Blogging Bayport Alameda

July 13, 2021

Blast from the past: Central editorials

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

Sometimes letters to the editor and editorials are really helpful to understand the larger context of what has happened previously. According to the first LTE below, the City of Alameda was very reactive when it came to pedestrian safety.  Traffic lights were installed in reaction to pedestrian fatalities rather than actively try to plan for pedestrian safety.   We’ve gotten slightly better at trying to actively figure out which are our intersections that potentially create the most conflict but it, still, usually takes a fatality to make something happen.  This stretch of Central is scheduled for a road diet which was opposed by some members of the sitting City Council but it’s been problem for pedestrians for decades now.

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July 12, 2021

Blast from the past: pedestrian safety in 1982

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 5:02 am

We’re hyper focused on pedestrian safety given the most recent vehicle driver vs pedestrian tragedy, but the issue of pedestrian safety was right at the forefront in 1982 when a child was killed after being struck by a teacher.   This collision is the reason there is a traffic light on Central at Fourth and yet we still can’t, even after 39 years, get this pedestrian safety thing right.

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July 9, 2021

NIMBY flags aloft

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

As we get deeper into the whole Housing Element discussion it appears that NIMBYs across the Bay Area and probably all of California are starting to wave their NIMBY flags proudly, but also revealing the true intent of their opposition to housing. The Chronicle felt compelled to write an editorial about it after multiple high profile WTF moments. It’s not Alameda specific, but it is Alameda adjacent given our high and vocal NIMBY population.

Highlights:

The term “affordable housing” often functions as California code for no housing. Thanks to a scarcity of homes driven by residents and officials who pretend to support housing subject to its affordability, along with all manner of other more transparently trivial specifications, affordable housing serves as a theoretical construct excusing opposition to all actual construction.

I’m gonna stop right here because we actually saw this line of attack at the Tuesday City Council meeting from Councilmember Trish Spencer who lamented about the $1 million new homes which aren’t affordable to the majority of people. No shit lady. But that’s what happens when (1) you have a housing shortage, (2) you build in requirements for market rate developers to pay for all the back bone infrastructure costs, and (3) you build in requirements for market rate developers to pay for goodies like affordable housing fees, transportation demand management fees, park fees, school fees, public art fees, etc and so forth.

What people who parade the “we should only be building affordable housing” line around won’t acknowledge is how expensive it is to build affordable housing these days and that the people being housed in affordable housing definitely couldn’t afford this unless it was heavily subsidized either. Our two most recent projects: one completed and one under construction right now are pricing out at nearly $1 million per unit to build. The issue is that no one who has paraded the “we should only be building affordable housing” line has accompanied that with calls for an extensive affordable housing bond to pay for this.

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July 8, 2021

Road to non compliance

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

With Alameda on the track toward a non compliant Housing Element I thought I would review, again, what will happen to Alameda if we don’t meet the deadline for filing a Housing Element and what happens if we don’t have a certified Housing Element.

Unlike the first time Tony Daysog was on City Council and HCD had no enforcement mechanism to force recalcitrant jurisdictions into complying with the Housing Element requirement the focus on the housing shortage today is real, sustained, and has funding to back up threats in the face of non compliance.

If we can’t get our act together to even submit the Housing Element by the deadline the immediate trigger is to cut off the spigot of state funding for anything we may want. You want some park grant money? Too bad. You want some money to repave roads? Nope.

Then if we are deemed not in compliance, which, if you don’t turn in a Housing Element that’s sort of a gimme, a whole lot of bad stuff is put into motion. Now maybe we won’t be the only city who had a hard time getting our ducks in a row and maybe the bad stuff is delayed while HCD handles much worse offenders but eventually the eye of HCD will turn our way.

This report from UCLA has a great part about state law empowering these Housing Elements:

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July 7, 2021

Monkey’s paw

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

Last night the City Council voted to uphold the Historic Advisory Board decision to allow the Wellness Center to move forward on a 3 – 1 – 1 vote. The abstention was, naturally, Tony I’m a leader Daysog.

I believe the motion on the mental health response program was to opt for the pilot version of the Firefighter program but then allow the City Manager to decide who to contract out the clinical program with and working with the Felton Institute would be a more streamlined process (aka quicker) because an RFP process, like Trish Spencer wanted, would be in excess of 90 days just for the RFP process to be designed and completed. So it looks like that is finally moving forward, we were told a program could possibly get going — if everything goes to plan — by December.

