Blogging Bayport Alameda

November 10, 2015

10 months later

Filed under: Alameda, City Council — Lauren Do @ 6:00 am

A short post today because a video is worth 1000 words.  Mayor Trish Spencer went from being someone who smugly appreciated public outbursts of emotions like applause, after all that’s the way it was done when she was on the School Board.  In ten short months later, she became  a Mayor who suggested that she could clear the room if people dared to clap. Ten months ago she was lauded by newly appointed Rent Review Advisory Committee member Karin Lucas as a friendly mayor unlike the one who had just left and made people feel welcome and not lectured at.  Only last week she became a Mayor who gave “one warning” to the already amped up renters group or she would have them removed from the chambers

I guess you could call this progress on the part of Trish Spencer but however sweetly she veils her threats to eject people from the chambers for not toeing the line doesn’t disguise the fact that her laudatory chest thumping from ten months ago about how her administration would treat City Council meetings like discussion among friends has come to a decisive end.


  1. The honeymoon is over…when can we get a divorce? irreconcilable differences…she to controlling…she leaves her dirty laundry all over the house…she complains when I let the toilet seat up… Lol… to bad it can’t be a quickie divorce.

    Comment by Jake — November 10, 2015 @ 6:10 am

  2. Sorry about my previous comment, I shouldn’t try to be funny at someone else expense, especially since I am not good at it. Although I didn’t vote for her, I have to live with the situation and try to make the best it and be an adult.

    Comment by Jake — November 10, 2015 @ 6:29 am

  3. Cue the “One of These Things is Not Like the Other” song.

    Her meeting skills are indeed weak, no question about that, but Wednesday’s meeting was unprecedented and she did come down from the dais and try to work something out. It wasn’t a “12 Angry Men” moment of leadership brilliance, but she did her best under circs that would have challenged any mayor, even one that you voted for.

    There is many things about Trish to criticize, but this really isn’t one of them.

    Comment by dave — November 10, 2015 @ 7:09 am

  4. typo: there *ARE* many things

    Comment by dave — November 10, 2015 @ 7:10 am

  5. I attended the meeting and left at the Mayor’s request to make room for those speakers who had not had a chance to speak.

    I’ve criticized the Mayor many times, but I have to give it to her – she did a great job getting control of meeting.

    The meeting I watched from home was completely different than the meeting I left – there was calm, order, and everyone got their chance to speak.

    Comment by Karen Bey — November 10, 2015 @ 7:44 am

  6. For someone whose hypocrite radar is honed so sharply, it’s amazing how a pass is given to Trish Spencer. What strange bedfellows development issues make.

    Comment by Lauren Do — November 10, 2015 @ 8:15 am

  7. She changed her tack in response to changing circumstances. I suggest you consult a dictionary, somewhere toward the back of the H section, to see that these things are not the same.

    Comment by dave — November 10, 2015 @ 8:25 am

  8. maybe there was a hidden motive, but it just looks like different circumstances in the two videos. One meeting with few attendees versus another where applause was going to make it that much more difficult to get through all speakers……so, back to the real issue of the day………

    Comment by MP — November 10, 2015 @ 8:28 am

  9. “her administration would treat City Council meetings like discussion among friends” Well, if the people who show up at the City Council meetings don’t act like friends to begin with…landlords acting like the popular clique in high school, renters acting like the smokers in the boys room…yep you’re the hypocrite, Do.

    You can try to blame everything that goes wrong on the Mayor, but I kinda doubt Gilmore would have done a better job of controlling that meeting..

    Comment by vigi — November 10, 2015 @ 9:09 am

  10. so Dave, in one meeting the Mayor say’s that she welcomes the applause and that this is a “discussion,” in last weeks meeting she say’s she will throw you out if you make to much noise, and with only one warning. That is “hypocritical”. As for Karin Lucas, standing there in the middle of it, she never had one thing to say about what the Mayor did.

    Comment by John P. — November 10, 2015 @ 9:20 am

  11. It appeared to me that the meeting turned out to be very Americana. Protesting, loud voices, police action, injured people, etc. It isn’t that unusual at all. As the “gap” between the haves and the have nots widens, we will see more of this type of meeting. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride we’ve made for ourselves. Mayor Spencer is not part of the problem, she is simply in the middle of it. The people of Alameda are the problem and only we can fix things.

