Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 18, 2021

Overlay

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

HCD has some great maps with overlays that are designed to help cities like our understand our demographics better so when it’s time to start planning those Housing Element and affirmatively furthering fair housing we know what metrics to use. Here’s the map for you to play around with but I also screen grabbed a few that I found interesting and notable.

Majority White and Asian tracts, there are no tracts in Alameda with a majority of Black or Latino families:

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June 17, 2021

Delay of services

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

If you follow me on Twitter you will know by now that the City Council meeting was a failure of time management all around. First there were too many things on the agenda in the first place. The budget discussion took a solid hour or longer to get through and that was on a special agenda, not even the regular agenda. By 10:00 PM the Council had just finished getting through the consent calendar, but that wasn’t the case either because there were some procedural hiccups which necessitated revisiting an agenda item. All in all, it was a mess and no substantive agenda items were completed for the regular agenda.

Reader, I clocked out at 10:30 PM because I’ve seen enough meeting to know they’re going to end poorly and it would be not worth it to try to see it out to the end. When I picked up the meeting the next day I thought I had made the wrong decision because it looked like a good hour and a half of discussion after I went to bed but turns out the Council did not get through the agenda item because a a supermajority of the Council didn’t want to add extra time after midnight to try to finish off the agenda item.

The agenda item that they abruptly left off at was the police reform and mental health services options.

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June 16, 2021

Preempted strike

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

Okay even though I’m super underwhelmed about the Planning Board punting on the issue of the resolution:

I am always impressed with some of the members of the Planning Board, particularly the newer members who have just been a breath of fresh air after some of the tedious Planning Board meetings of the past.

Essentially this Board recommended the resolution to the City Council but they didn’t feel comfortable making this particular declaration because they’re not lawyers and felt as though this was not within their wheelhouse of decisions to make. I disagree since the Housing and Community Development (HCD) department already made that determination for Alameda but this was an easy way to get out from the firefight that would be folks like ACT and AAPS insisting that A/26 is only “partially” preempted rather than the clearly, on its face violation of state law but agree to disagree.

The partial preemption is a strange tack because it doesn’t really do much other allow people who don’t want A/26 to be labeled as exclusionary have some sort of wobbly leg to continue to balance on. They can “feel” all the want that A/26 is not exclusionary in the face of all the descriptions and definitions of what is exclusionary housing but it won’t change the fact that A/26 falls squarely into those definitions of exclusionary housing.

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June 15, 2021

This agenda has everything

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

This City Council agenda is massive tonight, has a bit of everything including a conflict with the League of Women Voters AD18 candidate forum which seems like a huge misstep on the part of the League of Women Voters which should be attuned to important government meetings like, oh, say a City Council meeting and maybe schedule around that meeting.

What’s on deck:

  • Two performance evaluations
  • 2021 -22 and 2022 – 23 Budgets
  • Bike Ped Estuary Crossing project planning funding
  • Continuing COVID state of emergency (requires 4 votes)
  • Update on police reform including evaluation of mental health response program
  • Uses for homelessness grant monies
  • Call for review of HAB’s decision on the Wellness Center
  • And not one, not two, not three but four Council Referrals which could have been an email from Trish Spencer.
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June 14, 2021

Dispersed throughout the community

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

Yes I know I’ve written about affirmatively furthering fair housing and how that’s going to shape how Alameda plans to meet the RHNA numbers and getting our Housing Element certified but I’ve found that it typically takes repetition and reminding before people “get” a complex topic. Particularly a topic that they really, really don’t want to understand.

The passage of AB 686 created some new rules for Housing Elements moving forward, specifically it’s relevant for this upcoming cycle so if someone wants to complain that we haven’t had to do that in the past, yes it’s true. But now these are the rules we are now working with.

Now what does “affirmatively furthering fair housing” mean? According to the state:

Under state law, affirmatively further fair housing means “taking meaningful actions, in addition to combatting discrimination, that overcome patterns of segregation and foster inclusive communities free from barriers that restrict access to opportunity based on protected characteristics.”

