Video shows Alameda mayor supporting tax measure she now opposes, while labeling city’s schools unsafe

ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL | Before Alameda Mayor Trish Spencer became a staunch opponent of the city’s utility users tax ballot measure, she was a strong supporter of the initiative that will secure $5 million in annual revenue, if approved this November.

Earlier this month, Spencer wrote a blistering opposition statement to the city-backed measure, along with a rebuttal that upset City Hall for a personal attack against City Manager Jill Keimach.

However, outtakes from an informational video the city produced about the Utility Modernization Act (UMA) show a far different picture, revealing Spencer once strongly favored the initiative. The footage was obtained through a California Public Records Act request.


In the ballot argument penned by Spencer she falsely asserts the UMA will raise taxes. In fact, it merely reaffirms the city’s ability to continue collecting the proceeds and more broadly. For instance, some cell phone carriers do not recognize the city’s UUT as written and, therefore, do not collect the tax from some Alameda residents.

In other parts of the rambling 17-minute interview, Spencer struggled to muster a response to why she loved Alameda. In one case she simply answered, “the trees.”

Later, when asked how she would describe the positive attributes of Alameda, Spencer mentioned the safety of its streets and schools, but quickly backtracked. “No they’re not,” a giggling Spencer said in reference to schools being safe.


The seeds of Spencer’s flip-flop on the UMA followed a moment of pique on her part following the Alameda City Council’s decision to name the city manager, and not Spencer, as the head of a little-known and somewhat inconsequential Disaster Council.

Watch the entire unedited interview here.

Watch the final product below:

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