Thanks to everyone who's emailed Vice Mayor Tony Daysog since Thursday. Shout-outs to those who BBC'ed me on their emails and also a shout-out to yesterday's commenter who shared:

I asked him to vote for it at the July 4 parade just now, he said that voters have a right to know what they're voting for. Not a particularly compelling response IMO.

The moment has unfortunately passed to get an infrastructure bond measure on to the November ballot (a ballot that's, for better or for worse, to attract a lot of voters). The agenda for the next City Council meeting is now finalized and it will not have an opportunity to re-visit this topic.

Still, there's value in sharing these thoughts directly with Vice Mayor Daysog — and I encourage individuals and organizations in Alameda to continue to contact him to express disappointment about his decision to prevent this bond from making it to voters.

Here's why:

  • Out of almost 80,000 residents in Alameda, very few people actually ever contact City Council members. Councilmembers may receive a relatively large amount of comments on some agenda items — but those comments typically come from a very small subset of "usual suspects." (I'm probably now one of those usual suspects myself :) The power of hearing from a member of the public who isn't already known to councilmembers can actually be quite impactful.
  • As I've chatted with various city leaders and leaders of local groups, one theme that emerges is that no one seems to knows how Vice Mayor Daysog came to his "no" vote. That's in spite of the fact that he was consulted in advance of this City Council meeting, and had an opportunity to ask questions and give input. While I'm not suggesting that he'll magically open up and reveal his calculus, hearing from the wider public does indicate to him as an elected official that he ought to give infrastructure more thought — rather than just shrugging it off an moving on.
  • To be frank, as I've chatted with folks who lived here longer and been more involved in local issues, shrugging it off is a broader theme that keeps coming with respect to Vice Mayor Daysog. Perhaps this has changed over his years on and off and on Alameda City Council. In any case, at this point, it doesn't sound like he actually reads the agenda "packets" and the staff reports sent to City Council members in advance of meetings. It doesn't sound like he takes meetings with constituents. (When I was involved in the Housing Element Working Group, Mr. Daysog ignored all our requests for an informal meeting — even when a well-respected long-time resident approached him directly.) It sounds like he just shows up at Council meetings and wings it. It sounds like he sometimes looks to Councilmember Trish Herrera Spencer, on the spot, for a lead to follow. And other times, it sounds like he just phones in an "abstain" or a "no" vote.
  • Toward that last point, one of the additionally useful aspects of contacting Vice Daysog about his poor (and probably hasty) decision about this bond measure has less to do with the Vice Mayor directly — and more to do with all of us who do care seriously about Alameda's future infrastructure: finding each other, strategizing about how to get an infrastructure funding measure to voters on a future ballot, and building larger coalitions to vote for councilmembers who will actually open the "packet" before meetings, actually speak up when consulted by staff, actually engage with all their constituents, and actually engage with change.

How long do we plan on living here in Alameda? Part II