Politics

Residents and business owners in the new Alameda Landing development may pay thousands of dollars more in taxes for roads, sewers and police protection than their other Island neighbors.

The City Council voted 4-0 Tuesday to move forward on a pair of proposed special districts encompassing the Alameda Landing development that, if approved, would allow the city to levy additional taxes to pay for the facilities and services; Councilwoman Lena Tam was absent. A public hearing and potential city approval of the proposed districts is set for January 7.

Alameda's City Council will move forward on expanded state and federal lobbying efforts, performance measures for city services and a proposal that could mean thousands in additional taxes for Alameda Landing residents. Here's what happened, in tweet.

City leaders may soon be asking state and federal lawmakers for more money to develop Alameda Point, construct bike and walking trails and equip the Island’s public safety forces, and on Tuesday they’ll consider hiring a former top state legislator to help make the city’s case.

Updated at 9:41 a.m. Thursday, November 7

Merchants who want to take their advertising to the streets will soon have the city’s permission.

On Tuesday night, the City Council signaled their approval of a sign ordinance allowing for freestanding “A-frame” signs in front of businesses throughout the city. The signs are already in place along Park Street and other commercial neighborhoods, but the new regulation limits the size of the advertisements and their distance from the storefront.

Updated at 8:57 a.m. Thursday, October 24

Assemblyman Rob Bonta closed his first session in the statehouse with new laws that benefit public unions facing contract impasses, allow green card holders to work the polls and ensure Californians do more to learn about and honor Filipino Americans. But other efforts, including a bill to require the state’s prisons to provide condoms to inmates, were dealt a gubernatorial veto.

Governor Jerry Brown signed eight of the 21 bills that Alameda’s former vice mayor put forward during his first session in the state Assembly, and vetoed three. Others were pulled by Bonta or stalled in legislative committees.

A pair of bills from local Assemblyman Rob Bonta that would cut election costs for a pair of municipal utility districts and lower fees for large credit unions that are chartered by the state have been signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.

The first bill, AB 408, allows the East Bay Municipal Utility District and Sacramento Municipal Utility District to appoint new members in cases where only one person’s name would appear on a ballot for the office or when no one applies.

Captain Ray Thackeray with a donated fortress anchor for the Thunderbird 2. Contributed photo.

Founded in 2010, the International Rescue Group is an Alameda-based volunteer organization that provides aid to coastal communities suffering from natural disasters. Utilizing a network of boats cruising around the world and a purpose-built ship, the Thunderbird 2, the IRG can deliver fresh water, food, and medical supplies to communities who otherwise might have to wait many days or even weeks for help. Recently I had a chance to talk with Ray Thackeray, founder of the IRG, to find out more about the group and its mission.

Photo courtesy of the Alameda Education Foundation.

Judy Blank and Anna Elefant were looking for a new way to help Alameda’s schools after a stint as co-chairs of the then-new Bay Farm Elementary School’s PTA. Elefant was elected to the school board, while Blank, who was a dental hygienist by trade, joined a group seeking to revive a decade-old foundation that funded enrichment classes at local schools. Blank is leaving the Alameda Education Foundation after more than two decades of service that included seven years as board president and two as executive director, leaving a legacy that includes a supply store for teachers, charters’ inclusion in the foundation’s middle school sports program – and Alameda’s very own Monopoly game.

The state Senate is set to consider a bill sponsored by Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, that would allow non-citizens to serve as poll workers during elections, which its supporters say will increase voter access for non-English speakers.

If passed by the Senate, Bonta's AB 817 would allow green card holders to work at the polls and provide language assistance services on Election Day. Current law bars nonvoters from working the polls on election days; legal permanent residents lack the right to vote.

The need for a multi-year budget plan to prepare for higher pension and other employee costs was discussed at the special meeting of the City Council on Tuesday night.

The council reviewed the spending plan for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 fiscal years but took no action. Adoption of the final, two-year budget, which includes expenditures of $163 million next year, will take place next month.