Blogging Bayport Alameda

March 18, 2015

Nothing changes, everything stays the same

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

Last Tuesday’s (not yesterday’s )City Council meeting was kind of a mess.   I’ll have some video clips to post of City Staff laying everything out there in plain English about Alameda, the Density Bonus, and the State, but it’s a process to get it into a format to be edited on my computer.  Anyway.

As usual, even with only two agenda items on the list for Tuesday night, the City Council ran three hours and had to continue the agenda item about the uber Transportation wunderplan for another night.  If we’re only going to tackling one agenda item for every meeting, let’s just say it’s going to take a looooonnnggg time to every get anything done around here.  But to be fair, the issue of the Density Bonus was a very complicated one.

As you may recall, this whole issue of the moratorium around the Density Bonus was really initiated by Vice Mayor Frank Matarrese at the first meeting of the year when Mayor Trish Spencer tried to get the City Council to repeal the approvals for the Del Monte project, I mean, she tried to give Tony Daysog a chance to air his concerns, I mean, she wanted to give the Council a chance to weigh in on the issue…well whatever the reason, one of the results of the vote.  Anyway, this is how the motion was structure with regard to what the task of staff was regarding the Density Bonus:

[G]iving direction to staff to return an evaluation of the Density Bonus Ordinance within 45 days, relative to the Planned Development and associated ordinances to allow the Council to provide direction; also within 45 days, having staff return with a moratorium on any new Density Bonus applications until the ordinance rules are clear and the implications on available land inventory in the Housing Element are discussed in context of additional development across the City. [emphasis added]

Now, granted they all voted on the motion, but the whole idea of a moratorium was really Frank Matarrese’s idea and at subsequent meetings regarding land use issues — particularly about the Site A development — he would reference this request.

After a really excellent staff presentation — more on that in another post — during the Council remarks portion, the part where they signal how they are going to vote, Frank Matarrese acknowledged that it was clear that the City could not establish a moratorium, but that the question “had to be asked.”  The thing is, he didn’t ask whether or not a moratorium could be done or even should be put into place but rather gave direction to have staff bring forward a moratorium.  If it hadn’t been for Tony Daysog who pushed back on that particular issue, they wouldn’t have been simply asking the question, but would have had to vote down a proposed moratorium that they would have directed staff to craft.

Anyway in the end, even the two most self-proclaimed housing and development adverse City Council members acknowledged that a moratorium would be impossible and that the risks for litigation would be too high if they were to go that route.  All in all kind of a waste of staff time from the standpoint that nothing really changed, but it wasn’t a waste because (hopefully) people understand more about the density bonus then they did before.



  1. I watched this meeting from home before going the Council Chambers to participate. I was impressed by Andrew Thomas’ thorough knowledge as well as his ability to explain the complexities of state and local housing policies in a straightforward manner.

    The Council vote last week reinforces the previous City Council’s actions to adopt a new Housing Element in line with state laws and to adopt the Multifamily Housing overlay. This is a good thing, as those previous decisions were sound ones.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — March 18, 2015 @ 8:12 am

  2. I don’t agree that it’s a waste of time. This is process. Someone has an idea, it’s investigated and discussed, people weigh in, it’s accepted or rejected. That’s being transparent. That’s giving a forum for differing points of view. The public needs to know that facts and ideas are weighed and evaluated. Everyone, including staff is just doing their jobs. Without the process, everything steamrolls ahead without the public having any idea about how they reach the conclusions to make the decisions they make. Haste makes waste, slow and steady wins the race. Cliches are cliches for a reason.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — March 18, 2015 @ 12:13 pm

  3. I agree somewhat with Denise, but sometimes we over thinketh and nothing gets done. Over thinking is the lazy mans answer to action.

    Comment by Jake. — March 18, 2015 @ 6:56 pm

  4. 2. I think the waste of time is about the fact Frank should have known a moratorium was a dead end but almost made staff jump through more hoops to prove it. It’s great that the ignorant public has a chance to be spoon fed predigested material like baby birds but they still have to actually watch the meeting and you can probably count those numbers with digits on feet and hands. Like noise from a felled tree with nobody to hear it, I is it transparency if nobody watches ?

    Comment by MI — March 18, 2015 @ 7:33 pm

  5. Everything stay the same?
    I have not been on west end for a while, indeed nothing has changed….
    Housing is coming up , same shape same color same size overlooking the parking lot of an Empty target “one has to wonder how long they are going to operate at losses” then drove toward the new project ,
    On my way back drove by Bayport , I have always wonder why erect walls while everyone else in the City cannot even built a fence , to keep the raccoon out …..
    There it was, the greenish community anyone can see in the entire bay area, so much for saving water, that’s for the rest of the island. Oh yes they recycle water……

    Nothing Changes , everything stay the same , people pushing their own agenda at the detriment of the entire community , So far the entire concept look just like any strip mall , any town USA ,it would make the perfect set for the Zombies, no character ! No personality!
    Bay farm meet the Point……’s ugly , has no personality !

    Are there any developer and architect available out there with creativity and imagination,
    Lauren this is why there is a process?

    Comment by arnold — March 18, 2015 @ 8:29 pm

  6. Arnold, you see what you what to see. I don’t see the same thing. I see Bayport as a thriving community with a lot of different personality. As the yards grow, and people start painting you see personality come to life, but mostly you see it in the people who live here. You are from the outside looking in. There are a lot of brown yards. The City park is green right now but in the summer it is overused and it was brown by the end of summer if not dirt in places. They actually need to water it some otherwise they would be playing soccer in dirt. You may not see character but you are not looking for it. Not everyone wants to live in a Victorian or a Craftsman. I sort of like them but my partner thinks Victorians are ugly. The houses at Alameda Landing are marketed for younger families who want something different not like the houses old farts like some of us want. Not everyone likes shopping on a strip mall such as Webster or Park..that is correct if you think about it that is what they are…a strip of land with retail. Some like shopping centers such as Alameda Landing or Southshore. You can’t please everyone, or else you won’t please anyone. Not everyone can afford a custom made house. Drive down Lincoln sometime and on the same block you will see the same house 4 houses in a row just with different windows, or colors but the same floor plan and built in the early 1900’s. Alameda is full of duplicate houses.

