Blogging Bayport Alameda

July 9, 2020

Park it forward

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

The City Council majority did it folks, they have started the process to place A/26, the whole thing, on the ballot for November.  I’ll write more about this later because tonight is the Jackson Park item at the Rec and Park Commission.  This has been a largely lonely effort on the shoulders of one person since 2018 but with the confluence of national and local events finally waking everyone up to correcting the injustices of the past, it’s time for this renaming to happen.

So I did review the meeting from June 2018.  First let me provide you with a quick OMG moment.  So then Park and Rec Commissioner, Ruben Tilos, now Open Government Commissioner appointed by Tony Daysog questioned the number of people who signed the petition for the name change.  He then started wondering aloud about how many signatories would make something notable and then questioned the City Attorney as to how many signatures were needed for a signature based referendum.  The City Attorney answered that the number would be around 9000.  The Commissioner then exclaimed at how large than number was and that “9000 people don’t even vote in the city, sometimes.”

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July 8, 2020

Unceasing vigilance

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

Tomorrow night the Rec and Park Commission will be taking up the topic of Jackson Park and the renaming of said park.  I’ve written in the past about the stalled 2018 effort to rename Jackson Park and I’ve been trying to listen to the audio (because the minutes are really quite uninformative) to get a sense of why the 2018 effort stalled out.  I mean, it didn’t help that there were members at that time with a lot of skepticism about the renaming effort, but today the message from city staff is a lot more forthcoming about what the commission should do rather than leaving it up for a simple discussion.

But since were on the subject of tearing down monuments which has served to prop up racial inequity in Alameda (coughA/26cough), I was reminded recently of a post I had thrown up in 2016. For those that don’t want to click through, this was the featured snippet from some very old meeting minutes in 1943:

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July 7, 2020

Never too late

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

The City Council has a few options tonight with regard to A/26.   They can opt to continue on the path from early June and just place A/26-1&2’s repeal on the ballot or they can change course and decide to drop it all on November’s ballot and let the voters decide if they want to tear down this exclusionary monument to the status quo.

And if you want to know what City Staff thinks, they’ve given their option in the report.  One of the main reasons why they’re recommending placing A/26-3 for repeal as well is because after that meeting in early June, the numbers were released for the new Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA).

For the Bay Area the RHNA numbers for 2023 – 2030 is 441,176.  For comparison the RHNA for the Bay Area for 2015 – 2023 was 187,990.  Alameda’s portion for 2015-2023 was 1723 housing units which some people already thought was too high.  This was around 1% of the total Bay Area allocation.  A little less than that.  If Alameda were to get around the same percentage as before, a little less than 1% of the total for the Bay Area, we’d be looking at around 4043 units to find enough land and zoning to cover this number.

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July 6, 2020

Peace officer be with you

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

And speaking of fireworks, I’m surprised this hasn’t gotten more attention but on Thursday afternoon the City put out a press release about the independent investigation into the dancing while Black incident.  It started off as a standard, hey, here’s who we’re working with, at first. But the framing of the incident is, notable. From the press release:

The City of Alameda has hired Mr. Alfonso Estrada, Partner with Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo, to conduct an independent investigation of the May 23 arrest of Mr. Mali Watkins for resisting, delaying, or obstructing peace officers.

Did you catch that?  The bit about the arrest because Mr. Watkins was “resisting, delaying, or obstructing peace officers”?  This is not a great start.

According to the press release, Alfonso Estrada has worked with a few public safety organizations to produce other administrative investigations.  And then the press release goes on to read:

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July 3, 2020

Please stop scaring my dog

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

Nothing for today, hopefully the fireworks will end after Saturday.

Also Hamilton is on Disney +

July 2, 2020

To where you are

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

I think this is an important bit of business to talk in reference to the City Council and how they handle issues that arise in the community that are beyond the norm. Handling standard city business is something that has pretty clear parameters and staying within those brightly colored lines should be relatively easy. But when we’re talking about these larger issues without precedence: coronvirus, the future of policing…I don’t know if we should be staying within those brightly colored lines particularly when time is of the essence.

One of the things I appreciated in advance of Monday’s meeting was a thoughtful framework which was drafted by two members of the City Council for consideration as platform for discussion. (You can find it on Facebook either on Vice Mayor John Knox White’s page or Councilmember Malia Vella’s page) The framework was clearly well thought out on a topic that has strong feeling on both ends of the spectrum from “abolish the police” to “give the police more money and more latitude.” Policy making from the dais almost always leads to a hot mess. With this framework it gave opportunity for the community to digest what, at least, two members of the Council was considering and iterate from there.

