Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 16, 2023

Another bite

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:13 am

I’m pretty sure Trish Spencer gets the majority of her Council Referral ideas from Alameda Citizens Task Force so it’s weird that she attached a letter to only one of her three Referrals on the agenda tonight. The “oh no we shouldn’t be holding police officers accountable” agenda item we’ve already discussed. But there’s the absolutely hilarious one which asks that the City Council endorse the failed Our Neighborhood Voices campaign’s transformation into “CA Cities for Local Control” efforts to stop the effects of state legislation locally and return cities to its original state of not having to build anything where at least one person in the city doesn’t want it.

This is the framing of CA Cities for Local Control, now remember, I don’t think there have been any SB 9 (lot split) applications in Alameda even though it was being framed as the doom of nice cities everywhere.

What they mean by an “attack on Cities ability to manage their own land-use and zoning” is, oh the State is no longer going to turn a blind eye as we deny every single housing project under the absurdest pretense in order to shirk our duty to provide housing for Californians. Remember there was a prominent Alameda who was one of the largest funders to the Our Neighborhood Voices campaign, so big in comparison to all other funders that she had to be identified, by name, on the campaign literature. So this NIMBY campaign has some homegrown roots.

And there’s ya girl sitting atop a list of elected officials who also want to stymie housing production, I mean, “local control” which is populated by a disproportionate number of Republican considering, you know, it’s California.

Interesting that Tony Daysog has yet to sign up for this list. Maybe it’s his congressional aspirations holding him back from revealing himself to be full NIMBY at this time, who knows.


May 15, 2023

Whatcha watching

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

Interesting. APD is asking the City Council at tomorrow’s meeting for more in car dash cameras with license plate reader technology. APD is framing the need as less as a need for the license plate reader crime solving (not crime prevention mind you) technology but rather to hold police officers accountable, from the staff report:

APD seeks Council approval of a purchase agreement with Axon to install 23 in-car cameras in the patrol vehicle fleet which will increase transparency and accountability while enhancing officers’ abilities to address specific vehicles involved in crime.


This system isn’t only designed to provide an ALPR function.  An equally important aspect of this technology is the ability to assess performance.  Body-worn cameras and in-car cameras are widely utilized by law enforcement and are effective tools for providing an objective record of interactions between law enforcement and the community.  The recordings provide evidence in criminal cases and also increase accountability and transparency, which are crucial to solidifying public trust.  Having an independent and reviewable record of an incident is in line with 21stCentury Policing and best practices. 

In light of this framing APD is reminding the reader of this staff report that *someone* asked for more license plate readers in a referral pretty recently too, so the sis just giving someone on the Council what they wanted:

a City Council referral was made to bring forth this staff report on augmenting the existing fixed ALPR system with a mobile ALPR system.


May 12, 2023

Drop off

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

In light of opposition forces popping up this week to, yet again, publicly oppose a Wellness Center that will be serving frail and elderly senior citizens, I thought this article from the Washington Post was particularly timely, and tragic. It may be harder to view on WaPo without a subscription but here are some highlights:

In recent weeks and months, Phoenix; Louisville, Ky.; Tulsa, Okla.; Spokane, Wash.; and Santa Monica, Calif., reported big increases in their homeless populations. Many jurisdictions such as New York City and Los Angeles have mounted aggressive plans for housing the homeless, but a shortage of affordable housing, mental health and substance abuse treatment options have frustrated many of those efforts, experts say.

“We are seeing these increases all over the country,” said Donald Whitehead, executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless. “What we are also seeing is a real criminalization and villainizing of the homeless, which is something I haven’t seen in my 30 years in this field.”

“This is not a Washington, D.C., problem or a New York City problem. This is a United States problem, and it’s in every community around the country,” said Christy Respress, CEO and president of Pathways to Housing DC, a homeless service provider. “It’s impossible to find affordable housing, not just in cities but in the suburbs of the D.C. region, without some type of housing assistance.”

Tent encampments have become the most visible symbols of the homeless crisis in many urban centers. In the suburbs, the signs and impacts of homelessness can often be more subtle.

