Blogging Bayport Alameda

March 6, 2017

How to be a leader

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

Lots of stuff going down at the City Council tomorrow, so I’m going to point out the two Council Referral items and try to get everything else covered in tomorrow’s post.

First, Councilmember Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft is attempting to bring some sanity to the Call for Review process.  And given how cranky some people get when meetings run long, there needs to be some streamlining of all the extras that City Councilmembers try to add to already lengthy agenda items.

From the Council Referral:

 Consider Revising City Council Call For Review Process To Appeal Board And Commission Decisions By Requiring That Two, Rather Than Just One City Council Members Initiate A Call For Review And State A Reason For The Appeal

Currently, a single Council Member can appeal the decision of a City Board or Commission without stating any reason for doing so. Any member of the public can also appeal Board or Commission decisions, but must first pay a deposit and fee. This financial requirement does not apply to Council Members.

Requiring that two Council Members initiate a Call For Review and state the reason for their appeal would improve the current system where an individual Council Member might feel pressure to accommodate the wishes of constituents, regardless of the merits of an appeal, and without consideration of the financial and time burden an appeal places on applicants and staff.

Since 2015 there have been 11 Calls for Review. More than 60% of those calls have been filed by Trish Spencer. Only one of those seven calls made by Trish Spencer had a co-sponsor: Jim Oddie. The remaining calls were made by Tony Daysog.  Out of the seven calls made by Trish Spencer only one call overturned the decision of the Planning Board.  To compare, once again, between 1998 and 2014 there were 14 Calls for Review lodged.

The TL;dr for people playing at home:

2015-2017 (2 years): 11 Calls for Review

1998-2014 (16 years): 14 Calls for Review

Perhaps Frank Matarrese would like to revise his assessment from 2016 that there have been “very few” Calls for Review and that the system is “working.” One day I’m going to try to put a price tag on the Calls for Review, particularly those that upheld the decision from the Board or Commission that made the approval.

Moving on.

Also on Council Referral is one that has been sponsored by Malia Vella and Jim Oddie but I know has been initiated in the community itself.  This is going to be a contentious issue like the Sanctuary City one. From the Referral:

Consider adoption of resolution in support of a Congressional investigation regarding the impeachment of President Donald Trump

A number of Alameda residents spoke at the Feb. 21, 2017 city council meeting expressing grave concern over Trump’s temperament, behavior, and leadership may be a threat to our democracy. These residents presented documents supporting their belief that Trump’s conflict of interest, political corruption, and direct violation of the Constitution may be sufficient grounds for impeachment

Before anyone scoffs at the fruitlessness of the effort or handwrings about the loss of Federal funding let me just point out that taking a stand when you have nothing to lose is not leadership and it’s not bravery.  If Alameda had nothing to lose by making these statements then the sidelining rock throwers would simply decry these efforts as “feel good” or “pandering.”  Now that there are potentially real repercussions they warn the City Council to be concerned about the federal funding pipeline running dry.

But what good is a federal funding to patch some potholes if members of the Alameda community are ripped away from their families because of their immigration status?

What good is federal funding for schools if our LGBTQ students are not offered protection at those same schools or our special education students are no longer given equality in their education options because the new Department of Education doesn’t see fit to protect them?

What good is a federal funding for Alameda Point cleanup if the federal government has sidelined the EPA and no longer sees value in protecting the environment?

What good is federal funding for a park if our religious minorities, people of color, and other typically protected classes no longer feel as though they are welcome in this country in the face of a rising nationalism built around the suppression of these groups?

So perhaps these efforts are a bit of shouting into the void, but it send a message to groups feeling vulnerable that at least this elected group of officials understand and will do whatever they can to push back against whatever this administration brings.


  1. The president has little if any ability to deny funds to Alameda for sanctuary city status or recommending impeachment. The Supreme Court has already addressed this issue.

    As for impeachment, I think that people should wait for Trump to clearly do something worthy of impeachment. This is a waste of time and credibility. Just like it would appear silly for some small town in Texas to vote to recommend impeachment of Obama, yawn.

    I think that Trump quite likely has or will do something worthy of impeachment. But it is silly and a waste of time to push for a case that is going to lose. One needs solid evidence before going to trial. And impeachment is an indictment that leads to a trial.

    Comment by JohnB — March 6, 2017 @ 8:03 am

  2. Impeachment is different than removal from office. As in the Clinton impeachment proceedings, it will take 2/3rds vote of the Senate to remove from office, and that isn’t happening for Trump. So it’s just a “feel good” resolution, just like the Sanctuary City.

