Blogging Bayport Alameda

April 21, 2015

ACTC attack

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Neighbors, City Council, Transportation — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

Here it is, the rationale for Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft’s Council Referral at tonight’s City Council meeting.  I received the first of my Public Records Requests from the Alameda County Transportation Commission.  Mayor Trish Spencer is the representative from Alameda to the ACTC (self appointed) and receives $225 plus a $25 travel stipend to attend these meeting on behalf of the City of Alameda.

At the March meeting ACTC there was a legislative report about what’s going on with various bills at the state level regarding transportation projects and/or policy.  As you know, a lot of the money for any infrastructure projects in Alameda comes from regional, state, or federal grants.  Not a whole lot comes from Alameda general fund money, so typically it’s in Alameda’s best interest to play nice.

According to the discussion and staff report there are four bills pending that the ACTC Board was asked to take positions on.  The ACTC subcommittee that studies these proposed bills in detail had already suggested a position of “support” for all the bills (it’s on page 6 of the linked legislative report).  The only “no” vote came regarding one specific bill ACA 4 introduced by Assemblymember Jim Frazier (Chair of the Transportation Committee)  which would, from the staff report:

ACA 4 would amend the Constitution to lower the approval threshold to impose a special sales tax that provides funding for local transportation project to 55%. Local transportation projects are defined to include the funding needs for local streets and roads, state highways and freeways, and public transit systems. ACA 4 does not lower the voter threshold for parcel taxes.

Guess who that “no” vote came from?

The discussion prior to the vote indicated that while California residents were generally supportive of infrastructure projects, they generally did not want to fund mechanisms to pay for these projects, with the exception of the immediate Bay Area which had higher numbers when it came to gauge willingness to impose taxes for transportation projects.  Other ACTC Board members discussed how the sentiment of ACA 4 was something that had been identified as important to this Board for a long time.  Of course for anyone that has attempted to pass a parcel tax requiring 2/3 of the vote knows how difficult that can be, doubly difficult for projects that don’t have the benefit of being “for the kids.”

In case you were wondering, Trish Spencer did not speak all that much, she only asked to verify if the current threshold was 2/3, then she asked that the chair bifurcate the four bills so that individual votes could be taken on all of them.  The Chair responded that she should just tell him which one she wanted to vote against when the vote was taken.

She was the sole vote against this item and did not indicate why she believed that voting against supporting ACA 4 was in the best interest of the City of Alameda as that is her role on ACTC and not to cast votes that mirror her own personal anti-tax philosophies.

I opted to not excerpt any audio because, really, Trish Spencer didn’t say anything except what I referenced above.  For someone who was so insistent during City Council meetings that she rightfully should be able to explain her “no” vote after the vote was cast, she certainly didn’t attempt to assert that believed privilege at the ACTC meeting.


  1. I’m glad that it passed, despite our Mayor’s “No” vote. I was looking back to see what Alameda projects will get funded from the Transportation Measure BB that passed this last election.

    Here’s a list of Alameda projects that will get funded – this list was taken from the Alamedan post on January 28, 2015:

    “Alameda is set to get more than $96 million for local street maintenance and safety projects over the 30 years the tax is in place and about $11 million for bicycle and pedestrian projects. The city will get another $14 million-plus for paratransit to serve seniors and people with disabilities.

    Specific local projects the tax is expected to pay for include replacement of the Park Street, High Street and Fruitvale bridges so that they will be safe to cross after a major earthquake; each is to be replaced without a complete closure. A new Alameda-to-Fruitvale BART bus rapid transit route that will make it easier for Alameda’s commuters to use BART is included in the spending plan, which sets aside $9 million for the project.

    The increased funding will also allow for the restoration of AC Transit service along routes that have suffered through several series of budget cuts, including the possible re-connection of a regular bus line to the Main Street ferry terminal; in all, AC Transit is slated to receive $1.5 billion over the 30 years the tax is in place. (Ferries will get close to $41 million.)”

    This Measure goes directly to the heart of solving some of Alameda’s transportation problems.

    Comment by Karen Bey — April 21, 2015 @ 6:43 am

  2. That’s pretty bad. Along with her opposition to BART in Alameda and complaints about how long it takes her to drive from Peet’s to the Marketplace, it is pretty clear Spencer has no interest in actually solving transportation problems. That or she is dumber than she seems when she talks. Not sure which it is as she hasn’t articulated what she actually wants to do. Either way we have a major mayoral problem.

