Blogging Bayport Alameda

October 12, 2017

A Penny for your thoughts

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

At the last City Council meeting despite not having a listed agenda item that indicated that Mayor Trish Spencer was going to nominate a candidate for the Planning Board a nomination was put forward.  At next Tuesday’s meeting for consideration for the Planning Board seat which, traditionally, other Mayors would have renominated the sitting Board member to maintain continuity on the Board, Trish Spencer is nominating Penny Cozad to the Board.

A cursory Google search doesn’t reveal any red flags, she seems to be in a semi related field that would allow her to understand the complexities of the Planning Board, however it’s the deeper Google searches and cross links where the affiliations to Trish Spencer’s greatest supporters are revealed.

The first Google hit that was a red flag was an endorsement for Jean Sweeney back when she ran for City Council in 2010. She is accompanied by a veritable who’s who of Alameda development obstructionists on that list.  Also she contributed to Jean Sweeney’s 2010 campaign with a $250 contribution

But based on a text search of all City of Alameda documents, the one discoverable time Penny Cozad spoke in front of the City Council was on behalf of EPAC or the Estuary Park Action Committee back in 2004:

Screen Shot 2017-10-11 at 5.50.28 AM

It’s not a bad sentiment that there should be more noticing requirements, but the flagging of “multiple dwelling units” and “projects on public property” is a red flag.  So for those that weren’t around during the hey day of EPAC, they’re essentially, well, the NIMBY precursor to groups like Alameda Citizens Taskforce.

For those that don’t recall, actually I didn’t and uncovered the post on my own site, EPAC was one of those groups that used fairly racially code language to warn against building the Alameda Theatre which was then repeated during the debate around building Target.  The post centers around a flier that EPAC produced warning about the Alameda Theatre, but they had filed one version with the City Clerk’s office then — I guess after some raised eyebrows around the language being used — edited the one eventually uploaded to their website.  Here’s some of the changes with the coded language:

So the missing section orginally stated:

“Park Street, High Street, and Fruitvale Avenue bridges lead directly to the International Blvd. part of East Oakland; an area lacking in movie theaters.  East Oakland is home to young movie attendees.”

Then the next paragraph was changed from its original language which stated:

“Considering the audiences targeted by films that will be shown at the Megaplex,12 to 30 year olds coming from off island areas will be entering Alameda. These are not people who will shop or eat dinner at Park Street businesses and can force away the attendees we really want to come to Park Street away”


The change has been made in the first paragraph which replaced the original language:

“The crowds will bring problems. How many of you have attended movies at the Regal Cinemas in Jack London Square in Oakland and been bothered by the constant presence of armed police officers on the street and in the theater?”

To this sanitized version:

“The crowds will bring problems. How many of you have attended movies at the Regal Cinemas in Jack London Square in Oakland and wondered about the need for an almost constant presence of armed police officers on the street and in the theater?”

And more code:

Second paragraph:

“The smaller movie theater performs the purpose intended, to provide safe entertainment and is not a magnet for those we would rather not invite to Alameda.”

I see, it’s not that we don’t want people from outside Alameda to come into Alameda.  It’s those that we “would rather not invite.”  So who is worthy of being invited to Alameda, well, it’s back on page 3 (posted above)  in the last paragraph before “Alternatives are possible”, which says:

“That kind of money could be  spent on improvements that benefit the commercial district, benefit residents, and invite East Bay and Peninsula neighbors to join us in pleasant, safe, and enriching activities.”

So, “East Bay and Peninsula neighbors” equals good and “East Oakland” equals bad.  I suppose that the fact that in each of those census tracts a population of color is always the predominate one has no bearing on the fact that the East Oakland 12 to 30 year olds are the ones we want to keep out.

Essentially this nominee of Trish Spencer’s would essentially be the same model of individual that she’s attempted to appoint again and again.  Someone who represented a group that had no compunction to use racially coded language to stop development in Alameda.




  1. I can only hope that the council majority keep sending this type of nomination back to the mayor until she comes up with someone acceptable. not like the two “no on everything” folks she has placed on the current planning board.

    Comment by JohnP.TrumpisnotmyPresident. — October 12, 2017 @ 8:29 am

  2. Apparently, EPAC is a de facto racist group. With all the “dog whistle” code words in the original flier, one can reach no other conclusion–edits, stated public intentions, or other “clarifications” (such as “I am not a racist, but…”) to the contrary. And no one associated with such racist activities belongs on Alameda’s advisory boards or commissions.

    Mayor Spencer is either also a racist or she is clueless in making such an appointment. In either case she is demonstrating once again her (apparently unchanging and insurmountable) shortcomings as our mayor: she does not seem to be able to manage or run a meeting well to save her life, so why should her appointments reveal any difference in her competence?

    PB incumbent John Knox White is clearly the better qualified, more experiences, smarter, and more capable Planning Board member and he already has been through the steep learning curve that everyone joining the PB goes through: why is Mayor Spencer so opposed to competence?

    Oh. Never mind….

    Comment by Jon Spangler — October 12, 2017 @ 9:49 am

  3. I guess we won’t ever be seeing you in the new Jean Sweeney Open Space Park, Lauren.
    Groundbreaking this Saturday

    Comment by vigi — October 12, 2017 @ 11:16 am

    • Jean Sweeney deserves a lot of credit for her work on getting the Belt Line property. But that does not imply we have to agree with what her politics were, does it, o vigi?

      Comment by BC — October 12, 2017 @ 1:44 pm

  4. John Knox White has a BA in psychology. His past experience apparently is in marketing in the entertainment industry. He likes to ride his bicycle. He is in favor of “Manhattanizing” this island and the surrounding Bay Area..He has no experience in city planning, construction, architecture, real estate, or law. Better qualified than….? More experiences than…?
    It has always been a mystery why John Knox White is on the Planning Board at all. But he would not be the first flim-flam man to bewitch many Alamedans.

    Comment by vigi — October 12, 2017 @ 11:26 am

    • it has always been a mystery to me as to how you (vigi) got on the planning board with absolutely no experience in anything having to do with city planning building or even being able to show up on time. I had to sit next to you for about a year , and it was unbearable. you are one nasty individual with nothing but negative comments about anyone who doesn’t think as screwy as you. it would be impossible to make a comparison between you and John, as there is none. John has contributed a thousand times more than you to this community. thank goodness you are not representative of our community.

      Comment by JohnP.TrumpisnotmyPresident. — October 12, 2017 @ 3:39 pm

      • Well, John, nothing you said about me in your opinion piece is true. But you are entitled to your opinion. I never applied for the Planning Board. I applied for the HAB, but after seeing my application , my background and qualifications, Mayor Appezzato called me and asked me if I would consider being on the Planning Board instead. He told me: “We need people like you on the Planning Board”.
        When I was on the PB, I was one of the only members arguing in favor of allowing a flea market/antique fair to begin operations at the recently decommissioned Alameda NAS. So you must have opposed it. Too bad. It has been somewhat of a success, don’t you think?

        Comment by vigi — October 13, 2017 @ 9:59 am

        • vigi, if you were able to remember I was out front on the issue. also it was not ever meant to be as you called it a “flea market”. I think your memory is selective and very clouded.

          Comment by JohnP.TrumpisnotmyPresident. — October 13, 2017 @ 10:17 am

  5. John Knox White does an incredible job on the Planning Board. It would be a terrible loss to our community if he was not re-appointed.

    I like the diversity of thought and experience on the board; it makes for some well designed, well planned and creative communities, and his voice is very important.

    The idea that we will agree to go backwards is a non-starter for me.

    Comment by Karen Bey — October 12, 2017 @ 1:21 pm

  6. By virtue of the fact we seem to have countless people who have thrown their hats into the ring to represent us on various boards and commissions, Mayor Spencer is obviously trying to actually get more citizens involved in our community. I recall seeing John Knox White’s name on the list of a new committee being formed. Some new faces with new ideas would be helpful on the Planning Board. We have wasted enough time on this effort to fill seats. I would like to see our City Council move forward with more of the items on their long list to be discussed and voted upon.

    Comment by Nancy — October 12, 2017 @ 1:42 pm

    • But the folks that Trish Spencer has offered this time around aren’t “new faces” nor will they bring “new ideas” to the Alameda conversation, isn’t that the point Nancy? They represent the same old same old “slow growth” that has dictated Alameda development for decades.

      Comment by Lauren Do — October 12, 2017 @ 1:58 pm

      • “Slow growth” or what others call “preserving the character of a place we love,” is a legitimate viewpoint, one held by a large portion of Alamedans, very possibly a majority.

        Is there no place on the Planning Board for people whose opinions differ, especially when that differing opinion is held by a very large swath of the community?

        Comment by dave — October 12, 2017 @ 2:12 pm

        • Dave, when they just say “no” to everything in an effort to stop all things moving forward in this city, then they don’t belong. actually we now have two people on the planning board who do just that. so I think two out of five is a fair representation of the “no” folks. also if the present council majority have the votes then I say use them. after all they are the majority.

          Comment by JohnP.TrumpisnotmyPresident. — October 12, 2017 @ 3:46 pm

      • Suggest you read Penny Cozad’s application. She has an MA in Architecture from a southern CA school, and her BA is from UCLA. Clearly, she hasn’t spent her whole life in Alameda. You seem to be automatically against everyone over a certain age, on the grounds that since they are older than you, they cannot possibly have new ideas?

        I have been here for awhile and I did not know anything about Penny Cozad until now. Her application shows that she is more qualified than most.

        Comment by vigi — October 13, 2017 @ 10:08 am

        • vigi, I didn’t know there was anyone older than me. I’m pretty darn old.

          Comment by JohnP.TrumpisnotmyPresident. — October 13, 2017 @ 10:13 am

  7. two out of seven.

    Comment by JohnP.TrumpisnotmyPresident. — October 12, 2017 @ 3:47 pm

    • Do you really think 2 out of 7 is a fair representation of the people who prefer slow growth or no growth for Alameda? It is possible that 51% of the voters in Alameda would disagree if you consider the results of our last election.

      Comment by Nancy — October 12, 2017 @ 10:52 pm

      • The city council was elected and we’re in a representative democracy, for the time-being at least.

        Surely Spencer can come up with slow-growthers who don’t have such dubious motivations for excluding people. I’m sure they exist. Best to look beyond the gatherings of the angry and confused that constitute the ACT.

        Comment by BC — October 13, 2017 @ 9:51 am

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