Maybe the Merry-Go-Round has been watching too many cable news shows, but we started to wonder: What if the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination brought his unique approach to public policy to Alameda? It might go something like this:
The stretch limousine pulls up in front of City Hall and out steps Donald Trump.
There to greet him is Mayor Trish Spencer, who extends her hand, but Trump ignores her, focusing his eyes on the area above the entrance.
“Where’s the new logo?” he asks an aide, brandishing a doctored photograph (see below). “Whaddaya mean – it’s not ready yet?” He shakes his head. “They warned me that broad couldn’t get anything right. Who does she think I am – some delegate from the Philippines?”
Trump then approaches a battery of microphones. Without further ado, or a script, he launches into his speech.
“Now, as a lot of you may have heard, I’ve decided not to waste any more time trying to get nominated by the Republican party,” he begins. “They’re just a bunch of total losers anyway. I figure I can get more things done at the local level, so I’m going to start with the City of Alameda.”
“Let me tell you, you guys may not realize it, but you got a lot of problems in this town. And I’m the only one who knows how to fix ‘em.”
“Take that piece of land you call Alameda Point,” Trump says. “I’ve looked at the plans. What a waste! You got 800 acres there and all you’re going to build is 1,425 units? I can put 1,425 units in one building on top of what used to be a ma-and-pa grocery store. Give me 800 acres and I’ll build an apartment for every smart-ass kid who makes a hundred grand right out of college and strolls down the street looking at Internet porn on his iPhone.
“I’m told you got people crying, ‘We can’t develop the whole property ‘cause we’ve got to save room for open space.’ Don’t give me ‘open space.’ The place is right next to San Francisco Bay. You want open space? Buy a boat. I’ll even throw in the paddle.
“So what would I do? I’ll tell you. The first thing I’d do is fire that geek, Andrew Thomas, and get rid of the entire Planning Board. What a bunch of total hacks! That old skinhead who runs it – the only thing I like about the guy is, just like me, he thinks all bankers are crooks.
“Then I’d bring my team in, and things would start happening. Trump Golf Links at Alameda Point. Trump Yacht Harbor at Seaplane Lagoon. Trump International Hotel & Spa on Appezzato Way. When I’m through you’ll have a world-class resort that’ll make that gal who gets so excited about every new development project wet her pants.”
Trump pauses to take a breath.
“Yeah, I heard, too, about the plan little Ronnie Cowan’s got for Pearl Harbor Bay or whatever he calls it,” he says. “This guy thinks he’s a developer? I remember when he was just a guy selling cheap suits. (Not that I ever bought one from him myself).
“You know what I’d tell Ronnie: ‘You blew it, my friend. You coulda built 3,200 houses there years ago, but you got very greedy and you made the lots bigger so there’s fewer houses. Now you go crying to the politicians to bail you out. That’s just very dumb. No politician does you a favor without expecting something in return – and you got nothing to hand out. This lady [pointing to Spencer] ain’t interested in Wimbledon.’”
A woman wearing an ACT badge shouts out, “What about traffic?” Trump fixes her with a stare.
“Yeah, I hear you got a lot of people whining about all the traffic development causes,” he says. “Those geniuses on your Planning Board think they can take care of things by getting everyone to take a bus or ride a bike to the grocery store or the Target. Give me a break. Sure, I can just see the old lady with arthritis or the young mama with three screaming kids doing that. It’d make more sense to put together a fleet of drones to drop stuff off at people’s houses.
“Let me be totally frank: You need another bridge. And I’m the guy who can get it built. I’m not talking just about a bridge to Oakland, either. Who wants to go there anyway? No, what I’ll put up is a bridge running all the way across the Bay to San Francisco.
“And you know what? I’ll get the City of San Francisco to pay for it. Every dime.
“How? I’ll go to that doofus who’s mayor there – Yeland Lee, Ed Lee, whatever his name is – and I’ll tell him, ‘Look, here’s the deal. You want the Warriors? Fine, I’ll give Steph Curry a one-way ticket on the next BART train over, but only if you give me a bridge. Don’t build me one and the only hoops you’re gonna see in San Francisco are the ones hanging from the ears of the guys in the Castro.’”
At that moment, John Knox White rides up on his bicycle. Trump stops his speech, irritated at the interruption. “I guess the delivery boy is here,” he says. “Anybody order Chinese food? No? [Turning to Knox White] Sorry, no tip for you today, my young friend.”
Trump continues: “I got people telling me, ‘Donald, you can’t get anything done in Alameda without going through the firefighters’ union.’
“Oh, yeah? Let me tell you, I know how to handle unions. You think the firefighters are tough to deal with? They’re a bunch of total wimps compared to the characters I gotta work with. Those building trade guys know what to do with concrete, if you catch my meaning.
“So I’ll invite this firefighters’ union guy who’s always preening around at Council meetings to a sitdown and the first thing I’ll say is: ‘There’s a new king of the hill, and you’re looking at him.’
“‘The days of the sweetheart deal are over,’ I’ll tell him. One thing I know how to do very well is read a contract, and those two Kevin guys got it right: This last one is a total joke. Paying 9 million bucks to get 300 grand in return? That’s a sure way to drive this town right into bankruptcy. And, believe me, I know something about bankruptcy.
“So I’ll tell this union guy, ‘Here’s what you’re gonna do, Mr. Guardian of the Working Family. You’re gonna announce you’ve had a change of heart. Put whatever spin you want on it – and I hear that Becca Perata’s a pretty good flack; I know her old man – but you’re gonna tear up those contracts and tell your crew: You’ll get more money when this city starts making money – and not a minute before.’
“‘And one more thing,’ I’ll say. ‘You know that monster “Emergency Operations Center” out on Buena Vista and Grand you got the knuckleheads on Council to give you? Well, forget about it. That piece of land is too valuable just to have one lady fire captain sitting there every day thumbing through “emergency response” manuals. Give her a laptop and a seat next to the teachers’ union babe down at headquarters.’
“Then, I’ll turn that lot into something that’ll bring in paying customers. I drove by that crummy old building on Santa Clara – Magic Center, or something like that – on my way here, and I saw they advertise bingo on Saturdays. Well, I’ll give people a place where they can really gamble, maybe have a drink or two, see a nice floor show. Trump Grand Street Casino, we’ll call it.”
Trump turns around and gestures toward City Hall behind him. “I’ve given you more good ideas today than you’ll ever get from the politicians sitting in that building,” he says. “Am I right? Of course, I am. And you know why? I’m a billionaire, and those guys are a bunch of total clowns.
“I watched the video of a couple of their meetings. Unreal. And, let me remind you, I know reality TV very well. What a cast! You’ve got the lady who talks like a librarian and is always going on about footnote this or that. You’ve got the two guys with the funny names, one beefy guy and one skinny guy, always reading speeches off their iPads like they’re Obama reading the State of the Union off his teleprompter. And you’ve got the third guy, who, come to think of it, has a funny name, too – he always looks like he’s scared he’ll say something that’ll piss somebody off.
“The Mayor? Well, if you ask me, I think she’s too damned polite. If I were her, I’d put a cop behind every one of the rest of ‘em, and the first time they interrupted me or tried to show me up, they’d feel the long arm of the law reach out and tap them on the shoulder, and, except for the librarian, not very gently, either. If the dummies don’t get the message, I’d have the cop arrest them for disturbing the peace.”
Trump looks at his Rolex. “Sorry, that’s all I have time for today. Got to get down to Riverside. There’s a guy there named Russo says he could really use my help.”
Photoshop credit: Jane Sullwold