Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 20, 2017

Papers, please

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

It took me a while to get to last week’s Planning Board meeting, but these series of tweet sort of encapsulates the inherent problems with one of Trish Spencer’s appointees to the Planning Board.

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September 19, 2017

Over-committed

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

One of the agenda items for tonight’s meeting, which the City Council may or may not get to since it’s a Council Referral and the City Council hasn’t done the best job of getting through its agendas lately is addressing the bias related incidents in Alameda.

Briefly, also on the City Council’s agenda is a whole public hearing on amending the affordable housing ordinance and adding a “middle income” housing requirement.  This is going to be a mess since the whole issue is highly complex and the person that is mostly behind the “middle income” thing (coughtrishspencercough) doesn’t really understand how affordable housing is funded and therefore doesn’t understand that if “middle income” is not to be subsidized then she’s going to need to get behind some higher density projects in order to get her “middle income” units built.

Anyway.

Councilmember Jim Oddie and Vice Mayor Malia Vella are jointly referring two items:

1. Adopt a Resolution Condemning the Increased Incidents of Bias, Prejudice, Discrimination, Violence and anti-Semitism (See Attached)
2. Many hate symbols, such as swastikas, are easily recognizable, but other symbols, insignia, and organization names used by neo-Nazis, white nationalists, white supremacists, and other hate groups are not so easily identifiable. Alameda Police Department (APD) Policy 338 (available on the City’s Website) requires training on hate crime recognition and investigation. Council requests staff to update the Council on the status of this training and consider training community members (the Social Service Human Relations Board could be a resource here) on how to identify possible hate crimes, possibly using the training provided to APD as a guideline, and timely report them to APD. Further, Council directs the City Manager to periodically report to the Council on the number of incidents in Alameda investigated as possible hate crimes.

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September 18, 2017

Amateur night

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

In advance of Trish Spencer’s inevitable nominations to the Planning Board in which she will seek to appoint folks that she believes will best represent her “slow growth” attitude, I wanted to share this piece from Sightline about how volunteer boards can prove to be problematic when it comes to adjudicating decisions about projects when the votes end up being cast for entirely subjective reasons.  For example most recently for an existing Housing Authority property they City wanted to add additional units on a site where half of the units are occupied by disabled and elderly residents.  One of Trish Spencer’s recent appointees to the Planning Board was concerned that the additional units would cause parking problems.  Of course, studies and models have shown that the typically seniors and disabled residents own cars at much lower rates that non seniors and non disabled residents. But it’s, yet again, another reason to block much needed housing in Alameda without any defensible reason to block a development.

So far, Trish Spencer has struck out twice (out of three) on appointing well rounded and full picture thinkers on her Planning Board nominations.  Given that her latest process of interviewing seems even more focused on appointing folks that will follow her particular brand of delaying projects in anyway that she can, it’s hard to give the benefit of the doubt to either of her current nominees.

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September 15, 2017

Strange fruit

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

Because, of course.  Of course it wouldn’t just stop at bias related incidents against religious groups in Alameda.  Of course it would escalate.

From last week’s KRON report:

At 4 p.m., administrators found a rope tied into a noose on a fence that surrounds the tennis courts on Encinal Avenue.

The noose was hanging on the external side of the fence along the sidewalk.

The school sent out a call to parents at around 4:30 p.m. They also contacted Alameda Police, who are now investigating it as a hate crime.

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September 14, 2017

In like Flint

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

On Tuesday evening an alarming alert came through regarding the water quality at Alameda Point, cautioning residents to not use it at all for anything, even showering and washing hands.

From the City of Alameda:

Who is affected by this alert?
The water quality issues are isolated to Alameda Point due to the nature of the former Navy infrastructure. 268 residents and over 60 businesses are affected and each has been notified. This only affects areas west of Main Street. Any address other than those contained within Alameda Point are not affected by this advisory. Specifically, areas that are not affected include Coast Guard Housing, Bayport, Summer House Apartments, and Atlantic Apartments. The map below outlines the Alameda Point area in red:

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September 13, 2017

Deferred business

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

At the City Council meeting last week the City Council ran out of time by 10:30 p.m. to hear the bulk of the regular agenda items.  Surprise!  I know, it’s quite a shock that the City Council couldn’t make it successfully through a whole agenda item.  I will add that there was some discussion about priority setting of Council Referrals during the cannabis agenda item.  If you didn’t realize, the topic came up as part of a Council Referral.

