Blogging Bayport Alameda

March 6, 2019

How a kitchen isn’t a kitchen

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

As promised on Monday, how the Wellness Center proposes to build residential units for the senior homeless housing portion without running afoul of Measure A.  Just to circle back a little, remember the noisiness of NextDoor that I referenced in Monday’s post? Well there was a comment/question (because that’s how the NextDoor skeptics like to phrase things over there) about how there are kitchens but there will also be no “kitchens” in each individual housing unit.

Well, general questioner/commenter you may or may not have heard of a little thing call Measure A in Alameda.  Measure A is the prohibition on building multifamily units in Alameda.  Multifamily units seem to be, largely, defined by how extensive a kitchen exists in the unit.  When Alameda Point Collaborative references that there will be small kitchens it’s usually going to be in the efficiency kitchen or kitchenette style.  Small fridge, small sink, and possibly a microwave.  Nothing you can whip up a Thanksgiving dinner on, but something that allows you the ability to make a small snack or have a light meal if you don’t choose to go to the communal dining area.

All of the recent senior assisted living centers follow a similar model and you don’t even need to look any farther than the application for the assisted living center on Harbor Bay which was tanked by neighbors which will now be a hotel.  From the staff report:

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March 5, 2019

Lemme show ya something

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

So a couple of things on the City Council’s agenda that is notable, I actually wished I had held yesterday’s post and attacked these two issues separately.  The first is the Emma Hood pool which will probably make a more interesting topic after the City Council decides what the next steps are.  The TL;dr of the staff report is the issue of Emma Hood has been kicked down the can and now the City Council and School Board need to make a decision on what to do with the facility moving forward because the county is threatening to close down the pool.  There is no money in either the City’s or the District’s budget to pay for any of this.  The highest cost is $7 million for a full replacement and at the lowest cost $250,000 to demolish the pool.

I’ll point out that I find a discussion around finding funding for Emma Hood to be much more critical for the majority of people in Alameda rather than turning a bunch of buildings into “open space.”

Anyway, the next issue is a two pronged one involving the Fire Department. The first issue under consideration is adding and revising existing fees.  Right now, the Fire Department currently is not collecting a commensurate amount of fees to account for the time its staff spends on certain issues.  There’s a matrix and everything to show that Alameda’s cost recovery will be low in comparison to other cities in the region.   I don’t think there is a lot of controversy around raising fees and adding new fees that other jurisdictions have.  This part, probably bifurcated, should pass easily.

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March 4, 2019

Zoning of comfort

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

Somewhere someone asked a — I’m assuming it was a rhetorical — question about the Wellness Center.  But it was on NextDoor and the amount of sheer noise that exists on that site really prevents any meaningful conversation at all.  In fact some neighbors have gotten into next level spammy tactics where they just ask the same questions over and over either expecting another result or trying to get their aha moment to entrap the random person who tries to answer the question.  It’s very former-Mayor-Trish-Spencer-esqe which feels appropriate since she’s one of the most vocal mouthpieces for the anti-Wellness Center campaign.

Anyway, the question was asked on that site — who knows where since it’s buried under hundreds of other spam-like comment/questions — about whether or not we should consider the zoning and that no one would want a lot near to them changed to commercial if they live in a residential district.

Let’s put to the side all the exclusionary segregation-y discussions around zoning and its historical purposes for now. And just talk about the zoning of the area.  Indeed there are some residential buildings around the proposed Wellness Center parcel, but the zoning of the current parcel is Administrative Professional.  It is already a commercial type zoning.  So any hypotheticals about whether people would accept a parcel near them changed to commercial is just further muddying of the conversational water.

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March 1, 2019

You decide what’s right, you decide what’s good

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

It appears that while, at first, a lot of opponents just didn’t like the Wellness Center project at all there became a quick realization on some fronts that a total negative stance would entrench the NIMBY label that started to attach itself to the anti-Wellness Center side.  Rather there were some complaints about the Federally Qualified Health Center, including some efforts to mislabel other clinics in other cities as FQHC to point to as problematic.  Then there came the reservations about the medical respite piece because — unlike the supportive housing — the stays in medical respite are limited.  Then came the “well we would support this if it were just low income housing.”

Regardless there’s a little bit of something for any opponent to latch on to and announce that the program is problematic because of the kids, or the birds, or the trees, or the street, or whatever.

The amazing thing was that I initially thought that the medical respite piece would be the most acceptable to the majority of people, even those who didn’t want the project there at all.  Maybe because, as cynical as I’ve become in my old age, I really did believe that most people had a spark of empathy and caring for their fellow man or woman who was suffering.  After all, we were told during the cannabis debates by lead FOCCer and former Mayor Trish Spencer that cannabis was a medical necessity and to not allow people who were suffering from debilitating illnesses was not the sign of a caring community.  Surely the image of a homeless senior citizen being discharged on to the street after major surgery should tug at the heartstrings of the meanest grinch.  But alas, I was wrong.

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February 28, 2019

The League of extraordinary people

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

Because the League of Women Voters: it’s not just for women.

