Blogging Bayport Alameda

November 18, 2016

Can’t waitlist

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

On Monday night the Planning Board had a scoping session about the Alameda Marina Master Plan EIR. I don’t really have a ton of opinions about this particular project, but I do understand that the current spaces needs a lot of work and — as with most infrastructure projects — the owner can’t float the entire cost of repairs and rehabilitation without a new income stream which is why, redevelopment plans.

Anyway, these comments were puzzling from one of Mayor Trish Spencer’s appointees to the Planning Board, Sandy Sullivan, had this to say about the project in general:

My comment is, it’s a lot of houses in that area and there are existing businesses being booted where are they going. As ugly as an RV park is a lot of people in Alameda own those things.  There is a shortage of space, there are waitlists to get in to these storage areas of that goes away where are they going?  How many Alameda residents will be displaced?

First, let me point out that the displacement she is referring to is the displacement of people’s stuff.  Not actual people.  I had to listen to this twice to understand that the RV park wasn’t an RV park where people were living and therefore she was concerned about the people living in their RVs getting displaced.  No, she was worried about Alameda residents not having a place close to them to park their RVs and having storage space.

You know what else has a waitlist?  The Housing Authority list of people waiting to get into public housing or to get a Section 8 voucher to help pay for rising rent costs.  Also you know what else has a waitlist?  Any time a list opens up for the low income housing units that becomes available after the these developments help fund them.  But somehow we’re supposed to be concerned that there’s a waitlist for a storage unit for stuff.

Then there was this part of her comments:

I’m very concerned about the number of rentals versus the number of for sale. And that’s a very big concern. [unintelligible] And already this city is 55% rentals and the rest homeowners.  It’s an issue.

Seriously.  I don’t understand why this is an “issue.”  Out of politeness or fatigue no one on the Planning Board challenged Sandy Sullivan as to why she made this comment and why it’s an “issue” and a “big concern.”   It’s probably the same sentiment which makes a large swath of Alameda unsympathetic to the plight of renters and younger residents lamenting the high cost of housing in the Bay Area and specifically Alameda.  That somehow renters as a majority is something that is bad and providing more rental housing is somehow not a positive thing.


  1. As much as Alameda needs lots more housing, I hate to see established marine businesses displaced and put at risk by this development. How much will this redevelopment reduce Alameda’s economic output or tax revenues due to the pressure on businesses that now have a home in the Alameda Marina area?

    Comment by Jon Spangler — November 18, 2016 @ 8:16 am

    • “Of course I’m for X housing, just not in X location.”

      Comment by NIMBY — November 18, 2016 @ 10:36 am

  2. I don’t have or want an RV but people do have them and pay to store them which in turn means tax dollars for Alameda rather than another city. Isn’t there some place on the base too toxic to build homes that could be set aside for this? People have different priotities, needs, and concerns. Instead of judging, we would all do better to work to find solutions to problems in a collaborative, cooperate way whether they are our problems or not. This us and them thing isn’t working for America and it doesn’t work for Alameda.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — November 18, 2016 @ 8:41 am

  3. An owner occupied house is better for neighbors and better for the community than a rental. Nobody washes a rental car, in the history of the business. Tenants, for the most part, are not as involved in the neighborhood or the community. They are not vested. In the United States, tenants are far more transient than home owners. So yeah, I would not like to live next to a rental, and most people would agree that having a majority of renters in a community is not a good thing. But don’t listen to me. Listen to folks that live in towns that used to be owner majority and are now tenant majority. Listen to people that live next to large apartment complexes.

    Comment by Alameda Landlord — November 18, 2016 @ 8:57 am

    • Ironic you’re a landlord then. You’re harming the community by your own admission.

      However, I strongly disagree with your attitude to renters. It stinks of condescension and privilege. I grew up in rental housing and we kept the apartment well, painting the interior and generally maintaining the place. As I’ve pointed out before, your rental car comparison is stupid. If you rented a car for a couple of years, you’d wash it. I think the important factor in determining how well people treat the housing (and contribute to the community) is security of tenure, not rent vs. own.

