Blogging Bayport Alameda

February 26, 2013

Up for the challenge

Filed under: Alameda, City Council — Tags: , — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

So a few things, first: ever wonder what sort of lighting options you can use in your home?   I know I hate the lighting in my bedroom, probably because we have a compact fluorescent in the overhead lamp and it looks so cold.  Sometimes I miss incandescent light bulbs.  Anyway, AMP! and CASA have a free workshop to tell you what your light options are.  Now if they can only figure out a way to get my kids to turn off lights…

AMP and CASA Invite You to a Free Workshop on Lighting Options for Your Home
Lighting technology is catching up with the 21st century, giving us lighting that is better, more efficient, and longer lasting. In fact, new light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are rapidly transforming the lighting industry. Join AMP and Community Action for a Sustainable Alameda (CASA) for a free workshop on the latest effective and energy efficient lighting options for your home and how these options can lower your electricity bill.

The workshop will be on Wednesday, Feb. 27 from 6:30-8:30p.m. in Community Room A/B of the Alameda Main Library, 2226 Santa Clara Ave. For more information, please call 814-6415 or visit AMP’s website.


June 26, 2012

Mind the gap

Filed under: Alameda, City Council — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

Tonight the City Council is slated to adopt next year’s budget for the City.   The big cut is, of course, the shuttering of the City’s jail operations which means that the Police budget has been nipped $1.81 million the largest amount monetarily of all departments, but not proportionally to the department budget.   According to the Staff report, other than the loss of internal jail services, Alamedans should see no reductions in direct services provided and next year’s budget — at least — will maintain the 20% reserve per City Council policy.

Much like previous year budgets, the budget for 2012-2013 will be balanced by cuts and using one-time funds.  According to the report, the one-time funds used will be:

  • Receive advance of future years’ payments from AMP ($1 million 12- , $1. 2 million 13- 14 )
  • Receive repayment of loan to FISC Fund for public safety services ($480K FY12-only)
  • Use of carryover of projected budget savings totaling approximately $1 million over the two fiscal years.


May 31, 2012

You have no idea what you’re dealin’ with

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Election — Tags: , , — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

Tuesday night’s City Council meeting on the budget ended up being a discussion on Measure C for the most part.   But here are the big takeaways from the actual budget-y stuff that you should probably be aware of.

The big one is that the Police Department will shut down the City jail and instead outsource jailing to the County.  KTVU news has the story here.  This will result in laying off six civilian employees, but it appears to be a pretty cost effective move given that the Alameda PD will only need to transport folks to downtown Oakland and since the City only averages about two inmates per day that they jail, it makes sense during these tough time.   Councilmember Beverly Johnson was concerned that the county might close the jail that Alameda would be sending its inmates to, but the Police Chief and City Manager John Russo both noted that with the prison realignment from the State, the County will need all the beds open it can spare and all the additional revenue to help fund the mandate to house inmates.


October 28, 2011

Fuss Budget 2012-2013, continued

Filed under: Alameda, City Council — Tags: , , — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

Tuesday night’s budget meeting was really good and just is a continuation of the great work that Assistant City Manager Lisa Goldman and Controller Fred Marsh are doing on budget type issues. It’s definitely worth a viewing if you have a few hours to spare.

I wanted to circle back to the slide that I mentioned a few days ago which showed that the Alameda Fire ratio of sworn firefighters to 1000 people was out of whack with the comparison cities. Turns out, the City staff acknowledged that night that the comparison wasn’t necessarily an apples to apples comparison since the cities that they selected did not provide paramedic services. Added to the slide, but not available the other night, was the ratio of Berkeley, which provides paramedic services as part of their Fire Department:


October 25, 2011

Fuss Budget

Filed under: Alameda, City Council — Tags: , — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

Tonight the City will have its first budget study session to examine the budget for 2012-2013, of course you may be all asking, “but hey, didn’t we just finish the 2011-2012 budget?   Absolutely, but give the five year forecast if no changes are made to the City’s Budget, the City will run out of reserves to spend down by 2015 -16 and I don’t think anyone — short of a few serious Alameda haters out there — wants to see that happen.

