Blogging Bayport Alameda

July 6, 2015

Pro or anti or could not care less

There was a comment a few days ago about Trish Spencer not being elected for her political abilities, speech making abilities, or her financial acumen.  But rather she was elected to “slow down development.”

The ironic thing is if that is the case then she has done nothing of the sort.  As someone pointed out after the Alameda Point Site A vote, Trish Spencer has approved more housing units in her first six months in office than Marie Gilmore did her entire four years as Mayor.

As another commenter pointed out, it’s puzzling how she has gotten such a pass from her constituency if that was, in fact, why she was elected.

It’s one thing to make the proper noises before a vote and say this or that to appeal to your base, but the only thing that matters is how you vote in the end.  Politically, it made sense that Trish Spencer ended up voting for the Alameda Point project after Frank Matarrese sent clear signals that he would be a “yes” vote for the project.  It would have done her little good to be the odd woman out as she preferred during her time on the School Board.  But while Marie Gilmore was raked over many coals for “paving the way” for all this development, in fact, what she approved during her time as Mayor was not a whole lot.  Notice, I wrote “approved” and not what was “built” during the time Marie Gilmore was Mayor.   Lots of developments entered into the final design approval and building phase while Marie Gilmore was Mayor, but when it came to actually approving those developments, there are only a handful that she is directly responsible for.

I’m going to stick to just referring to housing developments because typically when Alamedans are down on “development” it’s the housing variety that they most object to because traffic.

There’s a lot of layers to the process of “approving” a housing development.  The tentative map needs approval, zoning needs to be in place for residential, and if the City owns a piece of the land then the City Council will need to take a vote to transfer that land to a developer.   What I will consider “approval” is whatever the final step is in the process for the City Council.  For non-City owned sites it will primarily be zoning or density bonus approvals.  For City owned sites it’s the vote to transfer the parcel to the developer.

Before I start let me get out of the way the projects that were not approved during the Gilmore administration that people will wonder why they were not included:

  • Alameda Landing 282 units, the Development Agreement and zoning map were approved in 2006 (Beverly Johnson was Mayor)
  • Marina Cove II 89 units (that’s the development next to the Del Monte Building) 89 units, zoning and tentative map approved in 2000 (I believe Ralph Appezzato was Mayor at the time, not entirely sure)
  • Encinal Terminals no unit count yet (that’s the piece of land the juts out behind the Del Monte building), zoning was complete in 2009 this one will need more approvals because of the BCDC land
  • Boatworks 182 units, zoning was approved in October 2010 (Beverly Johnson was Mayor), this one will require more City Council action because of a recent application from the developer
  • Shinsei Gardens and Bayport (not approved during Marie Gilmore’s administration)
  • Islander Hotel remodel (no new units added)

So what was approved during Marie Gilmore’s time as Mayor:

  • Jack Capon Villas (18 units)
  • Oakmont of Mariner Point (52 units)

These are sites that were rezoned during Marie Gilmore’s time as Mayor as part of the the RHNA requirement for the Housing Element.  One could argue that these are “approvals” but given that there are other steps (including possible density bonus applications) and the fact that there are no active applications for many of these projects, it would be a stretch:

  • 2100 Clement (City Venture project) 58 units
  • Island High 22 units
  • Mapes Ranch 11 units
  • Shipways, unknown

A little more fuzzy is the Lincoln, North of Park Street rezoning which was part of the years long Gateway District revitalization plans.  The North of Park Street rezoning created new zoning swaths that permitted some parcels to have limited residential type uses (stacked flats, work/live) by right as opposed to conditionally permitting.   But much like the RHNA rezoning, there could be potentially other applications that may need to go through City Council approvals so it’s much tougher to say if these are “done” enough to say that the act of rezoning alone was sufficient to get the units built.

Then there is the the Del Monte project which at 414 was approved by both Marie Gilmore and Trish Spencer.  Because Trish Spencer called the approval up for review the City Council was once again in the position of deciding the fate of that project.

So, let’s break this down shall we?

Marie Gilmore Trish Spencer Future
Jack Capon Villa 18
Oakmont of Mariner Point 52
Del Monte 414 414
Site A Alameda Point 800
2100 Clement 58
Island High 22
Mapes Ranch 11
Total 484 1214 91

As you can see the narrative that Trish Spencer would “slow” development has really not come to fruition. At the pace she is going she might end up approving more housing units than both the Gilmore and Beverly Johnson administrations combined.


  1. I can’t wait until “Cobalt Black Keys Johnson”, “People Can Be Unreasonable”, “Breathless”, and “Eyeroll / [next ‘witty’ screenname]” get here to comment.

    I hope this issue “real” enough for them.

    Or will they claim that the Mayor still “learning the ropes”? Does pointing out all this housing approval on her watch (which is the opposite of what her supporters claim they most desired) constitute bullying?

    Or will these commenters remain more angry about a local politics blog, than actual local politics?

    Comment by Brock — July 6, 2015 @ 8:58 am

  2. ..or will these commenters remain more angry about a local politics blog,…

    You’re the first to try to prove your point.

    Comment by jack — July 6, 2015 @ 9:46 am

  3. If this Mayor keeps voting for more development and more traffic, I might be forced to vote for her next time, “NOT”

    Comment by John P. — July 6, 2015 @ 10:10 am

  4. “More housing that Gilmore in her entire term.” That speaks to me of unintended consequences of running for Mayor..i.e. getting elected. Anyone in the Mayor’s seat now would be hard pressed to stem the tide of the Point; much like King Canute convinced he could sit at the shore and tell the tide to turn back.

    Comment by Gabrielle Dolphin — July 6, 2015 @ 10:18 am

  5. These are the same people who will give Clinton a pass for speeches she is paid 265k for while bemoaning income inequality or selling out the U.S. uranium supply says SOS

    Comment by Witty Screen Name — July 6, 2015 @ 11:12 am

  6. As SoS. Sorry for auto correct.

    Comment by Witty Screen Name — July 6, 2015 @ 11:13 am

  7. It’s sad this blog has turned into the anti-Trish Spencer spin machine. Is Trish Spencer a beacon of intelligence? No. Does she stand behind her principles? No. Is she transparent and forthcoming? No — but it was proven this weekend she is one hell of a patriot. She led Saturday’s gorgeous parade through the streets of Alameda just like she leads this fine city: telling all of the haters: “I love this damn country, and if you don’t then get the hell out of my way!” And were was Marie Gillbore? Nobody knows. Now which one is the true leader?

    Comment by Rodney — July 6, 2015 @ 11:19 am

  8. #7 everyone is a patriot when it comes to politics.

    #1 I too can’t wait until , “Cobalt Black Keys Johnson”, “People Can Be Unreasonable”, “Breathless”, and “Eyeroll / [next ‘witty’ screenname]” get here to comment. I already can guess what vigi will say…”oh poor mayor Spencer…she is so misunderstood”.

    Comment by Jake. — July 6, 2015 @ 11:49 am

  9. I assume post #7 is sarcastic. If not, then the Trish supporters are crazier than I thought.

    I spoke to a Trish supporter who is a longtime critic of Marie Gilmore. I asked whether the supporter had any concern that she was approving development at such an unexpected pace. The supporter responded that development is now being done right with Trish in office because she asks the difficult questions of city staff and demands the changes to proposals that Marie Gilmore would not have had the vision or fortitude to demand on behalf of the citizens of Alameda. What an interesting spin. Thank God Trish is in office so that city staff won’t run amok. If we’re going to have development, let’s at least have development that is fine-tuned by Trish and that receives her seal of approval!

    Comment by Silence DoGood — July 6, 2015 @ 11:52 am

  10. I had to laugh watching the front end of the parade Saturday. There’s all these “dignitaries” in their convertibles with their little pathetic half-fluttering-waves and “why am I here” smiles and then along comes Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer standing waving her flag and screeching in that high pitched two octaves higher than soprano irritating voice “got damn it have a happy fourth of July everybody” to every body and soul, and that is the essence of why she’s Mayor.

