Blogging Bayport Alameda

January 12, 2015

New sensation

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Development, Northern Waterfront — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

One of the big questions that kept cropping up at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting was “why are we doing this.”  Because of the lack of a staff report and lack of really any explanation, folks were genuinely puzzled about Mayor Trish Spencer electing to use the mechanism of a repeal.   The first glimpse of a rationale as to why was in an interview with The Alamedan when Trish Spencer said this:

“This is the way to give the new council an opportunity – if they want an opportunity – to revisit this project. I think this is procedurally the only way to do it,” Spencer said Monday.

When she clarified that she wanted this council to get involved with the design, it really sounded like she was committed to the repeal in order to get a second bite at the apple.

At the actual City Council meeting this is how she introduced the agenda item:

For those of you that don’t know, I requested that this item be added to the agenda this evening.  As we all know, we have an new Mayor, two new Council members sitting here and it’s my understanding that this is the vehicle to give all new Council members and existing members an opportunity to speak on this issue before it continues to future votes.  And so that’s why I have requested it be placed on the agenda, this is my understanding that this would be the appropriate time if Councilmembers have any questions of staff.  We do not have a staff presentation and we do have multiple speakers…I now have 45 and honestly this goes to why I thought it was important to bring this issue to the newly seated Council.  Here we have a few more slips and at this point I’m going to go ahead and call the speakers.

At this point in the meeting, there was the sense that Trish Spencer really believed that the number of speakers that would be supportive of the repeal or perhaps presenting some new information would outnumber those that would be against the repeal.

I already posted how the overall vote broke down, but I decided I would get a few more different data points since, after the fact, some folks are trying to spin this repeal attempt as a way to glean “new information” even though there was no new information presented and have been patting Trish Spencer on the back for getting all this new information into the public sphere.

So I wondered how many public speakers actually showed up to all three (January 6, 2015; December 16, 2014; December 2, 2014) of the City Council meetings on this topic.  I requested copies of all the speakers slips and I did not include anyone who turned in a speaker slip but did not end up speaking.

At the January 6 meeting there were a total of 54 speakers (I actually included Trish Spencer and Frank Matarrese in this total because they “spoke” and then eventually presented a position on the issue through their vote).  Of the 54 speakers 23% of the speakers that night had attended all three meetings.   And of the 54 speakers 64% of them had attended at least one other meeting.

There were only 19 “new” speakers, meaning speakers that had not offered an opinion at any other of the City Council meetings.   Of those 19, 74% urged the City Council to uphold the Del Monte decision and reject the appeal.  16% were for the appeal and 10% were either neutral or their position was unknown.

Compared to the numbers for all the speakers in January: 70% urged the City Council to uphold the Del Monte decision and reject the appeal.  16% were for the appeal and 4% were either neutral or their position was unknown.  So essentially more new people came out to support the Del Monte project.

Another fun fact: of the folks that urged for the appeal, 21% of those were related to the deHaan family.

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16 Comments

  1. The difference between Spencer’s apparent expectations and the reality of public opinion as demonstrated by the speakers should warn her of the dangers of listening only to the ACT, Tremaine, Howard and co. Her mandate, such as it is, is not to say no to everything, despite what they may think. Perhaps last Tuesday was educational.

    Comment by BC — January 12, 2015 @ 8:12 am

  2. I had no issue at all with the Mayor entering the topic in to the agenda and the discussion. It is an important project and it did us well to enter the new year with a refresh of what was being done there. I also liked the fact that she allowed the audience at times to applaud. I would attempt to manage the responses int he future, but at times, you have to allow people to react. The seats in Chamber are not the most comfortable, and by 9:30 PM or so, people need to make some noise! I also feel that the Mayor handled herself well and managed the meeting well. I hope we can move forward as a community and support our city in a collaborative way.

    Comment by Bill — January 12, 2015 @ 8:50 am

  3. She should really focus on Alameda Point if she wants to make a difference. This is the big one. As far as I know, everything is still on the table and open for discussion and negotiation regarding the point. Have to get it right this time.

    Comment by AJ — January 12, 2015 @ 9:08 am

  4. Actually the Mayor voted “NO” again, so her record is still intact.

    Comment by John P. — January 12, 2015 @ 9:46 am

  5. The fact that there was no staff report accompanying Spencer’s proposed ordinance to rescind the Del Monte was and is distressing to those of us in favor of open and thoughtful government: it’s important to see the arguments–pro and con–presented ahead of time in order to present accurate and constructive support or criticism. (It is also helpful if the maker of the agendized proposal clearly presents her/his case to the public at CC meetings, which did not happen Tuesday night.)

    #1: If Mayor Spencer did need to be “educated” about listening to all of the community, I hope she has now realized that she needs to do this and will not make that mistake (of listening only to her supporters) again.

