Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 4, 2015

The cut direct

Filed under: Alameda, City Council — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

On Tuesday night there was a roster of folks for appointment to various Boards and Commissions since a lot of terms are expiring.  For some reason, Trish Spencer opted to not appoint for all the Boards and Commissions, but she did tackle some of the more obvious ones.  But first let me get to one, quick weird non-appointment.  The Golf Commission had three empty seats, two full terms and one partial term, here was the list:

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 2.10.11 PM

When I first looked at this list I thought to myself, self, obviously Tony Corica is getting one of these seats.

But turns out, no.  He was snubbed for some reason.  Remember the Golf Course of which the Commission oversees is the Chuck Corica Municipal Golf Course.  Corica.

Tony Corica did not get appointed to the Golf Commission that oversees the Chuck Corica Muncipal Golf Course.  Perhaps they all have better handicaps than Tony Corica or have more knowledge about golf type stuff than Tony Corica — doubtful since he was previously on the Golf Commission — but I’m not quite sure why Tony Corica was snubbed by Trish Spencer.

However, here is the more troublesome non-appointment: Transportation Commission.  There is one open seat available and a current incumbent for that seat Christopher Miley who is one of the stronger Commissioners on that Board.  He comes in a close second to my favorite Commissioner Eric Schatmeier who is a complete boss on any transportation related issue.  Plus I think he rides his bike everywhere and breaks the stereotype that biking as a method of transportation for younger people.  Any who, Tuesday night Trish Spencer announced that she would not be appointing for the Transportation Commission that night even though she had an obvious and imminently qualified choice in hand.  As part of his day job, Chris Miley oversees transportation and land use issues for a member of the Alameda County Board of Supervisions.

Also, he bothered to come and speak at the City Council meeting to express his interest in serving again.

Big props to Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft who took the opportunity to speak up fro Chris Miley to point out that — unlike the vast majority of people who volunteer for these Boards and Commission — he is on the younger side, which gives a much different perspective.  Plus, that he has served and done a great job and deserves to be reappointed on his merits alone.

Also, huzzah to Jim Oddie for also speaking up and attesting to the fact that Chris Miley is a strong voice on the Transportation and has done a really great job.

Plus, I’m going to point out the obvious: Chris Miley is the only Black Commissioner on the Transportation Commission.  Unless Trish Spencer finds someone MORE qualified and bring MORE diversity to the Transportation Commission, I’m going to call shenanigans on this one.   Anyone who has spent any time watching the Transportation Commission will know that Chris Miley has done a bang up job on that Commission and brings a point of view that is nuanced and different.  To not celebrate and reward competency would mean that Chris Miley is being stripped of that role for reasons that does not include doing what the job asked of him.

I’ll point out that Jim Oddie mentioned that while he respects the prerogative of the Mayor to make appointments, it’s also the prerogative of the City Council to approve those nominations.  I should start researching what happens if the Council doesn’t approve a nomination…



  1. Thanks Lauren, please do. Chris Miley is well qualified, talented, and a very committed member on the Transportation Commission who deserves to be re-appointed.

    Comment by Karen Bey — June 4, 2015 @ 6:30 am

  2. 1: I, too, have been impressed by Chris Miley’s work on the Transportation Commission. His questions to the staff point out his consistently excellent preparation for the meetings as well as his breadth of knowledge. He is the kind of Transportation Commissioner I wish I had been in that regard.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — June 4, 2015 @ 8:10 am

  3. Not appointing Tony Corica to the Golf Commission seems really strange on too many levels. Having joined forces with Tony and many of the long-time golfers to stop the takeover of the Mif Albright and the decapitation of the Corica Complex, I cannot imagine any *good* reason to keep him off of the Golf Commission since he carries an invaluable “institutional memory” with him.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — June 4, 2015 @ 8:13 am

  4. All four who volunteered to be on Golf Commision are great people and we are lucky as a City to have them step up.

    Congrats to Ed and Ron they bring some fresh eyes in the respect they volunteer at the Golf Course and play the course often and welcome the many new golfers that have moved here from all over the country and in some cases all over the world.

