Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 9, 2022

Do or donut, there is no try

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

Not sure if everyone peeped the latest entry into the #alamtg Twittersphere but there is an Alameda Donut in town and it’s asking questions of candidates for office. I’ve been asked a few times if I knew who was behind the donut and my answer is that I have some thoughts but understand that some folks would prefer to be anonymous and I can respect that. Just like commenters here I know folks want me to curb some of the worst of the anonymous comment offenders but, honestly, I can understand how people want to be able to say what they want and not fear that their livelihood or their IRL friendships might be threatened because they phrase something poorly on line.

This is, of course, not to blanket excuse bad behavior and shitty statements and there are some shitty statements that exist out there that people probably need to own IRL as well but, look, I’m not going to be the arbiter on that.

So I’m viewing the skepticism and pushback from the Alameda Donut account with great interest. As I’ve seen, so far, there’s nothing that screams anything untoward or strange. The questions being dripped out of the account that have, purportedly, been sent out to candidates seem highly reasonable so far. Like there’s a question that asks School Board candidates how they voted on School Bond Measure B. We can guess at three of four of the candidates: Gary Lym – yes, Ryan LaLonde – yes, Leland Traiman – no, but we have no idea how Maria Elena Moreno Van Maren voted and I would like to know that answer.

Similarly there are questions for the AC Transit candidates that I would not have considered before and, other than Stewart Chen who I’m not sure has ridden a bus in the last 10 years, I’m not THAT familiar with all the other candidates for the two seats we’ll be voting on other than Alfred Twu who draws really amazing YIMBY art but has, already supported Stewart Chen which is not great. And I know very little about Joel Young other than some gossipy stuff about his personal life from 2014.

I guess I’m a wait and see with the account rather than be out and out suspicious about the intent of the creators. In the end, if I were a candidate and I wanted to get my message out far and wide I’d use every opportunity to do so. I mean, how many of us question these candidates painstakingly filling out a Green Party or Sierra Club questionnaire when we know that both nominating groups are insular and probably don’t even use the questionnaire when determining who they’re going to support but we’re going to get a bit pressed about an anonymous twitter account?

Look, elected officials get a lot of correspondence from a lot of people, it’s really important for me that elected officials not just say they will be inclusive or responsive but actually show that they are being inclusive and responsive and if they can’t spare two hot seconds to check off a box on some form then, for me, that tells me something about the candidate.

While every single candidate is volunteering their time and energy to the campaign they are, in fact, asking something of every one of us. That is for our time and our energy to sort out their positions and policy around issues that are of importance to us. If someone, somewhere is asking for candidates to share those positions which might never be asked and/or is not available on their websites I’m not quite sure where I’m seeing the harm in that. Does someone need to be known in order to get an answer and how far do we extend that knowing? Are we going to give a pass to elected officials we like to not respond to certain members of the community because they don’t “know” who that person is or they may not agree with their politics? Are we going to give a pass to elected officials if they don’t respond to No Name Person who has some petty grievance that is, nonetheless, important to No Name Person? Is it okay for our elected officials to interact with other anonymous accounts because we may “know” who they are and it gives us insider knowledge? Is it exhausting to have to respond to everyone regardless of who they are and what their motivations are? Yeah probably, but, I mean, that’s the job they’re seeking right? To serve everyone in Alameda and not just “known” people.

12 Comments »

  1. They seem like reasonable questions to me and I appreciate the specific policy ones being asked.

    Comment by Ron Mooney — September 9, 2022 @ 7:51 am

  2. Can somebody please list the questions for city mayor, council and school board? Twitter blocks scrolling down for folks without accounts. Were there any responses?

