Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 7, 2021

Call for review (and response)

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

Some people decide that they want to be elected to the City Council to be a force for positivity and change to the city they are seeking to serve.

Others decide they want to cape for the status quo and give a gigantic middle finger to the most vulnerable folks in the community.

Councilmembers Tony Daysog and Trish Spencer are the latter.

After the Historic Advisory Board voted to approve the certificate of demolition for the Wellness Center site despite pressure from AAPS to go rogue because AAPS interpreted that HAB doesn’t need to follow any guidelines on what it can determine is historic, the path was again open for the Wellness Center project to proceed. But, there was one neat trick still up the sleeves of the Wellness Center opponents and that was the old Call for Review which now requires two members of the City Council to make happen after the Calls for Review had been severely abused during Trish Spencer’s turn at Mayorship.

It appears that the Call for Review may have been written by a certain Open Government Commission member since it sounds so familiar, but I highly enjoyed the responses by the City Staff person in a point by point rebuttal of the eye-crossingly unreadable document produced by Trish n’ Tony. I like to imagine the staff member backspacing the word “duh” after the conclusion of every retort.

Duh #1:

The Call for Review claims that the HAB did not make the required Certificate of Approval findings required for Historical Monuments in AMC Section 13-21.5.  AMC Section 13-21.5 states that approval of a Certificate of Approval to demolish a Historical Monument requires a finding that “the Historical Monument no longer meets the criteria therefore, or has become a detriment to the community and that the condition making it a detriment cannot readily be cured.” 

The Call for Review also claims that the Draft Resolution attached to the HAB Agenda does not accurately reflect the final vote of the HAB.

Response #1:

AMC Section 13-21.5 applies to demolition of Historical and Cultural Monuments, which are local landmarks designated by the City Council.  AMC Section 13-21.5 does not apply to properties on the Study List.  The subject buildings on the McKay Wellness Center property are not Historical Monuments.  Therefore, the findings referenced by the Call for Review do not apply to the HAB’s decision to approve a Certificate of Approval to demolish buildings on the Study List.   

The HAB’s Draft Resolution does not reflect the final votes because the draft resolution is published before the public hearing and before the vote of the HAB.  The final vote is included in Historical Advisory Board Resolution No. HAB-21-01.

Duh and Response #2 misrepresented the referendum on the Wellness Center.

Duh #3:

The Call for Review argues that the subject property has been nominated for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, that the recent decision by the HAB to not de-list the property from the Study List confirms that the property retains eligibility for the California Register of Historic Places with an “s” (California Register-eligible) designation, and that it is therefore inappropriate to allow demolition of the buildings until a final decision has been made by the  National Park Service on the National Register nomination. 

Response #3:

As of June 2, 2021, neither staff, the GSA, nor the applicant has been given the opportunity to review a copy of the National Register nomination that was submitted to the State Office of Historic Preservation at some time prior to the May 6, 2021 HAB hearing.  

With regard to the merits of the National Register nomination, in a telephone conversation with City staff on May 3, Jane Lehman, GSA’s Regional Historic Preservation Officer, stated that the GSA completed the process to determine National Register eligibility starting in 1996, with SHPO’s confirmation in 2003.  Based on the conclusions that the site was ineligible for the National Register, the GSA then proceeded to demolish buildings on the site.  The GSA Historic Preservation Officer stated the following in an email dated May 3 (Exhibit 4):

“I don’t believe any recent actions warrant re-opening of the federal 106 [National Register nomination] process. The property was determined not eligible back in 2003 based on its lack of integrity.  And after demolition of so many remaining buildings, we know the integrity has not improved.  In my professional opinion, this property is not eligible for the National Register.” 

Based upon the extensive documentation considered by the HAB confirming that the site is not eligible for the National Register and the written opinion of the GSA Historic Preservation Officer, City staff, State and Federal historic preservation experts, Page & Turnbull, and the HAB agree:  the site is not eligible for the National Register.   

I find the revelation that no one, other than the person who filed the nomination to the National Register, has actually seen the nomination to be hilariously funny.

Duh and Response #4: nonexistent buildings or original sheds are not eligible for the historic register.

Duh and Response #5: petitions are not enough to determine historic value, we have experts for that.

Duh and Response #6: economic value for other buildings in Alameda is not a measure of value for these unconnected buildings.

Duh #7:

The Call for Review provides a counterargument to the finding that the subject buildings have been significantly altered and have lost historical integrity.  It argues that architectural integrity can be restored because all of the physical modifications are remediable. The buildings can be repainted the original color, windows and exterior staircases can be replaced to more resemble the originals and interior subdivisions can be removed. 

Response #7:

The historic significance of the site cannot be restored by simply modifying the existing buildings to their original 1940s appearance.  This assertion significantly underestimates the significant alterations that have been made to the buildings and to the overall site.  For instance, the current “E” shaped Building 2 is half of the original building footprint after three major wings of the building have been demolished.  A number of the primary buildings and facilities of the larger maritime officer’s training school, including the Administration Building, the auditorium/gymnasium, as well as the indoor swimming pool have been demolished. The surviving buildings on the 3.65-acre McKay Wellness Center Project site have been heavily altered and are remnants of a larger site.  With the loss of the other key buildings, the site no longer conveys its wartime function as an intact grouping of buildings belonging to a larger campus.

Duh and Response #8: The site doesn’t need additional environmental review because the local study list isn’t a “local register of historic resources.”

