[updated below 2:46 p.m.]
Continuing on the post from yesterday. There’s more? Yes, there’s more to be said about the ad and the subsequent press release that went out about the ad buy. First though, a friend emailed me this link to this Saturday Night Live skit about John McCain endorsing his campaign ads. The ad is eerily prescient for this new “hard hitting” ad about Alameda Point, SunCal, and the City of Alameda in general. I would say the Save Our City Alameda ad is most like the one in the skit about Barack Obama and Charles Barkley:
“Excuse me, are those facts accurate?”
“Yes, the Senator does play basketball, Charles Barkley also plays. Charles Barkley lost money in Vegas.”
“Can’t argue fact…”
While the facts (or in the SOCA case, some of the facts) may be correct, linking the facts all together and then saying that because all these facts can be linked together in this 30 second ad clearly it must be true is simply ridiculous. Add to it the omimous voice over, guess they couldn’t get the sarcastic sounding dude, and voila! You can have makings of a self-created doomsday sceanrio. It will be interesting to see which City Council folks (ahem) bite on this issue and decide to carry water for this group.
Apparently, the one man public relations team for SOCA will be holding a press conference today at 10:30 am unveiling the ad to the media. Interestingly enough, in one of the initial press releases about the SOCA had this as a quote (for use by media type folks) from the one man spin team:
“We would prefer to see the public land at Alameda Point put into a public land trust that preserves the existing economic activity at Alameda Point and reserves the land for public uses for everyone in Alameda. There is already housing for the homeless and war veterans at Alameda Point, and existing businesses which provide jobs and economic activity. These people are going to get pushed around to make way for SunCal’s bulldozers”
Personally, I find it rather interesting that Action Alameda er… SOCA has so much concern for the formerly homeless and formerly homeless veterans living at Alameda Point. Why, no less than the 2006 election was “Action Alameda” under the guise of the “Keep Measure A” blog was trying to prove to everyone the Alameda Point Collaborative, where these fellow Alamedans that will get “pushed around” to make way for SunCallived, was a “crime and drug infested ghetto.” Back around the election of 2006 Action Alameda/Keep Measure A decided to pull crime statistics from all of Alameda Point and attribute them all to the Alameda Point Collaborative, “proof” that they were indeed running some sort of shoddy operation out there. To add insult to injury, he also decided to write lettersto some of APC’s funders in an attempt to “inform” them of the egregious situation out there and go on to gloat about itto a staff person at APC. Saying:
I can see you’ve seen my letters to local funders. How blue is your sky these days? Are you just cranky due to hand cramps from funding applications?
But now, that is all water under the bridge, I suppose, because advocating for the residents at APC “benefits” SOCA, its initial concerns that prompted a letter to their funders has been put to the side for the good of Alameda.
Anyhow, this is a draft of my letter to the City Council regarding the SunCal plan since I won’t be able to get out to the meeting on Wednesday:
[insert appropriate salutation here]
I am writing to you in support of the SunCal Draft Redevelopment Master Plan. From reviewing the documents, SunCal has clearly taken many of the suggestions offered by community members at the numerous community meetings and incorporated them into their plans. Most obvious is the historical renovation portion which captured more and more of the existing buildings for rehabilitation and reuse as meetings occurred. The addition of a branch library and the movement of the proposed elementary school, I believe, came directly from suggestions by community members at these meetings.
I am particularly very supportive of the large section of land set aside for a campus user, such as a Google or similar company. While with the downturn the economy there may not be an obvious tenant for such a large space right now, SunCal has done the right thing to plan for the future and the possibility that a large tenant may be interested in a campus so closely located to the business center of San Francisco.
I also am supportive of the diversity of housing as proffered by SunCal as well. This is clearly due much the influence of Peter Calthorpe. While not in compliance with Measure A, it is definitely in the spirit of the historical layout of the main island of Alameda and offers the most choice for current and future residents of Alameda.
As an aside, I would support the Alternative A of the Sports Complex Master Plan, as well. While I understand that the needs of the soccer community are great, I think Alameda could benefit from an Olympic sized swimming pool, which is proposed in Alternative A.
As to the things that I would like to see SunCal work on. I would like to see better integration of the exisiting Alameda Point Collaborative community and of the designated affordable housing in general. I realize that these are just draft plans right now, but a large majority of this housing is concentrated as “workforce housing” in a certain section of the development and I would like to see it scattered throughout the entire site.
I also think that the southern portion of the development, largely dominated by commercial space, needs to have more green space incorporated. Perhaps enough space for an additional soccer field could be located there as, if the commercial space ends up being a traditional office park, the addition of soccer fields would “activate” that area on weekends and evenings when it would generally be vacant because of the business hours kept by office park tenants.
Additionally, while I think that the plans for the waterfront stretch of open space appears attractive, it is very passive in nature. While that can be pleasant, it would be, in my opinion, a better and higher use of the space if some portion was reserved for active use (see soccer field).
Thank you for your time and consideration.
[insert signature line here]
[Update 2:46 p.m.]
If you would like to send email comments to the City Council as well but don’t want to look up all the email addresses, you can use this nifty forwarding address: firstname.lastname@example.org as set up by John Knox White. That one address will forward your email to all members of the City Council.