Not Alameda related at all, but too funny not to share. The City Council meeting is a little bit boring tonight so I’m not even going to bother. But check this out from the Oakland Mayoral race. Apparently there are like a billion candidates for Mayor from current Mayor Jean Quan, to her old adviser Dan Siegel, to City Council contender Libby Schaaf and so on and so forth. But no other candidate has a more awesome platform than Peter Liu.
I’m going to excerpt a bit of his blurb, but honestly it should be read in its entirety to really appreciate this work of art:
So, before I left for Vietnam at the end of September I received a campaign mailer that was, ostensibly, anti-Mike McMahon and anti-school bond. The mailer had no identifying information of who sent the mailer itself. Given that this community tends to lose its shit over political phone polls and likes to call even the most basic phone poll a “push poll” if it has anything remotely negative in it, I’m shocked that in the weeks that I was gone that this anonymous mailer hasn’t received more traction.
The only identification on the mailer itself is the permit number for the bulk mailing company which, I assume, belongs to the company that printed the flyers.
Why is this a big deal? Well, according to FPPC rules there must be a disclosure of who paid for the mailer if it went out to 200 people. From the FPPC:
I dunno if it’s just me, or if it’s this election, or the fact that I’ve been away for the past few weeks, but I’m feeling super uninspired by this election. Maybe because the candidates for City Council are just so meh. The only thing that leaves me with a cold dread is the possibility that Trish Spencer could be our next Mayor. On the bright side though, she has been on her very best behavior at the School Board meetings, I imagine that after the election if she is unsuccessful in her bid for the Mayor’s seat she’ll revert to the old Trish Spencer that we all have come to know. Interestingly enough at the last School Board meeting she voted “yes” to the designs for the Encinal pool remodel but yet voted no again and again to the mechanism that actually would pay for the remodels. In fact, she touts her opposition to the complicated land exchange between the City and the School District as a reason why people should vote for her. That is where the money comes from the pay for the renovations. But typically Trish Spencer, vote for the easy stuff to say you “supported” something, but then not for the means to pay for it. Which is so like a “fiscal conservative,” eh?
But anyway, I’ve decided against writing out profiles for the School Board candidates. Call it apathy, whatever. Solana Henneberry will likely win because 1) female, 2) education background, and 3) support of the unions. Gary Lym has hedged his support for the bond measure which tells me that he is Trish Spencer redux.
Every time Mike McMahon runs I always get a bit nervous for him. Why? Because he’s not the warmest or fuzziest of Board Members. In fact sometimes he can come off as downright abrasive. But ever since the departure of Ron Mooney from the School Board, Mike McMahon is the only one, the ONLY one, that really truly understands all the nuances of public school funding. To lose that sort of expertise simply because he rubs some people the wrong way would be a tragedy for the School District.
I’m back people! Miss me? Know I was gone at all? Wondering why I didn’t throw up profiles for the school board? All those questions and more will be answered in the next few posts.
So, yeah, I was gone since around the endish of September. Long story short, my parents are celebrating 40 years of being a parent unit and wanted their family to celebrate with them in Vietnam. So for the last two weeks and some odd days, the Blogging Bayport gang was melting in the heat and humidity (and occasionally downpour) in Vietnam. Just an FYI, I wasn’t born in Vietnam so going to Vietnam is not necessarily “going back” for me. It’s like going to any foreign country except for the huge leg up I have because I do understand the language, but speak it rather poorly. The husband likes to make fun because when I speak Vietnamese I tend to speak it in a high voice which is a huge difference from my normal speaking voice, but I explain that it’s because my facility with Vietnamese tops out at like third grade or something so I probably sound like a third grade girl. Anyway, it’s useful for overhearing people talking smack about you because people tend to be surprised when I speak Vietnamese to them. Probably because the existence of my white husband and my mixed kids. Or because most Vietnamese folks seemed to think I looked Taiwanese or Korean or Japanese. (See, even other Asian people have difficulty identifying where some Asian people’s roots are from)
A lot of folks are super suspicious of the whole “unbundled parking” idea, probably because it goes against everything that we have ever known and believed about parking being “free.” I think that most people’s objections to unbundled parking comes from a lack of understanding about the whole concept and the belief that there is no “proof” that unbundled parking actually works.
Here’s a paper on the impacts of car sharing and unbundled parking on car ownership and mode choice. Sexy! By the way, in an older post which someone commented that we don’t have reports on what people do after they buy housing units. This is a study on what people do with their cars after they occupy units in which there are on site car sharing options and/or if parking is unbundled from the housing cost.
There’s a whole section on how car share membership lowers overall car ownership. Which totally makes sense logically. Then there is the part about unbundled parking, which I’ve excepted parts here:
Alameda Planning Board member John Knox White has started up his blog again for those interested. One of the interesting items he posted was a piece from Streetsblog that was enticingly entitled: It’s OK to Build Transit-Oriented Development Before Transit
This is particularly relevant since a lot of the critiques about the Del Monte project is that all the transportation mitigations should be put in place prior to any one moving into any new units. Of course this goes against how public transit actually works, but when you’re throwing the kitchen sink at an issue, you’re going to try to get anything to stick. So, it’s as good of a time as any to pull out these slides I posted in June of this year which compared Alameda’s transit share to surround neighborhoods. Instead of trying to retype what I wrote, I’m just going to cut and paste portions of it here:
Anyway, since BART is sort of the be all end all for some people as the most desirable method of public transportation, I thought I would pull out from the census documents the most recent data of the number of people in certain cities that took public transportation and those that drove solo. I selected Alameda County cities with BART stations (or BART stations for those with multiples) and threw in Berkeley as well just for kicks because Berkeley always comes up as some bastion of liberalism that we should either try to be like or not try to be like depending on the topic or who is bring up Berkeley. I added in some extra Contra Costa cities as well that are along the incredibly congested 80 corridor.
This comment is a really good one about the sad state of Alameda’s transit planning:
That said, and turning to serious objections, the transit planning could be a lot more ambitious and thought of at the city level. Emeryville set up its shuttle system. The aim should be to get existing residents, not just new ones, out of their cars and onto buses, bikes and ferries. It’s very doable. And you don’t need to get too many to have a big effect of traffic at peak times: the effect of the marginal driver is greater than that of the earlier one.
Right now, we are relying, heavily, on grants and new developments to fund alternatives to AC Transit to get folks in select areas on the West End through the tube to get to Bart. Perhaps, if residents would like an Emery-Go-Around type public transportation option we should encourage existing retail corridors and shopping centers to put money into a pool along with these sub areas to create a Alameda-Go-Round that would be free (or have a small surcharge) for Alameda residents in general.
Something light to end the week, a few weeks ago (you might have seen a link on your Facebook page) Livability.com, through a complex system of data crunching, ranked Alameda as the 45th most livable city in the United States. The highest ranking California city is Palo Alto which comes in at #5 for obvious reasons.
Hey look at that a “well-regarded health system” I’m sure some people would disagree vehemently with that, but I find it amusing that of all the things that is what Alameda’s awesomeness wraps up with.
Just a quick side by side comparison of the three Alamedans vying to be your next City Councilmember:
|Current office held
||Northwest Missouri State University,
||University of California, Berkeley
||Palmer College of Chiropractic
||Loyola University in Chicago (MBA)
University of San Francisco (JD)
|Current City Council Member
Former Hospital Board member
Former Social Services and Human Relations Board member
|Former City Council member
Former Economic Development Commission member
Steering Committee for Main Library Bond
|Former Chair of Open Government Commission
Former head of Alameda City Democratic Club
|Correctly identified top 3
Asian ethnic groups in Alameda?
The answer is Chinese (14.3%),
Filipino (7.2%) and Vietnamese (3.5%)
Jim Oddie has never held elected office previously and currently serves as the District Director for Assemblymember Rob Bonta. His campaign website is located here. All my posts referencing Jim Oddie are located here.
Jim Oddie is the candidate that everyone expects to do well, clean cut guy, well-educated, well-spoken, but has been unsuccessful at getting appointed to the key boards and commissions that generally provide visibility to precede a City Council run.
Overall, I may have to hold my nose and vote for Jim Oddie because he really is the least bad of three bad choices for City Council, but I still am pretty annoyed with him over the heavy lifting he did to secure the Alameda County Democratic endorsement for Trish Spencer two years ago. Anyway not much info on him. He probably puts out the consistently best answers for the questionnaires which isn’t saying much because I doubt that all the questionnaires actually get read. His goal is to put out enough positive information about him as possible to get over the lack of name recognition.