Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 1, 2023


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

You know how whenever there’s a discussion about new construction or a new development someone, inevitably, interjects into the conversation the need to invest in infrastructure first before any building can be done. It’s then you realize in the conversation that the person really only connects an estuary crossing with being legitimate infrastructure and, therefore, is not necessarily interested in any feedback that doesn’t involve cheering them on for their lack of understanding about what falls under the umbrella of infrastructure.

With that said, the City Council will be giving direction on the Capital Improvement Program for the next two years if, of course, they even get to the agenda item because this meeting is packed. Capital Improvements usually are physical projects which means, you guessed it, infrastructure. The City is projecting to spend for FY 2023-24 $72.5 million and in 2024-25, $32.2 million. Here are the pie chart break downs by how much is being spent on what types of projects and where the money is coming from.


April 28, 2023

Ghosting the machine

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:27 am

So there is a Council Referral from Trish Spencer regarding the police department and one of the new technologies that have been implemented fairly recently. Specifically this is the Referral title:

Consider Review of the Alameda Police Department’s Implementation of Truleo, including Providing Direction on Termination of the Contract between City of Alameda and Truleo and the Removal of Alameda “Case Study” from Truleo’s Website; and Consider Reviewing Implementation of the City’s Body Worn Camera (BWC) Recordings Retention Policy, including Providing Truleo Audio Files from BWC Recordings from January 1, 2021 to Date (i.e., Files from Over One Year Ago).  (Councilmember Herrera Spencer)

Now when you read this you may be thinking that the case study is something terrible but it’s interesting that Trish Spencer is only concerned about terminating a police goodies contract when there is data to support that something may be going well and that there are lessons to be learned from the processing of that data. For context, Truleo is the vendor providing body worn cameras for the Alameda police department. Remember without body worn cameras we wouldn’t have evidence to show what happened during the Mali Watkins, Mario Gonzales, or any other use of force cases around the country. While body worn camera alone don’t stop bad actors from acting bad, they do assist when trying to establish some level of accountability. There are, legitimate, concerns about how the video from these interactions are stored and uses and — based on the case study on Truleo’s website — probably someone should explain in detail how the data was analyzed. It will probably end up resulting in embarrassing snippets of questions which show how little some folks understand how computers and technology work but, well, that’s what happens when you elect performative obstructionists to seats of power.


April 27, 2023

Fair trade

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

Maybe you’ve driven down RAMP and wondered what’s going on at the College of Alameda. There’s been a lot of digging up dirt across from the Cross Alameda Trail in the big open space which housed a lot of little critters. In the place of the open land and squirrels the College of Alameda will be getting a new building to house the auto program:

This project is a new building complex to house the Auto and Diesel Technology programs into a new consolidated facility. New improvements will include new technologies including alternative fuels (fuel cells, hybrids, etc.) The project will be funded with a blend of State and Local Measure G Bond Funds.

I’m not that familiar with all the offerings at the College of Alameda and how popular certain programs are but it sounds like if Peralta is putting money into this project this program must be a fairly robust one and getting a state of the art facility should definitely give Bay Area students in this program a leg up. The renderings of the interior spaces looks pretty nice. I don’t think it will stay as clean as the renderings but still, what an amazing learning space.


April 26, 2023

Together forever

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

An article in Berkeleyside is a really good example of why new housing is so much more expensive than older housing stock and so the perception from some NIMBY or NIMBY leaning folks is that we should not be building new housing because it’s raising the prices of other, older homes. Of course this defies all Econ 101 basics like supply and demand, but, well, for some people their gut is wiser than centuries worth of economic study.

So let’s put aside examples of low income housing in Alameda ranging from $800K-$1 million per unit to build because the finances are complicated and people believe that non profit developers are somehow less efficient than for profit developers. And let’s put aside the cost of for profit development which needs to roll in inclusionary housing and infrastructure costs. Let’s look at this development which is of the “co-housing” variety and is running, guess what…$900K to $1.5 million per unit to build.

From Berkeleyside:

A local Jewish organization is looking for residents to invest in condos — that they’ll eventually live in — after securing a zoning permit for a 36-unit co-housing project in West Berkeley last month.

The co-housing model means the people paying to build the condos, each running between $900,000 to $1.5 million for 1- to 3-bedroom homes, will be the people living in them once construction is completed.


April 25, 2023

Build, ADU build

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

The Chronicle had a story last week about the success of ADUs in California and, it would appear, that even folks in cities like Alameda who initially fought attempts to make building ADUs easier are now getting behind the ADU. We’ve seen some Alameda attempt to say that we could meet nearly all our RHNA allocation through the ADU when they were probably instrumental in making ADUs harder to build prior to the State changing laws around ADUs.

I’m old enough to remember when the news around the state laws were breaking and Alameda was forced to revise its ADU law even though they had a Planning Board which had tried to ease the gridlock around ADUs but the City Council balked.

Remember all the work that was done on the Accessory Dwelling Unit ordinance by the Planning Board?  They came up with an okay compromise to actually make the ADU ordinance used more than once every decade.  It went to the City Council which essentially brought it back to its formerly useless state.  Seriously though, between 2010 and 2016 only two ADUs were built.  That’s pathetic.

Well the State had something to say about jurisdictions like Alameda’s that put so many requirements on ADU ordinances that render it practically useless.  So now the City staff is back before the Planning Board with modifications to the ADU ordinance to bring it into compliance with State rules.

The amusing thing is that the relaxing of ADUs was the second nail in the Measure A coffin after the Density Bonus. The ADU law swept away the arbitrary requirement that you have a minimum of 5000 sq ft to build an ADU (because you needed 2500 sq ft per unit) which was a massive hurdle. And now it looks like state lawmakers want to double down on ADUs and continue to encourage the construction. From the Chronicle:


April 24, 2023

Heavy sigh

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

Someone tipped me off that the problems at Alameda Point were not just limited to the noose from last week, so I went to go check it out. We came at the intersection of Tower and Lexington from the West having walked up the waterline. I thought that, maybe, the City had taken care of the problem between the time I was sent the tip and when I was able to walk to Alameda Point, but alas, it hadn’t been.

There was definitely an explosion of graffiti so, maybe, this was a bunch of stupid kids doing stupid things but, nonetheless, it’s still concerning, hurtful, and damaging to the community as a whole. Combined with the noose incident which was less than a block away from this act of racist vandalism this is definitely a problem that needs monitoring.

There has been too many incidents in a very short span of time of anti-semitic and anti-Black displays that it’s more than just a small group of stupid kids. There is something underlying this that is more concerning and more insidious.

April 21, 2023

Driving faster in my car

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

This is when our police department is at its best, when it solves crimes. Per a press release, APD is actively working on a fatal hit and run at a San Antonio and Willow from March,

From the Press Release:

The preliminary investigation suggests the driver of one of the vehicles traveled at a high rate of speed, failed to stop at a stop sign, and collided with two cars crossing the intersection. Subsequently, the vehicles collided with several parked cars. After a month-long investigation, vital information led investigators to identify all occupants who fled the scene. A 15-year-old Alameda resident, 16-year-old Alameda resident, 18-year-old Oakland resident, and a 19-year-old Alameda resident have all been contacted and while significant progress has been made, our investigation is still ongoing.

Anyway, parents, this is a good conversation starter for your driving teens. I know we used it to talk about driving safely and not fleeing accident scenes.

An interesting addendum to this is there was a Facebook post complaining about drivers not yielding to pedestrians and driving way too fast and some of the comments followed the natural Alameda pattern of “we need more cops to pull people over” and “people used to respect Alameda and behave when they came on the island.” Of course even if we did have all 88 spots filled at the PD, the likelihood of every traffic infraction resulting in a cop being there at the right time to catch it is pretty small. Not to mention the (still) problematic practice of racial profiling. A Public Policy Institute of California study showed that most traffic stops during the day were for non moving violations so more cops pulling people over wouldn’t solve the people driving recklessly problem:


April 20, 2023

One more link

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

Every time I get a chance I try to swing by the Dignity Village construction site to see what the progress is. Even though there is still a lot of street level construction the City of Alameda is reporting that the site will open on May 5 which is amazingly quick. And while I did mention that there would be opportunities to “adopt a room” to help get it ready for future residents apparently I snoozed on that because too many amazing Alamedans already signed up and so there is no more need for volunteers for that particular opportunity.

But, if you still want to contribute there is an Amazon wishlist of items to help the folks at Dignity Village out. It’s all basic supplies like shower curtains and storage bins.

Based on the photos from Facebook the units look really nice inside with private bathrooms (including shower) which should make all the difference for really allowing folks who have been unhoused to feel a sense of security and privacy.

Here, again, is the brief blurb about the site which explains how many units, who qualifies, how to get services and what the site should look like. Missing is information such as there being space for pets and that children under 18, if they are accompanied by an unsheltered adult will be allowed to be housed in the units.

Dignity Village will serve up to 61 individuals experiencing homelessness or chronic homelessness, with five units set aside for homeless youth (ages 18 to 24). Each unit measures 138 square feet and has a private, en suite bathroom. Additional community buildings in Dignity Village include a dining space, meeting rooms, private offices for support services staff, and storage for resident belongings. Persons in need of housing will be referred through the Homeless Management Information System, which is managed by Alameda County Health Care Services Agency’s Office of Homeless Care and Coordination Coordinated Entry Program. For the initial housing placement, Alameda’s unhoused residents will be given priority.

Of course this one project alone will not make visible unhoused folks disappear off the streets of Alameda and/or Oakland. It’s only one link in the continuum of care chain. Hopefully this initial step will get folks permanently housed so that units can be turned over and someone else can be served. I know a lot of naysayers will immediately start hopping up and down once this is open and point to homeless folks still be visible and say “see it’s not working” even though we still haven’t even touched the larger problem of lack of affordable housing in general. And I’m not talking about affordable subsidized housing I’m talking about housing that requires that people spend no more than 30% of their income on rent and/or housing costs. But that’s a much bigger problem.

April 19, 2023

Every person is a nail

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

Look there were some of you in Alameda (and a lot of shitty people nationwide) who wanted to focus on the identity of only one of the mass shooters that happened recently. The chorus has quieted down considerable after three days of news that completely innocent people doing completely normal things have been shot by, purportedly “good guys with guns.”

Despite, apparently even though by all measures, rates of violent crime have dropped since the 90s people seem to think crime has gone up. It probably has a lot to do with the widespread availability of social media and every “strange person walking down my block” being considered a threat and worthy of announcing to a wide audience that keeps Americans in fear of, well, their very neighbors these days that they shoot first and claim fear for their lives later from a cheerleader, college student, and a high schooler.

Perhaps these cases only incite outrage because of the victims but even if the victims were not an elite cheerleader, a blonde college student, and an honor student and talent musician we should still be outraged that this American gun culture combined has made it so that we can’t go about our lives without wondering if someone has a gun, the desire to use it, and is backed by shitty laws that may allow them to plead self-defense.

While we love to blame victims who amongst us hasn’t rang the wrong doorbell and gone to the wrong house? Who hasn’t pulled up the wrong driveway? Who hasn’t made errors after driving 300+ miles? None of these actions should be the precursor to grievous injury or death and while some people say “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” in all of these scenarios if those people didn’t have the confidence that a weapon of destruction lent them two of them would have hunkered in their homes if they really believed their lives to be in danger and the other would have stayed in their car. It’s the guns.

April 18, 2023

At the intersection of hostile and dangerous

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

On the City Council’s agenda tonight is a decision on a roundabout on Central at Fourth Street. Right now the street has a signal light which was only constructed after a seven year old Paden student was killed crossing that road. And, even though our memories are short, the issue of pedestrian safety has been present in Alameda for a fairly long time even though we have some folks on the City Council who want to make it more convenient for people in cars because not enough people out of cars are getting killed and maimed enough for us to make any changes that would make it hard for bad drivers to continue to drive poorly on Alameda’s streets.

Because we always need some sort of blood sacrifice before we take any action toward pedestrian and bike safety I would argue that the death of a seven year old should be enough for as many changes as needed to ensure total safety for people not wrapped snugly inside a car.

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