    Comment by BC — April 21, 2015 @ 7:49 am

  3. Save Alameda from her Mayor.

    Comment by Gabrielle — April 21, 2015 @ 8:58 am

  4. Glad the Mayor stood up for overburdened taxpayers.

    Comment by taxedenoughalready — April 21, 2015 @ 9:11 am

  5. Kinda sorta on subject. I want to rant about last night. 880 South closed at 23rd Ave.

    Okay, It still is going to make more sense to me getting to the East End ot take 23rd or the exit before that and make my way to Park Street. I did. Only to find that they had blocked any access from the freeway to the Park Street Bridge. From my angle, I could see no activity on the bridge to justify cutting off access.

    I am diverted into the side streets of Jingletown toward Fruitvale only to find a train parked (yes parked) blocking any access from Jingletown to Fruitvale Ave. I have to back out and around up to East 12th to work around and eventually find an access point to Fruitvale. Finally managed to get home.

    I could see no justification to cutting access to Alameda. I called Alameda Police and they told me that they had nothing to do with this decision.

    The needs of residents of Alameda (a city with limited access points) didn’t seem to be taken into consideration. Have to wonder where our mayor and city council are on this mess and what they are trying to do to bring some sanity to this madness.

    Also, I don’t recall seeing any sign over the last few weeks saying that access to Alameda will be cut off by this project, though I have seen signs about the freeway closure.

    I sent an email to Caltrans last night (around 130 am) indicating my displeasure. I also pointed out that their lack of consideration for Alameda residents’ needs would factor into my decision in the future to vote for their future projects.

    Comment by JohnB — April 21, 2015 @ 9:47 am

  6. @5. Freeway closures were widely notified:

    And on other local blogs:

    Comment by Island Traffic — April 21, 2015 @ 10:00 am

  7. @6. I was aware of the freeway closures. I was not aware of cutting access to Alameda, particularly with the closure of the Park Street Bridge. I looked at both of those links. At least one looks familiar and I think that I saw it before. I see mention of eventual improved access to Park Street Bridge. I don’t see any mention in the articles of cutting access to Alameda during the 880 South Freeway closusre. Perhaps I missed it. If you could point to the specific mention of it that would be helpful.

    Incidentally, there are signs on 880 South about the High Street Bridge Closure. There are no signs about Park Street currently being closed at night.

    My advice to Alamedans approaching from 980 or the Bay Bridge is to get off in Jack London and take the Tube and drive through Alameda to the East End or Harbor Bay during this freeway closure. Would really be nice if I knew that before last night’s nightmare after a very long day at work.

    Comment by JohnB — April 21, 2015 @ 10:35 am

  8. @7. Clearly spelled out here, not sure what you are missing.

    Click to access NB29thClosure2.pdf

    Comment by Island Traffic — April 21, 2015 @ 5:42 pm

  9. @8. Clearly spelled out where? This is your thrid link, and just like the other two, there is mention of the freeway closure, but no mention of Park Street Bridge being closed. If you can find one that actually mentions the closing of the Park Street Bridge during the 880 South freeway closure, feel free to post another link.

    Further, I went down to City Hall. I complained and have since spoken to the person who handles communication and coordination with Caltrans on just this project. He said that he wasn’t aware that they had closed the bridge.

    He is going to contact his point of contact with Caltrans to get more information about the Park Street Bridge Closure.

    There also is something of a distinction without a difference about the semantics of closing the Park Street Bridge. The county controls the bridge. Technically, I don’t think the bridge was closed. I suspect people could have walked over it. Caltrans and CHP blocked all access to the bridge. So effectively, it was closed.

    Comment by JohnB — April 21, 2015 @ 6:00 pm

  10. There’s a big electronic sign about the Park St. Bridge closure as you come into the city. Guess you gotta know the territory.

    Comment by linda — April 21, 2015 @ 7:38 pm

  11. @9. Dude! You can’t be that ignorant … even for somebody who plays dumb on TV.

    I’m not surprised you had to drive all over town! As Linda says, you got to know the territory.

    Better luck next time.

    Comment by Island Traffic — April 21, 2015 @ 9:10 pm

  12. The large sign on Park Street says that the Park Street bridge will be closed at night starting May 11 and ending in August. Today is April 21. Yesterday was April 20.

    A similar sign is now located on 880 South. Both those signs were put up by Alameda County to warn about upcoming work to be performed on the Park Street Bridge by Alameda County. Neither of those signs have anything to do with the current work being done by Caltrans that is resulting in the unannounced Park Street Closure going on now.

    Comment by JohnB — April 21, 2015 @ 9:55 pm

  13. Spencer is our Sarah Palin. Anti-schools, anti-government, anti-fact, anti-tax. She’s not for anything. Just a complete disaster.

