Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 11, 2022

SHRC on AFFH: we do, but we don’t

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

When State Senators are sending you a letter saying “hold on a minute” that’s when you know something has gone horribly wrong. Yes, I’m talking about the Carmen Reid/AAPS nomination of the McKay site to the State Historic Resources Commission. AAPS will own this nomination until they take some steps to actively disavow their relationship to the nomination because they are still intertwined in the minds of SHPO/SHRC and everyone who has read the nomination.

As part of my PRA which someone, weirdly, put in a PRA to know who initiated the PRA I got a slew of letters. Seriously, if you see anything end in a jaunty “Thank you!” more likely than not, it’s me. One of the letters was from State Senator Nancy Skinner which I was waiting for because the Mayor referenced it at the last meeting giving credit to that letter getting the SHPO to pull the nomination at the last minute rather than her own. Personally I think the Mayor’s letter had a lot to do with the pulling of the nomination but it could have been both. Here’s the Senator Skinner letter which brings up the procedural issues that may have occurred in which two of the property owners: the GSA and EBRPD say they were not properly noticed by SHPO about the pending nomination.

So I wanted to share these videos from the SHRC meeting in April, the first video is about the nomination being pulled. I want to highlight that the SHPO talks about a “flurry” of letters and comments and mentions that some had to do with housing “which is not the purview” of the SHRC.

Later on there was a question about whether SHPO and SHRC has to abide by the fair housing laws and the attorney for the SHRC gives a response that I think the Attorney General and HCD should be interested in. This was a part of the St Francis Wood discussion:

Here was the public comment on McKay nomination that someone squeezed in under a different agenda item, you might recognize the name:

And one at the very end which was really angry at the Mayor for sending her letter calling it “an abuse of her office” which earned a hearty eye roll from me when I first heard it. Look, the whole of the SHPO is pretty opaque and like, they really just want to rubber stamp things, but when the chief local elected official says pull it, they don’t have a whole lot of additional options. So this commenter can simply flail around in all her wrongness in defending a flawed nomination that shouldn’t have passed muster with AAPS and certainly shouldn’t have passed SHPO muster but somehow did which, again, is super embarrassing for both AAPS and SHPO/SHRC.


  1. Carmen Reid getting the smackdown from State Senator Nancy Skinner, wow. And the senator didn’t think Carmen was worth the effort to actually name her. That’s “fuck you” power. Good on her.

    Comment by Observer — May 11, 2022 @ 6:56 am

    • How naive. Sen. Nancy Skinner is a friend and political ally of Bonta, and funneled $15 million of taxpayer money to the Wellness Center in July of 2021.

      “I’m so pleased we were able to secure state funding to support the Alameda Wellness Campus- an effort we can all be proud of” said State Senator Nancy Skinner, who provided key leadership for this request. “

      Alameda Sun

      Comment by Ministry of Truth — May 11, 2022 @ 8:27 am

      • Your point?
        She did her job?

        Comment by Ron Mooney — May 11, 2022 @ 8:31 am

        • Biggs and Bonta call in political favor to protect Wellness Center. Skinner receives 25% of her fundraising from Big Labor who will build Wellness Center.

          We agree. She did her job.

          Comment by Good Swimmer — May 11, 2022 @ 12:38 pm

        • No, Denise Lai. No “political favors” were called in. The SHRC was reminded that they had no standing to rule on this application because they otherwise would have been in violation of 54 U.S.C. Section 302504(c)(2). That is not a political favor, that is a reminder to the board to follow the law. If the mayor opposed, then there is nothing SHRC could do.

          Comment by Subpar Swimmer — May 11, 2022 @ 2:17 pm

      • Yeah, she literally wrote in her letter that she is “in strong support of the site’s future use.”

        Not really sure where “Bonta” (are you referring to the Assembly member or the Attorney General?) falls into all this. My PRA has not uncovered letters to SHPO from either.

        Comment by Lauren Do — May 11, 2022 @ 8:55 am

  2. Appreciate your time researching and pulling these clips out.
    Kind of shocking that C Buckley has not disavowed the application, and since he/they have not yet they probably will not. Respect for them plummets.

    Hope ‘someone’ at the State reviews for a) public ‘openness’ (i.e. close to Brown Act req.) b) Housing must be considered in these cases, it is a statewide importance issue.

    Comment by Ron Mooney — May 11, 2022 @ 8:24 am

  3. Like I said days ago, if I were Chris Buckley I’d be convening urgent meetings to rescue my personal and organizational reputation. It’s interesting to see the absolute silence from him on this, when he is so personally identified with AAPS.

    I guess using lies and misrepresentations in the service of preventing medical care and housing is what they do now.

    Oh, and Ministry of Truth, funding for a good project like the Wellness Center is what’s known as a good and ethical use of power. In contrast with what AAPS is up to.

    Comment by Gaylon — May 11, 2022 @ 9:02 am

    • I know that many people think that Chris Buckley IS the organization, because he is a past president and current and long time chair of the Preservation Action Committee, and as such represents AAPS officially in many City of Alameda meetings. However, as per Lauren’s post of the AAPS board members last week, he is not on the Board, and couldn’t speak for them officially on this issue of disavowing this application. I don’t believe he wrote the letter of support of this application that went to the SHRC, but I could be wrong. All letters that Chris Buckley has sent to the HAB, Planning Board, City Council, and other bodies are vetted and commented on in draft form by the members of the Preservation Action Committee before they are sent out in final form. The recent ones are available to the public on this web page: . The only one available for 620 Central is the one before the HAB hearing supporting the continuation of the site on the City’s Historic Building Study List (HBSL), not Carmen Reid’s application to the SHRC. Chris Buckley has worked really hard to protect historic resources in Alameda, and it seems the credibility that he built up over the years for AAPS, because of his meticulous research on preservation issues, is now sacrificed to Carmen Reid’s insane campaign to stop the Wellness Center.

