Blogging Bayport Alameda

April 9, 2021

Exclusionary and harmful

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

It’s something that, I think, I mentioned either here or on twitter but the recent release of Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan includes some money for housing. And not just any housing but housing policy that targets the inequities which have been built into our system for decades. And not just anything that has nothing to do with Alameda but a piece of policy that Alameda voted to uphold only last year that this President is full throated saying is a major problem: exclusionary housing.

Here’s the bit:

Eliminate exclusionary zoning and harmful land use policies. For decades, exclusionary zoning laws — like minimum lot sizes, mandatory parking requirements, and prohibitions on multifamily housing — have inflated housing and construction costs and locked families out of areas with more opportunities. President Biden is calling on Congress to enact an innovative, new competitive grant program that awards flexible and attractive funding to jurisdictions that take concrete steps to eliminate such needless barriers to producing affordable housing.

Eliminate exclusionary zoning and harmful land use policies. Exclusionary and harmful land use policies. And what are exclusionary zoning and harmful land use policies? According to Joe Biden: minimum lot sizes (hello charter amendment 26-3!) and prohibitions on multifamily housing (good day charter amendment 26-1).

I mean, we all told you that A/26 is terrible but now you’re hearing it from the president too. I’m not sure how much that moves the needle for the “neighborhood character” crowd but it’s nice to get the affirmation.

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April 8, 2021

Love is blindness

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

Do you ever encounter those situations where you think that you understand everything that you need to know about particular but then something happens that just reinforces what you already believed but it’s so staggering that it takes you physically aback? Reader I had that moment at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting. I mean, I already knew that Tony Daysog was an objectively terrible City Councilmember. I don’t think you could find anyone who spends as much time actively running for an elected position but then is so disinterested in the act of governance once he gets there. I guess there’s Donald Trump, but you don’t really want to be compared with Donald Trump outside of, like, rural Mississippi.

But Tony Daysog’s comments about the Alameda Police Department had me reeling in light of the BuzzFeed article that was only a few hours old when Tony Daysog put his full voice into his love for all things APD. Tony Daysog, during the Council Referral portion which was to discuss the social media account of APD, decided to declare that he 100% trusted the professional staff at APD to make good choices. After an article was released that said members of the APD continued to use facial recognition programs after the City Council — the policymaking body on which he sits — voted to not allow the use of facial recognition software.

Let me put it in terms that someone who loves APD to a blindness can understand:

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April 7, 2021

Gave good face

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

If you haven’t see it yet, I would suggesting pulling open this piece from BuzzFeed, and no, it’s a not a quiz, about facial recognition technology. Alameda is featured and not in a good way.

From the article:

In Alameda, California, BuzzFeed News found that police officers continued to use Clearview after elected leaders voted to ban the technology in December 2019. In the months before that vote, an Alameda police officer warned Clearview cofounder Richard Schwartz that the department was facing “an uphill battle” to approve a paid contact for the software. Schwartz’s reply, in an August 2019 email obtained via a public records request, denounced the “anti-facial-recognition narrative” and touted Clearview as a “state-of-the-art investigative tool for law enforcement that is super-accurate and 100% unbiased.”

He added, “Are they really going to let politics and deliberately misleading reports prevent you from using a life-saving tool like Clearview?” (The company declined to answer questions about Schwartz’s communications with Alameda police officers.)

When Alameda became the fourth city in California to ban the use of facial recognition in December 2019, some officers apparently did not heed the directive. Records seen by BuzzFeed News show that Alameda police officers — who ran nearly 550 searches in data — continued to use Clearview at least until February 2020, unbeknownst to city officials. The city manager and city council members, who told BuzzFeed News that the officers’ use of the software has been hard to track because of its free trials, are now investigating the matter.

“Never in my job would I ever think, Oh, I wonder if I can use this and not check it with a higher authority,” John Knox White, a member of the Alameda City Council, told BuzzFeed News. “If something is controversial, we should check in with the city attorney’s office; key decision-makers should be involved to make sure there’s no problem.”

He added, “That we have emails showing police used this technology after an actual vote saying you can’t do this is extremely troubling.”

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April 6, 2021

If you had to choose

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

Here’s a fun thing for #alamtg heads. Competing Zoom meetings. Tonight there is a City Council meeting and a School Board Meeting.

We should see Tony Daysog and Trish Spencer vote, again, against giving frontline grocery store workers hazard pay as the ordinance has its final reading. There’s a proposal to bring back a Youth Commission of sorts and review of the homelessness strategic plan. There’s also the three Trish Spencer Referrals which should give the Council an opportunity to discuss the released since yesterday “Training Bulletin” from the Alameda Police Department which is a step in the sort of right direction on how to have some guidelines around what the public information person should be posting on the social media pages.

It feels like a lot is missing from this Training Bulletin but it does have some good things like “Booking photos of those who have been arrested will not be posted. Booking photos may only to be used in cases of searching for a missing individual, sex crimes suspect, or wanted suspects, when there is a compelling public safety reason for doing so.” But it feels like the whole thing was done a bit piecemeal, addressing concerns which have arisen and trying to address just those as opposed to taking the time to really understand what the purpose of the social media communications are actually trying to accomplish rather than to simple be a propaganda arm for the police department.

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April 5, 2021

Chaos theory

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

Folks, I have to admit something. It’s exhausting trying to figure out how Trish Spencer works. Like what her motivations are (other than a “no”) and what her ethics are compromised of. It’s exhausting to try to figure out what someone who feels entirely made up of chaos energy is attempting to do.

