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Former Alamada Teachers Union President Appointed to School Board

Gray Harris in 2012. (Action Alameda News)

Gray Harris in 2012. (Action Alameda News)

Rumors began swirling in Alameda well over a year ago about romantic links between one-time Alameda Education Association President Gray Harris and now local firefighters union president, and Water Emergency Transportation Agency board member Jeff DelBono. On Thursday, Harris was appointed to the Alameda Unified School District’s Board of Trustees, boosting the couple’s local power and influence.

According to the local rumor mill, Harris has been romantically linked in recent years to another local firefighter other than DelBono.

DelBono authored a campaign letter on union letterhead sent to voters last fall, and, more recently, in statements made to the local press, excoriated Mayor Trish Spencer for her vote against moving forward with Fire Station Number 3.

By e-mail, Harris confirmed her relationship with DelBono, writing, “Jeff and I are together and have been for a few years now…we’ve been open and public about our love for each other for a long time,” and declined to answer questions regarding the second reported relationship, describing the opportunity to set the record straight as harassment.

Tam died at the age of 69 in May; Harris was appointed to fill Niel Tam’s seat.

In addition to Harris, four other candidates — Hazel Lau, Michael McMahon, Anne McKereghan, and Dorota Sawicka — applied for the seat.

Trustee Gary Lym voted for McKereghan, and Trustees Solana Henneberry, Barbara Kahn and Philip Hu voted for Harris.

Solana Henneberry is the wife of Mike Henneberry of the United Food and Communications Workers local, a member of the Alameda Planning Board, and a close ally of the firefighters local.

Harris is currently UniServe Director with the California Teachers Association, and works with teachers in five South Bay school districts, as well as with local and state political groups and other labor unions.

She worked for six years as an elementary school teacher in AUSD and then for two years as president of the Alameda Education Association.

In her application for the board seat, she named the renewal of the current school parcel tax, which expires in 2018, as the single most important issue facing the district.

10 comments to Former Alamada Teachers Union President Appointed to School Board

  • Mike Kelly

    When will Alameda wake up and realize how ingrown and incestuous our politics have gotten and inject some new DNA into the gene pool?

    “Senate Committee on Rules Appointee” is that a Bonta payback for firefighter campaign donations?

  • Mike Henneberry

    “The local rumor mill says….” The local rumor mill says the author engages in irresponsible gutter “journalism.” Don’t know why I’m surprised. Real journalists cite sources. How about this, “The local rumor mill says the author of the article is a doofus”?
    And apparently the commentator above is a retired Oakland firefighter. There is nothing like union solidarity to warm the heart.

  • I went straight to the subject of the rumors and asked her to confirm or refute them. If it wasn’t about her relationship with DelBono, she characterized the question as “harassment.”

    For the public to make any sense of what is going on in Alameda, they deserve more than the pabulum served up in the AUSD press release. They deserve to know the personal relationships between the people in positions of power and influence.

  • Call it what it is, because your article is not journalism. It’s just weird, creepy and voyeuristic.

  • So says a close ally of Jeff DelBono and Gray Harris…

    BTW, there have been too many different people whispering into my ear rumors about Harris in DelBono for the past 18 months or more that it would be too numerous to cite them all…

  • carol

    Oh, come on, Henneberry. In the National press, every sexual indiscretion engaged in by any politician has always been reported as journalism. Gary Hart/Donna Rice? John Edwards? David Petraeus? Wasn’t Bill Clinton impeached over the Monica Lewinsky affair [after paying off Paula Jones in a settlement…also Gennifer Flowers]? Political Sexual conduct is the very bread and butter of Real American journalism…usually engaged in by Democrats, the party of most union members, ne’s pas?

  • Mike Henneberry

    Action Alameda is not the New York Times and the Alameda school board is not the national political stage. Might as well just admit your obsession with this puts you in the category of pathetic psychos.

  • Mike Henneberry

    Hi Carol: you forgot about Henry Hyde, Newt Gingrich and a host of other Republican “heroes.”

  • Some people prefer Judith Miller corruption/stenographic journalism…

  • carol

    Thanks, Mike! Republican or Democrat (and I am neither), you prove my point. You accused Mr. Howard of not meeting journalism standards, yet we both can cite multiple examples of similar journalism that is widely published in respectable distinguished publications. Many of today’s highly placed public officials got their start on the local school board-you can find it in their biographies.
    We may not find such stories palatable, but they are news and they do make it into the history books.

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