Well, what can you say, I guess deceptive tv ads are always part of a political campaign process and since SunCal kicked it off with political polling to test different messages, Action Alameda, er I mean Save Our City Alameda, has decided to respond with a limited tv ad buy that is chock full of scary, self-important voice overs, bolded font with key words highlighted in different colors. Seriously, the only thing it is missing is ominous background music which probably cost too much to get the clearance rights for.
Nothing is really lost by not seeing the spot itself, it’s simply the following slides with the faux-Movie guy voice. The only thing missing was the requisite, “in a world where [fill in the blank here]…”
First of all, Alameda is nowhere near bankruptcy, let alone on the “verge” of it. Honestly, if you are going to make contentions like that, at least back it up with some facts. Certainly you can’t do it on a 30 second ad buy, but at least put it on your website.
Interesting that the spectre of lawsuits would be brought up as part of this, since if the City did what Action Alameda…err…Save Our City Alameda is suggesting, this would also expose the City to lawsuits as well. But again, the point of this ad is not to inform, but rather to scare folks into submission.
And that was why the City put Measure P on the ballot. To help find additional funding for essential services. What was the point of this slide? Yet again, more scare tactics. As newer communities, like Bayport, have additional taxes levied upon it in order to pay for things like fire services. You see, while our property tax increment might be going to pay off the bonds for the infrastructure, the City built this “fiscally neutral” community services district in order to relieve the burden of new residents on existing city services. Meaning that if there is a shortage of money for city services, like firefighters, police, etc it’s not because there are new residents from new developments.
The implication, of course, is that the money will come out of the general fund. Which it will not. While I know not everyone is a fan of the mechanism of Redevelopment and Tax Increment Financing this tact is really intellectually dishonest. The money generated by tax increment financing would, more than likely, go towards infrastructure costs. Not houses, as suggested by this slide. If we really want to get technical, SunCal doesn’t even build vertical development (e.g. they don’t construct physical buildings, but rather acts as a true Master Developer and subcontract out the vertical development to other developers). Of course there is also the use of the very tired phrase “bail-out.” Inappropriately used, I might add, but strategically done in order to conjure up just the right amount of animosity for folks who don’t follow the issue, understand how tax increment financing works, and are already fatigued by all the talk about bank bailouts, auto-industry bailouts, etc…
I guess it would be too much to ask for evidence of this $1 billion debt. Nothwithstanding the fact it may not be quite correct to ascribe debt created by redevelopment areas in order to improve those areas under the umbrella of “City’s debt.” Again, whether you agree with the mechanism of redevelopment or not, to make this claim is intellectually dishonest and is used to muddy the waters rather than make valid criticisms of the SunCal plan.
I liked the red, white and blue motif on the end slide. Because only those that agree are truly patriotic.
Seriously though, the graphics remind me a lot of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. More than likely because the black background, white font with red used to highlight key words (which are meant to be parrotted by those taken in by the ad) makes for a pretty effective piece of propaganda. Of course, saying something is happening/has happened does not mean that it is true, but I suppose that Action Alameda, er… Save Our City Alameda is relying on a 30 second TV spot to reach out to folks that don’t really know what is going on and will be scared and frightened into submission by the stark whiteness of the Arial Black font and spurred into action by the red text.
Putting aside this scare first, plan later tactic by Save Our City Alameda, wouldn’t it have been more effective to talk up the plan for a land trust, put out specifics on how a land trust would be structured and who would eventually fund it? Personally, I’m not opposed to the idea of a public land trust, but without specifics or someone with very generous deep pockets willing to finance a public land trust, it doesn’t seem to be a viable option. If the City is expected to finance a public land trust then we really would start incurring a whole lot of debt charged to the City, which I assume is what Save Our City Alameda is trying to prevent.
People in support of this land trust have trotted out the Presidio Trust as an example of how it would work in Alameda, but I don’t see how that is an option for Alameda unless folks like the Lipows have already reached out to Nancy Pelosi, Pete Stark, Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, or insert name of your favorite congressperson here to ask them to pass legislation to transfer Alameda Point from the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense to the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior and then pass more legislation to create a Public Trust for Alameda Point that would become this “wholly owned government corporation” which would have to reach self-suffciency within a specific amount of time. During that time, the Trust would have to upgrade exisiting infrastructure at the Naval Base because I’m pretty sure the old infrastructure probably doesn’t have many good years left in it. Simple, right? Or does Save Our City Alameda have some other plan in mind? Because if they do, they certainly are being rather tight lipped about it and stingy with the details.
Because really, anyone can say, “Yes I would love to see Alameda Point as a Land Trust,” but as they say, the devil is in the details and no one with all these alternative plans for Alameda Point have really done that detail work, instead relying on fearmongering to attempt to stall existing plans rather than laying out, specifically, what they find so heinous about the SunCal plan.