And to ensure that jurisdictions don’t just say “yes, we are affirmatively furthering fair housing” and then turn around and do nothing they actually need to create a full program on how they are actually going to manage this:

Beginning January 1, 2019, all housing elements must now include a program that promotes and affirmatively furthers fair housing opportunities throughout the community for all persons regardless of race, religion, sex, marital status, ancestry, national origin, color, familial status, or disability, and other characteristics protected by the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Government Code Section 65008, and any other state and federal fair housing and planning law.


Additionally, all housing elements due on or after January 1, 2021, must contain an Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) consistent with the core elements of the analysis required by the federal Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Final Rule of July 16, 2015. [emphasis added]

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June 11, 2021

At odds with equity

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

Just a few excerpts from the staff report from the joint Planning Board and HAB meeting on the General Plan. So many emails on this from Bay Farm residents all asking for something to not be in their backyard yet not providing any alternatives other saying “not here.”

Highlights:

The draft General Plan Land Use Element includes policy LU-1 Inclusive and Equitable Land Use and City Design and policy LU-2 Complete Neighborhoods. (Shown below.) These two policies articulate the principle that all Alameda land use plans and regulations should be inclusive and non-discriminatory and that all neighborhoods should be treated and considered equal.

These policies also implement State Fair Housing law, which requires that Alameda identify housing sites throughout the community, in a manner that is consistent with its duty to affirmatively further fair housing (Gov. Code §  65583(c)(10)(A)).  To comply with fair housing requirements, Alameda must ensure that sites zoned to accommodate housing for lower-income households are not concentrated in lower resource areas and segregated concentrated areas of poverty, but rather dispersed throughout the community, including in areas with access to greater resources, amenities, and opportunity, such as Harbor Bay and East Alameda.   Historically, affordable and lower income housing has been concentrated in West Alameda, and the better school, parks, and amenities have been concentrated in East Alameda.

Resolution from the Harbor Bay Community and many emails received in the last month from Harbor Bay residents specifically request that their entire community of approximately 3,000 Alameda residents be “permanently removed” from consideration for providing any additional housing of any kind to assist the City of Alameda and the State of California in the effort to accommodate its regional housing need. Staff finds the Harbor Bay Association resolution at odds with the General Plan’s equity theme and a wide variety of policies in the General Plan that articulate the premise that all neighborhoods are equal, and that all neighborhoods should provide for a variety of housing types and needs, including affordable housing.  [emphasis added]

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June 10, 2021

I love this song, part two

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

My favorite staff reports always center around: “hey this is what happens if we don’t comply with state law” probably because all of the keyboard warriors sending out breathless emails about how long they’ve lived in Alameda, how many generations back they go, and how much they love Alameda more than the next person never seem to be bothered by, you know, facts and stuff.

So what happens if Alameda decides to go the route of throwing up two middle fingers to the State of California and deciding we’re not going to do anything to meet our RHNA and abide by state housing laws. Well, a lot will happen, some which I’ve mentioned here previously but am always happy to go over again and again.

From the staff report they’ve identified a few key areas with more detail under each header:

  • Financial consequences (regional funding, grants, housing allocations, CDBG money, tax credits to build affordable housing)
  • Shorter Housing Element update cycles. Right now it’s every eight years, without an on-time Housing Element, these need to be done every four years
  • Fines. Lawsuits can be filed to fine Alameda for every state housing law it’s in violation of and this is a monthly fine until the Housing Element is brought into compliance.
  • Cost of litigation, paying for it and possibly having to pay the legal costs of the other side.
  • Loss of Local Land Use Control. Exactly what it sounds like, the city wouldn’t be able to make decisions on land use (commercial and housing and possibly your own small home improvement project as well) instead it would go to a judge who be the decider and is typically not swayed by NIMBY talking points.
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June 9, 2021

I love this song

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

Folks it’s not always easy to get excited about city meeting agendas but I legit yelped in delight when I saw what City staff had in store for the joint Planning Board and Historic Advisory Board meeting. This meeting is a continuation of the larger discussion around the General plan, our RHNA allocation, and Housing Element. I’ll tackle the General Plan update agenda item some other time, but this agenda item about the Housing Element update is where the real drama lies.

