Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 3, 2016

Don’t let the door hit you

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

Two articles pretty much the same sentiment.  When there is a housing shortage people of color and the working class are first to get pushed out.

From the LA Times about the exodus of Blacks from progressive West Coast regions like Seattle, Portland, and naturally the San Francisco Bay Area.  Highlights:

Lower down the coast, the San Francisco Bay area has lost black residents since 2000, though recent estimates suggest that it may have halted the exodus since 2010. San Francisco proper is only 5.4% black, and the rate is falling

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May 2, 2016

Close the door behind you

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

The Washington Post is running a series on the “Divided American Dream” which should be a familiar refrain if you’ve been keeping up with national election rhetoric.  But first in the series is about Stockton, CA.  Now you might be saying, “what does Stockton have to do with Alameda?”

Well, a lot in that Stockton is the suburb to the San Francisco Bay Area as a whole because actual suburbs and exurbs like Alameda throw up barriers to building its fair share of housing at every turn. (Ex. see Call for Review on Webster Street mixed use project.  If a project on a street that has services and retail, easy public transportation links, and is imminently walkable — and will bring two affordable housing units on line — cannot be built without running 1000 gauntlets because it has asked for a reduction in the parking minimums then what can get built?)

But I digress.

Anyway, read the whole article, but here are some highlights.

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April 29, 2016

Process over outcome

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

Folks, here’s what political purity looks like on a local level.  At last week’s City Council meeting there was an agenda item on the mid-year budget.  The discussion went as well as discussions typically go at the City Council.  There was, as usual, confusion about what had previously happened.  Long drawn out conversations about emails from the public about very specific niche issues that would have been better with a summary from staff as opposed to an interrogation by Mayor Trish Spencer.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

Anyway, this was an agenda item that was supposed to be heard several meetings ago, but because of the Council’s inability to actually get through an entire agenda item in one night this agenda was heard meetings later.  Some of the issues that needed to be resolved included:

  • The Recreation and Parks Department is requesting $25,000 for the Encinal dock replacement that was condemned due to safety concerns. Replacement is needed to give public an access to the facility.

  • The Library is requesting $15,000 to cover the cost of state-wide minimum wage increases that became effective on January 1, 2016. This increase was not included in the department’s adopted budget.

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April 28, 2016

Bridging the gap

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

When it rains it pours I guess.  After years of great work being done in relative obscurity some of Ruby Bridges Elementary’s best assets are coming to light.  First with the recognition of super star teacher leader Mandie Cline and now with a nice piece in the Alameda Magazine about Noor Hezam, a teacher’s aide, at Ruby Bridges.

But to just call her a teacher’s aid is to minimize the outsized role that Mrs. Noor plays at Ruby Bridges.  Given the very large English Language Learner population at Ruby Bridges she often works as the communication outlet between staff and families, particularly for the larger Arabic speaking community at Ruby Bridges.

From the piece:

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April 27, 2016

Building blocked

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

If you have followed any sort of housing policy discussions in the Bay Area no doubt you’ve heard of SFBARF.  Equally admired/reviled I know that the founder of the group has been accused of everything from being a shill to group being some fakey astroturf operation. But you have to hand it to Sonia Trauss, few people could deal with the seething hate that gets directed her way by anyone that she tosses a “NIMBY” at.

It’s not surprising though when I started this blog 10 years ago my “rah rah” housing standpoint was side-eyed and I regularly accused of working for a “developer.”  Fairly sure that some people who figured I would go away after one or two years (because of the whole working for a developer theory) still expect me to pack it up one day when my shill work is done.

Anyway, if you haven’t read the great piece on SF BARF and the state of housing in general in San Francisco, and really the region in general, it is worth your time.

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April 26, 2016

College is a promise

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

At the last City Council meeting there was an interesting presentation about a program at the College of Alameda that will be starting up this fall.

It’s a really exciting program that pledges to pay for Alameda high school students all first year costs at the College of Alameda including a stipend for books for full-time students.

The first year is a pilot year which will start with students attending ASTI and Encinal High School.  The second year will include Island High.  The final year will include Alameda High.

The great thing about the program is that the College of Alameds has a partnership with Cal State East Bay which will streamline students that want to transfer and, according to the president of CoA they’re attempting to set up a similar relationship with Berkeley.

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April 25, 2016

The young so educated

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

Normally I would write about the Planning Board on a day of the Planning Board meeting, but it’s all pretty ho hum stuff, something about changing a street name and a family home project.  Those always take a long time and are interesting from a neighborhood politics standpoint, but nothing that has larger policy implications.

Instead I wanted to write about what I was going to post on Friday, but that went sideways because of the whole Prince death thing.

Every year the school district has this Teacher of the Year nomination.  This year Ruby Bridges finally had one finalist in the running, which was pretty exciting in itself.  Apparently the process is pretty rigorous with site visits from multiple teams and letters of reference etc etc.

While the folks affiliated with Ruby Bridges Elementary all knew that this teacher was something special and that she was more than worthy of being the eventual winner, it did seem like quite a daunting task given that the last few honorees had been from the middle and high school level.

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April 22, 2016

I’ll surely die if you’re not there

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

Anyone who has read this blog semi-regularly knows that I am a fan of Prince.  In the span of writing this blog I’ve probably posted about attending a Prince concert at least twice.

I haven’t been to a ton of live music concerts in my life, I can probably count the number on one hand, but I’ve seen Prince live three times.

For those that have been under a rock yesterday Prince died.

I think for those that grew up with Prince as the soundtrack of our childhood/teen years the shock of an icon such as Prince simply not being around any more is overwhelming.

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April 21, 2016

That wouldn’t be enough

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

A few days ago a columnist at Bloomberg posted an op-ed about the two housing affordability issues.  One would think that — by now — this is in “no duh” territory, but when you have folks appearing before the City Council affiliated with a group organized around a lack of affordable housing in Alameda asking that voters enact rent control to maintain an artificial level of affordability for a select number of people to say “don’t build housing here”, well, I guess it’s not so obvious.

From the Bloomberg piece:

The first problem is that some coastal metropolitan areas in the U.S. are generating lots of good jobs but aren’t building enough housing to keep up with employment growth. The main barrier to housing construction in these places is local regulation — zoning ordinances, environmental requirements, even affordable-housing rules.

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April 20, 2016

Going through a withdrawal

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

So strangely enough the other day the landlord group withdrew their filing.

Don’t be too excited/disappointed just yet.

They filed a new initiative that doesn’t seem all that different from the old one, but I have yet to do a line by line comparison, which I’ll probably do in another post.

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