Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 1, 2012

All the things I could do If I had a little money

Filed under: Alameda, City Council — Tags: , , — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

In general I’m very supportive of campaign finance reform, after all it’s a shame when the viability of a candidate has more to do with the size of his/her war chest than their actual abilities as an elected official.     As I mentioned last week, tonight Councilmember Doug deHaan has asked that a Campaign Finance Reform ordinance by the Sunshine Task Force be brought back for action, but in addition to that he threw in some nonsense about analyzing that against the 2010 election.

While the Campaign Finance Reform ordinance takes steps in the right direction, it certainly has a long way to go to address some of the largest complaints about previous campaign contributions in previous elections.   One is the issue of Political Action Committees spending an unlimited amount of money for or against certain candidates and the second is the amount of money spent — or rather loaned — by a candidate to their own campaigns.    Both of the issues are problematic and nothing in the Campaign Finance Reform really does anything to address it.   Not because the Sunshine Task Force didn’t want to address it, but because there probably is no legal way to curtail these two big elephants in the campaign room.

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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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February 18, 2011

Prove yourself

So one thing I failed to touch on in yesterday’s fact check of the East Bay Express article on Alameda is that the main thesis of the piece is flawed.

It sort of came up during the fact check around Dennis Evanvosky’s claim about the spirit of the Alameda charter and the supposition that Alameda has a “strong city manager” form of government, but let’s examine this further in light of the main thrust of the article, which was summed up in the subheader:

Some island residents worry that a new three–member council majority intends to undermine the city’s strong–city–manager form of government.

First of all, as I stated yesterday, this notion of a “strong-city-manager” form of government seems to have taken off during the Ann Marie Gallant regime as Interim City Manager.   Alameda has had the same form of government since the City Charter was written but at least during the Debra Kurita regime, you never heard anyone suggest that we had a “strong-city-manager” system in place.   As I wrote the other day:

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February 17, 2011

Express yourself

Oh lord.  Where to start.   For those that don’t read the East Bay Express, count yourself among the lucky ones.   For those that do, I’m sure that the most recent Alameda narrative that the EBX has decided to run with is no surprise.   Riddled with factual errors and conclusions based on fairly little information, it is what we have all come to expect from a paper that relishes jumping to conclusions about a city they  know so little about.

Let me just dive right in and perform some fact checking and point out that the “article” crossed the line from reporting to commentary right off the bat.

A series of investigations, recriminations, and apparent reprisals have left Alameda government in disarray… The situation has undermined the faith Alameda voters place in their elected officials.

First of all, while a lot of Alamedans are tapped in politically and get politically involved.  Most Alamedans don’t care what’s is going on in City Hall.  You stop 10 people on Park Street and ask who “Ann Marie Gallant” is or ask then to name all five members on the City Council and few could probably answer the question, unless standing in front of the Civic Center Garage where the plaque hangs listing four of the five current members.    So the notion that the “faith” of Alameda voters in their elected officials has been undermined is a really huge leap based on sourced information that is not made clear in the reporting.

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December 21, 2010

Changing of the guard

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Election — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

Tonight’s City Council meeting marks the first meeting for the new City Council, which looks very similar to the old City Council with the exception of the addition of Rob Bonta and now Marie Gilmore will be running the meetings as opposed to Beverly Johnson.

Interestingly enough, on the agenda before the ceremonial thanking of the outgoing Councilmembers and swearing in of the new Councilmembers is a whole packed agenda for the old City Council to take care of business before the new Council is sworn in.    Nothing too exciting other than the extension of MOUs between the City and a few bargaining units.

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November 24, 2010

Running the numbers

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Election — Tags: , — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

One last meaty blog post before the holiday weekend.

It is unsurprising given the results of the election and the shocking win of Jean Quan in Oakland, that some Alamedans that appeared to have not supported the ultimate victor in the Mayor’s race are now clamoring for an adoption of Ranked Choice Voting in order to better capture the true sentiment of who Alamedans want in their elected office.

The unspoken is that, with Ranked Choice Voting, Alameda would have seen a result like Oakland where the primary vote getter would not be the ultimate winner once the ranking reallocated lower placing candidates’ votes.

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November 12, 2010

Total recount?

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Election — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

It appears that in almost all of the Alameda County Ranked Choice Voting races, a winner has been declared.    Jean Quan is, shockingly enough, the newest Mayor of Oakland.   While there were reports that Don Perata was going to file a lawsuit over the whole business, it appears that he has conceded and has put the kibosh on talk of filing any lawsuits.   Steven Cassidy of San Leandro also used RCV to rise to victory, beating out the current Mayor.  Jerry McNerney in a closely contested election has declared victory as of Wednesday as well, saying that given the spread of votes, his lead is “insurmountable.”

What was interesting about the McNerney press release was the analysis of the outstanding ballots.  For Alameda County he claims that there are only about 200 ballots left to count as of Wednesday.   I’m not sure if that is the count for just the areas of Alameda County that is in the 11th District (Dublin and Pleasanton), but if it is, then there would be substantially less than 200 ballots left for Alameda too given the voting populations in both those cities exceed that of Alameda.   Even as of Wednesday night’s update, Lena Tam still maintained a slim lead over Beverly Johnson for the second place (and second four-year seat) spot.    I have to say that while I love absentee voting, this is one of the downsides of wide spread absentee voting, it takes forever to actually get the results in really close races.

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November 4, 2010

Postmortem

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Election — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:18 am

follow-up to the survey that Mike McMahon (big congratulations to Mike M. on his re-election by the way!) posted, the winner has yet to be determined.    But it appears that the majority of people who took the survey pretty much nailed the outcome for the top spots, with the exception of the City Council race where outgoing Mayor Beverly Johnson did a lot better than most people had anticipated.

The finalish numbers are available on Alameda County’s website, there was really no movement made, it looks like the final top spot finishers will stay the same.

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November 3, 2010

A new day has come

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Election — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

I can’t say enough how relieved I am that the election has finished. Personally, this felt like the longest, most drawn out campaign ever and I’m glad it’s over. So inevitably we’ll be getting the spin about the effect of the SunCal/Taxpayers Network money and how that clearly made a difference because the voting populace are sheep and clearly can’t think for themselves without getting distracted by glossy mailers and push polls. I’m just going to point out that had the election turned out differently we’d be hearing about how smart the voting populace is and how they weren’t going to be bought off by glossy mailers and push polls.

The spin all depends on how well your candidate did I suppose, but congratulations nonetheless to Mayor Marie Gilmore and newly elected Vice Mayor Rob Bonta.   Beverly Johnson will be rejoining the Council as a Councilmember and Lena Tam held on to third place and should be taking over Marie Gilmore vacated seat when she moved up to the top post.

And Margie Sherratt surprised no one by winning handedly over all others and Mike McMahon also was re-elected to his seat by a fair margin and declared victory early last night on Twitter.

Also after being uncontested for so long, Carole Ward Allen loses her seat as Bart Director to Robert Raburn who ran a terrific campaign.

Technically these tallies aren’t official yet according to Alameda County ROV, the only race that could be at issue is the City Council, but I think the spread is wide enough that a recount  would be a monetary gamble.

But back to the business of what’s going on with the City.   Did I mention how glad I am this is all over?

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November 2, 2010

Who’s gonna run this town tonight

Filed under: Election — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 7:18 pm

Open thread, post your election thoughts here!   Election results can be found at Alameda ROV website. National coverage here.

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