    The Golf Course and Golf is not static and like everything things are changing.

    Tony and Bill are great people also. So it was probably a tough decision for the Mayor.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — June 4, 2015 @ 10:21 am

  5. I’m interested in serving on one of these Boards or Commissions, in some capacity, at some point. (I know, it’s general!) In my 30s, professional, Alameda resident. I’ve looked at the Alameda city website and the application form. But I would be very interested to know from others how the process works. How do people get themselves appointed? Any true life examples out there? Is it even possible to make this happen if you haven’t lived in Alameda your whole life?

    Comment by Jennifer — June 4, 2015 @ 12:29 pm

  6. post# 5, I know this may sound very unreasonable, however at this point in time if you cannot prove that you voted for this Mayor you cannot get appointed to any commission or board. That is the sad state of politics in Alameda at this time.

    Comment by John P. — June 4, 2015 @ 1:00 pm

  7. Yes, Marie was well known for appointing her opponents.

    Comment by dave — June 4, 2015 @ 1:24 pm

  8. 5) Jennifer I would email or leave message with the Mayor.. I have only met her once but she has responded to any question I had regarding schools when she was on school board and is very open to public and is great person. She is authentic and self starter and loves this city. I find it refreshing that she asks alot of questions and comes at many issues from a fresh perspective.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — June 4, 2015 @ 1:38 pm

  9. Marie Gilmore did a really good job balancing out two of the more contentious commissions: Transportation Commission and Planning Board. I don’t think that either of those two Board lean heavily in one direction or the other and Marie Gilmore should be commended for being even handed in her appointments. While I rarely agree with Lorre Zuppan’s opinions on the Planning Board, she puts in the work and represents a clear constituency in Alameda, rightly so Marie Gilmore reappointed her when it came time even though there were people on that list that would have been closer, politically, to Marie Gilmore.

    Comment by Lauren Do — June 4, 2015 @ 2:01 pm

  10. 5. Jennifer, If you feel you are qualified, by all means fill out an application. As to getting nomination from the mayor, you would need to know many things such as who else has applied and where you land in the over all political constellation. I applied to PB under Appezatto, but I did it as harassment, not with serious intent because it was really a solid old boy network back in 1995. I was thumbing my nose.

    Under Bev Johnson I applied to Historic Advisory Board and was nominated because I was known to the mayor as somebody who would speak at meetings, but the slot was specific to building contractor and only one other contractor applied. After 4 years I did not reapply and the other fellow got the appointment but he subsequently passed away, so John P. has stepped up to the plate.

    If you are really dedicated to public service you can try applying to “lesser” board like Human Relations, rent advisory etc. and then hope to move up. Some members of staff invited me to apply for Planning Board when my 4 years on HAB were up, and even though people with less qualification than I have served over the years, I think Alameda deserves better qualified person and I also am too damned lazy. It is a lot of work to serve well on PB. When I served on HAB there was a member who was well acquainted with Marie and he applied to a couple openings on PB but was not nominated. I realized that he was a political mover and shaker working with local consultant and applied to HAB to get to PB. Most other members of HAB were less ambitious and truly interested in historic preservation.

    The Economic Development Commission used to be a stepping stone to Planning Board which in turn has been a path to Council for some. Council dispensed with EDC because it was in many ways redundant and the meetings required valuable staff time. I agree with that decision. Lorre Zuppan moved from EDC to PB. Marie Gilmore started on the Parks Commission and went to PB, was appointed to Council to finish term of deceased councilman, was then elected to council, and later elected mayor.

