Blogging Bayport Alameda

March 17, 2015

Harbor seal of approval

Filed under: Alameda, City Council — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

Another City Council meeting you say?  Yes, it felt like we just had one and I haven’t even had a chance to write about that.

It’s a long agenda again, a lot of consent items.  There an item to update the City Council on what the “Rent Group”, for lack of a better term, is up to.  According to the staff report, facilitator Jeff Cambra wants to go back to the stakeholder group to present possible amendments to the Alameda Municipal Code.   It seems fine since it’s going to take staff a bit more time to get the data that was requested by three of the five City Council members.

An item of interest that should be on the shorter side is the City Manager search.  At last week’s City Council meeting, it was announced that current Assistant City Manager Liz Warmerdam (Alameda resident!) would be appointed as the Interim City Manager while the City went through the process of trying to find a permanent City Manager.   I’m not sure why this wasn’t an “acting” role like when Lisa Goldman provided leadership during the last transition.  But *shrug*  There are two options being proffered the first is the using the search firm process and the second is the way it was done when John Russo was eventually picked.

I don’t know if there is a benefit one way or the other, but it will be telling to see how much faith the other City Council members have in this City’s ceremonial head since, typically, the Mayor would be one of the two on the subcommittee to do the initial vetting of the resumes.  It might just be a cleaner process to opt to go through a search firm.  Staff does not give a preference for either method, just lays it all out on the table.  Of course the City Council led process will be — ostensibly — cheaper.

The big item that most people should be really excited about is that the MOU has been drafted and signed by WETA to memorialize the verbal process to build an alternate haul out for the harbor seals.  Here are the details from the MOU according to the staff report:

  • WETA will establish a $100,000 holding fund which shall be earmarked for planning , design and construction of the new haul out;
  • Parties will meet and confer to determine a site for the proposed haul out;
  • WETA will design the haul out and go through the appropriate City approval processes;
  • WETA will be the lead party responsible for all third party permitting for the new haul out;
  • WETA shall commence construction of the New Haul-Out Site on or before August 2016 and prior to demolition of the Existing Haul-Out Site in connection with construction of the Project unless WETA has not obtained all Permits issued by governmental agencies other than the City (“Third-Party Permits”). WETA shall continue to diligently seek to obtain the Third-Party Permits. Upon receipt of all such Third-Party Permits, WETA shall promptly commence construction of the New Haul-Out Site during the earliest available applicable environmental work window for construction within San Francisco Bay that is not less than ninety (90) days after receipt of the Third-Party Permits to take into consideration the timing reasonably necessary for WETA’s procurement procedures.
  • Upon completion of construction of the new haul out, WETA agrees to maintain the structure in good order and repair; and
  • If the City reasonably determines that WETA is unable to commence construction of the new haul out, the City has the right to take over the project and use the funds in the holding fund account.

This is the compromise that — I believe — most people were seeking from WETA, which was to get a written contract holding them to the construction of the haul-out.  As the WETA representative mentioned at the last City Council meeting, WETA is spending tens of millions of dollars on this project, they wouldn’t not agree to fund the building of a haul out when they’re already spending so much to bring this project to Alameda.

And I knew this, but I think I had shoved it to the back of my memory banks so I’m glad that it was mentioned in the staff report.  The WETA building would also house the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for WETA, so in the case of an emergency we know that some sort of transportation on and off the island could be provided by WETA.



  1. Will WETA confer with harbor seal experts for input for best possible outcome?

    Comment by Gabrielle Dolphin — March 17, 2015 @ 9:02 am

  2. Do they bite? The harbor seals, I mean.

    Comment by linda — March 17, 2015 @ 9:03 am

  3. I do image they bite…people often forget they are wild animals. Gabrelle, sometime people over plan and study everything and than they complain about how much it costs later. The existing haul out will probably sink in a few years as it is all rotted…so the seals are getting the best of both worlds. What did they do before it was there?

    Comment by Jake. — March 17, 2015 @ 9:53 am

  4. Thanks to the leadership of Vice Mayor Frank Matarrese, we now have this written contract before approving the WETA lease. #1. I agree that the decision about where to locate the dock should be made in consultation with a marine biologist. It should be included in the MOU. #2. Harbor seals will flee when approached. #3. Most haul out sites around the bay shoreline have disappeared due to human encroachment. It’s the least we can do.

    Comment by Irene — March 17, 2015 @ 10:05 am

  5. Thanks all for your shares…it’s a happy thing indeed to have our own seals hauling out..I guess this is a classic example of growth with planned change, and friends of nature (best we can) too.

    Comment by Gabrielle Dolphin — March 17, 2015 @ 10:37 am

  6. I predict the lack of language about consulting appropriate experts in the field as well as the fact that WETA can move forward w/ demolition and their own construction before the new haulout is built if the BCDC permits aren’t approved in time will cause this item to have 15 speakers and an hour of discussion before a 4-1 vote in favor of moving forward.

    Comment by BMac — March 17, 2015 @ 11:09 am

  7. Shoot a couple and the rest will haul ass. And while we’re at it, how about open season on those winged cunucks.

    Comment by jack — March 17, 2015 @ 12:16 pm

    • Cruelty to animals is a red flag indicator for sociopathology…

      Comment by Gabrielle Dolphin — March 17, 2015 @ 2:14 pm

  8. What action, after Cambra’s meetings, do you believe the council can/will take on the rent issue? Are we on the road to rent control in Alameda?

