ALAMEDA ELECTIONS '12: City Council candidate statements

ALAMEDA ELECTIONS '12: City Council candidate statements

Michele Ellson

Candidates for Alameda's City Council, Board of Education and Health Care District Board of Directors have submitted statements for the November ballot pamphlet. Here's what your City Council candidates had to say about themselves; we'll have statements from candidates for the Board of Education and Health Care District Board on Friday.

Occupation: Cal Fire Firefighter

My education and qualifications are: Out of the box solutions for an oval island. At 5 years old, Gerard's parents abandoned careers, fled a dictatorship, and immigrated to America and raised 3 children. At 18, Gerard became a U.S. citizen, his main motivation being the right to vote. Since then, he's dedicated years of his life to public service including time as a paramedic, and 9 seasons as a CDF Firefighter. They answer the call over 300,000 times each year. Alameda is no different with it's eminent fiscal emergency and hot political environment. As a charitable Elk, he is often in the company of elders. He enjoys their life stories, anecdotes and meaningful discussion of local issues. Gerard believes in a slow growth policy for the island of Alameda. "We're an island. We can't magically make more land." New growth if any, should be senior housing. We owe our grandparents affordable housing. They've fought in wars, raised children, and imparted on us morals and values. Our seniors enrich us. They carpool, take the bus, commit no crime, and participate in the community as volunteers." With senior housing also comes a tremendous underlying economy of care providers and health-care workers, creating new jobs for Alamedans.

Occupation: Planning Board Member/Arbitrator/Attorney

My education and qualifications are: 16 years of community leadership in Alameda has prepared me well to serve as your Council member. I've been a Planning Board Member, Economic Development Commissioner, and Hospital Board Director. I've volunteered in schools, and co-chaired successful campaigns to build the new Main Library and keep Alameda Hospital open. In 6 years as a Planning Board Member and President, I've helped stimulate economic growth and bring high quality, sustainable development to Alameda. Recently, I worked with VF Outdoor to bring 470 new jobs here. I've also helped revitalize Webster and Park Streets. On the Hospital Board, I worked to support patients, improve healthcare services and achieve a balanced budget. In my work as an arbitrator, I help opposing individuals and businesses resolve disputes. This experience will help me bring people together and achieve results for you at City Hall. I've spent most of my life in Alameda. My husband and I raised our children here. I care deeply about Alameda's future. As your Councilmember, I'll work to create jobs and housing opportunities, achieve a sustainable budget, protect our environment, promote ethical city government, and ensure Alameda remains a vibrant, livable community.

Occupation: Councilmember, Attorney

My education and qualifications are: As your Mayor (2002 thru 2010) and council member for the past two years I have provided strong leadership and established policies and programs which ensure that Alameda will continue to be the best place to live and work for generations to come. Our community is a safe place to live and I will keep it that way. I have accomplished a lot for our community and I want to do even more. With my leadership, we have successfully revived the Park and Webster Street business districts, restored and reopened the Historic Alameda Theatre and built our new library. Our retail centers at South Shore and Bridgeside have been renovated after decades of decline. Major new businesses, including Pete's Coffee and VF Outdoor/North Face, have come to Alameda and more are coming, such as Target, bringing jobs to Alameda. Tough fiscal policies have allowed these improvements to occur, while maintaining a balanced budget. As your councilmember, I will continue to ensure that any new development, including Alameda Point, is done in a manner which enhances our quality of life and is not a financial burden to our community. I would be honored to have your vote November 6.

Age: 46
Occupation: Urban planner

My education and qualifications are: "Think positive: plan ahead." That's the motto of my campaign. I am running for City Council to bring City Hall and our community together, to put us on the same page. If we stay positive, plan ahead, and work together, we can accomplish so much, including implementing the best City Hall pension-reform plans. When I was on City Council (1996-2006), I took pride in listening to and working closely with residents on a range of issues, having led successful projects including the development of Bayport at Alameda Point and the creation of the "traffic safety toolkit" to make crossing streets safer for schoolchildren and the elderly. What will aid me in working closely with residents is the fact that I am an urban planner by profession, with a Master's degree in city planning from UC Berkeley. I also earned my Bachelor's from Berkeley. And, I love Alameda. I grew up in and continue to reside in the West End: the Farmers' Market is literally in front of my home, so, if elected, you can shop for farm-fresh produce and chat with your Councilman. or 510-864-7593. Thank you.


Occupation: City of Alameda Healthcare District Director; Doctor of Chiropractic

My education and qualifications are: My primary goal in running for City Council is to preserve and improve the quality of life in Alameda. This is our home and it has been good to us. My wife and I raised both of our children here. They attended Alameda public schools and grew up with the benefit of our parks, libraries, and hospital. I believe such facilities are important, and I pledge to work to keep them accessible to all Alamedans. I believe that everyone has a right to these freedoms and amenities. We achieve this as a community by electing city officials who care about people's needs and work towards them. Twelve years ago, I decided to devote some of my time to public service - not to do something grand, but to help wherever I could. I served two terms on the Social Service and Human Relations Board, one term on the County's Human Relations Commission, and in November 2010 I was elected to the City of Alameda Health Care District Board. Now I want to use my experience and energy to represent and serve our community as a councilmember. Vote for me, Dr. Stewart Chen, on November 6 and let me be your voice.

Occupation: Alameda Golf Commissioner, Lawyer
Age: 57

My education and qualifications are: As chair of the Alameda Golf Commission, my goals were to preserve our heritage and to secure our future. I led the opposition to the plan to dismember the Golf Complex and turn the par-three course over to a developer. I also championed the effort to select an ecologically and economically sound long-term operator. Preserving our heritage and securing our future also will be my goals as a Councilmember. The problems facing Alameda are difficult - but not insoluble. Renewal of Alameda Point must be jump-started. The City budget must be brought under control. Blaming previous Councils for stalled development and swollen budgets doesn't cut it. Nor does bemoaning the obstacles we must overcome. Let's get all the options on the table - and out in the open. I will be an independent voice of reason beholden neither to City staff nor to special interests. I will ferret out the facts before I offer an opinion. And I will rely on persuasion rather than intimidation to get results. I was born in Fargo, North Dakota, and graduated from Brown University and Harvard Law School. I moved to this great community in 1998, and want it to thrive and prosper. Website:

Occupation: Attorney/Community Mediator

My Living in Alameda the last 25 years, I have seen our island flourish. I have always taken an active role in making Alameda a better place to live, work, and play, whether it was serving as President of the League of Women Voters, assisting the City's Sunshine Task Force, co-producing the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Festival, or chairing our City's Bike to Work Day. A leader in our city's business organizations, I work to revitalize our business districts and sustain the locally owned businesses that serve our families. As a former assistant city attorney drafting laws and advising a city council, I have learned how government works. We must preserve Alameda's unique quality of life by continuing to provide valued community services to all from youth to seniors. As your Councilmember, I will work to ensure the safety and security of our residents, promote economic development, continue the partnership with our schools, and exercise fiscal accountability. You can count on me to be accessible, effective, and committed to the future of our great city. It would be an honor to serve you on the City Council and I respectfully ask for your vote.