    Comment by MI — June 4, 2015 @ 3:17 pm

  11. with regard to 10., I should say staff encouraged me to apply to PB, not “invited” me, but it was flattering to think that professional planners thought I was competent to serve. FYI- some may seize this opportunity to make cynical and snarky remarks about the prospect of me on PB, as that is their right, but it was at a point when things were not nearly so contentious and those staff have left so it is moot.

    Comment by MI — June 4, 2015 @ 3:25 pm

  12. MI, You would have done just fine on the P.B. Although it was very hard work and a lot of hours spent studying issues that were coming to us. I was appointed to the P.B. and H.A.B. by three different Mayors, they didn’t all think I was their best friend, however they still appointed me. I would just say that I think they were more reasonable than this office holder. I would agree with Lauren’s comments in post #9, that list of potential applicants for the P.B. had some of Marie’s best supporters on it and she still appointed Lorie Zuppan, which was the right thing to do. Jennifer—One good thing I will say even with this Mayor, you don’t have to have lived here your whole life and that’s a good thing.

    Comment by John P. — June 4, 2015 @ 3:55 pm

  13. 9
    What’s the point in having an election if the person who you voted for wins then appoints members to “important” commissions who have the same political view as the opponent you just beat?

    Comment by jack — June 4, 2015 @ 5:37 pm

  14. Because the role of the Mayor is to represent all people in a city and not just those that agree with him/her.

    Comment by Lauren Do — June 4, 2015 @ 6:05 pm

  15. that was a tough one Lauren.

    Comment by John P. — June 4, 2015 @ 6:24 pm

  16. 14
    You didn’t answer the question, what’s the point of an election if the elected doesn’t represent those who share the views of those who elected her and appoints according to those views. Your answer is some sort or pablum that regardless who is elected the results are the same.

    Comment by jack — June 4, 2015 @ 6:33 pm

  17. The role of the Mayor is to represent all people in the city and perform her duties in accordance with the political philosophy of those who elected her which the majority of voters share.

    Comment by jack — June 4, 2015 @ 6:49 pm

  18. Tough shit when you lose ain’t it.

    Comment by jack — June 4, 2015 @ 6:50 pm

  19. The Do team ain’t ever gonna get over it. Which is great because it makes them stupid about what they need to do differently.

    Comment by people can be unreasonable ------- — June 4, 2015 @ 7:38 pm

  20. In the last election, which was won by fewer than 40 votes, it would seem to me that a wise leader would note that they enjoyed 50% of the people’s support for their ideas, which means that there are another 50% who disagreed. Some balance in such a divided city would seem to be a smart thing to do if one were concerned about representing everyone. I understand about the “spoils” going to the winner and all that, but if an attempt is made to include all ideas (you can always keep a voting majority) you might gain some friends along the way, or a broader perspective, even.

    Comment by Kate Quick — June 4, 2015 @ 8:38 pm

  21. a little touchy huh Jack.

    Comment by John P. — June 4, 2015 @ 8:38 pm

  22. It all depends on the results, Kate. It serves no purpose to be elected without pushing your agenda. A wise leader would note that the divided city could come together by convincing open minded citizens that that 50% could be increased to 55% if that elected person sticks to her values.

    Comment by jack — June 4, 2015 @ 8:54 pm

  23. Let’s remember one thing…..If anyone besides Trish had run it would have been a complete blow out…As a liberal Democrat…..being a Democrat in this town is almost enough to make me change sides……not really…. but you all make me very tired…

    Comment by J.E.A. — June 4, 2015 @ 8:54 pm

  24. We can always fall back on the teachers.

    Selfie With Parents’ Sex Toys? Alameda Teacher Accused Of Assigning Bizarre Extra Credit For Sophomores

    ALAMEDA (CBS SF) — Parents of students at Encinal High School in Alameda want a teacher fired after they say he sent them home with an extra credit assignment of finding sex toys and condoms in their parents’ private drawers, and taking a selfie with what they find.
    Mothers Kimberly Cobene and Evangeline Garcia heard about the sex toy selfie last month from a counselor at an afterschool program their sophomore daughters attend.
    “It was to go into your parents’ private drawers or whatever to seek out sexual toys or condoms, or anything of that nature and to take a selfie with it,” Cobene said.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — June 4, 2015 @ 9:00 pm

