Blogging Bayport Alameda

February 23, 2015

We’re the same

Filed under: Alameda, City Council — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

As you can guess, the agenda item about the Council Referral process did not go smoothly and honestly, I found the discussion hilarious and entertaining from a spectator point of view.   As a reminder, Councilmember Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft placed — as a Council Referral — a suggestion that the City Council start abiding by the Council Referral process that was approved and adopted in 2007.  Essentially what the ordinance says is that all members of the City Council need to go through the Council Referral process if they would like to place something on the City Council agenda.  Yes, even the Mayor would need to.

The point is to treat all members of the City Council as equals (one voice, one vote) — even though the Mayor technically runs the meetings and gets to do things like pick assignments to regional boards — they are still pretty much “equals” in terms of their weight on the City Council.

Trish Spencer, of course, did not like this because she felt as though there had been a policy previously of the City Council giving deference to the Mayor’s seat and therefore putting anything that the Mayor wanted on the agenda.  As it was explained that night, technically any City Council member could ask for an item to be agendized but that the whole point of the referral process was to not put staff in an awkward position of pushing back and saying, “well, we’re really not sure of the point of this.”

Frank Matarrese supported the Council Referral process but also brought up the whole “rules committee” idea again to talk about how agendas are actually created and clarify some of the procedures — which was supposed to be the point of that weirdo special meeting — but that issue wasn’t picked up Tuesday night, Council Referral to establish a rules committee anyone?

Jim Oddie picked up on the fact that all City Council members are equal votes on the City Council and mentioned that while, in the past, there has been the courtesy extended to the Mayor to place agenda items without going through the Referral process he quote Voltaire, not Spiderman, and said “With great power comes great responsibility.”  He then proceeds to say, “We’ve seen in just the short time we’ve been here, a couple of instances where I’m not sure that great responsibility was exercised with caution.”  Ooooh, burn!  And goes on the cite the re-opening of the Del Monte decision and the weirdo procedure meeting that turned into a huge gripe session.  Jim Oddie points out that with regard to the Del Monte project there still has not been a reason given as to why the meeting was called and then says that in the minutes it was declared that it was done for the benefit of Tony Daysog then an online article that points the blame at staff for making a mistake by not providing information.

And then Tony Daysog.   What to say about Tony Daysog.   I mean, I have been puzzled by his voting pattern since this new Council was seated because there was no clear rationale as to why he would vote the way that he voted.  For example at a different City Council meeting he launched out of the gate during the rent discussion with data about the current outlook, and has long tried to establish himself as “the data guy.”   Inexplicably though when it came time to vote on tasking staff with getting more data to better inform the policy he balked.   Trish Spencer voted “no” on getting more data and Tony Daysog abstained.  That vote seems inconsistent with this positioning of himself as “the data guy” and I couldn’t reconcile that vote with his presentation of the data at the beginning of that same agenda item.  It was during this agenda item when I had my Tony Daysog epiphany.  When he began to push back and declare that there was nothing strange about the two example provided by Jim Oddie and that — in fact — they were both justified.  I realized that Tony Daysog is politically aligning himself with Trish Spencer.  If I were being less generous I would say he sucking up to her, but let’s just go with the politically aligning himself thing.

Tony Daysog then says everything is just fine the way it is and that — regardless of the fact that the Mayor’s vote has the same value as everyone else vote — she should be afforded a special dispensation to do whatever the hell she wants agenda wise.  He then says that a change should only be made “if at some point it becomes unreasonably unbearable.”  Well guess what dude, three other Councilmembers have already decided that it is unreasonably unbearable.  Even the Frank Matarrese who has been closely tied to Trish Spencer by their supporters.

Oh, by the way, Tony Daysog also spilled the proverbial beans as to why the Del Monte agenda item was placed when it was placed by Trish Spencer.  It wasn’t to “get more information” or any of that spin that was being offered, it was because after 30 days the contract would have vetted with Tim Lewis Communities and that meeting and that timing was the once chance to tank the project.  Unsaid is that, let’s say that everything had gone in Trish Spencer’s favor that night and there were enough votes to kill the project by repealing the ordinance.  The timing for noticing to get the second reading on the agenda would have been so compressed they would have had to perform some serious gamesmanship to squeeze in the second reading before the contract was fully vetted.  That’s sort of what was alluded to when Frank Matarrese mentioned he didn’t want to play any games with the timing during that meeting.  But I digress.

