Blogging Bayport Alameda

January 5, 2015

At the hip

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Point, City Council, Development, Election — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

Happy New Year everyone.

This is definitely shaping up to be a “new year” and Mayor Trish Spencer has launched, out of the gate, with an agenda item to repeal the Del Monte project that was approved at the last City Council meeting.

So, just so we’re keeping clear tabs, here’s the nutshell.  Developer puts forth a project for the stalled out Del Monte project.  Neighbors object, citing lack of community input sometime early last year.  Neighbors get involved, create a community group (PLAN Alameda), apparently do a whole bunch of due diligence like polling of other uninvolved neighbors, etc.  The consensus goes from asking from a halt of the project (because of other neighbor input) to asking for key concessions for their livability.   Neighborhood group successfully agitates for bundled parking space (previously unbundled), a seat at the table for future Transportation related decisions, and ongoing parking surveys.   Outgoing Council amends project to remove City owned parcel from the equation and votes to approve.  This requires a second reading (although with no new information presented) and the outgoing Council approves.

Now, Trish Spencer — because she is the only person on the Council with the authority to place items on the agenda without having to go through the referral process first — places on the agenda an item to repeal that decision which had the hallmarks of everything that Alamedans say that they want when presented with development issues, input that actually makes a difference.

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December 18, 2014

Pon de replay

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

So who watched or was at the City Council meeting on Tuesday?  A few of you I know because I saw you speak during the Del Monte section.  By the way, I just wanted to say that Helen Sause getting up there and speaking was so admirable.  She has a strength of conviction that is enviable and I don’t think anyone would blame her for taking a pass Tuesday’s meeting, but she showed up and I thank her for that.

The meeting is sort of divided into three distinct parts, Part I was the special meeting where the outgoing City Council took care of old business.  I have thoughts about the comments, particularly those of Trish Spencer, but that’s for another post. Part I was as expected, Marie Gilmore ran the meeting in her usual way, public comment was about as expected, and the vote was not a surprise.  Although I honestly thought that Tony Daysog would choose to abstain since it’s kind of his MO when it comes to issues that may have a little bit of conflict.  More on his comments and his overall approach to TDMs in another post.   (See, already paying dividends on post material!)

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November 20, 2014

What about your friends

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Point, Business, City Council, Election — Lauren Do @ 6:00 am

All future developers in Alameda take note of the master class that Joe Ernst of SRM Development taught on Tuesday night of how to do development in Alameda.   An Alameda resident and spearheaded projects like Peets and VF Outdoors in Alameda he is the face of Alameda Point Partners and knew that this proposal would face opposition based on the Calls to Action from incoming City Council members and community groups.

He brought to the City Council meeting a wave of fresh new faces that long time City Council watchers probably have never seen before and, more that that, he brought local Alameda business people to come and ask the Council to support the project.  Both businesses that are currently at Alameda Point, businesses that have had to leave Alameda, and businesses that want to come in to Alameda and that was extremely compelling.

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November 19, 2014

Appoint taken

Filed under: Alameda, Election, School — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

Commenter “Election Aftermath” keeps reminding us that with the election of Trish Spencer there will be a vacant seat on the School Board.  And, as Niel Tam is very ill and I’m not sure if he is necessarily interested in returning, there might be two instead of one vacant seat to be filled the question becomes how should the School Board move forward will filling that seat.

There are two ways the School Board could approach it: 1) appointment or 2) hold a special election.  The downside of an appointment is that it will fill seats with two years remaining left on its term and, well, as suggested by Election Aftermath, not allow voters to weigh in on 1/5 or perhaps even 2/5s of the make-up of the School Board.  The upside of an appointment in that it gets warm bodies into those seats immediately when the School Board needs some warm bodies.

The upside of a special election is that it gets into those seats someone who — ostensibly — matches the “will of the voters”.  The downside is that it will be costly and those seats will go unfulfilled until the election.

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November 18, 2014

Set the tone

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Development, Election — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

Tonight will be an interesting first test of what sort of Mayor Trish Spencer will actually be and how she will set the tone for her administration moving forward.  First, there is the priority conflict of which meeting to attend.  The School Board is having its meeting at the same time as the City Council.  Both have extremely important topics to tackle, and technically, Trish Spencer’s commitment is still to the School Board where she still holds a seat.

What’s on the School Board’s agenda includes a closed session discussion of the hiring process for a permanent superintendent, the “sunshining” of AEA bargaining agreement, discussion of infrastructure projects, and how to move forward with the high school discussion.   These are all pretty important agenda items which I can’t imagine that Trish Spencer wouldn’t want to weigh in on at the very end.

However, on the City Council’s agenda is the big ticket item of a possible vote to open an Exclusive Negotiation Agreement with Alameda Point Partners for Alameda Point.  As I suggested, it would be best for this existing City Council to wait on this issue and allow the new City Council to make the decision because otherwise it might waste additional time and some people may feel knee jerk against this particular developer if they were “blessed” by a City Council they didn’t agree with.

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November 17, 2014

I will wait for you

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Point, Business, City Council, Election — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

So some folks have been angrily posting about the agenda for the City Council meeting coming up on Tuesday that this “lame duck” Council shouldn’t be able to do anything but twiddle its thumbs between now and when the new Council is sworn in. And while I’m not necessarily going to angrily post about it, I have to say that I agree that relatively new substantive matters that are at the beginning of the process should probably wait until the new Council is seated before taking a vote.

