Vote Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft and Malia Vella for Alameda City Council

We think they’re the two candidates who best represent the new, changing Alameda.


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Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft

Courtesy of Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft

It’s no secret to Alamedans that the Island is undergoing a demographic shift. In the past several years, an increasing number of young families have moved to Alameda, in search of good schools and friendly neighborhoods. Since 2010, student enrollment in Alameda public schools has increased by more than 5 percent, while charter school enrollment has jumped by 19 percent.

We welcome this change—and we would like to see more housing on the Island so that Alameda can become even more diverse. We also think Alameda needs to do its part in accommodating residents of the Bay Area who have been priced out because of the region’s severe housing shortage.

And in this election, we think the two candidates who best represent the new, changing Alameda are Councilmember Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft and political newcomer Malia Vella.

Ashcraft was first elected to the Alameda City Council in 2012 on a platform of change, and she garnered the highest percentage of the vote in that election—24.9. Since then, we think she has been a smart, thoughtful councilmember who has been eager to embrace reforms of City Hall. Endorsing her for a second term was an easy choice for us.

Chris Duffey/File photo

Malia Vella.

Including Ashcraft, there are a total of five candidates running for two council seats in the Nov. 8 election. And we’re endorsing Vella for the second spot because we think she brings the kind of energy and enthusiasm that Alameda City Hall needs.

We also agree with Vella that along with the region’s housing shortage and out-of-control rents, traffic safety, especially pedestrian and bike safety, is a pressing issue on the Island.

Although this her first run for office, Vella has plenty of political experience. The Alameda native has worked for Assemblymember Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, and Assemblymember Rob Bonta, D-Alameda. She’s currently a labor and employment rep for the Teamsters and an adjunct professor of ethics at Mills College.

As for the other incumbent in this race, Tony Daysog, we think he’s been a fine public servant over the years. But we’ve been disappointed by his unwillingness to embrace change and good government reforms at times. For example, earlier this year he opposed a commonsense plan supported by Councilmembers Ashcraft and Jim Oddie that sought to overturn an outdated and unfair city rule that allows any city resident to call or email a councilmember or the mayor and get them to effectively block a project that the resident doesn’t like. The rule unfairly favors those who have friendships with the city leaders and circumvents the normal process for dealing with development. It’s also a bad idea at a time when the area is facing a housing crisis.

The fourth and fifth candidates in the race are ex-Councilmember Lena Tam and businesswoman Jennifer Roloff. We think that they’re nice women, but we’re concerned that they both seem reluctant to welcome change and appear to be too invested in keeping Alameda stuck in the 20th century.

 

Published Oct. 17, 2016 at 4:22 p.m.

Our endorsements are unanimous selections of the editorial board. If we do not make an endorsement, it means that we could not reach unanimity.

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