    Comment by Larry Witte — April 22, 2015 @ 3:47 am

  14. JohnB, I’m not sure why you’re getting so many grumpy responses. I find all the bridge and overpass work going on right now pretty confusing, and would welcome a clarification of how they impact Alamedans at various times of day (29th St overpass, High Street bridge, Park Street bridge, and later this year Bay Farm Bridge). Not sure who is going to do that given the limited resources available in the media covering this town. Would be nifty if somebody at the city could post a comprehensive view of all the closures on the city website? But city staff is busy too. This is what the news media used to do when it had a business model.

    Comment by Jan Greene — April 22, 2015 @ 8:42 am

  15. Jan, it’s tribal. If a supporter of Trish said the sky was blue on this site, there would be a whole chorus of disagreement. John B’s comment which had nothing to do with anything as far as I can tell tended to indicate that traffic is a concern for Alamedans. That is a no-go zone for the Do-bee’s because it’s not traffic that’s a problem, it’s cars that are the problem. Anything that implies traffic is a problem might imply that a development moratorium is appropriate which implies provincialism which is incoherent Trish-babble. Now I’m not really making sense here, but trust me that the reaction to John’s comment was not rational; it was entirely 100% driven by those poster’s East African Plains Ape mentality.

    Comment by people can be unreasonable ------- — April 22, 2015 @ 12:36 pm

  16. People can be humorous amateur anthropologists.

    Comment by BC — April 22, 2015 @ 1:00 pm

  17. I can be a humorous real anthropologist :0)

    Comment by Gabrielle — April 22, 2015 @ 1:54 pm

  18. Incoherent Trish Babble scores at least 15 so far. I read the electronic sign leaving Park Street for Oakland this a.m. which says closures from 8:30 pm to whenever starting in MAY 11, etc. If I hit a closure already I would have same beef as JohnB, but that has nothing to Do with impending traffic apocalypse. PCBU score 0 and counting.

    Comment by MI — April 22, 2015 @ 3:55 pm

  19. MI. Proving my point by throwing feces.

    Comment by people can be unreasonable ------- — April 22, 2015 @ 4:44 pm

  20. Isn’t the bridge repair funded by the ACTC, ironically given “people can be full of feces’s” little snark? I’m not an expert in such things (which never stops anyone else commenting, so what the hell) so perhaps this isn’t so. But it does suggest we could solve the bridge traffic by making sure they have no money to maintain the bridges (which exist solely for our city’s benefit).

    Comment by BC — April 23, 2015 @ 7:52 am

  21. 5, 7, 9, 12, etc.–The Caltrans overpass/interchange improvement project has been discussed for years and has been well noticed, although the Park Street bridge closure was a bit of a surprise to me, too,but it is quite logical if you stop to think that there is no “there” there (nowhere to go) on the Oakland side now. There is a sign (inbound from Oakland to Alameda) about the nightly closures of the Park Street bridge, as has been noted.

    For years, we have exited 880 S at Alameda/Broadway and entered Alameda through the Webster Tube to avoid the frequent afternoon backups that occur, especially on game days at the Coliseum. This route avoids the 23rd/29th Street construction zone entirely and i commend it to JohnB and others.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — April 23, 2015 @ 8:20 am

  22. Mayor Spencer owes it to us to explain or justify her “no” vote on the 55 per cent threshold for transportation bonds. Has she done so? And does her vote represent the sense of our City Council? From what I know of transportation issues in Alameda, I do not believe she represented a community consensus with that negative vote. And not being able to say that the ACTC’s vote was unanimous weakens its lobbying position, which is sad news…

    Comment by Jon Spangler — April 23, 2015 @ 8:25 am

  23. If anything I said gave anyone the impression that I am a supporter of Trish Spencer, I would like to clear up that misperception. As a gay parent who had a kid in the Alameda Public Schools, I got a very clear view of who Trish Spencer really was during the whole Lesson 9 debate. I could never support anyone who showed such contempt for me and my family.

    My post was really about how Caltrans doesn’t seem to have coordinated with the City of Alameda on this project. Our transportation people didn’t know that Caltrans had arbitrarily closed the bridge. I posted about it here because I was still peeved when I woke up in the morning and saw this post about Alameda representatives to regional committees about traffic and road construction.

    Comment by JohnB — April 23, 2015 @ 8:44 am

  24. Glad we cleared that up.

    Comment by people can be unreasonable ------- — April 23, 2015 @ 9:00 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: