Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 12, 2015

Victor scrum

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

Tonight there is yet another City Council meeting on, what else, the budget.   Can I just say that whoever on City Staff (or maybe it was a consultant firm) that put together the Capital Improvement Program budget presentation did a phenomenal job. It is very impressive and professional looking and really tells a story about the projects that have been completed and those in the pipeline.

But instead of writing about the budget meeting tonight instead I’m going to write about what happened at one of last week’s City Council meetings during Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft’s Council Referral about appointments to regional boards.  What was a bit frustrating about the comments that resulted from the Referral is that it appeared that some of the City Council members wanted to rewrite the narrative as to why Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft placed the referral on the agenda.  Really the whole thing was quite simple, the rationale for placing it on the agenda was two fold:

  1. To align the process of regional appointments with Alameda’s boards and commissions process, meaning that the Mayor would nominate and the City Council would approve.
  2. Ensure that the votes that are taken at these regional boards align with Alameda’s position on these issues and support the work that Alameda has already done.

Let’s take the first issue because, for me, it seemed pretty straight forward.  In the City documents there is a process for appointing internal commissions and boards, very straightforward gives a lot of public notice and is very open.  At one meeting the Mayor nominated a person for a board or commission and then at the next meeting the City Council votes for it up or down.  Typically there isn’t a lot of drama about the person being nominated, but it’s just a good process to follow.  When Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft suggested that the City Council may want to consider following the same process for regional appointments which are pretty important in the grand scheme of things everyone balked, except Tony Daysog who I literally can’t really figure out his motivations.  Insultingly Jim Oddie chalked the regional appointment process up to the “victor” getting the “spoils.”  Of course he failed to realize that, technically, they are all “victors” since they are all sitting up on the dais and no one is an appointed City Council person, so whatever dude.  And the secondly he dismissively said, “if you feel slighted make sure you have a good relationship with the person making the appointment.”

What.

Ever.

I mean, essentially Jim Oddie is saying, “make sure the kiss the Mayor’s ass because appointments to regional bodies has nothing to do with your interest or your expertise in the subject matter just how well you can smile broadly to a person’s face and make them feel as though they’re doing a good job being Mayor even though they might be failing miserably.”

Ah, politics.  Makes you want to take a shower.

Anyway, that first prong failed because Jim Oddie abstained in a 2 – 2 – 1 split.  Surprisingly Tony Daysog (1) didn’t abstain and (2) broke rank and voted on the side Trish Spencer was not on.

The second prong, however was the most important, because Trish Spencer has been going rogue at regional meetings and voting against specific agenda items that Alameda, the City, has long supported before she sat in the Mayor’s chair.  Everyone sort of beat around the bush about the specific items she voted against and Trish Spencer seemed shocked to learn that she actually needed to report out to the Council and to the public about her votes at these meetings.  I mean, her whole schtick is asking questions “for the public” and putting things out there “for the public.”  Except for when it comes to these regional meetings that she’s getting paid to attend, for those she plays coy and acts as though she had no idea that she needed to represent Alameda in a way that benefits the City of Alameda and not just how Trish Spencer, maverick, feels on issues of taxation and transportation and lead abatement etc and so forth.

Fortunately the Council agreed in a 3 – 2 vote, Trish Spencer and Tony Daysog against (see! he’s like a weird loose cannon who casts votes that make no logical sense when matched up to his other votes) to get briefings from staff and to report out at City Council meeting on what happened at these meetings.

Still, I wish someone had pressed Trish Spencer as to why she cast that vote at ACTC, that lone vote at ACTC, and how she felt as though that was in Alameda’s best interest at the time.  But in the end, in the spirit of going along to get along no one openly challenged her.

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28 Comments

  1. I thought Alameda’s “long term positions” could be changed, just as President Obama’s position differed from his predecessor. By the way, nice job alienating BOTH Israel and Saudi Arabia.

    Comment by Breathless — May 12, 2015 @ 6:20 am

  2. If Alameda as a whole changes it’s long term positions (a process requiring time..like turning the Enterprise around in the Bay) then fine and dandy. One person jerking the reigns in the opposite direction telling the “Region” “we’ve changed” is called dictatorship…or stupidity…or jeese, I don’t have words….

    Comment by Gabrielle Dolphin — May 12, 2015 @ 9:27 am

  3. That would be “reins”, not reigns. And its, not “it’s”. Like turning WHICH “Enterprise around in the Bay”? The carrier or the starship? You are correct…you don’t have words…

    Comment by vigi — May 12, 2015 @ 9:44 am

  4. City council politics does resemble a scrum.

    Comment by jack — May 12, 2015 @ 10:10 am

  5. The mayor certainly speaks for you, vigi. Alameda is having its little Tea Party moment. The letters page in the Sun was an orgy of insanity last week; even better than usual. A sweaty Thompson sandwich plus some kook telling us that bike lanes are unamerican and that we don’t want to be South Berkeley. We are sounding a little like South Carolina. And yet we’re really not. The sane majority will prevail provided there we get a decent candidate at the next mayoral election.

    (And re. punctuation: I tried correcting the semi-literate editor Action Save our Alameda! News! blog for years, and got nowhere. Not worth the hassle. GD made a couple of slips. Let it go.)

    Comment by BC — May 12, 2015 @ 10:13 am

  6. 4. The rules are about as clear as those in Rugby too.
    2. I feel your pain. My iPad is constantly changing words and grammar I’ve written just as I push “send”. I’ve decided it isn’t possible to get it all right, so now I correct three time, then just hope others can resist the urge to take a cheap shot.
    3. So hard to resist making those basic corrections, I agree, tho’ ipad is teaching me humility. Pushing it with the Enterprise/Enterprise. She did say in the water. Only one Enterprise is designed to primarily float in the water.

    Wish I knew what the thinking was about the referral. Going in, from discussion about same in community, I thought there was agreement that a & b needed to be discussed. That there was possible agreement that Regional representation should be aligned with our inter-city board appointments and that there should be some policy statement as to what the regional rep. should do. At council, it seems that somehow the referral became a hot potato no one wanted to touch. Reminds me of a scene in a play about the Prince of Denmark.

    Comment by Li_ — May 12, 2015 @ 11:08 am

  7. Vigi’s in top form this morning :0)

    Comment by Gabrielle Dolphin — May 12, 2015 @ 12:02 pm

  8. The Enterprise reference sill doesn’t make sense. The Big E had no problem turning in the water… as for the starship, guess you didn’t see The Voyage Home. [some of the Bay had to be put in the Enterprise..for the whales}

    Comment by vigi — May 12, 2015 @ 2:59 pm

  9. It sounds like Oddie was “kissing up to Trish” so he could get one of those plum appointments. The regional attorneys are saying that Trish has thrown Alameda under the proverbial bus when it comes to getting our fair share of transportation funding by deferring to Oakland. I bet Oakland’s elected officials are glad Alameda has such an incompetent mayor and they can call the shots.

    Comment by Alan — May 12, 2015 @ 3:41 pm

  10. “The sane majority will prevail provided there we get a decent candidate at the next mayoral election.”

    There is no there, there.

    Comment by jack — May 12, 2015 @ 3:57 pm

  11. Good catch. An errant there, there indeed.

    Comment by BC — May 12, 2015 @ 4:59 pm

  12. Alan: would be helpful to know more about any actual damage. It’s one thing to have an entertainingly inarticulate and inept mayor, but we need to keep an eye on the real damage she could do. We need to hold her accountable.

    Comment by BC — May 12, 2015 @ 5:15 pm

  13. Another maladroit, how can “we” keep an eye on something that “could” be done? But what the heck, you’re already holding her accountable for something she could do. Very entertaining.

    Comment by jack — May 12, 2015 @ 5:25 pm

  14. “…Trish Spencer has been going rogue at regional meetings and voting against specific agenda items that Alameda, the City, has long supported before she sat in the Mayor’s chair.”

    Duh, that’s politics. Isn’t it the shits that we’re in a drought and you can’t wash Trish’s mud off because East Bay mud forbids two-year long showers?

    Comment by jack — May 12, 2015 @ 6:02 pm

  15. Isn’t maladroit an adjective? Nice little catch, nevertheless! It’s good to have a proofreader.

    Comment by BC — May 12, 2015 @ 6:31 pm

  16. 9
    “The regional attorneys are saying that Trish has thrown Alameda under the proverbial bus when it comes to getting our fair share of transportation funding by deferring to Oakland.”

    Are you a “regional attorney”? If not mind sharing your sources?

    Comment by jack — May 12, 2015 @ 6:42 pm

  17. Yep, you’re the noun.

    Comment by jack — May 12, 2015 @ 6:47 pm

  18. Have there actually been no rules or precedent for reps to these bodies being accountable and reporting back to the Council? In the past, the mayor has not dominated, but various Council members have been representatives. It just makes no sense that each council person could vote according to their personal politics. It’s fine to have a personal agenda or represent a faction, and everybody would know what Trish’s would be, but she should have to defend it to the larger body. Also Oddie is entitled to his opinion but the “slighted” comment is just really strange. It’s not like Marilyn was running around saying she felt burned or left out by not getting an appointment. It’s about the process.

