Blogging Bayport Alameda

April 23, 2012

Do you have an opinion

So remember a couple of years ago when some non-incumbent candidates running for political office were barred from participating in the Mayor’s 4th of July Parade if they didn’t censor their entries?

For those new to the site or have short memories, let me refresh it for you.   This was during a hot election year with a lot at stake.   The sitting Mayor at that time, Beverly Johnson, was terming out and so there was an open Mayor’s seat and since another City Councilmember was also termed out there was at least two — if one of the sitting City Councilmembers won the Mayors race — open City Council seats.  Suffice it to say, the stakes were pretty high in 2010.

The City Attorney, at that time, Teresa Highsmith, released an opinion that declared that since the City was providing funding to the 4th of July Parade that the Parade Committee could restrict the entries:

The Parade Committee of the Mayor’s 4th of July Parade may restrict entries which advocate the election or reelection of a particular candidate or advocate for or against a local ballot measure, on the basis that such political advocacy is not consistent with the purpose of the traditional home-town, family celebration purpose of the Parade.

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July 29, 2010

Whatever you do don’t put the blame on you

The attention on both Alameda Point and, what I guess is now being called “Tamgate” has pushed Parade-Gate into the sidelines, but it’s still an interesting issue in light of the fact that no one wants to take responsibility for who asked for the legal opinion to be issued by the City Attorney.   Councilmember Marie Gilmore has asked that the issue of the parade and contributions from the City to the parade be agendized so that the City Council can talk about the…um…conflicts that arose for this last 4th of July Parade.

I posted this in the comments section a while back, but for those that don’t read the comments after a certain number of posts would have missed the link to the KPIX coverage of Parade-Gate.

According to the piece, Mayor Beverly Johnson told the reporter this:

The Parade Committee asked for an opinion from the City Attorney and the City Attorney’s opinion was that it was certainly appropriate to not allow candidates campaigning in the parade.  And I agree with that because we want to keep it a community event, not a campaigning event.

Which is in stark contrast to Councilmember Marie Gilmore’s position on the issue — as well as the two average Alamedans interviewed for the piece.  Including one woman who said,

I would be spurred to do something like obviously cover up the word so it was obvious what it was covering up and kind of thumb my nose at it.

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July 2, 2010

Show must go on?

Happy Fourth of July weekend folks!

Don’t forget that the big parade is this Sunday, so come out and enjoy it since this year, Alameda, you have “saved” the parade through a generous donation from the City coffers to the Parade Committee, who, according to the City Manager’s office, would have had to cancel the parade if it were not for the generous donation.   Of course this is in addition to the waived fees and police time, etc and so forth that is already donated.

Which begs the question if the Parade Committee couldn’t raise the cash, should the parade have gone on? Lots of cities have cancelled their fireworks displays because they couldn’t find the funding.   Including, by the way, Jack London Square, which is a bit of a bummer since those were easily viewed from my neck of the woods.

This year, I’ll be staking out a better location for parade viewing, the end of the parade is not an optimal spot as most folks are pretty tired by the very end.   And I’m secretly hoping (okay really hoping) that the two candidates (and the other political groups) will challenge the City Attorney’s opinion and the decision by the Parade Committee and just carry their campaign signs anyway.    A bit of civil disobedience is good to remind our leaders (particularly the unidentified leader that asked that this opinion be issued in the first place) that the 4th of July is not just about “traditional home-town family celebration” parades and apple pie and fireworks, but about celebrating the Independence of this great nation of ours.

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June 29, 2010

Retract!

So, although I had intended to write about the School Board meeting tonight because it really is super important, I just can’t get off this whole Parade-gate thing.   So, if you want to know all the grim depressing details both Susan Davis and Michele Ellson are all over the issue.   To essentially sum up the aftermath of Measure E are cuts, closures, and cuts.  It’s not going to be pretty and the first closures are due  in 2011-2012 with the secondary schools and the elementary schools come later.

But I’m not ready to face that reality quite yet, so I’m going to write about the parade issue again.  So it turns out it was more than one candidate whose “Vote for Me!” entry was declined.   Yesterday, Tony Daysog issued a press release saying:

Last week I spoke with the Chairperson of the Mayor’s Fourth of July Parade, Barbara Price, who relayed to me the news that campaigning would not be allowed in the parade per a memo issued by the City Attorney.  Begun in the 1970s, the City of Alameda’s Fourth of July parade is a much beloved city and Bay Area event, where ordinary citizens and organizations walk through town celebrating the birth of our nation.

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June 28, 2010

Management has the right to refuse service to anyone

File this one under: you’ve got to be <expletive> kidding me.

I recently learned that a candidate running for City Council attempted to walk as part of the 4th of July parade this year.  He was not allowed to do so.

Why, you may be asking?

Because the City Attorney says so.

That’s right, this year there are limitations on free speech with regards to Alameda’s 4th of July parade.   I would be laughing my ass off at the irony of this if I weren’t so outraged by the notion that we are arbitrarily excluding certain groups because the City Attorney says it’s okay.

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