Tonight’s City Council meeting appears to be on the boring side, but it’s in some of the consent items that there should be some drama. In fact, it’s too bad that Jim Oddie didn’t wait until tonight to pull out the story about the ACTC representative and Trish Spencer for the agenda item approving Measure BB Master Program Funding.
As a reminder, Jim Oddie recounted that a high level staff member at the Alameda County Transportation Commission was told by Trish Spencer that she did not want the Broadway/Jackson project or BRT in Alameda. Trish Spencer did not deny that she said that to a staff member at ACTC just that she didn’t recall the topic ever coming up during those meetings and that it was inappropriate for Jim Oddie to bring up the topic without talking to her “offline” first. Well, here it is, a chance for Trish Spencer to definitively whether she supports Broadway/Jackson and BRT. The resolution states the policy of this City Council moving forward about the projects that will be funded by Measure BB, including both the Alameda to Fruitvale BART BRT and the Broadway/Jackson improvements:
So Trish Spencer has the opportunity to do take a vote on these two issues and stand up and be counted one way or the other. If it’s the case that she does not support the two coming to Alameda then she will vote “no” on this resolution. The problem is even if she votes against and the remaining four City Council members vote for the resolution, as the representative to ACTC she will need to represent the policy of the entire Council and not just her own personal views. If she votes “yes” on the resolution then I’m hopeful that her positive vote on this resolution will manifest itself when it comes time to cast key votes on moving these projects forward, or else she’s simply attempting to play both sides of the issue. We’ll see if Trish Spencer has the courage to actually vote her actual beliefs and whether she understands that regardless of her personal feelings she has to represent the policy endorsed by a majority of the City Council anyway.
The second possible sticky consent item topic for Trish Spencer will be a vote to have the mayor sign a letter of support for two Affordable Housing bills winding its way through the California Assembly. In the past, meaning on the School Board, Trish Spencer has voted against supporting California legislature bills using the rationale that it’s not her place to say what legislative intent is. A good solid example is that she voted against supporting a bill, sponsored by our own Assembly Member Rob Bonta, to protect school parcel taxes.
It will be interesting to see how Trish Spencer aligns her stance from 2013 of her “place” to tell the legislature how to legislate to today. Regardless, like the vote to adopt the Measure BB resolution, even if Trish Spencer sticks to her guns about it not being her place to tell the legislature what their intent is, she’ll still have to sign off on the letters to represent what the Council majority is if the majority votes to adopt the resolution to support the bills and send the support letters. If she votes against the funding mechanisms for affordable housing, then her “talk” about supporting affordable housing will just be that, “talk.” If she votes to support the bills, well it just means that her excuse for voting against Rob Bonta’s bill was just a convenient excuse for failing to support Alameda’s school parcel taxes once again.
And finally, another interesting item on the agenda is closed session item about negotiation with Ridge Capital over price and terms of a building right at Seaplane Lagoon (651 West Tower, building 91). Ridge Capital invests in a lot of business parks and multifamily housing so if the deal goes through it will be one of the two that we might see in that building. The closest example of their work is Latham Square in Oakland.
Oh yeah, there’s also a design review for some cell towers which I know are hot topics for some people, but I can’t seem to bring myself to care one way or the other about it.