Easily one of my favorite Alameda political organizations is the League of Women Voters.  They’re no nonsense and they provide excellent resources for the political and non political folks out there.  What they strive to do is to inform voters.  And, naturally, they have put out a recommendation on our upcoming special election.

Typically what the League tends to side with is good government.  They have come out to every single City Council meeting to support the work of the Open Government Commission when it has come under attack and has urged the hiring of independent counsel for the OGC.  In the case of Measures A and B, once again the LWV is endorsing the good government side of things, which just happens to also be the side of a caring and welcoming community that Alameda purportedly claims to be.

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February 27, 2019

Swedish invasion

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

I can’t remember which Transportation Commission meeting this came up at, but this was part of public comment from a, fairly, prominent long time Alameda resident.

It was an uncomfortable bit of othering of people which I would have thought no one would really dare to say at a public recorded meeting, but here it is:

I thought there would be more talking about 3B, the upcoming grant funding for bicycle safety education because what I wanted to bring up was specifically about bicycle safety in that it’s, I’m seeing much more of an influx of foreigners in the City of Alameda and I wonder whether or not there is an education gap involving educating foreigners because  I do simple things like making my right hand turn signal and people are waving back to me and they may not understand what this signal is and it’s strange that there’s that gap. And when I’m passing somebody I’m riding along the normal side of the street and I see a little boy, probably 11 years old, riding on, going, frankly, head on to me riding his bicycle on the wrong side of the street.  I say, “excuse me, you’re on the wrong side of the street” I wonder whether or not there’s a language problem, whether or not it’s that the person is speaking a different language and doesn’t understand me and they don’t stop, they don’t react.  My point is that with education, the more we see a greater influx of the diversity in the City of Alameda, the more difficult it’s going to be to educate you may need to be speaking or addressing Philippine, Swedish, all sorts of other demographics that may need to get the word out even more than you would normally.

Maybe the kid didn’t want to talk to him because he’s a stranger?

I did enjoy the throwing in of Swedish because, of course, the first thing anyone thinks if there’s a non responsive 11 year old boy is: he must speak Swedish.

 

February 26, 2019

Political proxy

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

Last week’s City Council meeting was one of the more frustrating discussions that I’ve heard on any issue.  As a reminder for some unknown reason last year after a member of the public filed a complaint to the Open Government Commission City Staff decided that the right course of action was not to adjudicate the issues in that complaint first but, instead, continue voting on issues around cannabis businesses in Alameda.

To fast forward, after much discussion, the City Council decided to agendize repealing and replacing the existing cannabis ordinance.  If that’s all you wanted to know, you can stop here.  This will mean that the City Council will need to vote on this issue once again and should need two readings before the ordinance takes effect.  This is the right move to take, had they done this at the January 15 meeting this issue would have already been cleaned up and taken care of, but here we are, again.

However, what was interesting about that night is that some members of the public do have any any idea what the OGC actually does, which is a shame and it appeared that the ignorance of how the OGC is formed allowed a narrative to be built and nurtured that somehow this was a political issue rather than one of process.

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February 25, 2019

Down a RAMP

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

Yesterday no. 1 daughter and no. 2 son asked if they could bike to Sweeney Park to check out the new play structures.  I asked them to wait until the new Appezzato (RAMP) trail was done first then it would be safer.  Because if you know RAMP, you’ll know that there is currently no bike lane on that street.  The only alternatives for bikers is to (1) take a lane on the 35 mph road or (2) use the sidewalk.  None are great options, but they are the only ones.

Last week the City released news that they would (finally) be starting on the RAMP portion of the Cross Alameda Trail.  Which, ostensibly, is a trail to cross Alameda.   The CAT through Sweeney Park is already largely completed, but this part will be the most useful for the hoards of walking students trekking from the schools off of RAMP to the Webster Street.

Here’s the construction schedule:

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February 22, 2019

Too much time on her hands

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

Super lawyer to the FOCCers and former City Councilmember Barbara Thomas is not doing that well in the “try to tank the Measure A campaign at all costs through any means necessary” arena.

Her most recent attempt to weaponize the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) was to complain about campaign literature in the public right of way.

Had I known we could do this I would have filed an FPPC campaign against all of those Yes on K signs that were littering every single median from the West End to Bay Farm.  I think there is still a Yes on K sign up on the golf course fencing.

Anyway, here was the complaint:
Screen Shot 2019-02-21 at 7.39.05 PM

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February 21, 2019

Had a bad day

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

Yesterday was a big day for the Friends of Crab Cove (FOCC).  And just so everyone is aware in case they were not aware this is 100% an effort that the former Mayor of Alameda, Trish Spencer, has thrown her full weight and support behind.  The rumor mill has her present at the proceedings yesterday.

Anyway, big day for the FOCCers, if you did not know FOCC, represented by former City Councilmember Barbara Thomas, had filed a lawsuit against the City and individually named person like City Councilmembers to stop the special election and ask for some other stuff.

From a press release that went out yesterday afternoon:

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