Blogging Bayport Alameda

July 18, 2019

Context matters: the hyperbolic Grand Jury edition

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

I haven’t gotten through the whole City Council meeting yet.  Why?  Because I’m in the middle of another book and I prefer to split my time between horror inducing content and Stephen King novels.

One thing that I could not not address was the hyperbolic historic reference by Councilmember Tony Daysog as to how we got to the City Manager form of government that we have now.  He alluded to something in the 1930s but didn’t give specifics other than to say it’s similar to what is going on now.

Fortunately we have historian Twitter ready to jump in at any time people try to bend history to their narrative and we are really fortunate to have Rasheed Shabazz on the case.


July 17, 2019

Failure to launch

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

I have a lot of hobbies that I just don’t have time to do as much as I would like.  Like crafting.  Or baking.  Or sleeping.

And there are some people’s hobbies which should be redirected into something more positive in life.  Like this dude.  Whose hobbies appear to be petty political vendettas against people with differing politics than his.

Recall he was the candidate who ran against Rob Bonta and lost handily.   Recall he was also the candidate who mused about Rob Bonta’s citizenship during the election.

But his latest hobby appears to be starting recall campaigns which fizzle out spectacularly.  According to the EB Citizen he’s served Councilmember Jim Oddie four separate time with recall papers.  And he’s served Councilmember Malia Vella three times.


July 16, 2019

Going to the dogs

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

As a reminder tonight will have the Grand Jury report on the City Council’s agenda so expect public comment to be longish on that item.

Also on the agenda is the West Midway development next steps given that Jamestown has pulled out of the running.

And since this is the last meeting before the August recess, there’s a lot of business on deck. Including:

But the big item, other than the ones I devoted blog posts to is about approving the zoning for an animal shelter in the Harbor Bay Business Park.  From the staff report:


July 15, 2019

Everything must go

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

One of my big takeaways from the discussion of the proposed South Shore project is: do people not follow the news about the death of retail?

I mean, the signs of it are everywhere and people want to assume that retail space owners are simply just charging too much in rent to deliberately keep spaces vacant.

Vox has tracked their own articles featuring the demise of chain retail stores in depth.  From that piece:

In the past decade, the way Americans shop has drastically changed. The rise of Amazon and online shopping, delivery services, and direct-to-consumer brands has given consumers more choices than ever in how and where they shop.

This shift has also helped fuel the decline of once-prosperous chain retailers like Sears, JC Penney, Payless, David’s Bridal, and others that have struggled to evolve and cater to the changing desires of shoppers.

And in more recent news one of South Shore’s biggest big box stores is in serious trouble:


July 12, 2019

Team eggs in one basket

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

And speaking of Jamestown (they’re the folks behind the South Shore mega development to end all that is awesome about Alameda) apparently even though being selected as a finalist for the West Midway project they have decided to pull out of contention for that project.  Maybe to better concentrate on the South Shore plan and not expend political and community capital on two projects but, according to the staff report, they were:

withdrawing from the developer selection process due to uncertainty regarding the viability of commercial development, given the project phasing and increased costs of infrastructure.

Aka Alameda Point is a hot mess and they don’t want to go down the rabbit hole of trying to figure out how to pay for all that infrastructure.


July 11, 2019

Shop til you stop

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

I suppose since everyone else is writing about their experience at the Jamestown aka South Shore mega-development-to-ruin-everything-that-is-good-and-awesome-about-Alameda event on either Tuesday or Wednesday that I should also write about my experience and thoughts as well.

I took no pictures and asked no questions.

Essentially I have no proof that I was there other than my glossy brochure which has surely been thrown in the recycling by my type A neat freak spouse.  So, I guess, none now.

First, I got lost.  Not to South Shore.  I got there just fine.  I got lost finding where the event was held.  I literally walked through the whole of the South Shore center through the dead center then walked around the perimeter until I spotted it.  Suffice it to say I was cranky upon arrival.


July 10, 2019

What do you do?

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:00 am

Thought exercise for those that agree that recusal would be the right decision for the two, unnamed but obvious, Councilmembers from the Grand Jury report.   If you were on the City Council and both decided not to recuse, what would you do?

What would you do if only one of the two decided to recuse?  Does it matter if the one of the two is Malia Vella or Jim Oddie?

What if there was a proposal to turn each finding and recommendation into its own separate motion and each vote taken separately.  What would you do?


July 9, 2019

Sit this one out

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

And just like that the Grand Jury report is on the agenda for the City Council to provide a response.  Because it has to provide a response within 90 days of receiving the report and this is the last meeting of the City Council before it heads into its August break when there will be no meetings.  So it’s very important that the City Council publicly determine what the response will be.

From the staff report:

The findings and recommendations are summarized below.  In addition, the City Attorney and City Manager are providing a draft letter with options for the City Council to consider on each finding and recommendation.

For each Finding, it is required that responses shall be either 1) agree, 2) disagree wholly, with an explanation, or 3) disagree partially, with an explanation.

And that is indeed what staff did, they provide options for each finding and recommendation for the City Council to select from.

Maybe I’ll go through the options in a future post but I think that the first elephant in the room to acknowledge is the question of who stays on the dais to run through this exercise.


July 8, 2019

6 – 22 years

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

I feel like most folks don’t understand how development, in general, works.  I mean, I guess they understand the idea that property is either privately or publicly owned but when it comes to large scale development projects in which the private owner is attempting to get some initial feedback there’s a disconnect around who controls what.

This disconnect has made itself painfully evident because South Shore’s owner, Jamestown, has put out their initial ideas and general plans into the internet world before their community meetings have actually happened.  This, naturally, leads to “why is the City allowing this?” or “Why did the City Council approve this?” alongside with the “traffic” and “crowded” conversations.

Naturally it’s always those who are comfortably situated who are the loudest voices of negativity. And it’s those who are comfortably situated who seem to not understand that a private owner can propose anything they want for their property and, depending on the project and the current zoning, the City won’t have a lot of oversight to make outright refusals.   But in this case, the underlying zoning is C2 – Central Business.  Any residential use will need a use permit or a wholesale zoning change for flexibility.

Anyway, there is the first of a couple of meetings tomorrow at 4:00 PM, I believe you have to RSVP in advance but I can’t imagine they’ll turn away folks who haven’t RSVPed.


July 3, 2019

Infrastructure week

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

But, you know, for real and not a distraction from assorted national scandals.

Yesterday Alameda Point Partners aka developer of Site A at Alameda Point sent out a press release about their most recent accomplishment and it’s a biggie.  They’ve completed 50% of the backbone infrastructure for the site and all of the demolition for the site which is no small task.

They’re estimating that all of the infrastructure will be done later this year but all of the vertical developments are slated for groundbreakings really soon.

From the press release:


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