November 20, 2006

City Council Unanimously Adopts Homeless Plan

At its November 20, 2006, meeting, the San Leandro San Leandro City Council unanimously adopted the EveryOne Home, Alameda Countywide Homeless and Special Needs Housing Plan. The county-wide plans seeks to end homelessness in 15 years. The stated goals of the plan are:

  • Prevent homelessness and other housing crises

  • Increase housing for homeless, mentally ill, and HIV/AIDS

  • Provide support services to support independence

  • Measure success and report outcomes

  • Develop long-term leadership and community support

Councilmember Glenda Nardine asked about monitoring and staffing and staff responded that monitoring was part of the plan, but there wouldn't be any extra staff necessary. Councilmember Tony Santos expressed concern about reports that companies in Silicon Valley were laying off employees without paying their fair share for the extra burdens for the employees and support services. Councilmember Surlene Grant asked about funding and staffing, expressing skepticism that the plan would not require extra staff or funding, but was assured that they would not be needed. Grant also asked how the County would staff and fund the program and Alameda County Housing Director Linda Gardner responded that staff would consist of a combination of consultants and county staff. Councilmember Bill Stephens noted that the program was ambitious and long-term and express concern that the program be able to adapt over time. Councilmember OB Badger asked whether the City could exit the program if it wasn't working. Gardner responded that the program was flexible and that cities were free to withdraw from the program.

Speaking out in favor of the plan were Mike Katz, Elaine de Coligny, the Executive Director of Building Futures with Women and Children, Father Rob Droste of All Saints Episcopal Church, Tom Breckenridge, an officer with the Interfaith Homelessness Network, and Peggy Combs, also of Building Futures with Women and Children.

Mayor Shelia Young said that she thought that Alameda County may be the only county in California or the country that is working together on homelessness and that San Leandro has a "chance to show the rest of the county that we can do our part" in solving homelessness.

In a presentation by Matt Todd, a Senior Transportation Engineer at the Alameda County Congestion Management Agency, reported on the progress on a sound wall along Interstate 580 that has been in the works for neary 20 years. The wall would extend from 141st Avenue to Marlowe Avenue in Oakland. The estimated cost is $5.5 million. The wall would be 12-feet tall and up to 15- to 16-feet tall in places and 8,090 feet long.

Project studies for the wall are expected to be completed in May 2007, project design should be complete by September 2007, and construction should start in December 2007 and be completed by Summer 2009.

Todd noted that CYRO Paraglas Soundstop would be used on freeway bridges to reduce the weight of the sound wall and prevent extra costs from reinforcing the freeway supports. Although it's four times as expensive as masonry, using it on the freeway bridges would actually reduce total costs. A CalTrans engineer noted that sound walls are only considered in areas where they will reduce sound by 5 decibels.

Councilmember Grant noted that this was the first time in all of the meetings she's attended that she had heard of the Paraglas Soundstop material being used. Councilmember Joyce Starosciak expressed concern about whether the wall would block any residents' views. Todd noted that some people along Benedict Drive didnt want the wall to block their view and that is why there is no wall planned for the east side of I-580 in that area. Grant also asked about whether property owners had changed and whether CalTrans had been in contact with them. Todd responded that there will be more meetings and workshops for affected residents. Badger also asked about the problem of reflected noise into the Bay-O-Vista area but was assured that the problem was minimal.

Fred Reicker of the Bay-O-Vista Improvement Association expressed concern that the wall will aggravate sound since it will only be on the west side of I-580 in some areas. Reicker cited a CalTrans study in which an unopposed wall resulted in a small but measurable increase in sound. Reicker asked to meet with the City on an expedited basis and to consider the use of a new material. Former City Council member Linda Perry thanked the Mayor for the update and wanted to know when was the last time that sound readings were made and the process for community notification and input.

In closing comments, Starosciak reported about her research into the City's contract with the Alameda County Fire Department, which she described as a "public agency acting as a private monopoly." She said that the contract terms put the City in an egregious financial situation and noted that the contract has increased by $5 million or 50% in the last six years. Over the last six years, the contract has exceeded the budgeted amount by $162,000, which the contract requires the City to pay. She said that neither the City nor the County Supervisors have any oversight of the Alameda County Fire Department and there is no process to reduce or refuse the contract amounts. According to her estimates, the Alameda County Fire Department contract will absorb all of the funds provided by Measure I (the business license tax) in two years.

Councilmember Stephens said that he shared Starosciak's concerns about the City's contract with the Alameda County Fire Department. Stephens also said that the City should contact the two school boards and consider a truancy ordinance like the one introduced in Fremont to improve the Average Daily Attendance (ADA).

Mayor Young noted that the Alameda County Mayors Conference would be hosted at the Aquatics Center on December 13, 2006. Young also appointed Stephens and Starosciak to an ad-hoc committee to investigate and report on the City's contract with the Alameda County Fire Department.

The meeting was adjourned in the memory of Edward Jack Graves and Gladys Mary Tucknot.

Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at November 20, 2006 10:09 PM | TrackBack
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