To the point that Tony Daysog made about there being previous precedence of “deference” to the Mayor’s seat and allowing the Mayor to go directly to the City Manager to set an agenda, Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft nimbly tears down that argument by saying that there’s been a lot of talk with this particular Council about “transparency” and that while there has been deference that was not voted on by the City Council at any point nor is that deference in writing anywhere that can be referred back to and that the point of this Referral is to remedy the fact that issue had not been addressed previously by any preceding City Councils.  Also that the public is better served when the Council follows rules and doesn’t make it up as they go along.

Oh also, Tony Daysog keeps saying that special meetings are allowed to be called by the Mayor per the charter, just to note in the City Charter, the section about special meetings being called is under the larger City Council section, but doesn’t say anything about the Mayor being able to agendize that Special Meeting.

Anyway, the vote turns out three in favor of having everyone follow the Council Referral process (Frank Matarrese, Jim Oddie, and Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft) and two against (Trish Spencer and Tony Daysog).   In case you were wondering, Trish Spencer felt like she was disrespected by being asked to have to abide by the same rules as all the other City Council members.

Another funny bit was Jim Oddie correcting Trish Spencer’s pronunciation of his name.  It’s “OH dee” not “AH dee” by the way.  They’ve been on the Council now for how many months and she’s still mispronouncing his name?

Another funny (not ha ha) bit was that Jim Oddie mentioned that there was one Sunshine Committee member that wanted to reduce the number of days required for noticing meetings!  Any guesses as to which Sunshine Committee member that was?  I have one guess based on the meeting I watched.



  1. If Oddie is “OH dee” he should drop an “H”.

    Comment by jack — February 23, 2015 @ 9:13 am

  2. How do you tell someone to change their name? Inappropriate, overreaching. I have to care and listen to how people pronounce their names. It’s their name. Overall – with Russo moving on to Riverside – that wants his skill and talent..I feel…well, feel a bit sick. Much rides on the civil and legal experience, knowledge-ability and skill of Ashcraft, Oddie and yes, Matterese to make sure this tilting ship-of-state does not capsize and worse, go under – or back – to what She was prior to Mayor Gilmore and CIty Manager Russo. Already feeling sea-sick..woozy.

    Comment by Gabrielle Dolphin — February 23, 2015 @ 9:46 am

  3. Re “going Under” Alameda’s unfunded liabilities went up $21 Mil during Russo’s watch.

    Comment by jack — February 23, 2015 @ 2:28 pm

  4. Does this apply to Barbara Kahn as well?

    The point is to treat all members of the City Council as equals (one voice, one vote) — even though the Mayor technically runs the meetings and gets to do things like pick assignments to regional boards — they are still pretty much “equals” in terms of their weight on the City Council.

    Comment by Good Government — February 23, 2015 @ 2:40 pm

  5. Did Barbara Kahn vote more than once on something?

    Comment by Lauren Do — February 23, 2015 @ 3:11 pm

  6. #3. What does Barbara Kahn have to do with City Council? When last I heard she was President of the School Board.

    #4. City revenues went up substantially during Mr. Russo’s watch and the Council (last one, not this one) applied some of the new money to the unfunded liability. Could you tell us where you get your calculation of a net increase in the area of unfunded liabilities?

    Comment by Kate Quick — February 23, 2015 @ 3:25 pm

  7. Did Trish vote more than once on something?

    I think GG’s point is that Barbara Kahn is showing signs of treating the school board like her personal kingdom. It has certainly appeared that way to me.

    Comment by Oh the Irony! — February 23, 2015 @ 3:27 pm

  8. No Trish Spencer did not vote more than once on something, it was just an odd juxtaposition before the “one voice, one vote” excerpt to then ask if “this” whatever “this” was applied to Barbara Kahn.