    Comment by jack — July 6, 2015 @ 1:22 pm

  11. So if she votes against development and the vote is 4-1, she is a curmudgeon and if she votes for it she is a hypocrite? She was elected to oversee “measured” development and to slow down the runaway pension and city debt. I thought you were for all the growth she voted for Lauren- maybe there is some common ground?

    I think she proved during the election she was a better politician than her much better funded and politically connected opponent and is now showing some growth in her skills on the council. and why give Mataresse or the other council members a pass?

    I will get worried when the Fireman’s Union supports her.

    Comment by Witty screen name II — July 6, 2015 @ 2:05 pm

  12. What more could we ask of her than to lead a parade.

    Comment by John P. — July 6, 2015 @ 3:31 pm

  13. What will REALLY tell the tale is if the new Harbor Bay club gets approved. I got the sense from the recent Alameda Magazine article on the club controversy that a lot of Trish’s backing came from Bay Farm Islanders who want the club to stay where it is.

    Comment by trow125 — July 6, 2015 @ 4:52 pm

  14. The fact that Site A is so much bigger than all the other developments does skew things a bit if you are just going to count up total units. But counterpoint could be that Trish should have reduced Site A from 800 to xxx to appease the “slow growthers”.

    Comment by AJ — July 6, 2015 @ 5:38 pm

  15. she could have also voted against the Del Monte project for the same reasons. Even though she brought that vote forward at her first meeting then voted against it.

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

  16. Actually Site A is not bigger than all other development, Site A is 68 acres, Alameda Landing is 77 acres.

    Comment by Lauren Do — July 6, 2015 @ 6:25 pm

  17. Why I voted against Gil- NO- More

    She came off as Condescending and Nasty in her treatment of speakers at Council Meetings to anyone who might have a different opinion, and gave every trait of a Narcissistic D- Bag with a cunning personality to protect her Bought and Paid for Favors for her Supporters. She comes off as Unauthentic and not very genuine. She showed her UN Classiness by not even waiting to witness the swearing in of the new Mayor and stomped out like the LOSER she is. Plus while on Council and Mayor we saw our Debt grow to Hundreds of Millions in Pension Obligations and Deferring of maintenance of City assets , Like our Parks, Street Buildings and Pools..We have watched old and Newly created City Fees jump thru roof. .Besides that what’s not to love.

    Many see the same personality traits in the self inflated bag of wind ODIEferous. He wears out his self back patting machine and sucks all the air out of every meeting by his brown nosing at nauseam of his bought and paid for supporters. Besides that what’s not to love.

    Reason I supported and Voted for Trish Spencer.

    She is Authentic,Sincere, conscientious, Friendly, Hardworking, Asks Tough Questions, Warm Hearted, Loves this City, and has open mind on solving the issues that this city faces with the Financial mess and infrastructure crumbling and city assets in horrendous shape that she inherited from past Mayors and Councils kissing kisters to their supporters that bought their political favors.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — July 6, 2015 @ 6:33 pm

  18. Right on John…plus she was the most animated city leader I’ve seen in the fifty plus years I’ve watched (and participated) in the 4th of Julio parade!

    Comment by jack — July 6, 2015 @ 6:45 pm

  19. So, in answer to the post, the third option generates the most indifference I can think of.

    Comment by jack — July 6, 2015 @ 7:25 pm

  20. Eh, this wasn’t nearly as entertaining as I would have hoped.

    To be fair to Spencer’s supporters…I get it. You care more about the Mayor’s charming, down-home, “Norman Rockwell” personality than her ability to get anything meaningful accomplished. Or alternatively, Gilmore’s personality bothered you so much, that you’d support someone without much leadership experience or capabilities rather than vote for her.

    And if you are against the public safety unions, development, alternative transportation infrastructure, and young & new residents, its not like there was anybody else for you to vote for.

