Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 22, 2016

She’s fresh face, exciting!

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

So this is on Jennifer Roloff’s website as a solution to the housing woes of Alameda.  She, apparently, believes that the type of housing that she thinks Alameda needs is of the non market rate variety aka the stuff that developers build that everyone seems to hate except for the people that purchase those homes.


Workforce housing conjures up things like Casa De Maestros in the South Bay and isn’t all icky like low income housing so it’s a buzzword of choice for the NIMBYs out there looking to prove that they’re not against housing, just against that housing development that happens to be in front of an approving agency.

I’ve already reflected on the lack of awareness that Jennifer Roloff has with regard to “affordable housing.”  Earlier she intimated that the City of Alameda and non profit housing developers simply had not looked hard enough for funding sources.  Because she’s fundraised for the Franklin PTA where people are just waiting to throw money at the PTA so she knows that money will come as long as you just look for it.

She used all the nice buzzwords like “boomerang funds” and talking about the affordable housing bond, but given that she thinks that $10 million is meaningful to the development of affordable housing, it’s clear she doesn’t understand the topic at all.  She probably should have found out how much the last affordable housing development actually cost before talking up the $10 million like it’s some magic bullet.

I put this together when another “fresh face” decided to weigh in on affordable housing construction.  You’re welcome, Jennifer Roloff.

Here’s the funding breakdown for Shinsei Gardens.  For Jennifer Roloff: it’s the development on Willie Stargell street that is next to Coast Guard Housing on the West End.  If you’ve never gone past Target you will not have seen it, if you have gone to Rockwall, you may have noticed it.  It’s nice and new and has lots of nice families that live there.  Renters.  Breakdown:

City of Alameda $3.8m
CalHCD MHP $3.5m
Tax Credit Investor – NEF $6.9m
General Partner Equity $1.1m
Citibank Permanent Loan $1.3m
County Alameda $365k
Stop Waste. Org $40k
Home Depot Foundation $50k
Bay Friendly Landscaping $15k
Total Project Costs: $17.1m

Per Unit Hard Costs: $291,140/unit
Per Unit Total Costs: $438,000/unit

See that?  The total project cost is $17.1 million which would subsume all of the allocated funds from the County with an additional $7.1 million to raise.  Hard costs are actual construction costs.  Total costs include everything else like architecture fees, getting through the approval process from the City especially when people who don’t like a project ask a City Council member to do a call for review, things like that.

Shinsei Gardens only has 39 units, so that $10 million doesn’t even stretch far enough for 39 units yet somehow Jennifer Roloff is proposing this as though it is some magic bullet solution to all our housing problems.  Recall that the new-APC, I mean RESHAP, has the cobbled the financing together for the housing units alone, but without market rate development there is no RESHAP because the backbone infrastructure cannot be built.

This is basic, basic stuff here that even a lowly blogger knows about.  Is it too much to ask that people running for leadership positions in the City of Alameda know more than a once-every business day hyper local blogger?  Oh, I forgot, we like “fresh faces” and not standard politicians in this City as though ignorance of the basic issues is some virtue.


  1. I don’t think you’ll be invited to her victory party when she wins.

    Comment by ChrisS — September 22, 2016 @ 6:37 am

  2. There you go again…

    What about critiquing the other candidates for some balance?

    Comment by Captain Obvious — September 22, 2016 @ 6:44 am

  3. You know for critiques of other candidates you can always visit other blogs, which — I’m sure — would never write one negative word about Jennifer Roloff. Funny that no one seems to be quite that upset when I criticize Tony Daysog. Either speaks to the white knight-ing around Alameda’s mediocre female elected officials or elected officials-to-be, or maybe no one really cares about Tony Daysog other than as a useful tool.

    Comment by Lauren Do — September 22, 2016 @ 6:54 am

    • Maybe it is up to the other bloggers (thought competition) to market their sites, but could you name drop a few?
      They don’t seem to be on the links on your right sidebar..
      I have found Alameda Merry-go- Round, but not much else…

      Comment by CD — September 22, 2016 @ 11:32 am

      • For a laugh in terms of the quality of writing, and to get the flavor of Alameda’s (thankfully small) basket of deplorables, try Action Alameda News.