Staff boldly offers this resolution language for the PB and HAB to consider recommending to the City Council to adopt:

There’s a lot in this agenda item which should help people understand why this process is important but few will read it. I’ll highlight that section in another post but wanted to stay on this extraordinary text.

It’s been super difficult for a lot of folks who love A/26, or rather love the exclusion and exclusivity that it brings to certain neighbors, to comprehend the fact that keeping A/26 in our charter means that every seven years we need to make the choice to either violate state law or violate Alameda’s City Charter. So far, we’ve done the latter. This seems not to bother A/26 true believers because so far the neighborhoods which have been affected by this charter violation have not been their own so they can blithely go about forgetting that this charter violation is no biggie when the City Council must take steps to violate the charter.

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June 8, 2021

#AD18

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

So I was honestly struggling about this vote. It wasn’t until my father asked me who I should vote for that I realized who I should also vote for because in my head, while it was all theoretical and I could debate it alone I had all sorts of lists of pros and cons and blah blah blah.

But when someone asks you for an opinion and you don’t want them to throw away their vote, that’s when it becomes real.

Reader, I told my father to vote for Malia Vella.

First, having someone from Alameda is a big deal and someone who has demonstrated time and time again that she stands for all the right issues that are meaningful to me is also a big deal.

Also we must send the cuteness that is Malia Vella’s children to Sacramento.

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June 7, 2021

Call for review (and response)

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

Some people decide that they want to be elected to the City Council to be a force for positivity and change to the city they are seeking to serve.

Others decide they want to cape for the status quo and give a gigantic middle finger to the most vulnerable folks in the community.

Councilmembers Tony Daysog and Trish Spencer are the latter.

After the Historic Advisory Board voted to approve the certificate of demolition for the Wellness Center site despite pressure from AAPS to go rogue because AAPS interpreted that HAB doesn’t need to follow any guidelines on what it can determine is historic, the path was again open for the Wellness Center project to proceed. But, there was one neat trick still up the sleeves of the Wellness Center opponents and that was the old Call for Review which now requires two members of the City Council to make happen after the Calls for Review had been severely abused during Trish Spencer’s turn at Mayorship.

It appears that the Call for Review may have been written by a certain Open Government Commission member since it sounds so familiar, but I highly enjoyed the responses by the City Staff person in a point by point rebuttal of the eye-crossingly unreadable document produced by Trish n’ Tony. I like to imagine the staff member backspacing the word “duh” after the conclusion of every retort.

Duh #1:

The Call for Review claims that the HAB did not make the required Certificate of Approval findings required for Historical Monuments in AMC Section 13-21.5.  AMC Section 13-21.5 states that approval of a Certificate of Approval to demolish a Historical Monument requires a finding that “the Historical Monument no longer meets the criteria therefore, or has become a detriment to the community and that the condition making it a detriment cannot readily be cured.” 

The Call for Review also claims that the Draft Resolution attached to the HAB Agenda does not accurately reflect the final vote of the HAB.

Response #1:

AMC Section 13-21.5 applies to demolition of Historical and Cultural Monuments, which are local landmarks designated by the City Council.  AMC Section 13-21.5 does not apply to properties on the Study List.  The subject buildings on the McKay Wellness Center property are not Historical Monuments.  Therefore, the findings referenced by the Call for Review do not apply to the HAB’s decision to approve a Certificate of Approval to demolish buildings on the Study List.   

The HAB’s Draft Resolution does not reflect the final votes because the draft resolution is published before the public hearing and before the vote of the HAB.  The final vote is included in Historical Advisory Board Resolution No. HAB-21-01.

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