    Comment by Lisa — March 17, 2015 @ 2:37 pm

  9. Red flag is an indicator of a commie.socialist.

    Comment by jack — March 17, 2015 @ 3:16 pm

  10. Did somebody say marine biologist?

    Comment by Marine Biologist — March 17, 2015 @ 3:32 pm

  11. LOVE IT!!!!

    Comment by Gabrielle Dolphin — March 17, 2015 @ 4:13 pm

  12. Interesting that the city is now concerned about Rental Costs but have No Problem Tripling Building and permit fees . Pretty simple electrical permit was 25.00 in 1995 and raised to 700.00 by July of 2014…….Is now only 2100.00. I’m a renter but what is a Homeowner or Landowner going to do but pass this on.

    Comment by Rent Control really solution — March 17, 2015 @ 6:38 pm

  13. Using the CPI inflation Calculator that Electrical permit should be around 38.00 now…..We are charging landlord 2100.00.

    Comment by IS Rent Control really solution — March 17, 2015 @ 6:45 pm

  14. Well, you see, I think our Public Works/Permits Dept. is an enterprise department. That means that it is expected to generate enough money in fees and fines to cover its costs and not require general fund money to operate. Law requires government entities to be able to justify their fees based on costs to perform the tasks. So the question to ask under the Freedom of Information Act is: how did the City of Alameda arrive at its current fee for xxxxx?

    Comment by Kate Quick — March 17, 2015 @ 7:11 pm

  15. Not to nitpick but to clarify. Freedom of Information Act pertains to Federal agencies and documents. California has a Public Records Act which citizens to request documents from State and local public agencies.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — March 17, 2015 @ 7:54 pm

  16. 15) using that same analogy that City is an Enterprise Fund and needs to generate money to cover all costs Ect……. If you own APT building or Home and are a Business why should you not be able to raise your rates to market rates and get real return on your money..Are they not like a enterprise fund.. Whats good for Goose is good for Gander…..The scream from renters might be heard for miles though… If your paying 2500 to rent house and get 7500 rent increase to Market rates should you not get fair return on your money…..If the City is raising fees at these alarming rates shouldn’t the landlords?

    Comment by IS Rent Control really solution — March 17, 2015 @ 8:54 pm

  17. Follingstad, 46, posted the legal notice she received from her Bernal Heights landlord on the social network on Saturday in hopes of finding a new place to live. Since then, the letter stating that her rent is jumping from $2,145 to $8,900 a month has been shared more than 3,000 times. In addition to the astronomical rent increase that goes into effect on May 5, the landlord slapped Follingstad with an astonishing $12,500-per-month security deposit. (Since security deposits aren’t on a per month basis, Follingstad thinks that may be a typo.)

    Comment by IS Rent Control really solution — March 17, 2015 @ 9:02 pm

  18. Thanks, Mike for the correction. I misspoke and used the wrong term. Of course it is the Public Records Act under which the public can request information from local entities. This is Sunshine week, so if we have concerns about our local government, we should remember to utilize our rights to get information. The League of Women Voters fought hard to get the Public Records Act enacted as well as the Freedom of Information Act.

    Comment by Kate Quick — March 18, 2015 @ 6:21 am

  19. 13.,17.,18, is that John, back from the dead with specious stats on permitting? Can’t recall base fee for electrical but an entire bath with all trades cost me about $1300. I think base fee for something like a sub panel is about $70 , plus line item amounts.

    I am good friends with an Alamedan (25years) who is retired curator of marine biology in natural science department at Oakland Museum. Can’t speak for him but I’ll give him a heads up.

    Comment by MI — March 18, 2015 @ 6:45 am

  20. Here is an article about how poorly the current administration has been in Freedom of Information Act requests.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — March 18, 2015 @ 7:46 am

  21. #19 = “Requesting” is not the same as “getting”. The City of Alameda (and probably others) is notorious for coming up with excuses for not complying with requests for public records. Alamedans haven’t even been able to get the police department to release incident reports about police activity at their own homes. The excuse = “ongoing investigation”. Some of these ongoing investigations are ongoing into perpetuity.

    Comment by vigi — March 18, 2015 @ 9:26 am

  22. 21
    Mike FOIA doesn’t apply to democrats. They’re not ‘in’ the government they ‘own’ the government.

    Comment by jack — March 18, 2015 @ 9:45 am

  23. I’m really happy with the half wing insignia painted on the Base hangars. However, I would have preferred Navy wings instead of Pan Am half wings. But the choice probably boiled down to what is visually more prominent and Navy golden wings would not grab attention like blue wings with the yellowish background of the hangers.

    Comment by jack — March 18, 2015 @ 6:09 pm

  24. 23. When speaking of over reach that’s ” Gubmint” but do recall that both Reagan and W increased the debt and Obama’s record is actually better than either of them. Boner wants to do away with socialist Medicare as back door route to cripple Affordable Health Care . These creeps have no programs of their own just to thwart Obama. Reminds me of Spencer.

    Comment by MI — March 18, 2015 @ 7:26 pm

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