Blogging Bayport Alameda

October 27, 2015

May the 4th vote be with you

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

Possibly more puzzling than the pushback on the Food and Beverage lease at Alameda Point was drama that occurred over the Matson lease.   Matson, for those that are not aware, is a current sublessee at a building on Spirits Alley right now.  They currently want to stay at Alameda Point and staff believed that another building near to the planned WETA facility would be a better fit for Matson because (1) the area is designated as the “Enterprise Zone” aka commercial/industrial zone and (2) the building is in a Tidelands area which means that it can only be used for some sort of maritime use.

Matson, also for those that are unaware, is a pretty big time shipping company and an American flagged business.  Also, that building has $500,000 worth of repairs to the roof alone.  The use by Matson for those Alameda site is for repairs only and not actual logistics, so no unloading and loading of a zillion trucks.

With those sets of facts, let me lay out the objections by two of the City Council members.  Tony Daysog launched out of the gate by saying he was against the lease because of his dislike of stacked containers.  Even though Matson and staff reassured the Council that there either would not be stacked containers or the fence shielding would cover the containers, Tony Daysog was unmoved.  Even though Tony Daysog believes that there is “too much housing” and he wants to encourage business, but I guess not an established American shipping company that fits in with the maritime use and the historic use of the site.   That kind of business is unwelcome to Tony Daysog.

As an aside, clearly Tony Daysog is in full campaign mode because nearly every single question and comment about every issue was drafted ahead of time.  So rather than speaking off the cuff he was reading from his laptop.  I mean, it’s good because then he can avoid saying things like there “too much housing” and “elections have consequences” but it’s a bit surreal when you realize what he’s doing.

It was after Tony Daysog firm stance against the project that Trish Spencer decided that she was going to attempt to extract concessions from this developer to appear to do something since she would be the 4th vote.

This was a particularly telling clip where Trish Spencer was insisting that because she was the possible 4th swing vote that it was important that only she get to ask questions because everyone else had made their minds up so that she could “negotiate” with the lessee:

It’s really important to note the physicality in this video: the flailing arms, the shoving back in the chair.  You know what’s not very mayoral?  Pushing your chair back in a fit of pique and overshoving so you have to scootch your chair back up the the dias to be in microphone range.

Despite Trish Spencer’s insisting that she needed to be persuaded for her fourth vote through on-the-dais negotiations, in the end it was clear she — as usual — was useless at driving any sort of change, even when she technically had the leverage of a swing vote.  And she still doesn’t understand the whole concept of consensus building and — instead — believes that the only vote and voice that matters is her own.  That’s not governance or leadership.


  1. I can appreciate Tony’s concern about the Matson lease and the shipping containers. As I stated in my post yesterday, this corridor has one of the best views with the Marad Ships and the Hornet, and its one reason WETA chose this site for their new operations and maintenance facility. Preservation of the views, the ships, and the history in this corridor is very important to me.

    One of my biggest concerns was Matson’s containers; the number of containers and where and how they would be stored on the site. I think this was one of Tony Daysog’s concerns, and the Mayor’s concerns as well, and I appreciate the questions that were raised and that the city council addressed some if not most of the concerns.

    In the end, when I learned that Natel Energy wanted to expand their footprint at Alameda Point and they would be going into Matson’s current space, I was excited for Alameda and appreciative that there is a larger goal, and jobs and economic development at Alameda Point is extremely important.

    Comment by Karen Bey — October 27, 2015 @ 7:22 am

  2. I wish I could say that this is the best, smartest, and most effective City Council I have ever seen in Alameda–but there are two big reasons that I cannot do so.

    And I hope Mayor Spencer never tries to ski this way–flailing one’s arms about while downhill skiing (ski instructors call it “helicoptering”) is a guaranteed way to lose one’s balance and fall down….

    Comment by Jon Spangler — October 27, 2015 @ 8:20 am

  3. Kudos to the Blogging Bayport gang for an excellent and informative discussion on last week’s post “Priced Out.” I’m sorry to see we’re back to business as usual. We get it. Our mayor is a doofus and Tony Daysog is cray-cray. These are the old standbys whenever there isn’t much to say on a topic. This blog is capable of so much more as evidenced last week. I urge everyone who missed it to check out the “Priced Out” discussion.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — October 27, 2015 @ 8:36 am

  4. The whole second half of that meeting was a tour de force, this was the capper.

    3. Sorry we are letting you down. I think demeanor and leadership skills are fairly important traits to examine in an elected official. That, and it is funny as hell.

    Comment by BMac — October 27, 2015 @ 8:49 am

  5. Apparently expectations of our leaders to actually, you know, lead is not informative or worthy of discussion.

    Also discussions of what we want Alameda Point to look like when it comes to leases apparently also not important. Or understanding why one City Council member voted against a valid use for a validly zoned area other than aesthetics. Also not important discuss is the inability of the Mayor of the City to articulate what her issues with the lease were that she would hold up filling a hard-to-fill Class C commercial building with at least $500K in roof repairs plus the limitation to only maritime uses.

