Michele Ellson
Alameda Election 2014

Updated at 5:39 p.m. Wednesday, August 13

Alameda voters will decide on candidates for the school board after all, as a third candidate for two open board seats filed his paperwork to run on Wednesday.

Gary Lym, an accountant, filed papers for a school board run on Wednesday, the last day they could be completed. Lym was the chairman of Alameda High School’s School Site Council last year.

Only incumbent Mike McMahon and teacher Solana Henneberry had filed their paperwork to run for school board seats by the original deadline on Friday. But Margie Sherratt’s decision to forgo a run for re-election meant prospective candidates had until the end of the day Wednesday to file candidacy papers with the Alameda County Registrar of Voters.

If no one else had completed candidacy paperwork for the two school board positions, Henneberry and McMahon would have been automatically be seated and their names will not appear on the ballot, an Alameda County Registrar of Voters official confirmed Monday.

Whoever is elected will be responsible for selecting a new, permanent superintendent to lead Alameda Unified after the departure of Kirsten Vital in August. They will also be considering a new parcel tax to replace Measure A, which expires in 2018, and will implement at $179.5 million bond program if voters approve it in November.

The board will also oversee the continued implementation of new Common Core standards and a second group of innovative school programs. And board members will oversee negotiations for new teacher contracts next year.

McMahon, whose LinkedIn profile lists his profession as governance consultant, is seeking a fourth term on the school board. A frequent critic of the state’s broad control over school districts, McMahon brokered a deal to put a school bond measure on the November ballot before a detailed spending plan was worked out, in an effort to buy more time to gather community input.

As a board member, McMahon has voted in favor of parcel tax measures but voted against approval of Superintendent Kirsten Vital’s new contract in 2012 and also, a contract that gave teachers permanent raises, saying it wasn’t yet clear if the district would have enough money to support them. He also voted against putting pro-LGBT Lesson 9 into effect in 2009, saying he would only sign off on the lessons if parents were given the ability to opt out of them.

Henneberry has been a special education teacher for 14 years, specializing in alternative communication and assistive technology. She works for the West Contra Costa Unified School District and has also done research on assistive technologies.

Meanwhile, four candidates will run for a trio of four-year terms on the Alameda Health Care District Board, while a fifth candidate will run unopposed for a two-year seat.

Four of the five seats on the Alameda Health Care District Board are up for election this fall. The board’s responsibilities narrowed in May when Alameda Hospital affiliated with Alameda Health System, putting management of the hospital under the control of the health system’s board.

The board retained responsibility for properties it owns and leases, and it will oversee the expenditure of $6 million in parcel taxes the district collects from property owners each year.

Kathryn Sáenz Duke is unopposed for the remaining two years of longtime health care district board director Jordan Battani’s seat. Since no one is opposing Duke she will gain the two-year term automatically and will not appear on the ballot, a registrar of voters official said.

Last month the board selected Duke, whose resume includes experience as a litigator, researcher and nonprofit director, over three other candidates who applied to fill Battani's seat.

Incumbents Lynn Bratchett, Robert Deutsch and Tracy Jensen have filed papers to run for another term in their seats, as has newcomer Jim Meyers.

Bratchett is a real estate broker and a nurse who has worked in several management jobs, while Deutsch is a longtime board member and doctor in Alameda. Jensen has been Oakland’s senior services administrator since 2000 and helped draft early health care reform legislation for the federal government.

Meyers is a part-time health consultant and a member of the Alameda County Public Health Commission, his LinkedIn profile shows. In addition to consulting, he was a United States Air Force Colonel who served a two-year stint as executive director of the Tricare program for military service members and their families in the Northern California region.


Submitted by JKW (not verified) on Mon, Aug 11, 2014

While McMahon registered one vote against a specific implementation of Lesson 9, he subsequently voted to support it at numerous meetings including this 2009 vote that moved the program forward.

Submitted by Jason B (not verified) on Mon, Aug 11, 2014

We really need term limits for the school board.

Submitted by frank on Mon, Aug 11, 2014

I have a question. With such an uninspiring list of Candidates in general can you just leave spaces unchecked and only check items you wish to vote for. Does leaving spaces unchecked invalidate the entire ballot?

Submitted by Michele Ellson on Mon, Aug 11, 2014

Hi Frank: You can vote in the races you want to and leave others open. That does not invalidate your ballot.

Submitted by frank on Mon, Aug 11, 2014

thanks!!! "Tabula Rasa"

Submitted by Yes! (not verified) on Mon, Aug 11, 2014

There are term limits...You vote for someone else and the incumbent is gone!

Submitted by David (not verified) on Wed, Aug 13, 2014

You can "bullet vote" - that is, vote for only candidate, if you like.

Submitted by David (not verified) on Wed, Aug 13, 2014

Correction to my prior comment... you can vote for only ONE candidate, if you like. (bullet voting) This usually presents the best chance for change.

And for the school board, there are no term limits. McMahon is running for his fourth term, having served 3 so far already.

Submitted by Mike McMahon on Wed, Aug 13, 2014

At August meeting of the City of Alameda Democratic Club, the club endorsed Jim Oddie for City Council. The club did not not endorse a second candidate as neither Frank Matarrese or Stewart Chen were to garner the required 60% vote for an endorsement. Top vote getter Solana Henneberry and Mike McMahon did not exceed the required 60% threshold and as a result there will be club endorsement in the School Board race. Finally, endorsed Measure I the AUSD school bond measure.

Submitted by luczai (not verified) on Thu, Aug 14, 2014

Very disappointed in the support for Oddie. Anyone tight with Bonta is not going to follow through. Never again voting for someone determined to put his personal agenda before his duty to complete the job he was entrusted to do. If I misjudge, I apologize, but in politics, you can usually tell a person's character by the people they align themselves with. Bonta insulted and betrayed the voters of this City. Unfortunately, too few of us pay attention. And why does the party endorse a candidate when the candidates for City Council don't represent any particular party. It causes many voters who are unaware to assume that Oddie is the only Democrat running and that is not the case.