Blogging Bayport Alameda

April 2, 2015

Model citizen

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Transportation — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

It was mention by another commenter that Trish Spencer showed up at the Transportation Commission the other week to speak as Citizen Spencer again to speak out against the protected bike lane proposal on Clement. While her comments were nothing surprising, it sort of falls in line with typical Trish Spencer protocol for any controversial item which can be broken down thusly:

  1. Complain that the public outreach efforts were insufficient
  2. Complain that the results of the public outreach efforts were somehow incomplete because of complained insufficiency
  3. Use an unrelated anecdotal example as proof of the lack of need for whatever is being considered at the time.
  4. Lather, rinse, repeat

It doesn’t even matter if she’s come in at the beginning of the process or at the end of the process, you can pretty much count on her to go through the four steps consistently for any major (and sometimes minor) issue.

So at the TC meeting here’s the comments that she offered:

Good evening, I’m speaking in my individual capacity this evening.  And I pretty much want to echo most of what, um, Mr. Spangler just said, but I want to share in regards to the businesses input this evening I think that that is actually new.  I’ve attended the other meetings and I’ve taken the survey I don’t think that that was shared as part of the surveys so that also causes me to question how reliable the survey can be without explaining exactly the use of that road.  Um, which is obviously very critical to use which was shared by several speakers this evening.

I also wanted to share that not all bicyclists use the cycle track and that’s something that I’ve received complaints about as Mayor and there are some bicyclists that still prefer being in the road and so you have to keep in mind in these drawings that even with the cycle track even though the depictions here show, um I think they show the bicyclists to the one side in reality you have the bicyclists in the ones that want to drive in the roads and the ones that still think it’s safer next to the cars.

First, let me point out this.  First she says that she is speaking

in my individual capacity this evening

Later she refers to correspondence she has received as Mayor:

I also wanted to share that not all bicyclists use the cycle track and that’s something that I’ve received complaints about as Mayor

This is why it becomes very confusing when a sitting elected official speaks before an advisory body even as an individual citizen.  Even though she says that she’s speaking as Citizen Spencer she invokes her Mayor Spencer role to lend additional weight to her comments.   Putting aside the fact that her logic is of the weirdest variety anyway (some people use the street instead of the protected bike lane and therefore somehow we should’t consider protected bikeways)  and should be dismissed as totally lame, she has telegraphed to the Transportation Commission that — because she received this feedback as Mayor — it is somehow of importance when considering policy direction about bicycle infrastructure.

I realize that perhaps Trish Spencer uses these public comment periods at other city meetings to prove to everyone watching that she actually showed up and attended.  Personally, a better gauge of how engaged Trish Spencer is would be some demonstration that she actually understands the material presented.  Just showing up at the meeting to breathe the same air as other commissioners and board members really does nothing if she is unable to process the information and the policy discussion that results.


  1. A person who has the power to enact an action being considered by an advisory body should not be telling the advisory body how he/she feels about the action under consideration. An advisory body is just that; a group to which a task is delegated for consideration, testimony and discussion in order to advise the elected body of their findings. When the matter comes up before the elected body, the points of advice should be considered again and debated before being voted upon.

    It might be o.k. to attend a meeting of an advisory body to listen, but not to comment. When an elected official gives his/her opinion to the advisors, even under the label of “private citizen”, it carries weight and might suggest how the advisory body should advise. Simply stating “I am not opining as an elected official” does not remove the gravitas of the words uttered by a person everyone knows IS an elected official. Referencing one’s experience as the elected official just adds to the confusion of roles. Not a good practice in terms of representative government.

    Comment by Kate Quick — April 2, 2015 @ 8:19 am

  2. And I am in favor of tearing up all of the city’s sidewalks because I saw a guy walking on the edge of the road the other day.

    Comment by Jack Mingo — April 2, 2015 @ 8:39 am

  3. I like an “activist” mayor. On the front page of the Sun, after hearing a complaint, Mayor Spencer collected the Planning Department Head rushed to Harbor Landing, and issued a “stop work order” so that more old Monterey Pines weren’t cut down by the Landlord. We should be able to see our politicians in action and judge them accordingly.