    Comment by Lauren Do — October 27, 2015 @ 9:09 am

  6. While I agree that having major companies in Alameda is great, I do not like the fact that Sprints Alley is now being diluted. Spirits Alley was supposed to be something special, something you don’t find just anywhere, a destination. But now it’s simply another business area with a few drinking places. Very sad indeed.

    Comment by Eyeroll — October 27, 2015 @ 9:09 am

  7. The new Matson lease moves Matson away from Spirits Alley. I believe the West Coast Novelty lease (the current lessee who subleases to Matson) predated some of the newer Spirits Alley folks like Faction.

    Comment by Lauren Do — October 27, 2015 @ 9:11 am

  8. Have you actually seen the rusted Matson containers lined up behind West Coast Novelty? They were in full view to all the people who went on the IR Site 2 tour yesterday. They looked pretty bad. They will look twice as bad when they are stacked two and three high. They block a pleasant view and make Alameda Point look like part of the Port of Oakland. I agree with Karen and Tony. There are other maritime uses that are less jarring to the neighbors.

    But hey, the Planning Board just voted to stack shipping containers (painted bright colors) on a corner of Park Street. Seems to be a trend…

    Comment by vigi — October 27, 2015 @ 9:28 am

  9. And yet you can be damn sure the mayor will show up to the grand opening of the Matson facility (particularly if they serve wine), but she will have no clue as to why everyone will be making jokes about her at the event. What a doofus.

    Comment by notadave — October 27, 2015 @ 9:29 am

  10. #8 – Carol, if you follow the discussion the CC had about the Matson lease you will note that the council specifically conditioned that the containers will not be stacked, and that they will be behind a screening fence. Sorry you don’t like the container project on Park Street.

    Comment by david burton — October 27, 2015 @ 9:43 am

  11. Re: All complaints about the aesthetics of the Park Street Container Project (PSCP)

    Why can’t they stick to the amazing architecture of Alameda’s History?

    They should put a Victorian there!!!!

    Comment by brock — October 27, 2015 @ 9:59 am

  12. #7 But they are moving Natel into the current Matson building. In between Rockwall, Building 43, Faction, Hanger 1 and St George’s there will now be Natel. It will change the feel of Spirits Alley. I would have preferred that a cool gastro pub, winery, and/or distillery went into Building 23 to keep the Spirit in Spirit Alley.

    Comment by Eyeroll — October 27, 2015 @ 10:03 am

  13. #10 – David; When I Googled shipping container architecture, I saw many projects which I liked online. Unfortunately, this particular project does not resemble them. Regarding the access to upper story shipping container offices. I get your point about the disabled person who wants to occupy office space. But I was thinking about access to the services offered by the occupants of those offices. A person with a disability who wants to become a client of someone using those offices might be out of luck. Not a problem for architects who go to their clients, but consider:

    For example, Alameda’s Mansard Building. The second floor is not accessible except by the dark central staircase inside the building. I don’t think there is even a ramp to the first floor. Yet the offices on the second floor contain psychologists, marriage/family counselors, and lawyers: all services used by person with disabilities.

    I just had the experience of asking Nolo’s attorney referral service specifically only for attorneys with ADA accessible offices. The only attorneys Nolo referred me to, told me they had stairs and no ramp “but it’s just one flight”. In response to my complaint, Nolo Press sent me a canned response saying it doesn’t get involved beyond the first set of referrals.

    Comment by vigi — October 27, 2015 @ 1:22 pm

  14. Question. How will the Containers that need repair come to Alameda? By water or by truck? Will they be allowed to store Containers that are not in current use on the property?.

    Comment by frank m — October 27, 2015 @ 2:17 pm

  15. They aren’t repairing containers, the site will be used to store parts in containers for repairing their ships. Some of the equipment will come by truck but some are too big to come on a truck so they’ll be barged in.

    Comment by Lauren Do — October 27, 2015 @ 3:18 pm

  16. Trish claims to be having a problem with not being allowed to ask questions, but she doesn’t seem to be hearing that the responses from Oddie and Ashcraft are to help answer her concerns, like the fact that from the main street, if you face the Matson lot you will have your back to the water but if you turn toward the west the view is the looming navy ships not like the view from Rockwall. She seems combative over her perception that Oddie and Ashcraft are disposed to approve and so don’t share her questioning, and are somehow trying to hamper her inquiry, but I totally get Marilyn’s point that it is ill advised to limit the number of containers. Last time I drove by there the view was rotting boat hulls left by the previous lease holder who went bankrupt over back rent.

    I don’t think her behavior is a huge deal, but if she watched the tape she might realize her issues are marginal and that her behavior is another small tally in the negative category. In all fairness, just watching these meetings is tedious as hell and these folks are volunteering. It might be more apparent how her behavior is unhealthy if Oddie and Ashcraft responded in kind, but I get being frustrated by the water torture of long meetings.

    Comment by MI — October 28, 2015 @ 2:37 pm

  17. If I were sitting there, I think that I would have just laughed at her. And I wouldn’t have done anything to hide my laughter.

    Comment by JohnB — October 29, 2015 @ 11:08 am

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