    I watch the School Board as much as the next person, I’m not sure that I have seen Barbara Kahn treating the school board like her personal kingdom. I guess examples would be helpful.

    Comment by Lauren Do — February 23, 2015 @ 3:44 pm

  9. Well let’s see — there was:

    (a) the process they used to appoint Philip Hu — which sounded in public statements like something cooked up by the board President and senior staff, not a board majority. (Another board member even made a comment along those lines at one of the meetings.)


    (b) On the AoA and charters. Why was the alternative offer to AoA to give them facilities space at Haight even on that agenda that night? No one else on the board voted for that, so it is a reasonable guess that BKahn insisted it be on the agenda.

    And because today’s topic is agenda building, I’m leaving out a bunch of substantive stuff that is unrelated to that particular topic where I think that Kahn is way out of line. But what do I know?

    Comment by Oh the Irony! — February 23, 2015 @ 4:25 pm

  10. From what I understand about the process used to select the School Board member, it was a process that the Superintendent and Attorney had decided upon after polling other school districts about their process to fill vacant school board positions. Personally, I thought the process was a little weird to begin with. First round selection should have been limited to five picks and a candidate shouldn’t have been able to move on to any round without at least two votes. But honestly ranked choice voting from the get go would have probably eliminated a lot of the headache. I’m pretty sure that Phillip Hu was not Barbara Kahn’s preferred choice. If you look at the votes he never was in her final two.

    Was the process rushed? Yeah, probably. But it was clear that no one wanted to end in a deadlock that night and that’s why they went through that super painful process to try to come up with a secondary process after the first one ended in deadlock. Would a special election have been a more “fair” outcome? Maybe. But if that’s how folks felt that’s what people should have advocated for in the first place.

    As to the Haight option for the AoA charter, staff has to offer options of contiguous space under Prop 39. One of those options was Haight elementary, even if it is not the ideal space. I don’t believe that Barbara Kahn’s vote against AoA at the Chipman campus indicated a vote for AoA at Haight. I think when she said she wanted other options, she probably meant that. Given her strong public opinions about the impact of charter schools on traditional schools, the last thing I can imagine her wanting to do is to displace an existing Alameda school by allowing a charter to encroach on the space. I have to say I was surprised that there was not the option on the table of AoA leasing private space and asking for AUSD to cover rent as is allowed by Prop 39 if space cannot be found to accommodate.

    Comment by Lauren Do — February 23, 2015 @ 4:52 pm

  11. City revenue went up under Russo has absolutely nothing to do with His skills , it is :
    Thanks to the national economy which recovered nothing else nothing more .
    Like many in the City , Good wind too bad it is not the Santa Ana season he would get to Riverside faster , I understand He is packing a tree trimming Co with Him……… why was there 1/2 dozen trash truck around City hall a while back ? moving vans ?

    Comment by Arnold — February 24, 2015 @ 10:42 am

  12. Why don’t you ask why there were trash trucks at City Hall?

    Comment by Gabrielle Dolphin — February 24, 2015 @ 10:49 am

  13. Arnold, you sound bitter for some reason. Ask City Hall? Most companies are switching to document imaging now which saves a lot of storage space. I imagine we have tons of documents lying around in warehouses which could be scanned and back-up. It is labor intensive at first but saves time and money in the long run. It would be a good summer job for kids during summer breaks, or home from college, or someone just getting back into the work force.

    I started working in High School to save money for college, but it doesn’t seem that parents want their kids to have summer jobs anymore.

    Comment by Jake — February 24, 2015 @ 11:19 am

  14. “What does Barbara Kahn have to do with City Council? When last I heard she was President of the School Board.”

    The principles of good government Lauren Do wrote about in her piece are that an elected public body should be governed by its majority, not just by the presiding officer, whether the presiding officer is Trish Spencer at the city council or Barbara Kahn at the school board.

