Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 16, 2017

(Not) too late to apologize

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

And just in case you think that I’m the only one with the particular opinion about Trish Spencer and her lack of acknowledgement about her policy votes in 2009 and 2010, I give you highlights from an op-ed from LGBTQ leaders in our community:

When the June 6 event was announced, it raised concerns for many of us. As parents of children in Alameda’s schools, we vividly remember when our current mayor was on the AUSD Board of Education and sided with outside organizations to fight against including LGBTQ-themed lessons in our elementary schools.

This was a painful time for Alameda’s LGBTQ community. Asking us to stand for a photo with the mayor who relied on the concept of religious liberty to make an argument — the same argument that was made during the Prop. 8 vote — for denying our human rights and the existence of our families caused these wounds to be reopened. This was only seven years ago, yet so many have moved into our community since then who do not know this history.

Thankfully, the rest of our school board adopted lessons to reduce and eliminate bullying and support inclusion in the curriculum. It was a vote that then-school board member Trish Spencer voted against repeatedly. There should be no confusion: At the final vote, Spencer said “no.” Afterwards, when other board members were targeted for a recall by people who preached conversion therapy and used words like “unnatural,” Spencer was the only elected official in Alameda, from hospital board to U.S. senator, who refused to speak out against it. She actively sat silent, refusing the opportunity to stand up for equality and inclusion a second time.

For these reasons, we had reservations about standing with Spencer on the City Hall steps for the LGBTQ pride event. The concerns increased when the invitation for the LGBTQ leader to speak was rescinded shortly after she made it clear that she was going to ask Spencer for a recognition of and apology for her past actions. This was an opportunity for the mayor to help our community reflect, heal and move forward.


Some people close to the mayor are saying that Spencer has “evolved” in her views, therefore it should not be difficult for her to say this. However, before the photo op, leaders in Alameda’s LGBTQ community asked Mayor Spencer to acknowledge the pain her past actions had caused, and she declined. It is clear that Mayor Spencer still does not understand the importance of her actions and the impact that they continue to have on the children, parents and teachers of our district.

Reconciliation is possible and desirable. We want nothing more then to move forward collectively to make sure Alameda is a community that embraces and celebrates all of its people. But in order for this to happen authentically, we need to openly address harms done, be accountable, listen deeply to those who were impacted and seek to identify what repair needs to be made. This is the way we can come out of conflict stronger as a community. This is the way genuine trust in our leaders and each other can happen. National leaders have acknowledged their growth in becoming leaders who support and champion equality. To get there, there must be a public acknowledgement from the mayor herself that, intentional or not, she empowered hate groups to stand up and attack our families and our community. Anything less is just more political posturing and meaningless photo ops. We believe that we can do better.  Healing can happen.

And while one of the members of the community who ended up accepting the proclamation was ultimately nominated by Trish Spencer to the RRAC in the housing provider seat.  There was a second realtor and landlord who also volunteered.  The final member of the trio was someone who wasn’t around during the Lesson 9 debate, didn’t understand the context and yet thought that the words in the proclamation were meaningful enough that she jumped up to accept the document, from an article:

One of the three individuals who did accept the city proclamation was Juliet Lockwood, who has lived in Alameda since 2014.

“I felt that there was solidarity … during the photo op,” she said. “And I didn’t know about all that was going on.”

Lockwood, who runs Café Muse in the Mariner Square Athletic Club, said she felt Spencer “had made a gesture that was generous and real and … that someone should receive the proclamation. I see this as a point for moving forward and recognizing the diversity on the Island.”

It’s always interesting when people who were not affected by past divisiveness and history talking about “moving forward.”   First of all, proclamations are traditionally written by staff, not the person who eventually reads the proclamation, so the authenticity kudos should probably go to whichever staff person was tasked with writing the proclamation.  I’m sure the folks who returned the proclamation, stood on the side instead of the steps for a photo, and have reminded people endlessly about the battle of Lesson 9 would love to “move forward.”  But until the person whose signature sits underneath the words declaring anything for the LGBTQ community acknowledges the huge role she played in attempting to marginalize the LGBTQ community, there won’t be the ability to “move forward”, at least not with Trish Spencer.



  1. Just about everyone over 30 has “evolved” on the gay rights issue. Most of us were raised to believe it was wrong, or abnormal or at best not mainstream. Most of us have come around to understand that was bigotry. Plenty of politicians have reversed their opinion, many have apologized for their prior position, with very little blowback.

    Why she hasn’t done so, even as an insincere public gesture, is a mystery.

    Comment by dave — June 16, 2017 @ 7:45 am

  2. perhaps she hasn’t “evolved”.

    Comment by JohnP,trumpisnotmypresident. — June 16, 2017 @ 8:50 am

  3. Bkuttsv,m

    Comment by jack — June 18, 2017 @ 5:59 pm

    • you spell like trump.

      Comment by JohnP,trumpisnotmypresident. — June 19, 2017 @ 10:17 am

      • My iPad was pissed off so I gave it it’s way and that’s what came out. I think Trump pissed it off, or it may have been some Russian. Whatever?

        Comment by jack — June 19, 2017 @ 6:07 pm

      • By the way. The Webster Jam over the weekend was barely etible.

        Comment by jack — June 19, 2017 @ 6:31 pm

        • haven’t been there in three or four years, but what I hear isn’t very good, to bad.

          Comment by JohnP,trumpisnotmypresident. — June 20, 2017 @ 7:58 am

      • And by the way, I’d love to see Trump nuke Pyongyang.

        Comment by jack — June 19, 2017 @ 7:09 pm

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