The gift that keeps on giving for Alameda focused journalists and bloggers everywhere: Trish Spencer. Shockingly though the Trish apologists seem to be fairly quiet these days because it’s really hard to defend the indefensible.
Steven Tavares who wrote the now infamous Alameda Magazine piece also has access to the whole unedited video that was taped of Trish Spencer talking about what she loves about Alameda and endorsing the Utility Modernization Act. The shocking thing about the whole unedited video is how difficult it is for Trish Spencer to talk about what she likes about Alameda which should be easy for the Mayor of a city. It should be the talking point that you prepare prior to an appointment to film a piece for use by the City of Alameda.
But even worse than not knowing what she likes about the City of Alameda is the fact that after saying that she liked the safe schools, Trish Spencer immediately back tracked, said that the schools are not safe and chortled about it as though the thought of the schools in Alameda being safe was some huge joke.
First off I would like to say the Steven Tavares article was not that bad. I mean, the first page with the cliff hanger was a lot more gasp worthy because it could have been any number of horrible things on the next pages, but honestly, it was pretty straightforward and could have gone into a lot more detail. In fact, I’m sort of hoping that Steven Tavares starts throwing up some of the referenced emails up on his blog site after the article goes live on Alameda Magazine’s website.
Also, thanks to the person who sent it to me so I didn’t have to make a trip to get it. It’s been a busy weekend and busy Monday between prep for back to school and the first day of school.
If you haven’t read it go to the library or something and read it. For those that have read it, click on.
Kids are back to school today, well only for the Alameda public schools, based on the activity around Nea/ACLC it appears that the charter schools in Alameda have started a little bit earlier.
So be aware of all the kids that will be swarming around school sites today that have been largely absent over the summer.
But speaking of the Alameda charter schools, it appears that Nea has been expanding and has outgrown the shared space at the old Woodstock site. They are currently in negotiations to lease to own the old Chinese Christian/Crossroads site on Harbor Bay.
As part of the set of emails discussed yesterday there was this really interesting portion which, if true, illuminates the reason why the “fiscally conservative” Trish Spencer was so eager to spend down the City’s fund balance above the legally required percentage.
One would think that someone mindful of the City’s fiscal soundness would want to retain as much money in a rainy day fund as possible in order to weather the, well, rainy days that might be coming if there is a future economic downturn. After all, you can’t sock away money when things are bad, but you can be fiscally prudent (and save) when the outlook is much brighter to make sure that the bills can still be paid and services can still be rendered for the citizens when things are not so rosy.
In Trish Spencer’s email to the City Manager this is what she wrote:
Folks, I have the best set of emails ever that serves to clarify the rebuttal argument penned by Trish Spencer about the UMA. Just to recap from the East Bay Citizen piece:
In the rebuttal, Spencer also attacks the city manager and includes a link to a website that features the salaries and pensions of state and city employees, including Alameda.
“After I voted against Measure__, I believe the City Manager retaliated by falsely accusing me of wanting to bankrupt Alameda and canceling my meetings with City Staff,” wrote Spencer.
In a strange kitchen sink email to the City Manager, Trish Spencer wrote this that addresses the whole meeting cancellation thing:
In a special meeting last week the City Council, because they couldn’t vote to place the landlord’s ordinance on the ballot, decided to vote to place the City Council’s rent stabilization ordinance on the ballot. Because, well, because.
The vote and discussion was one of the more stranger ones because the City Council member who did not vote for the Council’s rent stabilization ordinance in the first place was the swing vote to place the ordinance on November’s ballot. The reasoning did not make a whole lot of sense, but Frank Matarrese ended up being the third vote in a 3 – 2 vote to place the Council’s ordinance on the ballot.
The vote was split with Tony Daysog and Trish Spencer on one side and Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft and Jim Oddie on the other. That split was probably surprising since Jim Oddie has been a fairly outspoken proponent of the City Council’s “compromise” ordinance.
There’s a great profile of the newish Executive Director of the Alameda Housing Authority in the Alameda Magazine. But what was really informative were some of the factoids that were added in reference to the housing shortage and the effect on Alameda families.
Authority housing waitlists are all full—and when they were opened early in 2015, they had 36,000 applicants. “That’s a staggering number,” said Jeff Miller, the head of the Boys & Girls Club of Alameda.
Despite this even modest development projects are viewed with hostility despite the clear and present need. More:
Here I thought we were at the end of our recycled City Council members between Tony Daysog and Frank Matarrese but now Lena Tam is the third former City Councilmember to want back on the City Council.
Thanks to Mike McMahon’s helpful guide we have the final roster of candidate for the City of Alameda races:
Sorry folks, I’m still not 100% here just yet. My sleeping schedule is way out of whack and so today I’ll just leave you with this amazing resignation letter from a Palo Alto Planning Commission. A renter, of course, her family has been forced out of Palo Alto because of the same old sad song heard all over the Bay Area.
What makes the story stickier than the stories of middle to low income folks being pushed out of less tony neighborhoods is that this is a young family with two wage earners that make a whole lot of money. Even that is not enough to insulate them from the outrageous cost of housing in the Bay Area.
First of all she current shares a home with another family at a cost of $6200 a month. Pretty sure that there are some people reading this whose property tax bills aren’t even at $6200 a year let alone shelling out that kind of cash monthly.
According to another article the author is a corporate attorney and her husband is a software engineer which means that they, conservatively, probably pull in a collective $300K a year.
While I was away it appears that the underlying tension between Mayor Trish Spencer and staff has made itself public in a rather meaningful way. Not content to just snark at staff during City Council meetings, Trish Spencer has decided to air her inability to make nice with city staff in no less than a ballot initiative rebuttal.
Usually Trish Spencer relies on her trusty surrogates at other blogs to snipe at city staff, but this time Trish Spencer decided to just do the job herself. According to Steven Tavares at the East Bay Citizen, despite appearing in a video saying that the Utility User Tax Modernization Act does not raise taxes, the video is cued to the exact spot so you don’t have to search for it: