Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 24, 2016

Program free!

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

As reported by Steven Tavares at the East Bay Citizen, the discussion on Tuesday night about the fees to pay for the rent stabilization ordinance was not fruitful from a “new programs should be cost neutral” front.


“More time buys us more accuracy,” Councilmember Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft said of the proposed fee.

Vice Mayor Frank Matarrese, added, “I would like to see six months of data to how much it really costs.” Another councilmember worried about the city further expanding its bureaucracy.

The size of the nearly $2 million program made Councilmember Tony Daysog a bit uncomfortable. He too added uncertainty on its real costs, but suggested the existing city administration could absorb some of the program’s fees.

I’ll just point out that the fiscal conservatism that was supposed to sweep its way through this new City Council has not only drained a large fund balance, supported more spending in the budget, and now asking for the general fund to pay for a new program that was supposed to pay for itself.

I guess being fiscally conservative is only important while you’re campaigning and not actually when you get in office.

Anyway, the City Councilmembers want the general fund to eat these costs and Tony Daysog laboriously went through a speech indicating that “City Hall” needs to be more mindful about costs and that “City Hall” can’t have a dedicated outside funding stream because they would be less likely to sunset the program and the funding source and that “City Hall” would need to determine the policy and make the hard tradeoffs.   Even though it was the City Council that crafted the policy and the City Council that will need to make the policy decisions and the hard tradeoffs when the budget comes around and there is a shortfall because the City Council had already made a policy that one time windfalls funds cannot be used for ongoing costs and administering the program is considered an ongoing cost.  So it’s not “City Hall” that will need to make these decisions, but rather the City Council which wants to kick the financial can down the road and have someone else worry about the budget shortfall.



  1. Our blogmistress now cares about the city budget.

    Donkeys do indeed fly.

    Comment by dave — June 24, 2016 @ 6:26 am

  2. Dave, I would like to see you cite examples of when Lauren has advocated costly programs at City Hall. Unfortunately, for those advocating rent control, it does come at a cost and for the small government people, it requires more staff to implement its provisions. If the City Council agrees to have hearings, have enforceable rules, and have fees and fines, these have to be administered. Legal issues will have to be dealt with, and noticing doesn’t “just happen.” I am not advocating or opposing any of the measures here, I am just saying that the facts are they will cost money in additional staff, supplying same with the tools they need to do their work, more unfunded pension liabilities and so on. If we take on this program, it is going to cost a lot of money which we are going to have to find from some source, if the landlord fees won’t cover the expenditures, and it appears that they won’t.

    Comment by Kate Quick — June 24, 2016 @ 6:44 am

    • Dave believes that honoring bargained workers contracts is “not caring” about the city budget.

      Comment by Lauren Do — June 24, 2016 @ 6:50 am

      • Honoring an agreement is one thing. Continuing to make sweetheart deals, esp. the last one which was a significant raise more than a year before the existing deal was up is quite another.

        And to call a deal “bargained” when it’s ratified by councilmembers who have taken money from the deal’s beneficiaries is a misnomer. That deal was “bought” rather than “bargained”.

        But I must say it’s good that you finally care about the budget. For years you have tirelessly backed a boondoggle project that drains more than 3MM per year from the GF for debt service and blindly supported candidates who continue to feather the nests of already overcompensated union members. I never thought I’d see the day that you began to care about such quotidian things as fiscal responsibility. Good for you, and I hope it continues even there’s a mayor you approve of.

        As for the program itself, it’s yet another reason why the entire rent control scheme should be scrapped. But if we must have it (and we certainly mustn’t) then let the renters pay for it. A complete pass through of costs is the only fair way to pay for it.

        Comment by dave — June 24, 2016 @ 8:30 am

        • Paragraph 3 should end “even after there’s a mayor you approve of”

          Comment by dave — June 24, 2016 @ 8:31 am

    • Renters should pay the cost. The program is entirely for them, not for the city as a whole. If they want it, they should pay for it.

      As I typed that last sentence I realized it won’t make a difference. They don’t believe they should pay for what they want, that is the center of the problem.

      Comment by dave — June 24, 2016 @ 10:14 am

    • Distributing the administrative costs other than exclusively to the property owner is hardly unreasonable. They already bear a lot more of the overall cost in terms of relocation costs, reduced rent, etc.

      Comment by MP — June 24, 2016 @ 11:31 am

  3. Why the fake “surprise?” Fortunately it appears you could vote against it…

    Comment by Captain Obvious — June 24, 2016 @ 6:53 am

  4. Just what we need. More City workers whose salaries and pensions we can afford to pay.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — June 24, 2016 @ 7:34 am

  5. “can’t” that is. Too quick on the draw this morning.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — June 24, 2016 @ 7:35 am

  6. “The trouble with socialism is eventually you run out of other peoples money.”

    Comment by Hugo — June 24, 2016 @ 8:13 am

  7. Good decision to punt til the end of the year. See how the program is operating and get a real sense of the costs, see what happens at the ballot box in November which could change everything. Also, no regressive fee for renters but a program that the City has decided represents our community values and the whole community pitches in.

    I had a huge problem with how the staff report set up a large appeal fee for renters who disagreed with a RRAC decision (all Spencer appointees) and wanted an impartial hearing officer, which was the whole point of the ordinance! But, we didn’t even get that far into the discussion.

    Comment by BMac — June 24, 2016 @ 8:48 am

  8. Deep-six the putrid idea dragged up by fascist socialists.

    Comment by jack — June 24, 2016 @ 11:11 am

  9. One of the points often missed here is that the presently proposed Ordinance 3148 budget does not include the costs associated with a post-RRAC binding hearing. Look at the report in detail, and you see that these costs will be evaluated over a year, and then apportioned in addition to the already stated $131 fee to the landlord/renters. The only ones who really benefit from this ordinance are the Alameda Housing Authority staff. Look at where the money goes. To date, all of the rent increases that have come before the RRAC under Ordinance 3148 have been settled between the landlord and tenant – either before or during the RRAC meeting. Would this have happened anyway? Good question.

    Comment by Robert Schrader — June 24, 2016 @ 12:08 pm

  10. What I don’t understand is why we are spending $2mm on a problem that would cost 1/4 of that if we have direct payments for means tested receipients . We have not ONE Alamedan on the waiting list for section 8! They don’t want to use the available resources , but they want to create a new subsidy at millions of dollars.

    I once asked one of my friends who lived in ” the hood ” why people riot and set fires in their own neighborhoods as a means of protesting . His reply was ” we don’t own any of that shit. Who cares if it burns.” It’s the same mentality with Tenants Totgether aka ARC. They don’t care if this city is destroyed or changed for the worse “.

    Comment by Ted — June 24, 2016 @ 8:47 pm

    • A perfect example of how detached they are is John Klien.
      Where is he now, not pretending to be an Alamedan. He’s gone , the mess is still here.

      Comment by Master Blaster — June 24, 2016 @ 8:49 pm

  11. Request to everyone to go to the proposed costs on the city website. (Agenda for the 6/21/16 meeting) Please note the outrageous proposed salaries to be paid to the administrators consisting of $253,000, $189,000. $186,000, $161,000, $129,000, $101,000, etc. per year. Far beyond the average Alamedan’s yearly salary. Probably far beyond the salaries of the 70% of our landlords who are mom and pop landlords. Talk about setting up an expensive bureaucracy. Is this a joke? Hope the citizens of Alameda will take note.

    Comment by Marie Kane — June 25, 2016 @ 11:54 am

    • Staff aka Debbie Potter needs to be stopped. In what world does Debbie Potter merit $253,000 a year.

      Comment by Master B — June 25, 2016 @ 9:34 pm

  12. City Council Meeting Agenda Item 6-H: Exhibit 1 pg 12/29. has those outrageous proposed salaries. Thanks for pointing them out, Marie.

    Comment by vigi — June 25, 2016 @ 2:53 pm

  13. The real question is which one of those salaries will Jim Oddies daughter get? So far her only jobs have been those Jim got her after becoming our councilman . This is their family business … Do your own research and see what young Ms. Oddie has done with ZERO experience ., This behavior bothers me, he would set up a huge bureaucracy and cost us millions so they can give out Cush jobs. If your a renter or owner you should be offended by the salaries.

    Comment by Ted — June 25, 2016 @ 9:31 pm

  14. The proposed salaries need to be widely publicized.

    The “staff” who is/are proposing them is/are not joking.

    Get a city job, get a great salary with great benefits.

    and get Fridays off. Every week.

    Lots wrong with this picture.

    In addition to checking the Oddie family’s jobs/incomes, check the Perata family’s jobs/incomes.

    Comment by A Neighbor — June 26, 2016 @ 12:53 pm

  15. Jim Oddie needs the money. He is recovering from bankruptcy. That’s why he ran for City Council in the first place. Once again, Alameda falls for a grifter!

    From ACTION ALAMEDA 3/2/2016: “Alameda Councilmember Jim Oddie is a little over a year away from completing a 60-month personal bankruptcy plan filed with the federal bankruptcy court in July of 2012.

    Court documents show that Oddie voluntarily filed for Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy in July 2012, two years before he would be elected to Alameda City Council in November of 2014.

    He reported personal property worth $11,059 and debt with unsecured creditors of $311,543.02.

    As part of the filing, he agreed to, and completed, credit counseling through the Tides Center.

    Oddie reported $211,287 in student debt and more than $94,800 in credit card purchase debt through issuers such as American Express, Bank of America, Bloomingdales, BMW Card Services, Chase, City, Home Depot, Macy’s and others.”

    I believe he’s still driving the BMW. Live large; have the taxpayers pay for it….

    Comment by vigi — June 26, 2016 @ 2:54 pm

    • Please see comments 11 and 12 on this post ->

      “I have been having a very hard time getting badly needed health services for my disabling medical condition from my Kaiser health plan. My grievances have been escalated to the level of an Independent Medical Review (IMR) with the ​California ​Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC).​

      Since DMHC is a state agency, Jim Oddie has been helping me, via Rob Bonta’s office, to try and get a response from DMHC. Yay, Jim Oddie!”

      Did you call him a grifter to his face when he was helping you out?

      Comment by brock — June 27, 2016 @ 12:23 pm

      • I didn’t know about the bankruptcy or the BMW when I made my previous comments. Nor had I read his comments in Alameda magazine [they hadn’t been printed yet.]

        I approached Jim Oddie for help with a problem for which the next step was my state representative. Unfortunately, his office turned out being no help at all. The DMHC never acknowledged even hearing from him. I gave Jim Oddie a chance. He failed me.

        Has my opinion of him changed for the worse? Absolutely.

        Comment by vigi — June 27, 2016 @ 2:06 pm

  16. I think the decision to hold off until the city has more data on the actual costs of the rent program was a good decision. I also think exploring the possibility of a third party to administer the program might be more cost effective — so hopefully we get good data on this as well. Also splitting the program cost between landlords and tenants seems fair – but if the costs prove to be more expensive than are estimated, I could see a problem down the road for both tenants and landlords so I hope we start thinking about a back up plan.

    Comment by Karen Bey — June 27, 2016 @ 6:07 am

  17. Family friend has to pay $1600 times four months plus $1500 to have a child move in that was in need of housing.

    $7900 ransom to be paid to the current tenant .

    When smaller units disappear from the housing stock , don’t ask why. Why would anyone house another on their property to either lose money or not make any money?

    I’m a side note the Ashcraft family make their money entirely on new construction developments which are exempt from rent control. Don’t be fooled by Councilwoman Ashcraft having claims of making her living as an arbitrator .
    Her Gold Caost mansion, the Porche 911 and the Tesla are a result of her husbands work with new development.

    Another 1%er that wants you to beg for a few dollars a month cash flow while she has a quarter of a million dollars parked in the driveway. …… Wait a minute , aren’t we developing The Alameda Point?? Is Mr. Ashcraft in any way involved? All my claims are on Google.

    Comment by Teddy — June 27, 2016 @ 10:14 am

    • Howard Ashcraft has such an impressive and all-inclusive record in construction law, it is hard to imagine him not having a role in development of Alameda Point somewhere along the line:

      Comment by vigi — June 27, 2016 @ 7:00 pm

      • On the one hand maybe, but then again I see no smoking gun here. The work he does with his firm is at such a scale that it’s impossible for it not to have SOME relation to Alameda Point, but I’d say there is more direct connection between Hillary and state department deaths in Benghazi. When you can connect two dots which implicate he is lining his pockets get back to us, Senator McCarthy.

        Comment by MI — June 28, 2016 @ 9:20 am

    • Teddy , your preoccupation with the fancy cars people drive reminds me of the early days of this blog when David Howard stalked Lauren by posting photos of her BMW.

      Comment by MI — June 29, 2016 @ 5:33 pm

  18. I suspect the salaries include the cost for benefits (medical, vacation, sick, etc) which make up a good 1/3 of the total amount. Still way to high, especially for a problem that few will actually see benefit from, and many more who will stand to suffer in the long run. It will be interesting to see what happens in the election and which ballet initiative gets the most votes. Until then, I have stopped my home improvement projects for this year as I may not be able to recoup my investment on them. I wasn’t clearing that much net to actually cover home improvements but always figured eventually I would as I slowly raise rent. But with the proposed .65% cap – that won’t happen.

    Comment by Brian Keith — June 27, 2016 @ 2:45 pm

  19. 65% of cap is !.76% per year. It won’t even cover the increased parcel taxes (school, utility and affordable housing that will all be on the ballot) not to mention increased utilities and increased insurance. That’s what you will get if you vote for the ARC measure. A serious detoriation of Alameda as we know it.

    Comment by Jeanne Allen — July 6, 2016 @ 7:58 pm

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