    Comment by Bill — November 10, 2015 @ 9:21 am

  12. Vigi, you can “blame” everything on Gilmore, but she “ain’t” the Mayor anymore. Mayor Spencer did not have control of that meeting.

    Comment by John P. — November 10, 2015 @ 9:24 am

  13. John, maybe Lauren can lend you her dictionary after she’s done learning what that word means.

    Comment by dave — November 10, 2015 @ 9:32 am

  14. Pro-tip: generally only people we disagree with are anointed with the “hypocrite” title.

    Comment by Lauren Do — November 10, 2015 @ 9:42 am

  15. Pro tip: learn what the word means.

    Comment by dave — November 10, 2015 @ 9:47 am

  16. I guess for poor Dave its easier to argue about what a word means, as opposed to argue about the merits of his Mayor.

    Comment by John P. — November 10, 2015 @ 12:57 pm

  17. I totally agree with you that Spencer is a “hypocrite” = a person whose says one thing and does another or whose public statements during the campaign belie her public statements as an elected official. There is evidence of her leaking information to her friends during all council sessions, and Spencer lost control of the meeting because only the landlords respect her for being on their side. She has blood on her hands *literally.*

    Comment by Cindy — November 10, 2015 @ 1:00 pm

  18. 16

    I didn’t introduce the H word, John, our blogmistress did. Neither she nor you understands what it means.

    As for Spencer’s merits, perhaps you failed to read post 3, in which I clearly state in English (a language in which I — perhaps mistakenly — assumed you to be fluent) that her meeting skills are weak. Perhaps you failed to read a number of prior posts, especially when she was on school board, in which I sharply criticized her words and actions.

    What happened on Bloody Wednesday was unprecedented chaos. It was a paradigm shift that called for any mayor to depart from prior methods to get things under control. By no means is that hypocrisy.

    If you want to critique her specific actions, go for it. I damned her with some very faint praise in post 3 but the fact is she did *something* and order was restored.

    Comment by dave — November 10, 2015 @ 1:21 pm

  19. I’m not a linguist by training, so I looked up hypocrite in the dictionary. Definition 2 is: “a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.”

    If the mayor stated she believed applause was a good thing when it was her pitchfork-wielding friends doing the clapping (January) but tried to stop applause when other pitchfork-wielders (foes of the previous wielders) did the clapping (November), then that’s pretty darn close to meeting that definition, I reckon.

    Comment by BC — November 10, 2015 @ 3:03 pm

  20. post #18, Dave I happen to think it is you who can’t seem to understand what some words mean. Also your smarty pants references to me not being able to speak or understand English simply cut me to the core. I would also like to apologize to you for my not reading and committing to memory all of your previous posts. One question to you, what did she do specifically to restore order , and please furnish us with facts not just your opinion. pro tip, I’m busting your —-s

    Comment by John P. — November 10, 2015 @ 3:08 pm

  21. dave doesn’t think the mayor is a hypocrite. Others think that she is a hypocrite.

    Taking some superior “check the dictionary” positioin is just plain silly.

    Almost everyone on this blog is a native English speaker and knows what the word hypocrite means.

    I happen to think that this is just another example of her hypocrisy.

    Also, on a practical level, it is generally pretty difficult to defend any politician against the charge of hypocrisy, since it is just how they roll

    Comment by JohnB — November 10, 2015 @ 7:56 pm

  22. “Almost everyone on this blog is a native English speaker and knows what the word hypocrite means.” Actually, that’s precisely what dave denies. So definitions matter. Lots of native English speakers are functionally illiterate. But otherwise great point!

    Comment by BC — November 11, 2015 @ 7:54 am

  23. if someone who was opposed to additional regulation before now could favor some temporary measure — if it were politically feasible to enact temporary relief as opposed to a permanent privilege — is that person also a hypocrite?

    Comment by MP — November 11, 2015 @ 8:39 am

  24. I attended the meeting last week and witnessed first hand the riot that took place outside the city council chambers.

    It had a chilling effect on everyone – including the Mayor, the city council and staff, and everyone inside and outside the chambers.

    Immediately following the Public Works Director going down – things went awry. The city council meeting haulted, there was yelling and screaming, and loud chanting in the halls, the police was summoned and there was blood. For along time it seemed that there was no one in charge.

    What happened in our chambers was unprecedented and there was no experience to draw from.

    I believe that Marie Gilmore would have had a better plan. Due to her years of experience on the council and as Mayor, she would have expected a large crowd and knowing that this is such an emotional issue, she would have had contingency plans in case things got out of hand. She also would have tried to urge both sides to have a representative give a 30 – 40 minute presentation in lieu of the 90+ speakers we saw on Wednesday night.

