Letters to the Editor
Now that we are approaching another local election, it’s time to decide what type of people we need to direct our city’s affairs. Clearly we want people who will act in the interest of the community rather than for their own personal agenda.
We know that many people who run for office do so, at least in part, for personal and selfish reasons. But there is a spectrum. Some office seekers lean more toward working in the public interest, while others are in it almost entirely for their own benefit.
Based on his previous performance as a City Councilmember, Tony Daysog has shown that he is one who truly works toward doing what is best for the community. He is intelligent and free of political influence. He is willing and able to look at the merits of each issue rationally, objectively and independently and come to a decision accordingly.
Robert Matz, a newcomer to local politics, has shown in debates and statements that he has similar attributes of intelligence, independence and objectivity, and that his main interest is in promoting the well-being of the community.
I am confident that adding these two gentlemen to the Council will be beneficial to the city, and we will be able to put Charter violations and City Manager fiascoes behind us.
I have been both a landlord and an evicted tenant, simultaneously. From my dual perspective Measure K is an attempt by Alameda landlords to lock in their victory over renters, Measure L over Measure M, in the last election cycle. By eliminating the flexibility that City Council presently enjoys in amending the resulting law, Measure K would transform Alameda’s rent control from an adjustable work in progress into an inflexible and blind section of the City Charter.
Given the complexity of crafting fair and effective rent control legislation and the need to adjust to changing demographic and economic circumstances, I foresee unpredictable and unintended consequences — a lot of pain.
My responses to a few claims of a trusted friend who supports K:
- It was offensive that City Council reviewed and tried to amend Ordinance 3148 (affirmed by Measure L1) only four months after the vote of support for L1.
Response: It was four months from the L1 victory, but 12 months from the adoption of 3148. This puts their action right on schedule for an annual review pursuant to the very language of 3148. One can argue that it was impolitic, but I don’t think it was improper.
- You can’t get everything you want in a rent-control law, compromise is necessary.
Response: I don’t think rent control works without both just-cause eviction and caps on rent increases. If either has no teeth, then properly behaving tenants will be pushed out when landlords see an opportunity to take advantage of heavily skewed market conditions, as we currently have in the Bay Area.
- Measure K guarantees rent control by putting it in the City Charter, and if Alamedans want to change it, they can do so by referendum.
Response: I am skeptical that voter referenda express the will of the people. I trust Alamedans’ knowledge of candidates for City Council more than their knowledge of propositions. I trust Councilmembers and processes more than the targeted propositions and attendant media campaigns crafted by lawyers and financed by people with big bucks. Candidate campaigns and proposition campaigns can both make distorted claims, but the greater problem is, in my view, with the latter. As ever, follow the money.
My two bits and a No K.
On Monday, Oct. 21, Alameda voters received a mailing from the Alameda Firefighters Association PAC (FAP) directed against the A Better Alameda PAC, (ABA), its contributors and its endorsed Council candidates, Tony Daysog and Robert Matz. Alameda voters may not have realized that this mailer was published by FAP, because the wording identifying them is literally hidden in the bottom-right corner of the back side of the mailing in clear violation of the California Fair Political Practices Law.
I am the treasurer of ABA. I think that negative advertising plays a legitimate role in comparing and contrasting endorsed candidates from opposition candidates and identifying the source of funding. ABA has published and will continue to publish such advertising. However, the FAP mailing goes beyond that role to making severely exaggerated and downright untrue statements that cross the line between negative politics and descend to plain old dirty politics.
The back side of the mailer claims that the people behind ABA are Realtors, investors, lawyers, or in construction who may profit from expensive housing and are opposed to affordable housing, and bigots who called an Alameda City Councilmember a “whore.”
Go to the home page of our website at abetteralameda.org and read the five-point mission statement. The fifth point of which states that the ABA is seeking candidates who, “Support changes in city housing ordinances that will accelerate the construction of all levels of affordable housing.”
On June 20, I chaired a publicly advertised meeting for anyone interested in forming a PAC. During the public discussion, an individual who I do not know suggested the need for door-to-door contact with the voters. In the midst of that comment, he, without warning, made the “whore” remark. I immediately cut him off, stated that this was not an appropriate comment and moved on to the next speaker. The reaction of those in attendance was stunned silence. The next morning I emailed the offended Councilmember my regrets over the incident. The individual who made the comment is not a member of ABA, or a contributor. To label ABA or our contributors as bigots based on this incident is outrageous!
All our contributors are Alameda residents. Some are realtors, lawyers or work in construction. All of them are investors, because they have all invested their hard-earned money in our cause. If you go to our website, you will find a link to the public disclosure of all of our contributors of $100 or more and their occupations. Some of them may be friends and neighbors. A small number of them list their occupation as lawyer, realtor or contractor, all honorable vocations.
The front of the mailer says we have a secret plan for a “City Hall Power Grab.” Our plan is no secret. It seeks to replace the current majority on City Council, all of whom have a history of receiving significant financial support from the fire and police unions and who have rewarded that support with favorable actions that are not in the interests of Alameda residents. Our new majority will consist of three candidates: Trish Spencer, Tony Daysog and Robert Matz. They have pledged not to accept financial support from these unions and will deal with them at arms-length instead of holding their hands.