Blogging Bayport Alameda

December 1, 2015

Keep on sayin’ “go slow”

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

As I mentioned last week, the City Council has decided to attempt to close the loophole created by the emergency moratorium that was passed earlier in November to create a pause of sorts while the City Council attempted to come to some sort of policy decision regarding the rental housing crisis.

We know that the majority of the members of this City Council are into “slow” growth: Frank Matarrese’s pushing for the downzoning of North Housing in return for voting for Site A, Tony Daysog announcing that there is “too much housing” already, and well, Trish Spencer ran on a slow growth platform.  There is no way that this Council will ever be able to build Alameda out of a housing crisis or even approve enough housing to help provide relief to the pushed out so the only protection for the vulnerable will have to be some sort of stabilization.

Despite an attempt to pin the mass eviction on one of his favorite targets: the City Attorney and her staff, the reality is that the intent of the City Council to preserve for cause evictions during the moratorium period is what opened the door to the 407 Central evictions for capital improvements.  Not because some of the language was slightly different.

Anyway, the City Council will take a step in the right direction if they vote to close the loophole tonight, but it will take a vote of four of the five to make it happen.  We’ll see if they add any additional protections during the moratorium period to avoid any further need to continue to amend the urgency ordinance.

Also on tonight’s agenda is a call for review by Tony Daysog of the container project at the entrance to Park Street.  A “call for review” is essentially an appeal that can be lodged by any member of the City Council without requiring the need to pay the appeal fee.  Any normal Alamedan without the ear of a City Council person would be forced to pay an appeal fee.  It a way of putting the brakes on a project without having to deal with the repercussions of saying why you are against the project so that the project sponsor can defend him/herself against the accusations.

It’s this call for review paired with this comment by Tony Daysog which makes me highly annoyed.  Tony Daysog — in defending him against rumors that he is behind some rent related phone poll — wrote this:

Let me put this issue to rest: I’ve definitely **not** directly or indirectly supported any survey whatsoever. Have never talked with anyone about this. Nor have I encourage any such thing. Long and short: I simply don’t run with any crowd whatsoever, let alone ones with the money to fund surveys.

The notion that he doesn’t “run with any crowd” is contradicted by the fact that he allowed himself to do the dirty work for some crowd who didn’t want to fill out the proper appeal paperwork or pay the fee when he claims in his call for review email that he “didn’t have an opinion” on the matter.

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 2.03.42 PM

Perhaps Tony Daysog can share with all of us which residents asked him to call for review the container project and what their arguments were that were so convincing that he got over his lack of an opinion on the topic.  This project went through two public hearings before the Planning Board, I’m not sure how much more public input is required to satisfy Tony Daysog.  There are letters of support from many of the surrounding businesses, currently no letters from anyone saying the reject the project, but yet these phone calls were so compelling that Tony Daysog was “obliged” to force the project into yet another round of public input where no new information will be presented and nothing significant will have changed the project.

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29 Comments

  1. Hey maybe this is tied into the letter to the editors from last week, ya think.

    Comment by John P. — December 1, 2015 @ 8:55 am

  2. “Perhaps Tony Daysog can share with all of us which residents asked him to call for review the container project and what their arguments were that were so convincing that he got over his lack of an opinion on the topic.” … Or maybe I can.

    Maybe it was that four page letter from the AAPS that did it: file:///C:/Users/user/Downloads/2015-11-27ParkStreet1926Fnl.pdf

    You know that AAPS…so manipulative. Can’t ever trust ’em.

    Comment by vigi — December 1, 2015 @ 12:38 pm

  3. Yep. I think. There is a contingent who is very upset about a project using containers being placed at an “Entryway” to Alameda. It is, I think, both a design thing and a “we might appear to not be as classy as we are” thing. I mean, after all, Containers! Usually seen as eyesores and industrial use things, not buildings with “Alameda Charm”, no matter what they are used for.

    Comment by Kate Quick — December 1, 2015 @ 12:40 pm

  4. Piziali, you are so pro-weird, out-of-character structures being built here, what was your motive for sitting on the Historical Advisory Board? Sabotage?

    Comment by vigi — December 1, 2015 @ 12:42 pm

  5. I believe that AAPS is familiar with the appeal process and know how to lodge one properly without attempting to back door their way through a Call for Review.

    Comment by Lauren Do — December 1, 2015 @ 12:42 pm

  6. AAPS doesn’t need to use the appeal process. Directly appealing to council is how AAPS [and AVPS before then] has done it “properly” for decades.

    Comment by vigi — December 1, 2015 @ 1:41 pm

  7. This isn’t a matter of taste. Alameda has a Design Review Manual. This project pretty much violates it. Read the AAPS letter yourself.

    Comment by vigi — December 1, 2015 @ 1:45 pm

  8. The design is fine it fits in with that area

    Comment by Jake — December 1, 2015 @ 4:03 pm

  9. Vigi, post#4. actually I have voted with the majority of the board on evry issue that has come before us so far, and I appreciate what the AAPS has to say when they come before us, they are very helpful. Looking at this intersection where the proposed project is to be built, there is a very ugly no redeeming feature rehab facility across the street, then a strip mall with metal roofing that looks terrible. This project would look better than anything in that area including the used car lot. AAPS, vigi, and I all have opinions as do many people, I just happen to think this is a really good project for this corner. It has gone through the process and should be approved.

    Comment by John P. — December 1, 2015 @ 4:05 pm

  10. I think years ago many things there were ugly. Gradually it has changed. One by one new Businesses with a design plan have replaced old ugly ones. Just because some ugly ones still exist it doesn’t mean that they will be there forever. We developed a plan so we should stay with it. Years from now people will want to build something ugly adjacent to it and cite the ugly Container Building as a reason to build it.

    Comment by frank m — December 1, 2015 @ 4:17 pm

  11. Container houses on Park, ha, ha, ha…go for it John. Time to stick it to the east-ender snob set.

    Comment by jack — December 1, 2015 @ 4:19 pm

  12. you know Jack, your probably right about that, if it was in the West End these same folks would not give a damn.

    Comment by John P. — December 1, 2015 @ 4:35 pm

  13. 12 = So let them build Park Equina as the Gateway to Webster St. Problem solved.

    Comment by vigi — December 1, 2015 @ 5:12 pm

  14. vigi, we already have a beautiful gateway to Webster St. our problem has already been solved.

    Comment by John P. — December 1, 2015 @ 7:35 pm

  15. #12 “these same folk” What a dismissive term. Actually when ‘you folk’ wanted a Target? In ‘n’ Out and a gas station I supported it. I just feel in the long term something better will come. It almost seems that we are determined to ‘fill every vacant space’ we have just to build something. The Bay Area is finally catching up to Alameda and we can do better.

    Comment by frank m — December 1, 2015 @ 7:39 pm

  16. Frank, thanks for your support.

    Comment by John P. — December 1, 2015 @ 7:47 pm

  17. What a missed opportunity! I hope we don’t lose this young entrepreneur developer to another city. Rob Ratto said it best, what are we saying to the young generation?

    Innovation technology centers such as the one being proposed is one of the fastest growing trends. Maybe we can find a space for them on Webster Street!

    http://bayarea.impacthub.net/event/public-speaking-for-problem-solvers/

    https://rocketspace.com/technology-campus-coworking-for-startups

    http://fi.co/

    http://www.foundersden.com/

    http://startuphouse.com/

    http://nextspace.us/

    Comment by Karen Bey — December 2, 2015 @ 6:24 am

  18. 17 = What we are saying to the young generation is: Take your time. Don’t be in such a hurry. Do your homework. You can do better and a higher quality product will result.

    Frank is right: we don’t have to be in such a hurry to fill every vacant space with the first idea that comes down the pike.

    And the 2015 Planning Board needs to sit down, read, and digest the Design Review Documents already extant.

    Comment by vigi — December 2, 2015 @ 9:37 am

  19. What we are saying to the young generation is: Take your time. Don’t be in such a hurry.

    Comment by Lauren Do — December 2, 2015 @ 9:39 am

  20. Nina’s a real role model for the youts of Merica. She left the racist dump and settled in France.

    “Simone advocated violent revolution during the civil rights period, rather than Martin Luther King’s non-violent approach,[20] and she hoped that African Americans could, by armed combat, form a separate state.”

    Comment by jack — December 2, 2015 @ 10:05 am

  21. Did the CC do anything at last night’s meeting to slow down the container building beyond allowing the crazies to vent?

    Comment by BC — December 2, 2015 @ 2:52 pm

  22. They rejected the design review for the container project, so it looks like it maybe a no go for Alameda’s first container project.

    Comment by Lauren Do — December 2, 2015 @ 3:00 pm

  23. Wow. And that’s it then? What troubles me about CC meetings, based on the videos I’ve seen, is how unrepresentative the people show up to speak are. The old, white, conservative and paranoid are way over-represented. Which members voted with our wonderful mayor (I’m assuming she was in pitchfork-pacification mode) against the project?

