Blogging Bayport Alameda

November 19, 2019

Who records the record keepers

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

A few things on tonight’s City Council agenda.   First, Spirits Alley lives up to its boozy name and may have yet another brewery on location.  Tack Brewing is looking to take up some space at Alameda Point and has a very uninformative website here.

Also on the agenda is an annual update from the Alameda Museum about the Museum’s archival efforts on behalf of the City of Alameda.

From the staff report:

On September 4, 2018, the City Council approved a five-year lease with the Museum to fund the Museum’s archival and storage services of City documents at the Museum as well as provide free public access to City historical displays. Funding for the lease is included in the Fiscal Year 2019-21 Budget from the General Fund Non-Departmental program in the amount of $42,600 annually.

The Museum stores historical records for the City and provides archival preservation. At least 25% of the Museum warehouse is dedicated to archival storage of City records with an additional 25% of the Museum dedicated to City historical exhibits. These include document and photo archives from the Library, City records, Fire and Police Department records, Alameda Recreation and Park Department records, and other records.


So, technically, one would think that the record archives — paid for by the City of Alameda — should be available to anyone interested in accessing these records.   From what I understand, a local academic sought access for these records earlier this year and did not get a response to that request.  As of the summer there had been no response from the Museum about his request.  It should not take more than four months to get access to public files.

One of the things I found interesting was that in 2017 and 2018 there were lectures by historian, Rasheed Shabazz about Black families in Alameda.   I went to the one in 2018 and it was excellent.  It was the only Alameda Museum lecture that I ever had an interest in attending.  This year the only non-Alameda specific lecture that covers any Black history is one about Black Military History with a concentration on the Port Chicago Tragedy which happened not in Alameda.   It is an interesting decision on the part of the Alameda Museum to not invite Rasheed Shabazz for another insightful look into Alameda’s history with its Black residents.

I do think it’s important for the Alameda Museum — in addition to saying that it archives records for the City — to provide metrics as to their response time and how many people have been able to access those records.  Because if they are not being responsive to some people who request access to the records the City Council and the City as a whole should know why and should be able to condition the care and keeping of its records on providing much needed access to people willing to distill that information.


  1. How would you distill the fact that a black Congressman (Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee) succeeded in extinguished (by far) the largest employer of blacks in California by shutting down the Alameda Naval base.

    Comment by Jack — November 19, 2019 @ 10:09 am

    • Nice Whataboutism.

      Comment by JRB — November 19, 2019 @ 10:51 am

      • Whataboutism, with zero evidence for the “by far the largest” claim.

        Comment by back it up — November 19, 2019 @ 11:05 am

    • BRAC has closed about 180 military installations since 1988. Given that a black congressman had several military installations in his district, there’s not much Dellums could do to keep the base open, and it’s certainly ludicrous to insinuate that he caused the loss of black jobs. He just happened to be black, and his district had a naval air station that was not deemed of sufficient strategic significance to keep open. BRAC was intended to eliminate military pork. As a libertarian, conservative, budget slashing, anti-public sector champion as you purport to be, you should be pleased with eliminating wasteful government spending. Now go enjoy your Trumpified budget deficit.

      Comment by Larry Witte — November 19, 2019 @ 4:24 pm

  2. I am reminded that Jean Sweeney digging through the archives is how the city got a excellent open space park for $1, as opposed to the Union Pacific Railroad selling the land to developers for $XX Million. The archives may seem like musty old papers. However, the open space park alone justifies substantial expenditure to maintain, curate, and provide access to the papers.

    Comment by Tom Schweich — November 19, 2019 @ 10:36 am

  3. Time to start getting those records scanned and online for all to see.

    Comment by michonnekatana — November 19, 2019 @ 11:19 pm

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