Blogging Bayport Alameda

January 8, 2019

Airing of grievances

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

Last year, as part of the agenda item on the Wellness Center, there was this…epic…letter to the City Council included in the packet.  It launched out of the gate by completely misspelling City Councilmember Frank Matarrese’s name as Matavres and included a baffling selection individuals included in the address block.

It’s full of wonderfully bad information such as an overall confusion between the Planning Board and the City Council:

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January 7, 2019

Secret shopper

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

CityLab has an intriguing piece on retail store fronts from early December, essentially the only retail that can survive is retail that is “Amazon proof.”   From the piece:

In the biggest picture, the retail industry is working to figure out what Amazon-proof businesses belong in brick-and-mortars stores. For now, the answer seems to be restaurants.

As e-commerce stores have moved from entertainment and electronics into clothing and pharmacy staples, the biggest winner has been the one thing you definitely can’t get from a warehouse: a hot meal—or an iced coffee.

If the rise of restaurants is obvious in American wallets, it’s equally evident on American payrolls. Since 2012, employment at “food service and drinking places” has grown by more than 20 percent—three times faster than employment in the overall retail sector. Supermarket jobs have barely grown at all, in that period.

And we see the same in Alameda, the majority of new places that open up are practically all restaurants.


December 21, 2018

Happy Holidays and see you next year

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

So that’s it for me for the rest of this year.

See you next!

December 20, 2018

Slow growth

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

Here’s an interesting graphic of where Bay Area cities fall on a grid delineating two measurement: (1) median housing price and (2) percentage housing growth.

As I think we all know, although some of us are loathe to admit it, we’ve done a terrible job of accommodating housing growth in Alameda for a very long time.   Despite our guts telling us that there is some out of control housing development where a billion people have moved into Alameda.

The vertical line notates weighted median housing price.  In the SF Bay Area it now stands at $1 million.  We should not be shocked about this.  If you are you haven’t been looking at housing prices lately.

The horizontal line delineates the average percentage growth the Bay Area which is 4%.  So anything above that are markets that are building more housing that the average city and anything below that are cities building less than the average.

Guess where Alameda falls on that graph?


December 19, 2018

Failure to launch

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

So everyone knows that Measure K lost and lost rather badly.   But it’s much worse that just losing, Measure K didn’t win any precinct.

None of them.

There were some where it was close-ish particularly on Bay Farm, but once you hit the main island it did not look good for the yes on K campaign.

I’m not sure who ran the campaign for Measure K, but none of the messaging seemed to work for anyone anywhere:


December 18, 2018


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

Tonight marks Trish Spencer’s last night as Mayor, but before she goes it appears that she will get to exit on the one major policy issue that she feels strongly about and advocates for passionately: cannabis.

The City Council will move forward with the modification of the “youth center” language and will make some changes on how the term “owner” is defined in the ordinance.

And Trish Spencer gets one last chance to change her vote on the Wellness Center item on the second reading.  She can either be remembered — as others have pointed out — as the Mayor who opposed nearly every policy level decision designed to help the most vulnerable among us, or she can salvage this final vote.


December 17, 2018

Mayor of Bay Farm

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

The Statements of Vote are out for the November election, this is where you get precinct level data to know how your neighbors voted on the issues that you care about.  But it’s also a way to understand where support for various candidates come from around the city.  The most straightforward election (besides Measure K which I will talk about in a different post) is the race for Mayor.

The nutshell is: Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft dominated by winning the majority of the precincts.  There was one major weakness is Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft’s campaign: Bay Farm.   All but three precincts in Bay Farm went for Trish Spencer and they went big for her which is probably why she was ahead when the first dump came through on election night.  And even the precincts that Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft won on Bay Farm were very slight victories by only a handful of votes.  On the other hand where Trish Spencer won on Bay Farm she won big.  So the takeaway is, Trish Spencer’s language of obstruction is definitely one that the denizens of Bay Farm appreciated and wanted another four years of that.


December 14, 2018

You can’t spell politics without optics

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

Politics is a lot about optics.  You would think that folks that are truly enmeshed in the world of politics would weigh the perception of what they are about to do with the goal of what they want to do.  While the three School Board members who voted to change the rotating presidency back to an elected one might have done so with — what they believed — to be pure motives to ensure that the School Board is a well run operation, the perception from even folks who would normally be supportive of these individual elected officials is not so positive.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this because I’ve had some of my misperceptions of the role of President of the School Board corrected.  Apparently it is an outsized role and not, like the Mayor of the City Council, largely ceremonial.  But that only further makes me believe that the role of President should be rotated.  I’ve read some from people who think that the voting within the ranks is the most democratic because it shows that there is buy in from the other members of the Board, and that the president, to show his/her leadership, should be able to get at least the support of the majority.


December 13, 2018

A wrinkle in timing

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

I did a little more digging around the genesis around the language in the Sunshine Ordinance that staff is now seeking revision, specifically, this is how staff phrased the issue in the report on the agenda of the Open Government Commission, it’s long but I don’t want to omit the reasoning of the City Attorney’s office:

To our knowledge, for the first time since the Sunshine Ordinance’s adoption, the Commission ordered a first reading of two adopted ordinances null and void. The Commission does not have jurisdiction to annul a final Council, legislative action as such would constitute an impermissible encroachment on the Council’s power to repeal or grant final passage of any ordinance.

First, when viewed in context, the Sunshine Ordinance’s null-and-void remedy is without precedent. A survey of fourteen local jurisdictions that have adopted “Sunshine” ordinances did not reveal a single local jurisdiction with a null-and-void remedy. One such jurisdiction has clarified that violations of its ordinance do not invalidate actions to approve ordinances.


December 12, 2018

Making it worse

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

This agenda item isn’t up until next Monday but wanted to give folks some time to think about it and decide if it’s worth it for them to attend a very lightly attended meeting: the Open Government Commission.

I think I mentioned it as part of one of the youth center/cannabis business posts, but let me refresh your memories if you don’t remember.  There was a complaint filed with the Open Government Commission which alleged that the title and description of one of the cannabis related items was insufficient to give the public enough information to understand what was happening at that meeting.   The summary, from the latest OGC agenda item, of what happened:

On October 16, 2018, after a public hearing on the Planning Board’s recommendations, the Council introduced two ordinances amending the Cannabis Business Regulatory Ordinance and the Land Use Ordinance (Ordinance Nos. 3227 and 3228, respectively). In relevant part, at that meeting, the Council modified its original recommendation to staff from adding two “delivery-only” dispensaries (closed to the public) to adding two “delivery-required” dispensaries (open to the public). The Council voted 3-2 to approve those ordinances for final passage, after these items were pulled from the agenda to take further public comment, at the Council’s regular meeting on November 7, 2018.

On October 30, 2018, a member of the public filed a complaint with the Commission alleging the Council’s modification effectively increased the cap for full-service dispensaries from two to four. After conducting a hearing on the matter on November 14, 2018, Commission decided to sustain the complaint, and, in order to give force and effect to the penalty provisions of the Sunshine Ordinance that provides for a “null and void” remedy, ordered that the Council “re-notice” the October 16, 2018 agenda concerning the two cannabis ordinances, effectively calling for a new first reading of such ordinances, so that interested parties would have the opportunity to be heard at a new public hearing after which the Council would consider re-introducing the two ordinances.


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