Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 24, 2008

A picture is worth 132 pages

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Point, Development — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 7:00 am

A thumbnail version of Alameda Point can only mean one thing, for those that didn’t catch the announcement on Stop, Drop and Roll on Monday, or the analysis on The Islandyesterday: SunCal has released its Development Concept Plan for Alameda Point.  As an added bonus, you can check out their Master Plan for the proposed Sports Complex (big PDF, you’ve been warned) as well.  Because most people are going to be too “busy” to read the entire 132 page document (it’s a little less than that because there are some blank pages) I decided to cut right to the chase and post the pictures, because honestly, that’s all most people really care about.   You can click on the graphic to enlarge it or you can check out the real version in the packet on page 41 of the reader.   The legend is below so you can understand what the different shading represents.

For those that want to know how it breaks down, SunCal is proposing:

LAND USE SUMMARY
Residential 158 acres
Commercial/Retail 160 acres
Open Space 151 acres
Total Land Area 696 acres

EMPLOYMENT
Retail Space 375,000 SF
Commercial Space 3,425,000 SF
Total Retail/Commercial Space 3,800,000 SF
Jobs Created 10,200

HOUSING
Affordable Housing Units 1,068
Total Housing Units 4,210

Did I need to mention that this plan is non-Measure A compliant?  SunCal devotes an entire page (p. 18 on the reader) talking about why it is they think Measure A is not necessarily appropriate (or needed) at Alameda Point, highlights and cue the cries of “Measure A was never about saving Victorians!”:

…We question the rational and appropriateness of Measure A in the specific context of Alameda Pt. and propose that an exception be made just for development at the old Navy base…First, the Base is not an existing residential neighborhood that has an established residential scale that needs to be preserved. In fact, the scale of many of the existing buildings at the base is quiet large. Creating an integrated mixed-use area will need a range residential buildings that can relate both to single family buildings and large hangers. Second, the residential reuse of several of the key historic buildings would be eliminated by Measure A…Third, the ability to cluster higher density development at the ferry and transit hub is prohibited. As the Base redevelopment and the city invests more in transit service, it is critical that Transit Oriented Development (TOD) accompanies the increased service. That means higher densities near transit. Finally, with the limits of Measure A the site would not develop enough overall housing to support local retail and services of any consequence. Providing a robust retail and service area is key to creating a walkable neighborhood, one not dependent on auto trips to off site shops…

…[H]ousing types must be reflective of the population’s changing and diverse lifestyles. Multifamily housing, townhomes, condominiums or apartments, provides an affordable and appropriate alternative to large single-family home for many people.

The capacity of Measure A to preserve existing single-family neighborhoods has been proven. Its capacity to meet the environmental and social opportunities of the special case of Alameda Pt. is a question. An exception to the measure, limited only to Alameda Point, would not threaten existing neighborhoods or their architectural character, but could provide much needed transit-oriented development for the island and for the Bay Area.

One of the things that jumped out to me looking at this new plan is that it is pretty much the same as the one that was presented at the Hornet meeting except they have moved the elementary school site from the western edge of the project to the area around where the Big Whites are, which makes a lot more sense then its previous location.  Also, SunCal has appeared to add more commercial around the “Historic Core” and made the housing around that commercial site more dense, while adding more single family housing to the what is being called the “South Neighborhood” while removing some of the acreage from the area alloted for the commercial campus. 

This overview (p. 53 on the reader, p. 47 of the document) provides a good idea of what SunCal is attempting to accomplish for Alameda Point, highlights:

The Master Plan will create a series of distinct urban districts and pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods…The core mixed-use district forms a gateway to the development, with access to the new ferry terminal and key retail oriented towards its dock. It is dense, mixed-use, and a truly transit-oriented district. The historic district preserves most of the north side of the site, including the Big Whites, and extends down to the new ‘Marina Park’. The range of uses, residential, commercial and civic, will make this area an eclectic yet memorable zone…

Integrated with these two focal districts are a series of neighborhoods connected by radial boulevards and local parks. The north neighborhood..will contain a full range of ownership housing types, from single family to townhouse, and will total 188 single-family detached homes, 266 duplex/large townhouses, 621 small townhouses and 436 workforce housing units. The west neighborhood is more mixed in use and density. It will feature a 20-acre commercial area, along with 862 small townhouses and 201 multifamily units. The area fronting the Marina Park will have ground floor retail, cafes, and restaurants and the commercial area will also allow retail and service uses. A third, south neighborhood is a single family area of 213 dwelling units. It will include a potential 17-acre school expansion site adjacent to Encinal High School.

…The historic piers at the south of Seaplane Lagoon will be reused and the adjacent land, which is within the Tidelands Trust, will be developed with non-residential water oriented uses. A pleasure boat marina with several hundred berths will be developed on the opposite side of the lagoon and will have landside support facilities along with a potential hotel and restaurants. Key to the jobs/housing balance of the site is a large commercial site appropriate for a new corporate campus located just to the south of the core mixed use area and its abundant transit services… Lining the site’s western limit is a special buffer zone, designated alongside the National Wildlife Refuge, which will feature rehabilitated hangers and new commercial development. These buildings will be built under strict environmental constrains regarding their height and footprint…

Lots more to talk about, such as Historic reuse and transportation issues, but that is another post for another day.

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73 Comments

  1. I like it! Let’s build it already :-)

    Comment by Jeff R. Thomason — September 24, 2008 @ 9:29 am

  2. wildlife refuge? northwest territories? is that a joke? why aren’t they building multimillion dollar houses on that shoreline?

    Comment by Bob — September 24, 2008 @ 10:18 am

  3. Bob:

    According to the Development Concept Plan (p. 16 on the reader):

    …Part of California’s Public [Tidelands] Trust, created with the purpose of maximizing public benefit, it secures the State’s waterways and adjoining land by limiting their use…Alameda Point has over 1000 acres of land dedicated to public trust. The current form of this land reflects a reconfiguration, the result of the NAS Alameda Public Trust Exchange Act passed in 2000. Valuable waterfront locations were offered to the State in exchange for the consolidation of interior land, in order to allow for contiguous development. The City of Alameda will act as a trustee…and will restrict land uses within the tidelands. General purpose industrial, retail and commercial, office space and housing are not permitted on Public Trust land.

    The wildlife refuge and northwest territories are part of the Tidelands Trust area, there is a map detailing the area on the page referenced above.

    Comment by Lauren Do — September 24, 2008 @ 10:31 am

  4. …whenever I want you all I have to do is dream..dream dream dream

    Comment by Edmundo Delmundo — September 24, 2008 @ 2:08 pm

  5. Here’s another rendering of Alameda Point

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — September 24, 2008 @ 2:19 pm

  6. #5 – LOVE IT!

    I mean, really, folks… Isn’t all of this a pipe dream? Look around. THERE IS NO MONEY. The financial institutions that would issue credit are having to be BAILED OUT with OUR TAX DOLLARS. While the rest of us will slowley be pushed out onto the street.

    Where is the $679 million going to come from?

    SunCal is in over their head with regard to their commitments and litigation–and have been for a long time, as I have mentioned before on this blog. All you have to do is Google. San Clemente… the parcel near Disneyland… Albuquerque dumped SunCal…

    WAKE UP!

    Look at this week’s East Bay Express to get the scoop.

    Comment by E T — September 25, 2008 @ 9:50 am

  7. Here is the East Bay Express Article:

    http://www.eastbayexpress.com/news/lehman__suncal__and_alameda_point/Content?oid=835404

    Comment by E T — September 25, 2008 @ 11:11 am

  8. I love how the plan talks about the 9,000 new jobs. What are they talking about?

    We have mostly empty business parks, which, if full, might amount to a portion of that.

    Where are these jobs coming from? From filled up retail/business/manufacturing,etc. ?

    Do you all know about where 9,000 jobs will come from? Will they be min wage or union?

    Where does that figure come from and what does it mean?

    Comment by E T — September 25, 2008 @ 12:54 pm

  9. Perhaps they intend to solve many problems with basic solutions like using 1,000’s of workers to pedal little “rickshaw” ferries back and forth across the estuary.

    Comment by dk — September 25, 2008 @ 4:00 pm

  10. ET, where did you read about Albuquerque dumping SunCal? I didn’t see anything about that in my research for the Express piece linked above, but I also wasn’t able to focus extensively on all their projects.

    Comment by Rin Kelly — September 25, 2008 @ 7:27 pm

  11. #10, Rin, Well, I’ll ‘fess that I heard that from someone second hand. Should have checked it out first. Will check with my source to find out where the info came from.

    In the meanwhile, however, check out these articles and blog postings I just googled. What these show is a definite trend: the developer has been running exactly the same song and dance in Albuquerque as they have done here, and defaulting on monies agreed to be paid to various communities where they have large projects. In fact, the Albuquerque timeline almost matches ours: SunCal had to pay money to Albuquerque in Mar and they had to pay money to Alameda in May (if I am correct).

    One of the blog postings questions, as I do, the inclusion in the development plan of a carrot in the form of JOBS. How they can make such promises, I haven’t the foggiest notion.

    The plan for Alameda promises 9,000 jobs, if you will check that. This, in a town that has a glut of empty business space and deserted storefronts…

    In Albuquerque, there is an additional issue of WATER that we don’t seem to have here, but is vital there.

    What all this indicates is that SunCal is NOT on the up and up, that they have been doing a song and dance for quite some time, even before the crazy mortgage debacle exploded, and Alameda and other communities have been falling for it. Now, with the financial crunch hitting every sector, SunCal, already back-pedalling on many projects in California while trying to juggle the money, the legal issues and the defaulting, is finding it more and more difficult to dig out of the huge problem it faces. Lehman went down, and so now they have a hedge fund company backing them up.

    Doesn’t this whole thing STINK? The fact that our city is dealing with these crooks doesn’t make our CC and staff look any too swift on the uptake. I mean, don’t they check these people out? What is the highly bureaucratized staff doing at Alameda City Hall? Isn’t the city attorney responsible for making sure that we are not doing business with crooks?

    So, here we have their plan before us, that does not in any way shape or form comply with Measure A and which suggests that we go out on a limb with brt and/or prt. In other words, it is a WILD plan that can only be sent back to the drawing board–right?–because none of the pieces are in place to make ANY OF IT go FORWARD. Follow? This plan of theirs is just a huge STALL TACTIC.

    I have been googling SunCal articles since January and have been aware of all the Orange County problems. I think I have posted those articles in past blog commentary here.

    Anyway, here are a bunch of things I found, and maybe you can dig more, with your journalistic connections. If I find out more concrete info on Albuquerque, I’ll post it back here.

    Thanks for the terrific article, btw!

    http://albuquerque.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/stories/2008/09/15/daily17.html?surround=lfn&brthrs=1

    http://activerain.com/blogsview/698556/SunCal-Albuquerque-Project-not

    http://www.abqtrib.com/news/2008/jan/05/suncal-offers-tax-district-plan-public/

    http://m-pyre.blogspot.com/2008/09/lehman-brothers-suncal.html

    http://www.swop.net/2008/03/suncal-defaults-on-loans-abq-journal.html

    http://www.dukecityfix.com/profiles/blog/show?id=1233957%3ABlogPost%3A63804

    http://www.abqjournal.com/news/metro/294172metro03-17-08.htm

    Comment by E T — September 25, 2008 @ 8:17 pm

  12. ET-

    There are crooks and there are crooks (like Richard Nixon). According to Robert Sheer’s latest book, “Pornography of Power”, even Nixon had integrity and vision compared to the Neocons, but I digress.

    There is great risk in this scale of development and many things about the markets over which a developer does not have direct control. If they default it is not always because they have set out to break their agreements from day one.

    What’s the word on SunCal’s Oak Knoll project, crooked dealings by SunCal or did they delivery something good in a stronger market?

    If we are repeating hearsay, I will contribute mine from an old friend who worked for a southern California utility for years and then went into “political consulting”. I go back 40 years with this guy and he has retained his basic progressive values. During the last master developer selection process I queried him on competing groups and he was complimentary of both the SunCal company record at that time and it’s individual officers, for basic integrity and creative ideas.

    I was never a radical yelling “off the pigs”, but I have always been very critical of corporate power and wary of corporate profiteering. Even so, I am slow to use the word “crook” until there is some clear and strong evidence of premeditated corruption and/or deception.

    SunCal had barely signed on the dotted line when their former competitor for the job, Lennar hit some of the first red ink on the leading edge of this housing and mess. Wonder where we’d be if we had picked them?

    Comment by Mark Irons — September 25, 2008 @ 10:01 pm

  13. Mark, I did repeat second hand information, but as the articles I just posted attest, SunCal is embroiled in negative controversy over its dealings at every project site.

    The Albuquerque site is actually in a worse situation, as there are water, mineral and oil rights attached to the property, which SunCal owns.

    If we wanted to level “land grab” at them, we certainly can. If they have been making promises that are not materializing at ALL their sites, then we can look at that as being a trend that is not healthy. If we see that they are heavily involved in litigations, we MUST ask why, and wonder if we should be getting involved with them. If SunCal is financed by a hedge fund company, then we need to critically think, is this a smart partnership?

    When I weigh all these things, I see something that is smarmy and possibly illegal, and definitely not healthy for our community to get involved with, particularly if SunCal ends up owning the land (I definitely think that is a mistake!).

    We can see that in Albuquerque, as in Alameda, the public tends not to support City Hall in what is going on.

    I think we need to scrutinize the 132 pages really carefully, weigh what info we can find on SunCal’s dealings and really make sure City Hall knows how we feel about this before we become ensnared any farther.

    Comment by E T — September 26, 2008 @ 8:05 am

  14. ET-

    I got ahead of myself. Just read the EBX which answers my Oak Knoll question a bit. I thought it was further along. I need to go there.

    Will read about New Mexico. At this moment I’m not exactly getting “land grab”.

    Comment by Mark Irons — September 26, 2008 @ 8:14 am

  15. Here are links to articles in the Albuquerque Journal. Now, in order to see them, you may have to, as I did tonight, sign up for a trial session, as their online newspaper is a subscription only deal.

    http://www.abqjournal.com/west/opinion/25114957westopinion09-25-08.htm

    Apparently, there is speculation in oil at stake, as well. Mineral rights, water and oil drilling. SunCal owns the property, just as the will own Alameda Point, if the Alameda project moves forward. (Not an idea I enjoy–the property should be owned by the City of Alameda!)

    http://www.abqjournal.com/west/25114456w1_well07-25-08.htm

    http://www.abqjournal.com/biz/0794840tbtecton708-07-08.htm

    Comment by E T — September 26, 2008 @ 8:42 am

  16. More SunCal proposed projects in Albuquerque:

    http://www.abqjournal.com/west/2201037riorancho07-22-08.htm

    Tesla was supposed to have a manufacturing facility in the new development, but backed out, so promised jobs are not looking like they will materialize:

    http://www.abqjournal.com/west/03122829AQWATER_shared07-03-08.htm

    Are we seeing a familiar trend here? Promises of jobs. Demands from local gov’t to agree to high infrastructure overhead. Defaulting on payments. It is a cute little dance.

    Not only that, but the new development will be right close to the Petroglyphs…

    I am sure if people want to, a dossier could be put together on what is happening in other communities that are dealing with SunCal.

    My big question is this: Why isn’t the City of Alameda doing just that? From everything I have seen (not just these articles, but those that talk about the projects in Orange County and elsewhere), the City should be concerned about getting in too deep with SunCal.

    Comment by E T — September 26, 2008 @ 8:46 am

  17. ET:

    While I think it’s important that folks know what has been going on with SunCal’s other projects and potential problems that may arise, I am struggling to see how their position is any different than other major development companies that would have the wherewithall to serve as Master Developer for a project of this scope. Catellus has seemingly stalled out on the Alameda Landing project, they were one Alameda’s other options and Lennar’s Mare Island project recently declared bankruptcy and have had a host of very publically documented problems with their Hunters Point project.

    Comment by Lauren Do — September 26, 2008 @ 8:58 am

  18. The City of Alameda is in a tenuous financial position, as you well know. AP&T, which should have been an asset and cash cow has been mucked up and the T part is worthless. We are bonded to the hilt (our rating is probably at risk–just a guess), and haven’t had the shoe drop yet on the bond insurers. We have thousands upon thousands of square feet of store front and business park that is empty, and yet, further projects continue to add more. Retail businesses are closing, and those who are hanging in have been hit hard by Measure H.

    Does it make sense to push forward just to push forward at the Point.

    The logical answer is: No. It is just plain crazy to move forward.

    The more fiscally responsible thing to do would be for the city to purchase the property and all the clean-up efforts to continue, as well as keep the income from existing business flowing into ARRA.

    Then, as the market rebounds, development can be revisioned and revisited.

    This city cannot afford the infrastructure costs, and SunCal always puts those on the community. SunCal is promising 9,000 jobs that it cannot possibly deliver.

    So what are we talking about here?

    Bubbles. Well, the bubbles are popping all around us, and if you aren’t being hit by this economically, you soon will be, as we all will be.

    It would not be adventageous for the city to move forward with a project given the current set of circumstances that face us all.

    Comment by E T — September 26, 2008 @ 10:12 am

  19. Here is an article from last Dec. about what Albuquerque did to try to protect itself:

    http://www.abqtrib.com/news/2007/dec/04/albuquerque-city-council-no-tidd-suncal/

    But then, here is a blog entry that says they are having trouble at the state level with that local piece of legislation:

    http://www.nmfbihop.com/showDiary.do;jsessionid=7179991032BBE18D78F705DBFEF75428?diaryId=1427

    And here is a more recent blog entry about SunCal’s assurances that Lehman money was not sunk into these projects.

    http://m-pyre.blogspot.com/2008/09/suncal-statement-not-quite-right.html

    Everyone needs to do this kind of homework to see if doing business with this company is a good bet or not.

    I say NOT.

    Comment by E T — September 26, 2008 @ 10:26 am

  20. And, by the way, home building is drying up–so why are we thinking about doing this:

    http://www.insidebayarea.com/search/ci_10550844?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com

    Comment by E T — September 26, 2008 @ 10:40 am

  21. ET,

    your posts are becoming a dizzying array of links and speculation that I can’t follow. Would it be possible to step back and slow down for the sake of discussion?

    In terms of the connections your making about SunCal’s Albuquerque project I’d ask (I have no idea, so I’d love to learn) how many projects has SunCal built? How many are in development and how many of those are in trouble?

    And to follow on Mark I’s comment, how does that compare to other land developers right now?

    That would all be pertinent and important information to inform a conclusion that A) SunCal is a problem and B) There is nefarious intent rather than extraneous circumstances.

    But back to the bigger question: you seem to be arguing against both housing and job creation. Can you explain your vision for the Point and how it fits into the regulatory requirements of a base transfer and conversion? That would be a great place to start for a discussion.

    Comment by Johnknoxwhite — September 26, 2008 @ 11:38 am

  22. I am not arguing against housing and job creation.

    What I am saying is that SunCal can promise 9,000 jobs, but can we believe that they will deliver them? When we have thousands upon thousands of square feet of empty business and retail space RIGHT NOW. SunCal has promised Albuquerque jobs that are not materializing. They can promise you the moon, but cannot park it in your back yard.

    I have done some homework, why don’t you? You can find out about all the many projects that are being juggled by SunCal, and the litigations and defaults that have been in play for over a year, before the financial crisis hit the fan.

    You can read Rin Kelly’s article, and what I have googled for you and draw your own conclusions.

    Do the homework.

    Comment by E T — September 26, 2008 @ 11:47 am

  23. JKW-
    Your Transportation Element is a dizzying array of questionable studies and speculation that I can’t follow. Would it be possible to step back and slow down for the sake of discussion?

    Yet even though you use your blog as a tool to promote your agenda, (your opinion as to how Alameda should change to meet your world view), when people ask you direct questions on where to find specific information in the TE do you chide them and deny assistance.

    Please take a step back yourself, maybe a lot of them, preferably thousands of miles of them…

    If you want to actually benefit transportation in Alameda, I encourage you to do so.
    Remember the basic mantra for HELPING Alameda transportation is to not HURT Alameda transportation.

    Your willingness to sacrifice the use of general traffic lanes already at or near capacity with auutomobile use for “bus only use” is moronic.

    Comment by David Kirwin — September 26, 2008 @ 12:40 pm

  24. ET,

    SunCal has 50 projects in various stages of development. Since you’ve done the homework, and since you are the one lobbing terms like “Crooks” around, can you just tell me how many of them are the victims of some sort of criminal/illicit/nefarious dealings? Or at least, how many of them are failing financially?

    Since your homework has made you confident to say:

    If we wanted to level “land grab” at them, we certainly can. If they have been making promises that are not materializing at ALL their sites, then we can look at that as being a trend that is not healthy.

    With “ALL” being capitalized with confidence, as if nobody could ever disagree with the statement, I’m hoping you can fill out the assertion. I don’t think saying “do your own homework” after leveling such accusations leads to a lot of confidence in your statement. I’m not the one calling people “crooks.”

    I read all the links you posted above, only one was related to what you’ve written about SunCal’s financing, but it’s pretty limited in its scope. So I’m hoping you can post the links that you found that back up your assertions.

    I’m open to the concerns about financing, but the EBX article didn’t really say much except that SunCal has some spectacularly failing projects, the financing for their projects that are funded by Lehman is up in the air (though Lehman’s real estate spin off is supposedly saying they are still financed, but we’ll take that as nothing) and that the tenuous connection between Lehman and DE Shaw is a nothing issue.

    For those who didn’t click on the above 15 Albuquerque related links, here’s a summary of them:
    • An Article on how Lehman and Albuquerque are not connected
    • A second article on how Lehman and Albuquerque are not connected.
    • An article about a plan that SunCal proposed for financing
    • One blog post (submitted twice) That gets the meaning of the relationship between DE Shaw and Lehman all wrong (see Rin Kelly’s EBX article)
    • A blog post on public financing and development
    • An opinion piece on public financing of development projects (not SunCal specific)
    • An article on water being discovered under the property (not clear on the connection to Alameda Point)
    • An article on possible oil issues in NM (not related to AP)
    • An article on the Volcano Heights development that isn’t related to SunCal except that it abuts their NM project.
    • An article on Tesla pulling out and how the development is deal affecting water lines
    • A 2007 Albuquerque Tribune article on the ALB. City council voting on financing for the project.
    • A blog piece on public financing, development and dislike with SunCal’s plan
    • an article that outlines some of SunCal’s projects that are in financial default. (there is also a link to a blog that copied the article verbatim).

    Comment by Johnknoxwhite — September 26, 2008 @ 2:34 pm

  25. Wow.

    Looks like you are worried, John.

    Comment by E T — September 26, 2008 @ 2:40 pm

  26. Lauren is correct that many developers are in the same situation as SunCal, and people I spoke to for the story indicated that any developer with a project that isn’t, say, 3/4 finished would be crazy to continue the work in this market. The smart thing to do, according to people I interviewed for the Express piece, is to adjust the timelines and wait for a market rebound.

    Some people I spoke to, however, said that SunCal overbid and overextended itself and that its rep within the industry is that it’s partially to blame. It’s not all the market. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to cover all of that stuff.

    ET is partially on the right track–SunCal has had some snags and some legal troubles (though I’m not aware of these is NM), and I hope to explore those more. For the time being I can say, from what I heard from sources, that everyone is partially right here, but that I’ve seen nothing untoward regarding the Abq “Westland” development.

    Comment by Rin Kelly — September 26, 2008 @ 3:36 pm

  27. Pardon, I meant “in NM.”

    I’m hoping to expand on some of these issues in another article soon.

    Comment by Rin Kelly — September 26, 2008 @ 3:38 pm

  28. ET-

    I’m pretty sure your post #25 was supposed to be sarcastic humor, but where’s the joke?

    I read your list of articles, other than the subscription one, this a.m. and my thought was “where’s the beef?” I get your general point, but I’m still left hanging on how “land grab” is accurate.

    Comment by Mark Irons — September 26, 2008 @ 5:28 pm

  29. Thanks Rin. It’s good to get solid info. The next question is: how does this apply to Alameda point? Have they overbid and extended themselves there as well? (I hope it’s a part of the analysis and investigation you do in the future. It’s an important part of the puzzle.)

    In the end, it would seem that SunCal’s involvement in projects is case by case, and not one-size-fits all, and therefore we should, as a community, understand the current project on it’s merits and specific information.

    Comment by John Knox White — September 26, 2008 @ 6:00 pm

  30. #28 The joke is that John feels the need to attack, when all that is happening here is that a bicycle commuting citizen (who is interested jobs for the city and in mixed residential/business for the Point, but also interested in seeing that the city not get screwed in a bad redevelopment deal during the greatest economic collapse ever recorded) is questioning why the city, out on a limb already with bonded redevelopment indebtedness (that the citizens must absorb with local tax paymentsm, although they do not have the ability to vote as to the merit of taking on bond debt–the city makes that decision without any by your leave) feels it must go ahead with an outlandish plan presented by SunCal.

    How’s that for a one sentence answer?

    I don’t want the land to be owned by SunCal. I want the land to be owned by Alameda. That seems like a reasonable suggestion.

    Thank you, Rin, for putting your journalistic skills and contacts forward. You will be able to dig deeper than others are willing or able to do.

    This city cannot take on more bonded indebtedness. That is the missing piece of the puzzle, and should be specific enough to understand for the average person who lives here to understand.

    Mare Island is basking in the glow that they have been able to add 40 jobs in the dry dock area. (This was a Lennar project gone south; that is not the point, it is the viaility of job creation I am talking about). 40 jobs is a far cry from the 9,000 asserted in the SunCal plan. What basis is there for that 9,000? Absolutely none. “Build it and they will come” has not worked at any of the business parks in Alameda or on Bay Farm. Towne Centre is half empty (and has been for the last ten years).

    Correct me if I am wrong. But I am not wrong.

    In the Point proposal, storefronts and business space will open up with mixed housing. But who guarantees that 9,000 jobs will be available? And yet, that is in the SunCal proposal.

    Again I ask the question, where are the jobs and businesses to fill the thousands and thousands of square feet of available space in Alameda RIGHT NOW?

    No one has an answer to that question. Not SunCal. Not City Hall. Not John Knox White. Not the real estate community.

    There is no one-size-fits-all answer to be found, and I do not suggest that such an answer is possible, but what I have written here begs some huge questions, or should.

    It seems suicidal to add more and more bus/retail space in a town that is half empty of bus/retail enterprises. The specific information is that there are no business prospects here; the economy is determining the merit and the specific information about that. When we talk about sustainability, we must consider the resources that we currently have: LOTS OF AVAILABLE, EMPTY SPACE. Adding more infrastructure does not make things more sustainable. FILLING AVAILABLE EMPTY SPACE MAKES THINGS MORE SUSTAINABLE.

    I repeat: They can promise the moon, but they cannot park it in your back yard.

    You can call me crazy, but I am not gonna wait for SunCal to park the moon in my back yard.

    Comment by E T — September 26, 2008 @ 7:06 pm

  31. ET, I’m sorry if you felt attacked. I’m not sure how I attacked you and I don’t personally think that asking a person to back up assertions with information is an attack. Hopefully some day, you’ll feel comfortable explaining that to me anonymously via email or on the blog. I’d honestly like to understand.

    Comment by John Knox White — September 26, 2008 @ 9:44 pm

  32. John, I think the issue is not whether SunCal overbid and is overextended on Alameda Point specifically but rather whether the company as a whole is suffering due to those behaviors over the last few years. One indicator of that will probably come with the decision of the bankruptcy judge in Santa Ana–the involuntary bankruptcy petitions were filed against a Lehman-SunCal master entity in addition to three sub-entities, and a bankruptcy-law expert I spoke to said that it’s possible, considering the specifics of the case, for the judge to force that master entity into bankruptcy. This would not necessarily affect Alameda Point, but it’s indicative of the overall health of the company. How many Lehman-SunCal partnerships that master LLC is attached to remains to be seen.

    One of my sources said that involuntary bankruptcy petitions are something secondary and tertiary mortgage holders have learned to use when the value of the asset means they won’t get anything in a foreclosure, so it’s not especially shocking that they’ve taken this route. They were looking after their best interests as foreclosure drew near.

    There are some who believe that SunCal did overbid at Oak Knoll.

    I can’t speak to the jobs issue at all at the moment. One thing I can say to ET is that no one in the city is concerned that SunCal could end up owning that land. The city and the Navy have all the power in this situation, at least according to the people I spoke to and quoted in the piece (Matarrese, deHaan, and Brandt).

    I will talk to the Express next week about a follow-up and hopefully will be able to fit in things that would have made the article over my word count.

    Comment by Rin Kelly — September 26, 2008 @ 9:54 pm

  33. (PS That was pitifully worded! “things that would have pushed the article over word count.”)

    Comment by Rin Kelly — September 26, 2008 @ 10:01 pm

  34. Agreed. But since we’re in the ENA phase, with many large unknowns before ever getting to a development stage, the process as it stands is to get to a development plan that the community can support.

    At that point, a year plus from now, there will be large decisions to be made about the developer going forward, and at that time, many of these issues will be clearer. If SunCal is overextended and unable to proceed, there is a developed, community accepted plan and the land hasn’t even begun to be excavated.

    Comment by John Knox White — September 26, 2008 @ 11:57 pm

  35. Regardless of SunCal’s statements or their questionable financial standing, there is no road to a “community accepted plan” with this master developer.. This is truly obvious for several reasons.
    SunCAl is not offering an acceptable plan, legally or otherwise. We all learned Citizens (and CC) apparently have no control on defining, or even enforcing legally defined conditions – even when they are included in our city’s municipal code. The recent OSH decision shows the unwillingness of elected and appointed officials from using existing laws and signed agreements to control developers. Enforcing development and land use regulations are not a priority for this city where large development is concerned.

    Clearly if people give an inch to developers, the developers will take a foot and become Alameda’s new ‘rulers’.

    JKW – You don’t answer questions or respond to comments about the proposed TE and how terribly that would impact our community especially with SunCal’s non- MA compliant plans.

    I’ll bet the community at large, have learned enough to know to say “NO”.

    Comment by David Kirwin — September 27, 2008 @ 7:02 am

  36. Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — September 27, 2008 @ 7:44 am

  37. Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — September 27, 2008 @ 3:27 pm

  38. After wading through all 132 pages I’ve concluded that this project description is grammatically filled with stuff white people like. The attractions say it all. WP can live near the water, have the correct ethnic diversity, nearness to San Francisco (no doubt ferry name change to Alameda/San Francisco Ferry), keep enough WWII buildings (save the white whales) around to make the neighborhoods “authentic”, water conservation/low flow -toilets/shower heads/clothes washers et al, and most important “transportation”.

    Never mind the bus rapid transit will have jump queue lanes and block off the tubes so the “Eco-minded Tenants” can quickly traverse the tubes while the SOV slobs wait in the “stick” part of the “carrot and stick” approach to the tube. But think of the opportunity awaiting the rest of old Alameda (no doubt the resident fee for transit will be island wide once the reality of the expense becomes clear, this fee will have the side benefit of more likely achieving the 2% transportation “mode shift” prediction for the rest of the island ). A new rapid transit bus line down the center of Lincoln (better location than the beltway, we’re told) watch out for the Grand St. hook up to the Towne Centre.

    All in all a magnificent example of why the Point should continue as is.

    Comment by Jack Richard — September 27, 2008 @ 5:15 pm

  39. Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — September 27, 2008 @ 5:59 pm

  40. Liquefaction

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — September 27, 2008 @ 7:18 pm

  41. 38/39
    ANT, so what? TCE was used by every service man from the time it was invented to the time it was deemed harmful, and is probably still used over most of the world and guess what, they’re still here. Are you suggesting that TCE contamination should be reason for evacuating the base?

    Same goes for earthquakes. If the base is in danger of liquefaction, we’d better all head for the hills because this island will sink from fear.

    Point being, there are plenty of good, solid, present, reasons to leave the Point as is without speculating on the unknowns.

    Comment by Jack Richard — September 27, 2008 @ 8:34 pm

  42. #40

    What is known is that the former base is heavily polluted, that the “land” is poor quality fill prone to liquefaction, the real estate market is convulsing and that the taxpayer will be on the hook for it all. The whole project is reckless speculation with Alameda property owners the deep pockets of last resort.

    I agree with you. Leave the old NAS as is with the Navy the responsible party.

    …Somewhat divergent paths to the same conclusion.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — September 27, 2008 @ 9:28 pm

  43. thx for the explanation… it hardly seems that a bunch of old runways will be beneficial for “nature”… is the plan to at least rip that up or what?

    Comment by Bob — September 28, 2008 @ 8:17 am

  44. Are you kidding, at least think of the terns. Rip up their homes! Shame.

    Comment by Jack Richard — September 28, 2008 @ 8:23 am

  45. 23.DK- “Yet even though you use your blog as a tool to promote your agenda, (your opinion as to how Alameda should change to meet your world view)….” blah-de-blah

    Since when is having an opinion or expressing it (on a blog) something that warrants recrimination? If it were a crime, you’d get a life sentence.

    You should be grateful to Lauren and John’s blogs for giving you such a great platform to broadcast your OWN opinions, even as abusive of them as those opinions can be. But if you REALLY don’t like what they have going, perhaps you should seriously consider your own blog. I’ll bet it would have phenomenal readership because your comments are so incisive, fair and balanced too.

    As for people who won’t “answer questions or respond to comments” from you, consider the delivery and context. You know about not wanting to dignify a comment by responding to it, as being it’s own response? Problem with arguing with someone “moronic” is when one also becomes a moron by doing so. (by that measure, this post makes me a certified dumb-ass I’m sure, but I’ll persist).

    When you dissed a local board member by deliberately misstating their name months ago I suggested if that was appropriate protocol, perhaps people who think your opinions stink should refer to you as Dave “Turdwin”. It seemed a good way to make a point at the time, but as the stakes are raised around here I’m inclined to dump that kind of tactic (no pun intended) because it adds stress to the public discourse which is counter to what I would like to see accomplished. I never apologized for the “Tirdwin” comment and don’t believe I will, but responding to you at all takes considerable restraint.

    I can’t believe your idle Don Robert’s of ALL people would call ANY-body else “dweeby”. It takes more than a belief that one is correct to give them the moral authority to stake the high ground. If you feel elevated DK, your perch may seem lofty but see if it’s not on a rotten branch.

    Comment by Mark Irons — September 28, 2008 @ 12:43 pm

  46. SunCal recently cancelled its contract to purchase toxics contaminated land in Los Angeles County, near Magic Mountain. While it won’t say why, the reason is obvious: Lehman Brothers is no longer available to fund SunCal’s project.

    When we in Santa Clarita were worrying about SunCal and Lehman’s continued involvement, we researched the SunCal/D.E. Shaw relationship to see if there was enough money in it to fulfill all of SunCal’s obligations to our community as well as Alameda. What we found were financial press articles which contradicted the City of Alameda’s staff report which was posted online. The financial press articles say that SunCal and D. E. Shaw are already contractually bound to eachother in 20 projects, excluding Alameda. The City of Alameda staff report talked about a SunCal/D.E. Shaw relationship covered by a letter of intent, commonly known as an “agreement to agree”, not a contract. That staff report talked about SunCal and D.E. Shaw entering into an “operating agreement” for 7 to 10 entities. An operating agreement is the governing document for an LLC. The staff report made it clear that the operating agreement, and thus the relationship, didn’t even exist yet. So what of the 20 projects which the financial press say are already being undertaken by SunCal and D.E. Shaw? What are these 7 to 10 projects under the agreement to agree?

    Our conclusion was that D. E. Shaw had not made a legally binding commitment to invest a penny in SunCal’s project, and that the City of Alameda’s staff had not elicited sufficient information from D. E. Shaw or SunCal to give the people of Alameda any assurance of anything. As a result, we knew how to press D. E. Shaw for clear detail and binding terms if they showed up in Santa Clarita, to finance SunCal’s project in our community. Thankfully, SunCal cancelled their project in our community instead.

    Comment by Vania Shaw — September 28, 2008 @ 1:58 pm

  47. Oh marky Mark I – you’re mixing up your apples and oranges, or for you maybe its appropriate to say you are confusing apples and enemas. (See – I can be sophomoric too!)

    In response to what I think you were trying to state; here’s the reality:

    In post #23 I was responding to jkw’s #21, and to a response he made at another Alamedan who asked him for info on his blog.

    I am not a Chairman of a City Board or Commission; I hold no official position with the government of Alameda.

    Unfortunately John Knox White does. While I would fight for his right to have his own opinion, as a city official who is bound by the ‘Brown Act’ he should hold his opinions about topics his Commission deals with and votes on to himself unless he is at a properly noticed meeting.

    The Brown Act not only prohibits members of public bodies from meeting in numbers of 3 or more without public notice, it also prohibits ‘serial meetings’ with individuals to discuss topics in the hopes of gaining support.

    John Knox White goes so far as to state on his blog that he is using his blog to express what he wanted to say at a properly noticed meeting, but did not. Then when others with whom he disagrees, request where in his Commission’s report specific information is located, he tells them off, rather than assisting them.
    (And Mark, again you are wrong – it was not me asking where the info could be found in the documents JKW’s Commission has submitted to the PB and CC)

    If John Knox White wants to express opinions on his or other’s blogs he should restrict them to topics that don’t relate to his official city held position.

    By publishing his opinions on his blog he is in fact soliciting agreement in a way that may affect his fellow Commissioners, and doing so in a “non-noticed” format.

    When I referred to Patrick Lynch as “Andrew” Lynch some months ago, it was not name calling, it was name confusion. (There is an Andrew on the PB and another w/ development services) – That’s hardly ‘dissing’ them. If you feel you should be recognized for your outstanding ability to recall such a detail – here’s your sign.

    For re-clarification it was Patrick Lynch who tried to convince (at a planning board meeting) a developer who wanted 3-4 story commercial condos on Bay Farm Island to instead build them to 9 or 10 story commercial condos to take full advantage of the location.

    And lastly you have no idea who would qualify as an “idle” for me. Perhaps that was ‘jest’ your attempt at a ‘Rovian’ statement to put down anybody that would disagree with major corporate developers who are politically supported by your friends on city staff, the Perata machine or the Bush/Cheney/McCain team.
    (See I can play that way too) ;!

    Comment by David Kirwin — September 28, 2008 @ 3:33 pm

  48. David K.:

    Using your logic about public officials being unable to express

    …opinions about topics his Commission deals with and votes on to himself unless he is at a properly noticed meeting.

    I only assume that you will take Councilmembers, such as Doug deHaan, to task for expressing his opinions on a myriad of topics in publications such as the East Bay Express on topics that will eventually come before the body that he sits on.

    The Brown Act does not preclude a “government official” from having an opinion, or expressing that opinion. I assume you bring up the specter of the Brown Act to imply that somehow JKW is in violation of it by the sheer fact that he has a blog and has the audacity to express his opinions on it. I imagine that if someone really did have the goods on JKW to prove that he has been in violation of the Brown Act, he wouldn’t still be sitting as chairman of the Transportation Commission.

    Comment by Lauren Do — September 28, 2008 @ 3:54 pm

  49. HELLO!

    Did anyone heed Ms. Shaw’s information in #46?

    (Thank you, Ms. Shaw, for posting that information. Yet one more bit of evidence for someone to follow up on in this convoluted mess. I guess it is too much to ask of our City Attorney or City Council.)

    The argument has been offered: “it would seem that SunCal’s involvement in projects is case by case, and not one-size-fits all, and therefore we should, as a community, understand the current project on it’s merits and specific information.”

    But the evidence, even if much of it is circumstantial, points to the fact that SunCal is over extended, heavy in litigation, and has little visible means of support, but for a hedge fund company.

    The big picture belies the “case-by-case” prescription that would serve City Hall’s posture in this matter.

    Why should SunCal work differently or have a different financial position to engage in Alameda over any OTHER community where it is in over its head?

    Comment by E T — September 28, 2008 @ 5:42 pm

  50. Lauren,

    I’m trying to follow the logic of your imagination as stated in your last paragraph and it sounds to me like you are stating ‘if no corrective action is taken, no wrong was committed’.

    I don’t believe that – it is the logic of those who want to hide, who want others to not pay attention. Do you believe Halliburton’s no-bid contracts were “good” and legally legit?

    Do you believe that the financial wizards including Paulson should be held blameless as they denied the commonly held expectation that our financial system was in the crapper and getting worse because of abuse allowed by a de-regulated industry? Do you believe no wrong was committed, and we should be willing to kick in $700+ billion and no one is going to jail? – Nobody did anything wrong?

    Even on a local scale, if I have correctly noted the basis of your logic – it just doesn’t pan out. Just because corrective action has not taken place doesn’t mean it shouldn’t.

    The Brown Act, like most of or laws is not static, they need to be interpreted and amended as people find new loop holes to cross the threshold of the intent of law.
    As you can see from this State link to the Brown Act, electronic communications, digital writings can be a violation of the Brown Act, and this interpretation is many years old, before the popularity of “blog”.

    I do believe JKW is clearly in violation of the law with the way he uses his blog.

    Without knowing what you are referring to as far as reporters talking to councilmembers, and what the papers print – I can’t comment on that, but I expect you are talking about a very different context. I know I was very upset when just prior to the last local election the local paper reported that Mayor was saying APT was NOT in financial trouble, which was already known to very much false. That however was not related to the Brown Act.

    Here is the Brown Act link with an exerpt.

    http://ag.ca.gov/publications/2003_Main_BrownAct.pdf

    5. Writings as Meetings
    Historically, meetings have not commonly occurred through written instruments; however, the court found that circulation of a proposal among board members for their review and signature was found to be a meeting in violation of the Act when a majority of the members of a legislative body signed the document. (Common Cause v. Stirling (1983) 147 Cal.App.3d 518, 523-524.)

    However, the emergence of e-mail as a simple and effective means of communication has raised this issue in a fresh context. In 84 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 30 (2001), this office concluded that a majority of a body would violate the Act if they e-mailed each other regarding current issues under the body’s jurisdiction even if the e-mails were also sent to the secretary and chairperson of the agency, the e-mails were posted on the agency’s Internet Web site, and a printed version of each e-mail was reported at the next public meeting of the body. The opinion concluded that these safeguards were not sufficient to satisfy either the express wording of the Act or some of its purposes. Specifically, such e-mail communications would not be available to persons who do not have Internet access. Even if a person had Internet access, the deliberations on a particular issue could be completed before an interested person had an opportunity to become involved.

    Comment by David Kirwin — September 28, 2008 @ 8:16 pm

  51. You might look into how the people of Anaheim stood up to Suncal. They managed to convince three members of the City Council to take land from the Disneyland Resort Zone and change it to residential so that they could build about 1500 homes on 26 acres. Which is about 75 homes per acre when you include land for infrastructure. The people got the first initiative approved to overturn a council vote and the council eventually voted to adopt the initiative where now only a vote by the voters of Anaheim can approve a change of zoning in our resort zone. Suncal tried to pull a fast one in our city, but the people got together and just said NO! Of course the the housing crisis helped force the issue, but had it come to a vote, the people of Anaheim would have soundly defeated Suncal.

    Comment by Stan — September 28, 2008 @ 10:18 pm

  52. Here is an interesting example of elected officials maintaining a blog that is advocating for the removal of their current Superintendent. Since they are in the minority they have used the blog for the six months to garner support for their position and attempt to gain a majority by running a campaign to unseat an incumbent.

    http://mdusd.blogspot.com/

    Comment by Mike McMahon — September 29, 2008 @ 5:19 am

  53. Throughout California’s history, local legislative bodies have played a vital role in bringing participatory democracy to the citizens of the state. Local legislative bodies – such as boards, councils and commissions – are created in recognition of the fact that several minds are better than one, and that through debate and discussion, the best ideas will emerge. The law which guarantees the public’s right to attend and participate in meetings of local legislative bodies is the Ralph M. Brown Act.

    If anything blogs maintained by elected officials like former City Council Barbara Kerr actually improved public participation in meetings of the local bodies.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — September 29, 2008 @ 6:05 am

  54. Dave “how do you like my aluminum hat now” Kirwin states “I do believe JKW is clearly in violation of the law with the way he uses his blog”. How specifically? Is it because he expresses his opinions? How does that differ from the opinions that members of legislative bodies express on numerous radio and tv talk shows every weekend. how does that differ from interviews granted to newspapers. How does that differ from other members of local legislative bodies that post on local blogs?

    Comment by notadave — September 29, 2008 @ 7:59 am

  55. Mike – I agree with you and I notice that you do not use your website as a soap box for your opinions on what AUSD or the BOE should do.

    Comment by David Kirwin — September 29, 2008 @ 10:23 am

  56. DK
    Strongly suggest you seek civil relief under Gov. Code 54960 so we can clear this up.

    Comment by Jack Richard — September 29, 2008 @ 12:29 pm

  57. David K:

    If you

    ..believe JKW is clearly in violation of the law with the way he uses his blog.

    I think specific examples are warranted because that is quite the strong accusation.

    Comment by Lauren Do — September 29, 2008 @ 12:35 pm

  58. Here is an article from the San Clemente times about the problems at the SunCal Marblehead Coastal Development. This article specifically mentions other troubled SunCal projects, mentions that SunCal OWNS the land in question (which is what I have seen elsewhere, and which calls into question the suggestion in earlier postings that SunCal would not own AP if their proposal goes forward), liens and legal issues, contractors who haven’t been paid, etc..

    http://www.sanclementetimes.com/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,print,0&cntnt01articleid=921&cntnt01showtemplate=false&cntnt01returnid=99

    Comment by E T — September 29, 2008 @ 12:43 pm

  59. ET, regarding ownership, my understanding is that Suncal would own the land while all the infrastructure goes in, then sell if off to developer(s) to “go vertical” – build the buildings. Up until last year (again, going off of recolection from various meetings) Suncal was never a home or commercial builder, but just did the infrastructure. Last year they started a home building division, but it hasn’t really done much.

    Comment by notadave — September 29, 2008 @ 12:53 pm

  60. DK has a point, though I’m not sure things are quite as black and white with regards to the Brown Act (they could be, I just don’t know). What’s more objectionable to me than JKW expressing an opinion is the way he likes to mock those he disagrees with, with no sense of what he represents. See his recent post, Freaky Friday, where he obviously makes fun of the people who thought council should use their power to stop OSH. From what I read on ADN and here, they made a legitimate case about Council power, even if there is room for interpretation. There’s nothing wrong with their point of view. JKW’s reaction was to distort and exaggerate this public process to make it look ridiculous. What’s that tell people?—they should not question council decisions lest they be made fun of? How is JKW receiving public comment from the dais with a straight face, and writing such stuff at the same time? Split personality? Unapologetic disdain for the public and the process? What is he doing in public service if he has no respect for the right of others to disagree? If I were someone on the Transportation commission serving with JKW, I’d be seriously concerned about my reputation by association.

    Comment by AD — September 29, 2008 @ 2:31 pm

  61. I’ve been reading the news today and wondering: Is this a good time to be investing in California real estate? In new home construction? I think most people know the answer to that one. At this point, even w/out pending economic collapse, I think it’s essential that the city avoid additional future debt whereever possible, until the economy stabilizes and we can assess where the city stands in that future economic reality. I don’t see any real explanation of what the city would commit to this project in redevelopment dollars, but regardless, the city just can’t afford this.

    The infrastructure budget for all the phases totals $670,000,000. Add to that an estimate of $186,000,000 for historic preservation for a total of at least $865,000,000 to fully develop the site. I can’t imagine how SunCal could go ahead with this enormous project or even consider it under current economic circumstances, let alone suggest that the city get involved.

    As for SunCal’s stability. We know they’re very heavily involved in California real estate, we know the RE market here is collapsing — never mind their role in the Lehman Bros. collapse — if anything, they should step forward w/ disclosures on their financial status. As for whether we can still rely on them — by all appearances, there’s a real good chance that we can’t.

    As for the PDC:

    — “Underwater” real estate (literally): Fig. 6.2 on pg. 82 indicates that the site will be largely inundated with a combined 100 year tidal elevation and 18″ of sea rise — which totals about 5.1 feet above sea level. So in other words, much of this site is less than 5.1 feet in elevation — given the very unpredictable progress of global warming, doesn’t this sound like a problem?

    — “Short term” investment: If the Hayward Fault goes, there goes the infrastructure with it — $600+ million in pieces. I can’t imagine why any developer (or community) would consider any kind of investment in such a high risk location. The claim that SunCal can “rectify” this seismic hazard is not at all credible — ABAG states clearly that: “Building codes .. can mitigate the effects of these hazards [liquifaction], but cannot eliminate the threat of damage – no building is earthquake “proof.”

    And this is not even getting to the toxic waste — the descripton of this whole project sounds absurd, looking at how incredibly expensive, difficult and risky it is to develop this site. Why is there such a blind insistence on doing this?

    Comment by DL Morrison — September 29, 2008 @ 2:55 pm

  62. 57
    How come you get to use those cute little thick gray vertical lines that make your comments seem much more significant than others? Isn’t that a violation of something?

    Comment by Jack Richard — September 29, 2008 @ 4:28 pm

  63. Seeing all of you discussions about open meetings, and whether the City Council of Alameda violated the law when they held their closed session with SunCal, it thought it would be useful to remind you what the law says:

    “54950. In enacting this chapter, the Legislature finds and declares
    that the public commissions, boards and councils and the other
    public agencies in this State exist to aid in the conduct of the
    people’s business. It is the intent of the law that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.

    The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the
    agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do
    not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for
    the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people
    insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over
    the instruments they have created.

    54950.5. This chapter shall be known as the Ralph M. Brown Act.”

    Hmm…looks to me like some elected officials in Alameda cannot read.

    Comment by Vania Shaw — September 29, 2008 @ 7:01 pm

  64. hmm, looks like some folks in Santa Clarita can’t read the entire act. There are specific exclusions that allow for closed sessions, one of them being real property negotiations.

    Comment by notadave — September 29, 2008 @ 8:21 pm

  65. 63
    I doubt that the City Council Alameda was in violation of the “closed sessions” alluded to but not referenced in your comment (which is in Chapter 5 of the Act). We may pretend we’re in Mayberry but we’re in North California not North Carolina, though sometimes we have doubts, we try to elect readers who lead.

    By the way, since you’ve injected yourself into Alameda/Sun Cal/Lehman/Shaw concerns, what’s your connection with D. E.?

    Comment by Jack Richard — September 29, 2008 @ 9:49 pm

  66. 50. DK,

    Don Roberts has long considered himself the local whiz when it comes to the Brown Act. I’ve seen him leap up in chambers to interrupt yelling “Brown Act!”, when he thought it was violated. Roberts called for JKW’s resignation on his cable show for John’s abusive attitude toward the automobile. When you called for JKW’s resignation a few days later on this blog I forget whether it was Brown Act or what, but don’t you think if you were correct that Roberts would have beaten you to the punch on the Brown Act? Call him or email him. You can do that since you aren’t on a board with him.

    Barbara Kerr’s web site was not a blog with ongoing conversations, but while on council she expressed a lot of pointed opinions on her site and nobody ever nailed her for that.

    What you write about email above is not correct. Some people can’t read while others don’t subscribe to specific newspapers, but does having a person quoted in a paper violate the Brown Act? No.

    The Brown Act has to do with cooking up stuff out of public view. With email, the tricky problem is possible “serial violations”. Right now with only two members on five person HAB, if I email one member and talk about upcoming business that might be a violation because the charter reads that the three of us can vote and two constitutes a majority. With a full board, I could not email one member on a subject and then email another member on that subject, even if I did not refer to the conversation with the first member. Bringing up the previous email conversation would definitely be a clear “serial” violation.

    With five board members on HAB I could email after a meeting to one member and get a reality check by comparing notes. With just three of us I can’t mention business in email. We are due to add a fourth person which brings up an interesting mathematical conundrum in terms of a majority and two people discussing business preceding a meeting.

    Comment by Mark Irons — September 30, 2008 @ 9:54 am

  67. #47. Nice try DK. But going off about the Brown Act is a smoke screen to divert from your flailing. I think you only re-enforce my point. I’m trying to be restrained but I can’t help myself here…it will take more than an enema to cure what ails you.

    There is no confusion about what you are trying to do, but instead of saving Alameda from various evils and allegedly evil people, you veer around attacking people instead of sticking to facts and subject.

    I just stumbled on Eve “the Dweeb” Pearlman’s column from last Tuesday ( http://www.insidebayarea.com/alameda/ci_10530412 ), which I hadn’t read when I made post #45. I think she and I are on the same page, as it were.

    Comment by Mark Irons — September 30, 2008 @ 12:03 pm

  68. 59. If what you suggest were true, then SunCal would not be the master developer.

    As to the 132 pages… my goodness what a lot of fluff!

    And all the hot transportation stuff would never come into play. You cannot tell me that they would grandfather in the footprint for PRT only AFTER having built and sold/leased a maximum amount of space. That is absurd! The footprint for PRT needs to be there at the start!!!

    No affordable housing, unless “workforce housing” is a new euphemism for affordable housing.

    Comment by E T — September 30, 2008 @ 5:47 pm

  69. First, notadave is correct about the type of developer SunCal is. If you revisit their response to the RFQ (p. 11 on the reader)

    SunCal focuses on the master development improvements needed to create supporting infrastructure…We then carefully select homebuilders and commercial/industrial developers who undertake the vertical construction.

    As to how the affordable housing breaks down, as mentioned in my initial post:

    HOUSING
    Affordable Housing Units 1,068
    Total Housing Units 4,210

    And yes, often “Workforce Housing” is used interchangably with “Affordable Housing.”

    Comment by Lauren Do — September 30, 2008 @ 6:15 pm

  70. Mark – I think you have out-maneuvered my limited intelligence – I just don’t have a clue as to what you are trying to say in post-66/67.

    The section of my post #50 about the Brown Act & E-mail is not my conjecture – it is from the Attorney General of CA, that is why I posted the link, and cited one section.
    I do believe that public officials must be held to a higher standard than those of us in the general public who spew our venomous and logical opinions, and I do think JKW is using his blog to sway the other commission members as well as the public and is a violation of the intent of the Brown Act. Obviously blogville is just a kangaroo court and this is an issue for the attorney general or the county grand jury to decide, not the laurendo court of public opinion.

    Also:
    Why do you refer to Eve Pearlman a “dweeb” in the same sentence you are trying to claim you agree with her? I disagree with Eve’s opinions as often as I agree with her, but I’ve never called her a “dweeb” if that is what you are insinuating. I did re-examine her past you linked ending with;

    “Alameda might be your hometown, but you share it with tens of thousands of others, most of whom consider it their town too. So disagree. But rely on logic.
    “They don’t need to attack each other in this way,” said Rove of McCain and Obama. “They have legitimate points to make.”

    -Are you saying you wish to try to give up your “sophomoric” ways in the hopes to make legitimate points, or that you will comment with ‘logic’ as your guidepost? – if so, my advice to you is to stop trying and start doing – because as you continue to demonstrate your attempts at brilliance with such monikers as “Turdwin”, nothing else you state can really be taken seriously and I and others will likely treat you in-kind.

    While I enjoy some lowbrow, even crass comments, such as “lavender scented vomit”, or “same illogical shit with new ribbons and bows”, my intent is not personal attacks, but to poetically express my opinion on a topic such as the new point plan which warrants both of those statements. We don’t even have to consider global warming, carbon footprints, the crash of the housing and retail markets – they all matter, but we need not even begin to consider such speculation. The DEIR for the Transportation Element shows us that currently – already – without additional development in Alameda – the west end tubes are at, or beyond capacity, and Part St Bridge is at capacity, and Fruitvale bridge is near capacity. Why should we even consider allowing the type and amount of development SunCal proposes? -And if we do -we also get to pick up the tab for an additional $700 Million of infrastructure for their development – their property – their profits?

    So, let’s go back to relying on simple logic, borrow a line from Nancy Reagan, and “Just say No”

    As for Eve’s column today – she did again stun me with her ability to blindly step off the “Good Ship Logic.” I COULD NOT believe her defense of the ‘OSH decision’ by City Council as relating to ‘sales tax leakage’. She was absolutely correct near the end of her column where she listed the most valued things people buy off island – building supplies, appliances, electronics – well read her article – she names things that OSH dosn’t sell, but she makes a good argument that there are plenty of opportunities for retailers who don’t directly compete with our local retail districts. Those are the needs that Harsch should fill. If South Shore can’t attract them, maybe he should work on filling all his vacancies at the mall. If he can’t fill his vacancies, we have already out-built the amount of retail Alameda can support, at least in that location, and we should stop digging our hole deeper.

    It may not be accurate or wise to assume the American economy is just on another cycle around the block. We may be exploring a whole new avenue of the American economic possibilities, “a new world order” as Bush Sr put it.

    Personally I am glad that the ‘bailout’ was voted down, I hope it stays ‘down and out’. Let housing prices tumble back to “workforce affordable”, -let lenders only lend to those who can afford to repay, let the losses befall those who acted contrary to reason and common sense, jail the bastards that lied for self benefit or to milk investors and the public at large, let Wall St and even the shared global market take the hit. Maybe we can globally learn to work together with the goal of mutual support through common sense.

    Public Bailouts should benefit those harmed without choice. I truly feel bad for people losing their homes because of sudden or emergency medical treatments, but I wouldn’t shed tears for those who renewed their mortgage every two years to buy new cars or home theaters, or the like.

    I am also aware that one way or another the irresponsibility of so many will affect even the most ardently responsible, which isn’t ‘fair’ either. But both private and public pensions will be dealt a substantial blow.

    I believe there will be a bailout, I just hope those it helps the least are those who made their choices, took their gambles, or profited from the making of the mess, and that the ‘kingpin mess makers’ are jailed and destroyed.

    And if you think this was long and boring to read – imagine what those unpaid volunteers on the Planning Board and City Council have to wade through all the time. – I hope they enjoy this ‘week off’.

    Comment by David Kirwin — September 30, 2008 @ 9:55 pm

  71. DK #70 “my intent is not personal attacks” hahahah *snort* haha whew! giggle ohmygoodness. Thanks for that! That was the best chuckle I’ve had in a long time!

    Comment by notadave — October 1, 2008 @ 8:08 am

  72. David, I appreciate much of what you say, and I read it with great interest. And I agree with you a good percentage of the time. You are interested in many topics, and you show a good judgment, not to mention good memory to remember what you’ve read. You would be a lot more effective though if you make one point per post. There’s so much to think about these day, we can all write pages upon pages of opinion but too many words muddle the point sometimes.

    Have you approached one of the newspapers for a regular column? Please consider it.

    Have a nice day, everyone.

    Comment by AD — October 1, 2008 @ 8:50 am

  73. I am not a big fan of Measure A. It was a response to a City Council that failed to take action on a real problem, much like State government failing to take action resulted in Prop. 13. That said, I think that real estate and financial executives are more likely to be drawn and quartered than they are to change Measure A. Measure A is the last firewall against irresponsible development. As has become painfully obvious, real estate investors and developers take no responsibility for the problems that they cause. The average Alamedan will have to bailout any problems at the base. Considering the current “Take the Money and Run” mentality of developers, the only sane response is to vote no on changes to Measure A. Otherwise, the transfer tax on your property could rise to the point that the government owns any profit you make on your home, while you are responsible for any loss.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — October 1, 2008 @ 7:38 pm


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