Blogging Bayport Alameda

November 6, 2019


Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

So apparently the Carnegie Innovation Hall is not moving forward because it’s all the fault of the big bad City Council. (As long as you’re only buying what the Innovation Hall people are putting out there).  As a reminder, the comments section here contains the outsized reaction of certain supporters of the project to opinions being expressed about their framing of the narrative.

And then a light summary of one of the other possible sticking points that arose during the City Council meeting, insurance requirements, in this post.  Suffice it to say, this team was not ready for the reality of a group of City Councilmembers to be careful and fulfill their duties to protect the assets of the City of Alameda and, rather, expected the City Council to fall all over itself to support the project no matter what.  It’s a strategy I guess.

Rather than chugging along and trying to make the project still pencil out with, what were still really good terms, it appears that the Innovation Hall will be taking its toys and going home.

Highlights but I wonder if I should screen shot this whole thing:

[U]ntil this or a future city government can truly lean in and help make this project happen. This is not a decision my team has come to lightly. Rather, over the past 6 weeks, it has become painfully clear that we are missing the most critical element of the project: a city government that fully supports and values what we intend to bring to this project and the community.

I don’t know what it means to “lean in” anymore than the City has already done.   Free rent until the capital the Innovation Hall has invested in the building has been recouped seems pretty in-leaning if you ask me.

The interesting thing is the letter has a link to the City Council meeting and, as someone who watched the City Council meeting, the discussion is very reasonable and suggests thoughtfulness on the part of the City Council.  Also a comment by the City Councilmember also contradicts the allusion to fickleness of the part of the City Council because it was stated, definitely, that the City Council was only made privy to the terms of the lease fairly recently which was when some of the additional “demands” were made.

Also it sounds like the previous Mayor and City Manager may have overstepped their authority and gave the Innovation Hall team an unrealistic expectation that their every wish would be granted:

The previous mayor and city manager told us we could start working on a fundraising and a lease proposal, but in August of 2018 we were told to halt our efforts and wait to apply to the city’s request for qualifications (RFQ) process.

There are two references to waiting for a “future city government” to restart the process. It will be interesting to see if the Innovative Team decides to put their efforts behind backing certain candidates to give them an extra vote on the City Council.  But even if they manage to win two seats on the City Council all leases take four votes.  I’m not sure they would have it even if they had two sympathetic new Councilmembers next year.


  1. Really disappointed that things didn’t work out, but it looks like everyone gave it their best shot.

    Comment by Karen Bey — November 6, 2019 @ 6:50 am

  2. Question:

    How does, “The previous mayor and city manager told us we could start working on a fundraising and a lease proposal” (whatever that means)

    translate into: “[S]ounds like the previous Mayor and City Manager…..gave the Innovation Hall team an unrealistic expectation that their every wish would be granted”?

    Sure, possible, but if someone could fill in the gaps between step one and two, perhaps more believable.

    Question 2 (for anyone):

    How did the Council do last last night with their other opportunity to be “careful and fulfill their duties to protect the assets of the City of Alameda” with respect to a certain claim made against the City?

    Comment by MP — November 6, 2019 @ 7:10 am

  3. This sounded flaky from the start, and the project is obviously undercapitalized and dependent on volunteers, grants, donations and discount labor. Nothing wrong with that, but this appears to be a bridge too far. It also sounds like Oddie and Vella are pushing for union rates after pressure from their bosses, Bonta and the Fire Department. What we need is a modern day Carnegie, like Bezos, Gates or Marc Benioff to fund a revitalization of the old Carnegie.

    Comment by Nowyouknow — November 6, 2019 @ 7:58 am

    • NYK,I would like to think council members are pushing for a decent wage from pressure by the constituants that voted for them. This is what we call “representative Democracy” I’m all for a decent wage!

      Comment by Alan p. — November 6, 2019 @ 10:23 am

      • The question is not so much about a ‘decent wage’. The Lease had a Prevailing Wage Agreement built in. I gather the CC wanted a PLA which would require Union Labor.

        Comment by frank — November 6, 2019 @ 11:08 am

        • I cannot see the problem with prevailing wage on public project. What I was referring too above is whenever it comes up it is put onto Bonta and the firefighters like they are demons.

          Comment by Alan p — November 6, 2019 @ 12:35 pm

        • Didn’t the Jenkins report refer to a conversation that Bonta was going to throw Alameda under the bus by not supporting some funding legislation if Keimach didn’t appoint the firefighters union’s choice for Fire Chief?

          Comment by BarbaraK — November 6, 2019 @ 1:55 pm

        • You don’t see a problem with the city requiring a party to pay above market labor rates for a project?

          Not only does that unduly burden the non profit involved, the membership of which is most likely working for market rates themselves, but it’s a half a step away from the city requiring a homeowner to pay above market rates to tile their bathroom or paint their house as a condition of granting a building permit.

          Bonta & the IAFF are cited simply because they are the most notable feeders at the taxpayers’ trough. That shoe fits comfortably.

          Comment by dave — November 6, 2019 @ 1:56 pm

        • This sounds like a lot of conjectures and speculations. If the breakdown was indeed due to the city pressing for union rates, or above market rates, then the non-profit group would’ve just said so in their statement. Instead, we only got a vague reference of a city not “leaning in” enough, whatever that means.

          Comment by JRB — November 6, 2019 @ 3:19 pm

  4. Based on the behavior of this group and it’s attitude towards council (and by extension the citizens of Alameda) I cannot support this innovation hall in this location. There are dozens of locations across the city that could be used for such a purpose that would not have the same requirements put forth by the city. I hope that they find success in one of them.

    Comment by Angela — November 6, 2019 @ 11:40 am

  5. @JRB This was discussed earlier.

    Comment by frank — November 6, 2019 @ 4:24 pm

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