Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 8, 2022

Required reading

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

I realize that reading about the uncomfortable history of the United States, California, and of Alameda is not that en vogue these days but the California Reparations Task Force has released an EXTENSIVE report on the subject of how Black people were treated by the government. It’s a great read but, for Alameda, the part about housing is particularly instructive in light of the snapshots from the 1960s and our work on the Housing Element which is forcing Alameda to truly examine housing through the framework of affirmatively furthering fair housing. To affirmatively further fair housing requires us to reconcile our history and how we have put into place (whether well intentioned or not) laws that have contributed to the systemic oppression of non white people, particularly Black people.

I know that even in the face of a well researched, well sourced report like this there will be people who will hand wave away the information contained even though it echos the research that had been revealed over and over again because folks find it hard to believe that their family, or even they themselves, contributed to outcomes that proved to be discriminatory. Reconciling that information is difficult but without that reconciliation there is no way to move forward and start making amends for the past.

So, with that, a few things pulled from the report which are pertinent to Alameda:


June 7, 2022

Winds of change

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

I’ve had a bunch of videos on my desktop for a while now and had meant to upload them, forgot and have finally revisited them to see what it was that I had intended to do with it. Apparently it was to highlight the inconsistency in Trish Spencer’s policy making from one day to the next, in this case it’s from her time on the City Council before to today. Back in 2016 when a project came before the City Council to build a senior assisted living home and memory clinic at one of the big vacant parcels in Harbor Bay close-ish to the ferry Trish Spencer called the site unacceptable for a “vulnerable” population because of the noise from the airport citing that building, essentially housing, there would put the settlement and agreements with the Port of Oakland at risk and that it was an incompatible use.


June 1, 2022

Resolution to remove

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

After that absolute shit show of a housing meeting for Bay Farm I thought I’d pull out the letter that was sent to the consolidated Harbor Bay Homeowners Association to the Planning Board with regard to the Housing Element. This is really important because, in the grand scheme of things, Bay Farm is getting away with barely helping to accommodate any of the RHNA numbers. If I were a Bay Farm NIMBY I would be lying real low to not call attention to the imbalance but instead Bay Farm wants to do even less.

If I had to guesstimate I would say that Bay Farm probably is about 1/4 of the size of the main island. The Housing Element is only allocating about 300 units for Bay Farm total. Even though the waters have been a little muddied with the release of some vibe check documents from the Harbor Bay Club folks it’s no where near ready and it’s definitely not a part of the City’s plans for Housing Element compliance.

But, rather than lay low, they sent this:


May 31, 2022

NIMBY-palooza, fight the power

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

Wrapping up on the rest of the snipped video: here is a Bay Farm resident asking what would happen if Alameda doesn’t have a compliant Housing Element. Andrew Thomas answers simply that we would have to pay fines and would be sued. Now, for those of you who have read anything that I’ve written about the Housing Element “bad stuff” you’ll know that this is a gross oversimplification of the enforcement mechanisms of the State of California. Not only that the Attorney General’s office has now formed a housing strike taskforce of sorts to go after recalcitrant cities in the case that they want to dare the State to act.

The resident asks who has been sued and Andrew Thomas goes to his go to of Pleasanton, even though there are lots of other cities who are currently embroiled in litigation over this housing cycle but the Pleasanton example is always a good one because Pleasanton is close enough to people that it’s within their ability to care about. The resident then says that the amount of money that Pleasanton had to pay (around $2 million) is “nothing.” Leaving unsaid that the City should just pay that and be done with the state as though it were that simple. Then someone chimed in from the audience that the City would be more exposed to liability because of the traffic from increased building will stop people from getting to the hospital or some other sort of nonsense because, could you imagine. I mean, if that were something folks could litigate over the courts would be absolutely littered with those types of lawsuits.


May 17, 2022

Spelling it out

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

It was late but it was worth it, the Housing Element has been updated to incorporate some of the comments that were collected during the 30 day comment period and it’s made the document a lot better.

If you see anything in underline text, that means it’s been added. A strikethrough means it has been removed. Here’s some great additions and deletions:


May 16, 2022

Four votes needed, again

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

One of the lynchpins for Alameda meeting its RHNA numbers is Site A. But Site A needs amendments to update the existing agreements to accommodate more housing. And this requires four votes.

On the City Council’s agenda on Tuesday night is this next test for the City Council who claimed (yes even Tony Daysog and Trish Spencer) that they didn’t want to fight HCD on certifying the Housing Element but did want to, indeed, comply. Of course, Tony Daysog has shown himself to not necessarily putting his money where his mouth was and voted against the Tidelands Swap for the Encinal Terminals project which — had there not been four votes — would have funneled around 600 units back into Alameda’s RHNA pot to find more land for. If Site A doesn’t get four votes it will double that Encinal Terminals number to 1200 units to find elsewhere in Alameda. So, as you can imagine, this is kind of a big deal. Anyone who votes against this should be pressed on where they would like to allocate these 1200 units.

Even though the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society has yet to put out a comment letter about this pivotal project, in the past they have encouraged a huge increase in housing at Alameda Point and petitioning the Navy to lift the housing cap at Alameda Point. As an aside, I wonder if there’s something wonky going down internally at AAPS. Under the helm of Chris Buckley it always appeared that AAPS was on top of these issues particularly when it came down to sacrificing one part of Alameda to preserve a more important part of Alameda. There’s no current comment letter about this from AAPS which is odd and notable, but AAPS did manage to update their website to add their support letter for Carmen Reid/AAPS’s nomination to the Historic Resources Commission in light of recent PRA releases which report that AAPS reps were “duped” about the McKay nomination:

So maybe there’s some internal battle for control within AAPS, I dunno, but if there is I’m here for the drama around that.


May 12, 2022

“Fine, let them sue us”

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

As we get closer to the date when the Housing Element draft will need to be submitted to the Housing and Community Development (HCD) Department and as rumors start grinding through the community about this or the other thing the bad information that gets passed around about what Alameda has to do or what it doesn’t have to do is reaching a fevered pitch. At the Planning Board meeting on Monday there was a clear lack of understanding about what this whole process is and is not. Add to that the absolute kookiness that lives in the comments on the City’s Facebook page and it’s super clear that a lot of people have a lot of bad information about this process but yet speak with the absolute certainty and confidence of someone who thinks they do know a lot about what the City should be doing in this Housing Element.

I went back and pulled video out from a February 2021 meeting about the Housing Element which featured someone from HCD. It’s really important to listen closely to what the HCD representative says because these are the folks who will be determining if Alameda Housing Element is compliant or not. Because at the last City Council meeting this is what Tony Daysog, one of our elected officials said about the process and about compliance:

I think we can meet our Housing Element HCD obligations working within Article 26 of our city charter. I think there’s a lot of other things that are of concern to me with what we’re talking about in the Housing Element but, to me, the most vital thing is is how we are undermining something that the voters of Alameda just recently reaffirmed and that is reaffirming Article 26 and the limitations that we have on density. We figured out how to work around those limitations you know I mean our side we didn’t we didn’t embrace those workarounds but if it was enough to to get us through the first housing element process several years ago I think it’s it’s good enough to get us through this one.

If the State of California, if the HCD wants to sue us on whatever grounds fine let them sue us.

But I’ll point out that it’s not just that the City exposes itself to liability from the State and/or HCD if the Housing Element is not certified. ANYONE can sue. And there are six cities in California that are already on the receiving end of a lawsuit from an organization associated with the California Association of Realtors because their Housing Elements are not certified:


May 3, 2022

Housing needs

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

The long list of consent items doesn’t give me hope that the City Council will get to the regular agenda items but maybe because they were continued from the last meeting there will be some urgency behind actually hearing the items. The first big one is the scattered sites housing in the Big Whites neighborhood to be used for housing homeless individuals and/or families. Recall the last time this came before the City Council it was kicked back to have “listening sessions” and eventually the non profit who was tapped to run the program pulled out because they were concerned about the safety of their client based on the strong sentiments expressed by existing Big Whites neighbors. There was a whole thing on Alameda Peeps about this with questionable framing from the original poster.

Now Village of Love which has run other Alameda Point based homeless services is stepping up to take over this program as well and has many glowing letters from non profits and faith leaders around Alameda. As we’ve seen in recent counts of our homeless population, Alameda’s homeless folks are older and Blacker than the general Alameda population. Add to that a large percentage of those folks being veterans and one would think that all those people falling over themselves to designate McKay Avenue as a historic to “honor” the service of former military they would want to help veterans who are currently alive and suffering. But alas.


April 25, 2022

What about us?

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

I know I should be continuing my review of the Housing Element but I got waylaid by the public correspondence on said Housing Element. Like this letter which cautioned that more homes in residential neighborhoods would force this elderly couple to move. If this logic didn’t make sense to you, it doesn’t make sense to me either.

When questioned by City Staff why more homes would make her and other neighbors more likely to move, the writer pulled out all of the NIMBY talking points:

Or people are planning to move because the median home value in Alameda is $1.39 million and most of these people probably bought their homes for, like, less than $500K and are looking to cash out. But sure, it’s because there might potentially be “other housing regulations not presently allowed.”


April 22, 2022

No limit ADU

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

The Housing Element item was bumped from Tuesday’s City Council meeting because, as usual, the agenda was overly ambitious and the City Council talks too much. The item is scheduled for action on May 3 so look for that if you’re interested in the Housing Element discussion.

I found absolutely fascinating in the correspondence packet that I wanted to devote special attention to. It’s an email from AAPS saying that they had retained Meyers Nave, a law firm which handles a lot of government-y type clients. Specifically this part:

This is Page 4 of the AAPS letter, SDBL is short hand for State Density Bonus Law. Emphasis on the “law” part.

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