    Comment by Breathless — April 2, 2015 @ 8:44 am

  4. Just the other day, I saw a guy sleeping on a bus bench. I see this ALL the time! I guess we don’t need any new housing. Until the bus benches are full.

    Comment by Not A Alamedan — April 2, 2015 @ 8:57 am

  5. post #4, maybe our “activist Mayor”can find him a place to sleep.

    Comment by John P. — April 2, 2015 @ 9:02 am

  6. It always fascinates me how intolerant of civil rights and free speech liberals become when one of their opponents is elected to office. Famous anti-democracy maven Kate Quick, co-prez of the League of Weird Voters, would completely strip our Mayor of all rights to express her opinion or be seen in public outside of her official capacity as Mayor. I guess that’s why we never saw the previous mayor involved and engaged except on the dais. She was a loyal LWV toady.

    Kate, you have it all wrong as to the function of an advisory board. The problem with these “advisory boards” is that they cannot give sound advice, if they don’t get enough input from the community. Glad to hear some of the community input is coming from a reliable source like Trish Spencer, who does hear from the community. When she’s at a meeting in the gallery, people can actually approach her and (gasp) tell her what’s on their minds! Imagine that–a public official you can speak with outside of an LWV Fundraiser! You don’t have to pay!
    Will wonders never cease.

    Comment by vigi — April 2, 2015 @ 9:39 am

  7. I agree with the “delivery analysis” – not only are the roles confused (different hats worn at different meetings..or different hats in the same meeting – whichever suits), but the totality of speech itself is unclear..ideas perhaps not thought out, disorganized if thought out; gives the impression of throwing it all up on the wall to see what sticks..however you want to interpret that analogy/metaphor. It’s my impression we’re not looking at an activist Mayor so much as a one trick pony; a slanted view/special interest – that has yet to grasp the Mayor indeed works for the overall good of the City now and in the future…and not a sub-set of constituents. Just my thoughts on this beautiful day.

    Comment by Gabrielle Dolphin — April 2, 2015 @ 9:46 am

  8. #8 vigi – the mayor a “reliable” source…you have to be kidding. She seems to go into meetings unprepared, half-cocked, blind, disorganized, and unable to grasp what people really want.

    Comment by Jake. — April 2, 2015 @ 10:07 am

  9. So that no one is confused in the future, Ms. Spencer ought to give notice to all in such situations, “I am also Mayor”

    Comment by MP — April 2, 2015 @ 10:19 am

  10. And what is it that you think “people really want”, Jake? Do tell. Maybe a Transportation Element that doesn’t still state that Light Rail is the future plan for the Alameda Beltway property?

    Comment by vigi — April 2, 2015 @ 10:25 am

  11. I’m sorry vigi but you are guilty of selectivity here and all your usual liberal conspiracy clap trap is specious. I think Breathless is absolutely right about the incident she sites and that is perfect example of Trish being in her comfort zone, Joan of Arc to the rescue. But Kate pretty much nails the conflict and no amount of spin will change that conflict. Being mayor means you have considerably more clout that Jane Q. Citizen and are guaranteed a deciding vote at the end of every process, so the responsible thing to do would be circumspect and wait for the process to get to you. If she is really concerned she should delegate one of her minions to go speak at a board or commission. What is weird is that Citizen Spencer was never this active but now that she is mayor she is hyper active. It makes no sense. Her personal opinions aren’t somehow imbued with special credibility just because she is mayor but she ignores the obvious conflict and abuse of her inherent “gravitas” as Kate put it.

    If she is going to comment I wish she would be a little more analytical about her rhetoric and consider how some of her half formed thoughts just hang there. In Spencer’s mind we are all to infer one obvious conclusion from her statements like how the odd cyclists has allegedly been sighted using the road instead of the track, but if she had any real analytic capacity she would see that her conclusion is not automatically implied and in fact many think her logic is flawed. She should attempt to completely state what she thinks is the real implication. If she did, in the process she might realize the absurdity. 2. is a simple but great analogy which illustrates the absurdity.