        Comment by BC — September 22, 2016 @ 11:57 am

  4. I, for one, am excited that she wants to get creative. Finally, someone who genuinely wants to figure out how to build subsidized housing.

    If only the myriad local, state and federal agencies, non-profits and dedicated elected officials working on this problem for decades had just tried to be creative. Think of what they could have accomplished.

    Seriously, I was at the LWV forum Monday night. It was 100% clear that her priority is to stop construction. Anyone who falls for the modern NIMBYs’ pretext of talking like they are from Tenants Together when it comes to market rate development and boosting inclusionary percentages, and doesn’t realize it is just to make projects infeasible, deserves a flogging.

    Comment by BMac — September 22, 2016 @ 8:06 am

    • It is a slap in the face to those suffering under this housing crisis and a slap in the face to the housing advocates who work their butts off to get as much affordable housing as possible whenever these folks pretend that they want any new housing whatsoever. Have some grit. If you don’t want housing, stand by that stance. Don’t use our suffering to make yourselves look like you actually care. We can see through your “preservation and progress”.

      Comment by Angela — September 22, 2016 @ 8:41 am

      • You are a pot head who lives for free in your in laws house. Is that suffering ? You don’t have a job , you drink wine and read comics . That’s a choice . M’s. Hockabout try a personal housing solution and employment , then you and the Vellas of the world can preach

        Comment by Master Blaster — September 22, 2016 @ 9:02 pm

    • And how about that gutless wonder Malia Vella? She was the only council candidate to say she does not support L1, but she refused to say whether or not she supports M1.

      Comment by vigi — September 22, 2016 @ 9:49 am

    • No one and no council is going to 100% stop construction. Sorry if that cuts into anyone’s campaign promises. There is plenty of need and too much (essentially) open space (with significant limitations, this being an island) that will be built out. And there is construction. The real question – as always — will be how to do it, because once done, it’s pretty hard to undo. Sorry to keep harping on it, but Exhibit A would Chernobyl-on-the-beach, of all places, complete with hell-bent 18-wheel truck drivers speeding back and forth down residential streets to the distant freeway, otherwise known as the Southshore Post Office. I wasn’t around when, or if, there was a debate about whether that would be a good idea or what promises were made to City residents.

      Comment by MP — September 22, 2016 @ 10:21 am

      • Exhibit A would be*

        Comment by MP — September 22, 2016 @ 10:23 am

      • Post Office, a Court House, and a Bowling Alley (er…Center).
        Other than Sushi House, the best thing along the beach is a McDonalds. Or the bike rental facility, which is housed in a ship container, not good near the Park Street Bridge.

        Comment by CD — September 22, 2016 @ 11:49 am

      • But Kool and the Gang were probably around in some or another when the post office was built. Took a while for the title of the piece to register.

        Comment by MP — September 22, 2016 @ 12:33 pm

      • I don’t recall us residents having a say about the Shoreline PO. It is on Federal, not city, land. Before that, South Shore had a DMV. Everyone from hilly Oakland would come here to take the operator driving test.

        Comment by vigi — September 22, 2016 @ 1:05 pm

        • thanks for reminding me. I remember now you pointing that out before.

          Comment by MP — September 22, 2016 @ 1:24 pm

      • the title of today’s blog still has me thinking about Kool & the Gang who created one of the three best songs to bounce across San Leandro Bay from the Coliseum to Alameda: 1. Celebration (K&tG), 2. Juliana, Que Mala Eres (Miguel Tejada’s at bat song), 3., more recently, The Bernie Lean (unknown). If the A’s had only debuted that last one in 2016, who knows what might have been.

        Comment by MP — September 22, 2016 @ 2:42 pm

  5. If you think that renters are going to vote for Jennifer Roloff then you’re in for a big surprise. Renters are going to flood the polls. It’s the biggest issue on the ballot locally and somehow I doubt they’re going to cast their votes for someone who doesn’t have even the slightest grasp on our housing crisis. This is a hugely important election. I don’t care how many intersections you wave Roloff’s signs at. Renters know who will support their needs in November.

