Blogging Bayport Alameda

November 28, 2022

Wouldn’t it be nice

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:14 am

The big news that came out last week was that the City Council is very close to appointing a new, permanent City Manager. The name should be familiar to folks since it’s been only a short four years since she departed Alameda.

Jennifer Ott who has served in Alameda’s “acting City Manager” role previously should know exactly what she is getting in to in Alameda with all its nuances and dysfunction. Just so we’re clear on how the vote will probably shake down next Tuesday, at the meeting on November 15 after closed session the report out was a 3-1-1. The three yes votes were Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, Vice Mayor Malia Vella, and Councilmember Tony Daysog. The no vote was Councilmember Trish Spencer and the abstention was Councilmember John Knox White.

The abstention is, of course, the interesting one that I’m assuming we will get an explanation for. The funny thing about the video of this meeting, you can get through it in less than four minutes because of the editing is (1) it comes before the election and (2). you can see how catbird-y smiley Trish Spencer is before they go into the Closed Session. After the closed session ends there is a visible change in Trish Spencer’s demeanor that is more deflated. Maybe because she thought that Tony Daysog would vote with her to not move forward with Jennifer Ott as City Manager or perhaps the Closed Session in general was just highly contentious and draining.

It is, perhaps, the dynamic at this particular meeting between Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft and Trish Spencer that is key to understanding a bit of why anyone who takes that City Manager seat knows the personalities and players in this little pantomime. Because if the City Manager doesn’t understand this then she will be doomed from the start. Fortunately, given how long Jennifer Ott had worked in Alameda plus longevity of our City Council people who seem to run for the same offices over and over and over again she has a head start over the other unfortunate souls who high tailed it out of here as soon as they were able to.

Anyway, hopefully Alameda will be able to retain THIS City Manager (who will be an excellent one) for a while. It would be nice to have some longevity, not in out City Council people, but rather in the people who run the day to day operations in the City of Alameda.

10 Comments »

  1. Have great hopes for this hire.
    Will be interesting to hear the comments made next week when the final vote is taken,

    Comment by Ron Mooney — November 28, 2022 @ 7:26 am

  2. If my recollection serves me well, I cannot think of one person who served as the head governmental leadership position (Superintendent and City Manager) for which Ms. Spencer has supported during the hiring process and during annual review process.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — November 28, 2022 @ 10:03 am

  3. Progressive SF just voted to remove their “white male” director of elections “to open up this position to a more diverse field, as the city could not make progress on its racial equity goals without opening up its top positions.” They acknowledged he had done a good job for 20 years and the removal was not performance based.

    So why Jennifer Ott?

    Comment by Curious — November 28, 2022 @ 11:18 am

    • Why is the fire dept overwhelmingly white & male?

      Comment by Diversity!?!? — November 28, 2022 @ 11:24 am

      • There could be a lot of reasons. First, who says it is all white males? Where did you get the number? Maybe the only people who qualified and applied for the position were white males. How often do they have openings, should they hire you due to race or sex or should it be for the best person for the position? Most people are not physically qualified, because it is a physically demanding job. I know I am not. If you have 1 opening and there are 4 females, 4 men of color, 20 white guys, and 1 female who is a woman of color, who should get the position? What if there is a white guy with 5 years of experience? What if you have an applicant from San Jose who doesn’t want to move and you have an applicant from Alameda with everything else being equal? My dad was a minority but he didn’t get his job because of it, he got it because of merit.

        Comment by Gage — November 29, 2022 @ 9:13 am

    • You know there are Reddit boards that exist to rage against SF politics right? Like, what the elections director of SF has to do with Alameda’s appointment of its City Manager would surely take up miles and miles of red yarn that I’m sure you have the time and energy for. Unless you’re advocating for SF’s Election Board to select Alameda’s next City Manager, is that what you’re suggesting?

      Comment by Lauren Do — November 28, 2022 @ 12:59 pm

  4. Jennifer Ott and Trish Spencer are not going to get along well. She is absolutely the best city manager Alameda could get – someone who knows the circus, knows who the clowns are, and has a track record for getting amazing things done, including the movie theater and parking lot. What’s great is she already has broad support from everyone. Ms. Ott must be counting her blessing to start the job after the election’s finished (and no Mayor Trish!) and after the Housing Element has been approved. Everything is turning out really ridiculously well for Alameda right now.

    Comment by JRB — November 28, 2022 @ 11:47 am

    • Still a ways to go. Once the city finishes spending all the Arpa money to invite more addicts to our shiny new shantytowns, we’ll be able to finally declare victory.

      Comment by Dr X — November 28, 2022 @ 4:45 pm

      • Don’t we still have to overthrow the patriarchy, provide reparations for years of racism, clear streets of cars, convert to battery power, eat insects, and give up our homes to indigenous tribes?

        Comment by Just asking — November 28, 2022 @ 4:59 pm

      • If fictionalized hyperboles is all you have, you have lost.

        Comment by JRB — November 28, 2022 @ 7:45 pm


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