THE SECOND STORY | November 11th, 2011

Smoke and mirrors

Blog photo:  This is one end of the living room at my listing at 1557 Santa Clara Avenue.  If you like charm…this place has it.  It also had three buyers who were willing to purchase the charm along with the various repairs.  It’s pending and hopefully will have happy new owners in a few weeks!  It’s so hard to find this type of detail anywhere these days so when any house in Alameda comes along that has it, big or small, well-located or not, pristine or fixer….it gets attention.
Blog post:  First, let me preface my comments by saying I don’t like cigarette smoke.  I don’t want to be around it.  I do like private property rights and proper notification procedures. 

That being said, the city council is ramming through an A1 rated (by the American Cancer Society) city ordinance that almost banishes smoke in all public and private places, inside and outside.  Fine.  All well and good.

Here is the ordinance as it appears before last Tuesday’s meeting, and the city website has not yet been updated yet with the changes.  

Then, AFTER all the public comments, none of which even came close to suggesting condos be included, the council added ‘condos’ to the list of smoking-restricted areas.  They didn’t define what a condo is.  By their conversation it seems they mean most any residential building that has a common wall or ceiling or floor.  That actually means, condos, townhomes, and duets.  

Once again, the city council, has not done three things.

1.  The City Council has not even come close to considering the unintended consequences of their actions and wording.  But they are happy to shove this through and figure it out later.  Haven’t they had enough do-overs in the past year?

2.  The City Council has not created a way to enforce their new law.  The Chief of Police stood in front of them and said the police were not going to be the smoking police.  He said they rate their calls from 1-4.  He said this type of call was an 8.

I move that we have the city council members be the ones who get the midnight calls and they can go out and take the complaints and figure out what to do with them.  Do I hear a second to that motion?

3.  And perhaps most important, the City Council has not identified or notified the stakeholders (those affected by the proposed law).  Who are stakeholders?  Maybe you, maybe your homeowner association, all property managers, the owners of the affected single family residences, all the affected businesses (not just the local biz associations), the Alameda Association of Realtors, golfers (they may have something to say about it), and any who will have to be the enforcers.

The City Council just passed a Sunshine Ordinance (get out of dark back rooms and shed some light on all things they touch).  But I guess they didn’t get the message about their own actions – again.

How will this affect your ability to buy or sell a property?  Hard to know.  Better to know before the law passes, not after.

I watched last Tuesday’s city council meeting on TV and was texting with a friend/co-worker about what the city council was doing.  We were appalled.  As another colleague on a city committee commented the next day at a meeting “This is government run amok!”

Folks, if you think the way the City Council acts is inexcusable, whether it’s about smoking or not, you might want to consider sending each council member, the City Manager, Assistant City Manager, and whoever else you think is appropriate, emails AND drop letters to them at the City Clerk’s office, 3rd floor of City Hall.

They need to establish tight, notification procedures BEFORE they make bigger messes than they already have on their hands.  This needs to be done in the next week! If you don’t tell them, sooner or later they are going to do something that will affect you…and you won’t even know it until after the fact.

Quick Glimpses:
There are so many good articles in one of my trade blasts I’m sharing the whole thing this week.
Beyond the Headlines  Check it out.  It should have at least one article of interest for any reader.

Unsold inventory this week  185, 188 last report
Pending inventory this week 103, 100 last report

Highest and Lowest Priced NEW Listings this week.

Broker Tour this week  11.  Great bike ride day!

NEW  14
BOM (back on market)  2
SOLD  10

ALAMEDA REAL ESTATE AWARDS...remember this is only my perspective!
Get Me a Facelift  (this is also the highest priced listing – used as a vacation rental, and it’s expected it will be a short sale).



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I arrived in Alameda in 1973, as a new bride...with husband Carl Schumacher, both of us from Newport Beach. He was embarking on his career as a Naval Architect (i.e. yacht designer) under Gary Mull. Please see the 'ABOUT ME' page in this website! to see how it has all turned out! I'm so blessed!