Blogging Bayport Alameda

August 5, 2022

Ends justify the means

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

Looks like I’m not going to make it to the first two bibliography pages folks but you can see links for the first two pages here. Today is the SHRC meeting to about the McKay site but I’m not 100% sure that the appeal process that is being followed is 100% correct here, nonetheless, it’s on still on the agenda.

To be honest seeing the SHRC and their support staff in action at the last meeting I didn’t have a lot of hope that anyone was going to stop this nomination train from plowing through. It’s clear that SHPO/SHRC are working with a playbook that is heavily skewed toward getting these nominations approved no matter what and it doesn’t matter rules they bend on the way to getting there. After seeing the emails between the nominating party at SHPO/SHRC staff it feels like it was going to get there eventually given the amount of effort being put in by SHPO/SHRC staff themselves to get it done.

Take for example the designation of St Francis Wood as historic, the SHRC absolved itself of any of the impacts that would happen as a result of this designation because they believe that their decisions should happen in a vacuum and unconnected to what happens after that designation. It’s also disappointing to see this article not even mention the lack of meaningful discussion and the, possibly, incorrect reading of whether AFFH affects how SHRC should make decisions. From the article:

On June 30, this unique San Francisco neighborhood was added to the National Register of Historic Places, representing the culmination of a yearslong campaign by neighborhood residents.

But the decision has been met with dismay by housing activists, who say the historic designation will deter future housing development and preserve a landscape designed to foster racial segregation.

“If you are preserving structures with the requirement that they remain single-family homes forever, when the origin of that single-family home was so Black people and Japanese people and Chinese people could not live there, is that really what you want to preserve?” says Annie Fryman, a housing policy expert who works for the backyard cottage developer Abodu and previously worked as a legislative aide to Senator Scott Wiener in Sacramento. “Historic preservation is known as frequently being used as a convenient and accepted tool of exclusion.”

And that’s how you have staff at agencies like SHPO/SHRC who, in the public lives, make all the right noises about exclusionary zoning, homelessness housing, and espouse “progressive” tendencies but turnaround and lean on a super suspect interpretation of affirmatively furthering fair housing to then push through what matters more to them: historic “preservation.”

While, I’m sure, there are some genuine true believers in the preservation space, they never seem to realize when their passion is being weaponized and taken advantage of by bad actors who understand which special buttons to push. No one ever wants to believe they are being used but, in the case of the McKay site, all these preservations and historians are being manipulated pretty masterfully by someone who was cheering the demolition of these now suddenly sacred buildings in order to make room for open space.

And in the end all of their progressive musings and hand wringing on social media about the plight of homeless folks is all for show because when they had a change to shut down a pretty naked attempt at using the levers of government to deny vulnerable populations a chance at dignity they went along with it and helped bring it to a place of viability and “respectability.”

11 Comments »

  1. I don’t believe the appeal process is legitimate here. If the chief elected leader requests to pull the nomination, then that’s it. There’s no going around that. An appeal does not automatically allow you to depart from the law. You can only appeal if the nominating authority failed to follow the rules. You can also appeal if the nominating authority did approve but should not have. The Wellness Centre people absolutely must appeal if this gets passed.

    Comment by Common Sense — August 5, 2022 @ 8:46 am

  2. “Using the levers of government to deny vulnerable populations a chance at dignity…”

    Haha. One side has State Senator Nancy Skinner, the Bontas, Mayor Aschcraft, other City Council members and millions in taxpayer money. The other side has Trish Spencer and a private citizen and has already been forced to appeal. There will be no hearing on the merits.

    It’s pretty obvious who has control of the “levers of government.”

    Comment by More Common Sense — August 5, 2022 @ 9:13 am

    • Your hot take is that democratically elected officials shouldn’t control the levers of government?

      Comment by dougkeen — August 5, 2022 @ 11:00 am

    • I also chortled at this part of your statement: “One side has State Senator Nancy Skinner, the Bontas, Mayor Aschcraft, other City Council members and millions in taxpayer money. The other side has Trish Spencer and a private citizen [Carmen Reid].”

      Well, yea. Your lack of self-awareness is astonishing.

      Comment by Common Sense Times Googleplex — August 5, 2022 @ 2:21 pm

  3. Lauren, thanks for all of your work. Julianne Polanco visited the site and the nomination is kaput.

    Comment by Kevis Brownson — August 5, 2022 @ 9:47 am

    • Julianne Polanco visited the site? That’s really interesting and very positive news.

      My view is that the member of staff who was helping Carman-the-Terrible was probably doing his job in terms of what their website says – to help people complete the forms correctly but nothing about being an auditor or gatekeeper. Nobody posting here, including Lauren or unfortunately me, has said they reached out to him and requested help regarding how to most effectively provide an alternate view on this.

      Comment by pro-wellness center — August 7, 2022 @ 9:43 am

  4. Thank you Lauren Do, for making this visible to those of us who were opposed to the nomination.

    Comment by Jim Cummons — August 5, 2022 @ 10:01 am

  5. Thank you for all your hard work! Can you crack open a beer and put your feet up now? For a few minutes? 🙂

    Comment by Jennie VH — August 5, 2022 @ 1:50 pm

  6. There shouldn’t even be any hearing BECAUSE of the merits (or lack thereof).

    Comment by Super More Common Sense Times Infinity — August 5, 2022 @ 2:18 pm

  7. For Carmen’s next act of depravity against the homeless, she’ll be going on a hunger strike to stop the wellness center.

    Comment by Rod — August 6, 2022 @ 4:31 am

  8. “If you are preserving structures with the requirement that they remain single-family homes forever, when the origin of that single-family home was so Black people and Japanese people and Chinese people could not live there…says Annie Fryman, a housing policy expert”

    Per the 2020 census, St Francis Wood is 45.3% Asian, 45.0% white, and 0.3% Black. Overall, more diverse than Alameda. Though they have an obvious lack of Black people, Alameda’s higher percentage is not from lack of effort. St Francis Wood is a small residential neighborhood of about 1200 people with no business areas. Our new City of Alameda draft 2023-31 Housing Element has large similar areas with limitations on multifamily and anything similar to the Wellness Center.

    The demeaning attacks on the Office of Historic Preservation and individual employees is counterproductive and inappropriate.

    Comment by pro-wellness center — August 7, 2022 @ 10:56 am


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