  25. What JEA said. On top of that, next time around, Trish has the advantage of incumbency. Another advantage is that she has made no votes on several key issues that have passed (like the contract extension and the new firehouse). Those are win-win for her; if the city appears to be in good shape then people won’t have a motivation to change and, if not, she can use it to leverage opposition to the incumbents attempts at re-election. A nice glossy flyer showing the interior of firehouse 3 with beauty shots of the weight room while noting how much the firemen make would be a slam dunk winner. Of course, I still am rooting for a recall given the hubris of the Do crowd.

    Comment by people can be unreasonable ------- — June 4, 2015 @ 9:06 pm

  26. I’m not sure what the new quarters will be called. Will it still be firehouse 3?

    Comment by people can be unreasonable ------- — June 4, 2015 @ 9:08 pm

  27. 23
    Trish is a liberal Democrat. I mean what side would you change to, the 12 or thirteen GOPees who never admit it or the 70% who don’t bother voting?

    Comment by jack — June 4, 2015 @ 9:08 pm

  28. Sorry Jack…Trish is not a liberal Dem….I’m not sure she even knows what she is…but I don’t care anymore….the town needed a bit of a wake up…..wish it had been someone else but we had two choices…

    Comment by J.E.A. — June 4, 2015 @ 9:19 pm

  29. You think a Cal graduate with a Sociology degree isn’t a liberal democrat? Trust me J.E.A. she knows what she is and I’ll give you that, she is waking the joint up.

    Comment by jack — June 4, 2015 @ 9:52 pm

  30. I don’t think that an antigay politician in Alameda who sides with right wing legal groups who are suing the school district while said politician is sitting on the Alameda School Board qualifies for the label of liberal Democrat.

    Comment by JohnB — June 5, 2015 @ 3:00 am

  31. what’s the point of an election if the elected doesn’t represent those who share the views of those who elected her and appoints according to those views. Your answer is some sort or pablum that regardless who is elected the results are the same.

    It may be pablum, but it’s true. As I pointed out above, Marie Gilmore didn’t sweep in and start replacing key members of key boards and commissions because they disagreed with her politically. She rewarded those that put in good work and represented a key constituency to make sure that boards, like the Planning Board, were representative of all of Alameda and not just those perceived to be politically on her side. That’s leadership. Taking advantage of winning and thumbing your nose at all “those people” who didn’t vote for you is not.

    I don’t think that an antigay politician in Alameda who sides with right wing legal groups who are suing the school district while said politician is sitting on the Alameda School Board qualifies for the label of liberal Democrat.

    This. +1000

    Comment by Lauren Do — June 5, 2015 @ 5:22 am

  32. Someone thinks Trish is a liberal democrat. LOL, Sarah Palin republican is a much more appropriate title for her.

    Comment by are you kidding me — June 5, 2015 @ 7:41 am

  33. I think it is at least bad form to not reappoint somebody who has spent four years and is willing, has a relevant resume and expertise and has served well. An outright vacancy would be different. If she nominates Eugenie Thompson for TC that would be pretty blatant, but she was already on the PB and resigned. Maybe she will nominate Kurt Petersen. Can’t wait for PB opening.

    Comment by MI — June 5, 2015 @ 9:10 am

  34. Lauren, you don’t understand how Alameda municipal government works. No mayor can “sweep in and start replacing key members of key boards and commissions”. Board members have terms and will stay in office until their terms are up, or they voluntarily leave, usually because they got a new job further away and have to move out of town, or other personal reason. Marie Gilmore most certainly did fill Vacant seats with her supporters, which was her right to do when she was Mayor. Since the terms of commissioners always overlap mayoral terms, there will usually be enough members appointed by different mayors on each board to provide checks and balances.

