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Christopher Seiwald, President and CTO of Perforce Software, Denies Suggesting that Measure B Opponents Were Stupid and Ignorant

At the January 5th, 2010 Joint City Council and School Board Meeting, Christopher Seiwald, President and CTO of Perforce Software of Alameda made public comments during the speaker period for Item 2A “Joint Executive Presentation: Alameda Point Development” concluding his remarks with “…end this embarrassing parade of ignorance and stupidity.” This correspondent, who was present during the remarks, and other Action Alameda News readers interpreted that statement to refer to Measure B opponents, a charge that Mr. Seiwald denies.

Mr. Seiwald was a declared Measure B supporter, and a named adviser to Alamedans for Alameda Point Revitalization, a group of local residents backed by SunCal to support Measure B. The City of Alameda meeting minutes for the January 5th meeting list him as a “proponent” of Measure B. (Measure B was defeated at the Alameda polls on February 2, 2010, with 85% of voters voting against the measure.) At the January 5th meeting, 29 people spoke during the public comment period, the majority of them speaking against Measure B. Reflection ours, and others, interpretations of Mr. Seiwald’s comments at the meeting, we wrote last week that:

[Mr. Seiwald] “suggested that Measure B opponents – 85% of those who voted – are stupid and ignorant”

Mr. Seiwald took issue with this characterization and in an e-mail exchange, wrote to Action Alameda News:

Thank you for the opportunity to address this.

Addressing the city council and board of education, I said: “So to me what you so do is get behind this thing, get the measure A exemption passed as part of Measure B, go back behind closed doors where all this other negotiation is happening, and end this embarrassing parade of ignorance and stupidity.” I did not say
that people who were eventually to vote against Measure B were ignorant or stupid. So I kindly ask that you please remove that attribution to me.

Intelligent people sometimes do stupid things. Well informed people sometimes act out of ignorance. I am on familiar terms with most of the city council members as well as Pat Keliher of SunCal, and I think they are all intelligent and well informed. But I believed the route that was chosen, attempting to debate a 288 page document before the public, was not bringing out the best in any of them.
That was the impetus behind my comment.

Thank you and have a nice day.


Pressed with the question “So the City Council is stupid and ignorant?” Mr. Seiwald did not reply.

2 comments to Christopher Seiwald, President and CTO of Perforce Software, Denies Suggesting that Measure B Opponents Were Stupid and Ignorant

  • barb

    Granted it was stupid and ignorant of SUNCAL to pay for, and for Kathy Moehring to submit the Initiative. The result was disharmonious to say the least, and devisive and destructive at the worst. It brought very diverse community and special interests together in opposition to Measure B and its proponents. No matter what spin the losers put on it, it leaves Alameda $375,000 poorer, and work on an EIR begun for a project that may have doomed itself.

    Since the entire Initiative was either all or nothing, pass or fail, which is the way SUNCAL chose to place it before the voters, there can be no rational analysis of the reasons why it failed.

    It will take time for the community to heal the wounds caused by a lack of leadership on the Council, including a Mayor who first led the charge for SUNCAL, then reversed herself.

    In the current economic times, it may be well to sit back and let things shake out through the normal democratic processes. This includes electing a City Council that reflects the will of the electorate and respects the very competent work being done by staff.

  • Mr. Seiwald has asked that we delete the remarks that troubled him from the original article, but we have declined to do so for a number of reasons:

    1) We ran a correction, and Mr. Seiwald noted his objections to the original article in the comments forum for that article.

    2) We were present that night on Jan 5th, and sincerely interpreted his remarks as was written in the original story, as did others.

    3) We run the risk of accusations of revisionism and “covering our tracks” etc. if we edit the original story. The correction, and these comments stand as a record of the exchange.