Blogging Bayport Alameda

March 4, 2015

Java jive

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Transportation — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

The Planning Board and Transportation Commission joint meeting lasted about four hours, which was not surprising in the slightest since there were a lot of big issues on the agenda.  I’m going to go through some of the more interesting things in another post but thought I would pick on Mayor Trish Spencer again.  Only because she makes it so easy to do so.

Now, I don’t begrudge any new elected official from coming to meetings and sitting there to learn about all the nuances that they missed from not paying attention before they were elected.  But it’s when those elected officials feel the need to add in their two cents, even as an “individual citizen” that’s when things get a little murky.  As Kate Q. pointed out in the comments section, the lines get blurred when an advisory group to a sitting elected body is told by someone on that elected body what their opinions are as a “private citizen.”  You can spin the whole “private citizen” any which way you want but the fact is that that private citizen who also has the word “Mayor” tacked in front of her name has a lot more pull than someone who doesn’t.

Anywho, I found this part rather amusing during the discussion of the whole uber Transportation Plan thing, this was a portion of Trish Spencer’s comment:

We have a problem trying to get to the Marketplace in the morning just from Peets Coffee or Starbucks to get to the Marketplace before 9:00 a.m. It’s very challenging.

My first reaction was: wow, first world problems.  My second reaction was: seriously?  Isn’t the Marketplace like less than half a mile away?   My third reaction was: sounds like poor trip planning.

Turns out the Marketplace is not half a mile away, it’s only 0.3 miles away.  According to Google Maps it takes two minutes to drive there (in traffic), let’s say she parked a bit further away from Peets then it would take instead five minutes.



Walking it would take a whopping six minutes according to Google Maps.



Now, you may be saying, but Lauren, if she’s going to the Marketplace clearly she is buying groceries, .3 miles is way too far to schlep groceries.  To which I shall give you the side eye and then say, “okay, whatever.”   The more efficient trip linking strategy would be to park around the Marketplace and then walk to to Peets and then walk back to the Marketplace to shop and minimize the grocery bag schlepping.

The opposite would work too, but that would increase the amount of time spent schlepping grocery bags.  Of course she could always invest in one of those grocery shopping carts if she wanted to park around the Peets area.  I recently purchased a fabulous one that folds up pretty nicely.

Alternately there is also a coffee shop at the Marketplace which would then reduce her two car trips to only one.  I’ve never been because I don’t buy coffee out because I’m cheap unless I’m meeting someone at a coffee shop which I don’t do because I’m anti-social, but I hear it’s pretty good.

Of course, if Trish Spencer doesn’t want to be bothered by additional traffic there is always the option of selecting a time that is not during the morning commute when people are trying to get to work before 9:00 a.m. and not just to the Marketplace (unless of course they work at the Marketplace).

As an aside, who is this “we” that Trish Spencer refers to?  Is there a mass of people trying to get from Peets/Starbucks to the Marketplace every morning before 9:00 a.m.?   If there is a critical mass of people attempting to get from Peets/Starbucks before 9:00 a.m. every day perhaps Alameda should invest in a direct Peets/Starbucks to the Marketplace shuttle.

I’m trying to muster up some level of sympathy over how “challenging” it must be to get from Peets to the Marketplace, but I simply can’t seem to find any.



  1. Most of what she says as a ‘citizen’ at these meetings is shit; it really seems more important that she have something/anything to say on every issue given the way she hands in speaker slips haphazardly at the very last moment. Like it is some aha or gotcha moment once she understands the subject being discussed.

    Comment by Jj — March 4, 2015 @ 6:27 am

  2. Lauren, I agree there is a great coffee house in the Marketplace — but for those folks who must have Starbucks or Peets perhaps another way to solve this problem is to ask Starbucks and/or Peets to open a store somewhere in the Northern Park Street District. The Northern Park Street District is coming along really good — by the way!

    Regarding the larger issues raised at that meeting, I really like the comments made by Lorre Zuppan about a citywide shuttle. The idea of a ‘free’ citywide shuttle is appealing to everyone. I hope we can make that happen.