      Comment by AAPS Member — May 11, 2022 @ 2:09 pm

      • Do you know if AAPS is working behind the scenes to disavow Carmen Reid’s crusade? I know Chris Buckley has done some good work over the years, but his comment last year about how “historical could be whatever Alamedans want it to be” in spite of all objective and professional standards to the contrary was a low point – also the result of Carmen Reid’s insane campaign, as you wonderfully put it.

        Comment by Ministry of Magic — May 11, 2022 @ 2:14 pm

        • I have no knowledge of what Chris may or may not be doing about the damage done by this application. As to the comment you mentioned, my thought is that it was a hasty and frustrated attempt to say that Alameda can follow its own standards for our own HBSL, and just because something is disqualified from National Register does not mean it is unworthy of being listed locally. The April 2021 Page and Turnbull memo stated that the City of Alameda had no clear criteria for Historical Monuments, but also stated that the HBSL was not our “Local register of historical resources” though it had been treated as such by the state in the past. Chris’ statement I believe was at the HAB meeting that concerned both the demolition permit and the delisting from the HBSL and was defending keeping it listed on the HBSL.

          Comment by AAPS Member — May 11, 2022 @ 2:42 pm

  4. Chris Buckley knows that if he were to publicly disavow AAPS’s connection with this fraudulent application, it might put Carmen Reid in legal jeopardy. I hear a report has been logged with the Department of Justice, I’m guessing for identity theft or something along that line (using an organization’s name without permission on her application). So do you bail out a colleague or do you protect the reputation and integrity of the architectural preservation society? Carmen Reid dug her own hole here with her lies and misrepresentations, and is getting called out for it by the United States federal government, a California state senator, and the city of Alameda.

    Comment by Just The Facts — May 11, 2022 @ 9:29 am

  5. Consequences. 🤷‍♀️ How else does a person learn, if they don’t find out after fucking around?

    Comment by Gaylon — May 11, 2022 @ 10:11 am

    • Totally agree. That’s why Vella and Oddie were stripped of their positions, per the wording of the charter, and had to pay their own legal fees for their illegal activity

      Comment by Consequences indeed — May 11, 2022 @ 10:43 am

      • Uhh… Vella was reelected, and with the most votes ever in Alameda history, became Vice Mayor again. Oddie actually secured another term on council after Ashcraft vacated her seat for mayor, and only lost in the 2nd election due to Amos White splitting the progressive votes. You’re just making up lies now?

        And be careful what you wish for. The city not indemnifying public servants for actions performed during the course of their work means only the wealthy can afford to run for city council, because this creates a precedence of anyone filing legal actions against councilmembers they don’t like to burn through their personal assets.

        Do you have anything to share about wrongdoings committed by Carmen Reid, or do you have more “hey look over there!” whataboutisms to distract us with?

        Comment by Just The Facts — May 11, 2022 @ 11:08 am

        • Sorry, junior, but “actions performed in the course of their work” do NOT include violating the charter to secure a favor on behalf of their donor (or is it owner?). The grand jury sure didn’t appreciate their actions.

          As for Carmen Reid, not an elected official, but if she runs afoul of the law she should face a consequence. So should everyone, even if they’re on your side.

          Comment by Consequences for ANY/ALL wrongdoers — May 11, 2022 @ 11:25 am

        • Carmen Reid was, up until very recently, a public official, serving as the Open Government Commissioner for Trish Spencer. And yes she did run afoul of the law by disregarding a legally valid PRA request, which is probably why she immediately resigned from the OGC without explanation, possibly to avoid a potential Grand Jury action.

          And please tell me how Malia Vella violated the city charter. Literally nobody has been able to articulate this. Just guilt by association. The Grand Jury did their job, but unfortunately they got a lot of basic facts wrong. Even Trish Spencer called out the Grand Jury for their errors (such as saying she voted for the city manager hire when she didn’t). The independent investigator Jenkins hired by the city, who did a more thorough job investigating and got a lot of facts right, and found no wrongdoing.

          Comment by JRB — May 11, 2022 @ 11:33 am

      • That’s why Vella and Oddie were stripped of their positions

        Vice Mayor Malia Vella would like clarification.

        Comment by Lauren Do — May 11, 2022 @ 11:25 am

        • Sarcasm.

          Ever heard of it?

          Comment by Consequences indeed — May 11, 2022 @ 11:27 am

  6. Just to reiterate what Lauren said, Chris Buckley is not on the board of AAPS, Karen Lithgow is the Chair, and in an email to me she confirmed that AAPS did not submit the application. I have forwarded her letter to SHRC and the Attorney General’s Office. It is my belief that the SHRC could not in good faith consider an application that was fraudulently submitted. At the very least they will need to reject that application and allow for either the private individual without any historical resources qualifications to submit it under her own name, and it be judged accordingly against the wealth of documentation provided by experts (including the state historic preservation officer) who have determined the site is not eligible for listing.

    Comment by Doug Biggs — May 11, 2022 @ 2:42 pm

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