THE WEEK OF APRIL 28-MAY 4
Quite overlooked, but nonetheless breathtaking, is the Fremont City Council’s move toward district-based elections and its expansion from five to seven members. Of course, the City Council isn’t making wholesale changes on their own volition.
Like many things in life, a lawsuit is the sole impetus of the massive remodeling going on in Fremont politics. It started in February when a Malibu-based attorney targeted Fremont for violating the voting rights of Latinos. Because of Fremont’s at-large system of electing councilmembers, Latinos voting strength was diluted to the point the demographic was blocked from power.
The threat of a lawsuit had serious merit, according to Fremont’s city attorney. More succinctly, the cost of litigating the issue could run in the millions. Thus, the mad rush to equally carve-up Fremont into six districts over just a few months has ensued.
On Tuesday, the process moves forward with actually maps for the council and public to pore over. Included is the question of how to smoothly incorporate the new members starting in 2018. There is one silver lining in all this other than expanding a council entirely too small for a city of 230,000 people, and that is, the entire endeavor has spotlighted just how homogeneous Fremont has become. Keep in mind, Fremont is famously known as a minority-majority city.
The city’s consultants remarked last month over the lack of any one ethnic group being clumped in one geographic area. The good news for the consultant, therefore, is equitably divvying up Fremont is not likely to elicit much controversy or border-drawing finesse.
Here’s your highlights for a big week in East Bay politics as April showers turn to May flowers. Happy May Day, comrades!
➤Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf presents the administration’s proposed two-year budget to the City Council. (Schaaf released the budget Friday and the fireworks have already begun.)
➤There’s a special election in Hayward on Tuesday. How low can turnout go?
➤Assemblymember Kansen Chu takes another shot at ending daylight savings time.
➤Alameda County hones its cannabis cultivation ordinance for the unincorporated areas.
➤Alameda Healthcare District could add two new members to the elected board.
OAKLAND — Regular council meeting, Tuesday, May 2, 5:30 p.m. –– [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
–ORAL PRESENTATIONS– Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf will offer her fiscal year budgets for 2017-19. It is likely to include a large budget shortfall. Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney will also present the council with an update on assistance for victims of the San Pablo fire.
–WARRIORS LEASE– Council will decide whether to approve a two-year lease for the Warriors to play at Oracle Arena. Deal includes rent at $2.5 million per year as base rent, plus naming rights, for the extension term and each extension. The Authority retains all of its playoff revenue for the extension term and every option.” Also affords the team three one-year options, but penalizes them if they opt-out during any of the three years. After that, see ya in S.F.! [Warriors agree to 2-year lease extension, with options, to play at Oracle Arena]
–POMP & CIRCUMSTANCE– Council meeting technically starts at 5:30 p.m., but FOUR ceremonial items will likely push it closer to 7 p.m. So, better to be late. — Rules Committee meeting, Thursday, May 4, 10:45 a.m.
HAYWARD — Regular council meeting, Tuesday, May 2, 7 p.m. — [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
–ELECTION DAY– Tuesday, May 2 is also Election Day in Hayward for the vote-by-mail-only Hayward Unified School District $88 parcel tax renewal, known as Measure A. The proposed parcel tax is a renewal of Measure G, passed in 2012, and would sunset in 12 years. [Hayward’s spring special election will cost $600k]
FREMONT — Special joint City Council and Fremont Unified School District meeting, Monday, May 1, 5:30 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE] — Regular council meeting, Tuesday, May 2, 7 p.m. — [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
–DRAFT DISTRICT MAPS– The threat of a lawsuit is forcing Fremont to switch to district-based elections. The City Council also decided it was time to expand from five to seven members. Five slightly different plans for splitting Fremont into six separate districts will be unveiled Tuesday.
–Most variations focus on splitting Centerville over two to three districts. Luckily, for the consultants, Fremont’s ethnic groups are spread quite evenly across the city, or more specifically, none are bunch in any one area.
–How Fremont electorally absorbs the new members is also a thorny issue. Several different choices will be given to the council to sort out the incumbency versus additional councilmembers quandary. [MORE INFO ON FREMONT’S DISTRICT-BASED ELECTIONS]
–INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT– In the aftermath of the dissolution of redevelopment agencies, the Fremont Industrial Development District hopes to restart investment with an ordinance Tuesday night. “The primary purpose of an industrial development authority is to serve as an issuer of tax-exempt revenue bonds on behalf of businesses involved in manufacturing and processing activities. To be eligible for an industrial development financing, a project must be found to deliver employment opportunities, improve resource conservation, offer consumer benefits, or provide economic benefits to the community.”
SAN LEANDRO — Regular council meeting, Monday, May 1, 7 p.m. — [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
–FEE & TAX INCREASES— San Leandro’s master fee schedule gets an update that includes “six new fees (two in Engineering and Transportation, one in Fire department, two in Public Works and one in Recreation and Human Services).” Fees pertaining to fire prevention will rise between 7 percent and 68 percent, in addition, to a number of increases for renting recreational facilities. The increases will generate and estimated $105,000 in new general fund revenues and $215,000 for its enterprise fund.