“We know the numbers of homeless baby boomers are going to continue to grow and people are going to be aging into homelessness for the first time due to a lack of affordable housing options,” Chapman said. “It’s very sad, but we’ve heard anecdotes from Loudoun County where adult children just can’t afford care for elderly parents, so they are just dropping them off at the shelter.”

Had it not been the efforts of the relentless opposition perhaps the Wellness Center could already be serving unhoused senior citizens with medical issues and give them some dignity in their last few years. But rather than use the time during the pandemic to catch folks as pandemic benefits began to go away instead our local provider of homelessness services (derisively dismissed as a “developer” as though they were going to bulldoze old office buildings for luxury housing) had to fight bullshit attempt after bullshit attempt which has culminated in this “historic” nomination.

So maybe folks will start having more empathy for homeless folks when they see the increase of little old grannies on the street, taking shelter where they can find it. But then again this is the same nation who does not feel moved to do anything when six year olds are left orphaned after an assault rifle massacre.

May 11, 2023

Very “supportive”

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

Taking a break from Ruby Bridges’s STEAM program to give an update on the Wellness Center, well not the Wellness Center specifically but rather the main opponent to the Wellness Center taking their grievances to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors albeit with slightly different messaging. I’m guessing that the opponent is worried about the trajectory of the project given that the BOS has just authorized $10 million in funding toward the Wellness Center and wants them (and you) to know that they don’t not support homeless folks, just that they want a “reuse” of the property even though that has proven to be prohibitively expensive to the point that would make the project infeasible which the opponent knows, but wants to maintain that they are a “nice” person who cares about the less fortunate as long as meeting those folks needs meets their impossibly high hurdles.

In fact, the opponent says, “I’m not opposed to their services, I’m very supportive of homeless services for our community.”

Of course there’s a giant looming “but” at the end of the sentence when it should just be a full stop right there.

Anyway it’s not clear where the appeal is in the process, if it has to go back to the State Preservation Office we won’t know until June 5 if it’s on the August agenda.

May 10, 2023

An illusion of choice

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:13 am

I didn’t get a chance to watch the School Board meeting last night but let’s just say I’m less than pleased with the Principal’s letter in light of how everything went down for RB and its community but I’ll address the Principal’s letter later. Right now the District and the School administration is messaging the loss of the STEAM coordinator as not as loss of the program because the innovative program funding will remain at the school and the STEAM lab will still have spaced carved out for it at RB. I’m going to reject that premise that this doesn’t spell a death of the program for the sake of this discussion but I’ll go into detail about why in a future post.

Let me remind you of how things went down in January and set up the context for why this has, truly, been a blindside to the RB community. The budget needs to be approved this month or, by latest, next month. In January these are the slides that we saw discussing possible wind downs.

In that presentation, the only programs that received full airings were the Teen Parenting program, BFMS, Earhart, and Maya Lin. All are funded through general fund dollars. The three schools with LCFF supplemental money are RB, Paden, and Love. It doesn’t sound like Love or Paden will have their LCFF Supplemental money “redirected” only RB. of the line items on these two charts the only thing that appears to have not been aired in January which is now getting a hearing is the RB Innovative Program.


May 9, 2023

Blowing off STEAM

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

After the whole AP World History kerfuffle at Encinal I’ve learned to take finger pointing at the District for an unpopular decision with a huge grain of salt. Which is why I’m a bit puzzled about what is currently happening at Ruby Bridges and the specter of RB’s innovative program’s teacher (and 2016 AUSD teacher of the year) Mandie Cline’s job being at risk for the upcoming 2023-24 school year.

This letter was distributed to Ruby Bridges families sometime yesterday or throughout the weekend.

If true that this is a District led decision then the school site and its community was given zero notice and the subject was completely glossed over while folks were fighting to save Bay Farm Middle School. But I had been carefully looking to see what would happen with the other innovative programs because, at the same time BFMS was under discussion Earhart and Maya Lin’s programs were also being discussed but they were left largely untouched for the 2023-24 school year other than the warning that the district would work with the school sites to find alternate sources of funding if the sites believed that they were truly key to the success of the site. If RB’s school site is being stripped of its teacher for the STEAM program then RB wasn’t given the same courtesy extended to other school sites in Alameda and that is extremely problematic and does not reflect the District’s equity pillar. Hell this wouldn’t even pass an equality pillar let alone get any where near equity.


May 8, 2023

RESHAP shift

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

Looks like the West Midway project is finally regaining some momentum. I just saw an email about a Chamber of Commerce presentation in a few days about it, including the market rate stuff and at tonight’s Planning Board meeting we have the RESHAP development plan and agreement on deck.

Remember that RESHAP is a collaboration between most of the homelessness service providers at Alameda Point to construct new and better accommodations for its current and future residents. The uses at RESHAP are not new to Alameda Point they just won’t be as scattered and folks can stop living in accommodations that were probably shoddy with the Navy was here. The way this all works is the market rate developer will pay for the infrastructure to the site and the collaboration will build the physical units themselves. We do not have renderings yet of the physical buildings but here’s how the site plan is being proposed:

If you’ve seen the two affordable buildings in the site A project you can see how nice this housing can be and the pride the residents take in their homes. If you haven’t had a chance to swing by, take a look at the big garage door which is pretty neat, for a garage door.


May 5, 2023

Empty yesterdays

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

So while more folks had the normal reaction to the opening of Dignity Village of “yay, what a great community we have here that not only built this but was supportive nearly all the way through,” there is, of course, some asshole that has zero ability to even reflect on “but for the grace of [insert higher power here] go I.” Instead that person wanted to blame someone’s lack of permanent housing on drugs. And poorly attempting contort their bigotry to the tune of the Music Man which has an overall theme of change and transformation.

I mean, I guess when your best years are behind you and all you have is to look back on some youth performance of the Music Man which you clearly didn’t understand the nuance and have carried that lack of understanding well into adult hood then I suppose this would be the “normal” response for you, but IDK.

Anyway, I wanted to share this video that the City of Alameda shared of one of the residents of Dignity Village. I think her story is probably pretty typical of a lot of people who find themselves faced with homelessness. When the rent eats first and it’s ravenous what is left for the person themselves and then choices have to be made. I’m sure everyone knows someone who lives paycheck to paycheck and are only one disastrous bill away from homelessness.


May 4, 2023

A different CIP

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

There’s been very little coverage of the passthrough that South Shore Apartments (I can’t stop calling it South Shore Beach and Tennis because that’s what it was named when my husband lived there a long, long time ago) which had its own special meeting on Monday and may be the cause of the possible emergency moratorium on Capital Improvement Plan passthroughs moving forward. There was a short radio piece on KPFA (around 55 minutes into the audio), If you have not been around that way in the last, what, two years or so then you may not have realized that South Shore Apartments has undergone quite a glow up. I’m sure the interiors are way better than when the husband was living before we were married I do remember that the small studio unit he had had an electric fireplace but it had one of the timer switches on the wall, so it would only turn on for a max of, maybe 20 minutes. But I digress.

Anyway, South Shore Apartments, glow up and with that glow up came the rents to support that cash outlay. Here’s an example of a one bedroom, one bath renovated apartment at South Shore Apartments.


May 3, 2023

A welcoming community

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

On the day of Dignity Village opening down the street which will make 47 units available, I’m so grateful that this project was allowed to move forward and not stuck in limbo like the Wellness Center because of the machinations of one well-resourced person. Particularly in light of this thread on Twitter about the City of Santa Clara and its own project to house homeless folks. The thread is worth a read because, honestly, this could be Alameda if there was a similar project to Dignity Village in a different location:

A town that had no problem throwing money at a sports ball team to build the most inconvenient to get to sports ball location but wants to talk about building a place to house people in the their community some place else.

Anyway, we should really be so pleased that this community, with all its warts and backwardness, got the sentiment on this bottle parcel project right.

Also looks like the first round of Amazon wishlist donations have all been purchased up and they need a hand with some supplies for the future residents including supplies for their furry friends. The grand opening is today and they were going to do tours (I think) it’s during the day and so not that easy for me to get out to considering, you know, work and stuff.

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