As I mentioned there was some urgency by a few City Councilmembers to really push this issue through despite the fact that this was the first real policy level vetting this City Council has done on the topic. When Councilmember Frank Matarrese pointed out that there were a lot of other issues, from the Council Referral process, which were ranked higher during the Council’s priority setting workshop that had not been completed yet.  Mayor Trish Spencer retorted that the priority setting workshop had occurred before she brought her Council Referral to the City Council.  To that Frank Matarrese responded that until there is a vote to set aside the priority set Council Referrals the others still have priority.  Then he dropped his mic.  Just kidding.  He didn’t.  But he should have.  Because: true.

Anyway.

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September 12, 2017

Till we reach the higher ground

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

Did I mention that the City Council meeting on September 5 got only through a handful of items?  I think someone in the comments section did mention that the Poet Laureate agenda item was bumped so badly that the celebration had to happen without the poet laureates even being recognized that evening.   In addition to poor time and meeting management skills, when you have a City Council member ramble for 20 minutes at a stretch on one agenda item, there really is no way that you’re going to get through the majority of your agenda items.  At the very end of the meeting (hopefully I’ll remember to excerpt this for you all) there was a prolonged discussion around 10:30 p.m. around whether to hear new items since the City Council is supposed to wrap up at 10:30 p.m.  Let’s just say the super majority of the City Council — four out of five — couldn’t agree to what to move forward with and so the meeting had to end.

Two of the City Council members felt very strongly about this the issue of marijuana and how it will be incorporated into Alameda but all of the City Council was supportive in varying degrees.  At some points it felt as though there was a bit of jockeying from the two most supportive members: Trish Spencer and Jim Oddie to really push staff hard to show the community just how supportive they really were.  It probably won’t surprise you when you realize that both are up for re-election next year and in abstract Alamedans seem supportive of marijuana for medicinal and recreational uses.

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September 11, 2017

Just the two of us

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

Final-fricken-ly.

The Planning Board is getting a first look at the revision to the Call for Review process which I would argue has been pretty abused since Trish Spencer became mayor.  Perhaps due to the attention given to all her Calls for Review, she’s slowed her roll a bit and of course there’s no longer Tony Daysog on the City Council to add to the increased Call for Review count.

If allowed to proceed the process would be that any decisions made by the Historic Advisory Board and/or Planning Board would only be Call for Review-able if two members of the City Council decide on their own that they believe that item needs a final say from the City Council.  Staff is suggesting that any staff level decision should still be reviewable if one member of either the Planning Board or City Council wants to perform a final review.  Not a bad suggestion.

But the two people City Council Call for Review isn’t even the biggest thing, this section is:

A call for review shall be filed in writing with the Community Development Department and shall state how the decision being called for review may be inconsistent with the purposes of this chapter as stated in Section 30-1.2.All costs associated with the call for review, including staff time, technical assistance, and noticing the public hearing shall be funded by the General Fund and shall not be charged to the project applicant.

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September 8, 2017

National Horror Show: end of DACA

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

From the NY Times:

With the news that roughly 800,000 people across the country would begin losing their protected status under DACA, which offered work permits and temporary reprieves from deportation to young undocumented immigrants, the program’s beneficiaries are now scrambling to prepare for the various ways the decision could upend their lives.

Living and working in the United States are the two privileges most often associated with DACA. But for many recipients, those are merely the first dominoes to fall if Congress does not pass a replacement. The shutdown of the program could reverberate far beyond those privileges and topple the many others that DACA protection can confer, from state-sponsored health coverage and financial aid to driver’s licenses and professional credentials. The loss of these things could, in turn, disrupt recipients’ abilities to go to school, support their families and keep a roof over their heads.

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September 7, 2017

Into the weeds

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

On Tuesday night the cannabis business agenda item went on forever, so some of the issues (ahemPBnominationsahem) were not heard.  There are a lot of issues that came up on all sides of the issues.  There was some urgency to push this through by Trish Spencer, an urgency that she doesn’t seem to have for issues like housing which affects people’s actual living situations, but whatevs. One of the big issues though is where would these businesses be allowed.  State law has limitations on where based on proximity to “schools/day cares/youth centers” and has set a minimum 600 foot radius around these locations.

FYI, as with all City Council meetings on any topic that is remotely controversial, it was kind of a cluster to come to some consensus.  More on that some other day.

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