Unfortunately Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft was not a fan of being, essentially, blindsided by the framework.

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July 1, 2020

#NotAll…

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

I’m going to preface this by saying if you watch Alameda meetings you should really be joining in on the fun that is the #alamtg hashtag on Twitter.  It makes you not miss 2x speed of listening to meetings.

I’ll also provide a warning that this post is going to not be that forgiving of Jim Oddie and his performance at Monday’s meeting.  I think what was disappointing for a lot of people, not just me, was that the narrative being pushed forward by Jim Oddie seemed to come from left field.  As in, this would be expected from Tony Daysog but from Jim Oddie, who previously prominently featured a Black Lives Matter poster on his Zoom wall but has since disappeared, this framing was so jarring.  It is in the spirit of expecting people who should do better to do better that I’m going to focus on this.  Plus, it’s like, what I do.

In the beginning Jim Oddie goes through discussing how he, as a white man, does not know the experience of BIPOC and the BIPOC experience with law enforcement, so it starts off well.  It takes a bit of a turn by, quoting Chicago’s Mayor, and saying that while defund the police is a nice hashtag, he’s not going to make policy by hashtag.  Given how many academics and policy shops have written thousands upon thousands of words on what defunding the police could look like and how this movement has been around for a long time the casual dismissiveness of the work of activists who have put their time and bodies on the front line of this issue as simply a “hashtag” is insulting.

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June 30, 2020

Uncomfortably numb

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

So we’ve been seeing Trump stickers being put up in Alameda.  (And please don’t even try to claim that the Trump brand is now not completely aligned with white supremacy)  Black Lives Matter signs being defaced.  White Lives Matter signs being placed on light poles.  But now, we have racist vandals hitting cars in the the East End with “All Lives Matter” tags and keying the vehicles of a Black family.  From a response by Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft:

This morning several families in an East End neighborhood, including an African-American family, discovered that their cars had been vandalized overnight with spray painted racist messages. The African-American family’s car was also keyed and the tires were gouged. But, the story doesn’t end with these cowardly, racist acts. Almost immediately, neighbors, passersby, and others who read about the incident on social media, showed up to offer support, warm wishes, and elbow grease. Individuals, including John Knox White, Alameda Vice Mayor, helped clean the spray paint from the cars while others wrote and drew chalk messages of support on the sidewalk. Councilmember Jim Oddie and Assistant City Manager Gerry Beaudin were also present. The African-American neighbors told me that they cried when they opened their front door this morning and saw their car, and were reduced to tears again when they saw the crowd that gathered to show their support.

Hate and intolerance have no place in our city, or any city, and will not be tolerated in Alameda. Alameda Police Department is investigating this incident. And, as demonstrated by our community’s response today, those who engage in cowardly, racist acts are greatly outnumbered.

Black Lives Matter

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June 29, 2020

Nest fouling

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

As was promised at last Tuesday’s City Council meeting, staff has duly scheduled a special meeting for Monday with the sole purpose of unbundling the police.  From the staff report:

City Council also endorsed a framework for future discussions with the community, including the following topic areas:

1. Unbundling Services Currently Delivered by the Police Department

2. Systemic Racism

3. A Review of Police Department Policies and Practices

4. Police Department Accountability and Oversight

5. A Review of Laws that Criminalize Survival

6. Other Matters which may be Pertinent [including vacancies]

It is amazing that in less than 30 years we’ve gone from a community which, largely, made excuses for the bad behavior of police officers to a community that now expects — no, demands — action to be taken.   Perhaps we’ll finally get to have a real conversation about the institutions in Alameda which exist that have allowed systemic racism to persist because we’ve been unwilling to talk about these institutions in any meaningful way.

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June 26, 2020

Motion sensing

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

I realized I never wrote about the City Council meeting from last week where folks were mobilizing to try to get the City Council to not approve the mid-year budget unless the City Council was going to cut the police budget.

It was definitely a righteous movement, but failed to understand how municipal budgets actually work.  Vice Mayor John Knox White and City Councilmember Malia Vella came prepared to acknowledge the anger and frustration of members in the community looking to make some sort of change but with an understanding that business still needed to be done.  And honestly if folks want to expend in excess of 2000 words to try to diminish the fact that this motion was able to keep the business of the City operating AND actually show the community that their concerns were heard then that’s their own nitpicky political baggage and not anything untoward about the actions of the City Council that night.

The motion, which was voted unanimously by the City Council:

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