Duh and Response #9: Yeah we don’t have to do an Adaptive Reuse Feasibility Study because some rando emailed someone at the architects office about it.

This is truly a sad and transparently pathetic attempt on the part of Trish n’ Tony and friends to continue to try to put up roadblocks to stop a FACILITY DESIGNED TO HELP UNHOUSED SENIOR CITIZENS AND PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN DISCHARGED FROM THE HOSPITAL. People need to get some fucking hobbies other than to cosplay as Bond villains.


  1. Good post. The F word doesn’t become you however.

    Comment by John B — June 7, 2021 @ 7:54 am

  2. Good post. The F word doesn’t become you however.

    Comment by John Busby — June 7, 2021 @ 7:57 am

  3. What kind of misogynistic dingbat decides to police a woman’s speech? Fuck off, John, please.

    Comment by Gaylon — June 7, 2021 @ 8:48 am

  4. So satisfying reading the “duh and response.” These clowns are way out of their league, which is what happens when you engage in an echo chamber and no credible person is in the room to give real feedback about all the horseshit they’re trying to muster. I’m hoping to hear more from Carmen Reid’s husband, Mike, regaling in his travel stories again about how these derelict buildings are exactly comparable to the 2,000 year old Roman columns and the Great Wall of China he visited. “Oh, the E building is half the size now? Well, let me tell you about Angkor Wat…”

    Comment by 2,000 Year Old Roman Walls — June 7, 2021 @ 9:36 am

    • Mr. Reid kept saying a piece of the site needs to be kept, just like part of the Great Wall. Well, it is. Three buildings, the infirmary (which now houses the Crab Cove Visitor Center) the Boathouse, and one barracks are being kept by EBRP, and the infirmary already houses a robust historical display of the maritime school era.

      Comment by Doug Biggs — June 7, 2021 @ 11:42 am

  5. if only

    Comment by Tawney — June 7, 2021 @ 10:25 am

    • better!

      Comment by Tawney — June 7, 2021 @ 10:27 am

  6. The HAB did a good job of looking at the facts, and coming to a decision. Despite Chair Saxby’s attempt to get the members to toe the AAPS highly questionable line, they showed independence of thought, and careful, thoughtful consideration. At the time I was disappointed they didn’t delist the site (which the council could still decide to do now that the decision is being called for review) but after further consideration, I think they made the absolute correct and best decision, and and would want nothing to change. We should not allow the integrity of the HAB to be destroyed by those who have misused and abused every public process at as much cost as they could to try and delay services for homeless elders while unhoused are dying in our streets.

    Comment by Doug Biggs — June 7, 2021 @ 11:39 am

  7. Sorry for the multi-posting. but I should also mention that we actually did a comprehensive reuse feasibility assessment for Bldg2. Bldg 1 has always been slated for demo and new construction (note that I think Ms. Reid’s confusion comes from thinking a feasibility assessment is a prescribed process, like the CEQA process, but it is not) We did exploratory demo, looked at all bones of the buildings from a seismic perspective, and determined that the cost of installing the necessary piers while maintaining the current structures would increase the cost of the project by 1-200,000 per unit. Thus our decision to build a new structure instead. We carried out all this work in compliance with HHS and GSA regulations and provided them with all the documentation they requested.

    Comment by Doug Biggs — June 7, 2021 @ 12:09 pm

  8. Doug Biggs, Lots of people are worried about this project bringing more homeless camps, gargabe and drug activity to Alameda. How do you propose to deal with that, if camps start sprouting in the park and around the area?

    Comment by JM — June 7, 2021 @ 12:52 pm

    • There is widespread, long term, documented evidence that the establishment of permanent housing and closed campus health sites do not bring in more homeless camps, and in fact the impact on the community with the extra eyes and activity of a vibrant community bring additional safety. You can get more information on this, and our safety and community oversight plans by visiting

      Comment by Doug Biggs — June 7, 2021 @ 1:13 pm

      • I looked at that web page. This stuck out:

        Resource Center
        A safe and welcoming drop-in space for City of Alameda residents who are experiencing homelessness or are at high risk for homelessness. The Resource Center will provide no-barrier case management and extensive housing placement services to enable clients to access safe and suitable housing resources.

        Every other homeless drop in I ever saw has brought camps and filth to the neighbor hood around it. How is yours going to be different?

        Comment by JM — June 7, 2021 @ 1:22 pm

        • The Alameda food bank, which also provides drop-in space for City of Alameda residents who are experiencing homelessness or are at high risk for homelessness, attracts ZERO “camps and filth.” I don’t know what’s more bizarre from your comment, the idea that Alameda residents would camp outside of an office that gives out pamphlets and housing info, or the idea that people from other towns might forge Alameda IDs just to camp outside overnight for pamphlets and housing info?

          Comment by Is This April 2019 Again? — June 7, 2021 @ 1:28 pm

    • JM – this baseless fearmongering again? Didn’t work in 2019, not going to work now. The issue has already been settled by the voters, we’re just talking about architectural design here.

      Comment by Only Garbage Is You — June 7, 2021 @ 1:23 pm

      • I was hoping for an answer from DBiggs, who is in charge, but to you, I say that calling someone’s legit question “fear mongering” is awfully defensive. Really good way of confirming the questioner’s concerns.

        Comment by JM — June 7, 2021 @ 1:50 pm

  9. Lauren…why are you now allowing people to sign their posts with different names every time..are there 2 people agreeing with you or 5…make this stop so It is clearer…

    Comment by J.E.A. — June 7, 2021 @ 9:15 pm

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