Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 13, 2017

Guest blog: What would that Black man have said?

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

At last Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Mayor Trish Spencer ordered that the microphone be cut off for public speaker Rasheed Shabazz.  He has provided more context (and content) that expands on his comments from Tuesday night.

By Rasheed Shabazz

Since I only had three minutes to address the Council, and Mayor cut the mic off, I wanted to provide some context to my remarks and also state my main point.

Alameda has a fascinating legacy of thinly veiled exclusionary, or rather racist and classist rhetoric, particularly when debating the very emotional and complex issue of housing.

In the past, some so-called Alamedans would use “Oakland” as a code, a euphemism, a racial proxy rooted in exclusionary housing policies. For example, in 1992, when the City defied a court order and did not apply for state housing funds, a speaker at a council meeting received a standing ovation when stating low-income housing in Alameda would “create an East Alameda like East Oakland.” This comparison is rooted in racial segregation and stereotypes.

During the debates to establish a moratorium on no-cause evictions, landlords convinced the City to adopt the phrase “housing providers.” Although this phrase is also used by HUD, it appeared this term was used to provide a better image for landlords at a time when many renters faced skyrocketing rents and displacement.

Leading up to the November election, campaign mailers referred to renters as “criminals” and tenant organizers as “outsiders.” Psychologists have long documented the stereotype associating Black people with crime, or the race-crime association.

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June 12, 2017

I cover the waterfront

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

Two huge agenda items for the Planning Board tonight.  The first is the Alameda Landing  amendment to the Master Plan.  The TL;dr for this is that the existing Master Plan for the portion still undeveloped calls for a lot of commercial office space which — if you just look around — Alameda has plenty of vacant commercial office space.  Because there is already a lot of vacant supply, Catellus is asking for an amendment to the Master Plan to shift a lot of that commercial office space to something that Alameda may need more of residential and maritime commercial.  Catellus is also calling for a retail space which I don’t think is needed, but in viewing some of the concept graphics, the “retail” would mostly come in the form of a hotel and restaurants.  The restaurant industry is doing well in general as traditional retail shopping has declined overall — not just in Alameda.

Here’s how the 2006 Master Plan stacks up to the new amendment:

Screen Shot 2017-06-11 at 11.24.26 AM

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June 9, 2017

You deserve a promotion

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

Nothing for today, just wanted to dedicate this particular post to #1 daughter who had her promotion ceremony yesterday at Ruby Bridges.  I won’t lie, I totally cried a bit when the music played and they walked into the multi-purpose room.

It was an amazing, my parents were there and later remarked that Ruby Bridges’s class of 2017 looked exactly like a microcosm of the United States.  And it does, Ruby Bridges is a near perfect mix of all races and ethnic backgrounds.  We have immigrants from Africa, Asia, and Europe.  Mixed race kids.  First generation kids.

It was beautiful.

June 8, 2017

“You turn off the mic for the Black man”

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

Tuesday’s meeting was pretty much as expected.  A cluster.

It was pretty cluster-y for the whole Pride thing, but I’ll get to that in a series of other posts.  First I want to write about the rent ordinance agenda item.  I know that there are some Trish fans that were the the audience and probably chomping at the bit to defend her, but I would say that even a neutral person would agree that her actions were not a great look.  Even with as many excuses and reasons one can give to attempt to justify her actions it was a bad look all around.

Where to jump in: let me first provide some context.  So public comment is, I think, a tricky subject in general.  I would imagine that it’s hard for anyone to be that person and have to interrupt anyone in mid-stride about a topic that they feel passionately about and say “time’s up.”  However, if you’ve been lax about it in the past and allowed folks to run overtime for issues and commenters that you agree with it’s really hard to then lay down the hammer for people who are disagreeing with you or taking you to task.  But that’s where being a strong — and secure — facilitator comes into play.  Trish Spencer is neither of those.

The TL;dr of that is: Trish Spencer often lets people run overtime with their comments, she appears to only enforce the time limit on topics that make her uncomfortable or for people that she disagrees with.  In fact before Tuesday night I only recall Trish Spencer demanding that staff turn off the microphone once before and that was for a group of Filipino youth who had sat, very patiently, through an agenda item about the Beltline park while several people ran over the time limit without a word of admonition from Trish Spencer.  They attempted to ask her to move the rental housing agenda item up because of their curfews and instead of accommodating their request she simply tried to get them to take it outside and then asked for the mic to be switched off.

