Yet another article about the housing crisis in the San Francisco Bay Area, but this one pointing out that the crisis in San Francisco itself has a lot to do with the reluctance of its suburbs to build housing. Featured as one of the quotes is director of legislative and public affairs at MTC (and Alameda resident), Randy Rentschler. Highlights from the piece:
In the Bay Area, the cities that have shut their doors to housing are the suburban municipalities that contain most of the region’s population. “The smaller communities, in my opinion, need to step up, and I don’t see that happening,” San Francisco planning director John Rahaim says. “There’s such a huge demand in general and that can’t be met just by the big three cities.”
Hat tip to vigi about this one, back to the saga of Neptune Point aka Crab Cove aka the land that EBRPD wants. Last year-ish the Feds filed a claim with the US District Court to condemn McKay Avenue which, ostensibly was under the control of the EBRPD, and so was holding up any sale of the Neptune Pointe land.
Well the decision is in from the US District Court and it is not good news for EBRPD. Of course all lower court decisions can be appealed, so it’s not clear if this is a legal battle that EBRPD and the State of California want to fight with the considerably deeper pockets of the Federal Government, but, stranger things have happened. The file is attached here and I have excerpted portions below:
Earlier this week the City of Alameda sent out a Press Release and Community Advisory about the vote on Alameda Point. And almost as soon as it went out another email went out asking that the media type folks that received it try to incorporate the revisions that would be sent out later that day. Well, the revised press release didn’t get sent out until the next day and so I thought, for funsies, I would compare the two press releases to see what was so important that a revised version be sent out even though the first press release seemed to cover what should be covered.
A side by side:
Did anyone catch the Alameda Magazine article about the new Harbor Bay Club? I guess sometimes it takes people from not within Alameda to cast a different eye on a controversial topic. I have to say, I totally enjoyed the article even though I’ve grown pretty apathetic to the whole Harbor Bay Club drama. Some highlights:
Of course, Alamedans are notoriously fickle when it comes to development. Some opposed remodeling of the Alameda Theatre, but later fell in love with it. Others were initially leery about building a new city library. These days, many are hostile to development at Alameda Point.
In November’s election, Alamedans once again applied the brakes to development on the Island, this time rejecting the pro-development impulses of then-Mayor Marie Gilmore. As part of that shift, members of the Harbor Bay Neighbors worked hard to elect two City Council members who reportedly had pledged not to support the Cowans, Councilman Frank Matarrese and Gilmore’s replacement, new Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer.
All right, this one is a doozy folks.
Not sure if everyone realizes but Alameda just became a “Sister City” to a town in the Philippines called Dumaguete. The Mayor from Dumaguete visited and everything and apparently little tokens were presented and some formal ceremony was conducted in the Council Chambers earlier this month. See photo here.
These ceremonies are typically fairly perfunctory, each official says nice things about the other town and everything is hunky dory. Except, this is Alameda we’re talking about and this is Trish Spencer, Mayor, we’re also referring to, so, naturally, not everything went swimmingly and that was expressed in what can only be called an apology letter from one of the Sister City organizers.
Highlights in clip form because I can’t cut and paste!
You may notice that I’m phoning it in a little a posting a ton of stories from other sources, well, it’s summer and people tend to go on vacations at disparate times so I’m taking advantage of the lull and posting pieces that I have been saving up for a while now. Next up, how NIMBYism affects the economy. From City Lab:
The researchers show that increased “wage dispersion” from 1964 to 2009 has held back U.S. GDP growth by a whopping 13.5 percent of what it could be.
“This amounts to an annual wage increase of $8,775 for the average worker,” the paper reads.
Hsieh and Moretti came up with a way to measure what local output and national growth would look like if wage dispersion were equalized. They proposed a model that lowered the regulatory housing constraints in New York, San Francisco, and San Jose to the level of a median city. If workers were able to cross over from low-wage cities to high-wage cities—that is, if New York, San Francisco, and San Jose were to lower barriers to new housing and let them in—then GDP could rise by 9.5 percent.
To close out the week, here’s is a funny piece on why we have such visceral reactions to those who use bicycles for more than just a leisurely weekend pedal around the block, from Slate:
Despite such statistics, lots of drivers assume all people on bikes are assholes like me. In doing so, these motorists are making an inductive fallacy, not unlike saying, “Of course he beat me at basketball—he’s Asian like Jeremy Lin and Yao Ming.” Now, you might be thinking to yourself that you’ve seen more than one or two suicidal cyclists in your day—that these roaches on two wheels are an infestation that’s practically begging to be squished underfoot (and by “foot” you mean “my Yukon Denali”).
First off—wow, that is disturbingly violent. Second, your estimate of the number of asshole cyclists and the degree of their assholery is skewed by what behavioral economists like Daniel Kahneman call the affect heuristic, which is a fancy way of saying that people make judgments by consulting their emotions instead of logic.
The affect heuristic explains how our minds take a difficult question (one that would require rigorous logic to answer) and substitutes it for an easier one. When our emotions get involved, we jump to pre-existing conclusions instead of exerting the mental effort to think of a bespoke answer.
I don’t often link to the Alameda Sun that much anyway, it’s become a bit, tedious, but OMG, what a response from Planning Board President Mike Henneberry to Eric Cross. So just to recap, in case you weren’t following the drama, Eric Cross sent in a letter to the editor a (late-ish) complaint about the public safety contract that was approved by three of the five City Council members, including fiscal conservative Frank Matarrese. Actually, in reading it again, he wasn’t complaining about public safety in general, he was specifically just upset about the Firefighters even though the Police Department got the same deal and set up.
Anyway, Mike Henneberry decided to tackle the topic head first and — at the same time — identified one of the members of the infamous Peets Coffe Klatch which, I am assuming, no longer meets at Peets anymore.
The City Council voted to approve the Site A project in a 5-0 vote, but of course after lots of positive public speakers, only one solidly against.
Then there was this bit of snippy weirdness as captured by a play-by-play tweeter last night:
I don’t think I’m overreaching if I say that tonight’s City Council vote on Site A at Alameda Point is probably the biggest issue to come before this Council since they have been seated. The one vote which has the potential to be derailed is the vote on the Disposition and Development Agreement which requires a vote of four out of five of the City Council members. I’m not feeling particularly optimistic for Site A, but I’m really hoping that my uncharacteristically pessimistic attitude will be proven wrong by an unanimous vote. Hell, I’d settle for a four to one vote at this point, I don’t require unanimity.
If you click on the link above it leads you to a full page of all the documents that exist and that should be able to answer any question that you might have if you’re willing to do some reading. Staff is recommending that the City Council take affirmative action on all the items that are coming before them tonight, just to keep tabs there are three major votes:
(1) Adoption of Resolution Upholding the Planning Board Resolution No. PB-15-09 Approving a Development Plan for the 68-Acre Mixed Use Development Plan in the Waterfront Town Center Plan Area Referred to as “Site A” at Alameda Point and Approving a Density Bonus Waiver;
(2) Introduction of Ordinance Approving a Disposition and Development Agreement (and Related Documents) between the City of Alameda and Alameda Point Partners, LLC (APP) for the Site A Development at Alameda Point [Requires four affirmative votes]; and
(3) Introduction of Ordinance Approving a Development Agreement between the City of Alameda and Alameda Point Partners, LLC for the Site A Development at Alameda Point.