    Comment by Alan — March 6, 2017 @ 9:21 am

  3. Never before have so many people screamed “unconstitutional” without having the slightest idea what that term really means. As for me, I still support Marine LePen for president of France.

    Comment by vigi — March 6, 2017 @ 10:47 am

    • The Emoluments Clause is in the Constitution and Il Duce is violating it daily.

      Comment by dave — March 6, 2017 @ 11:10 am

      • You do not know what the emoluments clause means in 2017, dave. No one does. It is an archaic term, meant for colonial times, and intended to prevent devolution of the republic into a monarchy. Just saying something is “in the Constitution”, isn’t saying much.
        Besides, when we elected him, everyone knew he was a billionaire with monster hotels & luxury resorts and eponymous lines of merchandise. The country knew what it was getting.

        Comment by vigi — March 6, 2017 @ 7:19 pm

        • Checks & balances? Necessary & proper? A well regulated militia? Quartering troops? Those are archaic terms, meant for colonial times. No one knows what they mean anymore. Just saying that it’s in the constitution doesn’t say much.

          I’m breaking my own rule against arguing with lunatics, but read the emoluments clause, just for fun. Here ya go:

          No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.

          Diplomats and other foreign officials staying at a Trump property can be easily construed as such. Il Duce has numerous other dealings that are either flat out illegal, such as his lease on the old post office in DC, or very shady self-dealing, such as scrapping regulations that directly benefit his golf courses.

          Fun fact: I remember learning what the word “emolument” meant in 11th grade w/ Ms. Bolton.

          Comment by dave — March 7, 2017 @ 6:21 am

        • Front page on Bloomberg this morning:

          The Art of the Trump Federal Enrichment Program: Joe Nocera
          2017-03-07 13:00:07.593 GMT

          By Joe Nocera
          (Bloomberg View) — “That’s not a get-rich-quick scheme,”
          Donald Trump Jr. insisted to the Washington Post in a story
          published over the weekend.
          Of course it’s not! Don Jr., Eric, and their father,
          President Donald Trump, have four years — maybe, God forbid,
          even eight — to financially exploit the American presidency.
          There’s no big rush.
          The Post story, and a similar one the New York Times last
          month, have explored where the Trump sons expect to take the
          Trump Organization now that its founder is no longer focused on
          it, being the president and all. (Their sister Ivanka Trump, who
          was also a top executive at the company, resigned after her
          father was elected.) In both stories, the Trump boys insisted
          that a Chinese wall existed between themselves and their father,
          at least when it comes to the family business.
          “There are lines we would never cross,” Eric Trump told the
          Post, “and that’s mixing business with anything government.” To
          the Times, Donald Trump Jr. said that using the presidency “as a
          way to enrich yourself is laughable.”
          But rather than dampen the fears that the president would
          line his pockets while in office, the two articles — and
          several others — essentially prove that the Trump Federal
          Enrichment Program is going full tilt.
          The ur-fact about the president and his company, of course,
          is that he hasn’t sold any of his holdings, and appears to have
          no intention of doing so. (The president “can’t have a conflict
          of interest,” Trump declared shortly after the election,
          accurately capturing the letter of the law if not its spirit.)
          So even if his sons are now running the show, any deals they do
          puts money directly into their father’s pocket.
          And boy do they plan to do deals. Although they have
          promised not to seek out any new projects abroad — well, except
          for the hotel in Dubai that just opened, plus the one in
          Vancouver, plus the golf course expansion in Scotland, as well
          as the new trademark right granted by China, and maybe a
          branding deal in the Dominican Republic — their U.S. ambitions
          are enormous.
          The boys envision creating a hip new hotel chain under the
          “Scion” brand, located in cities like Seattle, Austin and St.
          Louis. And the day after Trump was inaugurated, Eric Danziger,
          the chief executive of Trump’s hotel company, said that it was
          planning a major expansion, according to Bloomberg. The Post
          reported that the Trump sons have already signed 17 letters of
          intent with potential developers for their new chain.
          And where did the Trump boys make the contacts that are
          allowing them to dive so quickly into this new opportunity? On
          the campaign trail! “I met people along the way who would make
          awesome partners,” Donald Trump Jr. told the Post. Can you
          Would all these potential partners be lining up if Trump
          had lost? Anything’s possible, I suppose. But the market the
          Trumps are trying to enter is already crowded. And the
          revelations that emerged during the campaign about how poorly
          Trump treats those who do business with him wasn’t likely to
          Now that Trump is president, however, there is a whole
          different calculation. “The potential partners like the idea
          that by doing a deal with the sons they are enriching the
          father,” said Norm Eisen, the former Obama ethics czar who is
          now the chairman of the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in
          Washington. “Because in the end, the sons are running his
          There is a second calculation. What if you don’t want to do
          business with the president’s sons? Will he tweet nasty things
          about you? Will he try to get back at you? Will he try to hurt
          your business in some way? No one can discount the possibility.
          In addition, every time Donald Jr. and Eric Trump apply to
          a city for permission to build — and then for the endless
          rounds of permits and so on that are required to construct a new
          hotel — the government entities will be in a difficult spot. If
          they say no, they too will face the possibility of presidential
          QuickTakeQ&A: The Emoluments Clause
          But if they say yes, they run the risk of helping the
          president break the law. That’s because, since Trump still owns
          the company, he’d be a beneficiary of their approval and thus
          they could be complicit in violations of the emoluments clause
          of the Constitution if foreign governments used the hotels.
          Of course Trump is already doing violence to that clause
          with his new hotel in Washington, where ambassadors are holding
          expensive receptions and foreign dignitaries are booking
          expensive rooms. The Associated Press recently called it “the
          new political capital in the nation’s capital.” It has become
          “the place to see, be seen, drink, network — even live — for
          the still-emerging Trump set,” the AP added. “It’s a rich
          environment for lobbyists and anybody hoping to rub elbows with
          Trump-related politicos.”
          In other words, instead of handing bags of cash to the new
          president, lobbyists and other favor-seekers are handing credit
          cards to hotel clerks. But the profits wind up in the same
          place: Trump’s bank account.
          Then there’s Mar-a-Lago, which is both Trump’s Florida home
          and a golf resort, and where the Trump Organization doubled the
          initiation fee to $200,000 knowing that people will pay because
          the president is there most weekends and loves to rub elbows
          with guests.
          In previous cases when people were selling access to the
          president, “it was associates of the president” who were
          profiting from it, wrote Timothy P. Carney in The Washington
          Examiner. (Yes, that Republican-friendly Washington Examiner!)
          “With Mar-a-Lago, it’s the president himself profiting from
          access to him.”
          Other presidents have been able put their holdings in a
          blind trust to avoid conflicts. But that won’t work for Trump,
          who owns public real estate holdings, not stocks. Even if he
          were capable of letting someone outside his family manage his
          holdings, he would still be in a position to profit — and
          everyone would know it.
          The only answer, said Eisen, is for Trump to sell his
          holdings. But we all know that will never happen. So get used to
          it. Trump may or may not be able to overhaul Obamacare or get a
          tax bill through Congress. But he sure knows how to run the
          Trump Federal Enrichment Program. He’s proving it every day.
          This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the
          editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

          “No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And
          no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them,
          shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any
          present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from
          any King, Prince, or foreign State.”

          Comment by dave — March 7, 2017 @ 6:30 am

        • Saying the country knew what it was getting with Trump is a pretty half-hearted defense. And given no tax returns, it is more like the country knew that it didn’t know what it was getting. James Comey might even call that gross negligence.

          Comment by MP — March 7, 2017 @ 7:49 am

        • Your education stopped at the eleventh grade, dave? I thought you were going to reveal your hidden qualifications as a constitutional scholar! Who is Ms. Bolton [probably not the wife of Ambassador John Bolton]? and why is she an authority on anything beyond the eleventh grade? “Easily construed” is in the eye of the beholder and not proof of anything.
          There are several things about dave that I am sure of: dave is not a teacher or a judge. dave has never read any of Trump’s 15 books. Not sure what the source of dave’s analysis is other than the usual tin-hat libtard screed rants.
          So far, not one person clamoring for tax returns has made it clear what would be found in them that would change anything. One agency not clamoring for DJT tax returns is the IRS. Why? Because the IRS already has them and has been examining them for years. If there was anything noteworthy in them, it no doubt would already have been leaked by the liberal establishment government. You see, dave, there was this woman named Lois Lerner at the IRS….actually it would take too long to educate you here, “dave”. But I encourage you to broaden your horizons beyond the eleventh grade through the use of Google, if nothing else.
          Sentences containing vague generalities like “numerous other dealings”…”very shady self-dealing” without any specifics at all reflect your wishful thinking, not reality The Trump family does not need a get-rich-quick scheme because they already ARE rich. They all have more money than they can spend in 2 lifetimes. Come on dave! You are committing a cardinal sin of blogging. You are boring.

