News

Highlights:

  • The City Council will consider amended five-year contracts for public safety workers on April 29 which would go into effect in November if approved.
  • The contracts establish a trust fund for retiree health benefits. The city would pay $7.5 million into the trust fund over 10 years; workers would pay between 2 percent and 4 percent of the top step of pay for their position into the fund over the next decade.
  • The contracts also offer wage increases that would raise pay at least 9.3 percent and change pension payouts to reflect a safety retiree’s top salary, and not their top three years of pay.

City officials are recommending the City Council approve a permanent civilian staffer to create and execute plans to help Alameda bounce back quickly from a range of disasters – the third position the city is creating to better prepare it for disasters.

The proposal comes roughly a year after the city lost a lucrative grant that could have helped fund a chief resilience officer who would have served as a high-level point person who would work with a broad array of stakeholders to identify and address resilience challenges.

Photos courtesy of James Astwood.

Firefighters quickly extinguished this vegetation fire that occurred on the 2100 block of Shore Line Drive on Saturday evening, Alameda Fire Capt. Jim Colburn said this weekend. The Alameda Fire Department sent an engine and a truck to put out the fire, which was burning next to a bench adjacent to the beach. As of Sunday afternoon, the cause of the fire was undetermined. James Astwood took these photos of the fire, which he said spread quickly because of the wind, and submitted them to The Alamedan.

City officials are considering whether to accept part of a waterway separating Oakland from the Island’s East End that the federal government has long sought to hand off.

Alamedans who live near Rittler Field and others who happened to be passing by Thursday evening may have done a double take in order to process a surprising sight: a helicopter parked in a corner of the field, accompanied by a lineup of fire trucks and police cars.

When Angela Hockabout was priced out of her rental home in 2013 after being handed a $450 per month rent increase, she felt like she had nowhere to turn. But thanks to Hockabout, that’s no longer the case for others in her situation.

In September she founded the Alameda Renters Coalition, which provides information and moral support for renters experiencing crisis and also, advocacy for renters’ needs.

“My main thrust is just providing support to renters and helping them find resources to fight rent increases,” Hockabout said.

Arthur Weil knows the face of hate. Weil, a former history teacher and Holocaust survivor, spoke before an audience Saturday on the U.S.S. Hornet Museum.

Property owners who The Alamedan has interviewed and others who have commented on prior stories in The Alamedan’s running series on rents have said the recent rise in rents is only part of the story of rental housing in the Bay Area. They said the free market cuts both ways, impacting both tenants and landlords.

A symbol of the Island’s shipbuilding past is set to be demolished. An 86-foot-tall shipyard crane built during World War II and located next to the Main Street ferry terminal awaits the wrecking ball. Tonight, the City Council will consider a contract to remove it.

Last fall, the City Council passed on a proposal to create a city-sponsored rents task force whose charge would have included collecting data on the Island’s rental market. So City Councilman Tony Daysog, who had favored the task force proposal, decided to collect some of that information on his own.

Daysog offered a brief presentation on U.S. Census data he culled at the council’s January 20 meeting, where council members considered some options for strengthening rights for renters. The upshot: While the median rent in Alameda falls below what the federal government considers unaffordable, it’s rising – as is the proportion of local renters who are paying unaffordable rents.