For example, on the City Council agenda for Tuesday is an agenda item to approve an Exclusive Negotiation Agreement with one of the pared down finalists for Site A. I’m not going to get bogged down in a substantive discussion on whether the City should or should not start the negotiation process by entering into an ENA with a developer, I’m just saying that as the City is at the beginning of this ENA process, it might be prudent to wait to allow the new City Council time to weigh in on the ENA. That’s all.

Mostly because if the new City Council is going to undo all the work anyway, it simple strings along all the parties unnecessarily.

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November 13, 2014

All eyez on her

Filed under: Alameda, Election — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

It’s official, Trish Spencer is now the Mayor of Alameda.  Marie Gilmore took the very very high road yesterday with a graceful concession speech and eliminated any ambiguity by stating that she would not be seeking a recount.

I think that’s the classy thing to do and it allows everyone to move forward instead of delaying the inevitable.

As I mentioned before, Marie Gilmore deserves a lot of thanks for the time that she has dedicated — and probably will continue to dedicate — to this City. It takes a lot of grace and humility as well as the ability to take a lot of flak to sit on that dais.

Video of the concession speech which was recorded and uploaded by former City Council candidate Adam Gillitt. It’s one of the first times that Marie Gilmore has had a chance to define her time in the Mayor’s office in her terms:

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November 12, 2014

Look for the silver lining

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

Over the weekend I had a lot of time to think about the election while painting. And not the artsy kind of painting, the wall kind of painting. There’s not a whole lot to do other than listen to music and think.  Before you ask, the color is “soft pumpkin” and that equals orange.

Anyway, I was tossing this comment over in my head:

I suspect that if almost anyone other than Trish had run on Trish’s platform, this election would have been a complete blowout. I think there are a fair number of people like me who just couldn’t vote for Trish because I think she’s nuts. If anyone else (with a few notable exceptions) had run on her platform s/he probably would have gotten my vote. (But I also know a few people who voted for Trish because they think she’ll do less harm at the city level than she does on the school board.)

Because I was thinking more along the lines of “I wonder if others that had mayoral aspirations are kicking themselves for ceding the battle against Marie Gilmore to Trish Spencer.”  Like a Doug deHaan or even a Frank Matarrese.  I wonder if they look at Trish Spencer’s win as a missed opportunity because of the sentiment stated above.

But here’s the thing: I think this win had to be Trish Spencer’s because she is forever underestimated from the view point of traditional political candidates.

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November 10, 2014

I have an opinion

Filed under: Alameda, Election — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:00 am

On Friday I was reading the comments section on another Alameda site and on it the host indicated in the comments section that there was a question on whether — if Trish Spencer wins the Mayor’s race — she would be required to resign from her School Board seat.  The definitive answer was not given as to whether or not she would have to, just this vague reference to “questions.

This came up in the comments section previously and a commenter cut and pasted a blurb from the FPPC wesbite that says there are no explicit laws that prevent someone from holding two public positions simultaneously.  But, of course, we all know that there is always a loaded “but…” following such a vague general statement.  And further down the FPPC noted that there was the doctrine of incompatible offices, but that they didn’t have anything to do with that determination, so go ask the Attorney General’s office.

As a result someone did ask Trish Spencer explicitly and the commenter dutifully reported back that she nodded affirmatively that she would resign from the School Board if elected as Mayor.  So I’m not sure why this vagueness about whether she would or would not be required to resign.

So rather than continue to speculate, I searched on the Attorney General’s website for the information.

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November 7, 2014

Why ask why

Filed under: Alameda, Election, Errata — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

I’m reposting this response I left in the comments from two new commenters who sort of hit the blog hard with lots of questions and then got a little more hung up on the “anonymous comments” tip than what they actually swung by to ask.  As a note for those that are new here or don’t remember, I don’t mind anonymous comments and in fact wrote a whole blog post about it five years ago.  To nutshell, anonymous comments are cool, just please try to stick with the same handle as much as possible.

From that blog post:

But on the other hand, the cost of putting full name behind your opinions can be very high, particularly when you are dealing with politics, and local politics are the worst.   While some people may decry “personal attacks”– whatever that is defined to be in that person’s mind — criticizing someone’s position on an issue or even flaming someone virtually is a far cry from some of the antics against folks who have been forthright enough to reveal their name in comments and on blogs.   Lawsuits, wikipedia entries, writing letters to donors (p.37) and then gloating about it, filing complaints with the FPPC, digging into people’s financial records and alleging ethics violations (p.86), threats of lawsuits (p. 99, 188, 121),publishing people’s personal information…those are the types of things that chill and destroy meaningful dialogue, not anonymous commenting.

And of course what also destroys meaningful dialogue is — even if done in jest — that people were considering this sort of thing:

I know a group of peoples which are trying to buy a house next to his and turn it into an1/2 way house , Nothing He will be able to say , it will definitely be an interesting time , Not in my neighborhood ……..

The person they are referring to is a sitting Planning Board member to whom, I’m guessing, the “group of peoples” disagrees with.  But I digress.

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