    Comment by Angela — September 22, 2016 @ 8:08 am

    • You really need to read something besides this blog, Angela. Like today’s Alameda Sun. Please read especially Barbara Manibusan’s piece on page 10.

      Comment by vigi — September 22, 2016 @ 9:46 am

      • Who said I didn’t. Sounds like you’re the one making assumptions.

        Comment by Angela — September 22, 2016 @ 12:55 pm

        • I guess you missed this part: “Just as not all landlords are not alike, neither are all tenants. Does anyone know how many contented Alameda renters there are?”

          Angela, you seem to assume all renters will vote alike, that is, like you. The article disagrees.

          Comment by vigi — September 22, 2016 @ 1:10 pm

    • Angela , you are a paradite. Your husband should be a man and meet your family’s needs. Your kids will follow your footsteps and wait for you to die as you are waiting for your in laws to die. Greedy parasite

      Comment by Master B — September 22, 2016 @ 9:06 pm

      • You drunk yet again? Oh dear.

        Comment by BC — September 23, 2016 @ 7:26 am

  6. I’ve read her web-site, she is either very ignorant of the housing issue’s here in Alameda or she really does not want any more housing to be built. If we just create jobs here does anyone truly believe that they will all be filled by Alamedans and no one will commute to work on this island. Low income housing is not just a “side effect” of market rate housing as Ms. Roloff states, it is the only real way to get that housing built at this point, and I have not seen any plan to actually do it any other way by any council member in this city.

    Comment by John P. — September 22, 2016 @ 8:15 am

  7. So the answer is to keep building and that will solve all the renters problems (and all other City issues)? That’s really funny and just wrong. Interesting that 3 new families (two home owners and one renting) in my hood over the last 6 months and they all are from San Francisco. And why is no one asking how our schools, traffic and public safety/services (to just name a few things) will be impacted by this growth? And for that public safety component, they’ll grow accordingly and have their hand out for their share which is the majority of the city’s budget. Speaking of, how is that new super duper fire and emergency command center at the end of Grand St tacking these days vs it’s original schedule and budget? It’s still not done but up to 11-12m once all the dust settles and well over budget. Economics 101 is not an area this City has a grasp of.

    Comment by ChrisS — September 22, 2016 @ 9:36 am

    • Isn’t this the real issue that needs to be tackled? Don’t we need to provision infrastructure before we even contemplate housing? At commute hours the bridges and tube are choked and (as many have remarked) traffic is a killer (pun intended). Who the heck will want to live here in housing at any price if the quality of life is not commensurate? This sounds like NIMBY’ism – but it’s more a cry for common sense.

      Comment by adrianblakey — September 22, 2016 @ 4:04 pm

  8. Let’s see, so far we have 4 commentators for and 3 against Roloff (minus the subs…they don’t count). Should be a close race.

    Comment by jack — September 22, 2016 @ 9:55 am

    • +1 Against

      Comment by ajryan — September 22, 2016 @ 10:06 am

  9. My guess. It will be Tam and Roloff. Tam has far bigger/stronger base following than the other three and Roloff gets a lot of new voters/people that want a new direction along with most of the Mayor’s 10k plus voters that put her in office. More money down the drain from those groups formed to support “their” candidates. Maybe soon we’ll see Tam/Roloff going door to door like Ashcraft/Vella are doing. And recently a friend told me Vella showed up and said when asked if she was supported by the firefighters- “no, I’m not supported by them”. Really? Is she really unaware of who is involved with the committee established to support their cadidates? Wow. But I guess just a politicians answer, like her answer on rent control now – “I’m netural”. I’m trusting that most voters will get it figured out come Election Day.

    Comment by ChrisS — September 22, 2016 @ 10:19 am

  10. Wow. I usually don’t read this type of thing but I’m standing in a crowded line, just killing time. My, how angry everyone seems to be. The sarcasm and mean spirited nature of much of the commentary is childish and counter productive. By the way, I am and have been anti growth. The current building boom without intelligent thought to the transportation and quality of life it will bring is short sighted. The charming nature of our community is giving way to the Vacavillization of our town. Perhaps some of you could spew your venom in a positive direction.

    Comment by Mike cooper — September 22, 2016 @ 10:59 am

    • You the Mike Cooper that’s Jeff Smith’s friend?

