Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 22, 2015

[Insert name here] doesn’t live here anymore

Filed under: Alameda, Public Resources — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

If memory serves somewhere in the City Charter or the municipal code there’s something about residency requirement for the City Manager and City Attorney positions in Alameda.  I vaguely remember something about this because during the reign of Ann Marie Gallant I think it was the City Attorney that did not live in Alameda at the time.  I seem to remember sending an email to the City Attorney about it, but was told it was not enforceable or something like that.  I don’t think I ended up writing about it because residency requirements seem to be a bit heavy handed, but I can see that rationale of wanting public safety staff living in Alameda because of the proximity in case of emergency.

Doing a quick google search there are a bunch of articles about residency requirement for public service employees, and it’s used in varying degree by governments large and small.  I can get behind the general sentiment of wanting public servants also to be invested in the community that they serve, but the topic is much more nuanced than just that sentiment.

For me, I found this compelling from the NY Times in 1991, that residency requirements could be used as a de facto discrimination tool, particularly in wealthy cities where lower income people simply cannot afford to live.  From the article:

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May 21, 2015

You’re never fully dressed

Filed under: Alameda, City Council — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

I haven’t finished watching Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, but I did watch the section about the contracts for Fire Station 3 and the Emergency Operations thingie.

The discussion went off the rails rather quickly with tangentially related items being brought up like salt water pumping stations. The part that was most puzzling and mildly entertaining was when Trish Spencer asked about the ICMA report aka the report that proves that we only need a garden hose and some galoshes to fight fires in this town. Interim Fire Chief Doug Long (is he official yet? I can’t recall, but after last night he deserves it) basically said that the ICMA report is problematic and people in other towns have figured out that ICMA may not be the experts that some would make them out to be.

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May 20, 2015

Drive like your children live here

Filed under: Alameda, Public Resources — Lauren Do @ 6:00 am

Someone posted this on Facebook the other day and I thought it would be nice to post this given the discussion about Complete Streets on Central.  It’s from the New York Taxi and Limo Commission and is a reminder that we all should be mindful when venturing out in public whatever mode of transportation we use.

But it’s particularly important for those of us that use our cars and get complacent in our vehicles.  While it may be an inconvenience to may only be able to drive 30 mph instead of 35 mph in a 25 mph zone, in the end it only adds a few extra seconds to your drive if you stay at 25 mph in the zones marked as such.

The video is about 15 minutes long, it’s definitely a tear jerker.

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May 19, 2015

A woman’s place

Tonight’s City Council meeting appears to be on the boring side, but it’s in some of the consent items that there should be some drama.  In fact, it’s too bad that Jim Oddie didn’t wait until tonight to pull out the story about the ACTC representative and Trish Spencer for the agenda item approving Measure BB Master Program Funding.

As a reminder, Jim Oddie recounted that a high level staff member at the Alameda County Transportation Commission was told by Trish Spencer that she did not want the Broadway/Jackson project or BRT in Alameda.  Trish Spencer did not deny that she said that to a staff member at ACTC just that she didn’t recall the topic ever coming up during those meetings and that it was inappropriate for Jim Oddie to bring up the topic without talking to her “offline” first.  Well, here it is, a chance for Trish Spencer to definitively whether she supports Broadway/Jackson and BRT.   The resolution states the policy of this City Council moving forward about the projects that will be funded by Measure BB, including both the Alameda to Fruitvale BART BRT and the Broadway/Jackson improvements:

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May 18, 2015

“We want our own lane, for cars!”

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Development, Public Resources — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

A few weeks ago there was a petition and a corresponding Twitter account to promote a movement called “I Drive Alameda” and, to be completely honest, I thought it was some sort of parody account.  Like so. Turns out, it was not a parody account, it was actually a real petition.

A quick view of the comments on the Facebook page shows that most people appear to be most concerned with a reduction in parking spaces with the plans to turn a stretch of Central into a “Complete Street.”  For those that regularly use Central, you’ll know that there is not a bike lane on the section between Webster and Third Street.  It is a street that has a lot of pedestrian crossings because of Paden’s location on the water side of Central.  There’s also a heavily used pedestrian crossing near the old St. Barnabas school that is hostile to pedestrians who must wait for cars to notice them before attempting to cross.  All in all given the resources across the street from Central (schools, parks, retail) the street itself is not that friendly to anyone not using a car.

