Alameda School Board Candidates: Check ‘Em Out

Yes, it is late in the election cycle — and there’s certainly been a lot to keep up with as we get set to vote for a new Alameda mayor and two city councilmembers on November 2.

But if you want to help Alameda schools improve their academic and financial standing, it’s time to make an educated vote for two slots on the school board.

The website of the Alameda Education Foundation is the place to turn: The AEF and Alameda’s PTAs co-hosted a forum for school-board candidates on October 19, and the event can now be viewed online.

Candidates Mike McMahon, Clay Pollard, James Pruitt, Margie Sherrat and Rand Wrobel participated in the discussion.

The videos are very helpful for residents who want to get to know the candidates better before casting their votes. Within the first 10 minutes or so, it becomes very clear what the priorities are for each candidate and what each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses are.

And after all the SunCal-related bickering in town, these discussions are a constructive change of pace.


Alameda Schools: Candidates Forum Set for 10/19

Alameda’s PTAs and the Alameda Education Foundation are co-hosting a forum of candidates running for the Alameda Unified School Board at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, October 19, in the Alameda High School Cafeteria (not in the Little Theater).

Four candidates have confirmed their participation — Mike McMahon, James Pruitt, Margie Sherrat and Rand Wrobel. (Sheri Palmer withdrew from the election on October 12.) There are two open seats on the board to be filled.

According to the AEF, the format for the event will be as follows:

6:30 p.m.: Opening remarks from Christine Strena, president, PTA Council (PTAC); and introduction by Bill Sonneman, president, Alameda Education Foundation (AEF).

6:35 p.m.: Opening statements from the candidates (one minute each).

6:40 – 8:15 p.m.: Candidates respond to five questions from the public; these have already been submitted and reviewed by the AEF and PTAC.

8:20 p.m.: Closing statements of 2 minutes each.

For those who cannot attend the discussion, PTAC says the candidates forum will be video-taped and then posted on the AEF website.

Also, while some candidates for the Alameda City Council and mayor’s office are pledging to support the schools (always a good thing), it is the school board that has the greatest impact on the Island’s educational system.


Another Alameda Robo-Call & School-Board Forums

The Washington, D.C.-based calls (from the 202 area code) came to this blogger on Wednesday and Thursday night.

One question was, “If the elections were held today, who would you vote for as Alameda’s next mayor: Marie Gilmore, Doug DeHaan, Frank Matarrese, Tony Daysog or another candidate?

Another question: “If the elections were held today, who would be your first choice for City Council? Beverly Johnson, Lena Tam, Rob Bonta, Jean Sweeney or another candidate?

And “who would be your second choice for council?….”

(The pronounciation of Matarrese was a bit awkward, so I don’t think he’s paying for the calls.)

The survey also probed how certain my political decisions were — very certain? somewhat certain?

Can voters still be swayed? There’s still a month to go before November 2!

The Alameda political scene has become very frustrating, to say the least. Politicians who promise to (and have shown an ability to) focus more on the fundamentals of city leadership and management should carry more votes than their opponents.

Those who have gotten dragged into the infighting — or appear to be siding more with political interests than with constituents — are not likely to prevail.

There’s also a lot of talk around the Island, of course, about the schools. And the Alameda School Board will have a big impact on how the fiscal constraints will be addressed — and how possible school closures and new parcel tax proposals will be handled.

Two slots will be filled, and the candidates are Mike McMahon, Sheri Palmer, Clay Pollard, James Pruitt, Marjorie “Margie” Sherratt and Rand Wroble.

Forums to meet the school board candidates are taking place on October 5 at Earhart Elementary School (hosted by the Bay Farm, Earhart & Lincoln PTAs) and on October 6 at Washington Elementary School (hosted by the Franklin & Washington PTAs).

The League of Women Voters is also doing a school-board candidate’s forum on at 7:30 p.m. on October 11 at Temple Israel on Bay Farm Island.

Another event is set for 6:30 p.m. on October 19 at the Alameda High School Little Theater on Central Avenue. It has been organized by the Alameda PTA Council and Alameda Education Foundation.

To view information on the candidates go to the website run by the League of Women Voters, which also includes other useful election information.

For those who want to submit questions for the candidates to answer at the October 19 event, go to the website of the Alameda Education Foundation, or AEF.