Blogging Bayport Alameda

December 3, 2021

Taking chances

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

So we’re keeping track of how much time is spent on that only immediately effect a small number of people, the City Council on Tuesday night spent almost 30 minutes (and this doesn’t include time wasted during the Housing Element discussion) of an agenda item about the General Plan EIR certification to discuss the Harbor Bay Club. Specifically it was to address Councilmember Trish Spencer’s desire to designate a zoning on the Harbor Bay Club which would preclude it from ever being able to build housing on that site.

If you didn’t know there was a mass effort from Bay Farmers to ensure that Harbor Bay Club remained Harbor Bay Club, locked in amber forever and ever exactly the way it is. HBC members don’t want newfangled hoohas and whatsits like a state of the art facility or even a facility upgraded in this decade, no, give them sweat stinking hallways because that smells like freedom. Mostly they would rather keep their moldy club if it meant never having to share their backyards with new housing units. So letters were written and naturally Councilmember Trish Spencer took up this cause because it’s right up her alleyway. Saying “no”? Why of course she will.

On Tuesday night Trish Spencer wanted a guarantee that the City would never ever allow housing to be built at Harbor Bay Club by, I guess, asking the City Council to change the zoning to match zoning that is used for publicly owned open space like parks and beaches. She wanted the zoning designation of HBC to fall under “Parks and Wildlife” because I guess a facility where you can get a Brazilian wax, do pilates, and play and few rounds of tennis totally falls under the “wildlife” designation.

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December 2, 2021

Solution disoriented

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

Here’s what is amazing about the arguments which are currently being used by our resident NIMBYs in Alameda, it’s as though these folks think that no one has any memory of Alameda past last year. It’s absolutely breathtaking in its audacious hypocrisy wrapped in a bow of disingenuousness. The first example comes from Councilmember Trish “I’m Mexican American so I know there’s no racism in Alameda” Spencer.

That’s right, Trish Spencer is proposing to site housing at Harbor Bay Business Park because some business owners dared to donate to the yes on Measure Z campaign. Never mind the fact that the existing neighbors at Bay Farm have been fighting/working with the Port of Oakland for decades over airplane noise. Never mind the fact that it was too noisy, because it was directly below the flight path, to place the alternate site for Harbor Bay Club in the business park. And never mind the fact that Trish Spencer tanked a project to have supported senior housing in Harbor Bay the last time she sat in the Mayor’s chair. Now, housing should go in Harbor Bay Business Park because Trish Spencer is petty and not really looking to come up with any real solutions.

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December 1, 2021

Guiding light

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

Just in case you’re not super online, you may not have heard that the Housing and Community Development Department has finally given Alameda guidance about A/26 even though both Trish Spencer and Tony Daysog voted against getting this guidance from the State back in February. Yes, it’s taken since February to get the advice from the State.

I’m gonna snip out some of the best parts.

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November 30, 2021

Shameless

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

As we start to see opponents to the Housing Element gather all of their arguments as to why certain areas in Alameda should be exempt from any new housing we should keep in mind that most arguments are simply tactics to try to win over a largely uninformed public through buzzwords that don’t fit and thoroughly debunked bullshit.

But what these folks don’t seem to understand is that the options being presented to them are the only options on the table precisely because their actions for decade after decade have brought Alameda to the point where everything and every neighborhood is up for grabs.

The most cynical act though of the line of opponents who will line up before the City Council tonight is that they will shamelessly put forth ridiculous arguments like SB 9 and 10 already create enough units because every lot could, potentially, be subdivided and built to four units which would more than meet our RHNA numbers. But while they’re putting that argument forward they’re also funding efforts to eliminate SB 9 and 10 via a ballot initiative.

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November 29, 2021

Bonus meeting

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:23 am

Because the City Council can’t seem to complete agenda items in a reasonable amount of time we get an extra bonus City Council meeting this week in order to get through some truly important agenda items which would have been left languishing behind the insistence of some City Councilmembers to ask one million questions on a consent calendar item.

The meeting tomorrow starts at 5:00 PM and I fully anticipate this meeting to run long. There are only two agenda items but both are bound to bring out the most disingenuous actors Alameda which you can already view in the attached correspondence for both agenda items.

The first item is the draft Housing Element which contains the City’s proposed strategy on how to meet Alameda’s RHNA numbers. If you read through the public correspondence there is a concerted effort to not up zone R-2 through R-6 zones, which will be problematic if two key projects (Encinal Terminals and Alameda Point entitlement) do not get approved early next year. Those folks asking for no up-zoning of largely single family unit areas are asking, instead, for the City to concentrate on Alameda Point, shopping centers, and the business districts. Interestingly enough we have a business district (Webster Street) asking for no up-zoning there which is a huge mistake on the part of Webster Street to ask because if any area needs some built in density to keep its businesses afloat, it’s Webster Street.

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November 22, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving Week

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

Nothing for this week, have a great holiday.

November 19, 2021

“I’m scared I’m gonna die every night”

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

This is a must listen for anyone who continues to oppose providing services and shelter to homeless people.

November 18, 2021

Too long; couldn’t watch

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

Guys there is something fundamentally broken with the way City Council meetings are conducted. I don’t know how it can be fixed but the fact that the City Council can’t get through more than two regular agenda items in one night before 11 PM is a major problem.

So, first, the meeting didn’t start until 7:30PMish because I guess Closed Session went on for an additional 30 minutes. Second it was 9:20 PM when the City Council finally got to start the first regular agenda item. All the other time was largely spent on the Consent Calendar. Now, the whole point of the Consent Calendar is to get through relatively easy items in one fell swoop but not if you sit on the dais with Trish Spencer. Oh no, then you have like a 50 minute discussion about whether or not the City Council and other Boards and Commissions should be allowed to continue to log into these meetings remotely.

The problem with the City Council is some of the people who are on the City Council don’t have day jobs. So they don’t care how long these meetings go on because they can sleep in the next morning and wake up late and drive to the Dragon Rouge parking lot to go to Coffee Cultures whenever they want because they don’t have to get to a job. So dragging your ass to City Hall and staying until the butt crack of dawn is like no big thing for them. For the people with actual jobs, they want the business of the City to wrap up at 11:00 PM. I mean, as an audience member, I want them to wrap up the business because I care enough to watch but, like, I have to go to bed to get up and go to my job the next morning. I don’t get to have a leisurely mid morning drink at Coffee Cultures.

So here’s a few thoughts on how to not punish the rest of us because some people don’t care about keeping everyone up until 0 clock in the morning.

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November 17, 2021

Baked in

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

I didn’t get an opportunity to listen to the entire Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting so I don’t know what the final vote or what state the final motion was but, suffice it to say, it was pretty much fait accompli at only two weeks after Wilma Chan died. There was a lot of talk about the wishes of the family — I mean even Janani Ramachandran who was beating the drum against “establishment” Democrats was right there towing the party line of establishment Democrats to say that the best person for the job was Wilma Chan’s Chief of Staff and even using the “wishes of the family” and citing the number of prominent API electeds to support that appointment. The irony is one of those prominent electeds she was citing was Mia Bonta who defeated her after a heated run off where Janani Ramachandran spent a lot of time alluding to Mia Bonta’s corruptness, but I digress.

It seemed as those only Keith Carson and Nate Miley — the two non white members of the board — wanted to wait on this appointment timeline which seemed awfully compressed. But it was clear that both — even with the timing issue — seemed open to the appointment of Dave Brown to fill Wilma Chan’s seat.

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November 16, 2021

“Over there”

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

Will the City Council hear any of the Council Referrals tonight? Probably not.

There are a few big items on tonight’s agenda which should eat up the majority of time. At this point the City Council should just add another meeting to just get through all the Council Referrals. The first big item is the approval to execute an MOU regarding the bottle parcel (that piece of vacant land next to the College of Alameda) for a short yet long term homeless housing project. From the staff report:

The approval of staff recommendations in this report would allow the City to pursue development of interim housing on the Bottle Parcel, a parcel of land that is difficult to develop due to its footprint and size. The development would use prefabricated modular structures constructed to building code standards and designed to be durable with a minimum lifetime design of 15 years (20 years if County Home funds are used).  Each room in the project would offer private accommodations including a bathroom.  The project would offer on-site laundry, staff offices, common areas for the community and space for pet relief.  It is anticipated that this development could shelter between 46 and 61 individuals and couple within 46 units (see example site plan in Exhibit 1). 

Staff recommends DignityMoves and Five Keys as partners to develop and operate the interim housing on the Bottle Parcel.  DignityMoves is a nonprofit real estate development organization dedicated to building interim supportive housing solutions.  It is led by a team of experienced professionals in the areas of real estate and land use, affordable housing impact investment and fund developers for homelessness causes.  DignityMoves has developed similar projects in Mountain View, San Francisco and the County of Santa Barbara.  DignityMoves would take the lead role in project development.

Five Keys would take a lead role in providing operational services.  Five Keys is a nonprofit organization with the following mission: “Through the use of social and restorative justice principles, Five Keys provides traditionally underserved communities the opportunity to improve their lives through a focus on the Five Keys: Education, Employment, Recovery, Family, Community.”  Five Keys was founded in 2003 by the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department as the first accredited charter high school in the nation to provide diploma programs for adults in county jails.  Today, Five Keys offers high school education, vocational skills, life skills classes and access to college and workforce programs.  Five Keys has operated nine transitional housing and permanent supportive housing programs and has developed housing for formerly incarcerated women, located on Treasure Island in San Francisco. 

If Five Keys rang some bells of familiarity the ED of Five Keys applied for one of the vacated School Board seats a while ago. This project should be an easy approval for the City Council, it’s close to services and public transportation and will serve an immediate need.

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