A half-sense sales-tax increase

If you like the way the Alameda City Council has been spending the taxpayers’ money for the last several years, the Merry-Go-Round has got a deal for you:

Just vote for the sales-tax-increase measure expected to be placed by Council on the November ballot and you’ll give our current elected officials (and their successors) an estimated additional $4.9 million per year to spend – on whatever they damn well please!

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Is the rent stabilization ordinance working?

The results of our study conclude that Alameda’s rent stabilization ordinance appears to be having the desired effect on the rental housing market, namely to discourage relocating existing tenants to gain higher rent from new tenants, provide financial assistance to tenants whose tenancy is terminated for no cause/no fault, and provide a forum under which landlords and tenants can resolve rent increase disputes.

Thus reads the “executive summary” of the report prepared for the City – at a cost of $30,000 – by a consulting firm about the ordinance adopted by Council two years ago that requires landlords to submit proposed rent increases greater than 5% for official review and to pay “relocation benefits” to renters whose tenancies terminate without any fault on their part.

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Posted in City Council, Housing | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The NBA comes to City Hall

The next time Stephan Curry visits Alameda City Hall during a Council meeting – after finishing his round at the new Corica Park south course – he’ll see a familiar sight if he looks at the big screen behind the dais:  a shot clock.

And not only one shot clock, but five – one for each Council member:


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No cause left behind

For the last two years, Council members Jim Oddie and Malia Vella have been leading their own “#Me Too” movement in Alameda.

But the goal of this movement isn’t to eliminate sexual assault and harassment in the workplace.  Rather, it’s to make sure that our Council follows the lead of other cities, in the Bay Area and across the country, in adopting left-leaning ordinances cooked up by right-thinking political activists.

The maneuvers by the two Council members haven’t accomplished much for the ordinary citizens of Alameda, but that might not have been the point.  As Donald Trump will tell you, playing to the base can be a winning strategy, and Mr. Oddie’s and Ms. Vella’s #Me Too efforts surely have solidified their support from the labor and “progressive” wings of the local Democratic party.

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Real Alamedans united

At the Merry-Go-Round, we’ve always had a soft spot for grassroots organizations formed by ordinary citizens to use the electoral process to achieve shared policy objectives, especially when the ruling class won’t listen to them.

This is why we admire outfits like Indivisible, which has evolved from an outlet for anti-Trump invective into a network of local chapters devoted to endorsing, and campaigning for, candidates for federal and state office.  And it’s why, closer to home, we applauded Protect Our Alameda Parks, formed in 2012 to promote a charter amendment prohibiting the sale of City parks to developers, and Friends of Crown Beach, formed in 2014 to sponsor an initiative re-zoning surplus federal land as open space.

Now another citizen-driven organization is about to appear on the local scene.

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Posted in City Council, Development, Firefighters | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Same old, same old

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Or, to make our point in English, whatever else may be happening at City Hall, the Alameda fire department never misses a beat.  Regardless of the identity of the Fire Chief and City Manager, or the state of the City’s finances, the AFD can be counted upon to seek an ever-larger piece of the General Fund pie to pay for more staff, equipment, and other departmental desires.

With the current Council – as well as its predecessor – the fire department usually gets what it wants.  But maybe – just maybe – things are beginning to change.

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DelBono v. Ashcraft

Last week, the Merry-Go-Round reported how, according to the report by public-agency lawyer Michael Jenkins, Councilwoman Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft refused to join the offensive mounted by Alameda firefighters’ union president Jeff DelBono to get his hand-picked candidate appointed fire chief.

Today, we’ll turn to the price Ms. Ashcraft already has paid, and may have to continue to pay, for her intransigence.

For us (and, we suspect, for her), the primary issue is this:  Will her disobedience destroy her chance of realizing her long-held dream of becoming Mayor of Alameda?

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Posted in City Council, Firefighters | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments