Blogging Bayport Alameda

March 17, 2023

I’m taking this horse by the reins

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:13 am

Definitely not Alameda related but instructive nonetheless for monied NIMBY groups who think that suing to stop development projects are a good thing. Consider the case of a development in Layfayette from the Chronicle:

After a 12-year battle, the California Supreme Court declined this week to hear an appeal from a neighborhood group attempting to stop the development of a 315-unit apartment building in Lafayette, clearing the project’s last hurdle and allowing it to move forward.

The project, known as the Terraces of Lafayette, became the poster child of the Bay Area housing wars as it faced two lawsuits, a ballot referendum and over 100 public hearings that delayed the project for more than a decade after its initial application was approved by the city.  

I particularly liked these quotes:

“This decision is a win for housing, but the fact that this project has taken so long is exactly why we have such a catastrophic housing shortage,” said Sonja Trauss, president and founder of pro-housing group YIMBY Law, in a statement.

Matt Regan, senior vice president of public policy for the Bay Area Council, agreed, saying he hopes that the court’s decision sends a message to housing opponents — “you can’t lawyer your way to your desired outcome.”

“It’s a game changer,” he said of the decision. “It shows that these wealthy, largely suburban communities that have not been fulfilling their housing obligations for so long are now going to be held accountable.”

Trauss with YIMBY Law put it more bluntly: “The people involved with Save Lafayette should be ashamed of themselves.”


March 16, 2023

Yadda yadda

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

Remember when the EB Times gave the responsibility of questioning the School Board candidates and analyzing the responses to someone who was bending over backward to try to “both sides are wrong” argument? It seems particularly quaint and naive now in light of the sweeping attempts of whole ass states (Florida anyone) to remove anything involving race:

I mean, the way the new proposed Florida textbook handled the Rosa Parks story to completely take out WHY she was asked to move from from her seat which would probably be more puzzling and bring up more questions for kids. They might as well have just “yadda yadda”ed the whole Rosa Parks story in general. As I pointed out in November:

First it’s a tell from the reporter that he believes that that prohibitions on teaching the real history of the US is some how the same as people suggesting that maybe saying that “you don’t see color” is problematic because it erases the experiences of people who can’t scrub away the their race. These are not the same things, the stretch to put them as some how equal in problematicness is problematic in itself.

Similarly talking about “Black codes” without mentioning that the “Black” in “Black codes” means Black people is a choice and ahistoric. But I suppose that some folks, like the reporter from November would look at this, look at cleaned out shelves in Florida schools and announce that the left does the same because the Dr Seuss estate said they’re going to stop reprinting certain books that show Asian people with slanty eyes.

It’s this need for balance from media types that cheapen the debate around the real threat around what is happening in schools across red states. This is no longer limited to just some books contain the “lost cause” narrative, this is stripping our history of, well, history.


March 15, 2023

“Fine, let them sue us” but real

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:54 am

It’s not Alameda specific but it is newsworthy. By now you should have heard that local guy and Attorney General of California Rob Bonta announced that the State of California was going to be suing the City of Huntington Beach which decided to take the path of thumbing their noses at the State over the whole Housing Element and compliance with state law. This is the position that some City Council members wanted to take as well with a “fine, let them sue us” dismissiveness. Maybe he thought the State wasn’t serious but, it is. From an LA Times editorial:

California has a crippling housing shortage that has driven up home prices and rents, fueled homelessness and pushed residents and business out of the state. And yet the city’s leaders somehow think their wealthy Orange County coastal enclave should be exempt from producing its fair share of homes.

Of course the city shouldn’t be exempt. It’s welcome news that Gov. Gavin Newsom and Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta sued Huntington Beach for violating state housing laws. The lawsuit should be a warning to other communities: California is cracking down on cities that try to evade new laws aimed at encouraging homebuilding.

Despite numerous warnings from state officials, the Huntington Beach City Council recently voted to refuse applications to build accessory dwelling units or duplexes in single-family zones, banning projects that are legal under state law.

The council is also planning to ignore applications filed under the “builders remedy,” a provision of state law that says housing developers can ignore local zoning and propose whatever they want in cities that have failed to write a housing plan that meets state requirements. Builders remedy projects just need to ensure 20% of the units are affordable. Huntington Beach — no surprise — does not have a compliant housing plan.


March 14, 2023

Never stop never copping

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

Generally in social media threads about centered around crime you will inevitably have someone loudly and wrongly proclaim that to be the fault of the City Council for defunding the police (or something like that) and pronounce that we should be hiring more police officers. When faced with information that it’s really hard to hire police officers right now and it’s not limited to just being an Alameda problem often time the loud and wrong will scoff and say that information is incorrect and that, clearly, the City Council just hasn’t put any money into fully staffing the police department.

Welp, looks like the police department is back to tell the City Council, once again, that they’re having trouble hiring despite the loud and wrong announcing that it’s the fault of the City Council for not throwing enough money at the police department.

Currently, APD sworn staffing is down nearly 30% with aggregate sworn vacancies totaling 24 out of 88.  These trends are being experienced throughout Alameda County (County), the state, and region.  Although APD has hired 20 new Police Officers since June 2021, the rate of staffing attrition has outpaced the rate of staffing additions.  APD and Human Resources (HR) staff have endeavored to recruit quality candidates by:


•                     Advertising regular job announcements;

•                     Streamlining hiring procedures to include holding the written exam, physical ability and oral board process on site and in 1 – 2 days; and

•                     Offering creative hiring bonuses and incentives such as matched/higher salary than previous employers, front loaded vacations, and lump sums of pay. 


Even still, these strategies have not yielded the positive returns that were expected.  There are several challenges in hiring quality candidates.  As mentioned above, these challenges are being experienced throughout the industry at a significant rate.  Considerations by quality candidates include:

•                     Housing affordability in and around the Alameda community; 

•                     Full-time and in-person shift work; and

•                     The perceived stigma in policing. 

While we’ve already approved an incentive program for hiring lateral police officers (meaning police officers who come from other cities) it looks like the Chief wants to expand that to cover any one who wants to join APD even newbies. By the way, according to the staff report the lateral police officer incentive program didn’t attract any takers.


March 13, 2023

Banking system

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:45 am

I don’t know if folks have been actively following the drama with Silicon Valley Bank or not but it made for a wild ride from Thursday through the weekend when it was announced that all depositors money would be fully available today:

A joint statement from Yellen, Fed chief Jerome Powell and FDIC chair Martin Gruenberg said depositors will have access to all of their money today from Silicon Valley Bank. The same goes for Signature Bank, which was closed on Sunday. No losses will be borne by the taxpayer. Any losses to the Deposit Insurance Fund to make uninsured depositors whole will be recouped by a special assessment on banks, the statement said.

If you haven’t been following the drama went down like this, apparently on Thursday a bunch of VCs panicked and told their investment companies to start pulling their money out of SVB which then caused a run on the bank which then doomed the bank because they didn’t have enough liquid cash to service all of the people who wanted their money transferred out.

On Friday it was announced that the the government had shut down SVB which further panicked folks who didn’t get their money moved out because, you know, payroll needed to be run and stuff. I know there were quite a few people who were gleefully watching this and saying things like “welp you should have known that the FDIC only insurers $250K” but, like welcome to running a small business where sometimes it’s impractical to open accounts at five different banks just in case VCs cause a run on a particular bank.

Anyway, not that I had any money at SVB, I’m not a baller like that, but it was rather painful to see small company CEOs explain to folks that they weren’t all rolling around in VC cash and it was going to be all their employees and vendors that would be left in the lurch if they couldn’t access their money. Like, I get it that a lot of folks think that most VC backed companies are silly and deserving of failing, but the bigger problem isn’t that Widget to the Max or something goes under it’s that there are real people who work for these companies, even if they are silly and they’re the ones who didn’t deserve to be told that they should just suck up the loss of a paycheck because they knew the risks of working for a start up.

March 10, 2023

It’s real

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

Somehow by sheer luck alone I had managed to avoid getting Covid since the the very beginning. Even when my husband and #2 son had Covid last year we managed to isolate both well enough that I did catch Covid. But last week that all changed for me. I got Covid.

Fortunately I waited long enough to get Covid that getting Paxlovid was not difficult and, probably, made my symptoms a lot milder than they would have been.

It took a whole seven days for me to test negative from Covid which was not as fast as my son last year, but way faster than my husband who needed the full 10 days plus he had a bit of a rebound which was a drag.

Anyway, all this is to say, probably best to be careful out there folks. While the medicine is great, it’s still not fun to be sick and, potentially, pass Covid on to other folks.

March 9, 2023

Right to not shop

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

By now you all should have heard that the State of California will be cutting ties with Walgreens over their decision to not dispense an abortion pill even in states where folks still have the right to have an abortion because apparently some Republican men like to limit the size of government but not when it has to do with what a woman can do with her own body.

From Politico:

Newsom’s move also demonstrates his willingness to wield California’s financial might in an intensifying national battle over abortion access. The governor and legislative Democrats have already allocated hundreds of millions of dollars and enacted new laws to make California a sanctuary for abortion-seekers from other states.

“Ironically, we’re the size of 21 states’ populations combined,” Newsom said, referencing the 21 states where Walgreens has told GOP state officials that they do not plan to dispense the pills. “And likely, when the dust settles, we’ll be the fourth largest economy in the world. So, we have, we believe, moral authority, but we also have formal authority and will exercise it in partnership with the Legislature, and in the absence of that, through executive action.”

States have been on the frontlines of abortion policy struggles after the U.S. Supreme Court ended the federal right to the procedure. While California responded by aggressively expanding abortion access, Republican states have sharply restricted it.

So this is a reminder that we all have choices we can make where we’re electing to spend out dollars. And CVS is a solid alternative to Walgreens (located conveniently on Park Street, in Target, and at Marina Village although I heard that one may close). There is also Safeway for medication as well and, of course, your friendly local pharmacies like Versailles.

I mean, folks have been complaining about the rise of plexiglass at Walgreens and such so why bother with that anymore when you can just go some place that has no plexiglass AND doesn’t kowtow to Republican fundamentalists either. Win win.

March 8, 2023

Running in circles

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

Since we’ll be seeing more roundabouts in our city and, well, folks are very reluctant to change here’s a video from Carmel, Indiana which explains how roundabouts increase safety but yet can maintain a higher flow of cars without needing to build more lanes:

Here’s an excellent graphic which shows the fewer conflict points that exist in a roundabout compared to a traditional signalized intersection. Of course the more potential conflict points the higher the likelihood for a collision.


March 7, 2023

Tilden (dog) park

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

I just noticed that there is a meeting notice on the City’s website because all of the City Council will be touring Clement Avenue for a tour of the proposed roundabout on the East End. To be honest, I don’t know how bad this intersection is because it’s a part of Alameda I rarely go to because, there’s pretty much everything I need on the West End or, like, I have to go to San Leandro to hit up an Asian market or something.

So this is the general area:

And this is the proposed design:


March 6, 2023

Alameda ceiling

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

I had spent some time over the holidays getting some data together about the last few elections but haven’t had time to really do anything with them. It’s hard to compare like for like because precincts get consolidated and numbers change but I was able to compare the last Mayoral election with the City Council race in 2020. Specifically these are Trish Spencer’s numbers for her race against Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft in 2022 and four other candidates for City Council in 2020.

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