    People disagree about how certain things are going so far with those two new presiding officers Spencer and Kahn, but the same general standards of good government apply to both. That means that what Lauren said about city council officials would also apply to school board officials. “The point is to treat all members of the _____ as equals (one voice, one vote) — even though the _____ technically runs the meetings and gets to do things like _____ — they are still pretty much “equals” in terms of their weight on the _____”

    Comment by alameda sunshine — February 24, 2015 @ 4:16 pm

  15. From the Twitter feed of tonight’s school board meeting via @ausdnews

    “Discussion now about how to agendize the discussion of revising the bond projects timeline.”

    “Kahn: Can it be left to my discussing it with the superintendent? Rather than agendizing it for a later meeting?”

    If Trish suggested something like this, heads would be exploding all over town. I’m no fan of Trish, but if people would go berserk over Trish suggesting this (and they justifiably would), then Kahn needs to be held to the same standards.

    Comment by Oh the Irony! — February 24, 2015 @ 9:13 pm

  16. So I watched the section that was referred to above. Here’s my understanding of what happened: I think that Barbara Kahn’s statement may have been an unfortunate phrasing and not an attempt to subvert the process of letting the whole School Board weigh in on the specifics of discussing the bond projects timelines.

    The School Board Counsel said that, under School Board bylaws, the Board President and the Superintendent — if they agree on something — can put something on the agenda. Or alternately the School Board members also have the Referral process, much like the City Council does. The distinction — pulling this back to the original post — is that the City Council has no separate process for the chair of the meeting (Mayor) to work with the Chief Administrator/Executive (City Manager) unlike the School Board which does. What the City Council Referral referred to was the Council Referral process which doesn’t make a distinction between Mayor and City Council members when it comes to bringing items on the agenda and that three of the five current City Council members wanted to enforce moving forward.

    Back to the School Board, the Counsel then confirmed that it was not the substantive discussion that would be decided by the Superintendent and Board President, simply the decision to bring the agenda item to the School Board for discussion. I suppose if the other School Board members want to model the School Board members’ ability to agendize items like the City Council they could go through the process of modifying the bylaws to reflect that. Might be less confusing for everybody if our two local elected bodies followed the same rules and processes.

    Comment by Lauren Do — February 25, 2015 @ 8:07 am

  17. Kahn’s actions are completely guileless. She is 85 ( older?). She is asking because she is confused too, not because she has some master plan to control the district. Youngblood and the other letter writer ( Bara Waters?) who called for Kahn to resign have completely over reacted. School board members have to uphold the laws of Prop 39., but that doesn’t mean they have to love charters and in fact I think Barbara Kahn deserves credit for trying to put her foot down on A of A k-5 expansion which has a negative ripple effect, is divisive and totally elective for A of A, not critical to it’s serving it’s current population well.

    Comment by MI — February 25, 2015 @ 9:16 am

  18. Seems to me that Barbara Kahn was asking a question; not making a demand. She may have wanted clarification of the rules as to how to proceed. I would rather the elected official did that than just go forward with her own wishes with no clarification.

    Comment by Kate Quick — February 25, 2015 @ 9:58 am

  19. As your tweeter last night, I’d like to add a few clarifying points to this discussion.

    The conversation was indeed a little confusing. But I believe Boardmember Kahn’s priority in the midst of it all was to direct staff to come up with a revised timeline for the bond projects — i.e., getting some of the high school work started while the elementary and middle school projects were also being worked on. She expressed concern that if a discussion of directing staff to create a new timeline had to be agendized, it would take too long to get the information the board needs in order to make timely decisions about bond projects. So she was asking if she and the superintendent could make that decision to direct staff to create a new schedule without agendizing a discussion of that direction. As Lauren notes, this is allowed, because City Council’s agenda process and the School Board’s process is different.

    Staff’s actual presentation of the revised timeline will be agendized, as is appropriate, and the full board will have a chance to discuss it at that time.