      Comment by jack — September 22, 2016 @ 11:27 am

  11. #7, three new families in your neighborhood in the last six months, did they each build new homes to add to our population or did they move into existing homes which does not increase our population or city services needed. What does the new fire house have to do with your post.

    Comment by John P. — September 22, 2016 @ 11:05 am

  12. #11. New homes/new population increases. The new pent house has to do with building, not understanding finances, how the public safety #’s will greatly expand as the City builds more etc etc. Part of the problem, likely the main problem, is that all this new building is needed to keep the budget in line as it’s completely out of whack on where the money goes. A classic case of kick the can down the road. Why do you think that Alamedans United was formed? It wasn’t to protect renters, they could care less about that.

    Comment by ChrisS — September 22, 2016 @ 11:23 am

  13. Following the evolving public discussion of housing development in Alameda, it looks like:

    “Go fast” people suggest there is no realistic way to increase affordable housing units except to build a lot more expensive housing that will make developers a lot of money. As part of these projects, developers are required to build some affordable housing connected to that project (usually no greater than 15% of the units of expensive housing). If true, the only way to get even a few hundred more affordable housing units here several be to build several thousand more expensive housing units.

    “Go slow” people seem to think the various negative effects of building many thousands more expensive housing units here outweigh the positive effects of adding a few more hundred affordable housing units. Although some “go slow” people may have been or be motivated in part by deplorable racist attitudes, it is hard to deny that there are ample non-racist reasons for sensible, caring people not to want Alameda to add 10,000-15,000 more residents. Mike Cooper’s comment above is a good example of the latter. Some concerns include how this all would work with with the island’s limited ingress and egress, its very weak public transit system, its school facilities, and that hard to define general quality of life.

    There don’t seem to be simple or satisfactory solutions. On the tallying of votes here, mark down this one as truly still undecided.

    Comment by Conundrum — September 22, 2016 @ 12:13 pm

    • Part of how one must evaluate this discussion depends on the goal. Roloff and the NIMBYs goal is to only build the bare minimum (or less if possible) as required by state law. If we build the few hundred affordable units required by law, we are done.

      This ignores the simple fact that thousands of Alameda households will still be severely rent burdened by the continuing housing shortage in the region. Roloff has shown little concern for this moral obligation to provide housing opportunities for residents at less than soul crushing prices.

      Comment by BMac — September 22, 2016 @ 2:28 pm

    • Is “do nothing” an option? The place is pretty much maxed out. Can we not fix what’s not broken?

      Comment by adrianblakey — September 22, 2016 @ 4:12 pm

  14. Claim against the City? Details?

    Comment by MP — September 22, 2016 @ 2:43 pm

  15. Lauren, your breakdown of Shinsei Gardens doesn’t contradict Ms. Roloff, It confirms what she is saying. The city put in 3.8M and gets 39 units costing 17.1M, more than 4 times the value it put in. Based on this, 10M buys you a 40 M asset (about 91 housing units). Is it easy to put together this financing? Of course not; but it is doable. Our past Councils, in allowing private developers to eat up very valuable land for only 15 % affordable housing, are just paying lip service to affordable housing, meeting only 38% of their Housing Element affordable housing goal for 2023 while doubling our market rate Housing Element goal.

    The larger developments, like Del Monte, don’t even have to build the affordable housing, they only need to donate a small parcel of the land and infrastructure to a non-profit developer (In the case of DelMonte, the Alameda Housing Authority), who then has to put together the financing and take responsibility for the project.

    You should be up in arms over what the City is doing in short-changing affordable housing, while filling the pockets of developers and congesting our streets. Instead, you attack Ms. Roloff who is trying to meet our affordable housing needs in a much more direct and effective manner.

    Finally, workforce housing has nothing to do with Nimbyism. It is primarily housing for folks who work on the island and cannot live here because they do not qualify under the State “affordable” housing guidelines. Currently, in Alameda, that would be a household unit of 4 people with an income over 112000 per year, still not enough income to be able to afford market rate housing. Thus, Ms. Roloff is advocating not only that the City meet its State “affordable” housing goals, but also provide relief for the next group on the income ladder who receive no subsidy.

