Blogging Bayport Alameda

July 27, 2015

Don’t blink, don’t even blink.

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

The video is up for the School Board meeting appointment and boy, it’s a doozy.   I mean, I sort of knew that it was going to be weird and awkward, but I didn’t think it was going to be strange, and at times, downright ugly.  Let’s just say that it will surprise no one to learn that there some folks are not happy with some of the statement made during this meeting.

I find it absolutely mind boggling that, when the process was designed, given the messiness that happened the last time around with a deadlock that there would have been a way to break a deadlock this time around.  Either by random lots, vote by the superintendent, feat of strength, or a battle to the death.  I’m not picky.

Here’s the recap of how the voting went down: Gary Lym threw his support for Anne McKereghan.  Barbara Kahn supported Gray Harris.  Solana Henneberry also supported Gray Harris. Phil Hu supported Anne McKereghan.  After a deadlock vote, a brief discussion about ranked choice voting and reopening public comment; Phil Hu relented and switched his support to Gray Harris.

So, the positive of the night:  (1) The two unknown candidates were actually refreshing and adorable. Maybe not ready for prime time, but it was really nice to have a different perspective.

(2) Gary Lym reading aloud from this blog post. Woot!

(3) The articulate statements from all the candidates.

Unfortunately the negatives kind of outweighed the positives.

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July 24, 2015

Giving me the Willies

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Landing, School — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

I’ll write in detail about the School Board appointment next week when the video gets uploaded, but, to nutshell, based on the twitter timeline from AUSD and reports in the comments section, Gray Harris has been selected and sworn in to fill out the remainder of Niel Tam’s School Board seat.

There were some surprises and some not so surprises, but again, I wanted to get a chance to watch the actual video before writing too much in depth about it. Simply based on the information on the twitter play-by-play, it appeared that — much like during the vote the last time that it took someone showing true leadership and relenting to move the issue along.  Last time it was Jane Grimaldi who made the gesture, this time, the man that she stepped aside for switched his vote after seeing that the other three were too entrenched in their positions to move the vote along.

On a lighter note, this weekend is the Art and Wine Fair on Park Street which can only mean one thing, that’s right, funnel cake.

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July 21, 2015

Tipping the scales

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

Two big issues tonight: one at the City Council and the second at the School Board.  The City Council — in what appears to be the last meeting before their August recess — will be considering an ordinance to strengthen (slightly) protections for renters in Alameda.  The big things will be formalizing the Rent Review Advisory Committee as part of one of the many other Commissions in the Municipal Code.  The other big thing will the the requirement to participate in the RRAC process which starts with a notice that must accompany the notice for rent increase.

Arguably the bigger issue will be the possible appointment of a School Board member tonight TOMORROW NIGHT (sorry folks! totally had my dates confused) to fill Niel Tam’s vacated seat.  Unfortunately because the City Council meeting is in session this meeting will be held at Island High School rather than the chambers and if you want to know what’s happening you’ll have to go there in person.  Arguably one reason why it’s a shame that the meeting didn’t get bumped to a time when people could watch on the TV if they couldn’t make it in person.  I guess we’ll have to watch the twitter feed instead.  It is, however, being held at Island High School and am not sure why.  But it’s at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday night.

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July 13, 2015

Filling the gap

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

Shifting gears slightly back to the School Board.  The death of Niel Tam caused a vacancy on the School Board, much like what happened after Trish Spencer was elected the School District called for applicants interested in filling that seat.  This time around there are a lot less applications than before.  There are some familiar faces from the last round, familiar names from School related issues, and some new faces as well.

I have attached a “Blind Taste Test” of sorts so that, if you are interested, you can judge the answers of the applicants without knowing who they are.   Even though there are some indications of who the candidates may be, there is a chance for you to score the potential applicants to see who you would choose if you had to base your selection on their answers alone.

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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.

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March 24, 2015

I’m more than just an option

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

Tonight is the School Board meeting which really I haven’t been able to focus on as much as I would like.  The big thing on that agenda will be the five options being presented to the School Board tonight on how to go about scheduling the repairs for the schools around town.  Clearly not everything can be done all at once so now it is time to prioritize and make the tough decisions.  There are some timelines on the power point which will be too complicated to duplicate here so I’ll just extract out the key points from each option.  All of the options pushes the critical projects like roofing and security to the beginning of the schedule.  The major differences are when the high schools are planned and construction begins.   The only option that delays the elementary/middle and charter school work is option 2 which I think is probably not really an option for most folks.

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February 26, 2015

Fence siting

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

Surprising absolutely nobody came the news that the School Board voted on Tuesday night to retain two high schools as opposed to any sort of consolidation plan.   What is more interesting is apparently there will be a priority to start erecting fences around the fenceless elementary schools around Alameda.

After some recent police action at both Bay Farm (vandalism) and Edison (stranger danger) the safety at schools has become an issue, again.

While I can understand the visceral desire to fence in a school thinking that will make a school “safe,” I will say that if I were dictator of my children’s school one of the first things I would do would be to remove the fence that was erected after the unfortunate incident at Ruby Bridges.

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February 10, 2015

Out of the interim

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

As some of you may have noticed, yesterday morning my blog was taken down.  I imagine the reaction ranged from sheer joy to “wtf” depending on how useful you view my blog to be.  After my own “what the what” reaction I attempted to first: figure out what the hell had happened and second: I export my blog just in case.  Then I started answering the flurry of emails asking what the heck happened and then came the waiting game.

A lot of people asked me how I was feeling and surprisingly I didn’t find myself to be angry at the fact the blog was suspended.  It was quite annoying, but at the very worst it would just require me moving my blog away from WordPress and have to actually host it myself, so more of a pain in the ass more than anything else.

From reading up on the internet it appears that suspended accounts happen a fair bit in the world of WordPress hosted blog, mostly when people run afoul of the automated spam filtration device.  A few of you should know how that feels when your comments end up in the commenter spam filter.  Of course it wasn’t clear based on the cryptic email that was sent by WordPress if my “spam” status was based on some crawling bot or if some helpful reader had marked my blog as spam which then was immediately taken down.  I’m not sure if we’ll ever find out, but just a note, if my blog ends up “suspended” for multiple days and you visit here using “laurendo.wordpress.com” try “laurendo.com” because if this happens again, I might just bite the bullet and move the entire blog to a self-hosted site and you won’t be able to navigate to the updated blog from the wordpress site.

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February 9, 2015

Blank slate

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

As mentioned the video for the School Board meeting was posted on Thursday, it’s worth a watch if you care about seeing how all the votes shook down.   I really think that the School Board made an error the first time around when they allowed each Board Member to select candidates from the Pick 2 and 3 process that did not have at least two votes to move forward.  The processed used the second time around seemed much more “fair” because it required that — at the very least — there was at least two School Board members willing to support a particular candidate.  That’s why — and no offense to Sherice Youngblood — the whole handwringing over her scuffle with Barbara Kahn is being majorly trumped up because she should have never gotten past the “Pick 3” round the first time around.  She only made it as far because she was Gary Lym’s candidate as he mentioned several times that she was “his candidate.”

About that back and forth between Barbara Kahn and Sherice Youngblood. Here’s the thing, yes Barbara Kahn was incorrect in her assessment that Sherice Youngblood did not disclose that she sat on the Academy of Alameda board.  Although on a second listen, Barbara Kahn did qualify her statement that Sherice Youngblood did not share that information “tonight” so she could have meant that she expected her to include that information in her public remarks that night.  On the other hand, neither did Barabara Kahn attack Sherice Youngblood for sending her child to AoA.  When Gary Lym defended Sherice Youngblood’s decision as choosing convenience, he was defending her against attacks that were not made by Barbara Kahn.   Similarly when Sherice Youngblood explained her rationale (convenience/lack of choice) for sending her child to AoA which I can totally understand, she was defending herself from an accusation that was never made. Her response to Barbara Kahn and the later public correspondence about this issue spoke to a level of defensiveness that would not have added a whole lot to this School Board even though her other qualifications would have. Defensiveness does not make for good leadership.

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February 5, 2015

It’s your first big decision, the choice isn’t easy to make

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

It’s not online yet, but on Tuesday night the School Board finally made a decision on who to fill Trish Spencer’s vacated seat.  Based on the tweets from AUSDNews, Susan Davis should win some kind of medal for being able to keep up with the crazy back and forth.  I’m just going to repost some of her tweets here so you can see how the vote went.

First after a series of questions and answers the Board Member whittled the list down to three picks, only those that were selected would move on to the next round:

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