    Her supporters cast her as a giant of leadership, while detractors think she’s a dwarf. If she were characterized as one of the seven most often cited, I submit Dopey, but an eighth choice would be Kvetchy.

    Comment by MI — April 2, 2015 @ 10:28 am

  12. Vigi, please note that I did not use the Mayor’s name nor give any opinion on what she said. I was speaking on what the process should be, no matter who the actors are, and would have the same opinion if it were another person as mayor or council member. It is just not good process and personal insults in response to my opinion about that are a pretty weak comeback. Tell us how it is a good process for the “decider” to influence the information before it comes to them for decision, and that will be a stronger statement.

    Comment by Kate Quick — April 2, 2015 @ 11:46 am

  13. #6. Being liberal has nothing to do with it. Elections in Alameda are non-partisan. I don’t know if Spencer is a Democrat, Republican, or neither. The problem is that she’s uninformed, unprepared and a huge panderer to her base, to the point of submitting measures that she votes against (Del Monte). She’s been mayor for four months and I’m still waiting for her to say something coherent.

    Comment by Larry Witte — April 2, 2015 @ 1:40 pm

  14. #10 vigi, what people want is a leader (mayor) who know how to lead and instils confidence in there leadership. To this point there has been none of that, as it is quite the opposite. You don’t necessarily need to know how to do the job but you need people to believe you can.

    Comment by Jake. — April 2, 2015 @ 2:06 pm

  15. Leader sometimes have to take hard decision , even when only partially informed , those rant remind me of a TV technician that was sued by the owner because he lacked knowledge “he had done so all His life” , we all know they change these tv internal configuration every other week , the technician was using the manual , the Judge ruled in favor of the plaintiff ?? now why do they have and rely on all these law book , building code etc …

    Lauren you should change the name of your blog to I hate Trish spencer instead of spilling vinegar and acid at every post peoples would know who you are {the one who don’t} and take your blog for face value.

    Comment by Joel — April 2, 2015 @ 2:58 pm

  16. Vigi and Joel, what has Trish done as mayor to make your life in Alameda better? In four months, she has made a mockery out of Alameda’s government with her ineptitude and running meetings, and unwillingness to do her homework in understanding the issues. Let’s hope she does not put the City in legal jeopardy, and cost us millions of dollars.

    Comment by Alan — April 2, 2015 @ 3:06 pm

  17. The Mayor (civilian status) was at Rock Wall last Friday evening and underwent vicious grilling from two of her subjects (a well known pundit who writes occasionally for the Sun and/or the Journal) and myself. Unfortunately, I don’t remember a whole lot of our conversation (in vino et veritas but after four or five glasses who knows) but I do remember her very clearly saying that 99% of comments she receives from the general public are positive. I mentioned that I don’t see many positive comments about her from Lauren Do on her Blogging Bayport blog. She said “Oh, I know. She hates me”.

    Comment by jack — April 2, 2015 @ 3:13 pm

  18. More on the bicycle lane …..

    Quite Frankly it is time for the Alameda PD to enforce traffic laws for bicycle , they run red light and stop sign , ride on side walk when we do have dedicate bike lane .
    We all paid for these traffic lanes , we all paid for the only bicycle bridge in the world “Bay Farm – Main Island ” we all pay for these bike rack .
    It is time for these free loaders to contribute , one way would be to have all the bike register , we used to have it , great silver lining if your bike get stolen the Cops which are not the Enemy will be able to send you a tweet , a text or what ever turn you on .
    So many ride at night without reflector or light , they are a danger to themselves .
    on the interesting side each violation , because they are considered vehicle will go on their drivers license with point , last I heard running a red light was $250 range same for driving on the side walk

    Comment by Joel Rambaud — April 2, 2015 @ 3:31 pm

  19. Alan if you know any politician who turned over a City , a Country in 4 Month , please feel free to spill the name , please educate us .

