Election Recommendations

Election Day is just barely two weeks away. With the national election seeming to be over as far as California’s concerned (does anyone think Obama or Stark aren’t going to be elected from California?) Let’s not foget that there are a number of local races that are incredibly important and some, like Prop 8, are extremely close and need our votes. (that is if you’re voting “NO” – J). 

Bullet votingIn both the council and school board races, Alamedans get to vote for multiple candidates. Bullet voting, voting for less than the full number of choices (e.g. opting to choose for only one councilperson or two school board members), is effective if you really have no preferences to fill all the spots. It can strengthen the position of your preferred candidate by not accidentally aiding a candidate you don’t care about. However, if you do have a disctinct feeling for multiple candidates then voting for a full complement of them makes the most sense.
Alameda City Council (vote for two):

Marie Gilmore: Gilmore’s 5 years on the council have been marked by intelligent, thoughtful consideration of the issues. Marie has a strong understanding of the role of the city council in Alameda and is a solid voice for reasoned support of positions. Gilmore’s ability to make tough decisions in the face of difficult circumstances makes here exactly the type of leader the council needs in these trying economic times. Gilmore has the ability to zero in on the issues and facts that are most pertinent to the decisions before the council and ask all the right questions. Anyone who has watched multiple council meetings can appreciate her quiet leadership, a rare quality, on the council.

Tracy Jensen: Jensen has been elected to the School Board twice, first in 2002 and again in 2004. Jensen has worked as an advocate for the entire district, and showed the ability to work hard for positions she thought were important without losing sight of the overall goals. She voted against the version of Measure H that was placed on the ballot but also worked to support the measure once the board had adopted a final draft.

School Board:
First off, the idea that what’s happening with school finances is somehow caused by widespread mismanagement of public resources has been widely disproven. But it bears keeping in mind that A) the incumbents are not to blame and B) whoever is elected is coming into a years long situation in which they will be asked to slowly dismantle the Alameda Unified School District unless something happens at the state level. That said, I think there are three candidates who will have the experience and the history to show that they will help AUSD move through the coming turmoil.

David Forbes: Forbes has been on the board for the past four years and done a fantastic job of balancing the needs of the district as a whole (Equity) with the individual needs of each individual child (Excellence). He has arrived well prepared and knowledgeable about the issues and he deserves reelection. ‘Nuff said.

Ron Mooney: Two and a half years ago, when the second to last round of education cuts cme up, it was Mooney who rallied the troops, started a process that is continuing, for taking legal action against the State for inequality in funding! His first meeting had every major state level representative in attendance (not including the Governor). Mooney understands the difference between goals and a plan. Goals are where you want to get, plans are how you do it. I believe strongly that Mooney will help keep the focus on reaching our goals despite what promise to be non-fun, chaotic times at AUSD.

Neil Tam: As a former principal of Washington School, Tam is well aware of the many issues in the district, including having schools that perform well, but are not perceived to be doing so. Tam would bring a degree of knowledge from the inside to the board, while having a desire to hold the administration’s feet to the fire. Despite being slightly unknown, Tam has impressed the people who have had a chance to meet him and listen to him talk about the district he wants to help lead.

AC Transit Director At-Large:

Chris Peeples there are very few people in the Bay Area who understand Transit better than Peeples. He has shown himself to be very open to listening to our community, supporting many transit improvements and reductions in service cuts during the past tumltuous years. If Peeples is not re-elected, it will be an outright travesty.

City Measures:
Measure PReluctant Yes. When I first heard about Measure P, the increase in the transfer tax, which is paid at the time of buying/selling a house, my gut reaction was the same as the Alameda Journal: “We should spread the tax around as a parcel tax or sales tax.” Heck, if people want to save Police and Fire services and Parks services, they should pay for it, right? But the fact is, Alameda County already has higher than typical sale tax, so the city of Alameda going highter than our neighbors wouldn’t be a great long-term strategy. And Parcel taxes require a ridiculously high 2/3 super majority to pass, thus making the idea of “democracy” quaint. In the end, Alameda voters can vote to support raising taxes on property owners, or they can vote to cut services. This is what’s at stake on November 4.
Also, the fact that the “no of P” campaign is being run by a self-interested group—realtors—who haven’t really spelled out why their claims are realistic, they just keep saying things without any back up. Given that many cities have raised their transfer taxes before, you would think that there exists a mountain of data supporting the idea that increases in the transfer tax will reduce home sales. Since it hasn’t been presented, I’ll have to say I don’t think it exists. Cutting services certainly isn’t going to maintain property values.
Measures Q-X: Yes across the board. These are so perfunctory, that they don’t really warrant a write up. Three words: “Secret Police Fund.”
County Measures:
Measure WW: Yes, money for parks. Continues a tax that property owners are already paying. EB Regional Parks are a jewel, we need to keep ‘em funded.
Measure VV: Heck Yes! Anyone following state funding knows that the state has notoriously raided transit funding oer the last deceade in order to keep up the appearance that we are balancing the state budget (Ha!). if this doesn’t pass, expect increased fares and reduced service at the exact moment that ridership is starting to make gains because of gas prices…less people on the bus means more people on the roads.
State Propositions (Big Yeses only):
Prop 1A: Yes – without investment in long-term strategies, the state will not be able to meet it’s future transportation needs. Prop 1a does not allow the state to issue bonds until the private sector money, needed to make this project move forward, is secured. Now is the time for High Speed Rail in America.
Prop 2: Yes – Personally, I think Prop 2 represents a lot of what’s wrong with the initiative process, this is a vote that should be made by the legislature. That said, I think that since it’s on the ballot, not passing it will be used to keep animal cruelty off the books in the legislature for many years to come. Hold your nose and vote “Yes.”
Prop 11: Yes – While it won’t have a huge immediate effect on districting, it’s time to take steps to create a fairer process in who gets elected and how. This is a good first one.
Special shout-out for NO on Prop 8. All the rest of the candidates and issues on the ballot may not set your world on fire, but this one’s big. Government should not be in the business of blessing some people’s unions and not others.
Recommend against the “environmental” propositions and “crime” propositions, they don’t pass the smell test. They either will cause big problems for the state budget, or will have the opposite effect that their supporters claim. Vote them all down.
Superior Court Judge: Hayashi
EBMUD – Doug Linney – Linney increased EBMUD’s investment in renewable energy.  After the energy crisis in 2001, he sought to increase our own supply of energy to ensure we wouldn’t be affected by electricity shortages and price shocks as well as to decrease our greenhouse gas emissions.  He was instrumental in bringing solar energy to one of our water treatment plants and generating nearly all of the electricity at our wastewater treatment plant from the methane gas that is a by-product of the processes there.  Linney succesfully led the charge for EBMUD to become the first water utility in the state to join the California Climate Registry.
Non Alameda Races (tell your friends):
Oakland City Council At-Large: Rebecca Kaplan
El Cerrito City Council: Ann Cheng
Update: post edited to correct Spelling of Dennis Hayashi