So here is the Powerpoint in preparation for tonight’s meeting, can I just say I seriously hate the way that the City’s website handles PDFs right now?  I hope that will change whenever they get around to fixing the website.


August 11, 2011

A little more conversation

Filed under: Alameda, City Council — Tags: , , , — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

I have been reading the back and forth in this comment thread with interest starting around number 39.  Notwithstanding some of the unnecessary snarky digs I think some of the issues are worthy of addressing.   While I think there was a lot of good work that was done around the Fiscal Sustainability Committee and that the effort should not be diminished, it did not provide a “roadmap” of suggestions on how best to move forward.   It is definitely a good starting point, but as suggested by Kate Quick, the conversation and discussion shouldn’t just stop there because the FSC report in and of itself did not suggest how specifically to solve the budget problems that face Alameda, and practically every other city out there as well.

Is the solution as simple as “job cuts or pay cuts,” I believe the answer is more nuanced than that, although those would be important tools, but certainly neither will be sufficient to repair systemic problems such as the basic one of expenses outpacing the revenue the City actually takes in.

Most importantly one of the things that has not happened, even though it was mentioned in the FSC report, reiterated by the City Treasurer Kevin Kennedy during the first annual check in, and mentioned by then-Councilmember Marie Gilmore at the time was that the City and its various moving parts has never had a conversation about what the citizens as a whole consider are essential services for the City government to provide for its citizens.


June 6, 2011

To the bone

Lost in the frenzy of last week’s news blitz was discussion about Alameda’s budget.   Last week the City Council had their first look of the budget cuts that would be necessary to keep the City afloat.   It turns out that the budget was even more grim than anticipated because someone forgot to account for certain expenditures for the 2011-12 budget year.

Controller Fred Marsh explains:

For those who choose not to watch, here’s the nutshell, the accounting tricks used previously to pad previous year budgets had been exhausted for 2011-12 and the budget needed to begin repaying bonds from the general fund and that was not included in the 2011-12 budget (that was an addition $827K unaccounted for).   For two special funds, Library and Fleet Maintenance, not enough was budgeted to these two operations and because they cannot carry a negative fund balance (aka reserve) City Staff needed to reallocate the difference so that they would not be in the negative, both these total another $800K+.


June 3, 2011

That one saying about pictures and words

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

So my decision, after a bit of soul searching, was to post the picture.  But first, a caveat, I post this not to defend the inaction of the public safety officials, but to provide a certain level of context to this scene that we all have opinions on, but very few of us actually witnessed.

For those that opt not to view the photo, don’t click “more,” for those, the photo is after the jump.


June 2, 2011

That is the question

As we all know the story of the unfortunate incident over the weekend and the less than stellar response of our public safety folks have made national headlines.   It’s obvious why this becomes a incredibly sticky story and the narrative and framing has already been cemented by repetition.

Yesterday I received a photo taken by someone via secondary source so I do not know who actually took the photo.   Just FYI, in case anyone was not clear, I did not take the photo.   The photo is from the shoreline and looks to be yet another photo of the bay.   But what the photo is actually a picture of the victim in the water.

I have struggled with the decision of whether to post the photo or not.   My gut tells me that the photo is newsworthy because it lends context to a situation that most of us have no context in which to judge the people who were on the scene.   But, my head hurts thinking about the content and the possible callousness of posting such a photo.  And so I am torn on whether or not to post or not to post.


June 1, 2011

Cutting crew

The drowning over the weekend and shocking response from Alameda’s public safety personnel has definitely thrust Alameda back into the spotlight, and as usual, not in a good way.   While the response from both Alameda’s Fire and Police Departments is frustrating and illogical on a completely human level, the knee jerk response that this incident is evidence of why Alameda should just outsource our public safety to Alameda County is also illogical.

As pointed out by MI, the outsourcing discussion should occur separate from this incident, since it is unknown if Alameda County’s Fire Department is properly certified in land-based water rescues either or if any of the Alameda County Firefighters would have risked liability, while on duty, to perform this rescue.    And, of course, it hasn’t been shown that outsourcing to Alameda County would save the City money without sacrificing response time.


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