Blogging Bayport Alameda

July 3, 2020

Please stop scaring my dog

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

Nothing for today, hopefully the fireworks will end after Saturday.

Also Hamilton is on Disney +

July 2, 2020

To where you are

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

I think this is an important bit of business to talk in reference to the City Council and how they handle issues that arise in the community that are beyond the norm. Handling standard city business is something that has pretty clear parameters and staying within those brightly colored lines should be relatively easy. But when we’re talking about these larger issues without precedence: coronvirus, the future of policing…I don’t know if we should be staying within those brightly colored lines particularly when time is of the essence.

One of the things I appreciated in advance of Monday’s meeting was a thoughtful framework which was drafted by two members of the City Council for consideration as platform for discussion. (You can find it on Facebook either on Vice Mayor John Knox White’s page or Councilmember Malia Vella’s page) The framework was clearly well thought out on a topic that has strong feeling on both ends of the spectrum from “abolish the police” to “give the police more money and more latitude.” Policy making from the dais almost always leads to a hot mess. With this framework it gave opportunity for the community to digest what, at least, two members of the Council was considering and iterate from there.

Unfortunately Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft was not a fan of being, essentially, blindsided by the framework.

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July 1, 2020

#NotAll…

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

I’m going to preface this by saying if you watch Alameda meetings you should really be joining in on the fun that is the #alamtg hashtag on Twitter.¬† It makes you not miss 2x speed of listening to meetings.

I’ll also provide a warning that this post is going to not be that forgiving of Jim Oddie and his performance at Monday’s meeting.¬† I think what was disappointing for a lot of people, not just me, was that the narrative being pushed forward by Jim Oddie seemed to come from left field.¬† As in, this would be expected from Tony Daysog but from Jim Oddie, who previously prominently featured a Black Lives Matter poster on his Zoom wall but has since disappeared, this framing was so jarring.¬† It is in the spirit of expecting people who should do better to do better that I’m going to focus on this.¬† Plus, it’s like, what I do.

In the beginning Jim Oddie goes through discussing how he, as a white man, does not know the experience of BIPOC and the BIPOC experience with law enforcement, so it starts off well.¬† It takes a bit of a turn by, quoting Chicago’s Mayor, and saying that while defund the police is a nice hashtag, he’s not going to make policy by hashtag.¬† Given how many academics and policy shops have written thousands upon thousands of words on what defunding the police could look like and how this movement has been around for a long time the casual dismissiveness of the work of activists who have put their time and bodies on the front line of this issue as simply a “hashtag” is insulting.

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June 30, 2020

Uncomfortably numb

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

So we’ve been seeing Trump stickers being put up in Alameda.¬† (And please don’t even try to claim that the Trump brand is now not completely aligned with white supremacy)¬† Black Lives Matter signs being defaced.¬† White Lives Matter signs being placed on light poles.¬† But now, we have racist vandals hitting cars in the the East End with “All Lives Matter” tags and keying the vehicles of a Black family.¬† From a response by Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft:

This morning several families in an East End neighborhood, including an African-American family, discovered that their cars had been vandalized overnight with spray painted racist messages. The African-American family’s car was also keyed and the tires were gouged. But, the story doesn’t end with these cowardly, racist acts. Almost immediately, neighbors, passersby, and others who read about the incident on social media, showed up to offer support, warm wishes, and elbow grease. Individuals, including John Knox White, Alameda Vice Mayor, helped clean the spray paint from the cars while others wrote and drew chalk messages of support on the sidewalk. Councilmember Jim Oddie and Assistant City Manager Gerry Beaudin were also present. The African-American neighbors told me that they cried when they opened their front door this morning and saw their car, and were reduced to tears again when they saw the crowd that gathered to show their support.

Hate and intolerance have no place in our city, or any city, and will not be tolerated in Alameda. Alameda Police Department is investigating this incident. And, as demonstrated by our community’s response today, those who engage in cowardly, racist acts are greatly outnumbered.

Black Lives Matter

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June 29, 2020

Nest fouling

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

As was promised at last Tuesday’s City Council meeting, staff has duly scheduled a special meeting for Monday with the sole purpose of unbundling the police.¬† From the staff report:

City Council also endorsed a framework for future discussions with the community, including the following topic areas:

1. Unbundling Services Currently Delivered by the Police Department

2. Systemic Racism

3. A Review of Police Department Policies and Practices

4. Police Department Accountability and Oversight

5. A Review of Laws that Criminalize Survival

6. Other Matters which may be Pertinent [including vacancies]

It is amazing that in less than 30 years we’ve gone from a community which, largely, made excuses for the bad behavior of police officers to a community that now expects — no, demands — action to be taken.¬† ¬†Perhaps we’ll finally get to have a real conversation about the institutions in Alameda which exist that have allowed systemic racism to persist because we’ve been unwilling to talk about these institutions in any meaningful way.