    But that didn’t happen.

    What did happen is that Mayor Spencer with the help of city staff, and the local police re-gained control of the meeting and everyone who wanted to speak, got a chance to be heard, and for that I acknowledge her.

    There are alot of lessons to be learned from what happened, and I imagine we will hear what went wrong, what we would do differently, and perhaps even who was to blame – Marie Gimore was blamed by her critics for everything negative that happened on her watch.

    But in the end, I’m hopeful that we can move towards the focus on ways to improve the process, while maintaining the peace on our Island city.

    Comment by Karen Bey — November 11, 2015 @ 8:45 am

  25. This notion that a representative could be chosen for each side is completely asinine to me. Nobody speaks for me, and the Mayor’s attempts to blame the protesters in the media for not following protocol or going along with her wish to have each “side” pick a representative and have 30 minutes each for public comment is BS.

    There were leaders of that protest. There are organizers helping inform and mobilize renters. The 200 renters that showed up and protested did not elect anyone to speak for them. Nor the many of us who were chased away by landlord reps telling arriving renters “full house” “go to the library” etc. For most, this was the first time they have engaged in Alameda politics and made it a priority to be heard. The Mayor and staff were not ready to hear them until the protest got their attention.

    It was not a riot, for fucks sake. It was a protest. One protester tried to enter chambers when told she wasn’t allowed. A desk employee, at the mayor’s request to keep the doors closed, shoved a protester to the ground and ended up getting the worst of it. Then, a police officer decided that a WWE takedown move was the preferred method of effecting an arrest on the same protester that was shouting at the officer and might have kicked the officer’s leg or foot in the crowd.

    One protester (probably – video is not 100% conclusive) went over the line. 100-200 people were chanting to be heard by their government. Nobody was destroying property or attempting to inflict physical harm to anyone except city employees.

    Comment by BMac — November 11, 2015 @ 10:20 am

  26. *misplaced modifier alert. City employees were the only ones who appeared interested in getting physical, is what I meant. One apparently happy footed protester aside…

    Comment by BMac — November 11, 2015 @ 10:24 am

  27. 18. pointing out that you weren’t the first to introduce the H word in this exchange is silly and petty since you wield your crusade against hypocrisy ( particularly your perception of Lauren as hypocrite) with religious zealotry like you are “trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored”. Lauren posting “hypocrite” in 14. was clearly a reference to your history of trying to tar her with that term.

    I’ll give credit to Spencer for regaining some kind of control after the mayhem. I was not present but was watching live feed until it cut out and did watch several videos including the mayor telling protesters in the hall they would get to speak.

    To me, a salient point is that detractors of Mayor Gilmore have bashed her for asking the gallery not to cheer or clap after speakers, as well as other disparaging characterizations of her style of chairing meetings. Spencer boldly stated she would be different, trying to contrast herself as some sort feel good populist. I think we have seen enough of the new mayor in action to fairly conclude she can be impulsive at times and doesn’t stick to any clear protocol which differentiates a superior methodology.

    On the point of requests that each group pick a rep to speak at length. In the decade or more that I’ve been watching council meetings there have been several issues on which there were long lines of speakers which have taken over two hours, but none this contentious. One property owner did take time ceded by 15 others and thankfully she happened to include remarks lending validation to some tenant concerns. If tenants felt the need to tell individual anecdotes to vent their personal frustrations that is their right. I may be mistaken, but under other administrations I think people who have requested to speak beyond limit with ceded time, have been denied. I’m fairly certain this has been the case when those others didn’t submit a speaker slip. I’ve wondered if there are any rules on this. Reducing speaking time with large numbers of slips has precedent, but most people are just unprepared or incapable of making any point in 60 seconds. Marie Gilmore was pretty good about being strict when it came to speaker time, including shutting down Doug de Haan who can be painfully long winded. I’m afraid that Lil Arnerich has set some bad precedent as far as special Alamedans getting a pass on that one when he announced to Beverly Johnson that he was going to ignore his time limit, because you know…., and Johnson let him get away with it. As a former elected, I think Doug was expecting something similar. No dice. One minute turned into five in many cases, for speakers on both sides of the issue. A bit of anarchy even after Spencer took the reins and restored order.

