Be back on Tuesday.
February 12, 2016
February 11, 2016
As mentioned by commenter BMac even though the rent ordinance that is being presented on Tuesday night was designed by consensus or majority vote with, surprisingly, Mayor Trish Spencer providing the third vote on some of the individual issues there may be one large sticking point that Trish Spencer may not be able to get past: creation of a new bureaucracy.
Not that it’s going to be a huge bureaucracy but this is a woman that voted, alone, at the Alameda County Transportation Commission to not vote for staff salaries.
Anyway, here is the budget that staff believes will be necessary to implement and monitor the rent ordinance, it adds about $2 million to the City budget but the cost will be extracted via a per unit fee on rental housing.
From one of the attachments to the staff report:
February 10, 2016
Because yesterday’s post got seriously derailed, I’m going to repost this particular portion because it’s important to the discussion about the rent ordinance and there’s only a few more days left until the City Council votes on the issue next Tuesday. So this may look familiar to those who managed to get past the tweet of Frank Matarrese facing off a handful of sign wielding protesters.
Anyway, I wanted to start discussing the rental housing ordinance in pieces now that it is up for review on the City’s website. I think the most important message is: this is not rent control.
This ordinance is not rent control.
I know people want to call it rent control because it simplifies the discussion, but this ordinance is no where near rent control, at best it is rent stabilization.
February 9, 2016
Over the weekend there were some cryptic messages on the Alameda Renters Coalition Facebook page about meeting at the Carl’s Jr in Marina Village and that the target of their next action being close by. My first thought was that they were going to protest at the Panomar Apartment building given that they are a recent example of a mass eviction for capital improvements. Then I remembered something that was tweeted from the founder of the Alameda Renters Coalition, something along the lines of protesting the people with the ability to enact change as opposed to the bad actors.
And then I remembered, hey, Frank Matarrese lives near the Carl’s Jr at Marina Village and sure enough:
February 8, 2016
It’s pretty amazing how we’ll believe things like “four out five dentists recommend Crest” and similar without any question, but when someone states data that you fundamentally disagree with because it doesn’t fit into your world view then the questions about the validity of the polling data is suddenly suspect.
A while ago I received a copy of one of the polls that were conducted late last year. Lots of people reported receiving these phone calls and apparently there were multiple polls being conducted around the same time. The one that I received was indeed done by a legitimate polling operation and this one was funded by the City of Alameda. The polling was performed over five days in December and the sample size was 600 people. In case someone is going to discredit that amount because it’s too small, in comparison the Gallup polls, which is considered a legitimate polling operation, have a sample size of 1000 to represent the entirety of the United States. The margin of error is plus or minus 4%.
The percentage of people over 50 polled was 56%. Between 30-49: 34% and between 18-29: 10%.
Going into the Central Avenue meeting it’s pretty important that the results of the polling data is read accurately. So let’s look at what the polling data said specific to bicycle and pedestrian safety and infrastructure in Alameda.
February 5, 2016
One of the interesting bits to come out of the Tuesday City Council meeting — and no I haven’t not finished watching yet they did another super long meeting and I haven’t had a chance to get through all of it — was a lease for a building at Alameda Point. But it wasn’t the lease itself that was interesting rather it was the tenants in the building that made the item super interesting.
At Alameda Point building 29 is a space that was a former workshop and is located here:
February 4, 2016
So I am “friends” with some random people on Facebook. For a while I was pretty much just accepting most friend requests without a lot of scrutiny until I got paranoid and started wondering if that people were friending me to figure out my personal life or something like that. I don’t post a ton of personal stuff just the occasional witticism from one of my kids. Typically it just ends up being a thread of my twitter feed because it all cross posts from there.
Anyway one of my “friends” on Facebook is Stewart Chen, yes former City Council person Stewart Chen. When he asked on Facebook whether he should take another shot at running for City Council it took a lot of will power to not type in “yeah, I think not” in his comments section. Figured it wasn’t really my place to tell him that he squandered his incumbency and support the last time around by not being more forthcoming about his checkered past. And while I think his dismal performance on the City Council was more meaningful for voters to take in consideration I’m pretty sure that the expose was more damning than anything else.
February 3, 2016
A lot of people that are not fans of any sort of rent stabilization will point to the first dot com crash and say “hey rents fell during that time, we’re just making up for the times when we had to reduce or keep our rents flat.”
But of course Alameda hasn’t tracked any data on historic rents so it’s all sort of anecdotal based on home sale prices etc. So I did a quick Google search to see if I could uncover any sites that tracked rental housing prices over the years and lucky me I found this one: Vital Signs.
And it gave me more than I could hope for in the form of nifty graphs and data:
February 2, 2016
I meant to circle back to these video clips, but totally ran out of time. Here are the others that might be of interest that I’ll move quickly through but the bulk of the post will be on relocation benefits and discussion on whether and/or how to allocate relocation fees in the case that a tenant is evicted with “no cause” and/or “no fault” evictions.
Once a year rent increases: Council all agreed that tenants shouldn’t have their rents raised more than once a year.
Monetary penalties and enforcement: Council supported this, but the actual design of the monetary penalties were not defined and would be tackled “later.”
Sunset provision: Council agreed to a sunset of the ordinance and annual reviews of the ordinance.
Increase between tenants: This is actually one that the City Council will have made a significant change. And, to give credit where it’s due, Mayor Trish Spencer was actually the one was aggressively pursuing this one, but I’m not quite sure — based on the pushback from the city attorney — if what was being pushed by the City Council was necessarily kosher. Essentially what the City Council, by consensus wants, is upon eviction the landlord can’t charge more to the new tenant than what was collected from the old tenant.
Substantial Rehabilitation and Mass Evictions: Consensus on the requirement of a Capital Improvement Plan prior to eviction, details to be decided in the future. Staff will come back with more details about mass eviction percentages.
February 1, 2016
Also at Tuesday’s City Council meeting the City Council will vote on whether they want to approve the Housing and Community Development Needs Statement which is the precursor to the process of receiving Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding.
While it’s sort of a small agenda item and will probably be done with very quickly it’s important to note that the survey results that inform the needs statement reflects the general sentiment of the day particularly around housing.
Of all the objectives “Housing” ranked as the highest priority. Not really a surprise: