Letters to the Editor
It seems to me that the mayoral election this year has a lot to do with development. I don’t claim to know which way the election will go. But if the people select Trish Spencer over the incumbent Marie Gilmore that suggests that the people would like the City Council’s development strategy to take a different direction.
I imagine in that case the city would work it all out. I was curious, though, about the plans for City Council to approve agreements with developers for Alameda Point Sites A and B this November.
Clearly that would be disingenuous if the election gives us a new mayor and councilmembers. But I see on the city’s website that the Nov. 5 City Council meeting has been canceled and the agendas for subsequent meetings are not yet set. That’s heartening. I can’t be sure what to make of it, but I’d like to take it as a sign that you are all willing to delay irrevocable decisions until the City Council has the trust of the voting public. It would be a respectful course of action, and I’d really appreciate it.
Four years ago I was at the City of Alameda Democratic Club headquarters watching election returns. That was the year Republican Rick Scott, whose healthcare company paid huge fines for Medicare fraud, was elected governor of Florida.
Comments about his election were how could Florida voters vote that crook into office? Well, what do you expect, it’s Florida?
Now many of those same people are voting for Stewart Chen, convicted of insurance fraud. If he is elected I guess we can hear, what do you expect? It’s Alameda. What a bunch of hypocrites.
Once again it’s time to be bombarded with mailings from groups we have never heard of requesting our vote for certain candidates. Who are these groups and what interest do they have with our fair city? In the past 35-plus years that I have lived in Alameda, I’ve seen remarkable changes in our local election process.
Since the 1997 closure of Naval Air Station, developers have flocked to Alameda in search of their golden eggs. We have let them and the firefighters’ union greatly influence our elections.
The Firefighters Union doesn’t even attempt to disguise this activity, where developers work around the contribution disclosure process by sending out direct mailings via political action committees, making it difficult track down where the money is coming from. I have listed the major contributors for the last two official city elections (2010 and 2012). Please look it over and ask yourself: Why have these special interest groups spent so much money and what did they get in return?
Mayor Marie Gilmore: total 2010 contributions — $55,807. Major contributors: Alameda Firefighters Association $13,300; Christopher and Trudi Seiwald (CEO of Perforce Software and spouse) $10,000; Yacht broker John Berry, Alameda Gateway Ltd. $2,500.
Assemblyman Rob Bonta 2010 $55,565. Major contributors: Alameda Firefighters Association, IAFF Local 689, $10,000; Friends of Rob Bonta listed as California’s Fair Political Practice Commission # 1308537, since dissolved and could not find individual contributors’ information) $4,312
Please note that City Council candidate Jim Oddie is Bonta’s district director.
Councilman Stewart Chen 2012 $31,630 (includes mailings). Major contributor: Alameda Firefighter’s Association. IAFF Local 689. $10,500 (includes $500 in money and $10,000 in mailings);
In addition to these listed 2010 contributions given to the above mentioned candidates, the Alameda Firefighters association sent out $10,207 worth of mailers supporting their 2010 candidate choices along with $9,385 in mailers opposing Doug deHaan for Mayor. These special interest groups (major contributors) have done nothing illegal.
Our politicians in Washington and Sacramento designed our electoral system, so that big money can get their way. It’s time for Alameda to let these groups know that we can see through their actions.
Please join me in taking back our city with votes for public servants who truly represent the public’s interest.