Blogging Bayport Alameda

March 24, 2023

Taking the “class” out of “classical”

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

Not Alameda related at all but I have not been able to get this out of my mind given everything else going on in Florida around education:

Now the funny thing is that this charter school is called the Tallahassee Classical School and somehow the most famous Renaissance sculpture is too risqué for 11 and 12 years olds because of the marble penis. And every time I see something like this I’m reminded of the piece during the election which tried to “both sides” the interference from the left and the right into education. I wonder what, current, issues that person now as to twist into something much more shocking in order to maintain that the left and the right are equally wrong in trying to control the education of children in the US.

March 23, 2023

It’s an emergency

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

Hey I just wanted to reflect post Tuesday’s bomb cyclone which saw many downed trees across Alameda that we should really be giving a huge “thanks” to AMP workers for keeping the power on for the vast majority of Alamedans during a time when I think we were all anticipating that we would all be hunkering down in the dark. The fact that we didn’t have to is really a testament to whatever it is AMP is doing in order to harden our electrical systems during the good times so that when the bad times hit we’re not without power for days on end.

Added to that an additional thanks to public works (and public safety employees) who were out in the horrible weather extracting people from dangerous situations (like trees toppling on cars) and clearing the road from hazards quickly. When I was coming home on Tuesday afternoon I saw only one downed tree on RAMP near the College, the next morning there were a whole lot more, pulled up from their roots, but clearly had been taken care taken enough from someone in the City to make sure they were no longer a public hazard.

I will note that what happened on Tuesday was one of those “emergencies” that some folks like to bring up when discussions of developments or even Housing Elements come up. Of course in this emergency we were all told to stay off the roads (and honestly if you didn’t have to go somewhere, would you have?) and stay at home if possible. Barring a tsunami which will require actually evacuation and we’d have hours and hours of notice for that, most emergency situations will require that Alamedas do the same that they did not Tuesday. Get into shelter and stay off the roads. Anyone who thinks they’ll need to mass exodus Alameda in every emergency should remember what they did on Tuesday and consider if hopping in their car and driving inland was anywhere near their mind.

March 22, 2023

Housing streamline

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

You know you’ve hit the Twitter big time when you get retweeted by State Senator Scott Weiner and it’s for something that is a net good:


March 21, 2023

Tenacious C

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

One thing you have to say about the opponent to the Wellness Center, they are nothing if not tenacious. I’ve said it before but most people like to put their efforts behind positive things like watching puppy videos or playing with cats but not this person, oh no. Apparently they get super jacked about trying to find something nefarious around the elected officials who opposed their work even though they were caught getting a lot of assistance and helpful forwards of opponent letters from staff at the State Historic Preservation Office. What’s that phrase when you assume that because you’re doing something shady that someone else must be doing something shady as well?

So anyway, even though this individual had already put in a PRA in August of last year:

There is a new one which narrows the number of people but expands the timeline:

For the first PRA there was nothing nefarious, no secret meetings or evil hand rubbing, it was all, well documents that we’ve mostly seen before submitted as public record.

I’m not quite sure what the additional two months is going to reveal but I guess trying to shut down a building for homeless senior citizens after we’ve had some truly awful weather is still priority number one for this Alamedan. Some folks say “be the change you want in the world” but I guess in this case “change” means leaving frail folks out on the streets.

March 20, 2023

One two three, one two three, drink

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

I’m really bad at addresses so when I walked past a vacant store front on Webster Street and saw a Korean name attached to a permit application and the word “grocery” I though excitedly, “omg, Webster Street’s getting one of those mini Korean grocery stores” turns out, not so much. In the old Malaya Botanical shop apparently Santos Liquor wants to move in that spot and it’s not 1000 feet away from the next liquor store. So the City Council will be taking up the possibility of amending the liquor store ordinance on Tuesday to accommodate Santos Liquor needing to move because of landlord issues. This is part of a referral from Trish Spencer.

Look, I don’t have a ton of thoughts on this particular issue, I’m not a drinker, I don’t go to liquor stores and I would much prefer that business to have been a Korean grocery store with Korean snacks so I don’t have to make the schlep to Koreana Plaza or H Mart. But, yeah, if the City Council has made the rules flexible for other alcohol serving establishments in the past and this is not technically adding a new liquor store on Webster Street I don’t really care.

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.

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