Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 25, 2015

Stranger danger

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Neighbors, Crime — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

Normally I don’t write about crime blotter type stuff but this is the exception to that rule.  Two days ago the Alameda Police Department put out a Nixle release about a “Suspicious Vehicle” from reports that were made last Friday.  Now, I had heard about these sighting, but on Friday they were reported at Alameda Point and near Coast Guard housing.

Because the Nixle alert went out with a loose correlation to the incidents in Berkeley, naturally the tv news media thought it would be a great idea to stand in front of Ruby Bridges Elementary to report the “story” that a car that may or may not have been been the actual van that actually did try to abduct kids in Berkeley as opposed to, oh I don’t know, actually doing a report around the middle school where the incident actually occurred.

Not only that, Channel 2 news decided that the best time to make this report would be during drop off time in the morning to maximize the confusion and hopefully get some super angry parents on camera.

And instead of using footage from the parent who said that she felt as though Ruby Bridges School was very safe, instead the clip used was one of a parent saying that she never lets her kids out of her sight anyway and her child indicating that nervousness and a lack of desire to venture outside.

Awesome.

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September 24, 2015

700 years

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Neighbors, Alameda-ish, Business — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

Despite City Councilmember Tony Daysog declaring that there is “too much housing” some elected officials around the Bay Area would disagree with that assessment.  In Medium, San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener points to a map produced by the MTC that shows, visually, the shortfall of housing units by 2040.   From the piece:

To address the Bay Area’s housing needs, the region adopted housing goals for the 2015–2040 time period, with each city or town having a numerical target for housing production. The Bay Area as a whole needs to produce around 660,000 units between now and 2040 to keep up with population growth.

We need much stronger incentives for local communities to accept new housing, for example, establishing a stronger connection between transportation funding and housing production. The region can provide these incentives, and the State Legislature can provide even stronger incentives.

Yet, regardless of how we approach the problem, change is necessary. If we continue to make it incredibly hard, expensive, lengthy, and at times impossible to add housing, imagine what housing costs will look like with 2.1 million additional people, and imagine what our roads will look like as more and more people are forced into lengthy commutes since they simply can’t afford housing within the Bay Area.

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September 16, 2015

So sue me, what can you do me

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Neighbors, Alameda-ish, City Council, Development — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

As posted in the comments, a great article in City Lab reports on the initiative to “Sue the Suburbs” over lack of housing construction.  Now, I think we all realize that the likelihood of this effort being successful is pretty small, but it will bring even more attention to the problem and the lack of solutions being offered by our policymakers and if it is successful, well, that would be huge.

The suburb in question here is the city of Lafayette which makes a pretty easy target given its demographics and amenities (like a Bart station).  Before our city leaders get too comfortable watching another city go through public scrutiny of its lack of housing construction, it’s interesting to note that from 2007-2014, Lafayette met a higher percentage of its RHNA housing allocation than Alameda.  The ABAG page is somehow broken right now, but according to the City Lab piece, Lafayette constructed 65% of its RHNA numbers.  Alameda, only 6%.  And yet there’s “too much housing” right Tony Daysog?

But back to the effort, highlights from the SF Business Times reporting:

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September 11, 2015

Damned for all time

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Neighbors, City Council, Development — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

The other day, Tony Daysog attempted to tiptoe his way around his “support” for increasing protections for renters that are being pushed out of Alameda’s housing market to try to somehow align that with his “there’s too much housing” position and voting against a housing project because the developer decided to build very low income units which earned a 20% density bonus.

He attempted to glom on to a singular section in a larger piece about rent control which referenced the San Francisco Mission Market rate housing moratorium.  In typical Tony Daysog fashion his comment, that he wanted us all to find and reference, was a lot of “on this hand, but on the other hand” but did nothing to telegraph what Tony Daysog actually feels on the issue other than him attempting to gauge which way the political wind might be blowing. From his EBX comment and then cut and paste here:

“Conventional supply-demand economics says something like prices tend to rise when supply is artificially controlled, especially in the face of growing demand. If so, then affordable housing advocates are in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t predicament,no?

“If, as this article says, increasing supply by building more apartments, especially market rate, triggers surrounding prices to rise, a point that seems consistent with Nobel economist R. Shiller’s argument about asset bubbles: but, if conventional economics is to be believed, stifling supply also triggers price jumps.

But perhaps Tony Daysog should have waited to see what the analysis of the Mission moratorium (and therefore what would happen when affordable housing advocates block market rate housing) would do on housing prices before he attempted his own attempt to justify his lack of leadership on providing real solutions for families and Alamedans hurting in this housing market right now.