Anyway, as per usual for anything that may be a change in Alameda, some folks jump to immediate conclusions about how bad it’s going to be and assume that the thing that they love the most will be the first thing wrested from them due to these changes.

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May 15, 2015

In N Out and About

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

For those way behind: In N Out is open!

When I happened by the location yesterday there was a queue in the drive thru, but nothing of the Oakland location lengths, yet.  Probably because at that moment a lot of people probably didn’t know it was open yet.   On Wednesday there was some fancy schmancy VIP-ish event that required yellow wrist bands and all for entry.  Okay, I also heard that it was for friends and family of people who were hired to work there as well.  I did not go, in case you were wondering, because I didn’t want my blogger integrity to be compromised by free doubles doubles and milkshakes.

Of course I really didn’t go because I’m anti-social.

But what I love most about this whole In N Out opening, is this review that was posted on Yelp from some guy who snuck into a staff meeting and no one realized he wasn’t an actual employee and technically was the first member of the public to enjoy Alameda’s In N Out.  I admire that sort of boldness.   However, apparently it has since been removed from Yelp.  Boo, Yelp, boo.

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May 14, 2015

Broadway/Jackson fight

Now you all know that Jim Oddie is not my favorite City Council person.  But on Tuesday night he really redeemed himself by asking a series of questions during the Public Works budget presentation that lead up to the final “gotcha” question.  It was like those scenes in any Real Housewives show when a character that you’re kind of lukewarm on takes on the HBIC (look it up) and redeems herself to lock in a contract for the next season.

Like that.

So here’s the lead up.  Jim Oddie starts slowly by asking about the different projects in the Capital Improvement Plan and how they align with Measure BB and whether each and every project was something that was supported by the City of Alameda.  The two of particular concern were Bus Rapid Transit and the Broadway/Jackson project.  He also asks staff about the purpose of the Broadway/Jackson project and — for those that don’t know — it’s to relieve pressure off the tube because the back up usually happens on the Oakland side when the pedestrian signal is depressed and then getting on to the actual on ramp. After the line of question he then says, let me do the back and forth dialogue: (more…)

May 13, 2015

Peets-gate

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Public Resources — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

For those who watched the City Council meeting from a few weeks ago (I’ve lost all track of time as to when these meetings happen anymore) you might recall during the discussion about the new MOUs for public safety two people alluded to sitting in coffee shops bad mouthing public safety.  In case you were wondering what or who that referred to, it’s all in this letter that was sent to Mayor Trish Spencer yesterday (cc-ing the rest of the Council and the Interim City Manager).

Reading the whole thing is highly recommended but let me screen cap some of the best (and most interesting parts):

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May 12, 2015

Victor scrum

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Public Resources — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

Tonight there is yet another City Council meeting on, what else, the budget.   Can I just say that whoever on City Staff (or maybe it was a consultant firm) that put together the Capital Improvement Program budget presentation did a phenomenal job. It is very impressive and professional looking and really tells a story about the projects that have been completed and those in the pipeline.

But instead of writing about the budget meeting tonight instead I’m going to write about what happened at one of last week’s City Council meetings during Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft’s Council Referral about appointments to regional boards.  What was a bit frustrating about the comments that resulted from the Referral is that it appeared that some of the City Council members wanted to rewrite the narrative as to why Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft placed the referral on the agenda.  Really the whole thing was quite simple, the rationale for placing it on the agenda was two fold:

  1. To align the process of regional appointments with Alameda’s boards and commissions process, meaning that the Mayor would nominate and the City Council would approve.
  2. Ensure that the votes that are taken at these regional boards align with Alameda’s position on these issues and support the work that Alameda has already done.

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May 11, 2015

APPealing

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Point, Business, City Council, Development — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

Tonight will be a big vote for the Alameda Point Partner’s Site A project at the Planning Board.  It’s a two pronged vote and APP will need an unanimous vote to provide an united front when going before the City Council for the big vote which will require four out of the five City Council votes for approval.

First prong is an approval vote for the Planning Board to decide whether to adopt the Development plan and grant the Density Bonus application which — as I’ve mentioned before — is a just a straight request for a waiver from Measure A, no additional “bonus” units requested.  While an unanimous vote is not necessary, I think it’s critical to the developer to “win” over the swing vote: Frank Matarrese.

The second prong is recommending to the City Council to approve the Development Agreement which is a contract of sorts between the City and the developer.  Any vote less than an unanimous one will give the fence sitters (okay, fence sitter) a possible out to vote against the deal.

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