–MO’ MONEY– Three resolutions for increasing city tax for business licenses, emergency medical services, and access to 9-1-1 will have a public hearing on Tuesday.
–SCHOOL PARCEL TAX?– San Leandro Unified’s $39 annual parcel tax, approved in 2012, is set to sunset next year. The school board will begin discussions Tuesday, May 2, 7 p.m. over placing an extension on the 2018 ballot. Will voters feel overtaxed? Last November, San Leandro approved Measure J1, a $104 million school facilities maintenance bond. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
ALAMEDA — Regular council meeting, Tuesday, May 2, 7 p.m. — [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
–HOUSING ELEMENT REPORT– Of the 99 new housing units under construction last year in Alameda, nearly one-third were either reserved for very-low or low-income families. Fifty-eight units were under construction at Alameda Landing, near Alameda Point, and those were in the above moderate income bracket.
CDBG FUNDING PLAN — The Trump administration’s preliminary budget is looking to wipe out federal funding for local Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), which many municipalities use to build affordable housing. Alameda estimating its 2017 allocation to be $1.06 million.
GATHERINGS — Alameda County Democratic Central Committee monthly meeting, Wednesday, May 3, 7 p.m., San Leandro Library.
MAY DAY EVENT– Oakland March and Strike for Immigrant Rights, Monday, May 1, 3 p.m. — March begins with a rally at the Fruitvale BART station and continues with a march to San Antonio Park.
–-‘DRO TOWN HALL– San Leandro City Council town hall for District 1, 2, 5, Monday, May 8, 7 p.m. Senior Community Center, 13909 East 14th Street, San Leandro. The districts are represented by Councilmembers Deborah Cox, Ed Hernandez, and Corina Lopez.
LEGISLATURE — Assembly committee hearing highlights:
–DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME BILL– Assemblymember Kansen Chu‘s daylight savings time bill is back. AB 807 would keep the state on standard time throughout the year, but “would become effective only upon approval of the voters. It would also provide for submission of this measure to the voters for approval at the next statewide general election.” – Assembly Appropriations, Wednesday, May 3, 9 a.m.
–HOUSING FOR TEACHERS– Also in appropriations on Wednesday morning is a bill that could be part of Assemblymember Tony Thurmond‘s campaign next year for state superintendent of schools. AB 45 “would require the California Housing Finance Agency to administer a program to provide financing assistance, as specified, to a qualified school district, as defined, and to a qualified developer, as defined, for the creation of affordable rental housing for school employees, including teachers.”
State Senate committee hearing highlights:
–U.C. OVERSIGHT HEARING– This week’s bombshell report alleging the U.C. Berkeley office of the president secretly stashed away $175 million in reserves while raising tuition receives its own oversight hearing Tuesday, May 2, 2:30 p.m., at a joint meeting of the Legislative Audit Committee and Assembly Subcommittee on Education Finance and Higher Education.
–HOUSING ACCOUNTABILITY ACT– State Sen. Nancy Skinner‘s housing bill, SB 167, arrives at the Judiciary Committee, Tuesday, May 2, 1:30 p.m. and it seek to accomplish “among other things, prohibits a local agency from disapproving, or conditioning approval in a manner than renders infeasible, a housing development project for very low, low-, or moderate-income households or an emergency shelter unless the local agency makes specified written findings based upon substantial evidence in the record. This bill would require the findings of the local agency to instead be based on clear and convincing evidence in the record.”
ALAMEDA COUNTY — Transportation and Planning Committee meeting, Monday, May 1, 9:30 a.m. — ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
–CANNABIS CULTIVATION ORDINANCE– A plan to allow permits for up to four medical cannabis cultivation sites in unincorporated Alameda County continues its fine-tuning. An ordinance is expected to come to the board in September. / Board of Supervisors next meet on Thursday, May 9.
ALAMEDA HEALTHCARE DISTRICT — Special board meeting, Wednesday, May 3, 5:30 p.m., Alameda Hospital, Dal Cielo Room — [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
–BOARD APPOINTEES EXPECTED –– The health care directors resume interviews of applicants for two open seats on the elected board with three on Wednesday, Gayle Godfrey Codiga; Elizabeth Gilliam; and Dennis Popalardo. The first set were interviewed April 24 and included: former board member.councilmember Stewart Chen; former Alameda school trustee Mike McMahon; Robert Sullwold; and Geoffrey Sylvester. Following Wednesday’s group, the board is expected to make their final selections.
PORT OF OAKLAND — Special Board of Directors meeting, Thursday, May 4, 3:30 p.m. –– [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
–LABOR PEACE– Port of Oakland is sensitive to repeated labor disruptions at the airport between concessions owners and workers hurting its overall business. Its solution is to “pass a resolution adopting a “Labor Peace Rule”… that requires all Concessionaires operating in the Terminal Complex at Oakland International Airport to enter into a “Labor Peace Agreement” with labor organizations that represent or are seeking to represent concession employees at the subject concessions…”