    Comment by vigi — June 5, 2015 @ 9:13 am

  35. but vigi, the issue is whether this seat is considered vacant because the term is up if the seated person wants to continue. I didn’t think there are term limits per say, but it’s been the usual thing for people to do two terms if they are willing. John P., didn’t you resign PB in the middle of third term because you thought somebody else deserved a shot on the PB ?

    Comment by MI — June 5, 2015 @ 9:40 am

  36. Fresh eyes and different perspectives are healthy… . I that it is one of the major reasons we have new Mayor and think most people are looking for change and people that can ask tough and great questions and look outside the box for handling tough issues. You don’t solve problems by having the same mindset of people that created them.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — June 5, 2015 @ 9:58 am

  37. It should read but somehow got deleted.

    Fresh eyes and different perspectives are healthy… . I think that it is one of the major reasons we have new Mayor and think most people are looking for change and people that can ask tough and great questions and look outside the box for handling tough issues. You don’t solve problems by having the same mindset of people that created them.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — June 5, 2015 @ 10:03 am

  38. 37.fresh eyes,…. those words sound so reasonable, but that is essentially bullshit when it comes to whether Miley is competent to serve. This is more like Bush Supreme court where he needed Scalia to stack the deck. The TC is not dealing with stuff that is that controversial, but Trish will pose for pictures with Mayor of Copenhagen and then try to manipulate the board because she is a hypocrite. That does not align with your list of superlatives you use to describe Spencer and by your own admission you don’t even know her that well, so how can you insist she is ALL those great things? Admit it, it;’s not about knowledge of the purview it’s about ideology.

    Comment by MI — June 5, 2015 @ 10:23 am

  39. post#35, MI. yes I stepped off of the P.B. because its my personal belief that there are always others who can fill your position and they deserve a chance. However I don’t have a major problem with people serving longer.

    Comment by John P. — June 5, 2015 @ 10:42 am

  40. I have many Friends that Know the Mayor well and they speak very highly of her. I have communicated with her via email for about 5 years and asked questions NO ONE on the School Board even tried to answer. She was honest in her answers and if she didn’t know she would research and do the work to find out.

    Did I like all the answers no. But they were honest.

    Is She Perfect . No.

    She is Human and is doing fabulous job trying to run this City with the Financial Mess she inherited with the 100’s of Millions in Pension Liabilities,100 in million in Health Benefit Liabilities, 100″s of Millions in deferred maintenance liabilities to the City assets like our Streets, Parks, Pools, and Buildings.

    But everyone wants to ignore these debts and focus on the 30 million we have in reserves.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — June 5, 2015 @ 2:15 pm

  41. 5: Jennifer, After advocating for the establishment of a Transportation Commission for many months, most of us who had worked for it were “rewarded” with appointment to the TC. Most of us were non-natives of recent emigration status. 😉

    John Knox White chaired the new TC for 8 years and guided it through the development of the new Transportation Master Plan (2008?). I was privileged to serve for 2 years until the 9-member TC was downsized to 7 members in 2004. Volunteering to serve on a board or commission is a lot of work of you do it properly: preparation time for a two-hour meeting can easily take 5-10 hours of reading, site visits, phone calls, and other research every month.

    Find an area in which you have some interest and expertise, then attend some meetings of those boards or commissions and apply if you feel led to do so. And thank you for being motivated to serve our community.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — June 9, 2015 @ 7:42 am

  42. 37, 38: Chris Miley is an excellent current TC member. He always shows up with good questions, is prepared, thoughtful, and open to different ideas and solutions.

    I have seen the effect of having TC members who–unlike Chris–did not seem to collaborate well with others and were unwilling to consider alternatives that do not align with their own beliefs or conclusions. It was not in the public’s best interests.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — June 9, 2015 @ 8:01 am

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