    It is just strange to me that with the seemingly large and vocal portion of the population that is against those things (over 50% of residents? I don’t know but I could believe it) that you couldn’t have found a more effective leader. Someone who can cast her own vote and present her arguments well enough to bring some swing votes over to her side. Maybe I’m expecting too much out of small town local politics.

    Comment by Brock — July 6, 2015 @ 7:39 pm

  21. 10. Jack, If I had expected such behavior from the mayor I would have made a point to watch and shoot a video. Is your quote accurate? My wife thinks she wouldn’t swear. I’m all for a spirited personality, but I think of her as a buffoon. Cobalt’s CapiTalization happy description is subjective at best. Maybe Marie was not warm and fuzzy from the dais, but she was certainly not mean. That would have been Ralph. Your frothing descriptions of Trish are likewise lacking in sobriety. Trish was good at hand pumping and giddy socializing, which for this election did the job, but that doesn’t make her a good politician and she is not open minded, just confused, as are you.

    Comment by MI — July 6, 2015 @ 8:14 pm

  22. Brock I’m for what she stands for…… I believe Trish wants to make Alameda a better experience for the residents .She walks the walk and is out there with the people…Very refreshing….. She has her hands tied because of the financial position facing her and this City. Is she perfect No……She is human and doing her best under the circumstances she inherited left by prior councils and Mayors putting their supporters contracts and financial needs in front of the City as a whole.

    The Financial domain skills of some of the staff and council is suspect at best and trying to avoid bringing in people like our Auditor and Treasure is total BS. But that’s Politics and we have seen this shit before. We love Goat and Pony Shows and Grifters.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — July 6, 2015 @ 8:16 pm

  23. #16. I mean in number of units, not acreage.

    Comment by AJ — July 7, 2015 @ 10:25 am

  24. ” she walks the walk”, what a bullshit statement is that??, I have as yet to hear a statement from this mayor as to how she will improve the cities financial position as to the unions. As for the city Treasurer and Auditor they are able to speak at any city council meeting every two weeks, and make their positions very clear, unfortunately they choose to sit back and nit pick every issue instead of being in front of the issues and making their positions known to one and all. This Mayors hands are not tied to anything, she just has to be enough of a leader to make things happen. This Mayor follows true leaders like Gilmore, Johnson, Appezzatto, Whitthrow, Corica, she will not stand the test of time , she is a fake.

    Comment by John P. — July 7, 2015 @ 7:03 pm

  25. Didn’t your ‘true leaders’ John, got us into this mess.

    Comment by jack — July 7, 2015 @ 7:37 pm

  26. no Jack they did not “got” us in what you call “this mess” We are a city moving forward in spite of people like this negative useless mayor. Our true leaders put us in this position to move Alameda into a place that people are fighting to move to. I will ask again why did she vote in favor of the Del Monte project and the site “A” if she did not believe in them. Where are her true beliefs or does she have any??. So far no one has answered my question, not even Dave.

    Comment by John P. — July 7, 2015 @ 7:51 pm

  27. How or why would I knew her true beliefs?

    Comment by dave — July 7, 2015 @ 9:02 pm

  28. Uh I could be wrong (see my comment 20), but isn’t it commonly accepted that elected leaders communicate their true beliefs to the people who are voting for them and being led?

    How: she makes public statements (John P’s complaint being that these sometimes appear to be in conflict* or with her actions/votes as mayor or make for nonsensical juxtapositions**)
    Why: because its expected of an elected leader.

    *Site A approval vote, after public statements that she doesn’t want housing and especially not rental housing
    **Vote against Oakland Broadway-Jackson Transportation Infrastructure Improvements, after public statements that she wants to alleviate Alameda traffic

    Comment by Brock — July 7, 2015 @ 9:25 pm

  29. vote for Del Monte and Site A, but against improvements at the outfall of the tube speaks volumes doesn’t it ?

    Comment by MI — July 8, 2015 @ 7:21 am

  30. 26 dave says he can’t “knew” her true beliefs, John P, so why don’t you aks her what they are?

    Comment by jack — July 8, 2015 @ 10:33 am

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