Letters to the Editor

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In Alameda, voting can be tricky in itself. The way Alameda runs its multiple-seat elections: when a race has two seats available, you get to cast two votes, and the two candidates with the most votes win.

There’s a trap there. I haven’t yet seen voting math mentioned in these pages, but if voters don’t know how it works, the most popular candidate can come in last place!

Think about a situation where two candidates (call them A and B) are similar, both business-as-usual — and then a third candidate C is different, is trying to change things.

Now let’s say that you and most people like the challenger, C. Out of 10,000 voters, 60 percent want C to win. You and 6,000 other people vote for C. But now you have one vote left and two candidates remain; this is the trap. You find some small reason to prefer one over the other ("the lesser of two evils") and you cast that second vote.

The results are tallied and show that 3,000 people vote for candidates A and C; 3,000 for C and B and 4,000 for A and B. Candidates A and B both garner 7,000 votes, while candidate C collects 6,000 votes.

In this scenario, candidates A and B win, while the candidate for change loses, and it’s business as usual.

So please consider that if you approve of only one candidate, you do more good by not casting your second vote. In this example, it would have gotten C elected. Some folks call it "bullet voting."

This year, Alameda has a pair of two-seat races for the City Council and the school district. There is also a three-seat race for the health district, where this effect is even stronger because a candidate preferred by 70 percent of voters could still come in last. It feels disingenuous to vote according to math, but it really makes a difference.

Travis Wilson


The only way to stop violence against women is for fathers to step up and do their jobs as fathers. Girls learn their sense of self-worth from their fathers. Most fathers behave like their jobs are over when the children are born.

Fathers should play with their daughters from the time the little girls are in the cradle. Play "tea party" with them and entertain them with their dolls and stuffed animals.

Listen to what they say. Let them know that you are there when they want to talk about boys and their problems. Don’t talk down to them. If you have done your jobs right, your daughters will have the self-worth necessary to find the right friends, boyfriends and husbands.

David Maxcy


I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who visited our Fourth Annual Pilgrim Soul Forge Fall Fair this past Aug. 30. We hosted nearly 600 visitors and showcased the wares of a dozen skilled artisans and craft workers. Alameda’s own Doggone Blues Band entertained us and Beulah’s Bean Truck provided the coffee.

Thanks are also in order to Dennis Evanosky of the Alameda Sun for his interest in the Fair, which may be the only East Bay venue for display of fine craft, hand-made foods and urban agriculture information.

See you in 2015, Alameda!

Grant R. Marcoux