Attack Mailers Target Sitting Council Member

Attack Mailers Target Sitting Council Member


Slate of candidates combine efforts in attempt to unseat former Vice Mayor

A negative political attack ad mailer against Councilmember Tony Daysog has created a bit of a stir less than three weeks from the election.

The mailer has two ads, the first shows excerpts from planning board member David Burton’s Sept. 14 letter in the Alameda Journal. Burton was critical of Daysog for not supporting the Planning Board’s decision to allow an assisted living facility be built near the Oakland Airport.  

The Planning Board affirmed the Westmont of Harbor Bay Assisted Living facility meets the zoning and environmental requirements, and city staff recommended approval on June 22. However, Mayor Trish Spencer challenged the Planning Board’s decision and summoned a City Council review. Daysog, Vice Mayor Frank Matarrese and Spencer opposed the Planning Board’s decision at the review, which took place at the Sept. 6 City Council meeting. 

This prompted Burton to write in the "My Word" piece “Daysog’s performance bordered on the irrational; he misstated facts and used irrelevant data.” This was used in the negative attack ad. “It was a clumsy effort at finding a problem when there was none. One was left wondering why?” Even though two others voted against the Planning Board, Burton singled out Daysog.

On top of the excerpts stood the caption “Why Did Tony Daysog Vote against Alameda’s Frail Elderly?” Underneath “Vote against Tony Daysog.”

The second image is cut in half with the left half reading “Tony Daysog: voted against Alameda senior center serving the frail elderly, voted for enormous hotel near same location ignoring neighborhood concerns, doesn’t support seniors.” The left half of the second mailer is an endorsement for councilmember-hopeful Malia Vella. 

The mailer is not entirely accurate. The council did not vote on whether they favor or oppose the assisted living facility, but whether to uphold the Planning Board decision that the site is appropriate for an assisted living facility. Councilmember Daysog said he was concerned with “placing residential units in an area where the city has an agreement with Oakland Airport saying there would be no residential units.” Daysog was also concerned with the health impacts the high decibel levels in the area would have on the residents of the proposed facility. The location is under a flight path that is due to have an increased number of flight patterns.

“With so much money involved even in local races here in Alameda, there’s going to be even more of this kind of campaign literature,” said Daysog about the negative attack mailers. “Residents have to choose if they want to go with a person like me who doesn’t take special interest campaign money or do they want to go with over-the-top, negative campaigning bought and paid for with wads and wads of special interest money. Special interests like developers have contributed tens of thousands of dollars into the coffers of the organization (‘UMA’) behind the negative mailer.”

Daysog is correct about the mailer’s author. Though the mailer supports Vella, her political campaign is not behind the mailer, instead it was created and distributed by Alamedans United, a political action committee (PAC) that supports several candidates for election. The PAC’s full title is “Alamedans United supporting Vella and Ashcraft for City Council, Bratzler for Treasurer, McMahon for Auditor, Harris and Hettich for School Board 2016 sponsored by public safety & labor organizations.”

A further look into Alamedans United finds its address at 2027 Clement Ave. where the Alameda firefighters union, International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) 689, is also located. The union supports Vella. Also, according to the city’s expenditures and contribution reports, Alamedans United has collected $46,500 in political contributions and only $2,000 came from an Alameda entity, the Alameda-based Bay Ship and Yacht Company on Sept. 23. Other contributions include $4,000 from the Hayward Firefighters Political Action Committee (PAC) on Aug. 24, and $5,000 from the San Jose Fire Fighters IAFF Local 230 PAC on Sept. 2. According to Alamedans United’s 496-11 expenditures form, the PAC spent $6,392 on the attack mailer.

To view Alamedans United’s and other organization campaign disclosure statements, visit