Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 8, 2015

The eagle site has landed

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

I’m hopeful that this will be an easy agenda item to get through because it’s so needed, actually even if the housing market wasn’t as bad as it is now, this sort of housing is always in short supply.  But, given the conflict over the old Island High school site in the past and the desires of the neighborhood for that spot to be open space, I’m anticipating conflict (and a recusal from one of the Planning Board members who lives in that neighborhood).

Tonight at the Planning Board, staff is presenting the Housing Authority’s plans for a housing development on the old Island High site.  From the staff report:

The Housing Authority of the City of Alameda is proposing to construct a 22-unit rental housing project affordable to low- and very low- income families at 2437 Eagle Avenue. The 0.83-acre site located at the corner of Eagle and Everett Street in the North Park Street Residential Zoning District. The proposal includes one two-story building and two three-story buildings and on-site parking, landscaping, outdoor play area and court yard, and a community room for the residents.


June 3, 2015

Agree to agree

Filed under: Alameda, Public Resources, School — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

This is the fastest I can remember in recent memory that a tentative contract agreement has been reached between the School District and the teacher’s union.   Yesterday, the School District sent out a press release with the information, highlights:

Under the terms of the one-year agreement, members of the AEA (the teachers union) will receive an ongoing 4% raise in salary starting in 2015-2016. The district also provided 1% in salary that the union chose to use to increase the hourly rate for teachers, increase stipends for speech and language pathologists, and contribute to the cost of dental insurance for teachers. In addition, the district agreed to cover the state-mandated increase in teachers’ contributions to their pensions this year.


June 1, 2015

Body Camera of evidence

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Public Resources — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

On the City Council’s Tuesday agenda is an item to authorize the purchase of body cameras for Alameda’s police force. Given the recent attention around excessive use of force by police officers around the country, the movement toward more accountability is a positive step. Recently, Alameda settled a case of excessive police force and in that case the officer was wearing a body camera (not purchased by the police department but the video was submitted into evidence).

While the existence of body cameras alone will not magically eliminate excessive force cases automatically in the world, what it does is ensure that there is some record of an interaction that may be in dispute.

Conveniently, NPR just ran a story about Taser, the company that the City of Alameda is looking to source the body cameras from, although this particular story was about cloud based storage for the data collected from the body cameras.  From NPR:


May 26, 2015

House of worth

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Point, City Council, Development, Public Resources — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

During last week’s City Council meeting during a presentation of the financials of Site A at Alameda Point, if it wasn’t clear to anyone in the audience that Trish Spencer had no intention of voting for the project, it should be clear now.

Today she has glommed on the idea that Site A is not providing enough “workforce housing” and just providing housing for those at the highest end of the income spectrum and those at the lowest.   Let’s put aside the complicated argument that any housing provided at any end of the income spectrum would provide relief to the existing housing stock (rental and sale) by pushing more supply into the market and just talk about the term “workforce housing.”

Regardless of who is using the term, it’s offensive.  Why is it offensive?  It’s offensive because it implies that whoever is not in that “workforce” category doesn’t work.  Which is complete bullshit.  As it is Trish Spencer did not define what she considered “workforce” housing, it’s it 60% of area median income?  (considered “Low Income” by HUD definitions)  Is it 80% of area median income? (also considered “Low Income” by HUD definitions) Is it 100% of area median income? (considered “Moderate” by HUD definitions)  Is it 115% of area median income? (also considered “Moderate” by HUD definitions)   All of these: very low, low, and moderate are considered “affordable housing” which is what Trish Spencer believes — in addition to market rate housing — that Alameda is providing too much of and not enough “workforce” housing.  Whatever workforce is defined as.  Technically, all the housing provided is “workforce” housing as long as one of the residents occupying the unit has a job.


May 22, 2015

[Insert name here] doesn’t live here anymore

Filed under: Alameda, Public Resources — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

If memory serves somewhere in the City Charter or the municipal code there’s something about residency requirement for the City Manager and City Attorney positions in Alameda.  I vaguely remember something about this because during the reign of Ann Marie Gallant I think it was the City Attorney that did not live in Alameda at the time.  I seem to remember sending an email to the City Attorney about it, but was told it was not enforceable or something like that.  I don’t think I ended up writing about it because residency requirements seem to be a bit heavy handed, but I can see that rationale of wanting public safety staff living in Alameda because of the proximity in case of emergency.

Doing a quick google search there are a bunch of articles about residency requirement for public service employees, and it’s used in varying degree by governments large and small.  I can get behind the general sentiment of wanting public servants also to be invested in the community that they serve, but the topic is much more nuanced than just that sentiment.

For me, I found this compelling from the NY Times in 1991, that residency requirements could be used as a de facto discrimination tool, particularly in wealthy cities where lower income people simply cannot afford to live.  From the article:


May 20, 2015

Drive like your children live here

Filed under: Alameda, Public Resources — Lauren Do @ 6:00 am

Someone posted this on Facebook the other day and I thought it would be nice to post this given the discussion about Complete Streets on Central.  It’s from the New York Taxi and Limo Commission and is a reminder that we all should be mindful when venturing out in public whatever mode of transportation we use.

But it’s particularly important for those of us that use our cars and get complacent in our vehicles.  While it may be an inconvenience to may only be able to drive 30 mph instead of 35 mph in a 25 mph zone, in the end it only adds a few extra seconds to your drive if you stay at 25 mph in the zones marked as such.

The video is about 15 minutes long, it’s definitely a tear jerker.


May 19, 2015

A woman’s place

Tonight’s City Council meeting appears to be on the boring side, but it’s in some of the consent items that there should be some drama.  In fact, it’s too bad that Jim Oddie didn’t wait until tonight to pull out the story about the ACTC representative and Trish Spencer for the agenda item approving Measure BB Master Program Funding.

As a reminder, Jim Oddie recounted that a high level staff member at the Alameda County Transportation Commission was told by Trish Spencer that she did not want the Broadway/Jackson project or BRT in Alameda.  Trish Spencer did not deny that she said that to a staff member at ACTC just that she didn’t recall the topic ever coming up during those meetings and that it was inappropriate for Jim Oddie to bring up the topic without talking to her “offline” first.  Well, here it is, a chance for Trish Spencer to definitively whether she supports Broadway/Jackson and BRT.   The resolution states the policy of this City Council moving forward about the projects that will be funded by Measure BB, including both the Alameda to Fruitvale BART BRT and the Broadway/Jackson improvements:


May 18, 2015

“We want our own lane, for cars!”

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Development, Public Resources — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

A few weeks ago there was a petition and a corresponding Twitter account to promote a movement called “I Drive Alameda” and, to be completely honest, I thought it was some sort of parody account.  Like so. Turns out, it was not a parody account, it was actually a real petition.

A quick view of the comments on the Facebook page shows that most people appear to be most concerned with a reduction in parking spaces with the plans to turn a stretch of Central into a “Complete Street.”  For those that regularly use Central, you’ll know that there is not a bike lane on the section between Webster and Third Street.  It is a street that has a lot of pedestrian crossings because of Paden’s location on the water side of Central.  There’s also a heavily used pedestrian crossing near the old St. Barnabas school that is hostile to pedestrians who must wait for cars to notice them before attempting to cross.  All in all given the resources across the street from Central (schools, parks, retail) the street itself is not that friendly to anyone not using a car.

Anyway, as per usual for anything that may be a change in Alameda, some folks jump to immediate conclusions about how bad it’s going to be and assume that the thing that they love the most will be the first thing wrested from them due to these changes.


May 14, 2015

Broadway/Jackson fight

Now you all know that Jim Oddie is not my favorite City Council person.  But on Tuesday night he really redeemed himself by asking a series of questions during the Public Works budget presentation that lead up to the final “gotcha” question.  It was like those scenes in any Real Housewives show when a character that you’re kind of lukewarm on takes on the HBIC (look it up) and redeems herself to lock in a contract for the next season.

Like that.

So here’s the lead up.  Jim Oddie starts slowly by asking about the different projects in the Capital Improvement Plan and how they align with Measure BB and whether each and every project was something that was supported by the City of Alameda.  The two of particular concern were Bus Rapid Transit and the Broadway/Jackson project.  He also asks staff about the purpose of the Broadway/Jackson project and — for those that don’t know — it’s to relieve pressure off the tube because the back up usually happens on the Oakland side when the pedestrian signal is depressed and then getting on to the actual on ramp. After the line of question he then says, let me do the back and forth dialogue: (more…)

May 13, 2015


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

For those who watched the City Council meeting from a few weeks ago (I’ve lost all track of time as to when these meetings happen anymore) you might recall during the discussion about the new MOUs for public safety two people alluded to sitting in coffee shops bad mouthing public safety.  In case you were wondering what or who that referred to, it’s all in this letter that was sent to Mayor Trish Spencer yesterday (cc-ing the rest of the Council and the Interim City Manager).

Reading the whole thing is highly recommended but let me screen cap some of the best (and most interesting parts):


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