Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 19, 2015

A woman’s place

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:

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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.


  1. I had an opportunity to speak to a person who has an actual vote on one of these boards for which Trish represents us. Not staff. This person had not heard anything about her other than Trish having won a close race, but no knowledge of the platform on which she was swept into office. However, without any prompting this person offered that Trish insisted on speaking to something which didn’t directly effect Alameda yet she seemed ignorant of details. A first impression. I said that sounded consistent with a pattern to which we have become familiar and was probably a good introduction of what to expect. This too is hearsay, but it’s also true.

    We pay the BB tax, but wish we didn’t so noncooperation is next best thing, right? If we don’t get rapid bus to Fruitvale BART our tax dollars will just be spent on projects which serve other cities, but Alamedans who commute on BART will of course support the boycott in solidarity with Spencer in her master strategy to vote no, no, no.

    Comment by MI — May 19, 2015 @ 2:00 pm

  2. I understand the opposition to taxation, but once the issue is passed by the people and they are taxed, they should receive a proportional share of the taxes they are paying back in the form of infrastructure improvements they are being taxed for. Otherwise, the “insult” of being taxed for those who don’t like taxation is only multiplied by Alamedans paying the tax and receiving no benefit.

    Comment by Kate Quick — May 19, 2015 @ 5:20 pm

  3. I understand the opposition to Trish, but don’t you guys get tired listening to the same old Do Chi Minh tale?

    Comment by jack — May 19, 2015 @ 6:17 pm

  4. Jack, do you note that I refer to the issue, not the individual. Who did what is less important than the why and consequences discussion. There is an issue here, and it is one of fairness in apportionment of tax revenues once they are voted on. Those who are paying should be equal recipients of the services they are paying for. Fairness in apportionment based on need should be advocated for at all regional meetings.

    Comment by Kate Quick — May 19, 2015 @ 7:03 pm

  5. Jack, I don’t think you truly understand the opposition to Trish, I watched her for almost six years at the school board meetings. What I saw was a person who had no intention of trying to communicate with or even be civil to her colleagues. She continually treated staff as if they were a bunch of criminals, she never tried to have a serious discussion about an issue, she was just so one sided that people could not work with her. Lauren is going to call her out on issues that she tends to disagree with her on. That is what this blog does. If you want to hear positive things said about this Mayor there are blogs that do say nice things about her because they agree with her. most of us here do not agree with this mayor on many issues, that’s life. now I need to spend the rest of the night watching the Warriors.

    Comment by John P. — May 19, 2015 @ 7:43 pm

  6. 4. Kate, using your formula of apportionment the highest ten percent income earners would get 70+ percent of the service benefits since they pay 70+ percent of the total income taxes and the lowest earners would get the least. I’m sure you didn’t mean that.

    5. I think I pretty much understand the vitriolic opposition to Trish. You say you watched her for six years. Have you ever worked with her? I know of her reputation as a “no” voter, but that in itself means nothing because, as much as you’d like it to be otherwise, there’s always two or more sides to an issue. I really don’t care much about Alameda politics and even less about one democrat ragging on another but I do get a kick out of reading LD’s blog so, if you don’t mind, I’ll muster on.

    Comment by jack — May 19, 2015 @ 10:17 pm

  7. Jack, I think you know what I meant. In this case, the Measure BB taxes are being paid by the citizens of all the municipalities in the County to improve transportation and transit. All up and down the 880 corridor, there are needs, including the Jackson interchange that causes traffic issues in Alameda when the tube is slowed or stopped by cars which cannot access the freeway. If we are paying, should we not benefit from the tax? If we say we do not want any improvements and refuse the benefit, are we not shortchanging those who are paying the tax by denying them the benefit?

    Comment by Kate Quick — May 20, 2015 @ 8:04 am

  8. Wow Jack, keep it classy. Hey, at least your kinda racist attempt at humor got the pronunciation of blog mistress’ name right.

    Comment by BMac — May 20, 2015 @ 12:44 pm

  9. Technically it’s wrong if you’re using the specific Vietnamese pronunciation “Ho” in “Ho Chi Minh” does not rhyme with the Vietnamese pronunciation of “Do.” Inflection is important in Vietnamese.

    Comment by Lauren Do — May 20, 2015 @ 1:01 pm

  10. Good point. However, most native english speakers don’t have any experience making and using the lower facial muscle shapes that are required in vietnamese enunciation, so, partial credit?

    Comment by BMac — May 20, 2015 @ 1:40 pm

  11. 8
    Frankly, I have no idea what your comment means. How did I pronounce Do’s name? How old are you? Have you no inkling of the Ho Chi Minh trail? How is what I wrote “kinda racist”?

    Comment by jack — May 20, 2015 @ 6:23 pm

  12. Jack, remember we were all supposed to get “do re mi” reference you made ? Obscure at best. Suffice to say the subtleties of tonality are a challenge for the ear and tongue of people who only speak English. There is no way for us to mispronounce “ga” in our own reading, but apparently it means chicken in only one pronunciation of several. In wouldn’t call it racist either, just tonally inept ,which by extension makes you culturally insensitive or something. we know you mean well, you dumb redneck.

    Comment by MI — May 20, 2015 @ 7:16 pm

  13. Mi, Jacks not a dumb redneck, he’s just a redneck, and proud of it.

    Comment by John P. — May 20, 2015 @ 7:28 pm

  14. I believe BMac is giving you credit for at least getting the flat English pronunciation of my name correct: “Do to rhyme with So” as opposed to our friend Cobalt Black Blah Blah who insists that my last name is pronounced “Doo.”

    What you wrote is culturally insensitive because you wouldn’t coyly refer to someone who defected from North Korea whose name is Lim (bear with me, not really a Korean surname) asLim Jong Il. Or someone whose family fled Iran during the revolution whose last name is Shomeni (not a last name either) as the Ayatollah Shomeni.

    Comment by Lauren Do — May 21, 2015 @ 6:09 am

  15. Mi, jacks not a dumb redneck..

    Comment by jack — May 21, 2015 @ 9:29 am

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