    Haven’t we had problems in the past with some of our reps not even showing up at meetings? Like Johnson on ACTC, maybe ?

    Comment by MI — May 12, 2015 @ 7:04 pm

  19. Re agenda:

    “…and everybody would know what Trish’s would be, but she should have to defend it.”

    Mind enunciating, in plain English, what Trish’s agenda is?

    Comment by jack — May 12, 2015 @ 7:32 pm

  20. This is not the first instance in which members of the City Council have acted in ways that have seemed odd or worse….

    Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft’s referral was, as far as I can see, a logical and reasoned attempt to make appointments to (and reports from) regional intergovernmental bodies consistent with the appointments to our city boards and commissions. Sounds reasonable enough to me, whether or not any appointee or official is “going rogue” in his or her representation of our fair city. (No wonder Councilmember Ezzy Ashcraft’s effort failed…)

    I would like to see more transparency and accountability in this and other aspects of our City Council processes: the community is entitled to know as much as possible about the deliberations in which our officials take part. For that matter, I would like to see more transparency in all aspects of our public business and proceedings: we have come a long way since 2010, but we are far from perfect.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — May 12, 2015 @ 8:19 pm

  21. During tonight’s Public Works budget session (beginning at about 8:10 pm), Councilmember Jim Oddie asked several questions of the AP COO Jennifer Ott and Public Works Director Hahn, including questions on the Stargell/Webster bus priority signal and the Broadway/Jackson/880 interchange.

    Then he asked whether it was the official city policy of the City of Alameda to support Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Alameda and Oakland (yes), and whether the city’s representative had opposed that policy in ACTC meetings. The mayor responded that his remarks were “inappropriate” and that he should have discussed the matter with her “offline.” Then she called on Tony Daysog…a few minutes later (about 8:37 pm) she added an explanation that her actions at ACTC were based on protecting pedestrians in Oakland….

    Who said budget sessions were dull?

    Comment by Jon Spangler — May 12, 2015 @ 8:40 pm

  22. 21
    “Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft’s referral was, as far as I can see, a logical and reasoned attempt to make appointments to (and reports from) regional intergovernmental bodies consistent with the appointments to our city boards and commissions.”

    And just what is that “consistently”, in plain english?

    Comment by jack — May 12, 2015 @ 9:08 pm

  23. Jack–Marilyn’s stated intent was to make the process for appointments of CC members to regional bodies (such as ACTC) consistent with the process of appointing community members to our advisory boards and commissions.

    Lauren posted this (above):

    “Really the whole thing was quite simple, the rationale for placing it on the agenda was two fold:
    To align the process of regional appointments with Alameda’s boards and commissions process, meaning that the Mayor would nominate and the City Council would approve.
    Ensure that the votes that are taken at these regional boards align with Alameda’s position on these issues and support the work that Alameda has already done.”

    I’m surprised you need this explained to you since it was mentioned and explained a few times over the course of Lauren’s post and these comments. I was only referring to what had already been covered.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — May 12, 2015 @ 10:06 pm

  24. Haven’t we had problems in the past with some of our reps not even showing up at meetings? Like Johnson on ACTC, maybe ?

    I think Beverly Johnson had issues showing up to the WETA meeting for a while when she was the appointee.

    Also Doug deHaan didn’t attend the meetings of the body that was supposed to be some regional grant making body for social services dollars, there was a whole scandal around the husband and wife team that ran operations, but the name of the (now disbanded) body escapes me now.

    Comment by Lauren Do — May 13, 2015 @ 5:54 am

  25. Jon, in order to ensure the alignment and consistency of local and regional boards, what could foment closer alignment and consistency then the Mayor appointing herself to regional boards?

    Comment by jack — May 13, 2015 @ 9:50 am

  26. what could foment closer alignment and consistency then the Mayor appointing herself to regional boards

    Uh, the Mayor actually casting votes at these regional boards that align with positions that the City of Alameda has taken in the past and aligns with the policies of the current City Council as well.

    Comment by Lauren Do — May 13, 2015 @ 10:04 am

  27. “This auto-correct” makes me say things I didn’t Nintendo”

    Comment by Gabrielle Dolphin — May 13, 2015 @ 10:04 am


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