Blogging Bayport Alameda

December 18, 2018


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

Tonight marks Trish Spencer’s last night as Mayor, but before she goes it appears that she will get to exit on the one major policy issue that she feels strongly about and advocates for passionately: cannabis.

The City Council will move forward with the modification of the “youth center” language and will make some changes on how the term “owner” is defined in the ordinance.

And Trish Spencer gets one last chance to change her vote on the Wellness Center item on the second reading.  She can either be remembered — as others have pointed out — as the Mayor who opposed nearly every policy level decision designed to help the most vulnerable among us, or she can salvage this final vote.


December 17, 2018

Mayor of Bay Farm

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

The Statements of Vote are out for the November election, this is where you get precinct level data to know how your neighbors voted on the issues that you care about.  But it’s also a way to understand where support for various candidates come from around the city.  The most straightforward election (besides Measure K which I will talk about in a different post) is the race for Mayor.

The nutshell is: Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft dominated by winning the majority of the precincts.  There was one major weakness is Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft’s campaign: Bay Farm.   All but three precincts in Bay Farm went for Trish Spencer and they went big for her which is probably why she was ahead when the first dump came through on election night.  And even the precincts that Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft won on Bay Farm were very slight victories by only a handful of votes.  On the other hand where Trish Spencer won on Bay Farm she won big.  So the takeaway is, Trish Spencer’s language of obstruction is definitely one that the denizens of Bay Farm appreciated and wanted another four years of that.


December 14, 2018

You can’t spell politics without optics

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

Politics is a lot about optics.  You would think that folks that are truly enmeshed in the world of politics would weigh the perception of what they are about to do with the goal of what they want to do.  While the three School Board members who voted to change the rotating presidency back to an elected one might have done so with — what they believed — to be pure motives to ensure that the School Board is a well run operation, the perception from even folks who would normally be supportive of these individual elected officials is not so positive.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this because I’ve had some of my misperceptions of the role of President of the School Board corrected.  Apparently it is an outsized role and not, like the Mayor of the City Council, largely ceremonial.  But that only further makes me believe that the role of President should be rotated.  I’ve read some from people who think that the voting within the ranks is the most democratic because it shows that there is buy in from the other members of the Board, and that the president, to show his/her leadership, should be able to get at least the support of the majority.


December 13, 2018

A wrinkle in timing

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

I did a little more digging around the genesis around the language in the Sunshine Ordinance that staff is now seeking revision, specifically, this is how staff phrased the issue in the report on the agenda of the Open Government Commission, it’s long but I don’t want to omit the reasoning of the City Attorney’s office:

To our knowledge, for the first time since the Sunshine Ordinance’s adoption, the Commission ordered a first reading of two adopted ordinances null and void. The Commission does not have jurisdiction to annul a final Council, legislative action as such would constitute an impermissible encroachment on the Council’s power to repeal or grant final passage of any ordinance.

First, when viewed in context, the Sunshine Ordinance’s null-and-void remedy is without precedent. A survey of fourteen local jurisdictions that have adopted “Sunshine” ordinances did not reveal a single local jurisdiction with a null-and-void remedy. One such jurisdiction has clarified that violations of its ordinance do not invalidate actions to approve ordinances.


December 12, 2018

Making it worse

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

This agenda item isn’t up until next Monday but wanted to give folks some time to think about it and decide if it’s worth it for them to attend a very lightly attended meeting: the Open Government Commission.

I think I mentioned it as part of one of the youth center/cannabis business posts, but let me refresh your memories if you don’t remember.  There was a complaint filed with the Open Government Commission which alleged that the title and description of one of the cannabis related items was insufficient to give the public enough information to understand what was happening at that meeting.   The summary, from the latest OGC agenda item, of what happened:

On October 16, 2018, after a public hearing on the Planning Board’s recommendations, the Council introduced two ordinances amending the Cannabis Business Regulatory Ordinance and the Land Use Ordinance (Ordinance Nos. 3227 and 3228, respectively). In relevant part, at that meeting, the Council modified its original recommendation to staff from adding two “delivery-only” dispensaries (closed to the public) to adding two “delivery-required” dispensaries (open to the public). The Council voted 3-2 to approve those ordinances for final passage, after these items were pulled from the agenda to take further public comment, at the Council’s regular meeting on November 7, 2018.

On October 30, 2018, a member of the public filed a complaint with the Commission alleging the Council’s modification effectively increased the cap for full-service dispensaries from two to four. After conducting a hearing on the matter on November 14, 2018, Commission decided to sustain the complaint, and, in order to give force and effect to the penalty provisions of the Sunshine Ordinance that provides for a “null and void” remedy, ordered that the Council “re-notice” the October 16, 2018 agenda concerning the two cannabis ordinances, effectively calling for a new first reading of such ordinances, so that interested parties would have the opportunity to be heard at a new public hearing after which the Council would consider re-introducing the two ordinances.


December 11, 2018

Tactical maneuvers

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

Tomorrow THURSDAY night the new School Board will be sworn in which is always fun.   But here is a weird bit of business that’s on deck for the new School Board, they’re going to go back to the old method of voting for Board officers.  For those that recall, it used to be (before 2015) the School Board would vote from among its ranks a President and a Vice President.   I can’t remember but I think the Board Clerk is a new thing and didn’t exist before 2015.  The mechanism changed in 2015 to have these roles rotate between the School Board members.

From the staff report and apparently placed on the agenda by Board member referral:

Prior to 2015, every Board member was eligible for each office each year. In November 2015, the Board revised its board bylaws to change the way it elected its officers. Specifically, the Board created a mechanism by which board members rotate through the offices of clerk, vice president, and president.

Under the rotation policy, each year the Board elects a clerk who has not previously held Board office. Members holding office as clerk accede to vice president after one year. Members holding office as vice president accede to president after one year. Currently, per this policy, Member Dailey will become the President of the Board in January, and Member Williams will be the Vice President.

Now, Board members have asked to reconsider the rotation policy. If adopted, this revised bylaw would return to the pre-2015 practice of electing each office from among all members. The rotation system would be eliminated, and a new election would be held for all Board positions.


December 10, 2018

Now you’re looking pretty in a hotel bar

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

After a one meeting delay the hotel proposal next to the Harbor Bay Ferry is back on the agenda for the Planning Board.  This time there will be no lack of a majority vote at the BCDC to stop this particular project from getting a go ahead.   The Planning Board will have to twist itself into pretzels in order to find a reasonable way to say “no” to this project if that is the will of the majority.

The City is actively seeking from the project applicants to make arrangement so that the ferry riders can share the hotel’s parking lot and considering the drama over the residential parking and permit program that was instituted after neighborhood complaints, this could be a real bonus for the City.  From the staff report:


December 7, 2018

Love is all you need

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

A feel good story to take you into the weekend, the students and community of Haight Elementary has gone through the renaming process and it appears that the Haight community has overwhelmingly elected to change the name to Love.

From the AUSD press release:

Out of those names, the committee chose four to put before the Haight community for a “primary vote” on November 6: Don Grant, Niel Tam, Ohlone, and Love.

“Love” was the clear winner of the primary. On November 14, Haight students, families, and staff voted between keeping “Haight” or choosing “Love.” The last three 5th grade classes also had a chance to vote, as did close neighbors and businesses.

On November 30, representatives of the Alameda Chapter of the League of Women Voters counted the votes and found that the name “Love” led “Haight” by 471 to 203.


December 6, 2018

Better than your “Friends”

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

Today apparently is the day that the Registrar of Voters certifies the election results.  I wonder if, at this point, Trish Spencer will finally concede or if she’s going to continue to pretend as though the election never happened.

So just to wrap up from the meeting on Tuesday night since I just finished listening to the podcast audio.  I’ve decided that 2x speed was too fast so now I’m doing a solid 1.5x speed which I think is good for both the slower speakers and the fast speakers.   The City Council voted 4 – 1 to remove the G overlay and they voted unanimously to request a report from City staff about the impacts of the ballot initiative and bring back information about an accompanying ballot measure to finance whatever the ballot initiative is requesting.

There were, as you can imagine, a lot of really inspiring and moving public comment from folks urging the City Council to support the most vulnerable in our community.  One speaker pointed out that simply losing your home as senior citizen doesn’t immediately make one dangerous to children as some of the speakers were suggesting.  And, of course, there were some comments that were to be expected and so disappointing to hear such misinformation still being insisted upon by opponents to the project.  At one point, a speaker accused — and called out by name — a member of the public in the audience saying he had cursed and harassed her while she was collecting signatures.


December 5, 2018

Prioritizing privilege

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

Last night’s meeting sounded like a doozy.  I was actually hopeful that Mayor Trish Spencer would follow the lead of the Planning Board, which is comprised of all of her appointees, and either (1) abstain like two of the members or (2) do her job properly.  At her last meeting before the meeting to hand over her gavel Trish Spencer decided to pull a Trish Spencer.   You know, vote against an agenda item that she’s really, legally, not supposed to vote against and anticipate that the others in the room will do the right thing so she doesn’t have to.  It’s pretty pathological at this point.

Even with the staff reports saying that the City Council must remove the G overlay by law.

Even with staff giving the same information during the meeting to the City Council:

It’s as though she is not interested in performing the job as a member of a policy making body.  But you knew that already, right?


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