Blogging Bayport Alameda

December 23, 2020

2021 can’t come soon enough

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

That’s it for me this year folks. And as today is Festivus add your grievances here. Feats of strength are scheduled in after lunch.

December 22, 2020


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

So fun fact, ABAG/MTC staff took all of the comments and letters that were sent to them regarding the methodology and categorized them into overarching themes and then provided an answer/comment to those pieces of correspondence. Some is relevant to Alameda, others are not. I’m going to pull out those that have come up in Alameda around RHNA and then provide a TL;dr for those who just want the nutmeat of the response.

TL;dr: ABAG took into account what land is available and worked with your city to uncover this info. So we already baked this information into the baseline allocations. Nice try.


December 21, 2020

Friday drop

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

Hilariously I was going to let you all know that I was going to be taking these next two weeks off but last Friday ABAG/MTC released the draft methodology based on the 2050 final blueprint. Before I get to the numbers, this is why the numbers are different, according to ABAG/MTC from what was released on Friday to what we saw before:

As noted above, the Draft RHNA Methodology uses data from the Plan Bay Area 2050 Final Blueprint. Whereas the Plan Bay Area 2050 Draft Blueprint featured 25 strategies that influenced the location of future growth, the Final Blueprint features 35 revised strategies adopted by the ABAG Executive Board and Commission in fall 2020. These strategies shift the regional growth pattern, with generally small to moderate impacts on RHNA allocations. Additionally, the Final Blueprint features updated baseline data based on consultation with local jurisdictions in summer and fall 2020.

Therefore, incorporating the Final Blueprint into the Draft RHNA Methodology results in changes to the illustrative allocations to local jurisdictions.

To put you out of your misery as to what all that *gestures above* means to Alameda, it means an INCREASE in Alameda’s allocation.

That’s right, you read those all caps correctly. An INCREASE in our allocation.


December 18, 2020

More than friends

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

On Tuesday night when the returning (Malia Vella) and new (Trish Spencer) City Councilmembers were sworn in there was exactly one non agenda public comment at the end of the meeting. This comment was an unexpected one but definitely something that we all should appreciate the member of the public for bringing up. Specifically it has to do with how the City Councilmembers interact on social media with members of the public. During campaigning a few folks coughtonydaysogsoughtrishspencercough would block members of the public from fully engaging with them on social media.

It doesn’t appear as though there are any opinions that exist out there about election campaigns and blocking members of the public so other than to say: it’s a bad look. However there are opinions that exist out there about elected officials and blocking — not just members of the public — but rather your constituents. Specifically regarding Facebook, highlights:

[W]hen a public official uses a Facebook page as a tool of governance — that is, when she uses it to inform the public about her government work, solicits input on policy issues through the page, and swathes it “in the trappings of her office” — she is controlling the page as a government actor.

And if she opens that page to public comment, the interactive space of the Facebook page constitutes a public forum. The fact that the page exists on a website owned by a private company doesn’t change that.

That means that, when a public official blocks critics from the page because of their viewpoints, she violates the Constitution. Indeed, the right to criticize the government is at the heart of the First Amendment. The court specifically recognized blocking as infringing on that right, noting that blocking someone in order to silence criticism of government work is itself evidence of government action.

Anyway, using my own personal example after the commenter spoke I was still blocked from Trish Spencer’s “Trish 4 U” campaign Facebook page the next morning:


December 17, 2020

“Don’t let THESE people take away everything!”

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

I just wanted to throw out few selections from the more than 185 comments submitted as part of the community survey on preferential names to rename Jackson Park. But first, the survey results:

Unsurprisingly Alameda Park in Alameda, CA proved to be a very popular name. Also not surprising were some of the comments which could have been submitted at any time in Alameda past from like today all the way to when the park name was dedicated to Andrew Jackson. I didn’t even include all the people who said it should be “Alameda Park” because that was its original name which no one seemed to know about until the process of Renaming Jackson Park started two years ago.


December 16, 2020

Stop the steal: Rec and Park style

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

It has passed by without a lot of fanfare but the Rec and Park Commission has elected to move forward with renaming Jackson Park to Chochenyo Park. It’s a name that was offered as a better alternative to represent Alameda’s Indigenous population in lieu of Ohlone. Of course this still needs to be okayed by the City Council but it’s such a step forward from where we were in 2018 when this topic first arose. Which is why it was rather surprising to hear a commenter at the Rec and Park Commission meeting proclaim that this process was too short.

