Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 24, 2020

We’re opening doors

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

So we all know that of all the candidate for City Council the one who is actively going after the CRIME AND SAFETY crowd and promising to give Alameda as many police officers as Alameda desires is the guy who owes me both ice cream and donuts at this point: Gig Codiga.

But here’s an amusing juxtaposition which I had been meaning to write about but kept getting distracted about. Earlier this month the Alameda Police Department posted on their Twitter feed this reminder about parking on city streets:

And it reminded me of Gig Cogida’s written response to this question in Bike Walk Alameda’s candidate questionnaire. The question?

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September 23, 2020

Seeds of confusion

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

I suppose it’s a strategy but City Council candidate Amos White appears to be really leaning into the confuse people about your position on issues to help win him votes in November. The other day he posted this photo on his official Facebook page with the corresponding narrative:

No where does it make clear what his position is on Measure Z is which, for some people, is a litmus test on which candidates they should back as well. People may look at Amos White and recall his vocal “Black Lives Matter” stances and his advocacy early in the summer and think that his support for Measure Z would be an easy and natural position for him to take. After all, it’s been the Black community in Alameda who have felt the impacts of A/26 most distinctly over the years and it was members of the Black community with the courage to stand up against A/26 and sue the City of Alameda over the effects of A/26. But to have Amos White take the position of endorsing the status quo and accepting the endorsement of folks (ACT/ABA) who seek to keep everything the same doesn’t really square with the persona he’s trying to sell us all on.

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September 22, 2020

Nothing ’bout us that’s unsuitable

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

I know I have quoted liberally from this resource which was created years ago to memorialize the available reporting during the time when Modessa Henderson and Clayton Guyton sued Alameda over A/26.

Even though this piece of reporting occurred after the lawsuit was settled it’s notable because this incident happened after the 1991 vote to strengthen A/26 by adding the 2000 sq ft lot size requirement. What’s also notable to remember is that the Henderson/Guyton case was settled in 1990 and Alamedans immediately turned around in 1991, unfazed, and strengthened a law that was just challenged in court that the City Council was on record of saying they had settled to protect.

In 1992 we have reports of a “crowd of 500” cheering the Council’s decision to not file an application for state funds to build low income housing. Now, I was curious about what else might have been said at the meeting. I mean what was reported here was pretty egregious:

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September 21, 2020

Impact not intent

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

Someone sent me this piece and it’s timely in light of our vote on Measure Z. Time Magazine has an opinion piece from the CEO of Redfin. The thesis is that if we (individually and collectively) want to see changes in racial equity then it needs to start where we live. And simply putting up a Black Lives Matter sign doesn’t count.

From the piece:

Almost every improvement in racial justice that we can imagine, in wealth, education, opportunity, attitudes, and empathy, starts at home. We can’t just reform the police without also thinking about the boundary we ask the police to maintain, between two totally different worlds. We can’t expect to think of one another as equals, or even to understand one another at all, when we go to different schools, streets and stores. We can’t raise our fists at a Black Lives Matter protest, then return to an all-white neighborhood.

Most of us are familiar by now with why neighborhoods are segregated. From 1934 to 1962, the U.S. government outlined Black neighborhoods in red ink, refusing to insure mortgages in those neighborhoods; ninety-eight percent of mortgages at that time went to white Americans. From 1924 to 1950, the Realtor Code of Ethics forbid “introducing into a neighborhood… members of any race whose presence will clearly be detrimental to property values.”

Sound familiar Alameda?

And:

Those policies have changed, but Black home ownership hasn’t. The national home-ownership rate for Black Americans is the same as it was in 1968; at 44%, it’s still nearly half that of white Americans, at 74%. The wealth gap between Black and white Americans is the same as it was in 1968, with white families having 11.5 times more money.

As I pointed out in another post, Alameda’s Black – white homeownership gap is worse than the national average and worse compared to the regional average as well.

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September 18, 2020

Follow up and through

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

Wednesday night’s Bike Walk Alameda/CASA City Council Candidates Forum was nothing short of excellent. This forum gave us written answers which allowed candidates to deeply dive into certain subjects but then used the forum time to follow up on the information (or maybe lack of information) provided by the candidate in the written answers.

The questions were thoughtful and tough, but fair. The only problem was a lot of candidates avoided answering the questions and there was no push back to the non-answers.

Here’s the forum link, it’s long but really worth your time if these topic interest you at all. Even if they don’t interest you, it’s important to see what sorts of responses these candidates give when directly pressed. Some answered the questions directly, even if the answers may not have been the ones that this audience may have wanted to hear. Some candidates completely skirted around the issue and avoided answering directly at all. This, I find, to be an additional important metric for judging the fitness of a candidate.

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September 17, 2020

Brown M&Ms

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am
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September 16, 2020

Ownership gap

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

At one point in the Chamber of Commerce event a factoid was thrown out into the ring and led to absolutely no reaction from the other side. That piece of information? That of Alameda’s Black population only 7% of that population were homeowners. To that charge, opponents to Measure Z had nothing meaningful to rebut that information. However, I’m sure that there was some busy Googling that night or yesterday to try to prove or disprove that information.

That information came from the National Equity Atlas for a project about renters. Here’s the Alameda data:

There were only a handful of cities that this data was pulled for and it is a really good benchmark for where Alameda is when it comes to homeownership. As you can see 93% of Black households in Alameda are renters. Only 7% of the Black Alameda households own their homes. That is shocking but not surprising.

To compare, the Urban Institute pulled data of Black household home ownership numbers for the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward metro area and that percentage is 31.2%. There is a massive gap between Alameda’s Black household home ownership numbers and the metro area in which it sits.

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September 15, 2020

Little things mean a lot

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

File this one under either (1) incompetence or (2) deliberate misrepresentation. On City Council candidate Amos White’s website he’s hyping an endorsement from former City Council candidate Jennifer Roloff and now a sitting Disability Commissioner. For some reason he has her endorsement listed under “elected officials” which she’s not. An elected official that is. Unless they made the Commission on Disability an elected office.

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September 14, 2020

Business to business

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

The most recent “aha” argument that A/26 boosters against Measure Z has been to show off the publicly available campaign finance report as though this is some smoking gun.

The framing is that Measure Z is supported by “multi-millionaires.” The first two listings come from someone and his company who already publicly supported Measure Z in the form of signing the statement in favor of Measure Z, the CEO of Penumbra. Penumbra, quite possibly, may be Alameda’s largest employer right now and they’ve done it quietly and without much fanfare unlike other large businesses.

Penumbra, for those that don’t know, make medical devices and is headquartered on Harbor Bay. Given the fact that the market for anything medical related probably isn’t going to be slowing down, there is nothing but upside for a company like this. The only limitation is, of course, housing for its employees. Even the most die hard of development skeptics in Alameda would say that companies like Penumbra are exactly the ones that we want to lure to Alameda, but when companies like Penumbra say they need x, y, or z to grow their businesses these folks scoff and trust their gut rather than what these successful businesses are telling them. Take for example the hotels on Harbor Bay, most large companies on Harbor Bay supported these by explaining how they needed space for meetings off site or hotel rooms for visiting guests, but those fell on the deaf ears of people who proclaim in response to any housing development: why can’t we have more businesses?

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September 11, 2020

Till the bitter end

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

The latest organization to endorse a yes on Measure Z vote? The East Bay Times Editorial Board. Highlights:

As the Bay Area struggles to provide enough affordable homes near its urban cores, Alameda voters should eliminate the island city’s nearly half-century-old prohibition on multi-family housing construction.

But the proper ways to address those concerns are through the planning and environmental review processes. Like other cities, Alameda’s development should be governed by its zoning and general plan, which can be adjusted by the City Council to balance the needs and concerns of the community.

In practice, the current charter restrictions have often been ignored, both sides of the bitter fight over Measure Z agree. Thus far, there have been no legal challenges. But that’s not a reason to leave bad provisions that can discourage needed housing on the books.

I will point out that A/26 has been challenged legally though. One of the first challenges came from two Black Alamedans: Modessa Henderson and Clayton Guyton. Rather than defend A/26 in court and seeing signals that the judge was ready to rule against Alameda, the City of Alameda settled.

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