    Comment by MI — November 11, 2015 @ 1:19 pm

  28. @25: Thank you, BMac, for stating the truth. What the “old guard” doesn’t realize is that the internet has rendered them “emperors without clothes”…the city’s “statement” on this is a falsehood. Haun made the first move. Enough people were there and saw what really happened. And they won’t be silenced.

    Comment by StartOver — November 12, 2015 @ 11:06 am

  29. Time honored strategy for those who want to be heard on hot issues. Get to the chambers early and get your speaker slip in. Hold only enough seats for one or two friends you know are coming. If you get there late, be sure you get a speaker slip in right away when you arrive. If the chamber is full and you are in an overflow room at City Hall or the Library, pay close attention to what is going on on the screen and listen for your name to be called as an advance call to those who are in other rooms. The presider usually does this five or more at a time so people can get lined up. You will be admitted to the chamber to line up to speak. If you have a seat in the chamber and you have spoken, leave to one of the overflow rooms and let someone else have your seat in the chamber. Don’t be so loud in the hall outside the chamber that the people inside cannot hear the testimony being given by the speakers.

    This has all worked for many years. If the Mayor (or other presider) says, hold the applause and the cat calls until all are finished it is not to shut people up but to control the time. Very few people can wait until 2 a.m. to speak or listen to the debate by the Council.

    Seems to me that better preparation and organization by the people wanting to be heard and by the Council, in recognition of the potential of a large and emotional crowd would have avoided much of the hard feelings and chaos.

    Comment by Kate Quick — November 12, 2015 @ 11:37 am

  30. The landlords claim that they had no plan to pack the meeting or had any other nefarious intent is a complete lie. A review of the speaker cards submitted at the meeting shows that 26 people ceded their speaking time to Marilyn Schumacher ( What, is this a great coincidence?

    And those complaining about ‘people not from Alameda’, again, the speaker cards show 13 people from outside Oakland opposed the moratorium while only three outsiders were in favor. Two of those from outside Alameda were with the California Apartment Association, a state-wide pro-landlord group. Still hoping to find a good aka honest landlord.

    Comment by John K — November 12, 2015 @ 4:48 pm

  31. There are a lot of them here. Some even support Rent Control.

    Comment by frank m — November 12, 2015 @ 5:14 pm

  32. There are decent, honest landlords who care about their tenants’ lives and welfare on The Island. They may even outnumber the clique who have gamed the system for all these years. I have read posts by several of them essentially standing up and telling the ones who are displacing the working families of Alameda to stop what they’re doing.

    The time for the decent, honest landlords to stand up and have their voices heard over the din of greed is past due.

    Comment by StartOver — November 12, 2015 @ 6:20 pm

  33. In the Sun today, 30 year veteran of property rental Doug Smith was claims there was no plan by landlords. He then said of ARC coming to protest “This was their plan all along. Their plan was to bust out in riot fashion after the meeting got going so they could be on television saying ‘we were not heard’ “. O.K. Doug, and you know this how?

    Comment by MI — November 12, 2015 @ 7:58 pm

  34. MI at 33: you are so right and I read that article, too. Smith can’t prove his comment about ARC planning a ‘bust out’ and I’ll take it a step farther: he’s lying. With regard to landlords not planning anything, I’m staring at the 26 speaker cards ceded to Schumacher right now. 26 people don’t just randomly show up and do that. Smith needs to stop lying.

    Comment by John K — November 12, 2015 @ 8:09 pm

  35. Unfortunately most of the good landlords are spending their energy making sure they don’t get unfairly lumped in with the jerks, instead of telling the jerks they are jerks.

    Comment by BMac — November 12, 2015 @ 8:15 pm

  36. Maybe they’re wasting their energy. Seems to me the best way to expend their energy to ensure they aren’t “unfairly lumped in with the jerks” would be to speak up and tell the jerks they’re being jerks!

    Comment by StartOver — November 12, 2015 @ 9:03 pm

  37. I don’t think there was a plan to break out in a riot or for any violence to occur. On the other hand, someone in ARC leadership wrote, “If we had any idea it was going to be like that, we wouldn’t have brought her. We were expecting a bit of loud but nonviolent civil disobedience.” Again, no intent to “riot” or engage in violence, and it is phrased as “expecting” rather than planning nonviolent civil disobedience.

    I don’t know where or not all of the people in blue t-shirts planned to show up at the same time or whether or not they planned to show up after the start of the meeting or not. But from the statement above, it’s fair to infer that, whether or not there were enough seats in the council chambers or speaker cards, there would have been some form of civil disobedience from the group. I don’t think that it was required here.

