On Tuesday night, Steven Tavares at the East Bay Citizen began tweeting out a link to an article about one of Mayor Trish Spencer’s nominees to the Commission on Disability Issues. Of course this is not the first time Trish Spencer has come under scrutiny for questionable appointments. And I’ll point out, again, that her pick for the Open Government Commission was inappropriate given his statements about the Sunshine Ordinance and the Brown Act. Not to mention her choice for the Rent Review Advisory Committee’s previous comments about low income housing and role in attempting to bring a moratorium against subsidized housing in Alameda.
But this one might be the most puzzling of all of Trish Spencer’s nominations and her insistence on standing by her nomination. Although the video is not up right now, I have confirmed with the City Clerk that the vote — after this nominee was bifurcated from the rest of the nominees — went 2 – 2 -1. Trish Spencer and Tony Daysog voted for the nominee. Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft and Frank Matarrese voted against the nominee. And Jim Oddie abstained. I’m not sure why Jim Oddie abstained, I’ll have to wait for the video.
True to form, Tony “elections have consequences” Daysog decided that the right thing to do was vote in favor of a nominee who admitted that she was in an office she shouldn’t have been in using a computer she hasn’t been authorized to use. And in the face of forensic computer evidence that she opened the personal email of the person whose computer she was using. “Elections have consequences” means that you are a rubber stamp and are unable to use your best judgment.
Interestingly enough on EB Citizen, the former nominee denied the facts stated by Steven Tavares (anonymous comment at 9:41 am):
”Gottstein said she had a key procured from a member of city board that uses the facility for meetings, she said.” This is a false statement. Once again, Steven Tavares has written an article about someone without bothering to actually interview that person. This is especially peculiar because, last night at the Alameda City Council meeting, Tavares was sitting on the other side of the aisle from Carol Gottstein, until 1:30 AM, when the meeting ended. Despite two breaks in the meeting, at no time did Tavares make any attempt to speak to Gottstein, before, during, or after. So, come on, Tavares, what kind of journalism is this?
While the building is nominally called City Hall West, city offices make up only a quarter of this old NAS admin building. The rest of it is still being used by the Navy. Carol Gottstein has served on the Alameda NAS Restoration Advisory Board for five years. The NAS Information Repository has been located in this building since before the Navy decommissioned the base in 1997, and it is always open to RAB members, even when City Hall West offices are closed. On Feb 21, Gottstein was rousted, without cause, from this NAS Information Repository by APD. She was not found “inside City Hall West offices”, as Tavares incorrectly reports.
The only problem with this contention is that the written statement to the police by the nominee states that she did say she was in City Hall West and was discovered by the redacted name in a City Hall West office and that she has borrowed a key from someone else on February 16. The decision to talk about another incident on February 21 is the equivalent of “hey, what’s that over there!”:
So here are some the juiciest parts from the narrative from the police report:
On February 16, 2015:
Even after the nominee was caught on February 16, 2015 she was found in the City Hall West offices again, per the police report:
And then what happened when she did get logged on to the computer:
Before anyone starts in on “why is a City employee accessing their personal email on a City computer.” First, you can only say this if you (1) have a job and (2) submit your six month browsing history from your work computer. Once we’ve determined that you’ve never ever surfed to your personal email on your work computer, then you are eligible to cast the first stone.
Also, also on EB Citizen’s comment section someone else tried to justify the fact that the nominee was using the computer because she “relied” on it and Mastick Senior Center and the Library were both closed on that holiday:
Anyone who cares to read the full packet (Steven? Will you publish and provide a link) will see the answer to the question of why Gottstein was using the computer – the library and mastick center were closed over the long weekend. Gottstein relies on those facilities for computer access.
She printed some medical records she needed printed – a police forensic analysis confirmed that was the extent of it.
I’m not sure how that justifies the nominee’s actions, but clearly other commenters were not buying the “she needed to use the computers to print up medical records” and of course surf many sites including the blog Alameda Merry Go Round, the site American Catholic, and clicking through probably every #SNL40 photo on Yahoo’s clickbait photo thing.
Fun fact, a blog post on this site with the comments were part of the police record!
Now, I realize that some people — particularly those feeling protective of Trish Spencer — may be thinking, “no big deal, just a little old lady sneaking into a closed City office on a holiday weekend to use a computer.” But, here’s the thing. Had this been anyone but a little old lady, like say, a young Black man doing the same — sneaking into a closed City office on a holiday weekend to use a computer — would the reaction from the City have been the same? Would the reaction from the nominee’s and Trish Spencer’s defenders have been the same? I’ll point out that both of the City employees marked as the victims in this case wanted to press charges because I can’t imagine how violating it must feel to have someone go through your files and your desk, get caught and the result is nothing more than a hand slap. To boot, the Mayor (and Tony Daysog) attempts to reward the bad behavior by attempting to place her on a city commission. Sometimes we laugh at how wacky this city is, but this incident, the reaction from the City — the police, by the way, did a thorough investigation job — and the result from Trish Spencer is really puzzling and a bit disturbing.