Blogging Bayport Alameda

November 5, 2015

Next to me

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Transportation — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

I’m not writing about Wednesday’s meeting today, that will be for tomorrow even though there was lots of drama.  For a preview check out the #alamtg twitter tag.

Tuesday’s City Council meeting had one moment that sort of defines the Trish Spencer administration.  During a discussion about the legislative policy for this Council moving forward, City Council member Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft spoke about the need to get WETA (Water Emergency Transportation Agency) a seat at the table at the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC).  Since Alameda is dependent on ferries to take a substantial number of single occupancy vehicles off the road, and out of the tubes and off the bridges it makes sense that we should be encouraging our regional Transportation Commission to be representative of all modes of transit.

Just as a refresher, Trish Spencer is the representative for Alameda to the ACTC and in the first few months of being seated indicated to an ACTC staff person that she did not want to see bus rapid transit projects in Alameda, nor did she want to see any improvements to the Broadway/Jackson intersection.  She was also the sole vote at ACTC against supporting a bill to make it easier to fund transportation infrastructure projects.  She also gets paid $225 per meeting, plus $25 travel stipend to attend these ACTC meetings.  With those data points refreshed, let’s get to it.

Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft, as I mentioned before, point out that WETA should really have a place at the table because all the others transit authorities were represented.  First Trish Spencer pushes back because she believes that the mission of the ACTC doesn’t include the “water.”  The point of ACTC, per their website is:

The Alameda County Transportation Commission (Alameda CTC) is a joint powers authority that plans, funds and delivers transportation programs and projects that expand access and improve mobility to foster a vibrant and livable Alameda County. Alameda CTC also serves as the county’s congestion management agency.

Given that ferries are transportation programs and are located in Alameda County it seems to fit the mission.

At one point Trish Spencer responds back that all the ACTC members are elected officials which was probably her only fair point during the exchange.  But then she decides to announce that only AC Transit was represented and that BART did not have a representative on ACTC.  Which sounded weird and should have been her cue to back track at that point but when Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft protested and said that she knew for certain that Bart had a seat, Trish Spencer commented that she had never sighted a BART representative at ACTC meetings.  Then Trish Spencer decides to chime in that Robert Raburn attends but that he sits in the audience.  Of course, you know and I know that there are lots of Bart directors other than Robert Raburn, so that’s not really indicative of much.

And it’s clear that, based on her further remarks, Trish Spencer conflated ACTC with just AC Transit. When Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft did some quick Googling she confirmed that Bart does have a seat at the table and the member was the same member from when Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft was Alameda’s representative to ACTC. And hey, would you look at this, the member composition is right on the website:

The Commission is comprised of 22 members, with the following representation:

All five Alameda County Supervisors
Two Oakland representatives
One representative from each of the other 13 cities
AC Transit

You think there would be some sort of mea culpa or recognition of wrongness on the part of Trish Spencer, but nope.  Nothing.  Embarrassing that she’s now been on a commission for nine months and didn’t fully comprehend the make up of that commission and who was sitting at the table with her.


  1. she got ‘er done last night, but the way she presided over the meeting was a little ham handed. She was really rude to the consultant who seemed kind of nervous. The power point wasn’t linked to the screen and the consultant kept looking to staff who was trying to get it going as she spoke. Trish directed her to look at council while she was speaking. A little weird. Then she got impatient that the presentation was going to take too long and simply jumped to speakers with no discussion. Great for the public, but also kind of ram rodding the process. But she’s the boss! and they are “her” meetings. At one point, sort the way Ralph used to do, she kept interrupting speakers to ask them questions, even though they only had 60 seconds. The speakers happened to be renters and there was a method to her madness in that she was asking specifics about the amount of rent they pay and the amount of increase, in order to establish percentages, but she didn’t explain that until after Marilyn tried to intervene and ask she not interrupt as she hadn’t interrupted any of the long procession of property owners who spoke at the outset of the meeting. Before Marilyn had even explained her objection Spencer was saying “I appreciate that”, like yeah I get it, shut up already. She then asked renters to be specific with figures to make their case. Never asked any landlords for specifics when they said their rest were low and increases modest.

    Comment by MI — November 5, 2015 @ 7:23 am

  2. Why wouldn’t she want WETA to be part of the commission makes no sense to me and why she is part of it also makes no sense in that it appears she doesn’t want to be part of the solution. As always she seems to want to micromanage and exert control over everything.

    If she treated the consultant that way, it must be terrible being part of her staff. If she wants to be effective in her position, staff, and those she interacts with she should learn that an attitude of gratitude goes a long way. A wise person listens to all the options before making a decision. Even at my age I still have a lot to learn and I change everyday, maybe she will to.

