Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 2, 2009

SunCal never promised us a rose garden, part 2

Continued from Part 1…

Jean Sweeney goes on to say in her letter to multiple editors (thanks to David B. for the Alameda Journal redirect)

Do you notice that the Alameda Point Master Plan is not one of the Applicable Rules? The Master Plan has no enforceable effect. It has big promises and pretty pictures but not enforceable.

See, here is where we get into a pure terminology issue. Just to clarify initially, the Applicable Rules that SunCal is bound by under the Development Agreement (p. 4 – 5) are:

  • The City Charter of the City of Alameda on the Election Date, as modified by the Initiative Approvals…
  • The General Plan of the City on the Election Date, including the new Alameda Point Community Plan and other modifications made by the Initiative Approvals…
  • The Alameda Point Specific Plan…
  • The Zoning Ordinance (i.e., Chapter XXX of the Alameda Municipal Code) of the City on the Election Date, as modified by the Initiative Approvals…
  • All other provisions of the Alameda Municipal Code and other rules regulations, ordinances and policies of City applicable to development of the Property on the Election Date, as the same may be modified by the Initiative Approvals.

Next, some definitions. While it’s true that the Master Plan is not one of the Applicable Rules, in general Master Plans are policy documents and have nothing to do with regulating for land use. The best explanation of what a Master Plan does, I found on this county website in Michigan:

A Master Plan is a comprehensive long range plan intended to guide growth and development of a community or region. It includes analysis, recommendations, and proposals for the community’s population, economy, housing, transportation, community facilities, and land use. It is based on public input, surveys, planning initiatives, existing development, physical characteristics, and social and economic conditions…

However, one of the Applicable Rules in the Development Agreement is the Alameda Point Specific Plan which contains a lot of what is already in the General Plan. Specific Plans, as opposed to Master Plans, are, according to this guide written up by the State of California are:

…tool[s] for the systematic implementation of the general plan. It effectively establishes a link between implementing policies of the general plan and the individual development proposals in a defined area.

By statute, Specific Plans must contain the following information:

(a) A specific plan shall include a text and a diagram or diagrams which specify all of the following in detail:

(1) The distribution, location, and extent of the uses of land, including open space, within the area covered by the plan.

(2) The proposed distribution, location, and extent and intensity of major components of public and private transportation, sewage, water, drainage, solid waste disposal, energy, and other essential facilities proposed to be located within the area covered by the plan and needed to support the land uses described in the plan.

(3) Standards and criteria by which development will proceed, and standards for the conservation, development, and utilization of natural resources, where applicable.

(4) A program of implementation measures including regulations, programs, public works projects, and financing measures necessary to carry out paragraphs (1), (2), and (3).

(b) The specific plan shall include a statement of the relationship of the specific plan to the general plan.

There is a lot of overlap between the Alameda Point Draft Master Plan and the Alameda Point Specific Plan (found in the larger initative).  Jean S. refers to the “20 pages of parks and trails in the new master plan” in her interview with the Alameda Sun, but those parks and trails are duplicated in the Specific Plan under the heading of “Open Space and Conservation“.   She refers to the Master Plan’s “big promises and pretty pictures” and says that they are “not enforcable,” but my question would be what is in the Master Plan that is not found in the Specific Plan that falls under a “big promise” or “pretty picture”?  And, as mentioned previously and codified in the Development Agreement, the Specific Plan is one of those binding “Applicable Rules” that Jean S. discusses in her first paragraph as the only things restraining the developer.

And finally, the big close.  Jean S. wraps it all up with:

Demolishing 300 buildings to make way for 6000 homes on toxic land in a flood plain just to rip off the citizens of Alameda is unconscionable.

Except for the fact that it’s not 6,000 homes. 6,000 is the number identified and marketed by Action Alameda and friends that includes the base number of units plus the density bonus unit numbers that SunCal has not precluded the use of anywhere in the initiative.

In other words, according to the Initiative, they haven’t said that they are going to use it, but they haven’t said that they aren’t going to use it either.

Even the authors of the Alameda Point Development Initiative Election Report didn’t feel comfortable making the assumption that either SunCal was (1) going to use the density bonus and therefore that number needed to be counted as well and/or (2) whether the density bonus number were going to be counted toward the total number of units that were portioned out in the Initiative itself.

However, I wanted to know, definitively, if SunCal intends to use the density bonus. The flat out answer I received was no, SunCal has no intention of using the density bonus. Of course, I’m sure Jean S. is welcome to ask SunCal and put this 6,000 homes business to rest. The total number of units to be constructed, from page 1 of the initiative:

…includes a maximum of 4,346 new residential units, plus 186 existing Collaborative Housing units and the reuse of existing residential buildings for up to 309 residential units…

That’s a total maximum of 4,841 units, not 6,000. 

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77 Comments

  1. 4841 is still a lousy idea.

    Comment by dave — June 2, 2009 @ 6:45 am

  2. Doesn’t it also support 600 boat slips? DOn’t boat dwellers also use cars when on land?

    Comment by David Kirwin — June 2, 2009 @ 7:21 am

  3. …and Sun Cal can increase the # by 20 – 35% with use of housing density bonus- a comment to Lauren is not binding.

    Comment by David Kirwin — June 2, 2009 @ 7:27 am

  4. I don’t see in the report a “legislative analysis” as was specifically requested by Council member Matarrese.

    This was requested so we could all understand who and how decisions affecting the project would be made if this gets on the ballot and if voters approve it. It has been suggested that PB & CC would lose their authority and the city development director would gain much more authority over the project; thus citizens lose representative enforcement of goals, and development plan changes will require convincing only the one person in the city working most closely with the developers.

    Comment by David Kirwin — June 2, 2009 @ 7:39 am

  5. #3 and an assumption that SunCal will definitely use the Density Bonus is not binding either.

    Comment by Lauren Do — June 2, 2009 @ 7:42 am

  6. Jean Sweeney understands the real purpose of the Initiative better than anyone else I’ve seen so far — in fact, I don’t see many people who come anywhere close to understanding it.

    Here’s the controlling paragraph, from the Development Agreement:

    “Section 2.9, No Other Requirements: Nothing in this Development Agreement is intended to create any affirmative development obligations to develop the Alameda Point project at all or in any particular order or manner, or liability in Developer under this Development Agreement if the development fails to occur. Other agreements among the ARRA and/or the CIC and the Developer will establish obligations regarding development of the Alameda Point Project, and any default under those separate agreements (including failure to develop in accordance with the timing provisions of such agreements) does not constitute a default under this Development Agreement.”

    Looking at the first sentence: “Nothing in this Development Agreement is intended to create any affirmative development obligations…” —

    SunCal is not required to do anything at all under this agreement.

    Looking at the second sentence: “Other agreements [with the city] and the Developer will establish obligations regarding development … and any default under those separate agreements … does not constitute a default under this Development Agreement.”

    SunCal can default on the DDA or any other agreements w/ the city, and still retain control over the property.

    The executive summary concurs(from pg. 11):

    “Phasing of Development. The DA provides developer with the right to develop the project according to the order, rate, and time developer deems appropriate within the exercise of its business judgment.”

    As Jean Sweeney has said elsewhere, SunCal’s plan has no enforceable provisions, at least nothing that benefits us. As I’ve said before, it’s like nailing jello to a tree.

    We are handing off control to Alameda Point in exchange for nothing — I don’t know how anyone could support that, regardless of their politics.

    Comment by DL Morrison — June 2, 2009 @ 3:26 pm

  7. Here are the terms which will — supposedly — be set within the Disposition and Development Agreement (DDA), which won’t be reached until AFTER the vote takes place. These terms are NOT in the Initiative, and in addition, as I’ve said above, SunCal can default on a DDA or implement it according to any timeframe that it chooses.