      Comment by BC — November 18, 2016 @ 9:21 am

    • Goodman/Goody Alameda Landlord, I propose we just put a big “R” on the chest of all renters so we can identify them quicker and know who to collectively shun.

      Comment by Lauren Do — November 18, 2016 @ 9:22 am

      • Good one! “R”!

        Comment by nony.mous — November 18, 2016 @ 9:39 am

    • A.L. your comments are so contradictory I don’t know how you can take yourself seriously, let alone expect others to do so. It’s like readying the Onion.

      Comment by MI — November 18, 2016 @ 10:03 am

  4. This is a terrible place for RV storage, obviously. The tenants of that property have benefitted (in terms of rents) from decades of neglect and lack of investment in the Marina. The hoist(s) & a reasonable amount of space for storage of actively used dry stored boats should stay. The travel lift/houseboat elevator and an appropriate amount of space to operate a healthy boatyard should stay (regardless of who operates it). Beyond that, a healthy mix of space for maritime focused commercial activities and a boatload of housing is welcome.

    Comment by BMac — November 18, 2016 @ 10:17 am

  5. No need to put a big “R” brand on the forehead, homeowners know which houses are rentals on their street. Home owners track home sales as well a rentals in their neighborhood. Many streets are largely home owners, with the occasional rental house. Most neighbors are not happy living next to a rental and hope that the owner either sells the unit or moves in. I don’t blame them. Yet, job contingencies, military deployments, family emergencies and other circumstances do arise and the option to rent your house out temporarily (does mom and pop apply?) while you are doing your duty to family, firm or country is an option that I believe in. Now if more than half the houses on the block were rentals, well I wouldn’t want to buy there or live there. I think its great that some Black Swans take care of their rental unit better than an owner would. But, to be real, one can generally walk along the sidewalk and note which units are rentals and which are owner occupied. Trash, parking, noise, upkeep, garden and general civility go by the wayside when you are renting in the neighborhood for a year or two (security deposit, anybody?). Owners are committed, and in the interest of community, couch their behavior and mind their tongues because they have a stake in the neighborhood. Some of you need to get out of your bubble, and face the fact that rental majority neighborhoods are not viewed as desirable or positive for a majority of Alameda residents.There were a lot of reasons for Measure A, and that was one of them.

    I find it rich that some you are arguing class and privilege issues in Alameda. This island largely consists of two races, white and yellow with a smattering of black (6%). The medium household income is close to $75K. There is no class and privilege battle here, nor in Atherton, Hillsborough or Beverly Hills for that matter. If you want to live in a community that is more diverse, you are very fortunate, for Oakland is only minutes away.

    Comment by Alameda Landlord — November 18, 2016 @ 10:49 am

    • Suzanne? Is that you? Whomever you are, you are most certainly a verifiable piece of bigoted doody. That is all.

      Comment by baby mama — November 18, 2016 @ 1:42 pm

  6. Back to the original post, the Planning Board Member in question expresses her dissatisfaction with any housing unit that does not have a private yard and essentially one parking space for every bedroom. Multi family housing will never be what she likes, so she is not going to like any project that moves forward from here on out. She constantly derides any unit that can not attract “young families” that want to live the “California lifestyle.”

    She also wants enough parking to make sure that on the busiest day of the year for street parking, she can still park right in front of her friend or family member’s house and carry the mashed potatoes the shortest possible distance.

    Comment by BMac — November 18, 2016 @ 11:00 am

  7. Brian, you kill me. Worrying about what Sullivan has to say is probably a waste of time. She, like many people, are living in the past and want to keep Alameda their personal Mayberry. C’est la vie. I spoke at the board meeting about how approving housing is going to be the way we translate our values of inclusivity and love in the face of the threats coming from the new administration in Washington. In other words, it’s nice to hold a candle and put on a safety pin, but nicer to make sure the folks we are so worried about can actually stay in Alameda. Maybe that means spending more time in traffic and sacrificing the parking space in front of your house.

    Comment by Laura Thomas — November 18, 2016 @ 11:33 am

  8. One final comment, AL, just in case you’re serious. The median income (I guess that’s what you mean by medium) tells you literally nothing about the dispersion of income, which is I think is the point you’re struggling to make.

    And this planning board member sounds dreadful. Does she have any qualifications for the post, other than maybe being a drinking buddy of Spencer and a reliable holder of traditional island prejudices? Spencer’s previous nominations to boards haven’t worked out so great. Think Lucas and Gottstein.

    Comment by BC — November 18, 2016 @ 3:03 pm

    • She is the resident expert on landscape choices. She knows her trees and shrubs and what not.

      Comment by BMac — November 18, 2016 @ 3:18 pm

  9. Anyone else see our City Manager on the 5:30 pm Saturday CBS Nightly News, defending her support of the UMT, which will probably tax various features of the Internet? The interview made her look like a liar. Hope we follow Pasadena’s lead..

    Comment by vigi — November 27, 2016 @ 3:58 pm

    • People in Alameda were dumb enough to vote for the UMT in a landslide. Let them enjoy paying tax on their Netflix streams.

      Comment by Marvin Hamon — November 28, 2016 @ 10:02 am

  10. Dose this mean she looks like Trump???

    Comment by John Piziali — November 27, 2016 @ 4:59 pm

  11. While there is no way to go back and fix this I find it interesting that the city has been leasing the tide lands that are part of Alameda Marina to them for decades and has never held the business responsible for maintenance until 2012. Then the city suddenly wanted all the maintenance brought up to date at a time that coincided so neatly with a housing building boom.

    Here’s a few of interesting facts that most people don’t know about Alameda Marina:

    There are small reasonably priced professional offices. Most office space in Alameda is 2000ft^2 and up and priced at $24/ft^2/yr and up. You can get a nice office in Alameda Marina that is 500ft^2 or less for around $20/ft^2/yr. For a one or two person office this is great and it’s hard to find similar offices in Alameda. I have one of these offices for my business and I have been looking for a replacement for the last year in Alameda and Oakland and have yet to find a similar space.

    There are small shop spaces here. You can get a 1,500ft^2 shop space with a small office and a rollup door to operate a small light manufacturing or maker business out of. These types of spaces are not available anywhere else in Alameda.

    There is a marina elevator that is used to haul larger boats and floating homes out of the water for repair and maintenance. Without this facility the floating home owners in Alameda will have to have their homes towed across the bay to be worked on. If there is an emergency and they need to be hauled out immediately there will be no where to go.

    No one is building new boat yards. The loss of each one is a blow to recreational and commercial boating in the whole bay area. Imagine if you had to have your car worked on and there were only a few repair shops that you could go to and they were all booked up for the next 8 months?

    The outside storage is not just for RVs. There is a vibrant group of recreational sailors in Alameda that store their small sailboats on trailers in the marina and get them in and out of the water using special cranes in the marina. The loss of these storage and launch facilities will be a blow to the recreational water access for people in Alameda. Putting in kayak docks is a faint replacement for these sailing facilities.

    Comment by Marvin Hamon — November 28, 2016 @ 10:00 am

    • The current master plan application for Alameda Marina envisions keeping the 3T hoist that is at the east end of the property and space for, I think, 90 dry boat slips. This is a decent start. For me, if the project moves forward, both the hoist with its reasonable amount of dry storage space AND the boatyard need to stay. The Svendsens don’t have to operate it if they don’t want to, obviously, but the elevator, travelift, and requisite space for a healthy boatyard need to remain in order to serve the region’s recreational boating ecosystem. Details like phasing, amount of space for maritime commercial are also important. More important than what the open space/parks/etc look like.

      If they can preserve those core functions on a smaller footprint, build me a bunch of housing units on the rest of the site.

      Comment by BMac — November 28, 2016 @ 1:07 pm

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