Blogging Bayport Alameda

November 8, 2006

When I was [insert your age here], it was a very good year

Filed under: Alameda, Election — Lauren Do @ 6:42 am

It was a moderately good year, while nationally it was a night to celebrate, statewide it was a little more of a disappointment. 

The Democrats won back the U.S. House of Representatives and made a very good showing in the Senate race.  (Sorry Harold Ford, Jr. of Tennessee) There are still two seats up in the air, Montana and Virginia, home of George “Macaca” Allen.  But there was something else, what was it again…?

Oh yeah…congratulations to Beverly Johnson, Frank Matarrese, Lena Tam, Mike McMahon, and Tracy Lynn Jensen!  And we can’t forget Steve Wasson, Kevin Farrell, newest Hospital Board member Nancy Hoffman!

Results from the Alameda County Registrar of Voters:

mayor.jpg

citycouncil.jpg

school.jpg

hospital.jpg

However, there is still one contested race and it is a nailbiter:

actransit.jpg

In other news, Pat Bail is scheduled to be on the Don Roberts Show this afternoon.  So there are one of a few options here: she doesn’t show, she shows but is angry, or she shows but is a gracious loser.  I’m hoping it’s the last one, she is after all an avid sportswoman so one would think that she would be gracious in the face of defeat.  But option number two would make much better tv.

On a more serious note though, now that the election is over we should all put whatever happened behind us and move forward for the good of Alameda.   No need for apologies, no need for regrets, let’s chalk it up to “agreeing to disagree” and tackle whatever issues come up next.

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134 Comments

  1. Lauren is right (sorry), how about correct. Clearly the voters of this town want a great downtown and stores like target. There are some people that will hate it no matter what but those who are looking for a little deeper look to work out the kinks, let’s toss around out-of-the-box ideas and see how it goes.

    Comment by Barbara M — November 8, 2006 @ 7:33 am

  2. Lauren,

    With 100% of the vote COunted. Elsa Ortiz (20,062) beat Daysog (20,009). You might want to update the image making her the new AC Transit Director.

    Comment by John Knox White — November 8, 2006 @ 7:46 am

  3. By the way, it looks like Don R. scooped you on the Daysog loss. You have to get up pretty early in the mornig to beat the don.

    Comment by John Knox White — November 8, 2006 @ 7:48 am

  4. Nearly 2-1 margin for Johnson! WOW!!!

    This is the Alameda we all know and like. I hope Slate and supporters (you know who you are!!!) gets the message loud and clear that their fear mongering and mud slinging have been soundly rejected. No room for racism and intolerance in Alameda.

    Yes, we should all work together … but for now I’m savoring these landslide victories :-)

    Comment by Richard — November 8, 2006 @ 7:49 am

  5. Knox White, thanks for the update. Don now has a 100% record of all his endorsements losing.

    Did somebody say KISS OF DEATH?????

    Yeah, baby!

    Comment by Richard — November 8, 2006 @ 7:51 am

  6. Is there an automatic recount provision for such a close race, or does Daysog have to petition for it?

    And doesn’t 40,000 total votes in the ACT race seem small?

    Comment by dave — November 8, 2006 @ 7:59 am

  7. Ah … a recount! 40,000 seems small only when your man loses.

    Comment by Richard — November 8, 2006 @ 8:03 am

  8. In a county of well over a million people, it appears that a large number of voters ignored the race. That is the only point, Richard. May I suggest exercise and therapy to address your truculence this morning?

    Comment by dave — November 8, 2006 @ 8:16 am

  9. I think the results will hopefully be more balanced now with someone like Tam in the mix. That said, I don’t expect anything in terms of housing development to change… again. Mrs Johnson’s signs clearly said in bold text ” protect measure A”, which means 4 more years of the same old same old, where nothing new gets built and all bubble-popping action aside, means housing will likely remain out of reach for all except for the well-heeled or dollar foolish.

    That’s my 2 cents worth. It is what it is, so that’s that.
    The most important thing here is that Mrs Bail didn’t win. Despite her blanketing of the entire town with every imaginable ad tactic, she still lost, which is proof to me that people in Alameda clearly study the canidates. Great job everyone!

    Comment by superintindent — November 8, 2006 @ 8:30 am

  10. Sheesh, willy, you are a one trick pony. Rent is cheap in Alameda, you can rent for half or less what a mortgage payment would be.

    Rent, save up, and buy when you have saved enough — like the rest of us did.

    Comment by dave — November 8, 2006 @ 8:33 am

  11. dave:

    What do you expect? This is a mid-term election with historically low turnout and not ALL million are registered voters.

    Alameda County
    Registered voters 678,765 Ballots cast 45% (305,597)

    I don’t think Ward 3 is ALL of Alameda County, but I might be mistaken.

    I suggest a walk in the park to clear any conspiracy theories you might be proposing. It is a great day in Alameda :)

    Comment by Richard — November 8, 2006 @ 8:34 am

  12. Speaking of one trick ponies, isn’t that what Slate was all about? Trying to use the theater as *the* issue in the election???

    Comment by Richard — November 8, 2006 @ 8:35 am

  13. Ah, ward 3, got it. I thought it was county-wide. Thank you.

    Comment by dave — November 8, 2006 @ 8:38 am

  14. For me, anyway, the theater was my motivating factor. It is such an egregious example of fraud, waste and abuse by officeholders. It is both innappropriate and insane for government to almost 100% subsidize a risky, non-essential commercial venture. Separate from the theater issue, Johnson might be Abe Lincoln and Mother Theresa in the same personage, but that was far more than enough to throw her out of office.

    Comment by dave — November 8, 2006 @ 8:43 am

  15. I posted something similar in another thread, but just wanted to echo Lauren’s call to find ways to tackle issues ahead. No doubt about it, there are going to be important decisions to be made in the next few years. The best thing that came out of this election (other than the right people winning – ok I just had to get that out my system) is that citizens of Alameda have become much more engaged and caring about what happens in the community. We won’t always agree, but that’s ok.

    Comment by notadave — November 8, 2006 @ 8:47 am

  16. Dave…
    Prices went up 200% in 5 years. Please don’t tell me that things were the same for you or anyone else. I am and have been saving, but I will not buy until prices again meet fundamentals. We all know why prices went up so there’s no need to mention this. Just because the election is over doesn’t mean the issues are going away. Indeed I intend to do my part to change things for the better as long as I live here. I hope you and everyone else will surely do the same so that perhaps your children will have the chance to enjoy Alameda as much as you do.

    Comment by superintindent — November 8, 2006 @ 9:07 am

  17. If prices are too high, then you are wise not to buy. Keep renting, stay smug.

    And the does this mean?

    Please don’t tell me that things were the same for you or anyone else

    Comment by dave — November 8, 2006 @ 9:14 am

  18. If prices are too high, then why are they too high? again- there are reasons.Some is Partly due to an economy and population only too willing to float on and accept massive debt and a national deficit propped up by foreign countries. Still another is the over-mentioned regulations that unfairly control supply. Lastly is the real estate bubble which is now deflating, but not fast enough to avoid a likely national recession.

    So in my opinion, with this downward trend in prices yields the perfect opportunity to fix these problems before the cycle starts all over again. This starts with education and comprehension of how money works.

    No- it isn’t ok to straddle yourself with 400k worth of mortgage debt. Many did and still are. No- it isn’t ok to have housing prices 10 times the local income level. No- it isn’t ok to not allow a healthy growth pattern to continue under reasonable means in a urban area unless you want to choke off your middle and lower income level residents.
    What I’m saying here is that while the elections are over, and people might feel that things can get back to normal, I for one want to see these changes start to happen for admittedly for me and my family, but for others who are less fortunate than I who do not have a chance under current conditions.
    We have no voted in the
    politicians. Now it is time to use them for making the right decisions.
    If you think I am being bombastic, then perhaps you should consider what I’m saying as an insight to what the majority of we in my age bracket think and want. We want fair and equal opportunity. Surely that isn’t too much to ask.

    Comment by superintindent — November 8, 2006 @ 9:28 am

  19. good thoughts notdave.

    Back when Weyerhaeuser property was rezoned to become Marina Cove housing tract, there was a surge of community activism around concerns of negative impacts. Even though they were loosing truck traffic, people were concerned about commuting cars. I don’t live near there and have no idea what the real impacts have been but I haven’t heard a lot of complaining.

    It’s good they didn’t build a sound wall around it. What a lot of us wanted was the option to discuss variations in housing, but that is more or less in the heart of the historic island which really pushes the Measure A button, the camel’s nose under the tent and all that. Alameda Point is really is a much harder nut to crack which in my opinion warrants a serious discussion of options.

    My point about Marina Cove is that as an activist following development issues it was disappointing to see the public involvement ebb away, but the concern was very local so it’s natural that it didn’t build into a movement.

    I’m very skeptical about the theater and though I am not opposed to a Target in principle, I’m not sanguine about it either.
    But I really couldn’t get on board the Stop Megaplex band wagon because it was such a strident and sour movement. In my years of speaking publicly to these issues I have at times been pretty raw and strident myself. Part of that was a learning curve but it was also a product of frustration over feeling like one of a very small group of average citizens who was making an effort to follow the issues.

    I hope now, large numbers of citizens remain involved and follow the issues carefully and most of all, try really hard to talk rationally, think critically and not insult each other.

    Comment by Mark — November 8, 2006 @ 9:34 am

  20. Hey count this as a scoop for the Sun. Tony Daysog is requesting a recount. The registrar of voters has stated that the count is still ongoing.

    Comment by EJK — November 8, 2006 @ 9:51 am

  21. This quote from willy is the funniest things I have seen on this blog:

    This starts with education and comprehension of how money works.

    Comment by dave — November 8, 2006 @ 9:52 am

  22. To #9: “Despite her [Pat Bail] blanketing of the entire town with every imaginable ad tactic..”

    Huh?? Not sure what to say to that, except ask for an example.

    Meanwhile, I took my 2 lb folder of campaign mailers and added them all up. And for those who might be misled into thinking it was Alameda voters who made a resounding decision in our local race, and not money and individuals from outside, I submit the following. If I missed anything, feel free to add. This is just what came to my mailbox; not taken into account are phone calls, phone polls, political ads and editorial endorsements.

    Campaign mailers for Beverly Johnson:
    Rebuilding California, Sacramento (appearing on two mailers)
    Don Perata and Construction & Labor, Sacramento (appearing on two mailers)
    Let’s Rebuild California, Labor, Business and Commuters, Sacramento CA
    Voter Information guide for democrats, Sherman Oaks, CA
    Elsa Ortiz, Oakland CA
    Voter Education and Registration Fund, Sacramento CA
    National Women’s Political Caucus, Oakland CA
    Eden Area United Democratic Campaign, Hayward, CA
    United Democratic Campaign of Alameda County, San Leandro CA
    Committee for Beverly Johnson, Alameda CA

    Campaign mailers for Frank Matarrese:
    United Democratic Campaign of Alameda County, San Leandro CA
    Elsa Ortiz, Oakland CA
    Eden Area United Democratic Campaign, Hayward, CA
    Voter Information guide for Democrats, Sherman Oaks, CA
    Voter Education and Registration Fund, Sacramento CA
    Rebuilding California, Sacramento CA
    Don Perata and Construction & Labor, Sacramento CA
    Let’s Rebuild California, Labor, Business and Commuters, Sacramento CA
    Frank Matarrrese, Alameda CA

    Campaign mailers for Lena Tam:
    United Democratic Campaign of Alameda County, San Leandro CA
    Voter Information guide for democrats, Sherman Oaks, CA
    Eden Area United Democratic Campaign, Hayward, CA
    National Women’s Political Caucus, Oakland CA
    Voter Education and Registration Fund, Sacramento CA
    Lena Tam for Alameda City Council, Alameda CA (two mailers)

    Campaign mailers for the Slate:
    Action Alameda, Alameda CA
    Keep Measure A PAC, Alameda CA

    Campaign mailers for Mike Rich:
    None

    Campaign mailers for Ash Jones:
    None

    Campaign mailers for Kenneth Kahn:
    None

    Comment by NIMBY — November 8, 2006 @ 10:06 am

  23. NIMBY, so your point is? The votes were ultimately cast by Alameda voters — or am I missing something?

    Wouldn’t you have used the same data against us if the Slate had won?

    According to your theory, a sizeable majority of Alamedans were upset with the proposed direction and wanted a change.

    Unfortunately, it turns out that only the vocal MINORITY was clamoring for a change.

    People have seen through Pat Republican Bail’s attacks and it is time to accept defeat and move on.

    Comment by Richard — November 8, 2006 @ 10:30 am

  24. What happened to that nice, quiet small town that was Alameda? Now it’s filled with angry politicos all scathing at each other on local blogs. I want my old Alameda back where people worked together and liked each other!

    Comment by EJK — November 8, 2006 @ 11:02 am

  25. Richard, my point is that there are many, many voters who don’t research the issues, but take their “independent” voter guides and transfer them to their ballots without much thinking. Or, like some people I know, vote for the candidate who got to their door first. Or for the candidate whose name they saw most often. Or for the candidate whose name was on a mailer with someone they had had heard of before, like Dianne Feinstein for example. Do not underestimate all the trivial reasons people have for choosing one candidate over another and all the ways candidates and parties exploit these reasons. The Democratic Party won this election for Johnson, Matarrese and Tam, not the voters of Alameda, this is obvious from the literature I listed. Let’s not get carried away thinking the victory means the “voters clearly want stores like Target” or other such far-fetched conclusions. The voters clearly went with the candidates the Democrats threw their weight behind, and some of these voters just might get shocked to find out in the next four years what that means for Alameda, that’s all.

    Comment by NIMBY — November 8, 2006 @ 11:06 am

  26. Dave,
    What do you find so fantastically hilarious with the comment that the general public might need some financial education? The national savings rate was -0.08% last year. Perhaps even more this year. What does that say about the shape of the average consumer? What does it say about citizens living in some of the most expensive parts of the country, who likely got themselves into severe debt?

    So.. what do you make of it? I’d say that by and large, MOST Americans have no clue what money really is. It doesn’t take too many years of negative savings rates before it’s time to pay the Piper. Yes- eventually that debt has to be paid. if not, then you, me, and everyone else will have to pay for those that were unwise with their money.

    Comment by superintindent — November 8, 2006 @ 11:07 am

  27. Lots of people need a financial education. What I find hilarious is that YOU think you don’t need any.

    And to nitpick: And the natioanl savings rate does not include 401K and other retirement plans. It’s still too low, but it’s not the negative number that you say it is.

    Comment by dave — November 8, 2006 @ 11:20 am

  28. Oh.. I see.. so you’re making assumptions of me and not the topic at hand. I could care less what you think about me, as this is a blog with opinionated people.

    I am not saying that I personally have no further need for self education when it comes to finance. My own research led me to conclude that buying a home in the last few years was not exactly a wise decision.
    Indeed- the count did not include those 401ks… but since the average baby boomer has saved up LESS than 40k for retirement means that when they retire, you can say goodbye to social security.

    It also means that those 401ks mean absolutely nothing in terms of the national savings rate because we will suddenly have a massive aging population putting a severe strain on the economy. Oh- I was wrong about the savings rate. It is actually -0.09%.
    Anyhow, I’m done with the mud-slinging contest. Adios for today.

    Comment by superintindent — November 8, 2006 @ 11:39 am

  29. NIMBY, but you would have been singing praises of these very same people had they voted for the Slate. So why insult their intelligence (some of the reasons you suggested are plain insulting) just because they don’t agree with you?

    Comment by Richard — November 8, 2006 @ 11:59 am

  30. EJK, what happened to the quiet small town is that regional development interests replaced local ones, outside-funded politicians supplanted locally and self-funded ones, and national- and partisan-style campaigning destroyed the non-partisan political race. It’s naive to hope for the survival of the small-town spirit while at the same time inviting regional interests and their big-race tactics to take hold. It’s like mourning the traditional family while insisting that both parents work and the kids go to daycare. You can’t have it both ways. You have to choose one or the other. I think we made the wrong choice.

    Comment by NIMBY — November 8, 2006 @ 12:02 pm

  31. Not at all, Richard. If people had voted for the slate, despite the barage of outside mailers and negative advertising, I would have praised them for doing their homework dilligently by studying the issues. However, if the Slate had put out the same amount of money and material the Dems put out on behalf of their trio, I would not have jumped to that conclusion at all. My opinion of why the majority of voters vote the way they do holds true. If it wasn’t, candidates would not be spending millions to influence them with ads and soundbites, don’t you think?

    Comment by NIMBY — November 8, 2006 @ 12:10 pm

  32. #30

    Nail/head

    Good post

    Comment by dave — November 8, 2006 @ 12:21 pm

  33. #32

    Butt/kicked

    Get real.

    Comment by Richard — November 8, 2006 @ 12:28 pm

  34. I think this huge (GIANT) landslide shows voters do like the new library, The Theatre, Bayport, Alameda Landing, Southshore mall and changes to Webster, and Park Streets….no doubt in my mind voters see this is a referendum and believe the incumbents were doing a good job. And they get tired of a few trying to say they are the majority…when obviously they are not.

    Comment by Joe — November 8, 2006 @ 12:34 pm

  35. Joe your brilliant, you got it all in one paragraph thank you. John P.

    Comment by John Piziali — November 8, 2006 @ 12:39 pm

  36. As a member of the County Logic and Accuracy Board (two reps from the Grand Jury and two from the seven Leagues of Women Voters in the County), I was at the Registrar’s last night until two thirty a.m. While, when we left, all the precincts were in and yesterday’s voting uploaded into the tallying computers, there were thousands of absentee ballots that came in as well and were sitting, uncounted. They were either received in the mail yesterday or dropped off at polling places. These will not be counted until later this week, and may be enough to affect the AC Transit race. I would not call that one until those are counted. As for our other local races, the vote counts were so consistent from the first, with the absentee ballots already received only, to the last, which included all precints, I am sure the absentees still to be counted will not move anyone from a win/lose column, or even move the percentages.

    I would be interested to hear from people if the receipt of a lot of mailers influenced their vote. Also, to hear if people differentiate between mailers from the candiates themselves and mailers from PACs, which are pretty easy to identify. Since there is a great deal of chicanery in the PAC mailers (calling your PAC by some name not truly reflective of its money source, for example) do people just toss them, or guard them for taking into the booth as guides?

    Comment by Kate Quick — November 8, 2006 @ 12:45 pm

  37. Kate over the years I have come to not trust any mailer that I receive from anyone on issue’s. I don’t care who sends it. I will go to the voter guide with pro and con listed and who it is that makes the particular argument. As for each candidate generally I have already made up my mind about them before they send anything out. Hope this helps John P.

    Comment by John Piziali — November 8, 2006 @ 1:11 pm

  38. Thank you Joe #35. I am also tired of people saying that they represent “the people” when they obviously haven’t asked all of the people who vote. They don’t represent me, nor any of my family or most but not all of my friends who live in Alameda. When the council majority votes against what they want, they complain of not being heard, but when the voters return the incumbents to office, they say it is because of “outside development interests” and don’t want to recognize that it is really the considered opinion of most of the voters.

    The vote is definitely a referendum on the direction the town is going, as some of the anti-cineplex people PROMISED it would be in 2005. If you truly had the majority of opinion on that issue and others, it would show up there– it is up to you to get your supporters out and vote in a low turnout election.

    As for the mailers, of course they influence a few people– that is why they send are sent, but I believe they are mainly due to Democratic party politics, which made a major push to try to get more Democrats in office at all levels. I think I recall that local candidates on the mailers asked for and received Democratic party endorsements, which Pat Bail can’t do since she is a Republican. Both parties do soft money mailers–maybe in Alameda County the Republicans did not want to waste their time, even in Alameda City. To the extent that they worked to get more Democrats out to vote in the election, I am happy about that because I generally agree with the Democrats “special interest groups” more than I agree with the Republicans “special interest groups” of money, development and power.

    Comment by kevis — November 8, 2006 @ 1:11 pm

  39. I don’t mean in #38 to say that the Democratic Party actually paid for any of the mailers from PACS for a non-partisan race, I just think that is why our local candidates were on them.

    Comment by kevis — November 8, 2006 @ 1:18 pm

  40. #33

    Go elsewhere and copulate

    Comment by dave — November 8, 2006 @ 1:24 pm

  41. I don’t know about other people, but I take the PAC mailers with a large grain of salt. Even when some of the recommendations appear to line up with my own preferences or my idea of a particular “party line,” there are sometimes bizarre inconsistencies in these “slate cards.”

    For example, this time around I received a weird slate card from a supposedly Democratic PAC, but it had a yes recommendation on Proposition 90! Stranger still, the Web site that this card listed for Prop. 90 was all about libraries, and did not seem to have anything to do with the actual Prop. 90. I have not heard any prominent Democratic candidates or organizations support Prop. 90. I certainly hope these kinds of mailings don’t have much influence.

    Having said that, I think it’s a little cynical to conclude that most of Alameda’s voters just weighed the mailers they received and voted accordingly, without thinking about the issues.

    The Slate may have had fewer mailers, but they certainly won the battle of the banners, signs, and sign-wavers standing by approaches to the bridges and tubes. If The Slate had won, one could have reached the equally cynical conclusion that people just voted based on the number of signs and sign-wavers, not on the issues.

    It’s certainly fair to argue that Mayor Johnson, Councilmember Matarrese, and challenger Lena Tam benefited from Democratic Party endorsements — after all, that is a major reason why any candidate seeks his or her party’s endorsement. However, to be fair, one should also acknowledge that The Slate had the advantage of a number of “hot-button” issues (to use the terminology from their own Web site) that generated intense pockets of citizen opposition, like the Alameda Theater project and the proposed Target store. It’s often much easier to get people worked up in opposition to something than it is to get people excited about continuing on the current path.

    Contented voters tend to ignore local races on the ballot or avoid the polls altogether, on the assumption that things will just continue on auto-pilot without their active support. Over the past year I have talked to co-workers who are generally pleased with the direction of things in Alameda, and were astonished to learn that people actually opposed things like the Alameda Theater project or Target. They told me they felt no need to get involved with actively supporting these projects because they figured most everyone in town supported them and they would naturally be moving forward.

    So from this perspective, it was the incumbents and those who generally support the current direction in Alameda who faced the great challenge of getting those contented voters energized and informed enough to vote in large numbers yesterday.

    Although it would take a scientific poll to prove or disprove the hypothesis, the anecdotal evidence in my circle of friends and acquaintances and now the election results themselves suggest that Mayor Johnson’s talk of a “silent majority” is accurate. If a majority (silent or otherwise) of residents truly believed very strongly that this town was on the wrong track and that the incumbents were not doing a good job, it’s hard to imagine that any quantity of glossy mailers could have counteracted that.

    Comment by Michael Krueger — November 8, 2006 @ 1:28 pm

  42. I accept that the pro-theater side is the majority. However I also submit that no one who understands the financing scheme is in that majority, save some PSBA members.

    It is a majority, and the majority rules. It is also a boondoggle and a bloody mistake.

    Comment by dave — November 8, 2006 @ 1:36 pm

  43. Dave, tsk tsk … the stress of ending up on the losing side is definitely showing in you! I’ve been there myself: FL in 2000.

    Unlike Gore, Slate lost fair and square. No point in continuing to hint at wacky theories to explain your poor performance. Best to see how to move forward.

    Comment by Chris — November 8, 2006 @ 1:37 pm

  44. Please cite any “wacky theories” I have posted.

    Here’s a hint: you can’t, becasue I haven’t.

    Comment by dave — November 8, 2006 @ 1:39 pm

  45. When everything fails Dave the “hotshot financial wizard” tries “nobody understands this but me” theory.

    You’ve been screaming this from rooftops for a while now and evidently voters don’t buy your argument.

    The silent majority has finally spoken against the vocal minority by a 2-1 margin.

    Comment by Richard — November 8, 2006 @ 1:41 pm

  46. In agreement with Michael K., I have to say that those glossy mailers go straight from the mailbox to the recycling bin at my house and it is a shame for the waste of trees to generate these ridiculous things.

    Comment by kevis — November 8, 2006 @ 1:43 pm

  47. Richard:

    Describe the financing scheme and explain to us all its strengths, benefits and feasibility. Include in your analysis comparisons to the city budget as a whole and relative to ARPD. (as it is recreation.)

    Good luck.

    Comment by dave — November 8, 2006 @ 1:48 pm

  48. Dave, what part of SLATE LOST don’t you get? You ranted and raved on ADN (as did the 99.99% of other folks there) and still came a cropper.

    Now you want us to write an essay so you can judge us lesser mortals?
    Are you telling us 10,000 people are wrong and the 5000 odd who voted for DeHaan are geniuses?

    To you we submit: O financial wizard! wall st awaits you and your genius. Why are you wasting your skills by pontificating on ADN? Surely, this is no WSJ!

    Comment by Slate LOST — November 8, 2006 @ 1:55 pm

  49. It is obvious that you do not understand the subject.

    It is unfortunate that you continue to bloviate on anyway.

    It is unbecoming that you refuse to educate yourself on a serious civic matter.

    I stand by the postulate that the cinema is supported only by those ignorant of its disastrous financing.

    If you can demonstrate to me that the scheme is a solid & feasible one, I will sign off permanently from this blog.

    If you continue to jab without facts or evidence, well I will continue to laugh at your dim pugnacity.

    Comment by dave — November 8, 2006 @ 2:04 pm

  50. #31, #36, etc:

    I find that the campaign mailers are interesting, but not particularly educational or useful in most cases.

    One exception: Alice Lai-Bitker’s mailer last spring that described her schedule. (CAVEAT: I helped edit it, but I was not responsible for the concept, which I liked and am endorsing here.)

    Mailers can be handy reminders, but they are no substitute for educating yourself on a candidate’s positions or a ballot measure’s good and bad points.

    I cannot imagine that ALL of the voters are so lazy or disengaged that they are controlled by what hits their mailbox or doorstep. I do not share Ani’s pessimistic view that elections (or voters) can be easily bought: otherwise, Pat Bail would be an incumbent council member this year and not a twice-defeated candidate.

    The voters have spoken, and I believe they have chosen wisely, for the most part. For over two centuries, we have made steady (if irregular) progress as a nation and come a long way because of this great communal electoral wisdom.

    Voting alone, of course, is not the whole story. Active citizenship requires more than just voting: attending council meetings, supporting candidates and elected officials with your comments and ideas, volunteering, etc., all are part of the process.

    Jon

    Comment by Jon Spangler — November 8, 2006 @ 3:03 pm

  51. #33, #40, #44, #48, #49,

    Both of you should take a time out. At least 30 minutes…

    If you have real information or value to add to the discussion, that’s great. But if all you want to do is gloat, vent your spleen, or engage in virtual pissing contests, do it some other way, will you?

    Your private and ego-intensive “stuff” gets in the way of valuable communication. To spend time bragging that someone–you or someone else–is either completely hopeless or always right is a waste of time, since neither proposition is supportable.

    Miss Manners would not approve….

    Comment by Jon Spangler — November 8, 2006 @ 3:15 pm

  52. I calmly and peacefully await Richard answer.

    Comment by dave — November 8, 2006 @ 3:26 pm

  53. I have no desire to boost your now deflated ego with an financial essay. Pounding sand is a good way to release all that frustration that you’ve built up (the 50% margin of loss surely doesn’t help things).

    Comment by Richard — November 8, 2006 @ 3:31 pm

  54. There seem to be two parallel discussions going on here. This is on the campaign literature one:

    I went on Google and tried to find some info on the effect of campaign literature on voters specifically, without much luck. I think this is something worth studying. There is of course plenty evidence on the effect of overall spending and number of votes, both nationally and locally. Cite your own source on that. In fact, if anyone finds a source saying there ISN’T a relationship, by all means let me know.

    About mailers specifically, a friend told me yesterday she saw an Ethiopian couple, stack of campaign mailers in hand, headed to the polls. That’s funny and sad at the same time, considering how savvy we think we are, and assume other people are too, about advertising and how it has no influence on us. Then take my good friend X who said she doesn’t know much about all the issues and candidates but is going Democratic all around. When I tried to explain some issues to her where the democratic endorsement shouldn’t matter, her eyes just glazed over. I am not saying the voters are stupid. But they are disinterested, busy, innundated, lied to, etc. If you see 50 ads about Tylenol, you go to the store and ask for Tylenol. If you see 50 ads for Candidate N, and to boot, ten against Candidate K, you vote for Candidate N.

    I believe Action Alameda and the Slate ran an honorable, truly grassroots campaign. They could have gone the way of the negative ads too, but decided not to. Pat Bail could have put her money to work as everybody kept insinuating anyway, but she didn’t. And even if they did all that, they might have lost anyway, but I am really proud that with everything stacked against them—press, money, the Democratic machine—they stayed on the high road and did what they could with the help they had. I have no regrets whatsoever for having supported them, and I have learned a mountain from watching how everybody plays.

    Comment by NIMBY — November 8, 2006 @ 3:40 pm

  55. Jon (#50): Agreed about civic participation. Howard Dean has said that just voting gets you a “D”. (Running for office? That gets you an “A”.)

    Readers and participants of this and other political blogs are clearly doing better than this, but most people out there are just barely passing when it comes to participating in our democracy. And many are getting a big fat “F”. (which I say with intention of reminding anybody of a recent slate ad, BTW)

    Ani (#54): I haven’t seen the studies you are looking but I do know from an interesting book “Get Out The Vote” that campaign flyers have a very small effect on getting out the vote (which is similar but not the same as influencing people). The most effective? Door-to-door canvassing or phone-banking by passionate volunteers (as opposed to paid staffers). Literature is pretty minimal, with robo-calls having essentially zero effect.

    Dan (#55): Echo.

    Comment by Dan W. — November 8, 2006 @ 3:53 pm

  56. I would agree with NIMBY that the Slate ran an honorable campaign, as did all the candidates. Some of the slate supporters did engage in some ugly behavior, but I don’t think they were condoned by the slate. And while the slate will cry foul over the erase the slate videos, none of the videos were fabricated lies – they were Pat Bail in her own words.

    On the subject of campaign literature, once again I side with NIMBY and cringe when I see people using them as their cheat sheet at the polls (I saw several yesterday). Everyone seems to hate them, but when we have a chance to control campaign spending through an initiative such as prop 89, we don’t do it. What’s up with that, people?

    Comment by notadave — November 8, 2006 @ 3:57 pm

  57. Comment #5: Richard: Actually two of Mr.Roberts endorsements actually won. Tracy Lynn Jensen and myself. Of course he had to get at least one right since there was only one challenger with two seats. :)

    As someone who has participated in five elections (lost my first three elections), I would offer these general observations:

    1.) Being a registered Democrat is important. The old adage “I would rather fight than switch” does not work in Alameda.
    2.) Securing the Alameda Democratic Club endorsement is important (just ask Tony Daysog when failed to get the local club endorsement for AC Transit).
    3.) Signs do not win elections.
    4.) The amount of personalize phone banking is the largest predictor of a successful campaign.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — November 8, 2006 @ 4:43 pm

  58. Checkmate, Richard. Come back when you know WTF you’re talking about.

    Comment by dave — November 8, 2006 @ 4:44 pm

  59. Dave, see #53

    Comment by Richard — November 8, 2006 @ 4:58 pm

  60. Richard,

    I am challenging you, even inviting you, to prove me wrong. To be proven wrong publicly would boost my ego? Splain how.

    It is obvious that you know I am right on the subject of the theater’s financing scheme. You’d look much less priggish to simply admit it.

    You can still blog away gleefully about the 2-1 margin all you like. But doing so while acknowledging the financial mismanagement of Johnson et al will make you appear to have a nuanced, well-considered view, rather than the shrill and empty one that you project here.

    I normally charge a fortune for my advice, but that little bit is free.

    Cheers!

    Comment by dave — November 8, 2006 @ 5:33 pm

  61. There is some math involved here so bear with me.

    Last election (Presidental) Alameda had appromixately 32,000 voters with 9,000 voting for Ms Bail.

    This election we will end up with about 21,000 voters and 5,000 votes for Ms Bail.

    If we assume (I know they are dangerous) that are 20,000 committed voters each election cycle. That leaves 10,000 more impressionable voters to campaign mailers and such.

    So if the same 5,000 voters are removed from the numbers we have 4,000 voters out of 10,000 that voted for Ms Bail when she ran campaign materials filled campaign in 2004 versus the grassroots campaign of 2006.

    Hence the dubious connection that campaign mailers generated 40% versus 15%. Your results may vary based on age, political party or stance on pandas.

    Comment by Alameda Joe — November 8, 2006 @ 5:41 pm

  62. Dave – re: Theater Financing

    I would not be at all surprised if you have spent more time looking at the projected finacial feasability of the proposed theater project than most of the readers of this blog. You have clearly drawn some conclusions, and I assume are very concerned about the impact that those conclusions will have on the well being of the city.

    I respectfully suggest that you contact a member of the council whom you believe to be the most approachable, and present your concerns over a cup of coffee with them. (I would suggest Frank.) I think that doing so would be far more constructive than using a forum such as this to make your arguement, and much more constructive than speaking for three minutes at a council meeting, where protocol and rules preclude the council from having a discussion with you.

    Comment by NotDaveEither — November 8, 2006 @ 6:04 pm

  63. That is a very good idea. I did speak at council more than once, and was met with derisive sneers from Johnson who was obviously unconcerned with the numbers.

    Frank voted for it. Would he really bother to listen now? Serious question.

    Comment by dave — November 8, 2006 @ 6:11 pm

  64. In my experience, Frank is very open to talk with residents about their concerns. He is also very bright, and I do not belive that he would dismiss someone who presented a reasoned arguement out of hand, regardless of his previously stated opinion.

    While you may not change his mind, and he may disagree with you completely, I belive that it would be a constructive discussion, and the best possible avenue to present your argument.

    Comment by NotDaveEither — November 8, 2006 @ 7:08 pm

  65. Sorry, I BELIEVE I forgot to spellcheck.

    Comment by NotDaveEither — November 8, 2006 @ 7:10 pm

  66. Dave,

    I too am very concerned about the lack of any economic feasibility study for the theater. If you have reports you or others have put together why don’t you just post them here? Then again, there are more than a thousand and one ways to fail a business and we are only asking to see actual business plan showing it to be feasible. I assume any lending entity would require the same, because there is absolutely no loan collateral if the business plan is a failure. All the lending institution would have would be a building designed and built for one purpose, so if the plan is a failure the “collateral” is really a liability.

    If my bank made such a loan, I would scream “S & L scandal practice” I would pull all my funds from such a high risk lender. Since the building (the New multiplex) is to be built on City property, shouldn’t that Business plan be a public document?
    -David Kirwin

    Comment by D.Kirwin — November 9, 2006 @ 12:02 am

  67. There is collateral for the loans — the city’s general credit. If, some say when, the project defaults, the city is on the hook. If the project were collateralized by the theater itself, and only that, I would not mind a bit. That would be an ordinary business risk, not a city subsidy.

    Comment by dave — November 9, 2006 @ 5:37 am

  68. I believe that the financials are available here at the agenda for the meeting on the Draft Development Agreement. Click on the place where it says to get the packet for the meeting. It is a 65 page document that I think, but can’t verify right now because I am having a connection problem, contains the information you want.

    Comment by kevis — November 9, 2006 @ 8:50 am

  69. primarily to Dave and Dave K.,

    The entire Park Street bond (theater, garage, streetscape) is supposed to be covered by existing tax increments, i.e. money which is currently being brought in by the Park Street redevelopment zone.

    If that money were not diverted into bond maintenance it would go to what? My understanding of redevelopment taxes is that by definition they are cycled back into the redevelopment zone for some kind of maintenance, improvements.

    I’ve never had it explained to me, but I have kind of assumed that the theory of such zones is to get things like run down districts back on their feet, and I further assume that in the long run, the purpose is so they can eventually generate money for the general fund. If so, it’s not clear to me when and by what mechanism.

    Back during the height of frenzy over the theater I pointed a suggestion toward city hall that they lead some work shops on redevelopment so that the average citizen would have better understanding, and I was told that was under consideration. Now after the election maybe it is time to start implementing some kinds of public education forums.

    Historically, when you read opinions in the paper about whether a given project is good or bad, or a certain retailer is desirable, about 80% of those opinions are pie-in-the-sky from people who don’t have well grounded understandings of the economics involved or who over look various impacts, or who grossly distort impacts. AS we see, even among those with more credible understandings there is often quite a spectrum of opinion.

    It’s exhausting to open the paper and read yet another cranky “what this town really needs is…blah-blah” knowing it is often another personal preference based on vague knowledge.

    I talked to Allen Michaan in the early nineties about his attempts to revive the theater, asking if it truly required a multiscreen addition and Allen insisted (in that market) that it did. I refused to accept that even from Allen. Since then Allen himself had to sue distributors to get first run films at the Grand Lake and the market for film has morphed a number of times.

    Anyhow, all through the late nineties into the early 2000s as the theater was periodically discussed, I made it a hobby to write letters every few months complaining that we should look first to the Elmwood and Piedmont theaters as models for a three screen revival. I think over a period of years, two people achknowledged that opinion and they both agreed.

    What I did not know until I got inside our theater is what a disaster the interior is and because of historic fixtures like the chandeliere in the main auditorium which straddles the ceiling of the balcony and main seating, turning the main balcony into separate screenage is not easily addressed.

    I have more to tell about the slow progression of my thoughts on the place, which has ended up with maybe we should “tear it down”, but I want to say that all the alternative plans from Stop Megaplex people seemed unrealistic and because of the agenda to attack the city plan I was never trusting of the critiques of the feasibility of that plan, even though I am intuitively suspicious of it myself. I am also bored to tears by that kind of information and not well versed at analyzing it.

    I want to propose to the Daves that if the city doesn’t satisfy you with a new feasibility sudy, which is moot for them if they are committed to doing this thing, that among us there are enough talented people around who could work on the most current trends in theater and film to make yet anothet stab at critical analysis. What I would not like to see is highly biased person or persons trying to corraborate their opinion by banging a square peg into a round hole to support a predetermined outcome.

    Dave, call me. I am in the book and I’m interested to talk to you about the details of the theater finance as you unbderstand them now.

    Comment by Mark Irons — November 9, 2006 @ 9:45 am

  70. No disrespect intended, Mark, but I’d like to stay somewhat anonymous.

    I located the prospectus for an Alameda redevelopment bond. It’s a 27MM issue which includes 7MM for the theater and 10MM for the garage. This issue is already outstanding, money was borrowed in ’03.

    Questions and observations, in no particular order.

    –Seems obvious that council had already executed the plan well before any public comment was even considered.

    –Authority to borrow is via City Improvement Commission, which is the City Council. Only their vote is required. That is within the law, but seems obvious that law needs updating, as this was a barely publicized, nearly-secret deal. And legal or not, it’s irresponsible at best, and corrupt at worst to handle such things so far from the public eye.

    –Where has the money been since then, in the city’s investment fund?

    –Has the city borrowed additional funds yet? The cinema and garage will cost more than 17MM (maybe they have & I just haven’t located it yet)

    –The OS specifically states that the bonds are not a city general obligation, so I may be incorrect that taxpayers are on the hook in event of default. Maybe, I need to read it further, it’s 214 pages. At the very least, all the taxes generated by the redevelopment district (which doesn’t include Park St) are pledged, unsure so far about other pledges. But even if it’s not explicit, the city will be under tremendous pressure to make good on the bonds, not least from the debt insurer, but also from the general market. The city’s credit will come under such pressure that it might be forced to pay simply to keep its good name. More on that as I plow through it.

    Comment by dave — November 9, 2006 @ 1:23 pm

  71. Park Street is in the redevelopment district. I know because my house is in it, and technically they could take my house for redevelopment. The city did a workshop on redevelopment after the Trammel-Crow proposal and that is what the Downtown Visioning process came out of. I think it is time for another workshop, definitely.

    Comment by kevis — November 9, 2006 @ 3:05 pm

  72. The district from which the tax dollarcome to pay the bonds does not include Park St, according to the bond docs.

    Comment by dave — November 9, 2006 @ 3:39 pm

  73. Both the DDA and the DDA summary on the theater are available from the megaplex website, http://www.stopalamedamegaplex.com, scroll down on the right.
    For the latest budget figures and where the additional money comes from see staff report from July 26, 2006, NOT available online for some reason. I have a copy somewhere of the budget sheet but would rather not try and type all the figures in a table format.

    One interesting discussion that occurred last year at a meeting was what redevelopment bonds can be used for. Tony Daysog got staff to admit that they can be used for infrastructure improvements. There is a catch though, that any project paid for with redevelopment money must generate revenue. Which brings up the question, how does that justify using them to pay for a “public amenity” (Marie Gilmore’s words) that results in a net loss, as stated in the DDA?

    Comment by NIMBY — November 9, 2006 @ 7:30 pm

  74. Nimby,
    Why are you so against the Theatre, you have a choice, don’t go. A lot of us want it for ourselves and our children. It is not like a oil refinery or something, it is something for the people of this City and if you don’t like it don’t go.

    Park st should be a redevelopment district, if it wasn’t for Peets, Starbucks and a few places to eat there would be nothing. It is starting to come around but far from it. A few bars if that is your thing and car lots…but who would buy a car in Alameda? There are like 20 cars per lot, I would go where I have a lot more choices.

    Webster is worse…how many people do you see walking down Webster to go shopping, none just commuters trying to catch the bus?

    Go to Burlingame, San Mateo, or Lakeshore or Rockridge in Oakland you need to have parking lots, some corporate draws such as Starbucks, and some places which attracts people to shop. In those neighborhoods I see people shopping, walking there dogs, pushing strollers, socializing with their friends. Do know how many people will want to walk down Park St after getting out of a Movie…especially is there is something to attract them…like a Ice Cream Parlor, or a nice place to eat or shop. They may see a nice salon, Art gallery or someplace they might come back to and shop and spend money.

    Otherwise the business turnover will continue. The Art place already went out of business on Webster and the place is for lease again.

    Comment by Joe — November 9, 2006 @ 8:05 pm

  75. I think I can clarify some of the confusion about the redevelopment district and the bonds.

    The WECIP (basically the West Alameda redevelopment zone (which included Webster Street and Marina Village) was merged with the BWIP (basically the Park Street and waterfront redevelopment zone) were merged over 3 years ago.

    After that merger, a $50,000,000 bond issuance was authorized by the CIC at their joint, City Council/Alameda Public Financing Authority/Community Improvement meeting of September 16, 2003 (see minutes on City website). Members Johnson, Kerr, Gilmore, and Matarrese voted in favor of the proposal, member Daysog voted against.

    Part of these funds are being used for the Theatre/Parking Structure project. The payment of these bonds will be covered by existing (not projected) tax increment money in the merged redevelopment area. Tax increment money is the difference between the tax on the properties in the redevelopment zone when the zone was originally established and the current tax.

    This is an attempt to explain a very complex issue as simply as possible. I have to keep it simple because I’m just a simple guy. If anyone finds any errors in my facts please let me know. But I believe this is pretty much what happened.

    On a personal note:

    Many people in this state don’t like or understand existing redevelopment law. After 8 years of attending countless meetings and reading even more reports I think I understand about 10% of redevelopment law. Most lawyers I know don’t understand it unless it’s their specialty.

    The bonds were issued according to existing state redevelopment law. No vote of the people is required. The matter was discussed at great length at a public meeting that was properly noticed. If you check the minutes of the meeting you’ll note the only speakers on the subject of the bonds were myself and Sherry Steig from WABA. I encourage everyone who is interested in what ever takes place in Alameda to take advantage of the City’s website and pay attention to the agendas of the council, boards and commissions. When an item of interest to you is on the agenda, show up and add your voice to the debate. Please be assured PSBA will always show up and be heard.

    Thanks!

    Robb Ratto
    Executive Director, Park Street Business Association

    Comment by Robb Ratto — November 10, 2006 @ 10:27 am

  76. Dave,

    I figured you are not totally anonymous anyway, but whatever your preference, no disrespect taken.

    Any breakdown of the 214 pages is more than I’m likely to come up with on my own. I’ll read your remarks in full and those that follow as time permits.

    Thanks.

    Comment by Mark — November 10, 2006 @ 11:06 am

  77. Say it ain’t so Joe.

    Peet’s, Starbucks, a few places to eat, and nothing; I have to take exception with that statement.

    Antiques, bakeries, bikes, cards, chiropractors, clothing (we could use more), computers, counseling, fitness, florists, gifts, home furnishings, jewelry, party supplies, pet stores, picture framing, shoes (we’ve got 3 great shoe stores), toys (a real toy store), vacuums, and wine are just a few of the categories listed in our shopping guide. If you’d like the complete list email me at: parkstreet@alamedanet.net and I’ll send you out a guide so you can see for yourself. We also have more than “a few” places to eat.

    We don’t have everything and we never will, but we do have a very good retail mix (getting better all the time) and many terrific professionals providing services to many people on the island. Email or give me a call at the PSBA office (523-1392) and I’ll buy you a cup of coffee (your choice – we have many) and we can talk about the Park Street District.

    Thanks,
    Robb Ratto
    Executive Director, Park Street Business Association

    Comment by Robb Ratto — November 10, 2006 @ 11:10 am

  78. Robb, sounds like PSBA might need to get out the word a little more? Perhaps there are others who have the same perception as Joe … can’t be good!

    Comment by Richard — November 10, 2006 @ 11:24 am

  79. Hi Robb (with 2 B’s)

    Thanks for your clarification of the redevelopment district. I was looking all over the Web trying to find the BWIP for comment #72 above. I remembered it included Park Street because I had picked up materials about it at a meeting once, but I don’t save everything in hard copy as my Victorian house has no space for that! Also, had a wonderful dinner at C’era Una Volta recently to add on to your comment #77.

    Comment by kevis — November 10, 2006 @ 11:25 am

  80. Lest anyone doubt Mr. Ratto’s assessment of Park St. because he has a vested interest in promoting businesses there, I’d like to chime in as an ordinary resident who lives within walking distance of the district. If someone wants to accuse me of being in someone’s pocket, go right ahead; now that the election’s over, we’ve had fewer opportunities to chuckle at such paranoia.

    But seriously, one of the reasons I opposed The Slate is that they were so negative about the revitalization of Park St. and Webster St., and that flew directly in the face of my own experience. The election results seem to indicate that a lot of other Alamedans felt the same way.

    So, without further ado, I’d like to urge Joe and anyone else who hasn’t explored Park St. — or hasn’t explored it lately — to drop by and take a look. I’ve been watching it for eight years, and lately it is really on the upswing.

    Some of the restaurants and bars there compare favorably in quality and selection with what can be found in much larger cities like Oakland, San Francisco, and even — as I discovered on a recent business trip — New York City. Before you shout, “No way!,” have a meal at Asena, Speisekammer, and Yume, then get back to me.

    The retail selection is definitely improving, with the renovation of the “Starbucks building” at Park St. and Central Ave. and the opening of the Marketplace at Park St. and Buena Vista Ave. serving as a catalysts at each end of the district. You may not notice all the changes if you’re just flying by in your car, so please, get out and explore the district on foot before you think about writing it off.

    I love the way the street improvement project turned out, especially the bright and attractive new street lamps and the transit plazas with new bus shelters that are getting a lot of use. [Memo to PSBA and/or the City: More benches are needed, especially at the Santa Clara Ave. stops! There should also be some benches outside La Piñata, where there are frequently crowds of people waiting and sitting on the planter and the sidewalk. There should also be more bike racks!]

    As I’ve noted before, I’m also pleased that Park St. retains much of its “funky” (and I mean that in a good way) feel. When I first heard of plans to bring in slick corporate chains like Starbucks, I feared for places like Java Rama, Ole’s, and Jonathan’s (“The Slightly Off-Beat Sandwich Shop”) that represent real local character. I continue to patronize those businesses, and they appear to be thriving. It seems that the foot traffic attracted by the newcomers helps my old favorites hold their ground.

    As much as I appreciate the “new blood” on Park St., I hope we will continue to strike a balance between old and new, trendy and humble, upscale and discount. Although I would not want to go back to the run-down Park St. I remember from eight years ago, neither would I like to see it turned into a sterile open-air mall featuring all the same corporate stores that can be found anywhere else in the country. Kudos to PSBA for striking the right balance so far . . . and keep up the good work!

    Comment by Michael Krueger — November 10, 2006 @ 12:45 pm

  81. I agree with Michael. I’m very impressed with Park St as well and hope PSBA will continue the good work.

    Hey, where’s Jean “audit” Sweeney? Haven’t heard from her in a while and her batty story about stores being audited because they had the “wrong” election signs!

    Never a dull moment.

    Comment by Richard — November 10, 2006 @ 1:14 pm

  82. Re: 75

    I took a second look at the OS for the Merged Project bonds. It does appear to show Park St as part of the BWIP but descrines its boundaries as running from Main St on the west to Tilden on the East. Huh?

    Comment by dave — November 10, 2006 @ 2:04 pm

  83. Yes, because as per Robb’s message, I think it was merged not only with the WECIP but also with the district that included the northern waterfront– please correct me Robb if I am wrong. I think it basically includes the Park and Webster business districts and the northern waterfront. Tilden also is only part of the eastern boundary, because it stops when it gets to Park Street.

    Comment by kevis — November 10, 2006 @ 2:36 pm

  84. Joe,

    RE:#74 Don’t know where Nimby went, but I have my answer to my own objections to the theater project.

    Nobody complained about the design for the original parking lot design over the Long’s lot, which would have included a new Long’s store on the ground floor facing City Hall. In a perfect world, that’s where I wish the library had gone, but with all the detractors, we are lucky it got build at all. That’s another story.

    Anyway, that Long’s garage had more spaces but fewer levels. I think the current garage is what started the commotion when people saw the massing diagrams which appeared as though the garage and theater would be a featureless cube. The end designs are huge improvements over the first real designs (not massing diagrams), but I still feel the buildings will crowd the corner, dwarfing the Twin Towers church, and when the movies let out and the lot is filling and emptying, Oak street will be utter hell, even if only for relatively brief intervals. There was no EIR but the traffic analysis for the Negative Declaration simply rated degraded Levels of Service (LOS) at intersections to be remedied with retiming of traffic lights. Easy, no problem, back to levels C and D, from E and F.

    Then there’s the money. Dave’s last remarks above didn’t include what I had hoped, which is projections and explanations for what pays for what. What I’ve gotten from past discussion is that we pay for the historic theater renovation, which under the latest smoke and mirrors budget, covers the lobby, seats in the main auditorium and lots of structural work you won’t see, but not even a coat of paint for the main theater. The Cineplex developer builds his own multiplex on City owned land and pays rent on the historic building. I’m not sure about the land under the cineplex. The rent on the historic theater is low compared to the market, and I have heard arguments for and against this being reasonable. I’d like some in depth and impartial analysis here on all the details but have only heard Leslie Little and Stop Megaplex people.

    The theater justifies the weird garage, but doesn’t pay for it. It will be nice to be able to go to the movies on foot from my home ( I don’t need to park), but the entire construction involved to create this complex is dubious to me. It’s not clear that the theater will cause some hyper stimulation of the Park Street economy so that sales tax dollars will gushing from City Hall. But there is supposed to be some synergy?? The original Park Street Visioning retail study said restaurants are more important than a theater for the synergy thing, and in my humble opinion, the better places like Asena and Kamakura are still lonely for company. I can’t afford to go there often, but College Avenue in Rockridge is filthy with real classy joints to eat.

    My description may be flawed and somewhat feeble, but I think it is generally accurate and there is enough there for you to get some idea of why many of us are not all peeing ourselves in anticipation of the new theater.

    As for other objections from people who have been screaming that the theater will bring gangs and crime “like Jack London Cinema”, I strongly disagree with them. Just went to JLC tonight, had a fine time. Even if I were phobic about being around dark skinned “others” and paranoid about being in the 8th most violent city in America, I think I would have enjoyed my movie without needing a Xanex, certainly no security guard.

    Comment by Mark — November 10, 2006 @ 11:14 pm

  85. Re: The $50 M bonds issued in 2003 that include Theater Project financing;
    Robb says;

    Many people in this state don’t like or understand existing redevelopment law. After 8 years of attending countless meetings and reading even more reports I think I understand about 10% of redevelopment law. Most lawyers I know don’t understand it unless it’s their specialty.

    The bonds were issued according to existing state redevelopment law. No vote of the people is required. The matter was discussed at great length at a public meeting that was properly noticed. If you check the minutes of the meeting you’ll note the only speakers on the subject of the bonds were myself and Sherry Steig from WABA. I encourage everyone who is interested in what ever takes place in Alameda to take advantage of the City’s website and pay attention to the agendas of the council, boards and commissions. When an item of interest to you is on the agenda, show up and add your voice to the debate. Please be assured PSBA will always show up and be heard.
    Thanks!
    Robb Ratto

    That in a nutshell was the root of the formation of the slate. Obviously the slate did not get the message across. This is just one example of how our representatives and city staff are out of our control. The Theater Project was a done deal before it became public. Robb may wave papers and loudly disagree, but from his example of the $50 M bond issue; “properly noticed” means it met the bare legal requirement without a meaningful intent of informing the public / “discussed at great length” means explained in a way Robb could not understand (as stated in #75), and only the representatives of our two main business districts spoke during public comment – Robb, who is not a resident and Sherry from WABA. I’m sure they were both pleased as punch that all this public money would be available to be spent for the benefit of their districts and private developers. $50 Million public dollars, no meaningful public notification, no public vote!

    “Redevelopment is a ‘Frankenstein’ consuming CA’s future. Once a redevelopment zone is established, a handful of individuals, (in Alameda it is the members of City Council acting as the “Citizen Improvement Commission”), can issue massive public debt without public consent. Redevelopers love this, and all they have to do is make sure each redevelopment district remains in debt. As long as the debt exists, which gets slowly repaid by ‘tax increments’ (which otherwise would support our city’s general fund) more bonds can be issued by a handful of people to feed developers and keep the cycle of public money to developer’s pockets going forever.
    I want to research whether Alameda made an exception to this in the form of Article XXV of the city Charter which voters approved prior to Measure A. It says redevelopment pursuant to State or Fed funds needs a vote of the people to proceed, or something along those lines.

    For info on State Redevelopment see the following sites http://citywd.com/E/redevel/index.html and especially the downloadable booklet at http://citywd.com/E/redevel/norby/toc.htm for information on how CA Redevelopment has become an underground government. Although some of this information is years old it points to the fact that in CA alone $100’s of Billions of otherwise general fund taxpayer money is now owed to developers. This debt was not approved by developers, nor is it, nor will it be available for our schools, roads, or other social needs.

    The creation of public debt should have a public voice. That was one of the points the Slate did not get across. Now it only needs the vote of 3 council members. That is why developers pay big bucks to support candidates through direct donations, or payments to PACs that will support their choices. How many tons of glossy PAC-financed mailers were sent to Alameda voters in the last 6 weeks? Who did they support? Who won? Who will continue to issue debt for the benefit of developers?

    Don’t confuse these facts by saying Slaters are against all development or the positive changes in our city. I do have several concerns though which include how these changes occur, how many negative changes will occur as a result, the lack of a cohesive plan to guide these changes, the lack of public knowledge and approval prior to committing to these changes, the long term challenges as a result of the way these changes are decided and affect our island, and perhaps most importantly, the overwhelming number of changes in the process now being decided without the benefit of seeing the actual impacts of already approved plans that have not yet materialized.

    My big fear is 10 years from now being gridlocked in high crime, vandalized areas of our island with everyone saying “What the F*** did we do to our neighborly island sanctuary?” (Like Berkeley) What is staff’s big fear about just slowing down – oh yeah, their jobs. Well between development staff’s jobs and the quality of life in Alameda, it is a no-brainer – SLOW DOWN, maybe reduce staff a bit, save some money, organize community input in a meaningful way, and continue with community-driven development.
    -David Kirwin

    Comment by D.Kirwin — November 11, 2006 @ 4:27 am

  86. What are we going to do with the old library? This issue seemed to be off the radar during the election. Not passing judgment here attack dogs, just asking an intelligent question. It would seem to me that the upkeep of this vacant facility will start to put a small but constant drain on our city budget.

    Comment by Gregg de Haan — November 11, 2006 @ 9:10 am

  87. “Eating some crow” – We did go to Park Street recently. We went around the parking lot across from the Alameda Theatre several times before we finally caught someone pulling out. I probably over-spoke about some of it.

    Antiques are really our thing. We went to one furniture plaza which had a mix of both new and old. We actually bought 2 nice framed pictures there. We went to 2 others, one a some nice clocks but other than that we didn’t see anything we liked. There is another place down past the car lots which I saw a nice painting on the wall but we went 4 times and the place is always closed. There was a date when it was going to be opened next but that was far past.

    We liked the Marketplace, but we won’t drive all across town to go there, it is more of a neighborhood place. We went into the bicycle shop but the bikes were way more than what we would want since we are not avid bikers. The new dress store looks great but not for us.

    We went into the video store/framing shop and didn’t find anything we liked. There was another framing shop on a side street but it has always been closed when we went. We finally found a framing shop on Encinal and they framed something for us there and bought two other thing he had framed.

    We are not really into bars, although I meet some people at the place with the black cat on the side – Lucky 13.

    We have eaten at La Piñata, we had to wait and the food was not very good, service C+. We liked Juanta’s much better…(although before we went in 2 women said don’t go there to to La Piñata). We replied we didn’t like La Piñata – they seemed surprised. (We are both of Latino backgrounds). We haven’t tried any of the other restaurant around there. We usually go to Pasta Pelican or Ortega’s, or to Jack London, or the SF when we go out. So I guess we may have to try a few of the above mentioned.

    We walked into all the other stores which were opened.

    I was to harsh (or wrong) (NIMBY just pushes my buttons), in my previous post, but there isn’t much for “US” to make us go over there and shop. We would like to go to that one store at the end of Park St if it was ever open. I still haven’t made it but look forward to going to the new Library

    Once the Theatre is open, we will probably go and eat somewhere either before or after a movie…and may do some shopping, as we do when we to to movies at Jack London or Emeryville.

    We do drive all across town to go to Safeway, several times a week – hate Albertsons.

    Comment by Joe — November 11, 2006 @ 9:27 am

  88. Old library belongs to AUSD. City gets out of lease after doing the requires work needed to return the space to usable condition for the school district which includes putting some walls back in etc..

    While I will miss the old library perhaps because it reminds me of the historic values of a library, I really do like the new library, and have used it several times. With some the “old curmudgeon” remarks I have read, I do hope the library staff can keep the library quieter than the old library. Most of the annoying volumes were probably kids getting out of school and hanging out at the library and who wouldn’t want that? It just when I was young kids like me were forced to respect where they were, loud talking is disruptive to many people trying to read and study, eating and drinking was forbidden, and cell phones were unheard of. Hopefully the new library will encourage or require that food, drink, and conversations take place only in the cafe.

    Comment by D.Kirwin — November 11, 2006 @ 9:42 am

  89. D. Kirwin:

    I wrote that I don’t really understand redevelopment law, not the explanaton about the issuance of the redevelopment bonds. Two different things.

    Let’s keep it accurate.

    Robb

    Comment by Robb Ratto — November 11, 2006 @ 9:45 am

  90. Joe:

    Thanks for new post.

    I still want to get you a shopping guide if you don’t already have one. If you don’t want me to send you one, they can be picked up at many PSBA stores including: Pillow Park, Doumitt’s Shoes, Scott’s Shoes, and Pauline’s Antiques.

    I’m also very happy you’ll be watching movies in the theatre when it finally is reopened. Say the word and I’ll buy you some popcorn.

    Best Regards,
    Robb

    Comment by Robb Ratto — November 11, 2006 @ 9:50 am

  91. Just a simple statement from a simple person. In Alameda the “slate” supporters say that they lost because everyone voted by what the so called big money political machine told told them to vote. However on the national model we see just the oppisite the big machine and I mean really “BIG” machine outspent the opposition by huge margines and still lost because “you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you can’t all of the people all of the time”. So I would have to say that the people of Alameda knew exactly who they were votng for. The “slate” argument just does not hold water or any other beverage. Remeber that Pat Bail spent over $120,000.00 like a big machine would and still lost because people were on to her politics. John P.

    Comment by John Piziali — November 11, 2006 @ 12:20 pm

  92. Dave Kirwin,

    Isn’t the old library Greg is referring to the Carnegie?

    Joe,

    There was a pace called Burritos on Wheels next to Jaunita’s which was much better than Juanita’s or La Pinata. It’s now a pizzaria. Burritos on Wheels is supposed to reopen at Bridgeside. Meanwhile, Alameda Taqueria and Romiero Brothers are great.

    Comment by Mark — November 11, 2006 @ 1:53 pm

  93. Thanks Mark,
    We will try it out. Do you know when the new Brigeside is suppose to open. I was also surpise as I thought it was a Whole Food opening there and it is a Nob Hill Foods. We go to 24 hour fitness and Home Depot alot so it will be on our way.

    Comment by Joe — November 11, 2006 @ 3:47 pm

  94. The Carnegie library has had the seismic work done on it, but there is no use for it at the present time. The temporary library at Alameda High School was on a 5 year lease from AUSD in which the lease rate was nominal for the first 5 years and then increased sharply for the 6th year because the school district needs it back now for classrooms. They are making I believe 11 classrooms out of the space. The library paid for the upgrades that were necessary to make the space strong enough to hold books, which makes it more than strong enough to hold students. I know that the Alameda Museum would like the Carnegie Library space (Petaluma has a very similar Carnegie library for their museum) but that it controversial.

    Comment by Kevis — November 11, 2006 @ 4:18 pm

  95. I was interested in the old library across the street from city hall. I think we are all confusing our library’s or are we all talking about the same building I am referring too? The old building is an amazing piece of architecture. The library not located at Alameda High. Is this building owned by AUSD?

    Comment by Gregg de Haan — November 11, 2006 @ 4:22 pm

  96. John P -
    Nationally the voters clearly cast their vote against the war. I have no idea nationally speaking who you are referring to as “the national model we see just the oppisite the big machine and I mean really “BIG” machine outspent the opposition by huge margines and still lost because “you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you can’t all of the people all of the time”.
    John, – Do you really know what was going on in other states – either politically or with ‘campaign advertising’?
    What are you referring to? I don’t recall anything on the ballot that was a “national” vote. Obviously the democratic support of Johnson here counted for a lot, and I think it was for that support that Beverly Johnson the republican began to register as a democrat. She is not the only local official to switch party affiliation to increase financial and voter support. It appears that she never changed ideologically – public funds to private pockets is clearly a mainstay of republican power, and I know you can spell Halliburton.

    I’m still waiting for a meaningful response to #85.
    -Dave Kirwin

    Comment by D.Kirwin — November 11, 2006 @ 5:02 pm

  97. RE: Carnegie Library

    The Carnegie Library building (located on Santa Clara across from City Hall) is owned by the City of Alameda. Kevis is correct that seismic work has been done, but I believe more work, seismic and otherwise, still needs to be done. I know of at least three proposed uses for the building. Move the Alameda Museum to the site, turn it into the one stop permit center, move either Public Works or Development Services into the space.

    If you have an opinion of what it should be used for I suggest you contact the members of the city council and let them know your feelings on the matter.

    Comment by Robb Ratto — November 11, 2006 @ 5:46 pm

  98. Greg: The building across from City Hall is owned by the city. After the Loma Prieta earthquake, retrofitting was required to continued use as a Library. The City moved out and used AUSD space while a more permanent space could be found. With the completion of the new Library, the city moved out of old Alamed High School. AUSD is in the process of approval from the state to begin building classroom space there.

    As for the Carnegie Building, the City has plans to renovate it. It is on a list of projects awaiting funding. http://www.ci.alameda.ca.us/publicworks/pdf/cip2006-2008/06CarnegieBldgPhase1.pdf#search='alameda%20carnegie%20building

    Comment by Mike McMahon — November 11, 2006 @ 5:48 pm

  99. Dave,
    How do you know Beverly Johnson was a republican? or are you just throwing around facts?

    For 15 years, I was a stanch republican and only voted that way, but now a registered as a democrat and vote for whoever I see fit. It would haven’t mattered to me in this election if she was republican, independent, green, democrat or whatever else…I thought she has done a good job and is the best person for the position.

    People change after life experiences and some people never do. I believe my political changes were from experiences and growing up enough to know what I really wanted. It doesn’t mean I am a better person than when I was younger but that life treated me in a way where I saw a need to change. Some people never do or admit when they may have been wrong…I don’t want to be that person…even when I am 90 years old.

    Comment by Joe — November 11, 2006 @ 6:05 pm

  100. Kirwin, Robb has already offered an explanation to #85. You just can’t keep professing ignorance because a) you don’t like the answer or b)the reality doesn’t fit with the Slate manifesto.

    btw, can you please stop pasting stuff from the Slate playbook? If you have no original thoughts to offer, please try to think of some!!!

    Comment by Richard — November 11, 2006 @ 6:09 pm

  101. The gist of my comments in #85 reflect that tens (or hundreds) of millions of public dollars can be signed out by a handful of individuals without a public vote, no meaningful public notice and these decisions to put the money into private developers can and does happen here in Alameda. That is the issue. Please re-read #85 and make a meaningful comment.
    -Dave Kirwin

    Comment by D.Kirwin — November 11, 2006 @ 8:45 pm

  102. #96 So David I guess you are even a more simpler person than I am. What I said and I think you know exactly what I meant, is that the republican party spent huge sums of money to win in this past election and it did them no good because the average American voter knew that they were not being told the truth by that party. The American people voted for who they actually believed would serve their best interests. So to compare Alameda to the nation I simply said that the citizens of Alameda voted for the persons that they believed would serve them best. David its not rocket science its just human nature. You can keep dodging the issue’s and wordsmithing everything that we talk about but you will never get your point across until you decide to be honest and talk about the issue’s we bring up on this site. Please remember that this is not the Don Roberts site, so you have to deal with reality here. John P.

    Comment by John Piziali — November 11, 2006 @ 10:29 pm

  103. Jeez John – PLEASE reread #85 and respond to to that – you keep talking about dodging the issue – that’s all it appears you are doing!
    -Dave Kirwin

    Comment by D.Kirwin — November 11, 2006 @ 10:52 pm

  104. Re: post#85. I’d like to point out that we live in a republic, and a representative democracy, not a pure democracy. That means we place authority and trust (in varying amounts) in our duly elected public officials. So no, city finances do not and should not be subject to a vote of the public in every case. That way lies demagoguery (just look at CA’s initiative process).

    Keeping on top of things requires the public to pay close attention to official notices and meeting dates of various commissions as well as the council. And it can be done without needing to be spoon fed information. Lena Tam wants to look at ways to improve the process, which is great. But really, if you don’t know abut a public issue, that’s on your head.

    Comment by Linda Hudson — November 12, 2006 @ 2:12 pm

  105. I promise myself every few days to stay away from this place, but I simply have to weigh in on the last comment #104.

    The public trust could be and is violated in an infinite variety of legal ways all the time. I’ll give you just one, perfectly legal example of cheating the public, the sheer elegance of it makes it difficult to forget. Earlier this summer Frank Matarrese had requested that staff explore and present some alternatives to the theater, just in case the budget numbers didn’t work out. (The budget numbers didn’t work out and he approved it anyway, but that’s another story). So when the time came to award construction contracts which was also the deadline for the alterantives, there was a public meeting, and up to that point no mention of alternatives had been made anywhere in the public realm. The staff report for the meeting had not a word about alternatives in it. Lo and behold, at the public meeting staff gets up and dumps on the unexpecting audience and possibly some of the council members) not one or two, but six “alternative options” supposedly for some sort of consideration, otherwise why else? Of course, there is no written document for the public to follow or address. Only the people present at the meeting are able to react. Those watching at home are entirely shut out in advance, not knowing that such item is even on the agenda. Tony Daysog moves to pull one of the alternatives out for further discussion, seconded by DeHaan, and the motion is immediately voted down. End of story.

    I found the whole show so unbelievable, I went to ask the city attorney if this move was legal, if council can actually vote on something without it being on the agenda. She says, yes, as long as it is brought up before the public comment portion of the meeting. Question: what kind of items can be brought up in this manner, and voted on? Contracts, bonds, ordinances? According to the attorney, anything really, as long as there is time for public comment following the item, even if the public doesn’t know to be there to comment.

    Please feel free to offer some kind of defense of this practice, as I’m having hard time coming up with one. Also, if Lena Tam is reading this, I’d appreciate her opinion as well.

    Comment by NIMBY — November 12, 2006 @ 3:18 pm

  106. Give it up NIMBY! You are continuing to grasp at straws.

    FACTS:

    1. Slate lost by a wide margin. You had to chance to convince people of your bombastic ideas and FAILED.

    2. The theater will be built. PERIOD.

    Any more questions?

    Hey isn’t it surprising you have the opportunity to spew your SWAGs here, but Don Roberts and David Howard have setup a bizarre system where no opposing voices can be heard? Did somebody say echo chamber? Gosh, I can only imagine what fun Action Alameda meetings must be like — where dissent is suppressed!!

    How very Republican (both in your ways of thinking and the THUMPING you got on 7th Nov)

    Comment by Richard — November 12, 2006 @ 4:46 pm

  107. I am not entirely following the the comment presented in #105 but if the agenda item is noted for action, the public can reasonably expect action being taken unless there is a motion to table.

    As for the staff reports presented related to the agenda item that is a protocol is determined among the staff and the elected body. Because of 72 hours meeting notice requirements, many times staff is still working on their presentation right up to the day of the posted meeting. Hence, the materials are not available until the night of the meeting.

    Within the context of school board, we have been working with staff to avoid last minute presentation of materials related to agenda items on meeting night.

    Finally, to facilitate a more open process, I have been preparing a community member friendly version of the agenda for our Board meetings by the Sunday before the meeting. For example, here is the agenda for our November 14, 2006 BOE meeting being held at Paden School: http://www.mikemcmahon.info/agenda.htm

    Comment by Mike McMahon — November 12, 2006 @ 4:47 pm

  108. Thank you Linda for actually responding to post #85, and I don’t disagree with you. We can now simply discuss levels of relevance. This is huge progress for this site. Let’s take it another step.
    In our representative democracy, where we indeed need to trust our elected representatives (in varying amounts) I agree that city finances should not be subject to public ballot in every case, that would be ludicrous, (you said it would led to demagoguery, but perhaps if it was continually part of the democratic process, people may learn to judge facts, putting us past the demagoguery. Let’s agree to stipulate that ain’t gonna happen.)
    The question remaining here then is; “when is it appropriate for our representatives to go back to the voters for validation of their proposals on specific issues?” Gov Arnold had to go to voters with his ideas, and voters disagreed with his proposals. Alameda CC had to come to voters to issue bonds for the library, and the majority wanting the new library approved the bond issuance. I’ll submit to you CC should also have been required to go to the voters to issue even larger amounts of bonds for their other ideas including the $50 million bond issue to be used for the Theater, as well as other of the larger development plans that will have a huge impact on our community. Just because a (bad) law says they don’t have to go to voters if the bond issues are for re-development doesn’t make it right, or more correct to not go to the voters.

    As far as your second comment:
    “Keeping on top of things requires the public to pay close attention to official notices and meeting dates of various commissions as well as the council. And it can be done without needing to be spoon fed information. Lena Tam wants to look at ways to improve the process, which is great. But really, if you don’t know abut a public issue, that’s on your head. “

    This seems to be an attitude from the dark ages. Although CA has the sunshine laws, many cities have since improved upon those. I find it hard to believe that you really feel that we all as indiduals must go to the city clerk’s office at least once a week to get the information on CC and PB meetings. Not to mention all the other meetings vital to our quality of life. The city’s website is a big improvement, but even there most of the information is layered in a labyrinth of pages. To get the information of a single packet you may have to explore over a dozen web pages. Even then you may be faced with 100’s of pages, and have only hours or days to view them. My kids tell me I am spending too much time at the computer. I think like a normal parent I am full of family responsibilities, yet it is apparent that city staff and officials need oversight if Alameda is to be able to hold our quiet residential friendliness. How can normal citizens participate in any realistic fashion? From your 2nd comment it looks like you are with CC in trying to prevent meaningful participation by citizens in their local government’s activities. Say it ain’t so, please. I’m not sure what you mean by “spoon feeding” information, but when there is an item above a TBD benchmark (valued in dollars, or housing units etc) perhaps there should be a direct notice on the news page of the city website and/or in the local press. Certainly CC should at least want to eliminate the perception that they are trying to do so much w/o public discloser or input. I understand that the PB is hoping to skip a meeting, but not the requirement dates for the info flow. I may not be stating it correctly, but they want information available with much more lead time (by skipping a meeting to buy two weeks) for both the public and themselves. Perhaps they too are tired of getting reams of documents with absolutely insufficient time to judge the merits of the plans. The fear of thousands of Alameda voters is that staff and developer-friendly CC will give or barter these valued qualities away and they will be gone FOREVER. That’s why I am for slowing down development – not stopping it.

    -Dave Kirwin

    Comment by D.Kirwin — November 12, 2006 @ 5:24 pm

  109. #97 we all have concerns about buisness leakage, how come no one has concerns about the Park Street buisness Association president being a San Leandro Resident?

    I thinK I will ask my Local city council that question.

    Comment by Gregg de Haan — November 12, 2006 @ 5:59 pm

  110. Mike, the point I am making is that it is perfectly possible—and legal—to bypass meaningful public participation by bringing up an important and possibly controversial item in the manner I described, without it being announced 72 hours in advance. With an unconsiencious council, many decisions can be made this way, in the blind spot of the public eye. The fact that the school board is trying to avoid last minute presentations by staff says that you recognize this practice as problematic. Why isn’t it problematic on the city council level, where decisions with major impacts on our city can (and have been) slipped through this way?

    Comment by NIMBY — November 12, 2006 @ 6:00 pm

  111. I guess the question is, can items brought in at a public meeting, before public comment, be noted for action?

    Comment by NIMBY — November 12, 2006 @ 6:03 pm

  112. Mike M –
    I just checked your site; http://www.mikemcmahon.info/agenda.htm The information being brought to AUSD meeting on Tuesday the 14th – Is it true that the city will allow AUSD to build and own, non-measure A housing, and it will be paid for money that could be used to improve our schools? I thought school housing (as in some of the CA websites) referred to the school buildings. Clearly I don’t have or understand all the information clearly, but this is a red flag in my mind.

    As a member of the Measure C oversight committee, I am offended that the AUSD building and modernization plans are falling well short of funds to complete the plans, yet money earmarked to go to school facilities as a city development fee could be used to bring AUSD into the role of Landlord. This is incredible!

    Please comment, fill me in..

    -David Kirwin

    Comment by D.Kirwin — November 12, 2006 @ 6:27 pm

  113. Dave,
    I don’t know if you are retired but who has time to go to the city clerks office every week…and the energy after working all day to monitor what is going on? I work 40-45 hours/week, commuting, cleaning, cooking, yard work and other things… My quality of life in Alameda is great and as they changed things in the last few years it has even gotten better. I have lived in the farm lands and small towns, this is much better. I am not the “Green Acres” sort…”Alameda is where I rather be”…sorry just watched the show.

    I like being around people, shopping, conveniences, and don’t mind sharing these with others. In the country you can only look at a starry night and hope to go somewhere else.

    I thought you were an old man but then you talked about spending time with your kids who were fustrated because you are speeding to much time on the computer…I feel for you becuse you may gain a point but you are really looseing out.

    My advice is if you want a small town move to one, if you want a farm move to one…don’t waste the time fighting if you are loosing your children in order to keep every thing the same for them…they will grow up and leave you…and wouldn’t have had any fun with you in the mean time because you are fighting a battle on their behalf which they might not want anyways…Balance…Amigo.

    Alameda is not forever, family is, changes are inevitable. I don’t talk to my dad because he never figured this out…it continues to be all about him or some cause…although I still love him…and try to reach out to him once in awhile. The Spanish are stubborn.

    Comment by Joaquin — November 12, 2006 @ 7:11 pm

  114. Ani,

    If my memory serves, meetings and agenda items must be notified 72 hours prior to the meeting. For special cases, where time is og the essence, a special meeting can be called with only 24 hours notice (a regular meeting could become a special meeting in order to add something to the agenda I believe).

    I believe that the packet/information for the meeting needs to only be available before the comment period (that would be available to both the council/board/commission and the public at the same time. I’m sure there are some people here who can correct me if I’m wrong).

    For larger, general plan issues, 30 days notice is required.

    Comment by John Knox White — November 12, 2006 @ 7:32 pm

  115. John, your memory serves you correctly. However, in the case I described above 1) the action item was not noticed 72 or 24 hours in advance, and 2) packets were not available to the public, though they might have been available to council. Yet, according to the city attorney, it was perfectly legal to take an action, e. g. vote, on the item in question. ???

    Comment by NIMBY — November 12, 2006 @ 8:43 pm

  116. Dave: Sent you the same information that posted with the agenda item.

    The monies are not coming from Measure C for the Island High project.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — November 12, 2006 @ 9:35 pm

  117. Nimby: The Brown Act covers the requirements for agenda items and notice requirements. Not enough time to research but here is a link to code with some explanantions: http://www.vanguardnews.com/brownact.htm Try starting at section 54954.1.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — November 12, 2006 @ 9:44 pm

  118. Mike,

    I ‘got’ that this is not Measure ‘C’ money. I was a big supporter of Measure C, and Measure A, and the previous Measure A which were a tax payer Bond and two parcel taxes to support our schools.
    I know that in addition to Measure C funds, money slated to complete AUSD’s new Building and Modernization Plan was coming from the State Modernization Fund (this was one of the reasons listed on the Measure C ballot – so we would have our share of the funds and thus be eligible for the State funds), that some of the funds were from the State’s deferred maintenance funds, and some of the funds are from City Developer fees. All of these funds are needed to complete the Building and Modernization Plan, which we all have been informed will run out of money without meeting its goals. Originally we were told that only so much would be spent at each school, so that the schools in the later phases would not be left because funds ran out.

    If I understand correctly you are saying BWIP is giving money to a district account that must be used for housing in a non-traditional sense. Usually ‘housing’ in CA public school jargon refers to the school facilities. Please see http://www.cashnet.org/news/ for example.
    Please clarify and state the source of your info.

    Who will be presenting the information to the board?
    Who is the “Agency” referred to in Section 33401?
    Why is the purpose of the agreement to provide a certain portion of the tax increment from the Business and Waterfront Improvement (BWIP) to be transferred to the District? This may be different that the developer fee I mentioned above.
    What gives BWIP the authority to tell the District how to spend money?

    Thanks,
    David Kirwin

    Comment by D.Kirwin — November 12, 2006 @ 10:15 pm

  119. Gregg:

    First off; get it right in #109. The President of the Park Street Business Association (Lars Hansson) is a PSBA member, Alameda resident and business owner. The Executive Director, paid staff member (me), is a resident of Hayward.

    When the PSBA Board hired me in 1999, they knew I lived in Hayward. I’ve lived there for nineteen years. Except for senior City of Alameda jobs, I’m not aware of any residency requirements for employees of businesses or organizations in Alameda. I’m paid to represent over 400 Alameda businesses, mostly owned by Alameda residents. The views and opinions I express are on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Park Street Business Association. I really don’t understand why where I live is relevant.

    By the way; my great grandfather moved to Alameda in 1912 and members of my immediate family lived in Alameda until my dad’s death three years ago. My family ran a bar on Park Street from 1933 until 1975, I was born and raised in Alameda and I graduated from Alameda High in 1973, I’m past president of the Alameda Golf Club, the same barber in Alameda has been cutting my hair for the past 32 years, currently, I’m the Vice-Chair of the Transportation Commission, and I’ve been the Executive Director of PSBA for eight years now. Hell, I spend more time in Alameda than most folks who live here.

    Your post #109 was interesting to me because it’s the first time my residency status has been linked with sales tax leakage. Usually it’s linked with not allowing me to talk to the council (I missed the sign over the entrance to the council chambers that says “Alameda Residents Only”). I’ve always found it ironic the people who claim they have no voice at City Hall are always trying to stifle mine and PSBA’s.

    What my post #97 has to do with sales tax leakage is beyond me. I was commenting on the current status of the Carnegie Library which you brought up in #86 and #95 because, apparently, you had no idea what was/is happening with the old library building. Please ask your local city council. Can’t wait to see what their answer will be.

    If you have any other questions about downtown projects, buildings, or issues please feel free to contact me directly at the PSBA office. I’m sure I’ll be able to get an answer for you.

    Best Regards,
    Robb Ratto

    Comment by Robb Ratto — November 13, 2006 @ 1:35 am

  120. Gregg’s increasingly shrill and baseless remarks appear to have all the trappings of a man who is unable to accept reality and is trying his best to distort the election verdict by flinging mud any which way he can. I understand your dad lost in a landslide, but there’s no reason for you to continue down this path of innuendos. This was what got the Slate into trouble the first time around.

    Robb, thanks for patiently replying to set the record straight.

    Comment by Patrick — November 13, 2006 @ 7:13 am

  121. Nimby: Found the section related to agenda items what action a legistlative body can take related to items not on the agenda. Attempted to bold sentence of interest for you:

    54954.2. (a) At least 72 hours before a regular meeting, the legislative body of the local agency, or its designee, shall post an agenda containing a brief general description of each item of business to be transacted or discussed at the meeting, including items to be discussed in closed session. A brief general description of an item generally need not exceed 20 words. The agenda shall specify the time and location of the regular meeting. and shall be posted in a location that is freely accessible to members of the public. If requested, the agenda shall be made available inappropriate alternative formats to persons with a disability, as required by Section 202 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of1990 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 12132), and the federal rules and regulations adopted in implementation thereof. The agenda shall include information regarding how, to whom, and when a request for disability-related modification or accommodation, including auxiliary aids or services may be made by a person with a disability who requires a modification or accommodation in order to participate in the public meeting.

    No action or discussion shall be undertaken on any item not appearing on the posted agenda, except that members of a legislative body or its staff may briefly respond to statements made or questions posed by persons exercising their public testimony rights under Section 54954.3. In addition, on their own initiative or in response to questions posed by the public, a member of a legislative body or its staff may ask a question for clarification, make a brief announcement, or make a brief report on his or her own activities. Furthermore, a member of a legislative body, or the body itself, subject to rules or procedures of the legislative body, may provide a reference to staff or other resources for factual information, request staff to report back to the body at a subsequent meeting concerning any matter, or take action to direct staff to place a matter of business on a future agenda

    Comment by Mike McMahon — November 13, 2006 @ 7:14 am

  122. Robb, Being the funny man that you are I though you may be able to take a joke. Your jab about council representatives was just thrown back at you the same way you delivered it to me. I asked a simple question about the library and you seem to think it was pointed.

    Your inability to conduct a respectful forum this year at the Elk’s club blew me away. Your lack of professional tack shined through like a lighthouse at sea. I wish it were on tape.

    Comment by Gregg de Haan — November 13, 2006 @ 8:11 am

  123. There is a fair amount of personal attack going on here which is not adding to the discussion. This is such a useful place to discuss issues…. please people knock it off…

    Comment by kevis — November 13, 2006 @ 8:37 am

  124. Yeah, so much for Gregg’s “glass house” theory!

    Comment by Patrick — November 13, 2006 @ 8:51 am

  125. Mike, thank you so much for posting the excerpt. It appears, as I thought, that the Brown Act got crumpled on the particular occasion I described. It is beyond me why the city attorney didn’t call foul when she was made aware of the problem. I need to follow up on this with the parties involved, and will get back here to the people interested.

    Comment by NIMBY — November 13, 2006 @ 9:37 am

  126. NIMBY, do you happen to recall when that particular meeting took place?

    Comment by notadave — November 13, 2006 @ 10:14 am

  127. July 26, 2006

    Comment by NIMBY — November 13, 2006 @ 10:25 am

  128. Gregg:

    My post #97 was not addressed to you. It was for anyone’s information. A number of other people had posted quetions about the old library site. It was general info as I understand the current status of the property.

    When I wrote “If you have an opinion of what it should be used for I suggest you contact the members of the city council and let them know your feelings on the matter”, it was meant for anyone reading the comment, not you specifically.

    If you misunderstood my meaning and took personal offense because you thought I was referring you personally to the council, I apologize for the misunderstanding.

    Best Regards,
    Robb

    Comment by Robb Ratto — November 13, 2006 @ 11:14 am

  129. Nimby: A good resource on recourse actions related to the Brown Act would be Kate Quick, from the League.

    Off the top of my head, any action taken by the legislative body that is in violation of the Brown Act needs to be appealed within a specificed time period. Not sure who you appeal to, If the action is found to be violation of the Brown Act, then action can be nullified and returned to the legislative body.

    But once again, this is recall from Brown Act training, so I may have my facts wrong.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — November 13, 2006 @ 11:25 am

  130. Nimby Just off the top of my head from my own experience, I remember that ” no action or discussion shall be undertaken on any item not on the posted agenda”. I know we would be warned by the deputy city attorney whenever we got into those area’s. I guess we need to look at that meeting to see if that happened, I hope that it did not. John P.

    Comment by John Piziali — November 13, 2006 @ 12:45 pm

  131. Here is the link to the Brown Act on the California Attorney General’s web site. It is a pamphlet that can be downloaded or just referred to to check the area of the law of interest to you.

    The League is very interested in hearing about violations of the Brown Act, as it is one of the best controls we have to insure good government practices.
    http://ag.ca.gov/publications/2003_Intro_BrownAct.pdf

    Happy reading! If you don’t understand a particular area, we will, of course be able to research it for you.

    Comment by Kate Quick — November 13, 2006 @ 3:51 pm

  132. Kate, if you have time to watch the tape of the meeting, I’d be interested in your opinion on whether the Brown Act was violated.

    Comment by NIMBY — November 13, 2006 @ 4:58 pm

  133. In response to Nimby’s comment at 105, please contact City Attorney Highsmith regarding your characterization of the Council action and her response to your inquiry. There appears to be a miscommunication.

    In regards to notice and Brown Act requirements, the subject line of an agendized item only needs to be specific enough to inform the public of the general nature of the item being discussed and acted upon. There is no legal requirement for long specific details in the title. Gov’t Code Section 54954.2(a) requires a “brief general description” and “need not exceed 20 words.”

    In response to your question regarding contracts, bonds, and ordinances, there is a whole body of law regarding bidding, contracts, and bonds that is too extensive to summarize here. Ordinances must be introduced at a noticed council meeting and usually are adopted at the next meeting. After adoption, the ordinance must be published. In some cities, the ordinance is published after introduction and before adoption.

    Comment by Jeff Cambra — November 14, 2006 @ 5:00 pm

  134. To follow up on Comment 112. David K, was able to attend the school board meeting and hopefully has a better understanding of is planned. I summarized the presentation in the minutes for that here: http://www.mcmahon.info/boe_meeting1114.htm
    Quick recap: School district will provide low income housing (16 to 20 rental units) for eligible District employees. The housing project will be Measure A compliant unless they partner with the Alameda Housing Authority for an exemption. The District must select a project by June,2007 or the monies ($2,000,000) reverts back to the City.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — November 14, 2006 @ 10:07 pm


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