    If there was a concerted effort by the apartment owners present to lock up seats or speaker cards, shame on them. And equally foolish. I doubt councilmembers were really swayed by the antics or which side had more speakers at the meeting itself anyway.

    Comment by MP — November 12, 2015 @ 9:22 pm

  38. MP #37: I’d be very interested in know who in “ARC leadership” wrote what you cite. I know for a fact, since I’m part of ARC leadership, that we did not come to the meeting with any plan or pre-determination to engage in civil disobedience. Who wrote it?

    Comment by John K — November 12, 2015 @ 10:41 pm

  39. Christopher Hanson either made a significant error–or lied–when he wrote his commentary in today’s Alameda Sun (11-12-15, p.11):

    “The (non-Alameda-resident) tenant activist group-leaders were agitated..”

    I am puzzled why Christopher Hanson, an attorney, would make the above false statement when the ARC’s history is a matter of public record, discussed not only at several City Council meetings (2014-2015) but also reported on the pages of the Alameda Sun more than once. There is no way he could establish a renter’s residency based on simply looking at the people in the hallway unless he knew all of those renters personally, which I doubt he did.

    His parenthetical characterization of Alameda Renters Coalition (ARC) members or leaders as “non-Alameda-resident(s)” is false on its face. There may have been a few renters from other communities in attendance November 4-5 who came to support Alameda renters, but the ARC has always been a local, grassroots organization.

    From the beginning, when Angela Palatto Hockabout founded the ARC in 2014, it has been a local group of Alameda renters providing each other with much-needed support and assistance in the face of rent increases of up to 35 per cent per year. I recognized many faces Wednesday night when I arrived–about 15 minutes after the protest and altercation in the hallway–from attending ARC meetings and being on the steering committee from December 2014 through September of this year.

    The ARC members *did* vote to pool our hard-earned funds to join Tenants Together early in 2015. (I was there when we passed the hat.) But no one from Tenants Together or any other outside group was at these meetings.

    The ARC joined Tenants Together that was because renters in any single Bay Area community are no match for landlords, who have all the power under state law and are completely unregulated in Alameda, which has *no* de facto rent stabilization in place to balance the scales towards fairness.

    Mr. Hanson should know that local renters know how to design and distribute flyers: we certainly did not need anyone from outside of Alameda to help us design and distribute flyers–or to write, edit, and submit opinion pieces to the Alameda Sun– while I was on the steering committee.

    Although the members of ARC did not need Tenants Together for flyers or op-ed pieces, we *do* need Tenants Together because most attorneys who know landlord-tenant law side with the privileged, monied class and not renters. And we have yet to see more than a handful of landlords express any genuine interest in justice for renters. (Apparently Mr. Hanson is not an exception to this, I am sad to say.)

    Whether Christopher Hanson’s erroneous statement was purposeful or not, I do not know: I do not know his intentions. But I hope Mr. Hanson will apologize for his error, because he was wrong to call my neighbors in the ARC “(non-Alameda-resident) tenant activist group-leaders…”

    Comment by Jon Spangler — November 13, 2015 @ 12:48 am

  40. Thanks for that, Jon Spangler. You are right, there’s no way Hanson could know anything about the things he claims to know. It’s quite amazing to see the professional class in Alameda turn to out-right lies regarding rising rents and the need for rent control in Alameda.

    Reviewing the speaker cards for Nov. 4, I found more so-called ‘non-Alameda-residents’ opposed to the moratorium than non-residents who were for it. Those non-residents in opposition were mostly real estate people or property owners. The speaker cards show 3 non-residents in favor of the moratorium, including a Tenants Together person. While, on the other side, 13 non-residents opposed the moratorium. Some quick internet searches on the names of those in opposition found them to be mostly real estate people or owners. Several other people from out of town did not designate a preference regarding the moratorium. I don’t imagine we’ll hear any complaints from Hanson about those 13 non-Alameda residents in opposition.

    Again, it’s quite amazing that Smith and Hanson resort to out-right lying since they want to be seen as professionals. Hanson is both a realtor and an attorney which, to my mind, is everything that is wrong with Alameda and its city government – it’s completely captured by the professional class. And trying to out-smart these guys is an exercise in futility. What’s a poor, hapless renter to do?

    Comment by John K — November 13, 2015 @ 8:31 am

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