Blogging while appointed

Blogging while appointed
From the agenda for the Alameda City Council meeting on July 18, 2023.

As of July 18, I'm an appointed member of the City of Alameda Transportation Commission.

Thank you to Mayor Ezzy Ashcraft for nominating me and to Alameda's City Council voting in favor of my appointment (a unanimous vote in favor, no less — but for an entire batch of 10 appointments and re-appointments, so I won't let that go to my head :)

And thank you to city staff for providing me with an orientation to the role, as well as advice regarding how to blog responsibly while serving in an appointed role.


A few notes that I'd like to share with readers:

  • This blog continues to represent my personal opinion. I'm writing as a resident of Alameda (also as a parent with kids in local schools, as co-owner of a business with a local office, as a voter looking forward to City Council elections in 2024, etc, etc). I'm not writing here on behalf of the TC or on behalf of the city.
  • I'll be writing less about items that come to the TC on this blog. It's for practical reasons: I should save that energy for actually preparing for TC meetings and participating in TC meetings. It's also to enable other TC members to potentially react to my comments or questions in the context of a TC meeting (which is a public meeting noticed under California's Brown Act). There will be more than enough other topics to write about here.
  • I've enjoyed receiving a random assortment of emails from readers about this blog. But if you want to share your thoughts or ask questions on a transportation-related matter in Alameda going forward, please do not email me. Send public comments to or general questions to city staff at Or you can always write up your own thoughts and question on a blog of your own!

Ways to participate in the TC

It's not hard to participate in public meetings in Alameda... but neither is it easy. I've had to learn a lot of minor details to know where to show up (online or in person) and what documents to follow. Here's a brief overview if you'd like to follow the TC.

Go to to find a list of upcoming meetings. Agenda can be downloaded as PDF documents:

screenshot of the calendar on

Just like any quiz in school or a form at the DMV, all of the instructions you need are on the agenda document — it's a matter of taking the time to read it all:

agenda for the August 23, 2023 Alameda city Transportation Commission

Also, like in school or at the DMV, it doesn't hurt to ask questions. The City Clerk's office staff are friendly, helpful, and extremely knowledgeable. Their email and phone number are listed on all public meeting agendas.

Meetings are currently held in a hybrid format:

  • most board/commission/council members must join in person
  • members of the public can comment in-person or remotely by Zoom or by telephone

Zoom is the best way to watch an entire meeting remotely. If you just want to watch a snippet of a meeting, meetings are also live-streamed to the City of Alameda Facebook page.

If you missed a City of Alameda public meeting and want to watch it the next day, but don't want to wait until the video is fully processed by the City Clerk's office and uploaded to Legistar, here's another trick: Use the "youtube-dl" command-line program and point it to the URL for the meeting video on the city's Facebook page. It's also much faster to download the video from Facebook servers than from (which I imagine could be a tower server sitting in a dusty closet somewhere :) The "yt-dlp" fork will let you download and save just the audio portion, if you want to, say, load it into a podcast app on a phone. Seriously, I do that sometimes when I want to catch up on meetings I couldn't stay awake for. It's frustrating for someone like myself who is more of a visual person that so much of Alameda's public business happens late at night in a purely auditory format.
Want to share a comment about transportation but not sure when to do so? Agenda item #4 "NON-AGENDA PUBLIC COMMENT" is the time to do so. You can raise your hand on Zoom or submit a speaker card in person in City Hall.

Thanks, as always, for reading — and I hope to see or hear some of you at upcoming Alameda (city) Transportation Commission meetings!