ALAMEDA: Spencer reserves last words as mayor to criticize Ashcraft

Trish Herrera Spencer

Trish Herrera Spencer’s final comment as Alameda mayor Tuesday night was a biting rejoinder aimed at Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, the mayoral challenger who defeated Spencer last month.

In farewell remarks before a packed City Council Chambers, Spencer thanked her family, City Hall employees, while reminiscing about the joys of serving as mayor. A proclamation in honor of Spencer was light on accomplishments and extremely heavy on public outreach and ribbon-cutting ceremonies.

Ashcraft_Marilyn
Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft

But Spencer oddly ended her remarks by thanking former Mayor Marie Gilmore and her then-consultant in the 2014 race. Spencer registered a upset of the incumbent Gilmore four years ago in a campaign highlighted by low voter turnout.

“I ran a campaign with those two before. I was a very high-level campaign,” said Spencer. “Both of us, in my opinion, being respectful, sticking to the issues–issues-based–and staying positive, and to me that is integrity. That’s meaningful integrity.

The reference is further peculiar since there was previously no love lost between Spencer and Gilmore. In fact, Gilmore famously walked out of the council chambers during a recess preceding Spencer’s swearing-in ceremony.

Spencer’s comments Tuesday night is a veiled reference contrasting Gilmore’ campaign four years ago with Ashcraft’s last November.

Particularly, a campaign strategy employed by Ashcraft’s campaign last October to highlight in a series of political mailers the mayor’s lack of a record, personal foibles, and questions about Spencer’s own integrity.

Although the tenor of the mailers were factually, along with citations to negative new stories, Spencer was critical of the direct-mail attack before and after the Nov. 6 Election Day, particular the inclusion of Spencer’s husband and a D.U.I. arrest two years ago.

The mailers may have gone a long way for clinching Ashcraft’s victory last month. Furthermore, landing in Alameda voters’ mailboxes during the final weeks of the campaign and just as Spencer was out of country and unable to respond.

It’s no secret Spencer and Ashcraft were often at odds with each other, both publicly and privately. Moreover, while Ashcraft thanked Spencer for her services earlier in the meeting Tuesday night, the sentiment was delivered in under 20 seconds, while the three other councilmembers regaled Spencer with lengthy remarks.

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