Editor's Note: The Alamedan's candidate questionnaires are live!

Editor's Note: The Alamedan's candidate questionnaires are live!

Michele Ellson

A few Saturdays ago, five Alameda residents gathered in a study room at the Main Library to draft a series of questions for local candidates running for City Council, the Board of Education and the Alameda Health Care District Board, which oversees Alameda Hospital. Members of the group said they wanted to gain a very specific sense of the candidates' values and their understanding of the opportunities and challenges before them and their ability to address those if elected to the offices they're seeking, and I'm hopeful you will find that the questionnaires they drafted on that day and refined in a series of e-mail exchanges that followed do just that.

Candidates' responses to The Alamedan's questionnaires can be viewed in this section of our local elections center, which includes articles on local candidate forums, all of the local and county ballot measures you'll be asked to vote on this fall and more. We've also got an election events calendar and links to election-related resources, and over the next few weeks we'll be adding candidate videos, donor lists and cheat sheets listing candidates for each race and their positions on major issues.

Our goal is to make sure you have the information you need to feel comfortable with the many choices you're being asked to make at the ballot box this fall, in large part by filling in what I see as the sizable gaps left by newsrooms shrunk to a fraction of their boom-era size. So if there's something you want to know about that we haven't covered or if you have an event or link to share, please feel free to e-mail me at michele@thealamedan.org. And if you'd like to support our election coverage, you can make a quick and easy online donation through the website of our fiscal sponsor, Community Initiatives.

I want to offer a huge thank you to Doug Biggs, Richard Hausman, Audrey Lord-Hausman, Chuck Kapelke and Al Wright for volunteering to draft these questionnaires; I was truly excited to both send and get answers to the questions you wanted asked (and several candidates commented on how thoughtful - and difficult - the questions were). I also want to extend my thanks to all of the candidates who forwarded responses. For candidates, these months are a swirl of questionnaire-answering, public forums and appearances, fundraising, door-knocking and more, so the time you put into telling the public what you think and what you'd do if elected is appreciated.

Once again, the questionnaires can be viewed in this section of our local elections center, which can be accessed from the Alameda Elections '12 tab. Thanks for reading!