Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 28, 2021

Appetite for construction

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

A reminder that this guy

is still suing the Alameda Unified School District over the parcel tax. And that the School Board is testing the political waters to see if Alameda can stomach another bond.

Overall the District has strong ratings:

And people seem to agree that we need to continue funding schools even if it means higher taxes:

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September 27, 2021

You don’t get a win unless you play in the game

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

On Friday because Alameda is, well, Alameda, and A is the first letter of the alphabet we had our ABAG appeal on deck first out of all of the other communities who filed an appeal. Let’s just say the meeting did not go the way that several of your usual suspect public speakers wanted this to go. But first I wanted assure folks that City Staff, in this case, Andrew Thomas, really did try to sell Alameda’s appeal as best he could. Given what everyone already knew about the parameters of how to appeal and what is appealable, it was the strongest message that Alameda could put forward.

The message was essentially this: yes we do have the land to zone to accommodate all the housing units, we know that you are saying that natural hazard’s don’t count but we are uniquely vulnerable to specific hazards which will be extremely costly to defend against. Are you sure you want to place housing in a place where it will be expensive to defend and you know we can’t afford this right? So are you, ABAG, going to make promises that you’ll help us financially? Oh also , we have this little problem of the Navy cap, it’s going to make building super expensive, is the region going to use its collective might to help us with the feds?

See? Smart. Alameda was not going to win on the merits of any of its arguments because if Alameda were to prevail a bunch of other cities have similar sob stories about how special it is and how they can’t find land or whatever. Alameda was much more strategic and it was reflected both in city staff’s presentation and rebuttals and the public comment of City Councilmember John Knox White.

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September 24, 2021

Sausage making

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

That’s my summary of the night and I’m sticking to it.

If you ever needed an example of relationships can be much more important that personal politics or even consistency with one’s typical modus operandi you only need to watch this video to see that theory in action. Case in point: Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft who, for the most part, has pushed forward items which address the reimagining of public safety. She was consistently bringing up the Cahoots model of care, she pushed for Felton Institute to design a robust mental health response for the last RFQ, and has supported the subcommittees around policing reform. Shockingly she wanted to delay this partnership between the Alameda Fire Department and Alameda Family Services throwing up initial roadblocks like suggesting that the lack of an attachment might trigger an OGC complaint. Then her interactions with members of AFD and of AFS seemed dismissive and, well, rude. It was truly strange and disconcerting.

Then you have someone like Trish Spencer who has been largely, unenthusiastic about the police reform process. She’s been of the mind set, like Tony Daysog, that the more cops the better on the streets. She’s constantly focusing on how crime ridden Alameda is and questioned the work of the police reform subcommittees. Going as far to suggest that the police reform subcommittees were not reflective of the true Alameda community. However, Trish Spencer has a very strong affinity for Alameda Family Services, at the last meeting on this issue she questioned why AFS had not been solicited to send a response to the RFP. On Tuesday night she gave a full throated endorsement of this partnership because, well, she likes the organization. It’s hard to see someone who voted to retain the police tank and has been banging on the “we need more cops” drum voting for something like this if she wasn’t intimately familiar with the organization involved in providing services.

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September 23, 2021

Too long; didn’t watch

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

Tuesday night’s City Council meeting was so long I tapped out at 10:00 PM because at that point the City Council had only gotten through two regular agenda items. And apparently they had met at 5:00 PM and the regular meeting was supposed to start at 7:00 PM but ended up starting at 7:30 PM.

I don’t know what can be done to help make these meetings more efficient but right now it’s still broken. Even with the time clock and the public comment limits, it’s just too damn long. Not only that there were important items that were heard that I simply could not stay up for including the mental health response vote which sounded like there was some drama around but it all happened after 10:00 PM when most people should be asleep or settling down for bed, not having to wait up all night long to listen to a City Council meeting.

I have not watched the meeting yet after 10:00 PM but from what it sounds the mental health response proposal hit some push back from, of all people, Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft who has been seemingly very eager to get an alternative response in place for mental health and similar calls for service.

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September 22, 2021

In good company?

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

A bit of an older article but this details the jurisdictions fighting their RHNA allocations. Unsurprisingly it’s all of the most well resourced communities who are claiming that they don’t have the resources to accommodate more housing. From the piece:

Across the region, 27 towns, cities and counties filed formal appeals with the Association of Bay Area Governments last month, seeking to lower new housing goals. Among those seeking the biggest reductions are Saratoga, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, Palo Alto, the cities of Alameda, Lafayette, Pleasant Hill and most of Marin County.

“The appeals are very heavily concentrated in the wealthiest communities,”  said Aaron Eckhouse of the pro-housing group California YIMBY. The group found 11 of the 18 cities with the highest median household incomes in the region are protesting their housing allotment. “Not a huge surprise.”

The appeals, disputes, fights and policy skirmishes could play a large role in how and where Bay Area cities develop new homes and apartments during the next decade. Amid record-high home prices and rents, economists and planners are urging more development or the region will risk stifling its innovative and booming economy.

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September 21, 2021

I’ve had two years to grow claws

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

Tonight’s agenda has a lot of Council Referrals because it’s been tough to get through previous City Council meetings so they all roll over until they’re actually discussed. Because no one seems to ever remove a Council Referral even though it may be moot because, I dunno, some elected officials like to sit around all night reveling in the sounds of their own voices.

Anyway, first up the mental health outreach program is back. This is the program that will help divert some calls for service which would normally go to the police department to another entity in order to reduce the contact (and therefore conflict) with the police department. Recall that there were two options the last time around, I think the City Council was hoping that Felton (the non AFD respondent) would work with AFD to provide the mental health outreach part of the program. They did not but Alameda Family Services did. Staff is recommending the most robust staffing proposed to allow for 24/7 coverage which seems like an excellent idea.

Also on the agenda is authorizing matching funds if Alameda is awarded a grant for Depave Park. Fine whatever, I’m agnostic about Depave Park other than to remind folks that the stakeholder group which was pulled together to give input didn’t include residents that lived closest to Depave Park at that time: the Alameda Point Collaborative and residents of the Big Whites. This is the first time I’ve seen that shortcoming addressed and it is still sort of a grudging acknowledgement after literally every step of the process short of funding has already been largely completed. From the staff report:

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September 20, 2021

Prime the pump

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

Over the weekend we visited family who live in Placer County and we popped into a grocery store in Rocklin. Reader, it was harrowing after being in the fairly safe bubble that is Alameda. Heck, we’ve also been down to the Little Saigon in Orange County and it was, like, 80% less scary than the public supermarket in Rocklin. Apparently in addition to Placer County’s vaccination levels being not great, evidently the fully vaccinated percentage is a little less than 60% and one dose is a hair less than 65%, they don’t have universal indoor masking mandates. Compared to Alameda County which has full vaccination at 76% and one dose at 89%. And Alameda itself at 80% fully vaccinated and 93% with one dose.

They had a sign at the door of the market which said that masking was only necessary if you weren’t vaccinated, but this is, of course, an honor system and I’m pretty suspect of people on the honor system in a county where only 65% of the population has one dose of the vaccine considering that at least 50% of the people in the store were unmasked. Also, there were kids under 12, unmasked, with unmasked adults strolling through that grocery store and I’m fairly sure those under 12 kids (not babies) were unvaccinated. Given the vaccination numbers it didn’t given me a high level of confidence that the unmasked folks in the store were actually vaccinated.

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September 17, 2021

Where we’re at

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

Sometimes the internet produces the most amazing resources. For example:

It’s really a very neat tool.

It revealed that while the Black population of Alameda has continually dropped every decade there was one tract where the Black population actually went up.

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September 16, 2021

Oh Bay Farm…

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

Unsurprisingly the area in Alameda which voted to recall the Governor in the highest percentage is….

Bay Farm

It’s actually higher than the rate the whole of Alameda County together, but at least it’s under 20%.

September 15, 2021

Resource high

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

One of the things that I both like and dislike about Planning Director Andrew Thomas is that he always couches difficult topics in an optimistic way. For example, in the Planning Board’s discussion about the General Plan and the deluge of letters they received about the Harbor Bay Club he never closes the door on any possibility while actually laying out the difficulty of continuing to prop that door open.

I’m pretty sure I’ve talked out this before but the Harbor Bay HOAs have mobilized lots of folks who go around asking cryptic questions all over social media or getting them to send letters asking for the nearly impossible of the City. Specifically right now they want the City to rezone the Harbor Bay Fitness Club so that housing cannot be built there. Now, if you weren’t aware of this the Harbor Bay Club is privately owned. This is not City land. Someone owns this. Also the owners of Harbor Bay Club have publicly said that they need to do something else with this land. Yes, they did have plans to move the club and build housing at the site but from the sounds of it they might be interested in redeveloping the site with a club but with housing.

Now city staff is saying that the discussion is wide open regarding the Harbor Bay Club site and nothing is precluded, even if the Planning Board wants to recommend rezoning to exclude zoning, however they made it very clear that moving in that direction would be very problematic for the City being able to certify its Housing Element. But we really can’t put it past Alameda to opt to keep something illegal on the books even if it means we can’t certify our Housing Element.

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