Alameda Mayor Trish Spencer and Councilmember
Jim Oddie had testy exchange Tuesday.
ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL | On the same day the Alameda firefighters union criticized Mayor Trish Spencer for comments she made in private against them and other council colleagues, comes another alleged off-the-cuff remark.
Councilmember Jim Oddie said Spencer told an Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) official that she does not support the planned AC Transit Bus Rapid Transit line in Alameda nor the critical Broadway-Jackson Interchange Improvement project sought by the city to alleviate traffic congestion at the Webster Tube.
Oddie made the comments during a discussion of Capital Improvement Projects at an Alameda City Council meeting Tuesday evening. However, he did not refer to Spencer by name, but described the official as Alameda’s representative to the ACTC.
“I think it’s appropriate for me to respond,” Spencer interrupted. “I’m the representative. I don’t know what conversation you’re referring to. However, I would really encourage in the future if you want to have that conversation that we start it offline.”
Spencer added that she supports BRT and Broadway-Jackson project andcontinued the terse response to Oddie’s statement. “If you want to do business this way, that’s your choice. But, I think it’s very inappropriate.”
Leading up to the verbal exchange, Oddie asked city staff several questions pertaining to funding of various transportation projects, including its source and whether or not the Alameda City Council had registered official support in the past.
“Is this the stated policy of the council?” Oddie asked Public Works Director Bob Haun regarding the city’s support of the $75 million in transportation tax funding for the Broadway-Jackson plan. “Absolutely 100 percent,” said Haun.
In an interview, Oddie said he made the remarks Tuesday because Spencer’s comments to the ACTC official risk undermining the transportation projects, in addition, to publicly stating an opinion directly in opposition to a previous council decision. “You can be against something before a vote is made, but when it’s decided, as mayor, you need to follow through on the council’s direction,” said Oddie.
He added Spencer’s previously stated concerns over traffic problems in Alameda run opposite to her alleged opposition to the Broadway-Jackson Interchange plan. “Her comments amount to gross negligence against residents in Alameda sitting in their cars looking for solutions to our traffic problems,” said Oddie.
Earlier in the day, the president of the Alameda Firefighters IAAF Local 689, sent the entire City Council a letter charging Spencer with making several inflammatory comments to a group of residents earlier this month.
Among the allegations made by Spencer, according to the firefighters union, was that Councilmember Frank Matarrese had previously told her he would join her in voting against the recent public safety contracts and that former City Manager John Russo “wanted to take care of the firefighters before he left.” Spencer said she does not recall the conversation.