Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 14, 2020

Business to business

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

The most recent “aha” argument that A/26 boosters against Measure Z has been to show off the publicly available campaign finance report as though this is some smoking gun.

The framing is that Measure Z is supported by “multi-millionaires.” The first two listings come from someone and his company who already publicly supported Measure Z in the form of signing the statement in favor of Measure Z, the CEO of Penumbra. Penumbra, quite possibly, may be Alameda’s largest employer right now and they’ve done it quietly and without much fanfare unlike other large businesses.

Penumbra, for those that don’t know, make medical devices and is headquartered on Harbor Bay. Given the fact that the market for anything medical related probably isn’t going to be slowing down, there is nothing but upside for a company like this. The only limitation is, of course, housing for its employees. Even the most die hard of development skeptics in Alameda would say that companies like Penumbra are exactly the ones that we want to lure to Alameda, but when companies like Penumbra say they need x, y, or z to grow their businesses these folks scoff and trust their gut rather than what these successful businesses are telling them. Take for example the hotels on Harbor Bay, most large companies on Harbor Bay supported these by explaining how they needed space for meetings off site or hotel rooms for visiting guests, but those fell on the deaf ears of people who proclaim in response to any housing development: why can’t we have more businesses?

Well now, there is a very large business in Alameda telling us: “our employees need more housing options.” There was a report, I think issued by the State of California about housing in general which found that the lack of housing has actually stymied economic growth in the Bay Area. Meaning that if housing production kept up with job growth the economy would be even more robust. This was something that we heard from VF Outdoor/North Face employees too who used to come to Planning Board meetings and support projects because they couldn’t find housing in Alameda.

In an article about VF Outdoor leaving the Bay Area and Alameda with its 200,000 sq ft of office space on Harbor Bay, the conclusion was:

“The Bay Area has become housing-constrained,” [Christopher] Thornberg [founding partner of Beacon Economics] said. “In that kind of environment, only the strongest survive. Right now, the strongest is tech.”

So yeah, a business owner in Alameda putting his money into an effort that will support a diversity of housing types which could help open the market for his employees is not something to be ashamed about and it’s puzzling that folks against Measure Z would think that was a winning argument.

But if you want to hear that message from the donor directly, he’ll be one of the speakers in favor of Measure Z at tonight’s Chamber of Commerce forum. I found the framing of the speaker in opposition to Measure Z as a “former mortgage banking attorney” to be an interesting choice because of all the former job titles I’ve seen self-attributed to this speaker that has never been the one I’ve seen used. Perhaps that’s to make him seems more “business-y” in the eyes of the business focused Chamber of Commerce.

Oh, I also forgot to mention that the “multi-millionaire” being flogged by Measure Z opponents is also an Alameda resident.


  1. I’m retired and I support Measure Z. Is someone going to criticize me for supporting Measure Z despite the fact that I am no longer working at all?

    Comment by Jon Spangler — September 14, 2020 @ 8:12 am

  2. Lauren, I’m in agreement with you that there seems to be a disconnect between anti Measure Z voters and what’s happening on the ground in our business parks.

    And you are correct to remind voters why we lost VF Outdoors to Denver – because the lack of housing. They also mentioned that they were seeking a “business climate that encourages innovation and collaboration”.

    The disconnect is that employers view cities that are anti-housing, and anti-growth – to be cities that do not encourage innovation and collaboration. Folks, innovation and growth is the future!

    Let this loss be a lesson learned:

    Thank goodness, we have a Mayor who understands this, and is leading our city in the right direction. And thank goodness, we have companies like Penumbra who is willing to speak out on this very important issue.

    And finally thank goodness, for City Staff who has helped keep Alameda on the leading edge. The approved transportation and infrastructure improvements in the pipeline, and the amendments to the general plan will lay the groundwork for a great future for Alameda!

    Comment by Karen Bey — September 14, 2020 @ 9:50 am

  3. Looks like that CEO would be the victim (I mean the subject ) of Rob Bonta’s wealth tax which would tax 30,500 California taxpayers at least $40,000 more each per year and if they dare to move to Texas, tax them for the next ten years, too.

    Penumbra employs 2700 employees and their CEO, who “endorsed” Z, sold a lot of stock recently- enough to get flagged by investor watchdog groups:

    CEO Recent Trades:

    CEO and President Adam Elsesser sold 8,000 shares of PEN stock on 08/11/2020 at the average price of $232.15. The price of the stock has increased by 2.83% since.($1.85 M)

    Comment by Nowyouknow — September 14, 2020 @ 11:50 am

    • Way to conjure up vaporous conspiratorial nonsense. Stating large stock movements isn’t “getting flagged by investor watchdog groups.” And he sold shares before the price went up by 2.83%, missing out on gain of $1.85M. Think what you’re saying.

      Comment by JRB — September 14, 2020 @ 1:07 pm

      • Nope. Two clicks and you could find it. You know little about the market. CEO (Insider) stock sales are scheduled in advance. Savvy investors read the signs…

        Comment by Nowyouknow — September 14, 2020 @ 5:55 pm

        • Okay, but maybe you should read what you wrote again.

          Comment by JRB — September 15, 2020 @ 8:11 am

    • You folks who don’t know the difference between gross proceeds and gains are warmly invited to my next card game.

      Comment by dave — September 14, 2020 @ 6:11 pm

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