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May 28, 2015

Big Three

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Neighbors, Business, Development — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

Across the Bay, here’s what Mayor Ed Lee is doing to help out the folks defined as making too much money to qualify for below market rate units and too poor to afford market rate units, from the San Francisco Business Journal:

If voters approve Mayor Ed Lee’s $250 million housing bond in November, they will unlock a stream of cash that the city will use to subsidize rental housing units for middle-class residents for the first time.

Under the plan a new housing program would use a small slice of the bond money to pay real estate developers that are building new market-rate buildings to restrict some rental units for households that make roughly $100,000 to $140,000 a year.

this would be the first program using public money for new rental units. It may also throw a new income bracket into the frantic world of housing lotteries, where thousands of applicants vie for dozens of spots in new market-rate buildings.

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May 14, 2015

Broadway/Jackson fight

Now you all know that Jim Oddie is not my favorite City Council person.  But on Tuesday night he really redeemed himself by asking a series of questions during the Public Works budget presentation that lead up to the final “gotcha” question.  It was like those scenes in any Real Housewives show when a character that you’re kind of lukewarm on takes on the HBIC (look it up) and redeems herself to lock in a contract for the next season.

Like that.

So here’s the lead up.  Jim Oddie starts slowly by asking about the different projects in the Capital Improvement Plan and how they align with Measure BB and whether each and every project was something that was supported by the City of Alameda.  The two of particular concern were Bus Rapid Transit and the Broadway/Jackson project.  He also asks staff about the purpose of the Broadway/Jackson project and — for those that don’t know — it’s to relieve pressure off the tube because the back up usually happens on the Oakland side when the pedestrian signal is depressed and then getting on to the actual on ramp. After the line of question he then says, let me do the back and forth dialogue: (more…)

April 21, 2015

ACTC attack

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Neighbors, City Council, Transportation — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

Here it is, the rationale for Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft’s Council Referral at tonight’s City Council meeting.  I received the first of my Public Records Requests from the Alameda County Transportation Commission.  Mayor Trish Spencer is the representative from Alameda to the ACTC (self appointed) and receives $225 plus a $25 travel stipend to attend these meeting on behalf of the City of Alameda.

At the March meeting ACTC there was a legislative report about what’s going on with various bills at the state level regarding transportation projects and/or policy.  As you know, a lot of the money for any infrastructure projects in Alameda comes from regional, state, or federal grants.  Not a whole lot comes from Alameda general fund money, so typically it’s in Alameda’s best interest to play nice.

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October 21, 2014

Wild horses

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

Not Alameda related at all, but too funny not to share.   The City Council meeting is a little bit boring tonight so I’m not even going to bother.   But check this out from the Oakland Mayoral race.   Apparently there are like a billion candidates for Mayor from current Mayor Jean Quan, to her old adviser Dan Siegel, to City Council contender Libby Schaaf and so on and so forth.    But no other candidate has a more awesome platform than Peter Liu.

I’m going to excerpt a bit of his blurb, but honestly it should be read in its entirety to really appreciate this work of art:

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June 18, 2014

Rent Stablizers

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Neighbors, Development — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

At last week’s Planning Board meeting there was discussion about the Housing Element and whether or not to include some form of Rent Stabilization in the Housing Element.   After lots of public comment with folks on both sides of the discussion, the Board voted to place in the Housing Element the ability to form a task force to consider what city policies currently exist, what that median rates for units are, and what possible options are available to ensure that renters feel protected.

It was pretty difficult to hear stories from the renters in the community that essentially said that they lived in fear that their landlords would raise their rents so high that they would be unable to remain in their homes.  On the other hand there were local landlords that spoke about the investment that they had put into the community via their housing units and a mechanism like rent control might be a disincentive to further investment in Alameda.

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June 4, 2014

Travelling light

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Neighbors, Transportation — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

When folks in Alameda talk about traffic and transportation issues inevitably the subject of Alameda’s lack of a BART station comes up as to why we can’t support x, y, or z more people.  By the way if you haven’t watched the very last Planning Board meeting there is an interesting explanation as to why Alameda can’t get a light rail from Alameda Point to the Fruitvale BART station even if there was the political will to build it.   And which is why when City Staff talks about transportation options they discuss Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) instead.   Short answer, rail tracks can’t cross other rail tracks so crossing the Union Pacific rail tracks on the Oakland side is impossible.

Anyway, since BART is sort of the be all end all for some people as the most desirable method of public transportation, I thought I would pull out from the census documents the most recent data of the number of people in certain cities that took public transportation and those that drove solo.  I selected Alameda County cities with BART stations (or BART stations for those with multiples) and threw in Berkeley as well just for kicks because Berkeley always comes up as some bastion of liberalism that we should either try to be like or not try to be like depending on the topic or who is bring up Berkeley. I added in some extra Contra Costa cities as well that are along the incredibly congested 80 corridor.

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