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.



September 18, 2015

I’ll do funny things if you want me to, I’m your puppet

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Crime — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

Based on the posting from Mayor Trish Spencer’s nominee, we finally know why Jim Oddie abstained on the appointment as opposed to an outright “no” or “yes” vote:

​Since DMHC is a state agency, Jim Oddie has been helping me, via Rob Bonta’s office, to try and get a response from DMHC. Yay, Jim Oddie!

Jim Oddie is Rob Bonta’s District Director, and Rob Bonta is the Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, Jim Oddie’s office has been helping me deal with this state agency. Even though I will disagree with his positions at times, our district is ​fortunate to have the leader of this powerful committee as our State Assemblyman.

But even after watching the City Council meeting, it’s not clear why Tony “elections have consequences” Daysog decided to go ahead with not only voting for the nominee, but also seconding the motion.

Let me actually clarify what happened, because technically there has not been an up or down vote yet for Carol Gottstein.  The first vote taken was to approve the entire roster of Mayoral nominees.  That vote ended in the 2 – 2 – 1 split.  Trish Spencer and Tony Daysog as “yes” votes.  Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft and Frank Matarrese as “no” votes and the abstention from Jim Oddie.

Then a second motion was made to approve everyone but Carol Gottstein which was an unanimous vote so technically, since Carol Gottstein was not not approved, Trish Spencer could offer her name up for consideration at another City Council meeting.  It will be interesting to see if Trish Spencer decides to double down on that one.


September 17, 2015

The girl can’t help it

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Crime — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

On Tuesday night, Steven Tavares at the East Bay Citizen began tweeting out a link to an article about one of Mayor Trish Spencer’s nominees to the Commission on Disability Issues.  Of course this is not the first time Trish Spencer has come under scrutiny for questionable appointments.  And I’ll point out, again, that her pick for the Open Government Commission was inappropriate given his statements about the Sunshine Ordinance and the Brown Act.  Not to mention her choice for the Rent Review Advisory Committee’s previous comments about low income housing and role in attempting to bring a moratorium against subsidized housing in Alameda.

But this one might be the most puzzling of all of Trish Spencer’s nominations and her insistence on standing by her nomination.  Although the video is not up right now, I have confirmed with the City Clerk that the vote — after this nominee was bifurcated from the rest of the nominees — went 2 – 2 -1.  Trish Spencer and Tony Daysog voted for the nominee.  Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft and Frank Matarrese voted against the nominee.  And Jim Oddie abstained.  I’m not sure why Jim Oddie abstained, I’ll have to wait for the video.


May 8, 2014

Big pimpin’ bust

Filed under: Alameda, Crime, Public Resources — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

I don’t know if folks have been tracking the whole massage parlor/nail salon human trafficking/prostitution bust that happened last week.  Essentially it is what it sounds like, a bunch of massage parlors in Oakland, Hayward, San Lorenzo and San Leandro were shut down because they allegedly are fronts for prostitution and drug dealing or something like that.   Apparently a bunch of private residences were raided too throughout the entire Bay Area.

So I was at the City’s permit office — long story, will write about this some other time — on Monday morning-ish and had overheard someone talking about the bust.   According to the permit office gossip, there was one Alameda connection to this bust, a home on the West End had been raided as well.   According to some dude who came in for some permits, the police staged at the West Marine site and swarmed the house when this massive raid was going on in other cities.

I wasn’t sure how accurate this account was so I sat on it for a few days with the intent of emailing someone from the Police Department but got lazy.


February 13, 2014

Missed misdemeanor

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Crime — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

File this one under, oopsie!  Yesterday the East Bay Citizen working with The Alamedan on a “joint investigation” uncovered via a tip on the East Bay Citizen’s website a very embarrassing incident in the life of City Councilmember Stewart Chen.   Hopping in the way way back machine they uncovered that 20 years ago Stewart Chen had pled guilty to two misdemeanors and was placed on two years probation and had to pay $50K in restitution. To nutshell, he was embroiled in some sort of insurance fraud scheme involving faked auto accidents.

Naturally Stewart Chen is very embarrassed about all this and blames the guilty plea on his lawyer, who was eventually disbarred, who urged him to take this route instead of fight his innocence out in court.  Although I imagine, at the time, two years probation and $50K in restitution looked like the better deal given what sort of sentencing could have been handed down if the case went to court.   Now, of course, 20 years later and an upcoming election looming in November, hindsight being 20/20 and all that it seems like a mistake to not have battled it out in court.


October 2, 2013

CrowdTilt a whirl

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Crime — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

Somewhere in the comments someone asked why Alameda residents couldn’t put together some sort of crowd sourcing fundraiser to finance the cost of the proposed license plate readers. While, according to the City’s staff report, the City is actively seeking grants — which might be a wee bit harder given the whole government shutdown thing — it reminded me of this report that I saw about the neighbors in Rockridge crowdsourcing funding for security patrols after being fed up with neighborhood muggings and really was catalyzed by the armed robbery of people waiting in line at a casual carpool stop, from ABC 7 news (with video):

This year, Oakland has seen its robbery rate skyrocket by 24 percent all over town. Tired of being victimized, Rockridge neighbors have taken to the Internet to raise money to pay for their own security.


October 1, 2013

I always feel like somebody’s watching me

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

So remember when I wrote about those license plate readers a couple of weeks ago?   They’re up on the City Council’s agenda tonight.  It is a consent item, but this one is getting pulled.  No question about it.

According to the Staff Report the Alameda Police Department has been piloting two vehicle mounted cameras around town — I saw something in one of my neighborhood roundabouts but it could have just been one of those “your speed is” jobs.   From the staff report:

The Alameda Police Department is in the process of field testing a two camera, vehicle mounted ALPR system that was provided and installed by Lehr Auto/Pursuit North, a company that the department works with for emergency vehicle equipment installation. The approximate cost for this system would be $16,000 (installed). They also offer a four camera system, which would provide greater (360 degree coverage) for approximately $22,000. Fixed mount camera systems start at about $7,500 plus the cost of installation. Additionally, the service contract (which includes access to a national ALPR database) costs $625 per camera annually.


September 20, 2013

Grills on film, Alameda edition

Filed under: Alameda, Crime, Transportation — Lauren Do @ 6:00 am

A while back, I posted about the City of Piedmont working to install license plate reader cameras at select entrances to their city.   It hadn’t become an issue in Alameda quite yet, but at last Tuesday’s City Council meeting while the City Council was discussing pools and a possible loan to the School District — more on that drama some other time — a little tidbit was snuck in by Councilmember Lena Tam about the possibilities of license plate cameras in Alameda.

Essentially she mentioned that she is an “underground advocate” for license plate readers in Alameda to which her fellow Councilmembers laughed and responded that there was nothing “underground” about her efforts.   She mentioned that the Police Department would be bringing a report to the Council about the pros and cons of license plate readers very soon.   Councilmember Tam also mentioned that she had been looking in grants and things to fund the readers.


September 6, 2013

We’re hanging a sign, says “visitors forbidden”

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Landing, Business, Crime, Development — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

So, I’m not generally a fan of the East Bay Express, I read it because it’s there and well, it’s there and train wreck-y and so sometimes awesome in its OMG factor.   Although I am a fan of Luke Tsai and the What The Fork series.   The East Bay Express generally manages to have strong food writers (like John Birdsall who went away, but you can follow him on Twitter), but I digress.

Anyway, sometimes they offer stories to the East Bay Citizen who covers a lot of East Bay political news.  Apparently he is an Alameda resident and hangs out a lot at Peets or Starbucks on Park Street, I can’t remember which.  He is probably the only guy really covering some of the Southern Alameda County and San Leandro political stuff, dabbles in Oakland politics, and dipped his toe into Alameda waters, but Alameda has a lot of coverage so…

But, despite all that I did find the article written about Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley to be amusing since it came on the heels of the Oakland Tribune/Inside Bay Area/whatever pointing out that the data she relied on (about the number of robberies in Oakland) was incorrect.    The EBX piece didn’t really pull any punches and titled the piece:

Alameda County DA: We Don’t Want Oaklanders in Alameda


May 9, 2013

Grills on film

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Neighbors, Crime — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

Not Alameda related, but definitely in the “of interest” file given Alameda’s fascination with crime, our limited access points, and proximity to Oakland.    The tony City of Piedmont surrounded on all sides by the city of Oakland has recently agreed to install license plate cameras at all entry points to the city for surveillance purposes.   Apparently they have been having a surge in crime, a “surge” in case you were wondering is an increase in burglaries from 90 in 2011 up to 135 in 2012.  That’s enough that the police department has made the suggestion and the City Council inserted the cost of the cameras into their budget which will come up for a vote in a few weeks.

The rationale for the camera is the crime surge and the potential for spillover crime from Oakland’s crime problems.   The potential cost will be $670,000 and Piedmont has about 15 access points.


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