The Campaign Column: 200 words or less

The Campaign Column: 200 words or less

Michele Ellson

Last week, we offered you an early look at ballot statements submitted by your candidates for mayor and City Council – effectively, their 200-words-or-less pitches describing why you should elect them to represent you at City Hall. This week we’ve got a second installment of statements, for school board candidates. (We’d promised health care district board statements too, but the only candidate who submitted one – Lynn Bratchett – withdrew it, an Alameda County Registrar of Voters rep told us Tuesday.)

Here’s what each of the three candidates for school board had to say for themselves.


Solana Henneberry

Occupation: Teacher

My education and qualifications are: As a teacher with over a decade of experience and as a parent of three who attend Alameda schools I know firsthand the importance of continuing and building on our successes in Alameda. I am running for School Board to ensure that we continue to foster bright ideas while incorporating a 21st Century learning style as part of our curriculum. We must prepare our students for the ever changing challenges of tomorrow. I understand the myriad of issues facing students and teachers and I want to make sure that our District works even harder and smarter to ensure that every student is either equipped to enter college or the workforce. I believe my experience working with school site budgets in collaboration with parents, teachers and administrators also provides me with additional experience to better understand how to invest our precious resources. My experiences have taught me the importance of listening to all sides of an issue before making decisions. I am proud to live here in Alameda and I want to make sure that our schools remain strong and grow even stronger. I would be humbled to have your vote. For more information, please visit

Gary Lym

Occupation: AUSD Parent, Retired Accounting Professor, Co-founder & Director for Alameda Non-Profit Basketball Club

My education and qualifications are: As a lifelong resident of Alameda, I attended Otis, Lincoln, Alameda High (AHS) and Encinal High (EHS), followed by Accounting, Finance and Business degrees from U.C. Berkeley and Arizona State University. My commitment to Alameda schools stems from my experience in public education and understanding how public education can benefit our children and community. I volunteer at my son's schools to support our dedicated teachers and administrators, including as a Math tutor. I have served on the School Site Council for Bay Farm, Lincoln (Chairperson), AHS (Chairperson) and EHS. I understand the importance of allocating our limited resources to maximize student success. Let's bring the same budgetary clarity to the School Board. Let's base decisions on, "How does benefit our students?" I am a demonstrated leader and collaborator: I am a board member for the Community of Harbor Bay Isle and co-founding Managing Director of Alameda Vipers Basketball Club. Since inception 4 years ago, the Viper organization has grown to 17 teams, providing year round basketball opportunities for Alameda youth. Support me to meet the challenge of providing our children with the highest quality education. No child can afford a lost year. I respectfully ask for your vote.

Michael McMahon

Occupation: Trustee, Alameda Unified School District

Age: 59

My education and qualifications are: I ask for your support that I may continue to use my expertise and experience to serve the educational needs of Alameda's children, youth and adults. As a school board member for the past twelve years, I have learned the complexities of overseeing our school district and understand the process of making sound decisions. As an Alameda resident for 34 years, I understand the community's educational history, have been involved in many of its organizations, and have experienced the positive effects that our quality educational system provided for my son, and two daughters, all of whom graduated from Alameda public schools. With four grandchildren about to or attending Alameda public schools, I am committed to Alameda's ongoing public education success. I pledge to maintain an open dialog with all of our community members through my website: I commit my energy and ability to insure the best possible educational outcomes for Alameda 's children, youth and adults.


There are a number of things about Measure I, the $179.5 million school facilities bond, that aren’t yet clear. But one thing’s for certain: Local activist David Howard is fighting it.

Howard e-mailed us last week to let us know that he and Save Our City! Alameda, billed as a grassroots group that advocates “responsible growth and responsible governance within Alameda,” will actively campaign against the bond measure “along with a number of concerned individuals.”

Howard also led the charge against the district’s Measure E and Measure A parcel taxes. This time out, he’s saying the bond measure is too vague and that taxpayers are tapped out and don’t have any more money to give.

“Alameda families are being crushed by this growing 'student debt,'” Howard quoted himself as saying in his press release.

While Howard reached out to us to say he’ll be campaigning against the bond measure, we’re still trying to figure out who’s going to be knocking on doors to get it passed. We reached out to the person we were told was in charge of the committee that would be running the campaign for the bond back in June – moments after the school board decided to put it before voters – and still haven’t received a response.

Stay tuned.