during open session, but I don’t feel sorry for Vella.

        Comment by Eyeroll — June 26, 2018 @ 2:08 pm

      • I don’t think we disagree with Vella’s politics. I suspect that Vella is being singled out among that councilmember because of her short and thin track record in contributing to causes that would improve the quality of life for all residents in Alameda, or her participation in civic organizations in town. Ashcraft and Matarrese worked on building the new library campaign. Oddie’s kids went to Alameda schools, and he was a long-time leader in the City’s Democratic club. Spencer has been in Alameda the shortest, but she started participating in her children’s PTA, and served on the school board.

        Comment by Alan — June 26, 2018 @ 2:13 pm

        • so Alan you probably missed the fact that she served on the Historical Advisory Board, and was the chair of the board before she ran for council. If only you had the time to look or even ask her what she has done.

          Comment by JohnP.TrumpisnotmyPresident. — June 26, 2018 @ 3:04 pm

        • I know she served on this Historical Advisory Board, but it was not clear what building she saved, or the value she added during her short tenure.

          Comment by Alan — June 26, 2018 @ 5:06 pm

        • Alan – Vice-mayor Vella is younger than most of her City Council colleagues: are you engaging in reverse ageism here?

          Malia Vella’s age, marital and family status, her status as a homeowner (or as a renter, for that matter, if she happened to be one), and the length of residency
          *in her current home* are not appropriate targets for criticism, as they have nothing to do with her performance as our elected representative on the City Council.


          The fact tremains that she is being unfairly criticized by “Alameda birthers” — apparently for having gone to college and law school, as far as I can see. Why?
          Isn’t that unfair when no other sitting City Council members are receiving similar criticism?

          I have observed that she has made considerable contributions while serving on the City Council: the quality of her questions and comments from the dias
          show that she: a) does her homework and researches issues thoroughly, b) is quite capable of challenging the positions of city staff and developers with
          well-reasoned alternatives, and c) thinks independently and creatively on behalf of all of us.

          I am glad I voted for Malia Vella and will continue to do so.

          Comment by Jon Spangler — June 27, 2018 @ 7:20 am

        • This is not about Vella’s age. As Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, the new 28 year old Congresswoman from New York said, it’s about putting community above donors. Some of Vella’s critics are saying she is putting the desires of the unions, or in the Keimach fiasco, the firefighters union’s wants above the interests of the community to have a credentialed and qualified chief.

          Comment by Alan — June 28, 2018 @ 5:23 am

  2. Perhaps it’s time for some prop 13 reform. Wealthy longtime homeowners who have seen their property values skyrocket can afford to pay a percentage or two more than what they’re paying. I’d rather see folks who have seen their wealth increase dramatically start paying more for the city services they benefit from than see worker protections and retirements threatened.

    Comment by Angela — June 26, 2018 @ 9:01 am

    • Good thing you don’t teach economics, Angela. Seeing one’s home value increase dramatically is not equivalent to “wealth increasing dramatically”. The value of real estate is not realized until you sell it. Would you force elderly frail homeowners who live on social security in an appreciated residence to sell their homes to fund your lifestyle? Your kind of thinking is what led to Prop 13 in the first place.

      Comment by vigi — June 26, 2018 @ 9:27 am

  3. I live with someone who benefits from prop 13. We can easily afford to pay a few percentage points more in taxes. It can be structures in a way that only the folks with strong incomes in retirement can pay increased rates. Right now new homeowners are paying more than their fair share for city services. It’s time for others to do the same.

    Comment by Angela — June 26, 2018 @ 9:42 am

    • The voice of entitlement. Generalizing your personal situation to others is a “let them eat cake” argument, Angela. When you are the newcomer, how the hell do you know what is fair? What is a “strong income in retirement” other than a government pension–which you want people who aren’t receiving one to pay for? As my parents would say: the world doesn’t owe you a living. “Ask not what your country [city] can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”.

      Comment by vigi — June 26, 2018 @ 10:08 am

  4. I’m seeing ads for Modlily on this site. Modlily’s reviews are terrible.

    Comment by vigi — June 26, 2018 @ 9:57 am

  5. I understand the fear some cash-poor homeowners have reflexively when they hear Prop 13 reform. First, let’s close the loophole for businesses. Then let’s figure out how to protect vulnerable homeowners. It is possible.

    Comment by Gaylon — June 26, 2018 @ 12:15 pm

  6. I suffered a little whiplash there with the defense of Prop 13, “elderly frail homeowners who live on social security”, followed quickly by the admonition to not generalize a personal situation.

    Comment by Tom Wismar — June 26, 2018 @ 2:07 pm

    • I agree with Tom Wismar. While vigi may be frail and possibly on a limited income, other homeowners are quite wealthy and capable of contributing more to the community than
      the current and inequitable tax structure allows them to. (I’d like to bring back Ike Eisenhower’s progressive income tax structure, but I digress…)

      Whatever Malia Vella’s current income and level of property tax contributions (the latter is most assuredly high, as she is a more recent home buyer), the relevant pointy is that she has stepped forward, volunteered, and is making significant constructive contributions to our community as our Vice mayor. Before anyone decides to throw rocks in her direction (either fairly or the way she has been slandered recently), perhaps the critics should ask whether they are willing, sufficiently capable, and ready to make the sacrifices she has in order to serve our community.

      Comment by Jon Spangler — June 27, 2018 @ 7:31 am

    • Non sequitur, Tom. I am not frail, not elderly, and I don’t receive social security. However there is a substantial CLASS of persons who fall into the category I described. I am speaking for others, not my personal situation. The tipping point for Prop 13 was when Californians [specifically a couple in Newhall] on social security literally could not pay the property taxes on their paid-off home because of wildly increased assessments. Most people criticizing Prop 13 don’t know its history. You can read a short version of it here:

      “Let me take you back to 1966 to Newhall, California right here in Los Angeles County, to an item that appeared in the local Newhall Signal newspaper. It came with a picture of an elderly couple standing before their house. It would not be unkind to call it a shack. The house was assessed for taxes at the property’s highest and best use, a standard used by assessors at the time. Since an apartment building had been built close by, this elderly couple’s home was assessed as if an apartment building was built there. The couple’s tax bill, in 1966 dollars, was $1800 a year. Their total income was $1900 a year.

      Four years earlier, a retired, civic minded, combative businessman, Howard Jarvis began an effort to reform the property tax system. He said he worked with “ordinary people” to do something about taxes. He called it “grand felony theft” when people, like the Newhall couple, lost their homes to the taxman.

      And he wasn’t alone in protesting outrageous taxes. Remember this was about the time George Harrison wrote, and the Beatles’ sang, Should five percent appear too small, Be thankful I don’t take it all, Cause I’m the Taxman.”

      Feel better, now Tom? You can take off your cervical collar now. You didn’t have whiplash, just lack of knowledge of California history.

      Comment by vigi — June 27, 2018 @ 9:41 am

  7. This is the guy that’ filed the petition for the recall! What a sad state of affairs. I hope People don’t sign this recall because this is coming from someone who is a racist jerk. The people that signed the petition should be ashamed of themselves.

    Dear Editor:
    Members ofthe Filipino/American community have stated to me that Assemblyman Rob Bonta is not aU S citizen. I checked this out by contacting Mr. Bonta’s office and asked when did Mr. Bonta become a naturalized U S citizen, because he was born in the Philippines on September 22, 1972. His office stated Mr. Bonta was not a naturalized citizen and didn’t need be a naturalized citizen, because his father was an American citizen. His office stated Mr. Bonta was an American citizen even though he was born in the Philippines, because his father was an American citizen.
    I checked the background on Mr. Bonta’s father and found he was born in the Philippines in 1942 and his mother was born in the Philippines in 1938. I have not found any proof that either Mr. Bonta’s father or his mother became naturalized U S citizen. Mr. Bonta’s office didn’t provide any proof that Mr. Bonta’ s father or mother were naturalized US citizens. In order for Mr. Bonta to be an American citizen, either his father or mother had to be a naturalized U S citizen on or before September 22, 1972.
    Mr. Bonta needs to provide proofofhis US citizenship to clear up this issue.

    Comment by Jeff DelBono — June 28, 2018 @ 12:25 pm

    • The Philippines did not become independent of the US until 1946. So wouldn’t people born in the Philippines in 1938 and 1942 be considered US citizens?

      Comment by vigi — June 28, 2018 @ 1:12 pm

    • Have they never learned that demanding people of color to show them their papers is not really a good look? Nope. They sure haven’t.

      Comment by Rod — June 29, 2018 @ 12:25 pm

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