    I respect your right to disagree with her approach to the problem, but not the name calling and disparagement of her knowledge and motives.

    Comment by Paul S Foreman — September 22, 2016 @ 2:57 pm

  16. Jesus, more White Knighting. Perhaps if your candidate was more clear or had more of a base of knowledge to work from when she writes about her stances on particular issues then people wouldn’t have to be in such a rush to say “no no, THIS is what Jennifer Roloff meant. Ignore all the other things that are written on her website or that come out of her mouth at Candidate Forums, she clearly means all this other stuff!”

    At some point she’s going to need a permanent translator attached to her hip to tell her “Jennifer, what you meant to say was this, not all the other stuff that you just said.”

    Comment by Lauren Do — September 22, 2016 @ 4:02 pm

  17. well it looks like Mr. Foreman is the translator.

    Comment by John P. — September 22, 2016 @ 4:10 pm

    • Ms Roloff does not need me as a translator. Her statements on development are very clear. Her website issue statements have been more specific than any other candidate. Lauren understands Ms. Roloff very well and disagrees with her. Lauren appears to favor continuing on the same 15% path as is presently the case, with no chance whasover of building the 605 unit shortfall from our 2023 Housing Element goal unless we build several thousand more market rate units. If I am misinterpreting your position, Lauren, please enlighten me with your specific strategy for building these affordable units.

      Comment by Paul S Foreman — September 22, 2016 @ 6:28 pm

  18. 17a. It’s easier for Ld to arm chair quarterback others than offer any real solution to all this growth she apparently wants and how it will negatively impact the City. I thought I was still in my evaluation phase of the cadidates until just a few moments ago. One of my votes will now go to Roloff, so thanks for helping me decide. I’ll take raw dedicated local talent over new or stale recycled puppets for Alamedans United anyday.

    Comment by Jim D. — September 22, 2016 @ 8:56 pm

  19. Lauren,

    You never say anything about Ashcraft? Why? You seem to really be going after someone who is thinking like a person in the private sector . Work force housing would more then likely be housing that is similar to SF’s BMI units. You are such a hater. You google a little and think your an expert. You live in Bayport lmfao . A toxic development with the charm a a low level prison. Surrounded by the Poggi’s and the projects on the point. That Lauren is your resume .

    Comment by Master B Dazzle — September 22, 2016 @ 9:16 pm

  20. 18. You are absolutely right but…”armchair quarterback” she’s not. LD has probably increased the vote for Roloff by at least 20 voters out of the forty or so voters who even know this blog exists. Do knows if she disparages someone in her blog it will drive the fence sitters to be for who she disparages because by and large Alameda citizens don’t like to see their fellow citizens disparaged. That’s why she’s rather good at being a double agent. She knows that anything or anyone she stands for in her blog regular Alamedans will be against and vice versa.

    This business about the disparagement of Spencer’s husband and the DUI charge (Friday’s treat) is a clear example. Check out how many commentators don’t like what she’s doing. She knows what she’s doing and -in real life- she’s a fan of Spencer and Roloff.

    Comment by jack — September 23, 2016 @ 10:25 am

  21. Not sure if I should shake my head or laugh-

    Comment by Jim D. — September 23, 2016 @ 11:14 am

    • It’s kinda like Trump belittling Hillarity. He’s an irregular mole Jackass posing as an Elephant whereas shes a true Jackass relying on the mole berating her into the White House.

      Comment by jack — September 23, 2016 @ 1:46 pm

  22. Jack

    How can I tell the “regular Alamedans” from the Alamedans that are “not regular?”

    Comment by Gerard L. — September 23, 2016 @ 1:23 pm

    • If you have to ask you’re irregular and an imperfect piece of merchandise sold at a reduced price.

      Comment by jack — September 23, 2016 @ 1:36 pm

      • Did you just describe fellow residents of the city you live in as merchandise?

        Comment by Gerard L. — September 23, 2016 @ 2:04 pm

        • Just a metaphor, Gerard, just a metaphor, My fellow residents here are mostly hipsters here to breed, the rest are fogies waiting to visit Rolling Hills Memorial Park since they can’t be buried here.

          Comment by jack — September 23, 2016 @ 2:38 pm

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