Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 27, 2022

NIMBY-palooza

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

For those that are following along on Twitter you would have seen a bunch of videos I posted from the Bay Farm NIMBY meeting extravaganza. A very kind person video taped the event, a no small feat since apparently it was super hot and phone and things kept overheating. For those that want a succinct description of the event: loud and wrong.

These videos are all out of order but it really doesn’t matter because it’s a jumble of people who have not been paying attention super concerned that the City hasn’t done all these things that have now popped into their head because it’s everyone else who is too stupid to figure out these common sense things that they instinctively know. I’ll cut right to the videos in the order that I uploaded them.

This lady was able to recognize that affirmatively furthering fair housing was a thing but that, eventually, because market rate housing is being built on the West End that it would become a high opportunity site. What it sounds like she wanted to do was promise the State that Alameda Point would eventually become a high opportunity site and maybe they can just trust us and let us still stick all of our housing allocation there.

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May 26, 2022

Lack of priority

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

This is a bit of an older video but it’s pretty important in light of the discussion from the Chamber of Commerce’s housing forum on Tuesday. I tweeted out a bunch of those videos the other day but I’ll discuss the information in detail in another post. But quickly there was a lot of concerns about “infrastructure” and the lack of investment in “infrastructure.” But it seems that when Bay Farm’s two champions: Trish Spencer and Tony Daysog were confronted with the ability to raise revenue to start addressing infrastructure issues, they balked.

In true Tony Daysog fashion he blamed ill prioritized spending and said that the City Council should not be trying to pay down its unfunded liabilities and, rather, kick the can down the road again. Of course, this is how the City Council of old got into the whole “last person to turn off the lights” City of Alameda on the verge of bankruptcy thing which, conveniently, Tony Daysog was not on the City Council during the blame game and the clean up.

Trish Spencer, however, is taking a different tact. Even though there is an acknowledged City wide issue with people not having homes Trish Spencer thinks that we should have not use City resources to help the less fortunate and instead use these resources as revenue generators to fund infrastructure. She closes her speech by saying that Alamedans are suffering but seems to overlook those whose struggle is much, much worse.

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May 25, 2022

“The City should not impact the lives of the highest paying property tax homeowners on the island”

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

One of my absolute favorite journalists working right now is Jerusalem Demas at the Atlantic. She had an amazing explainer on Vox and looks like the Atlantic snatched her up shortly after that. She has put out fire after fire pieces about housing, community input, NIMBYism, all my faves. After reading the public comments for the Transportation Commission’s agenda item about Grand St improvements it reminded me of this article, highlights:

Democracy is at its best when the views and needs of the people are accurately transmitted to their representatives, the representatives act, and voters express their approval or disapproval in the next election. The existing community-input system purports to improve upon this process by offering a platform where anyone can show up and make their voice heard. After all, providing input shouldn’t just happen at the ballot box, or so the thinking goes. But the process is fundamentally flawed: It’s biased toward the status quo and privileges a small group of residents who for reasons that range from the sympathetic to the selfish don’t want to allow projects that are broadly useful.

The community-input process is disastrous for two broad reasons. First, community input is not representative of the local population. Second, the perception of who counts as part of an affected local community tends to include everyone who feels the negative costs of development but only a fragment of the beneficiaries.

Not everybody is a complainer, but pretty much everyone who shows up to community meetings is. 

 

They found that a measly 14.6 percent of people who showed up to these events were in favor of the relevant projects. Meeting participants were also 25 percentage points more likely to be homeowners and were significantly older, maler, and whiter than their communities.

Instead of empowering communities that most suffered under urban renewal, the local-review process has again privileged wealthier people who routinely block new projects, and many of the projects that do get built are in poorer areas.

Expanding opportunities for political participation failed to solve the problem of inequitable project distribution, because the fundamental problem wasn’t lack of community input; it was a lack of political power among disadvantaged groups. Making it easier for people to lodge their disagreements doesn’t change the distribution of power; it only amplifies the voices of people who already have it.

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May 24, 2022

Un-credible

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

I dunno if you all caught this in the comments sections from yesterday but Joe Ernst of SRM Ernst posted this:

By the way these are super nice buildings if you’re not familiar with what’s going on at Alameda Point. It’s now Almanac Brewery and Kairos Power/Firebrand. This is the preservation award referenced in the comment. It would be nice if some of the public serving buildings got into the action of removing their fancy AAPS plaques as well because, as stated by Joe Ernst, if AAPS is going to allow itself to be weaponized by a small subset of its members then perhaps those plaques shouldn’t be given the prominence and reverence that the plaques once conveyed.

Here are some public buildings that should follow the lead of Joe Ernst:

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May 23, 2022

Yikes

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:33 am

More drama in the AAPS department. This is why I adore Andrew Thomas aka the best Planning Director in all of California even though sometimes he says “that’s a good question” to people on the dais when it is absolutely not a good question.

Remember how AAPS either did or did not allow Carmen Reid to use their name for her SHPO/SHRC nomination of McKay Avenue against the wishes of the actual property owners of the site? Well the status of this application makes a difference when it comes to Alameda Housing Element because, guess what, Alameda includes about 100 units from the Wellness Center project in its RHNA numbers. If AAPS wants to have its cake (opposing the Wellness Center) and eat it too (diverting as many units away from “historic” Alameda as possible) they have some explaining to do. And Andrew Thomas asked that question of Christopher Buckley whose name is absolutely synonymous with the letters AAPS round these parts.

This was the response from Christopher Buckley to Andrew Thomas:

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May 20, 2022

No on B: “f them kids”

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:00 am

I know I haven’t talked about the Measure B campaign (Vote yes!) but the twitter posts about the no on Measure B texts are absolutely hilarious:

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May 19, 2022

Make it make sense

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

On Tuesday night the City Council took up the issue of a Guaranteed Basic Income pilot in Alameda. Many cities have begun taking up these pilots to see if they can make a positive change in the lives of the most vulnerable families in their cities and, from what I’ve read, a lot of these programs have been transformative in the lives of the people who have been selected to participate. The idea of GBI came up as part of the police reform and racial equity discussions and it’s finally come to some fruition in the form of this pilot which is gratifying that the recommendations weren’t just shelved after everyone patted themselves on the back after going through the process.

Essentially these programs are direct payments and they are unconditional and distributed on a fairly regular basis. A few cities who have had GBI or Universal Basic Income (UBI) pilots are: City of Stockton, City and County of San Francisco, Santa Clara County, Marin County, City of Mountain View, City of South San Francisco, and City of Oakland. The agenda item has a link to research around GBI/UBI.

As you probably guessed the pilot was approved on a 3 – 2 vote with Tony Daysog and Trish Spencer voting against. It’s not 100% clear right now how much will be allocated to families and how many families will be covered by the program, that will come back as the details are finessed. The money, however, will be coming from American Rescue Plan Act dollars and keep this in mind when you watch the videos I’ve clipped of Trish Spencer attempting to justify why she’s voting against helping struggling Alamedans.

In fact, KTVU made an interesting conclusion about why both Tony Daysog and Trish Spencer voted against the pilot:

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May 18, 2022

Duped

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

Someone requested text messages between City Staff and others regarding the McKay nomination and, I suppose, they thought that it would reveal some real evil genius behind the scenes machinations that they could point to and say “aha! there are the villains.” But, instead we have a real interesting look into what representatives at AAPS was saying to the City as the McKay nomination was looming and the City was looking around going, “wtf is happening here?”

On Twitter I just posted the grey bubble from City Staff to the Mayor but someone’s sock puppet chimed in and said I had neglected to post the Mayor’s response which meant…something? I mean, the response really only left two really bad characterizations of AAPS at that point. Either (1) they were gullible dupes who allowed themselves to be used or (2) they’re deceptive liars. None of these options reflect well on AAPS:

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May 17, 2022

Spelling it out

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

It was late but it was worth it, the Housing Element has been updated to incorporate some of the comments that were collected during the 30 day comment period and it’s made the document a lot better.

If you see anything in underline text, that means it’s been added. A strikethrough means it has been removed. Here’s some great additions and deletions:

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May 16, 2022

Four votes needed, again

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

One of the lynchpins for Alameda meeting its RHNA numbers is Site A. But Site A needs amendments to update the existing agreements to accommodate more housing. And this requires four votes.

On the City Council’s agenda on Tuesday night is this next test for the City Council who claimed (yes even Tony Daysog and Trish Spencer) that they didn’t want to fight HCD on certifying the Housing Element but did want to, indeed, comply. Of course, Tony Daysog has shown himself to not necessarily putting his money where his mouth was and voted against the Tidelands Swap for the Encinal Terminals project which — had there not been four votes — would have funneled around 600 units back into Alameda’s RHNA pot to find more land for. If Site A doesn’t get four votes it will double that Encinal Terminals number to 1200 units to find elsewhere in Alameda. So, as you can imagine, this is kind of a big deal. Anyone who votes against this should be pressed on where they would like to allocate these 1200 units.

Even though the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society has yet to put out a comment letter about this pivotal project, in the past they have encouraged a huge increase in housing at Alameda Point and petitioning the Navy to lift the housing cap at Alameda Point. As an aside, I wonder if there’s something wonky going down internally at AAPS. Under the helm of Chris Buckley it always appeared that AAPS was on top of these issues particularly when it came down to sacrificing one part of Alameda to preserve a more important part of Alameda. There’s no current comment letter about this from AAPS which is odd and notable, but AAPS did manage to update their website to add their support letter for Carmen Reid/AAPS’s nomination to the Historic Resources Commission in light of recent PRA releases which report that AAPS reps were “duped” about the McKay nomination:

So maybe there’s some internal battle for control within AAPS, I dunno, but if there is I’m here for the drama around that.

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