    Comment by Joel Rambaud — April 2, 2015 @ 3:35 pm

  20. Alan, in 4 months, Trish has voted exactly the way I would have just about every time. She has demonstrated that there are still people worth electing for the courage of their convictions. It is ridiculous to call her the “decider” of anything, when she is only one vote.

    Comment by vigi — April 2, 2015 @ 4:42 pm

  21. 17. I guess it’s time to start sending emails to her office. I think she needs to take into consideration the attitude of those who are opposed to her which is roaring disapproval and there are a lot of us. Let’s bury her in negative email. Seriously. She will probably just pass us all off as cranks.

    Comment by MI — April 2, 2015 @ 4:42 pm

  22. You are.

    Comment by jack — April 2, 2015 @ 5:12 pm

  23. 16)

    For the past 15 years Mayors and City Councils have put this City in Financial peril to the tune of Hundreds of Millions of Dollars with unfunded pension liabilities and health benefits, Unsustainable wages and benefits , not including the 600+ million in deferred maintenance to our City assets , like our streets, parks, and buildings, and have invented new fees and tripled others. The special interests have put their needs in front of the City as a whole.

    You have a New Mayor with a concious that is totally authentic and trying not to fall down into the sewer of debt listening to special interest getting their way…….She is actually around town daily talking to people that live here and do business. What a concept.

    She inherited a Financial Mess..

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — April 2, 2015 @ 6:33 pm

  24. #23, and she will leave a financial mess

    Comment by John P. — April 2, 2015 @ 7:41 pm

  25. Did it ever occur to you that for the last 70 years , not a single mayor has run the City of Alameda , this stemmed out of a Mayor taking the City coffer for His bank account led to his conviction then the City changed all the laws . , The Staff run the city no one else .
    Prove me wrong !

    Comment by joel — April 2, 2015 @ 8:09 pm

  26. 24)

    At least she will try and improve our situation and Not Try and Hide what really is going on and Ignore situations like slumlording and conditions we put those tenants through at the base.

    Where all the monies are going and why we don’t have programs at the parks for our kids and let the condition of our pools totally be ignored. When you suck millions of dollars out of community services and parks and have a department hold fundraiser pancake breakfast and fundraiser crab feed as exchange is cutting our kids and families short.

    It’s frkn Laughable.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — April 2, 2015 @ 9:01 pm

  27. 18 wins this week’s “dumbass of the week” post.

    We pay our fair share of taxes as well … nothing is stopping you from getting on a bike and riding on the roads you (and I) paid for.

    Comment by Cyclist — April 2, 2015 @ 9:26 pm

  28. I do remember her very clearly saying that 99% of comments she receives from the general public are positive. I mentioned that I don’t see many positive comments about her from Lauren Do on her Blogging Bayport blog. She said “Oh, I know. She hates me”.

    This, precisely, is one of Trish Spencer’s (many) problems. She views governance as a popularity contest as opposed to measuring the effectiveness of leadership on what she has been able to accomplish. As long as she “feels” that people like her because folks aren’t sending her bitchy emails she’ll continue on doing Trish Spencer. She has been unable to build any sort of coalition on the City Council despite the fact that her supporters still tie her closely with Frank Matarrese to this day and Tony Daysog practically falls all over himself to please her and defend her actions ; even though he still sort of manages to vote as Tony Daysog would.

    Instead of chalking up critiques of her first few months in office as someone “hating” her, perhaps she should reflect on whether she has done the job that she was elected to do, even if she’s only concerned with representing her base. Her base wants her to move their policy and by “move” I mean: get it done. Not just talk about it and then throw a hissy fit because the other four City Council members aren’t convinced by Trish Spencer’s mere mentioning of her talking points. She’s not effective because she’s not convincing.

