Blogging Bayport Alameda

October 7, 2016

Learning curve

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

At the last City Council meeting on Tuesday not only did the City Council not get to the Council Referral items they didn’t get through the entire agenda either.

Between now and the election there are only two more regular City Council meetings, I’m kinda hoping that the City Council keeps up its inability to get through an entire agenda and these Council Referrals keep getting kicked down the road. I wonder what the protocol is for a Council Referral to be heard if the Councilperson is no longer on the City Council…

Anyway the inability for Trish Spencer to move business along during these City Council meetings is inexcusable.  I mean all you Trish Spencer defenders told the rest of us to just give her time to find her footing, but seriously, it’s been almost 22 months now, how long is this learning period going to last for.

There have now been six meetings, that’s how many meetings those first two Council Referrals have been deferred, where not all the City Council business has been dispensed with in the given amount of time.  Something is structurally wrong with how this City Council is operating and the blame lies with the person purportedly running the meeting: the Mayor.

Here are all the Referrals that still have to be heard. Particularly ironic is the one about a priority setting work session.


I imagine that the one from Frank Matarrese about policies and procedures regarding Alameda’s homeless population had to do with the visibility of the issues at the Beltline parcel, but that’s been somewhat addressed by now three months after Frank Matarrese had wanted to have the City Council tackle the issue.

The only positive thing to say about this Council Referral process is that at least these do not require that City Staff spend a lot of time to create agenda items for like they had to when it was a free-for-all with regard to City Council members attempting to agendize every pet issue.



  1. Lauren – I can’t believe you continue down this path. I guess I need to spell it out for you.

    If Trish Spencer were a man, you could criticize her performance as Mayor. As it stands, you are in violation of the inter/intra-sex evaluation rules.

    A. Men CAN criticize men
    B. Women CAN criticize men
    C. Men CAN NOT praise men (comes across as unmanly, makes the man being praised uncomfortable)
    D. Women CAN praise men (nurturing)
    E. Men CAN NOT criticize women (“mansplaining”)
    F. Women CAN NOT criticize women (needs no explanation) <**** this is the one you continue to violate! BULLYING!
    G. Men CAN NOT praise women (comes across as patronizing)
    I. Women CAN praise women (stay strong sisterhood)

    Once you've mastered this, we can throw in modifiers for ethnicity and sexual preference.

    Comment by brock — October 7, 2016 @ 11:14 am

  2. The real problem is that council members will no longer vote to stay past 11:00. For years, we have all complained that council meetings extend into the wee hours in the morning. Now, when the question is asked by the mayor if they want to go past 11, the votes are not there. Other than that, the meetings are run no differently than they have been by past mayors. If you went to meetings, you would know.

    Comment by Nancy Hird — October 7, 2016 @ 1:48 pm

    • So her majesty hasn’t improved things?

      Comment by BC — October 7, 2016 @ 2:22 pm

    • No. There are many differences, too many to list. One big one is that this mayor will not suggest shortening public comment from 3 minutes to 1 or 2 when there is a large number of speakers. Unless, of course, they are renters, or speaking in favor of a development she does not like. Then she has ideas for speeding things up. If they are political allies or there is a good chance to pander, however, a wide latitude is given.

      Suggestions for speeding things up (let’s help her out here folks):
      1. More than 10 speaker slips on an item, automatically go to two minutes per speaker unless a motion is made and passed to allow three minutes. (Nobody wants to be the bad guy, so we need an “opt-out” setup)
      2. 30 or more speaker slips, 1 minute each.
      3. No more than three whereas clauses shall be read aloud during open session on any proclamation. They can read them if they want and the Mayor is not a compelling reader of things out loud.
      4. Council Members get no more than 5 minute opening statements at the beginning of “board discussion” (Sorry Marilyn and Tony, you can submit revised and extended remarks for the record later), then proceed to making a motion and hammering it out.
      5. Have coherent politics, maintain professional relationships with staff and your fellow Council Members, and understand Robert’s Rules. (To be fair, she is getting better at the last part, but the complete devolvement on the previous items has negated any potential benefits.)

      Comment by BMac — October 7, 2016 @ 4:14 pm

      • items 1-2 I think are what was done during the big rent hearings, so the little guy is at least paying attention, if not clapping, on that one. Item 3 – agreed, out of the chair applause; maybe hire a retired speed reader from state leg. for that; 4 – I don’t know about that one. Typically, the good ideas run out after about 2 minutes, but not always. I’d use peer pressure rather than a timer on that one. 5. – that goes for everyone on the Council, but part one of it is only enforceable in heaven and this kangaroo court.

        Comment by MP — October 7, 2016 @ 4:44 pm

    • Yah because you can’t really glean from, oh I don’t know, the videos what happens at these meetings. It is only when in the actual City Council chambers that you can really understand that the other Council members are tired of continuing to extend meetings past 11 p.m. because Trish Spencer can’t manage to get through an entire City Council agenda in the allotted six hours.

      Tell you what: you raise $20K for Ruby Bridges PTA, plus another $20K for 5th grade Science Camp and I’ll go to every single City Council meeting for the 2016-2017 school year. Deal?

      Comment by Lauren Do — October 7, 2016 @ 4:35 pm

      • That’s what’s known as a very high priced hooker.

        Comment by jack — October 8, 2016 @ 2:48 pm

  3. Lauren, If I were you I would ask for more money to sit through our council meetings. In council chambers.

    Comment by John P. — October 8, 2016 @ 11:52 am

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