I found this comment amusing in my post about Berkeley’s attempt to rezone a post office so that it wouldn’t be developed into something else.
Yes, it’s a sad day for America when citizens start messing with other people’s land values. Things really went off the rail in Alameda when the anti-property rights duo of Jean and Jim Sweeney placed a measure on the ballot to rezone the Beltline Rail Yard. They ended up screwing the railroad company out of nearly $18 million that the railroad was poised to receive from the housing developer who was going to build much-needed regional housing on this blighted part of our city.
I mean, put like that it would seem as though the rezoning for the Beltline was some slam dunk people holding hands across Alameda in perfect harmony moment.
The follow-up comment also made it seem as though the companion measure was done “just in case” as opposed to being pushed by City leaders as an alternative to the rezoning Measure. One need only look at the ballot arguments to see what the sentiment was:
And just when you thought Alameda was all alone, along comes Berkeley to make one realize that, hey, it’s not Alameda that comes up with these ideas. Much like some “Friends” are contemplating putting a zoning measure on the ballot to zone Neptune Pointe to open space in order to prevent the Federal government from selling that parcel at a higher value, Berkeley is trying to do the exact same thing to protect a post office the US Post Service is trying to sell because, well, USPS needs money. But of course wherever Berkeley is involved the National news loves to get involved.
In fact that first mention I saw about this was on Twitter:
From the Wall Street Journal:
The Berkeley Planning Commission last month approved a measure that would restrict the use of the post office and adjacent government buildings to government agencies or public uses like a theater. Residential use and many other private functions would be banned by the action, which requires City Council approval.
So file this one under good idea, bad title. Yesterday the City sent out a press release that it had scored a Rockefeller Foundation grant, one of 100 grants that were distributed to cities world wide to join the “the 100 Resilient Cities Network.” According to the Rockefeller Foundation website “building resilience” is defined as:
making people, communities and systems better prepared to withstand catastrophic events – both natural and manmade – and able to bounce back more quickly and emerge stronger from these shocks and stresses.
And here Alameda is on the website, and at the time that I visited the first city in the list of 33. I will point out that the Rockefeller Foundation has Alameda described as “densely populated” which should freak out all the people who view Alameda as a suburban oasis:
NPR featured an Alameda High student in a piece on stress and high school kids. Essentially what it said is that some kids these days are taking way to many classes and therefore getting way too much homework and that is leading to medical problems due to stress.
The transcript is a better reflection of what was in the radio piece, highlights:
NEIGHMOND: In our poll, one-in-four parents say their teen is stressed by the amount of homework. Nora spends two to four hours a night on hers, leaving barely enough time for anything else. The pressure is taking a toll. She’s tired, easily irritated and suffers headaches.
Psychologist Mary Alvord, with the American Psychological Association, says a little stress is a good thing. It can motivate students to be organized. But too much can backfire.
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday. I managed to escape relatively unscathed this year with the exception of a small battle wound from Thanksgiving prep the day before. Fortunately it happened at the end of the day when the bulk of the work had been done.
This year instead of waiting for the next day a lot of big retailers decided to open on Thanksgiving night instead of being civilized and waiting till the next morning for people to kill each other over some super low priced deals. Target was one of those big retailers but I heard that the South Shore retailers all allowed their employees to continue to enjoy Thanksgiving.
Nothing for the rest of the week but I just wanted to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving.
Today is a day of prep for me where I spend all day in the kitchen prepping for the big day to make the actual Thanksgiving day look effortless and breezy. So I’ll probably pop Lord of the Rings (extended version) into the TV and chop veggies for stock and make pie — this year it will be pumpkin and pecan — and an apple crisp instead of pie.
For those that were wondering, the spatchcocking method attempt last year turned out wonderfully and was so super fast. Also the oil-less fryer worked awesome as well and both were well received so I’m doing the same again this year.
Yesterday the City sent out a press release about the recent enforcement that has been done around traffic. Given how folks have been commenting on speeding lately, it’s a timely bit of data they have produced. According to the press release in a two week period the Police Department issued 420 violations which is around 30 violations a day.
The majority, of course, were for speeding. I’m sure everyone is shocked about that, but with an nearly island wide 25 MPH zone, on some stretches — I’m looking at you Otis between Grand and 8th — the speed creeps up ever so quickly on the super wide streets.
So for those that have difficulty wrapping their heads around the concept that parking has some sort of fixed cost. Even parking that is “free” as subsidized by your friendly local big box store or shopping mall. There is this great tool that was created by King County is Washington (think Seattle metro area) that shows how much it costs to build parking in their area and how much less you can develop for if you lower the parking minimums per development. This is for multi family residential housing but gives an idea of how much parking spaces cost and that the cost must be absorbed and passed along somewhere.
The tool is Right Size Parking and can be found at the web address I linked to. Knowing nothing about the Seattle Metro area I chose Mercer Island because, well, it’s an island.
I kept all the pre set values that were automatically inputed into the tool and this was the result:
So you all know I still track the whole Orange County Great Park thing. Mainly because during previous administrations it was help up as the ideal of what Alameda should strive toward when considering Alameda Point. Probably because it was called the “Great Park” and the plan largely centered around creating a huge Central Park like area meaning the the majority of the land would be, well, a park. Meaning no housing, which makes people in Alameda very very happy when you talk about plans that involve little to no housing. Since the Great Park was first held up as the example of what Alameda Point should be, it has all gone slowly downhill from there, culminating in an article in the LA Times about scrapping the majority of what made the Great Park the Great Park and going for a more traditional, residential centric plan.
From the LA Times:
On Tuesday, the Irvine City Council is expected to vote on whether to approve a plan proposed by a developer to build about 688 acres of the park. Gone is the long, winding canyon that was described in the park’s master plan as a “beautiful oasis — a place to wander and daydream.” In its place could be a 188-acre golf course. Gone is the largely centralized parking that would have forced people out of their cars to wander around the park. In its place, parking lots scattered throughout.
And on the subject of parking, lest we think that we are all alone in the parking meter raises. Walnut Creek is also looking to raise their meter rates to $2 an hour, you’ll have to pay on Sunday — something you don’t have to do in Alameda — and they’ll start enforcing the meters after 5 p.m. so essentially you are going to be paying for street parking for dinner plans as well. And it’s not just the street parking that will rise, parking garages will see a 50 cents hike, going from 50 cents an hour to $1 an hour, still cheaper than street parking.
The point of the street meter raise? To push people into the parking garages so that Walnut Creek can maintain a 15% availability rate for the street parking.
In the who else is raising parking meters as well: the City of San Rafael, from the Marin Independent Journal: