Blogging Bayport Alameda

December 21, 2020

Friday drop

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

Hilariously I was going to let you all know that I was going to be taking these next two weeks off but last Friday ABAG/MTC released the draft methodology based on the 2050 final blueprint. Before I get to the numbers, this is why the numbers are different, according to ABAG/MTC from what was released on Friday to what we saw before:

As noted above, the Draft RHNA Methodology uses data from the Plan Bay Area 2050 Final Blueprint. Whereas the Plan Bay Area 2050 Draft Blueprint featured 25 strategies that influenced the location of future growth, the Final Blueprint features 35 revised strategies adopted by the ABAG Executive Board and Commission in fall 2020. These strategies shift the regional growth pattern, with generally small to moderate impacts on RHNA allocations. Additionally, the Final Blueprint features updated baseline data based on consultation with local jurisdictions in summer and fall 2020.

Therefore, incorporating the Final Blueprint into the Draft RHNA Methodology results in changes to the illustrative allocations to local jurisdictions.

To put you out of your misery as to what all that *gestures above* means to Alameda, it means an INCREASE in Alameda’s allocation.

That’s right, you read those all caps correctly. An INCREASE in our allocation.

And just so it’s easier to visualize the change between the previous proposed allocation and this more draft allocation, it’s a 10% increase.

I listened to the webinar and, as you can imagine, some folks are pretty upset about the reduction of units in, specifically, Palo Alto and a larger share allocated to Alameda County. The answer from staff was that the growth pattern for the draft model did not meet State’s greenhouse gas reduction goals, that’s why you see the allocations to cities with better transit. Now people care argue this all they want, I’m just reporting what the ABAG/MTC staff said.

Here’s the comparisons, let’s just say I think that the CoCoCo methodology option no longer exists and we’ll be lucky if we can return to the days when Alameda was at a sub 5K allocation. The red circles are any jurisdictions which increased from the proposed methodology to this draft.

At first I was thinking a 100 du/ac overlay might be enough but with this higher number we might need to be thinking bigger in order to meet these allocation numbers.

I can’t wait to see how Trish Spencer and Tony Daysog are going to solve this particular pickle.


  1. Isn’t there a YouTube on how to RHNA while avoiding the arbitrary and political impression?

    Alameda’s revision is, somehow, larger than Atherton’s entire allocation. I suppose that it is only in body, and not in spirit, that is Atherton so close to Silicon Valley.

    Comment by MP — December 21, 2020 @ 6:36 am

    • ABAG/MTC said that the original allocations didn’t meet the State’s expectation for greenhouse gas reductions. I would imagine it would be better to know now at the beginning of the 18 month process that something needs to shift than waiting till the end when everyone has already designated their lots and changed their zoning and then the State pushed back and said, “yeah, this isn’t going to work.”

      Also Atherton’s number of units went up under this new model. But to your point, Berkeley’s numbers went up by 1295 units. San Leandro: 751. Hayward: 514. At 510 additional units, it could be worse for Alameda.

      Comment by Lauren Do — December 21, 2020 @ 8:23 am

      • Yes, I assume it would be far worse if ABAG sat on failing grade from the state. (Long ago, I attempted to pass a forged signature on a note home from the Home Economics teacher. Believe me when I say that the non-restorative justice then practiced at home would have been much, much less severe had my crimes been limited to failing chocolate cake, and not included forgery and obstruction of justice).

        Yes, Atherton’s allocation went up by an amount that would take only three kindergarteners counting with their toes and fingers to add up. As between that, and the fact that Alameda’s additional allocation of 500 (new total, about 5400), far outstrips Atherton’s 328 new total allocation, the latter seemed more noteworthy.

        Also noteworthy, I guess, is that the greenhouse gas reduction adjustment means a paltry 30 more units for Atherton while it means upward adjustments in farther-flung communities that equal or surpass Atherton’s entire allocation: 300 more for Rio Vista, 500 more for Antioch, 400 more for Livermore. Do people in the East Bay ex urbs drive more fuel efficient vehicles than in Atherton or Palo Alto (downward revision of 4000 units).

        Forgive if it will take a while to work through all of the calculations and transportation grades given each jurisdiction before I can get on board; for now, this train seems headed in the wrong direction.

        Comment by MP — December 21, 2020 @ 9:27 am

        • Possibly because job growth is not just in Silicon Valley but also in a little place called San Francisco which Alameda is pretty close to. People like to think just about big mega campuses like FB, Google, and Apple but one needs to consider the density of jobs in a smaller area in SF and now Oakland.

          When you read through the 2050 Plan Bay Area blueprint you’ll see that there is a goal of concentrating development where the monetary investments have gone or will go. It doesn’t make sense to pump all this money into subsidizing Alameda’s ferry service if we get the same level of allocation as Atherton which doesn’t have that level of public transit subsidy. I’m all for giving Atherton more units, but what these allocations show is that Alameda — as we all know — hits a cross section of proximity and transit infrastructure which meets a lot of the strategies in the 2050 Plan Bay Area blueprint which drives the RHNA allocation.

          Comment by Lauren Do — December 21, 2020 @ 10:00 am

        • Just for funsies I looked up bus service in Atherton. There is only one bus line ( with one hour head ways. ONE HOUR HEADWAYS. And only runs between 7 – 9:30 AM and 3:30 – 6:30 PM on the weekdays only.

          I suppose ABAG could redirect funds to SAMTRANS to bulk up service to Atherton to then justify a higher allocation because it has better transit connections but that seems like a really poor use of money.

          Comment by Lauren Do — December 21, 2020 @ 10:11 am

        • Treating bus routes as fixtures for purposes of determining RHNA allocations sounds like a recipe for keeping Atherton at avg 1 units per acre. In Alameda, we frequently discuss adding transit, bus passes, and shuttles, as a way of dealing with added units. Atherton also has a CalTrans station in the middle of town. For some reason, it only stops in Atherton on weekends (the opposite of most transit agency schedules).

          Sure, maybe a case can be made for greater job growth in downtown San Francisco (a ghost town, presently) than in Silicon Valley, but still it’s hard to explain 300 units for Atherton vs. 5400 for Alameda on that ground or transpo.

          Comment by MP — December 21, 2020 @ 10:31 am

        • Thank you for providing the side by side map. It seems that the South Bay / Silicon Valley sees a downward revision across the board, as a result of last week’s greenhouse gas reduction adjustment, totaling thousand and thousands of units.

          Comment by MP — December 21, 2020 @ 10:40 am

        • The number you need to be upset about is the 2050 baseline allocation — as I’ve said many times — even if Atherton has equal or similar raw scores to Alameda for Job Proximity – Transit (Atherton has 0.6 JPT factor, Alameda: 0.7) or Job Proximity – Auto (Atherton has 1.2 JPA factor, Alameda: 1.0) the multiplier is 0.1 for Atherton. That’s always going to render a smaller share regardless of how similar the multiplier is for closeness to jobs via transit or via auto.

          Comment by Lauren Do — December 21, 2020 @ 11:04 am

  2. Help us, Trish Spencer!

    Comment by Lol@Trish — December 21, 2020 @ 8:29 am

  3. With their years of public service, education, and wisdom, I am sure that Trish Spencer and Tony Daysog will solve this for the city. I am certain that they have a coherent plan that won’t bankrupt the city or cause us to lose control of our zoning decisions. Looking forward to it.

    Comment by Gaylon — December 21, 2020 @ 9:34 am

    • Not sure that this logic is correct, since T&T both are for lower RHNA numbers. If the other three still want the higher RHNA number including the new higher RHNA number, doesn’t it fall on those three? It seems to me T&T (dynamite duo?) can simply vote no and wash there hand of this all?

      Comment by JJ (dy-no-mite!) Walker — December 21, 2020 @ 10:13 am

      • Both Trish and Tony advocated against removing A/26 from the City Charter. In order to designate enough sites to meet the RHNA numbers there needs to be a vote for a multifamily overlay in direct violation of the City Charter.

        Trish and Tony will need to provide the leadership to violate the Charter if they want to have a certified Housing Element moving forward.

        Comment by Lauren Do — December 21, 2020 @ 10:26 am

        • It is an argument.

          A bit technical, and one that most people probably have not focused on so far. If they have paid some attention to it, they might have noticed that its proponents have not grappled much with legal doctrine concerning state law preemption of local laws. They may have also noticed that the city attorney’s office (to my knowledge – and I stand to be corrected) has never made public any opinion (going back to 2012 when the MF overlay was first enacted) suggesting that the Council has no authority – in the context of the state housing element law – to enact an MF overlay. Maybe they have no clue over at the city attorney’s office, but let’s not _____ on them or their hard work, just yet.

          Bigger picture, if the idea is a campaign to fault Trish and Tony for Alameda not being able to meet its RHNA allocation as of two weeks ago, or the new one from last week (with its 10% bump up because of a greenhouse gas emissions adjustment), because

          (a) they did not support Measure Z (without showing how would have achieved its RHNA numbers under Z*), and

          (b) that there is some allegation of a city charter violation (made by opponents of the city charter provision in question) on the part of City Councils going back to 2012 (or by no one, if we can rely the absence of any such admonition from the City Attorney)

          ….OK….But I’d probably wait and see what shakes out before putting a lot of money into complicated messaging like that. I also doubt that Mayor Ashcraft, e.g., would spend much time arguing those points, at least on that record, either. I could be wrong there. We’ll see.

          * I know, I know, I confess in advance that that would be unfairly tasking the Z campaign with doing a lot of unpaid labor, burden shifting, etc.

          Comment by MP — December 21, 2020 @ 11:43 am

        • City Attorney also never put out a public opinion about Council interference prior to what happened with the Jill Keimach, Malia Vella, and Jim Oddie yet we had a Grand Jury referral on the issue.

          It takes three people to vote for the overlay. One (Tony Daysog) has made very clear that certain sites are off limits. Another (John Knox White) has said he doesn’t want to violate the charter nor violate the vote to, essentially, re-ratify the whole of A/26.

          The “campaign” is to have Tony Daysog and Trish Spencer not do what they normally do: expect other people to be the adults in the room while they pander to their base and either (1) abstain or (2) vote against something knowing that the other people on the dais are going to do what is right as opposed to what is easy.

          Comment by Lauren Do — December 21, 2020 @ 11:54 am

        • What happened with Jill Keimach was a little different that the legislating in public, out in the open, in the City Council chamber, that ended up codified as the MF overlay in 2012. The City Attorney’s office, then and now, knew exactly what was being proposed, and presumably was involved in drafting it.

          We’ll see what is adult-like and what is not. Maybe the adult thing to do to provoke positive change is to adopt a literal/textual interpretation of the city charter as the final word on the extent of the Council’s authority, without looking at the preemptive effect of state law (that the City was relying on almost assuredly when it passed the MF overly in 2012)?

          Still, the whole abstention-from-re-ratification-by-implication-based-on-that-interpretation-of-the-city-constitution explanation for potential non-participation is going to be a tricky point to get across. Maybe not.

          Comment by MP — December 21, 2020 @ 1:04 pm

        • These are literally the words of City Staff on the MF overlay: “So 30 units to the acre versus 100 units to the acres — in my book — just as much of a violation. I mean the charter says 21. 30 or 100, they’re both not 21.”

          As MUCH of a VIOLATION.

          So, as I said before, I look forward to Trish and Tony’s leadership encouraging their dais mates to violate the Charter in order to have a certified Housing Element.

          Comment by Lauren Do — December 21, 2020 @ 1:19 pm

        • So the city attorney was on vacation during the legislation that amounted to a violation of the Charter? I doubt it.

          And there were a few more words involved. They are in the Multi-Family Overlay ordinance itself and directed at prevailing state law to which the city charter is subordinate (that is unless one is taking the position that A26 relates to an area of municipal affairs immune to state mandates). Among them:

          “The Multi-family residential combining zone (MF District) is an overlay zone intended for lands in Alameda that are well located for transit oriented Multi-family housing, necessary to accommodate Alameda’s share of the regional housing need, and available to facilitate and encourage the development of a variety of types of housing for all income levels, including Multi-family rental housing as required by California Government Code sections 65580 and 65583……”

          The key words there for purposes of reconstructing how the City Attorney (likely) was thinking in terms how the MF overlay could co-exist with A26, and how it would not be illegal, are “necessary to accommodate…as required by California Government Code…”

          But if these ideas are irreconcilable, by all means stand on the argument that A26 controls, absolutely or not at all, ever, what the Council may do.

          Comment by MP — December 21, 2020 @ 2:12 pm

      • That’s incredibly backwards logic. No one *wants* higher RHNA numbers. But some of us want the city to figure out the best way to cope with this reality than to simply say “no.” Measure Z proponents had a very reasonable solution, but they were voted down due to the campaigning done by Trish and Tony and their cadres. Simply saying “no” is not a solution in and of itself – Trish and Tony broke it, they own the process now. Any penalty (including up to $600,000 per month for noncompliance) and lost funding from the state as a result of the “No on Z” campaign falls on Trish and Tony, full stop.

        Comment by Reality — December 21, 2020 @ 3:04 pm

  4. Last I checked, Tony & Trish were 2 of the 5 council members. When I was busy verifying that, I also noticed that 3 votes constitute a majority. If that is true, and please correct my math if it is not, then the other 3 have the ability, some might say the DUTY, to come up with a new plan of their own or work with T&T on a compromise plan. Why put all the weight on 2 when it takes 3?

    The other 3 did have a plan until Election Day. It went something like this: Hey voters, overturn the protections that keep your neighborhood the way you like it, and trust council to handle all zoning everywhere in the city (the details of which we conveniently left out of this ballot measure that gives us total control).

    That plan got shellacked.

    Is it wrong to expect the other three to come up with a new plan?

    Comment by dave — December 21, 2020 @ 1:56 pm

    • Nope, because if Z was successful we wouldn’t have to talk about violating the Charter via a multifamily overlay. That’s on the shoulders of the Councilmembers who advocated for a No on Z vote.

      They were the leaders of that effort, so they can solve the conundrum of the charter conflict.

      Comment by Lauren Do — December 21, 2020 @ 1:59 pm

      • If the overlay was so illegal, why was it passed? The council has turned over since then, Thomas is the only significantly involved party left in power. Has he said why he promoted something illegal? Or JKW, who never misses a chance to weigh in on anything, why did he accept the illegal then?

        Also, this:

        That’s on the shoulders of the Councilmembers who advocated for a No on Z vote.

        a) They are still in the minority, the majority can quit crying and get to work and pass anything they like over the objection of your 2 favorite betes noir.

        b) Why do you suppose Z failed by 20 points?

        Comment by dave — December 21, 2020 @ 2:11 pm

        • Like I must have said this a billion times: in 2012 the MF overlay was passed because it was a decision between either (a) violating the charter or (b) get sued over an uncertified Housing Element. There was already a lawsuit ready and queued up at that point. HCD CCed their letter to the City of Alameda to the potential plaintiffs in that lawsuit, that’s how close it was. The Council, by a 4 – 1, majority chose to avoid litigation and (a) losing A/26 and/or (b) losing local control and/or (c) losing state grant dollars. By the way, Doug deHaan did not vote for the overlay.

          Andrew Thomas has said time and time again that was the ONLY option at that point to certify the Housing Element and avoid litigation and I’ve written about that decision-making fairly recently as well as back in 2012 when this was happening.

          John Knox White wasn’t on the Council in 2012.

          Comment by Lauren Do — December 21, 2020 @ 2:28 pm

        • Of course JKW was not on council then.

          But since when does he remain silent on such matters?

          Comment by dave — December 21, 2020 @ 2:30 pm

      • And this:

        They were the leaders of that effort, so they can solve the conundrum of the charter conflict.


        The leaders of the failed plan are still in the majority and are, until next election, still leaders. What good leaders do is LEAD. Whining about a result and taking their ball and going home is not leadership. Isn’t 6 weeks of whining enough time to get over a loss and get back to work?

        Comment by dave — December 21, 2020 @ 2:20 pm

        • The City Council literally has held a meeting 18 months in advance to start talking about what to do about the RHNA allocation. That’s called working.

          Tony Daysog has said that certain sites are completely off limits to an overlay. John Knox White has verified with staff, publicly, what Alameda’s options are to meet the RHNA allocation. I’m not sure what you’re calling “whining” here.

          Comment by Lauren Do — December 21, 2020 @ 2:30 pm

        • I guess by “whining” I mean blogging almost every day is very strong terms about losing badly a contest that said blogger thought was in the bag. “Whining” can also mean refusing to admit a plan was deeply flawed & proposing workable alternatives and compromises, and instead complaining repeatedly that it lost and that it’s somebody else’s responsibility to pick up the pieces.

          Comment by dave — December 21, 2020 @ 2:37 pm

        • And yet between the two of us, I’m the only one who was sat down and identified the parcels in Alameda which could possibly cover our RHNA allocation.

          And yet between the two of us, I’m the only one who has actually read the ABAG documentation.

          And yet between the two of us, I’m the only one who actually have followed the issue of Housing Element certifications since 2012.

          And yet between the two of us, I’m the only one who has painstakingly transcribed the audio from a meeting about Housing Element certifications and provided that resource to everyone interested in the topic.

          But yeah sure, I’m “whining” about the outcome by saying that, this time around, Trish Spencer (who attempted to get the MF overlay removed when she was Mayor) and Tony Daysog (who has declared parcels off limits to overlaying) don’t get to sit back and let the other three on the dais do all the work while they pander to their base.

          Comment by Lauren Do — December 21, 2020 @ 3:00 pm

        • Ok, not whining. Whatever you say.

          Why do you suppose Z got smashed?

          Comment by dave — December 21, 2020 @ 3:20 pm

    • dave – Trish and Tony led the effort to “shellack” that plan. Simply saying “no” is not a solution – they created this void and now they need to step up and fix it. The remaining 3 members of council have already done their “DUTY” – that is, two of them co-chaired the Measure Z campaign and the third campaigned for it. So I wouldn’t blame them if they don’t want to fix Trish and Tony’s mess, because that is what happens when you put inflexible housing rules in a city charter – you can only fix it via elections. Had Trish and Tony been the adults in the room, they would have stood up and said, “Well actually your neighborhood is already protected by these other existing laws and boards, and if we don’t get our housing element certified by the state by allowing for strategic construction of smaller multifamily units, we’ll be in financial and legal trouble.”

      Comment by Reality — December 21, 2020 @ 3:15 pm

  5. Yeah, dave, I was thinking, what if a majority of the new council joined in this belief that A26 controls absolutely, that the previous multifamily overlay ordinance was illegal and invalid in light of A26, and that, therefore, no action can be taken to meet Alameda’s RHNA allocation (or the 10% upwards bump it got late last week), in the hope that it would end up in court and a judge would then strike down A26 in its entirety; or that we would not have a certified housing element, with the consequences of by-right development and/or loss of money from the state, and that the threats of these would convince everyone of the need to put Meas Z right back on the ballot – don’t change a word – with quickness.

    That would:

    (1) be a long period of time doing essentially nothing except hoping for certain consequences of inaction

    (2) encounter the risk in court that a judge might refuse to strike down A26 in its entirety (or that hold A26 was completely preempted by state law) and, instead, say that previous city council had the correct view that A26 was only partially preempted by state law and that the Council had the authority, as it believed in 2012, to act as necessary to satisfy state law (though not to ignore A26 when meeting a state mandate was not in issue), so get back to work like the 2012 Council did.

    (3) leave less time to come up with an actual plan to satisfy the state housing element law.

    Maybe a majority will nonetheless take an all or nothing view of A26. Probably not. But it’s ok to advocate a position not shared by the majority of the Council, right?

    Comment by MP — December 21, 2020 @ 2:44 pm

    • As much as I dislike A/26, putting A/26 back on the ballot is a non-starter.

      Comment by Lauren Do — December 21, 2020 @ 3:02 pm

  6. Tony Daysog and Trish Spencer won. That should be good news to them! They get to lead the solution to Alameda’s RNHA problem. I don’t get why Dave Hart doesn’t trust them to do so, and instead looks to the other 3 votes. I look to Trish and Tony to share their plans and to solve this problem. They have mandate — clear as a bell — to be out in front of this. I look forward to their leadership.

    Comment by Gaylon — December 21, 2020 @ 8:58 pm

  7. Dave Hart: thinking that the burden of resolving Alameda’s RHNA problem still falls on the 3 council members after their campaign effort to resolve Alameda’s RHNA problem was defeated is another one of your faulty logic. t’s like the anti-mask people blaming the government for not opening up the economy faster when they themselves are the ones perpetuating the problem by allowing the virus to flourish. Trish and Tony won. They now have a mandate and the responsibility to implement their own solution. If they can do it without violating Article 26, great. But something tells me that they will need to increase the density cap to 100 or 120 per acre on multifamily overlays to accomplish this. It also would not surprise me if Trish tries to drag this out, deflect progress, and kick the bucket to after her term’s up to try and put the blame on others.

    Comment by DavesNotHereMan — December 22, 2020 @ 1:57 pm

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