Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 7, 2012

Big D Democrat

Big news on the Democratic front, for those of you that aren’t registered Democrats you may choose to skip this, or read on if you want to get the down and dirty on some questionable Democratic endorsement business.   I recently learned that the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee — I’m not a part of this group, I can barely remember to keep up to date with the local Alameda Democratic Club — placed Trish Spencer on the consent agenda for endorsement.


This is big news because being placed on consent essentially means that she would secure a pretty important endorsement if no one got around to pulling her name off the consent agenda for discussion.  Generally the consent names are for folks that meet the agenda and the platform of the Democratic Party.   I’m guessing Barack Obama is on the consent and folks like that, but Trish Spencer?!?   I mean, I think my blood may have run a little cold when I found that out that she was being considered without much widespread consideration.

While Trish Spencer is a Democrat, I mean, the running joke is that it’s hard to get elected in this town — even for the non partisan offices — if you aren’t one, but that she was just given a pass given her previous record is stunning.   Still, the Alameda County Demo Central Committee can be excused for not knowing the minutiae of the world of Alameda City School Board politics particularly since Trish Spencer’s Candidate Statement and early endorsement from the teacher’s union were probably overwhelming factors in favor of a consent endorsement.    But for those of us aware of Trish Spencer’s record and aware of the Central Committee’s previous endorsements and platforms, the fact that the Central Committee would consider rubber stamping a candidate that stands for almost the complete opposite of what the Central Committee has endorsed in the past is really puzzling or just proof of the clout of the teacher’s union, AEA, in the endorsement process.

For example, the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee pretty much consistently endorses school parcel taxes.   We can get into the whys of why the Alameda County Democratic party endorses all school parcel taxes — and often helps in the campaigns — some other time, but for brevity’s sake, the Central Committee has endorsed Alameda’s last three parcel taxes : Measures H, E, and A.   Measure E, of course, fell just short of passing and Measures A and H were successful.  Despite this rather consistent position of being yay for school parcel taxes, the Central Committee placed on consent, a candidate whose record with Alameda’s local parcel taxes has been rather spotty.

With regard to the first of the parcel taxes: Measure H, after two lawsuits were filed challenging the validity of the parcel tax structure, then former president of the PTA Council, Trish Spencer declared:

“Measure H is fatally flawed,”

As the article in the Alameda Sun went on to report:

Spencer then asked the board not to waste any of the district’s money on attorneys. She requested the board fully disclose any fees paid to attorneys hired to consult on Measure H. “We need to rewrite the measure as a community,” she told the board. “We must step up and do this so the measure works the next time.”

In the meantime Spencer suggested the residents of Alameda voluntarily write a check for the $120 that the measure has assessed to each Island City house.

And while Trish Spencer believed Measure H to be “fatally flawed” a judge disagreed with her assessment.

The next parcel tax, Measure E, which fell slightly short of the two-thirds threshold, was not only not supported by Trish Spencer — now a sitting School Board member — she voted against placing the parcel tax on the ballot and urged individual school supporters to come out to speak at the School Board meeting to protect their individual school interests.

The latest parcel tax, Measure A, which finally passed, Trish Spencer was quiet on the endorsement front of Measure A and literally ascribed the success of Measure A to low turnout.

In addition to being outright against local parcel taxes or remaining quiet on her endorsement of said parcel taxes, Trish Spencer has also dipped her toes into Alameda city wide issues, including most recently the Measure C sales tax initiative, which was also endorsed by the Democratic Central Committee.   I’ll point out that the Central Committee worked pretty hard to help pass Measure C as well.

When the Alameda City Council first voted to place Measure C on the ballot, Trish Spencer came up to support it, even declaring that she would:

I’m fully expecting to be supporting this tax and being out there with the entire community to make it happen.

And then only a few weeks later she decided that she was now against Measure C and urged the City Council to remove Measure C from the ballot because the ballot question was not written to her satisfaction.

While there are other examples of Trish Spencer not representing the Democratic ideals of the Central Committee, the final example I’ll cover is that of Lesson 9.   Lesson 9, for the Central Committee members who might not be familiar with this, thrust Alameda into the national spotlight because of the content of the lesson which was to curb bullying by teaching kids about LGBT issues in an age appropriate way.    Trish Spencer, despite her Candidate Statement to the contrary, repeatedly tried to block  the School District’s attempts to pass a curriculum.

While at first, Trish Spencer declared that only curriculum that “goes to reducing bullying against all of our students and enumerating the six protected classes: religion, gender, LGBT, disability, race, ethnicity… ” would be appropriate for Alameda.   When the school district pulled together a committee to create that particular curriculum,  Trish Spencer immediately flopped to the other side declaring that only a generic, off the rack curriculum was necessary for Alameda students.

Trish Spencer also was an ally to the Pacific Justice Institute plaintiffs that sued the Alameda Unified School District in order to force an opt-out option for students and parents that didn’t want to be subject to the anti-bullying curriculum.   She even suggested (and made a motion) at a School Board meeting that because there was the existence of this lawsuit that the curriculum be suspended until the matter was settled.

