For those that aren’t going to read the whole White House toolkit, more excerpts:
Over the past three decades, local barriers to housing development have intensified, particularly in the high-growth metropolitan areas increasingly fueling the national economy. Locally- constructed barriers to new housing development include beneficial environmental protections or well-intentioned permitting processes or historic preservation rules, but also laws plainly designed to exclude multifamily or affordable housing. Local policies acting as barriers to housing supply include land use restrictions that make developable land much more costly than it is inherently, zoning restrictions, off-street parking requirements, arbitrary or antiquated preservation regulations, residential conversion restrictions, and unnecessarily slow permitting processes.
Let’s see if Alameda fits the mold.
Environmental protections? Check!
Permitting processes? Check!
Historic Preservation? Check!
Laws designed to exclude multifamily or affordable housing? Check!
Land use restrictions to make and more costly? Check!
Zoning restrictions? Check!
Off-Street parking requirements? Check!
Unnecessarily slow permitting processes? Check, and we can largely thank the City Council with its Calls for Review power for that.
The other day the SF Chronicle released an editorial about the effect that NIMBYism…I mean, perseveration and progress…wait I mean, slow growth…wait no, “responsible development”has on the economy in general. The editorial is based on the White House, yes THAT White House, Housing Development Toolkit.
From the editorial:
There’s growing recognition that aggressive housing development regulation — like the kind found all over the Bay Area — is terrible for the whole country. It’s a sign of how important zoning — once the most local of issues — has become to the U.S. economy that the Obama administration is now weighing in.
In a report called the Housing Development Toolkit, the White House upbraided the U.S.’s desirable metro areas for their NIMBYism: “The growing severity of under-supplied housing markets is jeopardizing housing affordability for working families, increasing income inequality by reducing less-skilled workers’ access to high-wage labor markets, and stifling GDP growth by driving labor migration away from the most productive regions.”
Last night there was a meeting at Mastick hosted by the City of Alameda to discuss the City’s plan to address the long term encampments at Sweeney Park. The action plan, per the press release from earlier this month included:
1) Enter into an agreement with Operation Dignity, a nonprofit based in Oakland and Alameda, to provide an initial assessment of homeless people living in Alameda. This will be accomplished over six weeks with a mobile outreach team that will engage with homeless individuals to do a comprehensive survey of their basic needs, housing history, mental health and substance abuse issues, and other background information.
2) Bring this Action Plan to SSHRB on September 22 to receive and incorporate their feedback and suggestions.
3) In mid-October, bring to Council for approval a one-year agreement with Operation Dignity to provide on-site case management services to homeless individuals in an effort to get people housed and accessing available services when possible.
4) Notices were posted August 19 throughout the park to inform people that construction is coming and the general timeframe.
5) Alameda Police Department (APD) will post the legally required 30-day eviction notices once the exact timeframe for the first construction phase of Sweeney Park is confirmed, anticipated to be in November/December. When construction begins, a temporary fence will be erected around the construction zone. APD will store any remaining personal belongings of occupants of the encampment as required by law.
6) Operation Dignity will continue to provide case management for any homeless people remaining in the park and throughout the City.
7) On November 1, the City will apply for a StopWaste state grant for funding to clean up hazardous materials from abandoned encampments.
8) Mid- to long-term options being considered for the remaining undeveloped areas of the park include:
a. Install temporary solar lighting throughout undeveloped areas.
b. Use a goat abatement service to clear brush and ensure better visibility into the area.
c. Make a determination on whether to keep the undeveloped areas open to the public or remain fenced.
9) Throughout this process the police department will respond to any issue that requires immediate attention.
So there is yet another article in the Alameda Magazine about Mayor Trish Spencer. It’s not available on line, but let me give you the nutmeat of the piece and more details provided once the article goes on line. However you really should be thanking the Alameda Magazine for their in-depth reporting since the Alameda Journal is spread too thin and the Alameda Sun, well, it’s the Alameda Sun.
The title “Little Miss Sunshine” so, as you can guess, this will be about the Sunshine Ordinance.
Basically during the training for the Mayor’s Economic Advisory panel which the members were trained on all Sunshine Ordinance and Brown Act goodness a question was asked about whether or not emails between the members of the economic advisory panel were considered public record. The short answer is, they are.
But here’s what Trish “Transparency” Spencer told the panel to do in order to avoid making her communications with City Staff open to the public: pick up the phone. Here’s the exact quote from the Alameda Magazine piece:
Only one major item on the Planning Board’s agenda tonight but it is a big one. First street names, from the staff report:
The selected names complement the names of the other streets at Alameda Point that honor former navy vessels such as: West Hornet Avenue, Lexington Street, and Saratoga Street. The proposed names include:
• Coronado Avenue
• Marilyn York Way
• Firebirds Street
• Buckthorn Street
• Ardent Way
• Corsair Street, and
• Skylark Street
Fairly straightforward, I can’t imagine there will be much issue. I like the Firebird name, not because of any real affinity for the aircraft they’re named after but because the Firebird fairytale happens to be one of my favorites and it evokes memories of that.
I have to say that I was getting a bit envious while reading the tweets from Steven Tavares about all the drama filled activities of the City of Hayward. It had been a while since Trish Spencer had said anything truly gaffe worthy, see “We like to have a good time!” in response to the newest campaign by the City of Alameda complete with little hearts talking about what we love about Alameda. At least she was able to eke out something other than trees.
But Trish Spencer always has something going on that makes you say, “that’s SO Alameda!”
Some of you may have caught this tweet in my timeline in the corner over there:
So this is on Jennifer Roloff’s website as a solution to the housing woes of Alameda. She, apparently, believes that the type of housing that she thinks Alameda needs is of the non market rate variety aka the stuff that developers build that everyone seems to hate except for the people that purchase those homes.
Workforce housing conjures up things like Casa De Maestros in the South Bay and isn’t all icky like low income housing so it’s a buzzword of choice for the NIMBYs out there looking to prove that they’re not against housing, just against that housing development that happens to be in front of an approving agency.
As a reminder that Black Lives Matter and that we, as a community, need to do more to push that sentiment and we need to do more to ensure that our public safety, regardless of how great we think they are, get the appropriate training to handle what should be routine interactions with the public.
Unless, of course, you’re City Council candidate Jennifer Roloff who would argue, in response to a question about the issues at the heart of the Black Lives Matter discussion, that:
It’s very relevant to what is going on today in neighboring cities. I think we’re fortunate enough not to have an exacerbated similar situation, but I think that we do absolutely need to partner with our neighboring communities to make sure that we’re cognizant of the risks that could come to the city and being prepared for such issues.
I don’t think that Alamedans have to feel the protection of police yet but what’s going on out there I think that we need to start being prepared. We should work with our public safety to get better prepared for what could happen.
As to the equipment that is out there I do know that we have Navy equipment that we can rely on and Alameda does have some of its own equipment and I do know we end up loaning it out to other nearby cities, but I think we should work with those nearby cities so that we can capitalize on the equipment that they have to have as much preparedness as possible.
Another pretty full City Council agenda including a bunch of lawsuits on the Closed Session agenda. I’ll point out that there’s already a lawsuit from Boatworks which is best summed up with this tweet:
Remember how I said way back when that some other dude met the smarmy definition of awful developer? I take that back. The Boatworks folks may be the worst at this point. Typically I would place the blame on the shoulders of the City for being waffle-y and the perennial NIMBYs for popping up to oppose the opening of an envelope, but in this case Boatworks is just terrible.
Worth a read if you hadn’t caught it yet, from one of the Planning Board members and contains an excoriation of Tony Daysog, one of the three City Council members that voted to undo the recommendation of the Planning Board against a much need senior care facility, highlights:
Last November, my colleagues acted in favor of the project that conformed to the area’s commercial zoning. On June 22, the Planning Board affirmed that the facility meets the zoning and environmental requirements, and city staff recommended approval.
I supposed I shouldn’t have been stunned when the mayor challenged the Planning Board decision and summoned a City Council review. This has happened too many times during her tenure — wasting city time and resources and sending a message to the market that Alameda is closed for business.