          Comment by vigi — March 7, 2017 @ 9:38 am

  4. I found your arguments in favor of the Council looking at an Impeachment Resolution to be powerful and persuasive. Thank your for taking the time to be so eloquent. I have spread your thoughts far and wide because they speak clearly to the reason for taking this step. Already today some of the Congressional committees are wavering or faltering or deciding not to proceed. The Koch Brothers have launched a huge campaign to pay their activists to show up at Town Mtgs and write letters demanding that all of Trumps agenda proceed, forget investigations or concerns about Russians. So us cities and towns have to show courage now and push push push to get these investigations to happen. As Keith Obermann said the other day, “are we just a colony of Russia now?”

    Comment by Katie Cameron — March 6, 2017 @ 11:02 am

    • Oh, please. The Koch Brothers? The “never-Trump” Koch Brothers who refused to support Trump during the campaign? If you are going to pursue this, at least know what you are talking about. You don’t.

      Comment by vigi — March 6, 2017 @ 7:26 pm

  5. Please tell me the story about Kihzr Khan’s travel “privileges” being under review is a mistake or bs.

    Comment by MP — March 6, 2017 @ 12:34 pm

  6. Wait- shouldn’t we declare ourselves a nuclear free zone first, establish safe haven” areas free of harmful discussion, and provide therapy animals for the council members?

    I forget, did the Alameda City Council take a position against the mass deportations, overwhelming increase in killer drone attacks, “too big to fail” bailout of banks and insurance companies, failure to prosecute bankers, and use of the IRS against right wing groups during the Obama administration?

    Comment by Captain Obvious — March 6, 2017 @ 3:47 pm

  7. Meanwhile, half the computers in the library computer lab have “out of order” signs on them, the Firefox & Chrome browsers are all out of date & won’t support anything, and after 10 years, the general pop computers still have no CD readers. Those are municipal problems a city can & should be dealing with.

    Comment by vigi — March 6, 2017 @ 7:23 pm

  8. Memo to City Clerk Lara Weisiger: :All of the “Correspondence” you put under Agenda Item 9-A tonight is about Impeachment and belongs under Agenda Item 9-B.

    Comment by vigi — March 7, 2017 @ 2:08 pm

  9. Vigi and Capt. Obvious…spot on! The City is in trouble. Council meetings are filled with misguided priorities and political grand standing by those looking to move up the political ladder. Have people lost their minds? No wonder folks are cynical about politics. Shameful. Sad, real sad.

    Comment by Roberto Marinelli — March 7, 2017 @ 4:18 pm

  10. dave & MP. Hope you enjoyed Rachel Maddow’s presentation of Trump’s 2005 tax returns last night. I know I did!

    DJT paid more in taxes than Obama, Bernie, or even Comcast. This has got to stop! Comcast should be paying its fair share in taxes.

    Comment by vigi — March 15, 2017 @ 9:54 am

    • My Bloomberg shows Comcast paid approx 3.8B in income taxes last year, and 873MM in fiscal 2005. Its effective tax rates have been in the mid 20’s or higher during that time, not materially different that Trump’s and often higher. I’m not sure how you conclude that Trump paid more in taxes than those other parties, but I’m sure your thoughtful, reasoned and well documented response will come shortly.

      In any case, not much to see there, as the ’05 return did not have any schedules attached nor did it include pass thru and affiliated entities. It would be most interesting to know who & how much in Russia he’s indebted to. His son is on record stating that much of the business is financed by Russian capital (when you’re a serial deadbeat you end up in shady places). It would also be interesting to see if he has ever contributed a dime to charity. It’s not a job requirement of course but he’s talked it up a lot without evidence.

      He could fix all this easily, as shown last night when he preemptively released the ’05 1040 shortly ahead of Maddow. He’s got them ready, he can clear up the doubt right away. That’s “how to be a leader.”

      Comment by dave — March 15, 2017 @ 11:44 am

    • I didn’t know Rachael Maddow was a History Channel star.

