Alameda Council Set to Consider a Pair of Gun-Safety Ordinances

Plus waterfront housing in San Leandro, and coronavirus news.

With an eye toward preventing gun violence, Alameda officials were set on Tuesday night to discuss a pair of ordinances to promote gun safety. Under the proposed legislation, gun owners would be required to store their personal firearms in either a locked gun safe or place trigger locks on the weapons. An additional ordinance would make it mandatory for gun dealers to install surveillance cameras at the store’s premises, along with the videotaping of all firearms sales.

San Francisco has a similar gun storage ordinance on its books, which was upheld in federal court. Violations of the proposed safe storage ordinance would include citations and fines. However, gun owners would receive a 24-hour grace period for reporting the lost or stolen firearms even if they were in non-compliance with the gun-storage ordinance. Under state law, gun owners have five days to report lost or stolen guns to local authorities.

“Staff recommends encouraging quicker reporting of lost or stolen firearms as time is of the essence when tracking missing firearms,” a city staff report said. “The recommendation to encourage reporting lost or stolen firearms is balanced with deterrence efforts by still allowing discretion for administrative citations for safe storage violations.”

Video surveillance of gun sales, according to the report, could prevent so-called “straw purchases” in which firearms are bought on behalf of someone who is otherwise prohibited from buying guns. The video recordings can also aid law enforcement in solving crimes, staff wrote.

San Francisco, Emeryville, Campbell, and Pleasant Hill have similar gun sales surveillance ordinances.

The video surveillance aspect of the council’s proposal has received push back from Allen Michaan, owner of the well-known Alameda auction house, which often offers antique firearms for sale. Michaan had previously sought a carve out in the ordinance for collectible firearms.

“I emphasize that the firearms and related material that we would be selling are most certainly not something that anyone who would be considering committing a crime would want to purchase as they are both very old and usually many times more costly than a brand new weapon such as those that are readily available at a local sporting goods outlet,” Michaan wrote to the city council on Monday.

Even though the scourge of gun violence seen in so many U.S. cities has largely evaded Alameda, Councilmembers John Knox White and Jim Oddie believed the city needed to do its part, rather than pontificate on the issue. Last September, they successfully urged the city council to hold town halls on gun violence with the intent of forming tangible legislation for Alameda.

“Our goal out of this is to have a conversation on how we can best address this issue of gun violence because it seems like every week somebody dies because somebody has an assault weapon,” Oddie said last September. “If you say ‘Our thoughts are with you,’ that’s not going to solve the problem. If we continue to say platitudes, that’s not going to solve the problem and people are asking for action.”

San Leandro Approves Long-Planned Marina Development With Housing

After more than three decades of dreaming and 12 years of sporadic progress, San Leandro’s Marina-Shoreline project appears closer than ever to possibly becoming one of the city’s prime destinations.

On Monday, the city council approved a development agreement with Cal Coast Companies, LLC for the transformation of the San Leandro Marina to include up to 215 single-family homes, 285 market-rate rental units, office space, a 200-room hotel, and a rebuilt executive golf course.

The project, known as Monarch Bay, would also include two restaurants and a 3,000 square-foot building that could be used as a market or other retail. In addition, there are plans to double the size of the Mulford Gardens library, and add a traffic signal at Marina Boulevard and Aurora Drive.

“This is going to bring over 500 new homes to our community,” Councilmember Ed Hernandez said of the project. “This is one action that helps make the marina more self-sustainable. It brings more value to the community.” The development will make the marina shoreline a “crown jewel” of the city, he added.

The council voted in favor of the project’s Disposition and Development Agreement, 6-0. San Leandro Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter, who is recovering from knee surgery, was absent.

The marina’s vast green open space, picnic tables, and recreation areas are popular and consistently crowded weekend destinations. The northern portion of the marina, which now includes a small hotel and two restaurants, has been underused for decades. The project proposed for the area would not only bring housing, but also replace large tracts of pavement, city staff said during a council meeting last month. “This is the furthest we’ve gotten the project to date,” said Katie Bowman, San Leandro’s economic development manager.

The marina’s interior harbor will be restored, and most of the docks will be removed. An accumulation of silt and the lack of state and federal funding for consistent dredging has hampered the marina’s docks since at least the late 2000s.

The city and Cal Coast started this process back in 2008 with a much grander design. For example, a conference center was one early feature of the project. But after several fits and starts, the entire project was nearly derailed after environmentalists lodged concerns about sea-level rise related to Cal Coast’s 2015 version of the development. The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission required the project to be built 65 inches above the shoreline. A lawsuit followed. “We came to believe there wasn’t a project here,” Ed Miller, president of Cal Coast Companies, LLC, told the city council last month. The current version arrived after Miller offered to move the buildings 200 feet away from the shoreline as a compromise.

Nevertheless, persistent concerns still remain from residents in neighborhoods near the marina, including increased traffic and parking issues, and worries about building on landfill. In addition to sea-level rise, some residents expressed concern on Monday about the potential disruption of a fragile monarch butterfly habitat near the golf course.

Monday’s night’s agreement also included a stipulation that Cal Coast negotiate a project labor agreement with the Building and Construction Trades Council of Alameda County by Mar. 25. Andreas Cluver, secretary-treasurer of the building trades council, expressed confidence that a deal will be made within the next month. “I don’t see any real major challenge in us reaching a consensus on this letter of intent,” Cluver said. Miller agreed. “We work with labor,” he told the council. “I don’t understand how you can work in the East Bay, or anywhere in the Bay Area, without working with unionized labor.”

A representative from UNITE HERE also sought assurance regarding the hotel planned for the marina. Last month, Miller said Hyatt has offered Cal Coast a letter of intent to operate the marina hotel. Miller said he also plans to partner with UNITE HERE. “We understand we’re going to have an agreement with them,” Miller said. “We’re not even arguing about it. We’re proud to work with them.”

Despite the agreement, the project is a still a few years away from construction beginning at the marina. Depending on the city’s approval process, Miller said the earliest work would begin is 2022.

In Other News …

By the time you read this, the total number of coronavirus cases will no doubt have increased from the 26 Bay Area cases, including four in the East Bay, reported by the San Francisco Chronicle as of midday Tuesday. KTVU reported that two health care workers, including one from Alameda County, tested presumptively positive for the virus. Both had had contact with a COVID-19 patient in Solano County. … Bay Area nurses said local hospitals are ill-prepared to safely protect health care workers from the virus, KRON reported. A California Nurses Association leader pointed to instances at U.C. Davis Medical Center in Sacramento where nurses and other health care workers treating coronavirus patients had to go home, lessening the number of workers to help treat the potential health crisis. … Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, however, cleared an entire floor of its hospital as a precaution if coronavirus patients need to be treated in the East Bay, NBC Bay Area reported. … Meanwhile, there are signs the economic impact of the coronavirus has already hit the East Bay. ABC7 reported roughly 20 percent of the shipping containers the Port of Oakland expects from China have been cancelled for the next month. …

The California Lottery has shortchanged schools $36 million in funding, the state’s auditor found, the Sacramento Bee reported. Over the last decade, lottery revenues more than doubled, but the amount given to state schools lagged in comparison. … U.C. Berkeley received $252 million from an anonymous donor, the Chronicle reported. It’s the largest-ever for the university. The proceeds will kick-start construction of a computing and data science building. … Michael Bloomberg’s money has not only upended the Democratic presidential primaries. Time reported that Bloomberg’s riches affected two recent Oakland school board elections when his political action committee flooded the races with money. … McClymonds High School in Oakland will be closed at least until Mar. 9, school district officials told parents at a town hall meeting, KPIX reported. The school was temporarily closed last week after a toxic chemical was found in groundwater beneath the school.

Oakland Police Commission Chair Regina Jackson believes the city’s next chief of police must be a progressive leader who engages with the community on a personal level, the Chronicle reported. The commission fired chief of police Anne Kirkpatrick last week. Now it’s the commission’s role to locate a number of possible replacements for the mayor to choose from. … Kirkpatrick alleged that she was fired for not waiving a $166 towing fee for Oakland Police Commissioner Ginale Harris. Harris called the accusation “atrocious slander,” KTVU reported. … Meanwhile, Oakland police scaled back a recent directive for officers to improve their reporting of use-of-force incidents, the East Bay Times reported. The change came after 911 calls have consistently backed up on a daily basis since the new policy was instituted. … An Oakland dental surgeon was arrested for human trafficking and sex crimes after attempting to buy two girls for $30,000, ABC7 reported.

Here’s How, the innovative cocktail bar in Uptown Oakland, has closed, the Chron reported. A battle pitting “NIMBYs versus negronis” was fought since the bar opened last year. Residents in the units above the bar had complained that the establishment would disturb them.

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