    Comment by Jake. — March 18, 2015 @ 9:21 pm

  7. Watch Channel 2 KTVU News investigates tonight….City of Alameda and Manager of Alameda Point and staff came off pretty pathetic and residents accusing city of being a Slumlord. They called it a Manmade Disaster. City has turned blind eye and have been collecting rent from residents for past 15 years and they live in giant cesspool and live with dilapidated buildings and garbage everywhere……..The New Mayor has inherited a mismanaged city with HUGE Liabilities…. Over 200 million in pension liabilities and 600 + million in deferred maintenance of city assets not counting mess at base….

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — March 18, 2015 @ 11:28 pm


    We are very glad someone brought this to our attention” Miss Ott.

    Guess she didn’t notice it before.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — March 19, 2015 @ 12:19 am

  9. Spencer wanted previous council to defer to new elected council on exclusive negotiating agreement with Alameda Point Partners so she could vote NO and prevent cash infusion which is needed to jump start infrastructure repairs so that she could run all the interim llease tenants off the island, cause who needs them. No money for infrastructure OR pensions. Brilliant strategic thinker that Spencer.

    Comment by MI — March 19, 2015 @ 8:37 am

  10. post#5, arnold, the walls were erected because its the law. Ralph Apezzato Parkway is a busy faster moving street and required a wall. It wasn’t a choice by the developer.

    Comment by John P. — March 19, 2015 @ 8:41 am

  11. Yeah… the defense of the building condition given – thanks for letting us know – was ridiculous. The defensiveness to any criticism or problem that has plagued us on all sides of every issue is a huge problem. When is Alameda going to get out of our own way?

    Comment by Alison — March 19, 2015 @ 11:20 am

  12. Alison we as a City and Landlord have been collecting rents on these properties the last 15 years, that are in horrendous condition. Millions of Dollars in Rent has been Collected and we can’t clean this mess up. They would have red tagged these and had them torn down years ago if it was private owner.

    We had Ex Mayor and Council chastise landlords at city council meetings for minor infractions and rent increases while City acts like slumlord and totally disregarded tenants.

    Then to have City Staff say ” We are very glad someone brought this to our attention ” is so much bullsh_t.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — March 19, 2015 @ 10:25 pm

  13. #12 – we are in agreement that the excuse was ridiculous. My point is that the same thinking that led to this embarrassing attempt to avoid taking any responsibility is no different than anything I’ve experienced “on all sides” when it comes to admitting or accepting any error. Instead of building trust and compromise, everyone just “digs in” to their position. We all lose.

    Comment by Alison — March 20, 2015 @ 7:33 am

  14. It is a pity the city manager cannot point to bulldozing the blight at the base as one of his administration’s accomplishments. But hey-we have a bright green cycle track screwing up Shoreline Drive. And we’re about to get the same on Clement…which I’m sure will be completed before any of the NAS firetraps are erased.

    The Navy has been diligently cleaning up underground. Alameda Public Works should start doing the same above ground. I vote for a moratorium on starting more Complete Streets projects until after the hazardous wood-frame NAS buildings are demolished and carted away.

    Comment by vigi — March 20, 2015 @ 4:12 pm

  15. #14 I second that.

    Comment by A Neighbor — March 20, 2015 @ 5:28 pm

  16. #13

    I could not agree more……

    My Comment on 7,8,12

    “Must be Spencers Fault”

    Got changed to

    “Cobalt Black Keys Johnson”

    I guess Lauren couldn’t lost sense of humor

    after such confusing handles as

    Never Ask Why

    Not In the agenda


    Surprised it took so long

    The Election is over

    Three Card Gilmore and Gang

    Ask for a staff Report

    How do we solve this issue

    Huge asset to city

    In the real world

    Interesting times

    Living in the light

    Lets look at whole picture


    Please pick one handle and stick to it on my blog or I’ll start changing your handles moving forward with a name I select from a random grab bag.

    Thanks in advance.



    Thanks Lauren…..

    My Random Blues Name Generator Just gave me my new Bayport Handle

    Cobalt Black Keys Johnson

    Have fun and have a great day Lauren.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — March 22, 2015 @ 1:03 pm

  17. What’s in a name

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — March 22, 2015 @ 1:18 pm

  18. That you John?

    Comment by jack — March 22, 2015 @ 7:52 pm

  19. Yes Jack,,,,,I Try not to take the Doooooo Drop In too Serious….Too much Water Boarding and Bullying of Spencer or anyone who might offer another solution or even asks questions that makes the power at be get a little uncomfortable. …..”Nothing changes, everything stays the same” ………Unless of Course You Ask Questions and Focus on Other Solutions.

    Jack you ever notice that a fence is the City and Schools Duct Tape Solution to some interesting Problems that face city.

    Don’t Fence Me In.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — March 22, 2015 @ 9:14 pm

  20. 19. moron is one handle foe all occasions.

    Comment by MI — March 22, 2015 @ 11:09 pm

  21. 20)

    I thought using a Fence is for all occasions.

    ——————- Or———————————

    We are so glad you brought that to our attention.

    Standard Response.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — March 23, 2015 @ 7:37 pm

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