THE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 1-7
As far as the dreaded August council recess period goes this was awful. Nothing much happened because the players in politics took some time to relax. Many went of vacations, near and far. I even saw one Oakland councilmember on my own vacation earlier this month.
But those on a staycation in the East Bay raised their collective eyebrows when an Alameda County sheriff’s deputy in charge of the department’s Twitter feed says he accidentally retweeted a video from a well-known neo-nazi. Protesters again rallied in Berkeley
Assemblymember Bill Quirk‘s criminalization of mylar balloons got popped by the governor and Assemblymember Rob Bonta‘s big push for bail reform might have to wait until next year, but state help to build more affordable housing looks to be on the way.
Rep. Barbara Lee caught flak for saying President Trump‘s new chief of staff John Kelly–the left-wing’s consensus pick for most sane cabinet member–is an extremist.
However, the month was also good for Lee. A target of much of her ire this year, Trump strategist Steve Bannon, resigned. So did Sebastian Gorka, and now she’s trying to yank away the government salary of another aide, Stephen Miller.
In Central Alameda County, Rep. Eric Swalwell went to Iowa, then showed up another billion times on cable news networks. Rep. Ro Khanna continues to work on fixing the Democratic Party from the inside.
And while, most of the East Bay’s political scene will not ramp up until Sept. 12, that doesn’t mean there won’t be action in a couple seats of government this Tuesday. Both San Leandro and Alameda come swinging hard out the gate.
San Leandro again tries to create some protections and relief for struggling renters and Alameda looks to repeal a moratorium on medical cannabis dispensaries. Alameda’s meeting might be chill, but it won’t likely in Piedmont where residents there might have a lot to say about their former mayor, now councilmember, who is doing what the American people hope the president does soon, that is, give up using social media.
–SAN LEANDRO– Regular City Council meeting, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 7:00 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
–TENANT RELOCATION PAYMENTS– After the council paused on approving a second reading of the tenant relocation payments ordinance on July 5, they sent the item back to the Rules Committee. It returned again, however, with additional changes favorable to landlords. Although clarity was added to the definition of a residential property to the proposed ordinance (two or more tenant-occupied units), Rules decreased the cap on the amount landlords will pay for relocation assistance from $10,000 to $7,000.
–ROAD PLAN– Like nearly every city in the East Bay, the poor state of streets is of great concern, but the issue is even more prominent in San Leandro, likely because local leaders have inextricably linked money for repairs to several local tax initiatives. On Tuesday, city staff will offer at least some semblance of a plan with the “2017 Annual Street Overlay and Rehabilitation,” focused on San Leandro Boulevard Road and Best Avenue Intersection Improvements.
–COMEDIAN NOMINATED TO ARTS COMMISSION– Comedian and playwright Brian Copeland will be nominated by District 1 Councilmember Deborah Cox to the San Leandro Arts Commission. A long-time San Leandro resident, Copeland penned and starred in the popular play “Not A Genuine Black Man” that chronicled his upbringing in the once highly-segregated city.
–ALAMEDA– Special council meeting, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 5:30 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
–PROPOSED DISPENSARY ORDINANCE– Alameda is relatively new to the cannabis business and Tuesday’s early meeting is mostly about baby steps. First, a proposed ordinance would repeal the existing moratorium on zoning for medical cannabis dispensaries and add regulatory guidelines for permits. Additionally, Alameda’s existing smoking ban in public areas will be amended to include cannabis.
–More importantly, the city will hear from its cannabis consultant and the council may begin fleshing out how far it will go to embrace the cannabis industry. Among the questions: What segments of the production and distribution business will Alameda allow and where on the island? Also, how many of these permits will be available? Local cannabis groups backed by Mayor Trish Spencer are pushing for exceptions for Alameda cannabis businesses, but whether this is legal is another question to be answered.
Regular council meeting, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 7:00 p.m.
–-NO CAUSE BALLOT MEASURE– A ballot measure petition backed by Alameda landlords to repeal a council-approved amendment this spring that banned “no cause” eviction was later certified by the city clerk’s office. Now the council will decide whether to formally repeal the amendment or schedule an election date. Either way, the action by the landlords effectively put council’s action on pause for the time being, meaning evictions without cause are still legal.
–PLANNING BOARD CLASH– After Mayor Spencer’s nominations for the Planning Board were rejected by the council on July 18, she then tabbed Patricia Lamborn and Alan Teague for the planning board. But the progressive-majority on the board is highly sensitive to Spencer’s slow growth stances and won’t likely approve this latest pair, either. Lamborn opposed placing a hotel on the shoreline at the Harbor Bay Business Park and Teague had publicly-opposed the renters-backed Measure M1 ballot measure.
–CROSS ALAMEDA TRAIL PROJECT– Proposed along the Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway on the West End between Main and Webster Streets will need approval of two ordinances Tuesday night… Also, two notable council referral could be heard, if time allows. Spencer is proposing citywide Wi-Fi and Councilmembers Malia Vella and Jim Oddie are asking staff to take steps to deal with instances of hate crimes recently in Alameda.
–FREMONT– Regular council meeting, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 7:00 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
–WARM SPRINGS BART ACCESS BRIDGE– An access point for pedestrians and bicycles leading to the brand new Warm Springs BART station will be delayed. Four competitive bids for the budgeted $18 million project came in more than $4 million over-budget. For that reason, staff recommends the council reject all bids. Funding for the project is slated to come from Alameda County Measure BB transportation sales tax revenues.
–PIEDMONT– Regular council meeting, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 7:00 p.m. [ENTIRE AGENDA HERE]
–WIELER FALLOUT– Leafy Piedmont probably enjoys being its unassuming self rather than the epicenter of political controversy. After Piedmont Mayor Jeff Wieler relinquished the office this week amid strong opposition to offensive comments he made on Facebook against blacks and transgender folks, there is now a push to have him resign altogether. Piedmonters elect councilmembers, but the mayor is appointed by the council.
–Piedmont’s public comment period will likely be the most interesting part of Tuesday night’s agenda, that is, if Wieler does not resign beforehand. Meanwhile, his colleagues want him out. The council will also consider a resolution “Reaffirming Piedmont’s Commitment to Inclusivity and Opposing Actions of Hate Groups.”
–GATHERINGS– Alameda County Democratic Central Committee meeting, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 7:00 p.m., San Leandro Main Library, 300 Estudillo Avenue, San Leandro.
–NEXT WEEK– The rest of the East Bay returns with city council and other government meetings on Tuesday-Thursday, Sept. 12-14
–ALAMEDA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, Sept. 12, 10:30 a..m.
–OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL, committee meetings start at 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
–BERKELEY CITY COUNCIL, 6 p.m.
–HAYWARD CITY COUNCIL, 7 p.m.
–EBMUD BOARD OF DIRECTORS, 1:15 p.m.
–AC TRANSIT BOARD OF DIRECTORS, Wed, Sept. 13, 5 p.m.
–BART BOARD OF DIRECTORS, Thurs., Sept. 14, 9 a.m.