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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
Thanks to everyone who donated to the Ruby Bridges Science Camp fund or attended Spirit Song last weekend. I know that the Fifth Graders are closer to their fundraising goal, but not all the way there yet. Last night Ruby Bridges Elementary also hosted a student talent show with all proceeds going to the Fifth Grade science camp as well, so you can see how many different avenues are used to ensure that the camp is fully funded.
Another way to help out is to purchase a t-shirt, I’ll just post the advert here:
Tuesday’s City Council meeting has an agenda item that I’ve been meaning to write about but have completely dropped the ball on and, unfortunately, comes at the last minute when the City Council is asked to make recommendation and take a vote.
So yeah, I’m one of those people who show up at the nth hour and say “wait a minute this is what I think!” Except I’m not showing up anywhere, I’m just typing it out here.
Anyway, the nutshell is that AC Transit has some money but only enough to restore or add one bus route to Alameda. Which is really sad that we can’t encourage alternatives to driving because there’s just not enough money to spread around to public transit. It’s hard to say that any of the three alternatives are bad or more superior than the others, it’s simply a matter of trade offs and which staff believes will be most successful.
In this particular case though, the decision of the City Council will comes down to public and written comments and their own previous opinions on the role of public transportation and what areas should be served next.
So here are the three options:
Last week after Mayor Trish Spencer was reliving her “lone wolf” days on the School Board and decided to vote “no” on hiring the new City Manager many people were puzzled about her “no” vote in light of her lack of reasoning as to why she voted no. While the other City Councilpeople expressed their reason why they were voting yet, Trish Spencer was uncharacteristically quiet about her reasoning.
But while she didn’t want to say her piece in front of an audience, she had no problem telling her favorite, maybe second favorite, blogger about why she thought Jill Keimach was not the right pick. EB Citizen highlighted the key parts here:
Later Spencer told Action Alameda News that Keimach’s breadth of experience was lacking for a bigger city like Alameda.“We are a real, mid-sized city, and active city, not a small city,” Spencer said. “This is not a good time for Alameda to be a training ground for a city manager. We need a city manager who’s ready to go. It’s a great opportunity for her. The other side of that is that it’s a risk for our city. I think she has potential, I don’t think Alameda has time. We need a city manager to lead now. It’s not easy.”
Over questions of why she did not follow the council’s lead in supporting Keimach’s appointment, despite a clear consensus among her colleagues, she told the site, “I believe people expect me to vote what I believe in. If I don’t believe in something, I don’t put my name on it.”