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Local Media Dust-up Pits Alameda Geezer Against Island Newcomer

Earlier this week, we published a letter to the editor from Dennis Green, an Alameda writer who has written “Geezerville” columns for both Action Alameda News and the Alameda Sun. Michele Ellson, a relative newcomer to Alameda, and local correspondent for the Alameda Journal, and the publisher of The Island, a hyper-local news website, took exception to Green’s characterization of her in the letter.

Apparently, Ms. Ellson took issue with Mr. Green characterizing her as an advocate for high-density housing at Alameda Point, and told him so. For his part, Green says that was just what he read between the lines of Ellson’s articles on the subject, but nonetheless, he sent this note to Action Alameda News and asked us to publish it:

“Dennis Green apologizes for misinforming readers that Michele Ellson, creator of the ‘The Island’ blog, has ever taken a stand or position in support of SunCal’s use plan or ballot initiative for Alameda Point. ‘I believe her when she denies ever having an opinion one way or the other,’ Green writes. For the record, Ellson wrote that she would ‘sit this one out’ and not vote on Measure B at all.”

Measure B, of course, was SunCal’s redevelopment initiative for Alameda Point that was overwhelmingly defeated at the polls on February 2nd.

In an e-mail exchange with Action Alameda News, Ellson wrote: “What I told Dennis is that I have not, as he asserted, taken a position on housing density at the Point.”

However, beyond that, Ellson refused to answer pointed questions about her opinion on the matter. Action Alameda News asked Ellson point-blank if – as a resident and voter of Alameda, not as a reporter – she supported or advocated high-density housing for Alameda Point, and she would not give an answer.

We also pressed Ellson on the question of whether or not she plans to “just sit this one out” on the matter of an expected upcoming parcel tax for the Alameda Unified School District. Ellson has recently covered this issue for the Alameda Journal, and, sources tell Action Alameda News, she has at least one child in an AUSD elementary school. A majority of the AUSD school board has held fast to keeping all “neighborhood” elementary schools in Alameda open in the new draft Master Plan, resisting calls from some quarters for the consolidation of elementary schools as a way to cut costs.

Again, Ellson declined, multiple times, to give a direct answer. Having previously declared, in response to questions about Alameda Point, that she is “a reporter, not an advocate” Ellson went on to say that she plans to change the way The Island “formulates its editorial positions.”

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