Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 3, 2019

Back to business

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

I hope everyone had a great long weekend.  The City Council is finally back in session after their August break.   It’s quite a lengthy looking agenda but it appears that most of the business is on the consent calendar.  However what is on the regular agenda is pretty dense and could be of interest.

First: adopting a mitigated negative declaration for the Climate Action and Resiliency Plan. . You know the very complex document that people totally read through completely before freaking out about congestion tolls.  Yeah, that document.

Next: closing loopholes in the rent ordinance to protect tenants holding Section 8 vouchers, a revised rent relocation payment, elimination of appointed RRAC, etc.

Parking enforcement to support transportation demand management goals aka actually using a report and plan rather than letting it sit and gather dust on a shelf.  This includes increasing parking fees and implementing paid parking at ferry terminals.

And this one is interesting, it’s possibly creating a city prosecutor to take on public nuisance cases that may be too small potatoes for the Alameda County District Attorney’s office.  From the staff report:

The City Council and the community have consistently expressed both a strong interest in enforcing local and certain state laws, and concern that there is currently a lack of adequate enforcement resources. While the District Attorney’s (DA) Office has the right to prosecute and enforce all state and local laws, given the many resource constraints of the DA’s Office and its reasonable prioritization of serious felonies, there remains a significant need to provide additional local prosecutorial resources to meet the expectations of the community. Examples of local cases that could be handled by a City Prosecutorial Unit runs the gamut ranging from shop-lifting to disturbing the peace, to housing and consumer protection cases, such as unlicensed contracting, consumer fraud, minimum-wage and tenant harassment.

Accordingly, the City Council, the Alameda Police Department (APD) and the community have expressed interest in the CAO fulfilling its charter mandated obligation to enforce local laws and take on the enforcement of certain state laws to the extent appropriate and in partnership with the District Attorney’s Office.

There’s an excellent piece in the EBX about this.   But this is not an inexpensive proposition and I don’t know if the residents will be down to spend that much money for quality of life prosecutions.

8 Comments »

  1. Re: prosecutor. The money should be spent on 2 (or more) additional police officers. Increased presence alone will deter a lot of the petty crime that is described and would also help with speeding, which has exploded since traffic patrols were sharply reduced.

    Re: charging for ferry parking. I remember Econ 101 and yes, there is value in parking and there a textbook case to charge for it. We don’t live in textbooks, though, we live in reality. In reality, there is no good reason to reduce ferry ridership and many solid reasons to make it even easier and moire convenient.

    Comment by dave — September 3, 2019 @ 6:18 am

  2. The EBX article seems to suggest that the goal of the new prosector is to go after landlords. Really? If this is the case, this sends a chlling message to the 95% of good landlords on the Island. Most of the bad behaving landlords are the absentee landlords.

    With the increase in crime in the Bay Area — how about focusing on improving the quality of life of all Alamedans and hire more police officers.

    Comment by Karen Bey — September 3, 2019 @ 7:13 am

  3. Some suspect that real estate brokers will be the only real beneficiary of ratcheting up the screws on landlords as landlords stuck with below market rents and high buyout fees, will simply put their property up for sale as a last resort.

    Unfortunately, there is no balance in the proposed tightening of “loopholes.” Creating a new position to prosecute evil landlords and requiring landlords to pay higher buyouts than the actual rent charged? The economic result is to create permanent tenancies because buyouts will be prohibitive. And why improve a property if you can never recoup your costs? As Karen pointed out, the vast majority of landlords are Mom and Pop landlords who need the rents to supplement retirement incomes. If this proposed legislation passes, on top of the limitation of rent increase to 70% of CPI, landlords will either do as little as possible to improve their properties, or be forced out of the market and put the rental properties up for sale. The market effect will be to drive rents up. Sadly, nowhere is economic reality discussed in the unbalanced staff report, only a desire to expand the bureaucracy with unnecessary new positions.

    Does the city council really intend to reduce available rental housing, allow rentals to slip into disrepair, cause tenant turnover, raise rents, and force property sales to people outside Alameda? That doesn’t sound “progressive” to me.

    Comment by Nowyouknow — September 3, 2019 @ 9:37 am

    • Most landlords won’t be paying relocation fees unless they intend to move themselves or a family member into a unit. The increase in relocation fees is a deterrent – who can afford them?

      My point is that the vast majority of landlords in this town are good landlords, many of them have lived here for years, some live with their tenants – while the few bad behaving landlords live elsewhere and are causing trouble for the rest of us! The message that we now need a prosecutor to prosecute landlords (if that is the goal) is a bad message to send.

      Comment by Karen Bey — September 3, 2019 @ 10:03 am

  4. While some fantasize about the evil landlord summoned to the bench, the reality is a City Prosecutor would have the greatest impact on the disadvantaged, homeless and poor communities of Alameda. A return to the era of Broken Window policing. Fines for petty violations, now handled with a finger-wag and stink-eye from the police, will be accompanied by significant fees exceeding the fines to pay for the system. A visit to the City Prosecutor, like the State’s Traffic Court, will start at about $400 and go up from there.

    Let’s not forget the lessons from City Parking Tickets, with a private venture profiting from it, and the inability to reasonably dispute a ticket. How long before privatization and automation of this City Prosecutor system will make it just another machine to generate money.

    This isn’t a fix for rentals; it’s a protectionist racket for occupational licensing, business assets, and your nosey neighbor who thinks KQED is “disturbing the peace”. Our real problems don’t need another layer of justice, with the real impact on the disadvantaged members of our community.

    Who shall be the City’s Public Defender against the City’s Prosecutor?

    Comment by Bart — September 3, 2019 @ 10:32 am

  5. I’m with Dave, we don’t need another layer of courts, we need more community policing, as in traffic patrol.

    Comment by trumpisnotmypresident — September 3, 2019 @ 11:25 am

  6. So we are going to discourage ferry riding by charging for parking? Why not just charge for a limited number of reserved spots? Just enough to pay for an Alameda ferry shuttle.

    Comment by michonnekatana — September 3, 2019 @ 11:13 pm

    • I agree. I live close enough to the ferry terminal and can walk but when running late I drive. I think it will discourage ferry ridership by charging additional fees and put more people driving through the tube or on the bridges. I ride my bike sometimes, are they also going to start charging for bike parking? We will see more people parking in the dirt and public streets in residential areas.

      Comment by joelsf — September 6, 2019 @ 9:00 am


RSS feed for comments on this post.

Say what you want

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at WordPress.com.