    I’ve marked a few items below that are especially worth noting. From the Executive Summary, pg. 11:

    *******
    “DISPOSITION AND DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT

    The DDA will be between the CIC and SunCal and will control the terms and conditions of the transfer of land from the CIC to SunCal, including, but not limited to,
    * the scope of development;
    * land takedown,
    * infrastructure, and
    * development phasing plans;
    *** environmental remediation liabilities and responsibilities; * schedule of performance;
    *** financial assurances;
    *** fiscal neutrality;
    *** public and private financing plans;
    * public financing commitments;
    *** amount and timing of public benefits;
    * the revenue threshold at which point the City shares in profits;
    * affordable housing programs;
    * transportation improvements and programs;
    * sustainability programs; and
    *** mitigation of potential ARRA holding costs.

    The DDA will also memorialize third party transaction documents that affect the ultimate terms and conditions of disposition of the land, including a conveyance agreement with the Navy and a Tidelands Trust Exchange agreement with the State.”
    ******

    So again, none of these issues will be resolved until AFTER the vote, so none of them are controlled by the Initiative.

    Comment by DL Morrison — June 2, 2009 @ 3:36 pm

  8. SunCal wrote the measure to benefit — guess who? — SunCal. It is their bat and their ball and they call the shots. They have to be somewhat nice to us as long as they need someone to play with…but when they no longer need us, they are gone in a flash.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — June 2, 2009 @ 3:52 pm

  9. Thanks for that karaoke piece!

    I guess I need to go read that ballot measure because by reading this post and the comments it would seem that a vendor selection is being made via public vote. That is simply poor policy and even worse, mis-use of the voter process.

    As a public vote, we should be approving changes to the charter that impact policy and the city legal code. For the point that would imply we would be approving a framework under which any vendor/developer would be bound to operate.

    I don’t want to approve a Development Agreement by popular vote. That is the job of the City Manager. If the City Manager at $200,000/year is not qualified to negotiate a development agreement of this nature we’ve either got the wrong person in the job or we’re paying too much (or both).

    Who in their right mind would pass into LAW something that binds us to a specific vendor?

    Comment by Edmundo Delmundo — June 2, 2009 @ 4:03 pm

  10. Edmundo, the developer isn’t in the initiative, that was done by a public vetting process and will be re-confirmed by the city council/city manager. Nothing in the initiative selects SunCal as the developer for the voter’s plan.

    Comment by John Knox White — June 2, 2009 @ 5:20 pm

  11. #9

    Under Section 111 of the Initiative on page 10, it states that it allows for some “discretionary approvals by City Officials and legislative bodies”. Give me a break!

    It can also be amended or repealed by the City Council provided that certain conditions are met — one of them being that the application (for amendment) must be submitted by the Developer or a significant landowner at Alameda Point. This Initiative locks us in with SunCal and then gives them the right to transfer this agreement to anyone they chose without the City’s consent.

    This is all very disturbing!

    I’m with you #9, who in their right mind would pass this?

    Comment by Karen Bey — June 2, 2009 @ 5:37 pm

  12. #9 & #11–

    Well, I had a call at my house in late March from Beverly Johnson promoting SunCal’s plan.

    Comment by Joe — June 2, 2009 @ 5:47 pm

  13. (an amendment to #12) # 10 I mean, Beverly Johnson was prompting voters to read the glossy brochure that we would be receiving in our mailboxes describing the plan for the NAS. To the average Joe Doe on the street, this deal is commonly known as “Sun Cal’s Plan”–even though, technically, yes, their name is scarcely in the documents.

    Yes, the first part of this post reflects, in just a very minute way the way the initiative, DA and DDA are written. First look here, then look there, then over at that page there, then look at the map there….then go back to the other page….yes, “it’s like nailing jello to a tree,” as someone said above.

    Comment by Joe — June 2, 2009 @ 5:53 pm

  14. #11: Yes, that’s basically it. Section 8 of the Initiative, on pg. 8, deals w/ the development agreement. Among other things, it states that:

    * The development agreement will be signed within 5 days following the “effective date” of the Initiative (which is about 10 days after the election); and at that point,

    * The City Manager will enter the name of the developer (SunCal’s LLC) into the Development Agreement.

    So that gives the city about 15 days to “vet” SunCal, which is obviously not happening, since SunCal was already “vetted” thru the entire ENA process, and anyway, this is their initiative, right?