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June 26, 2020

Motion sensing

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

I realized I never wrote about the City Council meeting from last week where folks were mobilizing to try to get the City Council to not approve the mid-year budget unless the City Council was going to cut the police budget.

It was definitely a righteous movement, but failed to understand how municipal budgets actually work.¬† Vice Mayor John Knox White and City Councilmember Malia Vella came prepared to acknowledge the anger and frustration of members in the community looking to make some sort of change but with an understanding that business still needed to be done.¬† And honestly if folks want to expend in excess of 2000 words to try to diminish the fact that this motion was able to keep the business of the City operating AND actually show the community that their concerns were heard then that’s their own nitpicky political baggage and not anything untoward about the actions of the City Council that night.

The motion, which was voted unanimously by the City Council:

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June 25, 2020

We’re half-day there

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

On Tuesday night the School Board voted on the general framework on how to do school for the 2020-2021 academic year.¬† ¬†Essentially we’ll get one option for a limited number of students for fully remote.¬† This will be entirely self-directed.¬† The teacher assigned to the student will not actually teach the student but act as a coach.¬† Instead ready made platform will be used to facilitate the learning.¬† This will be a full year commitment so you can’t decide to start the program and then try to swap to the other model if the remote-only doesn’t work for your student.

The other option is small cohorts of students in for half a day, four days a week.¬† This schedule, according to the presentations the other night, will allow for a pivot to remote learning if a full shelter-in-place is activated again.¬† I believe the elementary cohorts will be 12 students, I don’t know what it is for the middle and high school ones (or how that will even work for high school with so many different schedules and electives).¬† There’s a lot of details to be sorted out between now and late August.¬† Parental anxiety will surely not help either.

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June 24, 2020

Other side of history

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

I’m going to start this off by saying that I’m not picking on the Alameda Museum, but rather pointing out how lack of representation in our City institutions both public and private lead to a sanitized view of history and we therefore have this incomplete context in which we discuss the issues of today.

One of our main institutions to share and preserve Alameda’s history is the Alameda Museum.¬† The Alameda Museum was first the “Alameda Historical Society” from which the Alameda Museum was established as a physical space. From the website itself:

Alameda is a unique island community located in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area. We offer permanent displays of Alameda history as well as souvenirs, books and videos about the rich history of the Island City. The Alameda Historical Society was founded in 1948, and the Museum was established in 1951. In 1983 the Alameda Museum was designated as the official repository of historical documents and artifacts for the City of Alameda. In that role, the Alameda Museum affords us an invaluable glimpse into this city’s spectacular and often glamorous history. Tour the museum and learn more about our Island’s history. We hope you will include Alameda and the Alameda Museum in your next visit to the San Francisco Bay Area.

And the tagline of the Alameda Museum? “Preserving Alameda‚Äôs History since 1948.”¬† What becomes is which history has become worthy of presenting to the public in permanent exhibits.¬† Based on the Museum’s own website the only collection featuring BIPOC is the Native American Artifacts Display which appears to be one single platform with some mortars and pestles.¬† (You can see a photo on the Yelp page) I wish I had the opportunity (and time) to measure out how much floor and display space is allotted to each subject matter, but alas.

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June 23, 2020

Learning blended

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

Tonight is a big night for the Alameda Unified School District.¬† This is when the community will get the first look of what AUSD has decided for next school year.¬† ¬†I don’

As an aside, the district has determined that they, presently, will not be offering Algebra as an option for incoming 7th graders and there, apparently, has been no way to make exceptions to this blanket decision.¬† This has caused much consternation to #2 son, an incoming 7th grader, who has shown an aptitude for accelerated math.¬† Hopefully, once the decision has been made for how we’re running school next school year these smaller items can be revisited.

From the staff report this is what little we know about the final decision based on all the feedback received:

Tonight, staff seeks Board approval on blended learning schedules for elementary and secondary schools this fall; schedules that will allow AUSD to resume some in-person instruction in accordance with safety and physical distancing requirements currently contained in Alameda County Public Health orders.

Additionally, staff will request approval of a concept for a fully remote education option for students whose situations or needs may be best served by such an option this fall.

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June 22, 2020

Making space for disenfranchised voices

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

So for those of us that are not white but are also not Black it’s easy to fall into the trap of not recognizing our own anti-other POC and anti-Black prejudices.¬† But as we know from various video recordings of racist encounters on the internets, POC can be just as culpable as white people.

If you’ve ever watched City Council meetings you’ll know that not a lot of people, in general, speak regularly at public comment.¬† And for those that do it typically trends older and whiter than Alameda’s general demographics.¬† It’s not often that you find young people or BIPOC attending and speaking publicly so when you see it, it’s notable.¬† What we’ve (hopefully) learned in these past few weeks since the protests have started is that we need to do a better job in our community to center the voices of those whose voices tend to get disenfranchised the most: youth and BIPOC who have done a commendable job pushing for social justice in their own community.

Oh, BIPOC is Black, Indigenous, People of Color.¬† Before you start asking why…Google exists, use it.

Anyway.

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