      Comment by MP — March 15, 2017 @ 12:03 pm

  11. ” I’m not sure how you conclude that Trump paid more in taxes than those other parties, but I’m sure your thoughtful, reasoned and well documented response will come shortly.”

    Well, dave, when I turned on the news on TV & radio this AM, this data was reported by NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, CNBC, Not to mention Twitter & Facebook. It’s not my conclusion.

    I guess once again, ALL the major media outlets are WRONG? That is exactly what DJT means when he complains about Fake News, dave.

    I don’t know how Bloomberg got it so wrong. But then…who pays attention to Bloomberg?

    Comment by vigi — March 15, 2017 @ 11:55 am

    • There is no better information source on corporations than Bloomberg, but it helps — a whole lot — if you:

      A) have a Bloomberg Terminal —


      B) know what the fuck you’re talking about

      Comment by dave — March 15, 2017 @ 12:32 pm

      • PS Twitter is only a news source for twits. And Bloomberg is a vastly better news source for business and finance than any of these: NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, CNBC.

        But whatever. Anything vigi hasn’t heard of or doesn’t grasp is fake news. And I’m in violation again of the never-argue-with-lunatics rule so it’s time to be done here.

        Comment by dave — March 15, 2017 @ 12:42 pm

      • Why do you leftists always resort to F-bombs when you know you’re losing the argument?

        But thanks for the informative link–WOW!. You pay $20-25,000 per year to use a Bloomberg Terminal? No wonder you only get your news from a single source! You’d have to use that terminal A LOT to make it pay off. No wonder you think “there is no better info source on corporations than Bloomberg”.

        Me, I’m cheap. I get my news for free, from the same sources the rest of the proletariat does. Including Deutsche Welle, France24, & even RT & CNN. I happen to think getting my news from a variety of sources with different biases is more balanced than getting all my news from a guy who a priori thinks DJT is a “con artist.. cheat out to stiff everyone”.

        Mr. Bloomberg’s strong bias disqualifies him from being a useful news source for me. (BTW, Trump ran for president. Bloomberg did not have the guts to run, although there was a movement to draft him)

        I used to think Twitter was trash, too. But the fact is: everyone uses it now. Public safety, the National Weather Service, the Franchise Tax Board, the International Space Station all tweet real news. The President’s tweets & those of his advisers are news, and reported as such by the MSM. You would have to be a fool to dismiss Twitter now.

        Comment by vigi — March 16, 2017 @ 10:29 am

        • Bloomberg not only disseminates its own, very highly regarded, news, but also disseminates nearly every other news wire of note in the world. There is no other comparable news source. It is also a repository of an infinite, mind boggling array of corporate data, the sort of place where one can dig out in seconds Comcast’s taxes from a decade ago, to note just one example. You are utterly ignorant of what it is or does, though ignorance never seems to stop you.

          It’s a very valuable tool & especially useful if one likes to know what one is talking about. Should that condition ever apply to you, I suggest you explore it.

          Comment by dave — March 16, 2017 @ 11:18 am

        • As Will Rogers said: “All I know is just what I read in the papers [TV, radio, internet], and that’s an alibi for my ignorance.” I guess we’re all ignorant in your view, “dave”. You seem to be suffering from Island Mentality.

          Comment by vigi — March 18, 2017 @ 2:53 pm

  12. Just checked Bloomberg on Twitter. I see no mention of this story in the past 24 hours on the Bloomberg feed. Maybe I just don’t understand how to follow Twitter. But it appears Bloomberg is ignoring the whole thing, which is what news outlets usually do if they are in error.

    Comment by vigi — March 15, 2017 @ 12:02 pm

  13. Comment by vigi — March 15, 2017 @ 12:14 pm

  14. Comment by vigi — March 15, 2017 @ 12:21 pm

    • Vigi–Don’t tell me that you really BELIEVE the stuff you just posted…

      Comment by Jon Spangler — March 16, 2017 @ 8:34 am

  15. Ugh, vigi’s twitter feed is all kinds of terrible.

    Comment by Lauren Do — March 15, 2017 @ 2:38 pm

    • I did not get the above postings from my “feed”. I typed the word “Bloomberg” into the Twitter search box, and look what popped up! Same for “trump tax return”.

      Comment by vigi — March 16, 2017 @ 10:32 am

      • That is insane. Bloomberg is a system used in the finance profession. If you were looking to find out about (say) a mental condition, you wouldn’t type it into Twitter would you?

        Comment by BC — March 16, 2017 @ 11:17 am

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