Blogging Bayport Alameda

January 26, 2022

Fool me twice…

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

Next week the City Council has a shortie agenda item which means that, hopefully, they’ll be able to finish up all the outstanding Council Referrals, but the one item which is on the agenda is around ALPRs aka license plate readers. License plate readers appear to be extremely popular with folks in law enforcement and for folks who see crime and danger around every corner. Based on the correspondence which has so far come in to the City Council it appears the bulk of those folks are Bay Farm residents.

If you haven’t read the staff report, which I highly recommend doing, this time around staff has opted to not mention the fact that they were unable to find reports and studies that demonstrated the efficacy of LPRs. Instead they trotted out the old Obama umbrella via a 2015 framework on how policing can rebuild lost trust within communities to tenuously connect LPRs to this framework.

I mean, I would argue that the first step to building trust would be to have a firm footing for advocating for new toys other than making people “feel” safe. There are no studies which have been offered which can connect LPRs with improved policing outcomes. So this ask is based around asking the City Council and the community to trust the police force that it is (1) needed and (2) won’t be abused. Given the recent history around APD with new toys, one can be forgiven for being skeptical about a “trust me” stance.


January 25, 2022

Tell me something good

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

This snippet from Councilmember Tony Daysog is what I was going write about on Friday but got waylaid by all the other baggage around this one agenda item.

Tony Daysog decided to, essentially, ask this group — as part of their task to develop an inclusionary plan for the City of Alameda, the organization — to reassure Alamedans that Alameda is and was not racist. And, naturally, because Tony Daysog likes to vie with Trish Spencer over who can be the least intellectually curious among the elected Alameda City Council, had this to say:


January 24, 2022

Death by a thousand cuts

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

I’m honestly shocked to see there is no public correspondence for tonight’s Planning Board agenda item. Maybe the resident A/26 boosters have just tuckered themselves out fighting all of the battles which have come before. Maybe A/26 boosters are saving their energy for bigger and more significant fights like battling all state housing laws via Livable Cities and the like because tonight’s PB meeting is pretty significant in Alameda’s journey to Housing Element compliance. There’s no vote tonight just a workshop but it will be discussion around which housing types should be allowed in certain zones.

Specifically per the staff report:

As described in the Draft Housing Element update, staff anticipates the need to process amendments to the R-2 through R-6 zoning districts and the mixed-use zoning districts (C-1, C-2, and CC) to accommodate the RHNA and address fair housing requirements in state law.  Staff is also working on multi-family overlay districts that may be used in specific areas to accommodate the RHNA, such as the shopping center sites.   These amendments will accomplish two objectives:

•                     Remove or lessen governmental constraints on housing development to increase production of housing in each district to help accommodate the RHNA.

•                     Bring the AMC into compliance with state law, including fair housing law.

This workshop focuses on the second objective, ensuring that Alameda’s zoning regulations do not discriminate or exclude certain types of housing that are needed to address the housing needs of all segments of the community as required by Government Code Section 65583.  

I figure that whenever Alameda’s A/26 boosters see the term “fair housing law” they immediately tense because there’s always going to be a discussion of A/26 when it comes to fair housing.


January 21, 2022

Do the hustle

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

On Tuesday night an item was pulled off the consent calendar that I didn’t even notice on the consent calendar because it seemed pretty benign and work that was important for the City to move forward on because of the 2020 action taken by the City Council to declare racism a public health crisis. Basically the item was to bring on well respected consultants to examine the City of Alameda as an organization (so not like you and me but the people who work for the machine that runs the city) and develop a much needed diversity, inclusion, etc plan for the City.

I’ll note that someone who logged into a past City Council meeting and proclaimed Councilmember Trish Spencer his “hero” charmingly declared in the comments of Facebook feed of this meeting that the City was:

Of course the worshipper of Trish Spencer couldn’t even be bothered to provide actual correct facts about the amount, it’s $250K and the “tax money” thing came directly from the mouth of Trish Spencer who expressed concern about spending this amount of money and tried to get the City Manager to promise that they wouldn’t try to raise taxes if the City was going to spend this amount of money. Put a pin in this concern about money when the subject of automated license plate readers comes before the Council and people point out that there’s no reports which show the efficacy of ALPRs. But I digress.


January 20, 2022

Not playing

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

An addition to the HCD is not playing around files, Beverly Hills is the latest jurisdiction which HCD has reviewed its Housing Element, laughed heartily, and said, “yeah, no.”