    Comment by Karen Bey — March 4, 2015 @ 6:43 am

  3. Real world problems. The walk would do her good and maybe then she wouldn’t need the coffee. People in Alameda want a walkable shopping districts but they want to drive from place to place. One of the nice thinks about having the New Safeway is I can walk to it (.75 miles) and walk home which takes 10 minute each way. Several neighbors have bought those little shopping carts in order to do so. If it is raining maybe you don’t want to get your hair wet, but that doesn’t seem to be our problem. I walk fast so it probably would be easier to walk then get in my car, find parking, drive to the other place…find parking…in my experience Peets or the Marketplace don’t have much parking. Maybe they can dedicate a special parking spot for her.

    Comment by Jake. — March 4, 2015 @ 7:07 am

  4. She’s kind of embarrassing. I hope she doesn’t venture Off Island to represent us all very often. Wouldn’t do much for our reputation, which has progressed a lot in recent years.

    Comment by BC — March 4, 2015 @ 7:25 am

  5. The other comments I appreciated was David Burton’s comments. He is a very thoughtful and considerate board member. And Stanley Tang made a hit comment about hearing directly from those people who actually take transit. I almost put in a speaker slip after that comment to share my experience as a 15 year ferry rider — but instead I chose to sit this one out. I wanted to listen and learn all that I could about transportation.

    I appreciate that the meeting focused on problem solving. One of the comments made by the Mayor to the boards was ” help us solve this problem — it’s hard”. I hope she was serious — because problem solving means rolling up your sleeves and putting your best ideas and plans on the table with the objective being “let’s try and solve this problem”.

    I left the meeting feeling a whole lot better after Lorre Zuppan got an applause for her comments – “we can do this”.

    Comment by Karen Bey — March 4, 2015 @ 7:39 am

  6. If the Mayor goes to a meeting and does not speak, then how would those of us watching in T.V. land know she was there. It doesn’t seem to matter what she speaks about, its just to show she was there. Kinda like “KILROY WAS HERE”.

    Comment by John P. — March 4, 2015 @ 8:16 am

  7. Lauren, you did not mention bicycling as an option, and it is a real one, in addition to the several valid options you listed.

    It is *not* that difficult to ride one’s bike on Park Street–you simply “take the lane.” This is not only your right under the California Vehicle Code–section 21202 (3)–it is the safest way to ride on *any* street that jus too narrow for bikes and cars to share side-by-side.

    I regularly shop for groceries on my bike and have come home with up to 40 pounds of fresh produce, baked goods, flowers, and other supplies in my bike’s front and rear panniers (saddlebags). If you have a bigger family and stronger knees, you can shop using a bike trailer.

    If riding a bike on busy streets seems intimidating, it is not: all you need to do is ride your bike just like you would drive a car: obey the same rules and everything is fine. (You would not drive your car the wrong way down the street or drive a car on the sidewalks, after all.) I am a League Cycling Instructor with the League of American Bicyclists and have taught these skills for years.

    Learning these “Urban Street Skills” is easy and *free*: Bike East Bay offers free classes to all Alameda County residents through a grant from the Alameda County Transportation Commission. You don’t even need a bike for the first class!

    I would be happy to show Mayor Spencer and others how well bicycling in Alameda–even on our busier streets–works.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — March 4, 2015 @ 9:04 am

  8. Hmmm — Crazy person as small town mayor. I see all the makings of a nominee for Vice President!

    Comment by Oh the Irony! — March 4, 2015 @ 9:04 am

  9. The “best practices” followed by most previous mayors here and in other cities usually recommend a certain “hands off” distance between elected public officials and the deliberations of the advisory boards and commissions that advise them. While I appreciate Mayor Spencer’s enthusiastic approach to governance, I hope she will learn to temper her enthusiasm and desire to participate with the understanding that a bit more distance between elected officials and the advisory bodies who serve them will actually reduce confusion over authority and improve the quality of decision making by these advisory bodies.

    6: John, it is customary for the chair of a board or commission to acknowledge elected officials when they attend such meetings, and there is always the video: it is not difficult to see who is (or is not) attending public meetings from home if they sit in the right spots. Such news travels fast.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — March 4, 2015 @ 9:13 am

  10. I’m trying to muster up ability to cope with a dysfunctional Mayor who appears not to get the finer points of her position, the challenges or civility in general. I’m grateful however to see in City Council a break-away to sanity with the 4 council members listening intelligently, stating their positions clearly and voting after weighing pros and cons – not grandstanding or “playing to the base” (gads I loathe that overused yet accurate phrase) from the height of the dais as the Mayor did in last nights session. I don’t know about you…is this painful for you to watch this spilling out in public?

    Comment by Gabrielle Dolphin — March 4, 2015 @ 10:02 am

  11. It was very painfully embarrassing to watch Spencer. She is either clueless or makes no sense. I miss Gilmore.

    Comment by Alan — March 4, 2015 @ 11:07 am

  12. Alan don’t worry Mrs Gilmore will be back at your station ….

    As far as Mrs Spencer is concerned , I see just about the same amount of negativity toward her as when Mrs Gilmore was elected do look back I cannot but feel sorry for all these People posting so much negativity toward Her , starting by , yes you Lauren ! it all started when Mrs Spencer asked the hard question while on the school board , while just everyone else was rubber stamping .Should anyone question Her sanity then it is Your duty to report it to the Police dept , or even the fire Dept +then get her committed …..good luck hope you have more fund than logic .

    Incidentally Mrs Gilmore and Mr Chen lost the election thanks to all that trash Hate mail from that accounting firm in Oakland {I hope they do a better job for their customer’s taxes I would be nervous ” by the way now you can find who was behind that garbage mailing by law you have the right of disclosure , will be interesting …….

    Jon , I have been ridding bicycle since just about the age I started walking , that would be some 60 years ago , went to high school in the rain and snow some 10 miles away from home , it was very different , cyclist here have the mentality , I own the street , run red light , do not stop at stop sign change lane without any indication , zoom in and out of sidewalk , the day they will be hit by a car they will all blame the vehicle. unfortunately I cannot do it anymore , my last one was stolen out of my driveway .
    Bike lane can be extremely beneficial to the City at large , such as Broadway for instance , I still wonder why they use the side walk ??? on the other hand like in Shoreline the bicycle lane they created bounce the traffic into anyone which try to get out of their residence and the street , giving the drives going doing Shoreline no time to react .This is an example of very poor planning , should they have put the lane on the building side “making it wider too” everyone would win .
    I like to see the Alameda Police Dpt enforce the law , since riding a bike is no different than a car it will affect their DMV record and insurance premium , putting them on equal ground

    Comment by Joel Rambaud — March 4, 2015 @ 12:45 pm

  13. 12 — Joel, your comments are hilarious! Don’t ever change! Lets all go report Trish to the police!

    Comment by Oh the Irony! — March 4, 2015 @ 1:11 pm

  14. I’ve not watcched the CC meetings. Is Spencer getting the nutjobs lining up attacking her as Gilmore did? Is there an anti-Spencer equivalent of the Alameda Crazies Taskforce and their rhetorical pitchforks? Or has the ACT become (to use Unreasonable’s term) the chorus?

    Comment by BC — March 4, 2015 @ 1:25 pm

  15. #12 poetry:

    “I have been ridding bicycle
    since just about the age
    I started walking ,
    that would be some 60 years ago ,
    went to high school in the rain and snow
    some 10 miles away from home ,
    it was very different ,

    “cyclist here have the mentality:
    ‘I own the street ,
    run red light ,
    do not stop at stop sign
    change lane without any indication ,
    zoom in
    and out of sidewalk’ ,
    the day they will be hit by a car
    they will all blame the vehicle.

    I cannot do it anymore ,
    my last one was stolen
    out of my driveway”

    Comment by poet — March 4, 2015 @ 2:00 pm

  16. BC: Trish Spencer has had a relatively smooth ride (public comment wise) since there have been very few angry members of the public wagging their fingers at her on a regular basis. There were a few during the Del Monte repeal attempt but definitely no ACT equivalent. I mean, I guess there’s me and my snarky blog, but I don’t do public comment.

    Poet: that was amazing.

    Comment by Lauren Do — March 4, 2015 @ 4:17 pm

  17. #14 It’s as if there is a chorus of mimes.

    Comment by greenefree — March 4, 2015 @ 8:34 pm

  18. Save your post 10 years from now you will be saying that guy was right …..
    Why do people post under anonymous name afraid of what ?

    Comment by poet of oh the Irony in the wasted green — March 5, 2015 @ 9:58 am

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