What isn’t as evident for those either who (1) did not watch the meeting or (2) don’t pay attention to Alameda preservation issues is that there apparently was some major consternation over the name “Alameda Park” not moving forward from the subcommittee level to the Rec and Park Commission for consideration. There were a lot of comments from the public, including incoming City Councilmember Trish Spencer, asking for the Commission to produce the online poll which would show which name came out on top to, I guess, justify their crankiness at “Alameda Park” not being a finalist. In fact, AAPS published one side of an email conversation between Alameda historians about whether “Alameda Park” was the official name or something more casual. Why this mattered, I suppose, comes down to a larger overall discussion about Alameda’s history, legacy, future, and whose history and legacy is told and preserved.

Clearly this is not something that will be resolved in discussing the renaming of one park, but it’s a conversation that should be had and is long overdue because for too long the history and legacy of Alameda has always been told from one point of view. But I digress.

The suggestion that the poll results were somehow being hidden from the public was simply absurd, but even more ridiculous when it came from a former member of the City Council who will be returning to the City Council shortly. Essentially the Rec and Park director said, “yeah I’ll put up the results” and she did. Unfortunately what the “release the vote” folks failed to understand was that the survey was only part of the subcommittee’s process and not the be all end all. After all an open survey is how you end up with Boaty McBoatface. Apparently this ship is now the RSS Sir David Attenborough which probably would have never won a popularity contest on the internet. Also, yikes.


December 15, 2020

Electing officers

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

Taking a small break from Housing Element stuff to let you know that tonight will be the seating of the new School Board members, virtually of course. So congratulations to Jennifer Williams, Heather Little, and Megan Sweet!

And if you have not seen the wonder infographic by Ryan LaLonde on the results of the School Board election, here’s a taste, you can seek it out on a local Alameda Facebook group. There’s also a version for City Council as well:


December 14, 2020

In for a penny, in for a pound

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

Remember how I mentioned that some City Councilmembers coughtonydaysogandincomingtrishspencercough ask questions and you’re not really sure if they fully understand the topic at hand. But that there are other City Councilmembers who ask questions and it’s a tee up to get really key information into the public realm? This is the case of the latter.

During the clarifying questions portion John Knox White asked a series of question that will be really important for the whole certifying the Housing Element process we’ll be going through the next year and a half. This is a long bit of back and forth so, as usual, I have the video and transcription at the end of this blog post but I’m going to pull out and highlight some of the key bits.

The first quote is important because it’s validated by Randy Rentschler of MTC/ABAG. It’s to remind people that these cycles are ongoing and that the larger allocations may be a trend and not a one off:

[M]y understanding is, this is the first tranche of many very large tranches of housing allocations that are expected over the next multiple Housing Elements to catch us up to a place as a state is that fair?

That’s right. We think that if we can try to get ABAG, or even the State of California, to reduce our RHNA allocation that we’ll be safe forever. But the fact is — as was pointed out by Randy Rentschler in another transcript, California as a whole has underbuilt for too long and too many years that it’s hard to see the political will to do less around housing.

I’m not going to pull the quote but in the transcript there’s a part where John Knox White verifies that there are ways to certify the Housing Element (via funding affordable housing) without violating the Charter.


December 11, 2020

“Buys into that”

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

Look like folks are quickly losing interest in the Housing Element process. Look folks, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You gotta conserve your energy if you’re going to try to meaningfully engage with as much information under your belt as possible. Or you can just NextDoor style it and just shoot from the hip using whatever talking point is most convenient. Your choice. Here are a set of questions from the clarifying questions portion of the agenda item which should prove to be most relevant to folks NextDoor styling it because it will — inevitably — come up in some form during this long discussion. Probably multiple times. They’re both questions from Tony Daysog and, unlike some City Councilpeople who are typically teeing up questions to get good information into the public domain, it’s not 100% clear if Tony Daysog thinks that these are legitimate reasons to be able to ask for a reduction in RHNA allocations.

The first is a question about the declining numbers of jobs due to COVID but he says “systemically” which means that Tony Daysog is thinking that there will be a long term nose dive in the economy. I’ve actually seen this argument in the past as well — not from Tony Daysog but from others in the community framed around the conversation of housing — which, in some ways, it was almost a wishing that the economy would nose dive. Understandably this sentiment did not come from anyone who had many working years ahead of them but those with the luxury of not working.


December 10, 2020

Not financially viable

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

This was an interesting tweet — and still falls under my Housing Element concentration right now — about how jurisdictions are going to navigate these very large RHNA allocations for the next cycle:

But specifically about Alameda:

In response to another twitter user asking about the retail plans for Alameda Point:

What is notable about this is the information that “the blue building didn’t pencil out, and is not moving forward at the moment.”

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