    Comment by Jake — November 5, 2015 @ 8:10 am

  3. The most alarming thing to me is that she confused AC Transit and the ACTC. It’s one thing to confuse these if you’ve never heard of the ACTC; the names are similar. It’s quite another to confuse them having attended several of their meetings (and been paid to do so).

    Comment by BC — November 5, 2015 @ 8:24 am

  4. I used to like how Ralph would question and occasionally even converse with speakers. It showed he was engaged. Trish tries to at times, which is a point in her favor, but she can be so damned flaky it’s often counter-productive.

    Comment by dave — November 5, 2015 @ 8:27 am

  5. The Supremes do the same thing, interrupting presenters to ask a question. And then they rigidly enforce the time limit each speaker has, regardless of how much time they’ve taken away from their presentation with questions. Our mayor is no Supreme.

    Comment by Not. A. Alamedan — November 5, 2015 @ 9:39 am

  6. It is becoming quite clear to me that the two most adult and most effective legislators we have on our City Council are Frank Matarrese and Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft. Unfortunately, none of their three colleagues seem to contribute to Alameda’s forward progress as much as these two. I think it is time to replace two of them….

    Comment by Jon Spangler — November 5, 2015 @ 9:49 am

  7. Save Alameda from her Mayor.

    Comment by Annie — November 5, 2015 @ 10:31 am

  8. I literally cannot wait to watch the video of the adorable renters at yesterday’s meeting who think their voice actually matters. I can just picture it now: a hallway full of plebs spouting quotes from Fotopoulos and waving around copies of “The Communist Manifesto” and trying to “rise up” against the “bourgeoisie”. What a joke!

    Frankly, I say raise the rents and get these people out of our city. If you want to have a voice, buy a damn house.

    Comment by Rodney — November 5, 2015 @ 10:58 am

  9. Rodney, 55% of Alamedans are renters. They are the majority and have every right to try and make a real impact.

    Comment by DS — November 5, 2015 @ 11:44 am

  10. #9 Oh, Rodney! Do you have a heart? Did you never rent? Did you jump from your parents’ home into a home of your own instantly?

    Comment by A Neighbor — November 5, 2015 @ 11:53 am

  11. Pro tip: read Rodney’s comments with a heavy sarcasm filter on.

    Comment by Lauren Do — November 5, 2015 @ 12:10 pm

  12. #9: That’s cute, did you just pass a HS government class? Do you live inside of Thomas More’s head?

    #10: I went to school and got a degree and worked in a real field and started a business and didn’t do what most renters do which is apparently major in yoga teaching or go on a spiritual peyote journey or become addicted to xanax.

    Comment by Rodney — November 5, 2015 @ 12:10 pm

  13. 9. — True, but not to make an impact like Bob’s

    Comment by MP — November 5, 2015 @ 12:34 pm

  14. Here’s a hot tip for you guys from the inside: that just may be the Dean of Liberal Arts at CCSF: Bob Davis.

    Comment by Rodney — November 5, 2015 @ 12:43 pm

  15. If you look at the Channel Seven video, shot right over Hauns shoulder, it’s pretty clear that the protester was rushing the room, not Mr. Haun. Haun then shoved him back so forcefully the protester fell down,either tripping or pulling Haun down in the process. I’d like to be on the jury when they try to make an assault charge stick.

    Comment by Not. A. Alamedan — November 5, 2015 @ 12:43 pm

  16. Spencer has no interest in solving the traffic or housing problems in Alameda. At Bohol Circle, she giddily clapped her hands and said “attention, I am the mayor of Alameda, listen to me.” What an idiot!

    Comment by Cindy — November 5, 2015 @ 1:30 pm

  17. 4. Your description of Ralph’s habit is distorted. If it was merely benign curiousity, speakers were often flustered anyway. It can be unnerving to speak publicly and be interrupted. The height differential of the dais to podium intensifies intimidation facor. No reason not to save questions until the 3 minutes are up. I once tried to state something on behalf of the Green Party and Ralph immediately said, “The who?”. I was too nervous to realize what he was up to and of course it didn’t occur to me until it was too late and my ears were burning. I repeated “Green Party” and Ralph repeated “The WHO?” When he did it a third time the audience groaned and I felt like a chump not to mention he succeeded in derailing my train of thought. Completely petty behavior for a mayor. Pure intimidation by a power tripping prick. Unlike Ralph, Trish is so caught up in running the show I truly believe she has no concept how disruptive and rude it can be to harass speakers with questions. Just a control freak.

    Comment by MI — November 6, 2015 @ 2:37 pm

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