In fact, the only consistent thing about Trish Spencer’s position on the LGBT curriculum was her insistence on impeding the implementation of the curriculum and the Associated Press story about the issue noted about Trish Spencer:

“This has torn apart our community,” said school trustee Trish Herrera Spencer, the board member most opposed to the gay curriculum and who opposed adding the supplemental books. She said the board’s latest action did not take into consideration “the strong beliefs” of all in the community. [emphasis added]

Is this the person that reflects the values of the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee?   I don’t think so. Fortunately, I understand that while Trish Spencer has been pulled from the consent agenda, she will be under consideration at the larger September 15 endorsement meeting.   This is a chance for Democrats that care to come out and urge the Central Committee to allow the local Alameda club to make an endorsement.

You can also email the Central Committee at: if you can’t make it out to the September 15 endorsement meeting.


  1. I agree that the City of Alameda Democratic Club should be the lead group to make Democratic Party endorsements–and recommendations to the Alameda County Central Committee–for Alameda-specific races.

    Trish Spencer opposed the Lesson 9 curriculum that I strongly supported. For that reason alone, I would think that she would not meet basic Democratic Party endorsement criteria at any level, since it was , de facto, and anti-LGBTQ vote.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — September 7, 2012 @ 9:35 am

  2. The Dems are not united in their social values. We just saw from the Dems national convention that at least half the Dems are against God & Jerusalem. The LGBT-ers do not own the concept of “bullying”. Others are just as capable of bullying behavior, like, say, the owner of this blog. Trish opposed the ballot presentation of Measure C because it was deceptive by leaving out crucial info & the entire counterargument. It is not enough to blindly collect taxes. You must spend them wisely. Trish understands that & speaks out accordingly. Why do you hate her so much?

    Comment by vigi — September 7, 2012 @ 9:52 am

  3. My husband, son (who will be a first-time voter this election), and I, all registered independents, were invited to attend the DNC viewing party last night at Otaez. We were delighted since we don’t have cable and figured we’d have dinner there as well. We arrived 15 minutes after the 5:00 pm start time to find that the party was in the tiny bar with a tiny TV and the small space was already packed. A sign reading “Section Closed” was the only indication that this was the place we were supposed to be. In spite of numerous people with name tags present, no one greeted us or assisted us in finding a place to watch the convention. We were able to get a table outside the room from which the TV was partially visible. As we ordered dinner and ate, a number of other people showed up, suffered the same fate as we did and either gave up trying to watch and just ordered dinner or left. The invitation had indicated that they would be looking for volunteers to help with the campaign but there was no indication of that while we were there. We are all planning to vote for Obama but it was very disappointing that the local Democratic club provided such a poor welcome. If they expect to influence swing voters they’re going to have to do a lot better than that. We made it home in time to hook up our PC to a TV and watch the President’s speech on PBS online.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — September 7, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

  4. The event at Otaez was not an “Alameda Democratic Club” activity. We have our headquarters at Southshore, between the luggage shop and “Great Clips.” We are friendly and welcoming and do need volunteers. Please stop by M-F 12 to 8. 11-7 Saturday and 12-5 Sunday.

    Comment by Karen Green — September 7, 2012 @ 2:33 pm

  5. the people will speak, at the end of the day….

    Comment by peace — September 7, 2012 @ 3:34 pm

  6. @Karen–Sorry about that. My husband got the invite so I didn’t see it. Is there more than one Democratic club in Alameda? Do you know who sponsored the event? Maybe it was LWV? I’d like to complain to the right person. Thanks!

    Comment by Denise Shelton — September 7, 2012 @ 4:36 pm

  7. I used to think the election was about the country. Now I know it’s all about Denise.

    Comment by Jack Schultz — September 7, 2012 @ 4:52 pm

  8. LWV would never sponsor a partisan event. I have not seen any mention of that viewing party or any for the RNC convention earlier, either. But, please do look in the papers and on the Patch for the list of our candidate’s and issues forums which will be held all the Thursdays in October from 7-8:30 pm at the Mastick Sr. Center. We’ll be at the Libary tomorrow at ten to do voting basics with the Alameda Reads people.

    Comment by Kate Quick,. — September 7, 2012 @ 5:49 pm

  9. Denise S.: Apparently the party you went to was organized by East Bay for Obama

    Comment by Lauren Do — September 7, 2012 @ 6:10 pm

  10. Thanks, Lauren. @ Jack Schultz: Why the snarky comment? There were about 20 other people there who were also shortchanged by this event, held on Webster Street in Alameda. Between Lauren, Kate, and Jon I knew there was a good possibility somebody would know what the deal was. If we were invited, I’m sure other readers here were, too, and might be interested in feedback on how it went. In the past, people have posted here a lot on similar incidents. I may deserve your hostillity for some of my remarks in the past but certainly not for this one.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — September 8, 2012 @ 11:59 am

  11. 3
    Denise, Obama was there along with Carl Marx. You probably could have sat with him.

    Comment by Jack Richard — September 13, 2012 @ 5:38 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: