Blogging Bayport Alameda

December 1, 2022

5 1/2 minute hallway

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

I was watching a portion of the November City Council meeting again and ran across this exchange which I hadn’t viewed because I started watching the City Council meeting late.

To set up the context, the City Council was voting on whether to move forward with returning in person for meetings and/or put a hybrid model of participation into place because apparently some people have difficulty participating via Zoom even though there’s also a dial in method which is no different than joining an audio conference call. Anyway, at one point Trish Spencer decided to announce in a brilliant “a ha” move that she would make clear that three City Councilmembers were already technically in City Hall just in different and separate rooms from one another and said she was looking forward to joining in person from “down the hall” which made it sound like she was going to continue joining in remotely from a different room while she expected everyone else to be on the dais.

When Councilmember John Knox White attempted to clarify this bit she got a little upset but she had said something along the lines previously so you can see where the need for clarification was. When further asked if she would commit to meeting in person going forward she balked and conditioned her return on being “available” and that the option to dial in remotely has always been available. So the answer was still, from Trish Spencer, was “it depends” but you all need to be in person.

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November 30, 2022

Unhealthy skepticism

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

My husband and #2 son love to joke about how long articles are from the Atlantic and, sometimes, they’re not wrong. But one thing the Atlantic did very, very right was hire Jerusalem Demasto write on housing related issues. Her most recent piece which came out days before Thanksgiving is yet another great piece, this one is particularly relevant to Alameda because, well, housing DOES break our collective brains.

Highlights:

The most basic fact about the housing crisis is the supply shortage. Yet many people deny this reality. Before I get to the veritable library of studies, our personal experiences compel us to recognize that housing scarcity is all around us. The most dire signs of a shortage are when even rich people struggle to find homes. 

Once you accept the existence of a housing shortage, the obvious policy response is to build a bunch of homes. Research looking at San FranciscoNew YorkBoston, and 52,000 residents across 12 U.S. metropolitan areas have all found that new housing brings down prices. This research makes intuitive sense: If new housing is built, most of the people who move in first vacate other units. Those units then become available to newcomers, and so on. Solving a supply problem is of course harder than making the number of homes equal the number of people—different people want different sorts of homes—but the fundamental point is that we need more homes near good jobs and schools, and that give people access to the communities and amenities that make life more enjoyable.

Despite the avalanche of agreement from experts, the general public still doubts cause and effect. A new study from a trio of professors at the University of California (Clayton Nall, Chris Elmendorf, and Stan Oklobdzija) reveals that shortage denialism is not the only missing “shared fact” plaguing housing discourse. The researchers ran two nationwide surveys of urban and suburban residents and found that 30 to 40 percent of Americans believe, “contrary to basic economic theory and robust empirical evidence,” that if a lot of new housing were built in their region, then rents and home prices would rise. This posture is referred to as “supply skepticism.”

I love the fact that it’s so puzzling when people insist on saying that “adding supply will only raise housing prices” was so painful that a group of professors did a whole study to understand this phenomenon.

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November 29, 2022

Let us know

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

It’s a good reminder that as insulated in the Bay Area as we think we are that racist speech, and those that wield it, still exist in our idyllic town. Before anyone tries to say that none of that existed before the influx of new residents, just don’t. You know better and I certainly know better so, don’t.

I was informed by an Alameda High School family that the week before Thanksgiving Break there were a couple of incidents that were buried at the end of the Principal’s report out to the school which might have been missed by a lot of families. I’ll admit that I routinely “archive” emails like this particularly when I’m busy and want to clean out my in box.

Here’s the incident that was called out and this didn’t happen after school or during break, this happened when school was in session. I should probably ask my kids if there’s some sort of TikTok challenge around being a racist asshole in schools since this seems like something that, most kids, wouldn’t necessarily want to risk doing where they could be caught by a bunch of other students unless there was some silly social media clout that they could feed off of.

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November 28, 2022

Wouldn’t it be nice

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:14 am

The big news that came out last week was that the City Council is very close to appointing a new, permanent City Manager. The name should be familiar to folks since it’s been only a short four years since she departed Alameda.

Jennifer Ott who has served in Alameda’s “acting City Manager” role previously should know exactly what she is getting in to in Alameda with all its nuances and dysfunction. Just so we’re clear on how the vote will probably shake down next Tuesday, at the meeting on November 15 after closed session the report out was a 3-1-1. The three yes votes were Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, Vice Mayor Malia Vella, and Councilmember Tony Daysog. The no vote was Councilmember Trish Spencer and the abstention was Councilmember John Knox White.

The abstention is, of course, the interesting one that I’m assuming we will get an explanation for. The funny thing about the video of this meeting, you can get through it in less than four minutes because of the editing is (1) it comes before the election and (2). you can see how catbird-y smiley Trish Spencer is before they go into the Closed Session. After the closed session ends there is a visible change in Trish Spencer’s demeanor that is more deflated. Maybe because she thought that Tony Daysog would vote with her to not move forward with Jennifer Ott as City Manager or perhaps the Closed Session in general was just highly contentious and draining.

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November 23, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving

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

Nothing for the rest of the week, enjoy your holiday!

November 22, 2022

New supe

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

It looks like we have a new elected member of the Board of supervisors now that Rebecca Kaplan has conceded the race to Lena Tam:

This was an interesting race because of how much ground Lena Tam made up between June and November. This was the result in June with Rebecca Kaplan comfortably in the lead:

And then today:

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November 21, 2022

Community space

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

On Thursday Alameda made baby steps to start acknowledging the, largely, unremarked upon history of the Japanese community in Alameda. Information about the Japanese neighborhood in Alameda is not easily found anywhere, certainly not in our museum which, purportedly, is supposed to contain the history of Alameda but contains more china and dinnerware than I’ve ever seen concentrated in one place outside of, like, a museum in a large city than it does about the non white history of Alameda.

But I digress.

You can check out the remarks from Library Director Jane Chisaki here: https://www.facebook.com/cityofalameda/videos/656589062847021

There will be a total of four markers which, hopefully, will get Alamedans interested in learning more about the history of Alameda beyond Victorians and stained glass and a reminder that parts of Park Street were built on the backs of the Japanese community and what was taken from them during World War II.

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November 18, 2022

One third

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:18 am

I am absolutely fascinated by how the slow trickle of the election results revealing how weak of a candidate, she is bleeding margin every time a new batch of results come in:

At this point we’re just waiting to see if Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft can get to 60% by the time all of the votes are counted but we may not have that many left (thoughts Mike McMahon)? This was a huge batch and simply improved on Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft’s last numbers:

If 2022 is like 2018 and we have only 31K votes there is absolutely no room for Trish Spencer to catch Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft at all. None. Not even if she received ALL of the remaining votes. It now just a question of how much does she lose by.

But, as outgoing Councilmember John Knox White pointed out on Twitter, the numbers being posted by Trish Spencer are on par with how she has performed over the years. Excluding the year she won against Marie Gilmore by 124 votes, she seems to have a ceiling of support in Alameda of around 35%.

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November 17, 2022

Check in: election results

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 8:17 am

It’s at this point I wonder if Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft can get to 60% of the vote and I REALLY hope that she can.

Unlike 2018 where so many people tried to take away from Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft’s victory by calling Frank Matarrese a spoiler, even if Trish Spencer had Barack Obama Shaw’s votes it still would have put her well behind Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft’s commanding lead. This was, essentially, a head to head battle.

In the City Council race, the Monday batch had already shifted 3rd, 4th, and 5th places dropping Paul B to 5th when he had been chilling at 3rd place the day after the election.

I think, as campaigns do their post mortems on how they did, Hannah Groce’s campaign should be asking “what if” if her campaign had been slightly more robust and had more of a ground campaign. I think Hannah Groce could be a top contender in two years if she takes these next two years to get a lot more name recognition and some Board or Commission experience. Malia Vella will be termed out and Trish Spencer, who has shown her current electoral weakness, will be up so the field will be pretty open.

It’s possible, given how strongly Paul B came out of the gate we may have been seeing returns from Bay Farm and the Gold Coast, we’ll see how everything shakes out when the statement of votes is released.

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November 16, 2022

Not with a bang, but a whimper

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

Welp folks, the approval of the Housing Element and its inevitable certification by HCD serves as the end of A/26 as we know it. And it went out like a chump, a death of a thousand cuts and Alamedans didn’t even have the courage to put it out of its misery when we had the chance with Measure Z.

And, naturally, it required three people to be the adults in the room while the other two sat around parroting misinformed ACT and AAPS talking points. Elections matter people.

There are a few things I wanted to highlight about last night’s meeting. The public comment was, as usual, public comment-y in the way that people who have not actually read the Housing Element, nor understand anything about the responsibility of cities to certify these Housing Elements speak with ABSOLUTE confidence that their favorite local preservation group and “watchdog” some how know more than the people who do this shit for a living. In fact, we have people on the City Council coughtrishspencercough who didn’t know that Alameda had submitted a draft which had 20 pages of problems that needed remedying before HCD would give Alameda’s Housing Element a stamp of approval. Like, she’s been sitting on the City Council the whole time that the City’s been working on this particular version of the Housing Element, two years, was she actually not paying attention at all?

Then we have ahistoric Tony Daysog who, in four years when he runs for Mayor (god help us all) will probably run on being part of a Council with the first certified Housing Element in the Bay Area even though he voted against it who started down a line of questioning which I feel like he thought would be devastating but ended up making everyone realize that he either forgot the history around A/26 or didn’t care.

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