Alameda to bid for next America’s Cup?

October 1, 2013

Much as I’m biased towards Alameda, I don’t think we have a chance to host the next America’s Cup.

If San Francisco can’t work a deal to bring back the Cup, the city of Alameda – which was home base for two of the four teams this year – may step up. “We have the space and we have proved that it can work,” said Alameda City Manager John Russo.



Grooming the Champions of the Keyboard in Alameda!

September 30, 2013

From the NYT

Like sports stars everywhere, professional-level video gamers need a place to practice, and for the high-tech athletes of the Evil Geniuses — the Yankees of the video gaming world — that place is the Lair, a sock-strewn tract house on an ordinary side street in this breezy island city east of San Francisco. With its redundant Internet connections and eight-to-a-toilet dormitory rooms, the Lair is a clubhouse and a crash pad: a residential exercise space where digital Derek Jeters can roll out of bed and stumble downstairs for workouts in the gym.

Gateway to Alameda

July 8, 2013

LCVNhHbBMFqcled-556x313-noPadWith a name like that, the last thing you expect to see at one of the major entrances to the city (just as you exit the Webster Tube) are neon signs for In-N-Out along with a Safeway gas station and alcohol kiosk. Unfortunately, this is precisely the “vision” that city planners have for the West End. In the past, community input clearly indicated that additional fast food joints are not welcome in the Webster District (saturated as it is with several such establishments).

There are also concerns about gridlock on Webster/Stargell from traffic entering/exiting the In-N-Out (we all know just how devoted the In-N-Out afficionados are).

There is a petition requesting the Alameda Planning Board reject the applications are currently under review for this gateway location and prevent it from becoming a Gateway to Anywhere.

We acknowledge that Alamedans are excited about In N Out coming to Alameda, but this parcel is not the right location for that. This is our community’s opportunity to create a gateway to Alameda that is attractive to potential residents, investors, and visitors, and showcases our city as a unique place to visit and live.

The Alameda Song

June 2, 2013

Frederica Von Stade was at the Brubeck Celebration last night.

I knew she lived in Alameda, was pleasantly surprised to find this recording of the Alameda Song.

Cities Weigh Taking Over From Private Utilities

March 16, 2013

Alameda ahead of the curve, as always! 🙂

From the NYT

Across the country, cities are showing a renewed interest in taking over the electricity business from private utilities, reflecting intensifying concerns about climate change, responses to power disruptions and a desire to pump more renewable energy into the grid. Boulder, Colo., for instance, could take an important step toward creating its own municipal utility, among the nation’s first in years, as soon as next month.

And while Boulder’s level of activism may be unusual, given its liberal leanings and deep-seated concerns over climate change and the environment, the desire to take control of the electricity business is not. Officials and advocates in Minneapolis and Santa Fe, N.M., are considering splitting from their private utilities, while lawmakers in Massachusetts are trying to make it easier for towns and counties to make the break

Alameda woman fighting foreclosure

November 5, 2012

This is really bad …

There’s this woman, her name is Jodie, and the moving vans and probably sheriff’s deputies are supposed to be coming to throw her and her belongings out of her house tomorrow morning. Jodie has been fighting to stay in her home for years. Companies affiliated with Morgan Stanley shuttled the loan around from one subsidiary to the other until they foreclosed on her.

Morgan Stanley’s tactics have included:

  • pushing her into a predatory refinance.
  • Moving her loan around from company to company so she couldn’t get a fix on who to negotiate with
  • Removing the lawyer for Morgan Stanley who was actually negotiating with Jodie when they were close to reaching a mutually acceptable plan; and
  • Stunningly, breaking in and changing the locks to her house WHILE SHE WAS AT A CHEMOTHERAPY SESSION

Alameda Store

September 10, 2012

I saw an ad in the recent Alameda Magazine for The Alameda Store. Here’s your chance to buy Alameda branded items.

Lifeguard chose saving man over saving job

July 6, 2012

Whoa … what a concept! A lifeguard actually choosing to save somebody rather than stand around and watch.

“Someone was in danger,” explained Mr. Lopez, 21, who lives in Davie, in Broward County, and started his lifeguard job four months ago. “I wasn’t going to choose my job over someone in danger. My job is to help people in distress. It was a moronic rule in my opinion that they set up. I understand the liability issues, but. …”

This 21-year old lifeguard could teach a thing or two to AFD/APD.

It’s going to be a while

June 29, 2012

I know every little bit is supposed to add up … but the gap is simply too big for a bandaid to fix.

Contracts with the city’s nonsafety unions are expected to produce $873,000 in pension and benefit savings over the lives of those contracts, while increased pension contributions from police and firefighters are expected to save the city $578,400 over three years.

Annual financial reports released by the city show that Alameda’s unfunded pension liabilities more than doubled between 2002 and 2008, from $36.3 million to a little over $74 million. The city’s most recent consolidated annual financial report shows the city with nearly $95 million in unfunded pension liabilities in 2010.

And there’s this kicker:

Alameda has 558 current employees enrolled in its two retirement plans and 763 receiving retirement benefits, Assistant City Manager Lisa Goldman said, or 0.73 active employees paying into the system for every retiree taking benefits.

With No Vote, Taxpayers Stuck With Tab on Bonds

June 28, 2012

Title says it all … something to watch out for.

Surprised local taxpayers from Stockton, Calif., to Scranton, Pa., are finding themselves obligated for parking garages, hockey arenas and other enterprises that can no longer pay their debts. Officials have signed them up unknowingly to backstop the bonds of independent authorities, the special bodies of government that run projects like toll roads and power plants. The practice, meant to save governments money, has been gaining popularity without attracting much notice, and is creating problems for a small but growing number of cities.