Blogging Bayport Alameda

August 20, 2020

From A to Z, part 1

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:00 am

Hey, did you know the measure to undo A/26 is Measure Z. I quite like the poetry of it. But before I write about the content of the ballot arguments and rebuttals because hoo boy, the pro A/26 (anti Measure Z) campaign is just phoning it all in, I wanted to discuss the signatories to these statements. Those are meaningful in the sense that it speaks to a level of thoughtfulness in who is representing this “side” so to speak. As mentioned the anti-Measure Z side really did the very least they could do in trying to find people across Alameda to represent their side.

For the Argument in favor of voting “no” aka anti-Measure Z, these are the signatories:

s/ BEVERLY J. JOHNSON
Former Mayor, City of Alameda
s/ JEFFREY S. ALLEN
Citizen of Alameda
s/ JAY GARFINKLE
MD, General Surgeon
s/ MARVA LYONS
Former President, Alameda NAACP (Chapter currently inactive)
s/ TONY DAYSOG
Alameda City Councilmember

The real surprise here is the addition of Beverly Johnson who, after she was termed out as Mayor, made a brief appearance as a candidate for City Council but then decided to drop out. She’s been pretty much missing from Alameda local politics since then. It’s surprising that she’s made her return to local politics by supporting an attempt to retain an artifact of exclusion, but Beverly Johnson really did represent the old guard of Alameda, unless she was attacked from older Alameda guard as she was when I first moved here and she was challenged by Doug deHaan for her Mayor’s seat.

The addition of Marva Lyons to the roster and cynically using the NAACP title, even while noting the chapter is inactive has already been done before. What compounds the tokenism of this add is that there are currently attempts to revive the NAACP and I don’t believe that Marva Lyons is part of that effort. But as to why this is problematic, well I’ll leave that to Rasheed Shabazz who wrote about it last year during the dueling Wellness Center measures:

In order to to prevent accusations of Measure B being labeled racist, the Friends of Crab Cove misused the name of an iconic civil rights organization. The first person listed as signing the argument in favor of Measure B is “Marva Lyons, former president, Alameda NAACP (chapter currently inactive).” The Alameda NAACP branch has been inactive for over 15 years. Mrs. Lyons was president of the NAACP 25 years ago.

Why use the name of an inactive organization and a decades old title? It’s the ‘I have a Black friend’ fallacy.

Since the NAACP is dedicated to eliminating racial prejudice, implying the Alameda NAACP supports Measure B attempts to neutralize accusations that the Friends of the crabs are racist. By misrepresenting the Alameda NAACP brand, the FOCC uses a single individual of a disproportionately impacted demographic to erase the impacts of racism in housing and health. ‘We’re can’t be racist. We have a Black friend. An NAACP leader!’

Then there are the rebuttal arguments signatories which include no less than three people in the real estate industry:

s/ WALTER JACOBS
Broker Associate
s/ MARIE E. KANE
Small Business Owner
s/ SYLVIA GIBSON
Teacher
s/ KAREN LITHGOW
Realtor
s/ JENNIFER ROLOFF
Resident of Alameda

Sylvia Gibson was floated as a pick to the Planning Board by Trish Spencer which I discussed here. Of course Jennifer Roloff previously ran for City Council but lost but not before she made some really unfortunate comments about Alameda’s need for military grade equipment and really missing the mark on, what was essentially, the idea of Black Lives Matter. Highlights from 2016:

So let’s unpack what happened here. The question was about how to protect Black citizens from police misconduct. But the way that Jennifer Roloff answered the question was to protect Alamedans from “risks” from “neighboring communities.” And that we need to “start being prepared” to avoid what “going on out there.” Because we may not need the “protection of police yet” but again, we need to be prepared with all the Navy equipment that exists and borrowing other cities equipment to protect from…what precisely?

The reason I transcribed the whole question was to show that it wasn’t a confusing question. It wasn’t about emergency preparedness or what happens in the case of a zombie apocalypse. This was a question on what we can do, as a community, to demonstrate that we are cognizant that there is an issue that exists in our world where a disproportionate number of Black Americans are treated differently in situations with public safety.

These are the people who are representing the side of voting against Measure Z. Realtors who benefit from artificially inflated home prices and exclusivity. Token “Black friends” to inoculate the campaign from charges of A/26 having an impact on the demographics of Alameda through exclusion. Former candidate for City Council who really lived the preservation part of her “Progress + Preservation” campaign tagline. Former mayor who hasn’t been involved in local issues since she left the Council years ago. It’s really quite the far reaching coalition of all the same people who support and/or oppose the exact same issues.

17 Comments »

  1. Estuary sewage spills, rolling power grid shutdowns, Covid 19 lockdowns, closed businesses, schools, and churches, forest fires, rising crime, riots, movements to defund the police, and recession-isn’t California great? And the response of the legislature is to force thousands of workers who participate in the gig economy to be fired, driving Lyft and Uber out of state,while the governor cynically calling for an “investigation” into the power grid shutdown when everyone knows it’s because politicIans “think” wind and solar power can support a state of 40 million.

    And when local citizens stand up to just preserve their hometowns, they get attacked. I know many of these signatories, and its a shameful tactic to cry “racism!” to try to taint them. They are good people who have consistently contributed to make Alameda better for all its citizens for years. They see, like we all do, that despite Measure A, Alameda has become much more diverse over the last 50 years, and hundreds of units have been constructed under Measure A in cutouts and work arounds, and now developers are lining up for the rest.

    To quote a national politician -“C’mon man…”

    Comment by Nowyouknow — August 20, 2020 @ 8:16 am

    • Like myself these people have supported Alameda for decades they are the ones who donate to meals on wheels the Alameda girls and boys club girls Inc. The food bank the list goes on and on. People are up in arms because of the way our city has been run for the last few years it’s no deep dark secret. I only hope is that people wake up and vote otherwise we’re gonna lose our little quiet town

      Comment by Linda S — August 20, 2020 @ 8:38 am

      • The very same systems that concentrate wealth and make us dependent on the Zuckerbergs, Benioffs, and Gates’ of the world for their philanthropy act at the local level, largely through land use policy to enrich incumbent property owners, transferring wealth to long time landowners through increased rents and property values, increasing the need for organizations like Meals on Wheels, Boys and Girls Club and Alameda Point Collaborative. Then when those profiting off of exclusionary zoning and a host of other structural problems “give back” to the community via these organizations, often oblivious to how their politics creates much of the demand for non-profit services they’re funding, we are supposed to absolve them of their political sins like some plenary indulgences? There is a reason that as the cost of housing increases, so does the homeless population. You can’t fight like hell to preserve your property values at all costs while lamenting the problems associated with our unhoused neighbors and then be excused because you bought a cake at the crab feed auction.

        Comment by BMac — August 20, 2020 @ 1:40 pm

    • I find it strange that your first reaction, just like Trump, is to say “LOOK OVER THERE …. ” , so I’ll just think about the failures of EBMUD and CAPUC, … smh.

      Comment by Ron Mooney — August 20, 2020 @ 9:32 am

    • GIven that the diversity of Alameda during the passage of Measure A was about 90% white, “becoming more diverse” is a very low bar to clear. What’s key to understand here is our diversity increased at a much slower rate than that of the surrounding region.

      It’s weird that you cannot see the connection between the push for green energy and the increasing prevalence of forest fires, the connection between COVID-19 and the recession, the police and protests (very interesting that you chose the word “riots” instead). But I suppose that’s cognitive dissonance.

      This is literally throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks, hoping to manufacture a distraction. Let’s get back to the issues.

      It’s pretty embarrassing that these are the best signatories that No Z can come up with, double embarrassing to tokenize Marva Lyons once again to try and give them racial cover, which itself is always a red flag. Tony Daysog can barely scratch the surface of any issue that requires having to carry a conversation with constituents, he only posts screenshots of LTEs and runs. Real leadership there.

      Comment by JRB — August 20, 2020 @ 9:52 am

      • Linda, your entire comment sounds just like it came right out of the 60’s and 70’s. I can see why you are upset at the way our city has been run the last few years, its called being progressive and moving forward into the twenty first century. I wonder what you really mean when you say “our little quiet town”.

        Comment by trumpisnotmypresident — August 20, 2020 @ 12:24 pm

      • The change in diversity didn’t just barely clear a low bar. Alameda has gone from 90% white to less than 50% white. We’re now a minority majority city. So how can you even hint that Article 26 hurt diversity? And Marva Lyons, a token? You would have alleged racism if all five endorsers had been people of color instead of just two of them. Or suppose none of the endorsers had been people of color. I suspect you’d call that racist also. There’s apparently no pleasing you. Actually, there never has been. You haven’t changed since you were a kid trying to trick the people around you with crazy arguments

        What’s really weird here is that you still think you can just gaslight your way through a debate. Just go ahead and include climate change, Covid-19, the recession, policing issues. How stupid do you think the readers of Lauren’s blog are?

        Comment by AnothersonofDavid — August 21, 2020 @ 4:52 pm

        • Nah, just because the white population has shrunk doesn’t mean that Alameda’s “change in diversity” is something to be lauded. Alameda County is a minority majority county, the Bay Area is a minority majority region, California is a minority majority State. If Alameda wasn’t following that trend that would be extremely problematic, yes?

          Here’s a bit of a puzzle for you. In 1970, San Leandro (our neighbor) had a white population of 97% . It was so white there was even a documentary profiling San Leandro in 1971 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mk1EFjozUoQ). In 1970 Alameda’s white population was 90.3%. In 1973 after A/26 was passed, San Leandro citizens actively looked to Alameda’s A/26 leaders to help them pass the same initiative to keep out public housing because they didn’t want “slum areas.” San Leandro never passed a A/26 type statute. Today San Leandro’s white population is 37.6% and Alameda’s is 48.6%.

          Comment by Lauren Do — August 22, 2020 @ 7:06 am

    • Drawing attention to the entirely predictable racist impacts of a public policy isn’t “tainting” it. Tony and Trish’s rush to try to quash any implication that there was racial motivation behind Measure A is a diversionary tactic. What as in each voter’s heart in 1970 when they passed this policy is irrelevant. They created a policy they knew at the time would lead to Black people being excluded from Alameda, so whatever their actual intent this was at the very least an acceptable cost which is, you know, racist.

      Comment by Josh G — August 20, 2020 @ 3:31 pm

      • How do you know what they knew. Seems to me the racism argument is itself racist. After all, what you seem to be suggesting is that people of color can’t afford market rate housing which is actually profiling based on skin color. In addition, you seem to be suggesting that in order to help these people out we should build special apartments for them in established neighborhoods. And beside that, it’s irrelevant to the issues of overcrowding existing neighborhoods and filling the streets with even more cars, especially at the west end of the Island where the overwhelming bulk of egress is totally dependent on a single underwater tube. Who in his right mind would advocate crowding more people onto the island before our infrastructure has been improved sufficiently to adequately handle the increased burden that will over stress our resources in case of significant emergencies. The Legislature and CalTrans have told us in no uncertain terms that they won’t be spending any funds to ameliorate the dangers that will accompany overcrowding in Alameda.

        Let’s put reality ahead of pie in the sky philosophy and let’s at least consider putting an extra horse or two in front of your planned overcrowded cart.

        Comment by AnothersonofDavid — August 21, 2020 @ 8:31 pm

  2. Ahhh, the howls of folks as they become politically irrelevant.

    The world is burning down around us, and you’re worried about keeping your town small and quaint.

    Comment by Angela — August 20, 2020 @ 4:06 pm

    • and you know what, “small and quaint” means Anglea.

      Comment by trumpisaracist — August 20, 2020 @ 4:37 pm

  3. My comment re overcrowding was made in the context of wanting to avoid same, not to lament it’s presence which thanks to Article 26 has been kept to a minimum. And white flight? Ask Amos White to tell you about the diaspora of blacks moving out of the Bay Area. And thank you for sharing your totally irrelevant comparison with San Leandro. This should keep you in the running for the Gaslighter of the Year award.

    Comment by AnothersonofDavid — August 24, 2020 @ 3:45 pm

    • Yes yes, because Alameda is so special that it exists in a magical bubble where nothing outside of Alameda ever affects it. Because lessons from outside Alameda can never be informative to judging how Alamedans at that time may have acted as well.

      No thanks on asking Amos White anything. If I want to know anything about issues around Black people in Alameda and the greater Bay Area, I’ll check in with Rasheed Shabazz.

      Comment by Lauren Do — August 24, 2020 @ 4:28 pm

  4. It’s too bad that episodes of the Don Roberts Show aren’t archived somewhere. Beverly Johnson used to be a regular on there, and on practically every episode she was on, Don would ask for and get her agreement on the statement that Alameda is not a place for low-income residents. Seems she still feels that way.

    Comment by notadave — August 25, 2020 @ 8:04 am


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