Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 24, 2017

Get your education

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

So back when families were asking for more information, more data, and more time about the Lum liquefaction in order for the School Board to make the right decision, I suggested that a number be set to establish how many reports would be necessary in order to definitively settle the “fact” that the soil under Lum Elementary School is prone to liquefaction and therefore would be risky — from a legal standpoint — to continue to keep open after the last day of this school year.  Apparently the number of studies needed is greater than three since that is what the District has in hand, what the School Board based its 5 – 0 decision on to relocated students for the 2017 – 2018 school year and that Lum community was very unhappy with last night.

While the School Board made the tough decision and justified their rationale, it was not surprising to see the political opportunists that either love to take advantage of disgruntled angry people (coughtrishspencercough) or ominously warn elected officials that their votes will have consequences in the next election (I think the same person warned the City Council prior to the 2016 vote and yet his candidate of choice wasn’t elected either).   All in all it was not a pleasant and fun decision for the School Board to make and it was good to see that no one made a safe “no” vote resting on the knowledge that the other four would make a decision that would safeguard Lum students and — ultimately — all students by protecting the District from potential liability if the students were to remain having the facts in hand that they had.

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May 23, 2017

Hard decisions

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

As mentioned on Friday, the School Board has received a second peer review of their first structural analysis which means that three professional firms have recommended relocated students off of the Lum campus.  Ultimately it will be in the hands of the School Board to make a policy decision on whether to reject these three analyses or determine that not disrupting students at Lum is worth the risk that has been stated by three firms.

I’m leaning toward the school board opting to move students away from Lum because — as folks have stated — they can’t un-see the results of the report and they can’t un-know the fact that professionals have said that, in the case of a large earthquake, there is a high probability of the land under Lum liquifying.

So, if the School Board does choose to go that direction there are a few things I wanted to note about the options laid out by District staff.  One of the big things that District staff has attempted to stress is the need to use school sites close to Lum, of course ignoring the fact that the distance from school site to school site is not indicative of where kids actually live in those enrollment boundaries and how far they are from a particular school.

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May 22, 2017

Full STEAM ahead

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

Tonight there is a Special Meeting for the School Board to tackle two Innovative Program plans for West End schools that had been shunted to the side in order for the District to deal with the whole Lum issue (more on that tomorrow since there will be a School Board meeting tomorrow to make the final decision about that).  Both Paden and Ruby Bridges’s Innovative Programs are being recommended for approval.

Quickly, Paden has a “Play by the Bay” program which incorporates Paden’s bay side location with science and play based learning.  I’m not going to get too much in detail since I’m not that familiar with Paden’s program and — if Lum ends up closing — Paden will be allocated enough students from Lum that the Innovative Plan, which should help to boost enrollment, will just be an added bonus for existing and new students.

Ruby Bridges, on the other hand, that program I am familiar with and it’s a really exciting addition to the school.  The STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) program is very in design to the program offered at the middle school level at Wood.

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May 19, 2017

Know what we know

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

There’s a new press release from the School District and it doesn’t look like any of the newly available, along with the old information, will substantially change the recommendation with regard to Lum Elementary.

From the Press Release:

In a letter to the Board of Education of the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD), a second structural engineering firm recommended yesterday that the district develop a plan for moving Lum Elementary School students off their campus.

The firm, Murphy Burr Curry, Inc., has extensive experience analyzing and retrofitting educational facilities. Steven Curry, who authored the letter, is vice president of the firm.

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May 18, 2017

Gif cause

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

Folks, on Tuesday night the #alamtg twitter folks had their gif game on.  Oh and the majority of the City Council approved just cause protections.  But first, highlights from twitter:

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May 17, 2017

Have you no sense of decency?

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

It’s not Alameda related at all, but holy shit you guys:

On Monday: Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador

On Tuesday: Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation

Also on Tuesday: Israel Said to Be Source of Secret Intelligence Trump Gave to Russians

And this comes on the heels of the Jim Comey firing which happened last week but feels like it happened a million years ago.

It’s now only Wednesday and feels like this week has gone on forever, but MAGA or whatever.

I’m still waiting for the one decent person to quit their White House position in disgust, but I’m not holding my breath.

May 16, 2017

Shared living economy

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

Tonight, in addition to the rental housing ordinance, there will also be a proposed amendment to an existing ordinance governing shared living facilities (aka rooming house, SRO, boarding house, etc).  There’s an application to build a senior shared living facility on Webster Street, but right now that use is not allowed in commercial districts.  Although, weirdly, there is a building for sale on Park Street where the residential above is of the shared living space variety, so perhaps there are some exceptions for existing non comforting uses.

The Planning Board made a few recommendations about this particular ordinance, which I think would work very well:

 Therefore, the Planning Board and staff are recommending that the City Council amend the AMC to delete the four nearly identical definitions that are currently in the AMC and create a new single definition of “shared living” that will eliminate redundancy and minimize confusion in the administration of City regulations. The new definition would read as follows:

“Shared Living shall mean a building, or portion thereof, other than a hotel that provides private living quarters without private, individual kitchen facilities. A shared common kitchen and common activity area may be provided. Shared living facilities also include single room occupancy (SRO) units, which provide housing for individuals including very low-income persons that typically consist of a single room with access to a shared bath. Shared living may be restricted to seniors or be available to persons of all ages. “

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May 15, 2017

Back on the agenda

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

Rent Stabilization is back on the City Council’s agenda on Tuesday night.  Last time we left off, Jim Oddie had disappointed those in the renters’ community who had counted on Jim Oddie as a solid 3rd vote.  Between then and now, Jim Oddie has shifted back into the renters column and recently announced that the time for just cause is now.

One can optimistically believe that Jim Oddie changed his mind after a good night’s rest, or perhaps one can cynically believe that Jim Oddie had a stern talking to by leaders of the local Democratic Party who have supported just cause in the past, either way this is good news for renters advocacy groups who can feel just cause in Alameda within their grasp.

While the Council is going back to make some tweaks it still puzzles me why the Council doesn’t do some sort of basic data collection about the rental housing units in Alameda.  Find out what the cost would be to maintain a database and charge a nominal fee for each registration of each Alameda rental unit.  Let’s assume that there are about 15,000 rental housing units in Alameda.   If it costs $60,000 to maintain a database then it would cost about $4 per unit to collect data annually.  What information could be collected is the amount of the rent, the address, and the number of bedrooms for the initial registration.  Every year after that only the rent amount would need to be updated.  That way the City would have actual data to understand what the rental housing market actually is as opposed to guessing or being told by landlords that they are “under market.”

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May 12, 2017

Closing loopholes

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

From City Lab and relevant to Alameda’s — on a whole — mistrust of all things residential development-y:

There are more than 100 bills before the California Legislature that address the state’s housing crisis, and a large share of them would crack down on communities that don’t do their part by facilitating the construction of new homes.

“In the last 10 years, California has built an average of 80,000 homes a year, far below the 180,000 homes needed a year to keep up with housing growth from 2015-2025,” the report says. “Without intervention, much of the population increase can be expected to occur further from job centers, high-performing schools, and transit, constraining opportunity for future generations.”

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May 11, 2017

Equality opportunity

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

Interesting.

Yesterday there was a press release from the school district announcing that the School Board voted to approve the hiring of a new principal for Paden Elementary.  It’s not clear how long ago that process was started, but Ruby Bridges is in need of a principal for the upcoming 2017-2018 school year and yet was told that the search process for that position would not begin until the Lum issue was settled.

It would be a positive gesture for our neighborhood West End school if the District would at least put up a pretense of Ruby Bridges actually mattering and finding a solid leader for the school is of concern to the District.  I realize that the 500 students at Lum is all consuming for the District, but there are a lot of staff at the District office and apparently there was person power enough to finalize the process of putting in a principal in place for Paden next year.

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