    Comment by Lauren Do — April 3, 2015 @ 4:43 am

  29. 22. knew that was coming. and you hold yourself above that, right Jack? Your comments are all incisive critical insight, 100%. I actually consider myself s split personality, half total BS/performance and half attempt at substance. take it or leave it, none of it matters.

    Comment by MI — April 3, 2015 @ 10:23 am

  30. Cyclist , at least He got the guts to post on with his name , name calling is a sign of desperation , You might want to look him up , He is actually a decent guy , the tag on bike is not a bad idea unless you never had your bike stolen …………..
    We all know the saying “it take one to know one”

    Comment by Arnold — April 3, 2015 @ 2:45 pm

  31. arnold, but what are YOUR full name? where your guts are? I suspeect you are sock puppeet of Joel Rimbaud, no? but you do not name call.

    “it take one to knwo one”. Sheet, I wish I think of that when I post 29 respond to Jack.

    Comment by MI — April 3, 2015 @ 5:09 pm

  32. post # 28, unfortunately for our new mayor, she is not a person who can build consensus, she can go to Rock Wall on Friday afternoon and make Jack happy but that is not governing. I will have to go with Lauren on these points. To be an effective Mayor she has got to be able to build some sort of communication with the rest of the council. Then she has to show an ability to be an effective leader, that usually means running a meeting that actually gets things done. Also as Kate Quick has mentioned going to board and commission meetings and telling them that you are not there as the Mayor, even though we all know that is exactly why you are there is again very disingenuous. These boards and commissions understand completely that their jobs are to advise the city council, so when the Mayor comes and tells you what she thinks you should pass on to the city council, of course as just “a citizen” she is being very disingenuous. Lauren needs to continue to relate what she see’s happening at these meetings as her point of view, which she has always done. As far as I can remember she has never pointed out in her blogs that these are facts, they are just her opinions. So for those of you (vigi) who just cant’t stand the sound of her voice there are many other blogs that would make you and jack, and John (cobalt) so much more happy to be on.

    Comment by John P. — April 3, 2015 @ 7:46 pm

  33. post #26, so John, what exactly is she going to do to improve the conditions for those who now live on the base, since she dose not want any housing there, and what is she going to do to improve our parks and pools if she can’t even get along with her colleagues on the council. she votes no on every issue that can help this city move forward, your negative comments are just fluff and B.S. as always.

    Comment by John P. — April 3, 2015 @ 7:58 pm

  34. post # 6, vigi, do you really believe that if I were at a public meeting and went to Trish Spencer to relate my views to her that she would actually take my views into consideration and voice them as part of her listening to the community. She just like any politician only listens to her core group, not the common citizen, would blow me off in a second, just has she has done. Vigi, its not unusual for your “Mayor” to only listen to her supporters and no one else. Do you actually believe she goes out and wants to listen to opposite views. P.S. vigi, do you realize that you have never seen any councilperson or mayor ever do what this mayor is doing now because they all new it was not the right thing to do.

    Comment by John P. — April 3, 2015 @ 8:18 pm

  35. 34)

    “Do you actually believe she goes out and wants to listen to opposite views. P.S. vigi, do you realize that you have never seen any councilperson or mayor ever do what this mayor is doing now because they all new it was not the right thing to do.”

    Spencer is trying to understand and solve problems. She is out there attending meetings and talking to people.

    The reason things never get solved and get kicked down road is no one was willing to do the work. She is doing the work……Whether you like it or not……. I think her effort and passion for this city is amazing.

    There are many complex problems facing this city especially financially which limits almost anything the City can do.

    She was left with a Bernie Madoff balance sheet from pass Mayors and Councils not willing to do the work.


    200 Million in unfunded pension liabilities and health benefits

    600 Million in Deferred Maintenance of our Assets

    Not BS or Fluff

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — April 4, 2015 @ 10:15 pm

  36. What is BS and Fluff is

    Holding frkn Pancake Breakfasts ,Crab Feeds, and BBQ’ Fundraisers by a department in the city that has raided millions of dollars going to these groups that are now totally out of funds. Most involve kids and the well being of families that can’t afford to be fee’d into the boneyard thru park programs.

