Broader Concerns Need Addressing

I have dedicated the last 15 years of my life to serving the needs of children and their families here in Alameda in multiple leadership capacities. I was elected in 2008, and reelected in 2012, to serve as a leader of Alameda. Alameda is at a crossroads. Thousands of new homes are being developed without fully addressing their impact on our quality of life.

Alamedans, rightfully, are concerned about traffic gridlock and overcrowding of our schools. I recognize the demands that the thousands of new homes will have on our community, our schools and traffic on an already congested island. I am uniquely qualified to anticipate, respond to and engage the public in addressing these needs.

I truly appreciate Alameda Education Association’s (AEA) continued endorsement of my strengths as an elected official. Since my election to the school board, I have done my utmost to make decisions to improve the quality of education for our students, including advocating for music, arts, and parks and recreational facilities, as well as working conditions for AUSD employees.

For clarification, AEA did not endorse my successful bid for school board in 2008, and I was one of three endorsed by AEA in 2012. AEA’s PAC’s efforts in 2012 were in support of AEA’s slate of three candidates. I received no direct financial contributions from AEA’s PAC and had no input in any of their expenditure decisions.

AEA’s support of my 2012 re-election is not lost on me. As mayor I will bring that support to the city level where I can forge an alliance between the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) and the City that has not existed for a long time, which best serves our community-at-large, and is key to the future of Alameda.

Unfortunately, at both school district and city levels, I have often been the only voice questioning dubious plans and practices that are detrimental to our students and families. For example, I was the only one urging postponement of the recent land "swap" deal between the city and AUSD to allow the community to vet the transaction and to permit appraisals of all the parcels in the transaction, so as to avoid a possible loss to AUSD of millions of dollars and irreplaceable real estate.

I am concerned that our city is rushing into decisions on important issues that negatively impact our community, including children and families. For instance, I joined community efforts to expand the visitor center at Crab Cove, questioned the reduction of bus service in Alameda, and opposed efforts to build housing on our golf course.

My mayoral bid is an opportunity for our entire community to benefit from my strengths that AEA so enthusiastically endorses. I intend to bring the same voice of reason, inclusiveness and demand for transparency to all issues that impact our community. I will always be a voice for our children and families, as I was long before becoming an elected official.

My decision to run for mayor has received broad support from many Alamedans, including current and retired AUSD employees (teachers, classified staff, and custodians). I plan to continue to reach out to the community, including AEA’s leaders and membership, as I do my best to serve our children, families, and community members.

Trish Spencer is a member of the AUSD school board.