    Comment by Susan Davis (Community Affairs, AUSD) — February 25, 2015 @ 11:22 am

  20. Hypocrisy thy name is Lauren Do or Mark Irons. (of course we knew that.)

    Comment by people can be unreasonable ------- — February 25, 2015 @ 12:11 pm

  21. I think that what’s being missed in the responses to my comment is the big picture — which is that if we are going to complain about lack of transparency and agenda setting (in both the technical and colloquial sense), there shouldn’t be a double standard. The mayor and the school board president should be held to the same standards. It seems that certain FOBs (Friends of Barb) who have vocally complained about sunshine and transparency are willing to cut Barbara Kahn slack when they would be screaming bloody murder if Trish did the same thing.

    Comment by Oh the Irony! — February 25, 2015 @ 12:12 pm

  22. I don’t know that “Hypocrisy is named Lauren Do or Mark Irons”…why would you say that?

    Comment by Gabrielle Dolphin — February 25, 2015 @ 12:21 pm

  23. OTI: If you’re asking for assistance in agitating for the processes and procedures to be the same for the School Board and City Council, more than willing to be a part of this. The differing noticing rules and the way meetings are run make for difficult public engagement because I believe that even the elected officials themselves are fairly confused as to the proper procedures in general.

    The point is not to cut Barbara Kahn slack, but according to the School Board legal counsel, the bylaws state that the Superintendent and President of the Board are allowed the discretion to agenda set in such a manner. The difference for the City Council is that there is absolutely no codification of said discretion.

    Comment by Lauren Do — February 25, 2015 @ 12:33 pm

  24. Having the processes be the same would be a good start. But beyond that, holding everyone accountable for transparency in the processes (whatever the technicalities might be) in the same manner would likely reduce/eliminate the claims of hypocrisy. It seems that every criticism of Kahn is met with cries of “Well, technically, it’s OK!” without any regard for the perception of people like me who have no ties to Barbara Kahn and see problems with how she is performing on the board.

    You know that I am a longtime supporter of the public schools, so if someone like me perceives a problem with transparency and how the board is operating, a knee-jerk defense is perhaps not in the district’s best interest. Yet that seems to be the response to every criticism of Kahn.

    Comment by Oh the Irony! — February 25, 2015 @ 12:53 pm

  25. Unreasonable: People can be grandiloquent too.

    Comment by BC — February 25, 2015 @ 12:57 pm

  26. BC: The grandiloquence begins with people who try to suggest that others are “grandiloquent”, but even if it were true, I’d rather be a pompous and overblown than a hypocrite.

    Comment by people can be unreasonable ------- — February 25, 2015 @ 3:22 pm

  27. Whoa. We shouldn’t prematurely rule out the possibility that you’re a hypocrite as well.

    Comment by BC — February 25, 2015 @ 3:40 pm

  28. OTI: I think in this case the phrase: “don’t hate the player, hate the game” might be appropriate here. I’ve criticized Barbara Kahn in the past when I haven’t disagreed with her position and the votes she has made. But I would be more concerned about Barbara Kahn and lack of transparency if she was trying to have special accommodations outside of the what was written in the governing documents of the School Board. But at this point she is playing the game as the rules have been pre-defined.

    Comment by Lauren Do — February 25, 2015 @ 4:00 pm

  29. Well, Mark and Lauren have pretty much proven that they are hypocrites so no need to contemplate possibilities. My opinion is that you are probably one, but I can’t prove it since I don’t pay much attention given that you never seem to rise above your supporting role in the chorus.

    Comment by people can be unreasonable ------- — February 25, 2015 @ 4:01 pm

  30. This winter the school board voted on and approved a timeline for doing projects paid for by the new bond. The twitter summary makes it sound like the first thing Kahn said last night after it became clear they were keeping two high schools was that she wanted to change that timeline of bond projects that had been approved by the school board.

    As the board president she could easily have put that revised timeline topic on the agenda for last night’s meeting to follow right after the board’s decision on one or two high schools. She didn’t do that, even though she knew she wanted to change the timeline.

    Then today in a comment here the school district says waiting until the next board meeting in two weeks is just too long to wait to have a public discussion with the whole board and to get public comments about whether to go ahead with a possible new timeline about work is going to take many years to complete. That might be technically legal, but it stinks. We have to have better standards for local government officials than “don’t break the law.”