    Comment by not a twitterer — September 9, 2022 @ 8:37 am

  3. I am going to comment anonymously which some may find hilarious considering what I am about to say, but I have my reasons. Lauren, your comments are interesting about reaching voters, but have you considered just how many of these questionnaires that candidates receive in a short time period? There is a reason that a political campaign is called a “race” — a candidate’s every waking moment once the campaign has begun is trying to reach, not the whole country, not the state, not even all Alameda voters, but LIKELY voters, and of that group, those with a possible affinity for the candidate. These questionnaires take time from that targeted search for voters, that could maybe be better spent reaching out knocking on doors and phoning. They can be worthwhile to spend the time if there is a likely affinity because of what group the questionnaire represents, but, for example, would you take a lot of time answering a questionnaire for “A Better Alameda” if you knew they were never going to endorse you and if they did it might turn off a lot of your supporters? Alameda Donut questions don’t look too time-consuming, but still, there is a reason that people want to know who Alameda Donut is.

    Comment by Local politics junkie — September 9, 2022 @ 9:17 am

  4. Donuts? This is obviously somebody affiliated with the police department! ACAB includes the anonymous donut account!

    Comment by Rod — September 9, 2022 @ 9:34 am

  5. Ah the memories of serving on a school board during the No Child Left Behind era from 2002 to 2014. The steadfast focus on measure outcomes turned out to be misplaced. Equity is in the eye of the beholder. The pressure to put the public education system at the center of every social injustce outcome is immense yet could be misplaced. While a focus on back to basics approach is not the answer in today’s 21st century world, the pancea of placing public education at heart of solving Amercina societal ills is also not the answer. For those who are interested, equity and excellence have studied and debated for over 15 years at the AUSD board level. Here is a reference page: http://www.mikemcmahon.info/equityexchome.htm

    Comment by Mike McMahon — September 9, 2022 @ 9:47 am

  6. While it’s a little annoying the account is anonymous, I get it. Politics is a combat sport in this town. I’ve seen people go extra ugly and make unnecessary personal attacks. That said, I really appreciate someone making the time and commitment to do this, and I hope they try to be as objective as possible.

    Comment by JRB — September 9, 2022 @ 10:14 am

    • JRB really? Said the guy most likely to make unnecessary personal attacks…

      I know who it is…

      Likes donuts, so overweight
      Uses the word “equity” a lot, so progressive
      Ignores parent oriented questions to focus on wonky policy, so political Insider, not likely a parent
      Knows and agrees with Lauren, hence this column
      Supports one school board progressive candidate

      And I agree with one poster- why take the time to respond?

      Comment by Not a mystery — September 9, 2022 @ 12:23 pm

      • I was thinking the Zac same thing.

        Comment by Dr X — September 9, 2022 @ 12:58 pm

        • I’m sure glad I don’t run any local online communities and get blamed for every possible thing with a hefty side order of body shaming! Though the amount of butthurt he’s able to deliver to those who truly deserve it is pretty impressive, I’ve gotta say!

          Comment by Rod — September 9, 2022 @ 1:32 pm

      • Sorry but I don’t know what personal attacks you are referencing. I do call out Trish a lot on her political stances and her unfortunate conducts in public (such as screaming and harassing voters and campaign workers – she did that, and making a factual statement is not a personal attack). Sorry that you are unable to differentiate “holding politicians accountable for these votes they made” from “personal.” You shouldn’t make a weight slur, by the way.

        Comment by JRB — September 9, 2022 @ 1:26 pm

      • “Ignores parent oriented questions to focus on wonky policy”

        Apparently you’re focusing on the school candidates. If that is the case, what is “wonky” about the questions. What would you ask? My guess, something like, “How will you better involve parents in AUDS policy?” But aren’t parents voting in this election? How about sharing their views on key issues before they vote?

        In any case, “wonky policy” is a weird statement. The antonyms of “wonky” include one who is a goof-off, slacker, or underachiever. We need folks who actually understand what’s going on. I immediately wondered which candidates could understand the questions and answer with logical reasons – regardless of whether I agreed.

        Comment by not a twitterer — September 10, 2022 @ 9:18 am


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