And the Housing Element item was, a shit show, but an anticipated shit show. When Councilmember John Knox White signaled that he would be open to supporting an appeal of Alameda’s RHNA numbers the smugness that radiated from Tony Daysog and Trish Spencer’s little Zoom boxes was palpable. It wasn’t until John Knox White stated the reasons he wanted to add in the appeal letter that the “hey, wait a minute” lightbulb started switching on in Tony Daysog’s head.

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July 6, 2021

Try try again

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

Don’t forget tonight, City Council meeting starts at 5:00 PM if you’re interested in the Wellness Center Call for Review and the mental health response program. Hopefully that will wrap up by 7:00 PM so that the City Council can then tackle the inevitable fighting about the Housing Element and RHNA.

But just for funsies I like to look at the public correspondence and there’s the usual suspects but this email struck me as funny since it felt a bit like “let me speak to your manager” in email form. The Wellness Center opponent CCed someone at HUD with her “research” and HUD essentially said, “that sounds like a you problem.” They didn’t even bother signing it with a name just “Title V Program Lead.”

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July 2, 2021

“Preempted and unenforceable”

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

Tuesday’s City Council meeting is shaping up to be a doozy of a meeting but, on the plus side, it is starting at 5:00 PM so hopefully they will get through items which were continued at the last City Council meeting. Specifically (1) the issue of adopting a mental health response to issues which have previous fallen under the police department and (2) Trish Spencer and Tony Daysog’s Call for Review of the HAB decision which would pave the way for the Wellness Center project to proceed.

But the big thing for Tuesday night will be the issue of the Housing Element because, as I pointed out in a previous post, the deadline for appealing the RHNA allocation is quickly approaching and this is the last public meeting to take the vote on whether to appeal Alameda’s RHNA allocation. Staff placed a very helpful bullet point list as to the likelihood that Alameda would be successful in getting a reduction in its RHNA allocation. Essentially they say it’s probably not going to happen but it seems like staff all over the Bay Area have said the exact same thing to its councils and yet there is a fair number of people willing to expend the money and staff time to just try.

Here are the highlights as to why Alameda is probably not special enough to get a reduction:

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July 1, 2021

Run off

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

It looks like we’re heading into a run off between Mia Bonta and Janani Ramanchandran for the AB18 seat vacated by Rob Bonta. And it looks like Mia Bonta has some pretty wide spread supporting, coming in first across the majority of precincts.

I don’t know what is going on in San Leandro but there are two precincts where Steve Republican Slauson came in first place.

June 30, 2021

Prior restraint

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

I’m just going to leave this most recent decision from the US Supreme Court right here for….reasons….

The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday that an appeals court was too quick to award immunity to police officers who allegedly suffocated a suspect to death through the use of a lengthy “prone restraint,” a win for police misconduct plaintiffs in the wake of George Floyd’s killing under similar circumstances.

The high court vacated a ruling in favor of St. Louis police officers who restrained prisoner Nicholas Gilbert on his stomach for 15 minutes until he stopped breathing.

The justices, in an unsigned per curiam ruling, said the Eighth Circuit had either failed to analyze the evidence or dismissed it as “insignificant” when it ruled the officers acted reasonably and thus did not apply constitutionally excessive force. 

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June 29, 2021

Intersection of speeding and negligence

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

There was over the weekend another pedestrian death at an intersection which has been known to have problems and the City had already instituted some street fixes to help with traffic calming. It does not appear to be a four way stop which may help but given that the police department said they will be investigating this as a possible DUI I’m not quite sure how we would engineer or even enforce our way out of that kind of irresponsibility in the future.

I see folks calling for a traffic light but, come on…you and I both know that a traffic light won’t curb speeding. In fact, it probably makes speeding worse when folks see that yellow light turn and try to beat the red.

Maybe a road diet for the full length of Lincoln and perhaps the next DUI driver won’t merge into the turning lane to pass a car going the legal driving speed or maybe we need those flashing crosswalks for all crossings but it’s these sort of stories that are so gutting because it feels like there’s nothing than can be done.

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