    It seems like a new timeline or plan for the bond would affect tens of millions of dollars in spending and would have to mean delaying work at elementary schools. Do the majority of the school board or the public really want those changes to a timeline that was just approved this winter by the whole board?

    If the answer might be no, why not find that out first before having staff write some new timeline or plan based only on what Kahn tells them behind closed doors? If the answer is yes, why not let other board members and the public have a chance in two weeks to say what they think about all of this before some new timeline and plan is already written and then becomes basically a done deal?

    Comment by alameda sunshine — February 25, 2015 @ 4:17 pm

  31. Lauren,

    This is like a discussion about what’s legal vs. what’s right. I can hate the game and also think that the player is making a bad game worse by doing things that are going to cause damage beyond the game that is being played. Here, Kahn may be playing by the rules, but just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s right.

    Comment by Oh the Irony! — February 25, 2015 @ 4:43 pm

  32. 20. 29 fine, but you want to explain that? If you are claiming a double standard for Spencer and Kahn, I think you need to be specific. For me,.Spencer and Kaihn’s motives are a factor

    As far as your hypocrisy I have no problem with using my full name because I’m fine that people knowing who I am, but if you insist on consistently being that pointed maybe should should consider coming out of the shadows. and quit playing games.. Transparency, single standard for all etc.

    Comment by MI — February 25, 2015 @ 4:44 pm

  33. just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s right.


    Comment by Lauren Do — February 25, 2015 @ 4:47 pm

  34. yeah. I’m for having the same rules for everybody on both boards. But until then…. here we are.

    also, as far as consistency, Spencer should be all about the same leveling of both playing fields if she stands for what she says stands for, if she even understands what she says she stands for, which I doubt.

    What does Kahn stand for? When she ran she said it was because she didn’t see anybody else running who would vote for the kids as she felt she would. When she was elected, many Spencer detractors were totally paranoid that Kahn was essentially going to vote lock step with Trish. As time has passed we’ve seen that is not the case. I see Barbara Kahn’s recent actions as, to the best of her ability, to “do the right thing” and move the process forward, without bias, other than being unhappy about the impact of charters. During the selection for Spencer’s empty seat there were various times during that confusing process where she deferred to the Sean and the district’s attorney on process. She was just trying to move the forward. I happen to have a lot of empathy for her position in all that.

    I would very quickly defer to “Irony” as a better judge when it comes to parsing details, and that is because of professional expertise, BUT I have to say that I also find some of the posts by OTI to be less than dispassionate, and even a bit subjective and emotional when it comes to the Kahn’s alleged agenda, and her supposed offense to Sherice Youngblood over Youngblood’s role on the board at A of A, etc. etc..

    on 30. frankly I’m lost on timeline versus timeline and don’t feel like I am following because I haven’t seen the entire exchange. It seems like a lot of hypothetical speculation at this point.

    “If the answer might be no, why not find that out first before having staff write some new timeline or plan based only on what Kahn tells them behind closed doors? If the answer is yes, why not let other board members and the public have a chance in two weeks to say what they think about all of this before some new timeline and plan is already written and then becomes basically a done deal?”

    Is that now certain to happen or will the public and the entire board have an opportunity to comment on a new time line in two weeks anyway? 19 seems to say a presentation and discussion will be agendized in two weeks.

    As for accusations of hypocrisy from PCBU in 20 qne 29 or any time anywhere, I am yawning with indifference because PCBU is a hypocrite almost every time he/she posts a comment. Really that simple.

    Comment by MI — February 25, 2015 @ 8:29 pm

  35. Point to 1 example of hypocrisy. The fact that I love getting under your (thin) skin is not hypocrisy. It’s just a certain mean-spiritedness directed at someone who thinks they are fair and balanced (but only in the same way that O’Reilly is fair and balanced). If you had more self-awareness then I wouldn’t feel it necessary to rub your nose in your inconsistencies.

    Comment by people can be unreasonable ------- — February 25, 2015 @ 11:34 pm

  36. People can be unwittingly ironic.

    Comment by BC — February 26, 2015 @ 8:21 am

  37. Hypocrisy.

    This blog screamed bloody murder when Trish was monkeying with the Del Monte Plan after it was voted on. Kahn keeps monkeying with the bond plan after it was voted on and nobody here blinks. If Trish proposed a major change in policy be arranged off agenda, you’d be screaming. Kahn does same and is hilarious defended by the most tortured lawyer speak ever. (And by the way I kind of enjoy watching the gymnastics people go through to justify Kahn while criticizing Trish for same behavior)

    And there was a good reason to look again at Del Monte after it was slammed through at the 11th hour, despite significant public opposition. You’d scream loud enough to hear it in SF if Trish did it.

    Trish takes a ton of heat for how she runs a meeting. Kahn runs meetings badly and is defended here. MI even says it’s due to her age, which if it is she oughtta resign. But I don’t think it’s her age at all. She wants what she wants and doesn’t give a tinkers da*n about the rules.

    Hypocrisy: When the rules apply only to the other team.

    Comment by Good Government — February 26, 2015 @ 10:33 am

  38. 34 — “I see Barbara Kahn’s recent actions as, to the best of her ability, to “do the right thing” and move the process forward, without bias, other than being unhappy about the impact of charters.”

    So what was that maneuver where she was going to scuttle the bond vote because of “control” issues. ( Admittedly, she backed down after a lot of pressure, but her position was not something that was either right or in the best interest of the kids (or very democratic). Furthermore, given that she ran on a platform emphasizing transparency and restoring trust (, I find her desire to discuss an important issue like agendizing changes to the bond timeline outside of public view to be disturbing. There is no rush to get this done. It could be done in public. If Trish had been the school board president and had done one tenth of what Kahn has done, the same people who are coming to Kahn’s defense would be standing outside the board meetings with torches and pitchforks.

    As for her comments about Sherice Youngblood and the charters, they were unnecessarily divisive. There’s a big picture here that Kahn doesn’t seem to get and that will have profound effects for the kids she purports to care about. That is — bringing the community together to renew the expiring parcel tax. Kahn’s public statements have struck me as very harmful on that front.

    And while I’ve never claimed to be dispassionate, you seem to be implying that I have some sort of personal axe to grind when it comes to Barbara Kahn. I don’t. I don’t know her (although I remember meeting her once). And I don’t know her family either. So for you to say that my comments are “emotional” is ridiculous — not to mention kind of sexist and offensive. All I knew about Barbara before she joined the school board was that she seems to be considered the grande dame of Alameda democrats and is given a great deal of deference. But I’m not one of the local political insiders, and I have nothing to lose (either politically or in terms of personal relationships) by calling out bad actions when I see them. In fact, I’ve been really disturbed that the transparency police have been giving Kahn so much slack — seemingly because they have a personal relationship with her. (For the record, I’m not referring to Lauren or MI; but anyone who follows this blog regularly knows who I’m referring to.) So maybe rather than being biased against Barbara Kahn, it’s my lack of bias with respect to her as a person that allows me to call out her bad acts when others will not.

    In any event, I hope that Kahn will show the right kind of leadership and/or that the rest of the board will step up and get this mess under control. And I would encourage McPhetridge and AUSD’s general counsel to push back when necessary and err on the side of public participation and disclosure.

    Comment by Oh the Irony! — February 26, 2015 @ 10:51 am

  39. #34: “Is that now certain to happen or will the public and the entire board have an opportunity to comment on a new time line in two weeks anyway? 19 seems to say a presentation and discussion will be agendized in two weeks.”

    Nothing is yet certain to happen except that a presentation on a *possible* revised timeline will be presented to the board at a future Board of Ed meeting. It’s not yet clear if that will be March 10 or March 24. (As soon as I know, I will post the date here and let the public know through other channels.) But at that time, yes, the full board and the public will have a chance to comment. In fact, the public can start commenting on the idea of a revised timeline now, by, for instance, contacting board members or the superintendent.

    Comment by Susan Davis (AUSD community affairs) — February 27, 2015 @ 9:06 am

  40. It’s too bad the video of this week’s school board meeting still isn’t posted. It would be good to see what really happened with the discussion of this “possible revised timeline” that Kahn seems to want to reverse what the school board has already decided about the bond.

    Whatever is really happening with the bond, the broader issues raised in several comments here about how the school board is doing with Kahn as board president are important. The full board should figure out how it will work together and with district staff to be more transparent.

    Comment by alameda sunshine — February 27, 2015 @ 4:36 pm

    • The School Board video has been available since Wednesday.

      Comment by Lauren Do — February 27, 2015 @ 5:41 pm

  41. Lauren, do you have a link to the video? The most recent one I can find is the 2/17 video. Thanks.

    Comment by Oh the Irony! — February 27, 2015 @ 8:16 pm

  42. Video for Feb. 24 School Board Meeting:

    Comment by Lauren Do — February 28, 2015 @ 7:43 am

  43. 38. to say my using the adjective “emotional” is sexist, is ridiculous. I get very emotional about a bunch of stuff, all the time. It’s quite obvious. Your post about Kahn’s comments to Youngblood was very strident. Is strident sexist? Emotional was supposed to be opposite of dispassionate. Beyond that, if you’re offended, then be offended.

    I previously brought up Kahn’s taking bond vote hostage because I knew that one really stirred you up too. That was an isolated action that a whole lot of us thought was off the wall. I can’t support it or defend it though I did understand Kahn’s motive being that she didn’t trust KV and I didn’t either. Seemed like an incongruous act of desperation. However, you seem to be saying that Kahn has a specific agenda and I am specifically saying, sorry no strategy. That is not because I know her so well. As my rep on a city board I email her once in a while, just as I have lots of others, and she gets back to me. We seem to understand each other. I think I know where she is coming from. And yes we have crossed paths socially a couple times like at LWV mixers and Demo club meetings and a party here or there, but not in YEARS. I get that you could be upset with Kahn’s individual actions, but I don’t get that anybody thinks she has a carefully crafted end game. Her comments at the selection meeting were just not that inflammatory, if a little indelicate in word selection ( “not skeptical enough about charters”). I have a huge problem with Aof A board voting for k-5 expansion and I am happy for Kahn telling Youngblood her A of A board vote made it impossible for Barbara to consider her (Youngblood) for appointment to Trish’s spot. She speaks for a lot of us. Again, I don’t think Barbara has the laser clarity to be trying to engineer her own agenda, but is trying to move forward. I guess I’m not getting the finer points here because 39 confuses me, but at any rate it doesn’t seem like Kahn and Sean are going to try to foist a new calendar on the public and try to shove it down our throats.

    Comment by MI — February 28, 2015 @ 9:43 am

  44. That video in #43 is a CITY website. Who would think to look there? Wow, that’s SO transparent….

    And you hypocrites are FUNNY. None of you say a WORD when your double standard is laid out. The rules apply to Trish, never to Kahn because…. Because why, exactly?

    Comment by Good Government — February 28, 2015 @ 11:09 am

  45. The video for school board takes three to five business days to loaded to the AUSD website The video has to be edited so the video clips will match the agenda items after it is uploaded to the site. It takes extra time to be made available but makes it much more convenient to watch video for specific agenda items. As Lauren pointed out the raw footage of the meetings are also available on the city website whenever the School Board conducts a meeting there.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — February 28, 2015 @ 4:57 pm

  46. At the March 10 Board of Education meeting, district staff will present the possible revised bond timeline that the board requested. The board will vote on the timeline at the March 24 meeting.

    Also, video of the February 24 meeting is now up on Swagit (

    Comment by Susan Davis (Community Affairs, AUSD) — March 3, 2015 @ 8:51 am

  47. It would be good if the video of the March 10 school board meeting was available to the public, but it still isn’t.

    Posting six or seven days after a meeting is not an acceptable level of transparency. The district has to be able to post meeting videos so people can see what happened at a meeting the same week the meeting happened.

    Comment by alameda sunshine — March 13, 2015 @ 3:54 pm

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