    Comment by BC — December 2, 2015 @ 3:10 pm

  24. They all ended up sending it back to the Planning Board after rejecting the design review. I believe the directions were something along the lines of “it can be modern, but not TOO modern.” Trish Spencer wanted it to either look like the silver bean in Chicago or she was trying to signal that as her “modern” design aesthetic, it wasn’t clear. She wanted to add curves to the containers or just make the containers not look like containers. Tony Daysog was sticking to his guns that the Design Review document precluded any modern architecture south of Blanding. Frank Matarrese claimed to be intrigued by the design but was convinced by all people disgusted by the container-ness of the containers that it was not appropriate. Jim Oddie and Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft were prepared to approve but instead tempered a direct “no” by proposing a motion to send it back to the Planning Board.

    Comment by Lauren Do — December 2, 2015 @ 3:35 pm

  25. I’am so tired of “old white conservative people” and the people they elect , please rental, housing , young , minority or otherwise come up with someone I can vote for. We need to run people for council that actually represent the majority, not just the connected. Yes I don’t believe that the majority of people in Alameda are all old and white. but that’s just me. old and white , John P.

    Comment by John P. — December 2, 2015 @ 4:42 pm

  26. Last time I looked, JP, none of the councilmembers fit the description of old+white+conservative. Oddie is white, but not old. I don’t know how old Marilyn is-I thought she was about my age-but I know all the others are my age or less–and am I not at least ten years younger than you are? Aren’t all of them registered Democrats, too? And weren’t Frank and Tony on the council about twenty years ago?

    You cannot blame everything you don’t like about Alameda on “old, white, and conservative” people.

    Comment by vigi — December 2, 2015 @ 6:45 pm

  27. YES I CAN, !!!!

    Comment by John P. — December 2, 2015 @ 7:43 pm

  28. Jim Oddie did a superb job at last night’s city council meeting talking about the message we are sending to developers, businesses, and young entrepreneurs. But one missing piece of last night’s conversation regarding the container project was “What Are the Trade offs”? Instead of the conversation being about the economics of the project – the focus was on the language in a design and zoning manual.

    Here we have a young entrepreneur who went through the planning process and was approved. He invested almost a year in the process and several thousand dollars on the design. He doesn’t have deep pockets like the larger developers do, and yet he was willing to invest in a blighted corner of Park Street on a lot that’s almost impossible to develop, next door to a Goodwill store, across the street from a rest home, and surrounded by parking lots. The surrounding businesses approved the project and the neighbors did too. By the way, I happen to think the design is awesome! I totally got the connection to the Park Street bridge — Andrew Thomas was right.

    What he was proposing to bring us was an incubator technology center which would have revitalized that area of the Park Street with young innovative and creative techies who are working on the next big discovery. Innovative centers allow for collaboration, community, and networking and have become a booming trend as venture capitalists and other type funding platforms are actively seeking creative new projects to bring to the marketplace.

    Kickstarter is one funding platform that comes to mind. Its mission is to “bring creative projects to life”. One project they funded was a creation by a young 17 year old sci fi techie who developed a prototype called the Oculus Rift in his parent’s garage. He took his project to Kickstarter and raised $2.4 million dollars and then on to Silicon Valley.

    The story doesn’t end there. The company is now a $2 billion dollar company that was acquired by Facebook who is now looking for space in San Francisco for their new company. According to today’s San Francisco Business times Oculus is currently located in a 5,000 sq ft space and Facebook is looking for 40,000 to 60,000 square feet to expand and they need the space in 180 days – that’s 6 months, so they can start shipping product next year.

    If I had to weigh what was more important – the words in a design manual – or a innovative incubator technology center that could possibly be part of creating the next big discovery — well I think you know which one I would chose. This is what I mean by trade offs.

    But even larger, what message are we sending to young entrepreneurs who are willing to invest in our city, and developers who spend millions going thru the planning process, and companies like Facebook who are ready to pay millions of dollars for the right project. Isn’t that how we got Natel Energy and Makani Google? Interestingly, the SF Business times report that Google is also looking for expansion space as well.

    Are we sending the right message?

    http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/blog/real-estate/2015/12/facebook-fb-oculus-vr-searches-for-s-f-office.html

    Comment by Karen Bey — December 2, 2015 @ 9:12 pm

  29. Re: Virtual Reality

    “…what message are we sending to young entrepreneurs who are willing to invest in our city,”

    Go somewhere else, Alameda is already an imagined reality.

    Comment by jack — December 3, 2015 @ 9:42 am


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