I ran into a brick wall with her latest Council Referral and the rules subcommittee figuring out Council Referrals cannot come soon enough because she has three referrals on this one agenda.

This is the title: Consider Directing Staff to: 1) Obtain All Emails Sent to apdreforms@gmail.com; 2) Create Protocols for the Website, Email and Social Media; and 3) Provide Training to All Employees who Post on the Website or Social Media or Staff City Bodies. 

First of all the body of the Council referral only focuses on bullet one. She’s fixated on the Police Reform subcommittee and it’s unclear what precisely she is looking for. Maybe a magic “gotcha” moment where she finds the collective subcommittee rubbing their collective hand like a Bond villain and cackling about ruining Alameda. I have no idea.

She wants ALL the emails from this non Brown Act body from a gmail account that someone probably set up in order to organize a Google Drive where everyone could dump research they found without cluttering up their own personal Google Drives.

I mean that’s what I would do since I’m down to like only 30% of free space on my Google Drive.

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April 2, 2021

School board bully

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

So you may have seen this item about a Latin teacher in the Sacramento Unified School District getting attention for comments he made as a parent and a private individual and not in his role as a teacher. And he didn’t even make them to the district he worked in but rather to the school district where his kids are enrolled. Which, of course, means that some parent who is more concerned about “tone” than the reality of what’s happening started Googling this guy right away to lay down some “can I speak to your manager” vibes.

From, yes, Fox News:

Harmony, who is a parent himself, said he has been able to better gauge “White supremacy” in his neighborhood, after hearing other parents demanding that the school district have its teachers return to the classroom.

“I’m as disappointed as I am unsurprised that last week, we all had to hear all the cynical, pearl-clutching, faux-urgency, ableist, structurally White-supremacist, hysteria, even as teachers were moving forward with an MOU that already put them in harm’s way and was asking too much of a beleaguered group of professionals,” Harmony said.

Harmony then chastised parents for treating teachers like a “wait staff” – actions that, he argued, will impair children’s ability to “grow up to be better than our generation.”

“You’ve attempted to bully a school board into making the schools less safe for the teachers and children. And you nearly succeeded, making complicit two of its members – who are still meeting virtually, but deciding that others must meet in person,” Harmony said. “You’ve attempted to bully a school board into acting in bad faith with teachers of your children.”

I mean, I don’t know what’s going on in his school district but if it’s anything like what’s going on in Alameda, where’s the lie?

A parent group demanded that the School District publicly renounce the comments of this single father with two kids just trying to do his best AND speak out for those that don’t typically get to make righteously indignant comments out of fear of being professionally targeted. I mean, who does that? There have been some shitty things said during City Council and School Board meetings and neither of these entities have publicly renounced a public commenters comment. The fact that it appears he has been targeted professionally means that people who don’t speak up are right to be fearful of the wrath of parents more concerned with tone then equity.

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April 1, 2021

Jinkies

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

If you followed along on Tuesday night’s #alamtg twitter you will know that the Council voted 3 – 2 to keep the tank and it was actually a slog to get there. I didn’t realize how early the City Council make up meeting was so I dialed in a bit late and didn’t hear a lot of the public comment but can’t imagine I missed that much.

There were multiple motions starting with one from Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft to keep the tank but adopt Berkeley’s policy around how the tank is used. That failed for lack of a second because Tony Daysog threw an absolute fit about anything having to do with Berkeley and any policy they’ve created.

Then Tony Daysog makes a motion to keep the tank and keep everything exactly the same. That motion failed 2 – 3.

And finally Trish Spencer tried to make a motion to retain the tank but, with a little help from John Knox White, got to a point where it was something that three members of the City Council could vote for, particularly after the Acting Chief said he was okay with the Berkeley policy.

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March 31, 2021

Airing the dirty laundry

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

Alameda Youth Activists have organized a Vigil for tonight which will start with a Zoom program and then there will be an opportunity to honor lost AAPI lives at Chochenyo Park.

The City of Alameda has the Zoom registration here.

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March 30, 2021

Make up class

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

Tonight’s very special episode of the City Council will cover issues that have been pushed for several meeting. The big one is the issue of the tank.

This should take up a lot of time because there has been a recent push by the “cops don’t need any oversight” crowd that this tank is super duper important. I saw a post on one of the Facebook groups about this and it came from the same person who wrote to the City Council that crime was so bad that property values were dropping which is so patently untrue that I don’t know how people don’t feel ashamed for getting basic information wrong.

The City Manager is recommending that the City retain the tank even though the vote last summer was to sell.

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March 29, 2021

The characters make the neighborhood

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

I can’t express how this piece in Rewire resonated with me because it’s something that has always bothered me about our local conversation around development, particularly housing development. It has to do with how even the language we use to give a reason why a development is not wanted is exclusionary in itself. The phrase mostly commonly offered in Alameda? “Neighborhood character”

From Rewire:

But what counts as “neighborhood character,” and who gets to define it?

In many cities, it’s wealthy, white homeowners who have lived there for decades.

“A common tactic is to use zoning for single family homes or large lot zoning that requires the single family homes to have a significant amount of land around the structure,” said Lance Freeman, a professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

“Things like that make it difficult to construct multifamily housing. So clearly that would serve to keep out certain types of housing that would be more affordable.”

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