    What is BS and Fluff is

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — April 4, 2015 @ 10:28 pm

  37. 28
    “Her base wants her to move their policy and by “move” I mean: get it done.”

    This move to action,”get it done”, I think, is more emotional than rational. If one think about it, doing nothing is many times the right thing to do. Jumping into any action before all the facts are in, or failing to allow events to unfold before fixing on a way to interpret them, can be both foolish and irrational. Sometimes slowing down can be powerful in helping success. And you’re less likely to make avoidable errors.

    Comment by jack — April 5, 2015 @ 9:52 am

    • Ah Jack. You translated getting Trish Spencer’s base’s policy “done” as actually doing something. She’s unable to get her “nothing” done as well because of her inability to build consensus and provide leadership.

      Watch last Wednesday’s meeting when Trish Spencer was attempting to get the others to vote on moving forward on an intra City shuttle without understanding all the facts (aka funding mechanism or how it would function). She voted against allowing all the facts to come in first in order because she didn’t want to wait the duration of time it would take to get those facts. Her actions are indicative of her philosophy, not whatever motivations you would like to ascribe to her because she’s a lot of fun to hang out with at Rock Wall

      Comment by Lauren Do — April 6, 2015 @ 4:10 am

  38. Exactly Jack !!

    Critical Thinking Not Part of Dooo Process.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — April 5, 2015 @ 1:41 pm

  39. “Ah Jack. You translated getting Trish Spencer’s base’s policy “done” as actually doing something. She’s unable to get her “nothing” done as well because of her inability to build consensus and provide leadership.”

    Comment by Lauren Do — April 6, 2015 @ 4:10 am

    After trying unsuccessfully to understand the above sentence, I’ve decided you either stay up too late or get up too early.

    Comment by jack — April 6, 2015 @ 9:34 am

  40. Again, LDo misses the point of the shuttle discussion ( did she even watch it?). Robb Ratto made the salient point that such a shuttle should be built before all of us die off, so we can actually use it. Alameda should not waste years of time and oodles of cash “studying” a situation which has already been exhaustively studied, as we are wont to do. “Without understanding…how it would function” Seriously? A shuttle is a small bus, Lauren. How it functions: you get on it and ride it to where it drops you off. Some of these mystifying modes of transport are already “shuttling” people across the Estuary. Way back before you got here Lauren, AC Transit actually ran Buses to South Shore so people could shop there! (63/64). Up and down San Jose Ave.
    “…How they would be funded”: this is a radical idea, but maybe shuttles should charge a fare, instead of being propped up with yet another parcel tax.
    Based on the Tony Daysog video, right now there are hardly any passengers on the free Marina Village shuttle.

    Comment by vigi — April 6, 2015 @ 9:46 am

  41. Vigi, if you think that an intra island shuttle can and should be fully funded by riders, you have no understanding of how transit works. If the people who don’t ride it (taxpayers) don’t contribute, it cannot be successful. If the business associations don’t want to subsidize it (employers pay for the emery go round, which is basically a giant BART shuttle for workers), and taxpayers who benefit from fewer cars on the road and parking spaces occupied and air cleaned don’t want to subsidize it, it will NEVER happen. There are people who are smart and become experts in things like this that can explain the how’s and whys, it’s not all a big conspiracy to fleece taxpayers.

    Comment by BMac — April 6, 2015 @ 10:20 am

  42. “people who are smart & become experts in things like this”. Yes, Many smart people have become experts at fleecing Alameda government out of millions of dollars in Consultant Fees.

    Consultant = I have no solution, but I certainly admire the problem. Now pay me.

    Comment by vigi — April 6, 2015 @ 10:34 am

  43. I was mostly referring to staff, city and AC Transit.

    Comment by BMac — April 6, 2015 @ 10:37 am

  44. Before we had Transit Demand Management, and uber Planners, we actually had….transit!

    Comment by vigi — April 6, 2015 @ 10:37 am

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