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June 7, 2017

Crossing the water

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

Folks, looks like the Estuary Crossing Shuttle will come to an end on June 30.    Recall that the Estuary Crossing Shuttle was largely a way to get folks with bikes through the tube rather than have people attempt to take their lives into the hands just to get from Oakland to Alameda.  Here’s excerpts from the Press Release.

With AC Transit’s restoration of Line 19 in the Northern Waterfront area and the modified Line 96 (formerly Line 31) in west Alameda, the Estuary Crossing Shuttle will end services on Friday, June 30. The City launched the Shuttle service six years ago to close the gap for Peralta Community College students attending both the College of Alameda and Laney College, as well to provide another option for people with bicycles to travel between west Alameda and Oakland.

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June 6, 2017

Pride and prejudice

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

Tonight either right before or the City Council will take a break during the City Council meeting there will be a Pride event on the steps of City Hall.   The event starts at 7:00 p.m. and has largely been billed as a celebratory event but as a community photo op.  As we know, our elected officials love themselves a photo opportunity, but what makes this particular photo opportunity leave a sour taste is that some of us remember that the Mayor who will be reading a proclamation declaring June as LGBTQ Pride month was not supportive of the LGBTQ community while she was on the School Board.

A timely reminder from Twitter:

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June 5, 2017

Going to pot

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

Currently the state of the medical marijuana in Alameda is that you can grow it yourself if you are a qualified patient, but pot clubs and commercial cultivation is banned.

A group in Alameda is looking to have the City Council change that via a Council Referral by Trish Spencer.  This has been priority ranked by Trish Spencer as “important and urgent” the same ranking she gave to a straws on request Council Referral.  From the referral:

Ask Council to give staff direction to propose regulations to authorize convenient and safe cannabis businesses in Alameda including dispensaries, cultivation, manufacturing, purity and potency testing labs and quality control facilities, and other activities associated with the medicinal cannabis activities now legally permitted in California, including temporary licenses for recreational cannabis businesses. The proposed regulations should consider:

1. Preferences for owner/operators who currently live in Alameda and have done so for at least three years;
2. Conditional zoning regulations (i.e., not within 600 feet of public and private schools) and potential appropriate locations (e.g., Alameda Point or other business districts); and,
3. Limiting the number of dispensaries and/or places/businesses where people can use cannabis products.

Currently, Alamedans must travel out of town to purchase cannabis which can be challenging and inconvenient for those with medical conditions.

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June 2, 2017

Period.

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

Next week All Rise Alameda and the Encinal Student Justice Center are organizing a Period Products Drive.  This is exactly what it sounds like.  These two groups are collecting tampons and pads to donate to Midway Shelter, but the larger goal is bring attention to the inequity that is taxing a health product that is needed by more than 50% of the population for a vast majority of their lives.

AB 9 authored by Assembly member Cristina Garcia seeks to exempt menstrual products from being taxed.  And AB 10 seeks to make menstrual products freely available in public school restrooms.

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June 1, 2017

For your consideration

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

One of the consequences of the Rent Stabilization ordinance is the layer of new bureaucracy that has been created because we can’t necessarily trust all landlords to do what is fair and equitable for all tenants.   The scale and scope of the ordinance requires a huge amount of oversight for the City and, therefore, requires some mechanism for payment.

Landlords: you’re not going to like this.

The cost to administer the program has been determined to be around $1.8 million.  In order for this program to be cost neutral for the City there will need to be a per unit cost levied on all rental units.  From the staff report:

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May 31, 2017

Not yet

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

Tonight there are two events scheduled at nearly the same time that may be of interest to overlapping communities.  The first is being held at Ruby Bridges Elementary starting at 6:30 p.m. and is a Know Your Rights workshop.   It will be facilitated by a staff attorney from the International Institute of the Bay Area and the Chief of Police will also be present to explain what Alameda’s Sanctuary City statute means for Alameda citizens.

The second event is part of the Alameda Family Enrichment Series starting at 7:00 p.m. hosted at Edison Elementary.  The event, Imagine a World Without Hate will be facilitated by a staff member of the Anti-Defamation League.  Babysitting is provided, there is a suggested donation of $10.

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