I thought the part about the “unrealistically high ADU production forecast” and “lack of commitment to constraint removal” was particularly relevant to Alameda since we’ve had folks saying that we’re underestimating our ADU capacity and well…Measure Z anyone?


January 19, 2022

Getting to yes

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:19 am

Amazingly enough Encinal Terminals is moving forward. There were four votes to move the project forward even though the project was looking grim from the start. After the presentation, clarifying questions, and public comment (all in support of moving the project forward) there was a quick motion by Councilmember John Knox White to approve the project with a second by Vice Mayor Malia Vella:

You might be raising your eyebrow at the “negotiating in good faith” quote but that’s exactly what she said. The Mayor was also curious about this but it was clarified that Trish Spencer had outlined to staff what her concerns were and where her sticking points were and then staff went to the developer to see if there was any movement on their part in order to bring Trish Spencer to a yes vote.


January 18, 2022

Shakedown, breakdown

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:29 am

Encinal Terminals is back on the agenda for tonight’s City Council meeting after being continued after the last meeting even before the meeting started. Nothing much has changed except for the inclusion of a lot more letters from the community asking for the same thing that the Sierra Club did: a shakedown on the project to fund a completely different project three miles away. Specifically this waterfront project is being asked to fund Depave Park at Alameda Point to the tune of millions of dollars.

If this is the cost to approve the Tidelands exchange then no one should wonder why new units are so expensive. Why, this amount alone would add $3400 to each unit and that doesn’t include all the other development fees that are piled on to each new development. I’m fairly sure the City once got dinged about asking developers to pay for park related fees that they couldn’t find a nexus for justifying the benefit to residents of the new project and the fund they were being asked to pay into. I know that City Staff is quite good at massaging language to justify most fees so it will be interesting to see if they can do it in the face of this coverage that these “environmental” groups are giving to — at least two — City Council members to not approve the Tidelands swap.


January 14, 2022

Paid for by

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

For ACT and AAPS out there trying to sell their SunCal plus plan for the City to meet its Housing Element RHNA numbers, I offer this:

If we know it’s going to be rejected, we shouldn’t even think about putting it in to the housing element if we want to retain local control over development in Alameda (and get those sweet grant dollars).

But I wanted to point to this article in the East Bay Times whatever the iteration it is right now which scoured the Bay Area to try to find the hoards of evil developers (aka property owners) who were knocking down the doors of their local City Halls to start enforcing their SB 9 rights and start subdividing land to ruin all that is special and good about their cities. Turns out, the first place they found was….Palo Alto.


January 13, 2022

Moving constituents to bcc

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

Turn away if you are too fragile to read criticisms of Trish Spencer.  

As I mentioned after the last City Council I put in some PRA requests based on some of Trish Spencer’s Council Referrals.  You see Trish Spencer made it seem like she has already exhausted all remedies before placing the Council Referral.  Like she had actually done work and staff was non responsive and, therefore, she needed to provide some sunshine to disinfect the lack of attention given to constituent issues by staff.  

The one closed PRA request involved Trish Spencer’s referral about RV parking.  She was not satisfied with the response by City staff regarding her inquires about Alameda’s policies about RV parking.

Honestly it appears as though the genesis of this PRA was due to the proliferation of RV parking at Alameda Point which appeared to be folks who did not have permanent addresses more than any real concern about enforcement differences from one end of the island to the other.


January 12, 2022

What’s old is still old

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

I felt this Atlantic piece deep in my core. As a person who sought out new construction time and time again because of the pain in the ass factor of maintaining an older home, I never understood the romanticization of old homes. Old electrical systems, failing plumbing, weirdo drainage, lack of insulation, no weatherization…hardest of passes. Highlights:

[A] housing market in crisis: Americans are paying ever more exorbitant prices for old housing that is, at best, subpar and, at worst, unsafe. Indeed, the real-estate market in the U.S. now resembles the car market in Cuba: A stagnant supply of junkers is being forced into service long after its intended life span.

In housing circles, one hears a lot of self-righteous discussion about the need for more preservation. And many American homes doubtless deserve to stick around. But the truth is that we fetishize old homes. Whatever your aesthetic preferences, new construction is better on nearly every conceivable measure, and if we want to ensure universal access to decent housing, we should be building a lot more of it.

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