Decision 2010: Your election cheat sheet (mayor’s race)
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One of the most oft-asked questions I’ve fielded over the past few weeks is who to vote for in our upcoming, local races. And while I don’t yet have the editorial board in place that I hoped would allow The Island to provide endorsements for this election, I can give you a quick rundown on the candidates’ experience, where they stand on local issues, what they’ve been up to this campaign season and who’s funding their campaigns. So if you haven’t voted yet and want to know who’s who on the ballot, here’s a cheat sheet for those local races. And if you’re looking for additional information, check out our Decision 2010 campaign page for our earlier campaign coverage, candidate questionnaires and links to candidate forum videos and more.
Today’s race: Mayor
Five people are running for mayor this November 2: sitting Vice Mayor Doug deHaan and council members Marie Gilmore and Frank Matarrese, former councilman Tony Daysog and professional clown Kenneth Kahn.
Doug DeHaan: Currently the Island’s vice mayor, deHaan has been on the City Council since 2004 and before that, chaired Alameda’s Economic Development Commission and its Base Reuse Advisory Group. When asked by The Island what he thought was the biggest issue facing Alameda he listed several, including moving forward on Alameda Point, the city’s stagnant property tax revenues, unfunded retiree benefits for the city’s employees, and maintaining the financial viability – and status quo on the course configurations – at the Chuck Corica Golf Complex. DeHaan was SunCal’s earliest opponent on the City Council, and he has said he is “leaning toward” supporting a local development corporation to redevelop Alameda Point. DeHaan also told The Island that the city needs to build on commercial, retail and housing opportunities in the Harbor Bay Business Park, on Park and Webster Streets, on the Northern Waterfront, at Alameda Landing and elsewhere. And he listed a number of things he thinks the city can consider to lower its future pension liability, including increasing the retirement age for public employees and lowering the percentage salary they get for each year served, creating an upfront pension surcharge for each new employee or increasing employee contributions. On the campaign trail: The local firefighters union sent a letter to voters accusing deHaan of claiming to support redevelopment of the Alameda Theatre and development projects at Harbor Bay Business Park, Alameda Towne Centre and Bridgeside shopping center when he had cast votes against the projects (he denied the firefighters’ claims and staged a protest in front of Fire Station One a few days after the letter was sent). He has also been attacked in mailers from a group called Taxpayer Network, whose donors are unlisted, over his support for Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant, and a crudely made flyer accusing him of being a racist. Supporters, though, include a long list of local residents. Who’s paying for his campaign: DeHaan’s money has come from local residents.
Tony Daysog: Daysog, an urban planner, served for a decade on Alameda’s City Council, including two stints as vice mayor. His resume includes a year on Alameda’s Economic Development Commission and stints on Oakland’s base reuse authority and Alameda’s Fiscal Sustainability Committee. He said he’d offer fresh leadership and his urban planing background toward finding the right private developer to rebuild Alameda Point so that it’s back on our tax rolls. Daysog is advocating a plan similar to SunCal’s, but with about half the housing the Point’s former master developer wanted to build. He would also seek increase opportunities for local businesses, including extending city contracts and seeking out federal loans for small businesses, and would seek to bring in “value-adding” industries with high-paying jobs. To deal with unfunded pension liabilities, Daysog said he would create a two-tiered system with 401(k)-style benefits for new employees, and place city employees on furlough for five to 10 days a year to pay down future liabilities. And he said he would support a school parcel tax if the school board puts one on the ballot. On the campaign trail: Besides Alameda Point, Daysog has been vocal on two issues over the past few months: City officials’ decision to award “branding” contracts to off-Island firms (Daysog thought local firms should have been given a shot at the contracts) and Councilman Frank Matarrese’s proposal to extend a foreign trade zone onto Alameda Point, which Daysog said he fears will bring low-value trucking and warehousing operations to the Point. Who’s paying for his campaign: Daysog’s campaign has been largely self-financed.
Marie Gilmore: Gilmore, an attorney, has been on the City Council since 2003, when she was appointed to serve the remainder of the late Al DeWitt’s term. Her time on the council was preceded by stints on the Planning Board, which she chaired, and Alameda’s Recreation and Parks Commission, which she also served as president. Gilmore told The Island she thinks the fate of Alameda’s schools are the city’s most pressing priority and if elected, she would make maintaining schools a top city priority and would support an “equitable” parcel tax. For Alameda Point, she’d seek out consultants to help develop a plan that meets the community’s goals, which she sees as commercial projects, open space, recreational amenities and a “sensible” housing plan, then seek out the money to make it happen. Like Daysog, she would seek to fill retail and commercial vacancies with local, independent businesses and to provide more incentives and assistance for those businesses. She said she would also seek to negotiate with public safety to reduce the city’s future pension liability. On the campaign trail: Gilmore has been attacked by local groups who have claimed she would restore SunCal as Alameda Point developer, though she has said that is not the case. She has received endorsements from the Alameda Journal and the Alameda County and Alameda City Democratic parties, the Alameda Labor Council, Alameda firefighters’ union and several other groups, along with former state Sen. Don Perata, Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker and Alameda County Supervisor-elect Wilma Chan. Who’s paying for her campaign: Gilmore has received checks from Alameda’s firefighters union, which gave her $5,000, and John Beery, a local landowner and yacht merchant, and also from Oakland City Attorney John Russo.
Kenneth Kahn: Perennial candidate Kenneth “Kenny the Clown” Kahn didn’t respond to The Island’s campaign questionnaire and hasn’t submitted candidate statements for Alameda County’s voter information pamphlet or the League of Women Voters’ SmartVoter website. A link to his website didn’t work.
Frank Matarrese: Matarrese is a business owner who has served two terms on the City Council, and has also served on the city’s Planning Board and Economic Development Commission. He said maintaining public safety and other vital city services within the city’s budget is Alameda’s most pressing issue. Matarrese was the first and loudest advocate for a local development corporation to redevelop Alameda Point. He wants that effort to focus on light industrial development, to be pushed forward by the creation of a foreign trade zone and new leasing policies intended to attract more businesses. He wants to increase Alameda’s industrial base to bolster the local economy, a goal he said can be attained by also maintaining local schools and keeping Alameda Hospital open. And he said that if elected, he would make negotiating with employee unions to reduce the city’s future pension liability a top priority. On the campaign trail: Matarrese made headlines earlier this month with claims that SunCal had threatened to get involved in the election if he didn’t vote to keep them on as master developer for the Point and that if he wasn’t elected mayor, others on the council might bring the developer back to town. His opponents and fellow council members denied the claims, saying they wouldn’t bring SunCal back to town. But SunCal sent a mailer and broadcast television ads attacking Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant in the days that followed Matarrese’s statements, and a SunCal affiliate has since sent out campaign contribution checks to local candidates. He also came under fire in a mailing from Taxpayer Network, a group whose donors are anonymous. He has been endorsed by state Senator Sandré Swanson and Alameda County Supervisors Keith Carson and Nate Miley. Who’s paying for his campaign: Matarrese has taken in thousands of dollars from local trade unions and from a local attorney whose firm represents unions and employees, and $5,000 from Swanson, who endorsed his run.