    #2: “The seats in Chamber are not the most comfortable…” You can say that again! And my back is less tolerant of sitting in them than it used to be. I have to get up, take a walk, and stretch more frequently than I used to in order to stay through a meeting than I did four years ago.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — January 12, 2015 @ 10:12 am

  6. #4: Good point!

    Comment by BC — January 12, 2015 @ 10:46 am

  7. I deeply appreciate this post. It is engaging, readable, based on information I could only guess at and (in my opinion) by being thus “balanced” helps hold this little Blog on our Island Ship-of-State steady as we all seek to understand and participate and move forward. Thank you! Comments thereafter also are deeply appreciated. Helps me to frame the concepts/events as we move into the future.

    Comment by Gabrielle Dolphin — January 12, 2015 @ 10:52 am

  8. For a more thorough understanding of the city council meeting and how this city works:

    https://alamedamgr.wordpress.com/blog-3/

    Comment by A Neighbor — January 12, 2015 @ 11:03 am

  9. I suppose that the repeal discussion on January 6 was useful in that it was a chance to let anyone who cared enough to speak to be heard and put the December vote issue to rest. This council needs to focus on future development; there are so many bigger questions are ahead of us than this.

    Lauren – I didn’t match the speakers from each meeting up to their stance, but almost every single person who urged Council not to approve on December 16 stated that they support the Del Monte project, but thought there should be further review. The speakers who were in favor of repeal on January 6 didn’t made the same “I support it, but…” statements. At least not as consistently.

    I don’t recall hearing the “review, revise and approve without undue delay” message from the community in general since December 16. There has been more of a “drive a stick through its heart” feel lately. Yet, on January 6, the entire council agreed that any flaws in the approved agreement were not so egregious as to warrant a repeal.

    The “they could have overturned because of this….” or “shouldn’t have worried because of that…” statements have been coming out since last Wednesday. Shoulda, coulda, woulda, didn’t. If there were solid reasons to consider a repeal, there should have been a well-research, thorough staff report available. But there wasn’t and there wasn’t time within the 30 days.

    Maybe last week was a bit of a referendum on how Alamedans expect Council to govern?

    Comment by Alison — January 12, 2015 @ 11:51 am

  10. There has been more of a “drive a stick through its heart” feel lately.

    This pretty much nails the difference between the comments at the last December meeting and the sense of the opposition going into last Tuesday’s meeting.

    Comment by Lauren Do — January 12, 2015 @ 12:52 pm

  11. post#8, if you are referring to the “spinner”, aka, “merry go round”, then you might as well throw in the action Alameda guy also. Of course I understand that is your opinion,and your welcome to it.

    Comment by John P. — January 12, 2015 @ 12:56 pm

  12. Cry baby cry
    When you’ve got to get it out
    I’ll be your shoulder
    You can tell me all
    Don’t keep it in ya
    Well that’s the reason why I’m here

    Comment by anonyymous — January 12, 2015 @ 2:01 pm

  13. Well, neighbor, I went and had a look at the Merry-go-round as you suggest. One sentence he’s the plaintif, the next the jury, then he’s gone back in history to scatter in some red herrings, then back for some very judicial sounding phrases. What a fun read. Yes, you’re absolutely right. He has some small points of fact scattered like buckshot throughout, but the problem is – he only has points. Did you go and read the background material he suggested? There’s more there than the points he puts up. If I were teaching the Critical Reading class at the college I’d print his blog items and use them for tests.

    Comment by Li_ — January 12, 2015 @ 11:14 pm

  14. 5.The fact that there was no staff report accompanying Spencer’s proposed ordinance to rescind the Del Monte was and is distressing to those of us in favor of open and thoughtful government: it’s important to see the arguments–pro and con–presented ahead of time in order to present accurate and constructive support or criticism. (It is also helpful if the maker of the agendized proposal clearly presents her/his case to the public at CC meetings, which did not happen Tuesday night.)

    ———————————————————————————————————-

    Does this same commitment to “open & thoughtful government” also apply to the school board? So far the board appears to be ready to choose a new member with virtually zero public input or comment.

    Comment by dave — January 13, 2015 @ 6:14 am

  15. Zzzzzzz. This dead horse is pink slime. The vote turned out how we wanted it to. Twirl in the snow and let it go.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — January 13, 2015 @ 7:16 am

  16. Barbara Kahn once worked for an elected rather than appointed board, as she stated here on this blog:

    For the record–I am part of a group of 6-8 women (we ate brown bag lunches on a weekly basis to strategize ways to improve education, hence our name the Brown Baggers) who were advocates for and worked for an elected, rather than an appointed school board, libraries in every school, volunteered on district committees and in classrooms, and elected two of our members to the school board.
    https://laurendo.wordpress.com/2007/12/27/alt-ed-part-one/#comment-61852

    ————————————————————–

    Appointing a member can viewed as a necessary expediency under the current circumstances, but it should at least have some degree of public input. Certainly Ms. Kahn recognizes that, yes?

    Comment by dave — January 13, 2015 @ 7:57 am


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