    Another interesting point in Section 8. It reads:

    “… a development agreement is a legislative act”, so if the initiative passes, the attached DA “is hereby adopted as an ordinance of the City and approved”.

    So they’re basically saying, yes, this is supposed to be passed by the City Council, but we’re just sticking in a reference to an ordinance here, and that covers it.

    Comment by DL Morrison — June 2, 2009 @ 6:28 pm

  15. #10. Right. SunCal hardly has anything to do with this initiative.

    Is this what you want us to think?

    Comment by technologist — June 2, 2009 @ 6:30 pm

  16. And fyi, the definition of “Effective Date” appears in Section 11 of the Initiative.

    Comment by DL Morrison — June 2, 2009 @ 6:35 pm

  17. #11: In Article 9 of the Development Agreement (on pg. 19):

    “9.1 Right to Assign. Developer shall have the right to sell, assign or transfer in whole or in part its rights, duties and obligations under this Development Agreement, to any person or entity at any time during the term of the DA without the consent of city”.

    So yes, under the Development Agreement, we’re locked into SunCal, but they can hand off all or part of the site to anyone whenever they choose.

    Comment by DL Morrison — June 2, 2009 @ 6:44 pm

  18. #17
    I want to be clear. I am in agreement with most of the Plan except for the Sports Complex. I would prefer the “Public Benefit” be focused on what’s already at the Point. The wineries, the film studios, the museums, and the Historic District,etc. How on earth did Sun Cal miss this?

    And I’m also in favor of making Alameda Point exempt from Measure A. What I have issues with is the development agreement (DA)being part of the Initiative —- the DA is not an agreement I would sign!

    #10 John, you’re right in that the Initiative appears not to bind us to Sun Cal, but I’m not 100% certain this is true, and I’m disappointed that Sun Cal did not give us ample time to review this document and have input before distribution.

    Comment by Karen Bey — June 2, 2009 @ 7:15 pm

  19. #10

    That’s the problem right there. You’ve got this guy who is the head of the transportation board who doesn’t even know that the City has been in an exclusive negotiating agreement with SunCal for over two years! You would think that his boss, the Mayor, would tell him about this. It is pretty embarrassing. How could someone in City administration be so out of it?

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — June 2, 2009 @ 8:09 pm

  20. #19, he’s a fool or a tool. Or both.

    Comment by technologist — June 2, 2009 @ 8:19 pm

  21. The Mayor needs to be more on top of it. This happened two years ago and yet you’ve got some top people in the City who are completely ignorant of what is going on. The last thing the City needs right now is yet another scandal. It is time for the Mayor to touch base with her commissioners.

    http://www.ci.alameda.ca.us/news/0707_arra_ena_suncal.html

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — June 2, 2009 @ 8:31 pm

  22. One detail to interject here that may, or may not, clarify things for everyone.

    SunCal is the developer of the master plan, that’s about it. They then sell off parcels to other developers who will develop them. This is pretty standard in property development.

    The language in that many of you are citing is intended to reflect this fact. I don’t think there’s anything particularly nefarious intended here, it’s just intended to reflect how the land will be developed. Having said that, you can certainly debate whether you think that’s acceptable to you.

    Another related point….When a particular parcel would be sold off to another developer that does not mean that they have carte blanche to do whatever they want with the property and that the city does not have any say in the matter. They will be bound by the overall master plan, various city ordinances (yes, I know we need to look at the details of that) and that developer will need to get specific approval from the city for that particular development. Again, this is pretty standard stuff that’s done all the time and isn’t some secret plot by a cabal in a dark castle somewhere. Yes, folks will want to be dilligent in watching what develops on specific parcels and be vocal in advocating things they think are best for the community, but that’s a natural part of the process.

    As for the long time line to develop the whole site, again I don’t believe there’s anything nefarious here. This is a very large piece of land, so development would take a long time in any event. Factor in on top of this the vagaries of real estate market (hey, would you be building housing now?) and you can see why there should be flexibility built in to the schedule. I’d rather someone be careful about building in a market that would support sales than building a bunch of stuff that sits empty and unsold, or only half built and abandoned.

    Sorry for the long post, the short answer is that if you look at the realities of how real estate development works, and how markets work, much of this makes sense.

    Disagree with the model if you want, I can respect that, but don’t automatically assume that there is something else afoot.

    Comment by david burton — June 2, 2009 @ 9:20 pm

  23. Yes David it makes perfect sense to do gargantuan real estate deals with companies with 27 recent bankruptcies to their credit.

    Nothing to assume here!

    Comment by realist — June 2, 2009 @ 9:45 pm

  24. #23 – I’m not at all saying we should, or shouldn’t, do business with SunCal. All I’m saying is that many people are taking things that are regular parts of large real estate deals and reading more into it than they should.

    If we think that SunCal would not be a financially viable partner, fine. That is a reasonable position to take.

    If you don’t want to make any exceptions to Measure A, I can respect that. I think I’m on record (or I guess I will be now) saying that I think that it would be reasonable to make modifications to Measure A that retain those intentions that are well intentioned but that would allow building of some types of housing now disallowed by MA (apartments over retail space, multi-unit housing of a scale similar to Stonehenge, etc).

    I could list many other issues pertinent to development of the base, but hopefully you get my point.

    I think that the debate over the base needs to be civilized and fact based, not built on disinformation or conspiraciy theories.

    Comment by david burton — June 2, 2009 @ 10:15 pm

  25. #18: This is an initiative that had to be submitted to the city for approval, then circulated for signatures, so SunCal can’t revise the content of the documents at this point.

    Here’s the link to the Executive Summary: http://www.alameda-point.com/pdf/electionrpt.pdf

    See “Provision of Public Infrastructure” on pg. 17:

    “The DA commits to fund, in an amount not-to-exceed $200 million, public benefits … contingent on receiving public financing from the City… The public benefits to be provided include:

    o Regional Alameda Point Sports Complex;
    o Parks and open space;
    o Seaplane Lagoon frontage;
    o Bay Trail extension;
    o On-site and off-site traffic and transit improvements;
    o Ferry terminal and transit hub;
    o Upgrades to existing Fire Station; and
    o Branch library.

    The Initiative does not calculate the total cost of infrastructure for the project. Therefore, it is unknown whether the $200 million will be sufficient to fund all of the aforementioned improvements.”

    SunCal is required to provide the $200M which is supposed to cover everything, so whether any of this happens or not is unknown. Note that the list includes “traffic and transit improvements” which alone could be costly.

    #22: This comes off sounding like the villagers can put down their pitchforks. (“Stand back! I’m an architect!”) I’m not saying it’s “nefarious” — I am saying that it’s a lousy deal for the city and the voters.

    I’d go back to #6 and #7 above: SunCal may well enter into agreements w/ the city following the vote, but it can also DEFAULT on those agreements and its rights to hold the land under the Development Agreement don’t change.

    Plus we’ve been told repeatedly that this plan is “transparent” and we know what we’re getting — well, no way. That’s why I listed everything that gets determined under the DDA, which follows the election — including, for example, things that were repeatedly promised, such as:

    * public financing commitments — as IN REDEVELOPMENT BONDS — after the vote;
    * Financial assurances — as in 27 BANKRUPTCIES — after the vote;
    * Fiscal neutrality — as in the hit to the General Fund — after the vote;
    * amount and timing of public benefits — as in sports complex or any other promises — after the vote;
    * environmental remediation liabilities and responsibilities — let’s hope and pray that the city doesn’t have to deal with this — etc.

    We have no idea what the real risk or the ultimate cost to the city will be.

    Comment by DL Morrison — June 2, 2009 @ 11:15 pm

  26. #24: “… not built on disinformation or conspiracy theories”

    I’ll tell you what — if you have something to say in support of the plan, then please focus on that — please don’t focus on discrediting the comments made against the plan.

    Comment by DL Morrison — June 2, 2009 @ 11:25 pm

  27. Queries for David Burton and thanks to all for the vigorous discussion!

    David, thank you for pointing out what is customary practice in development deals. I very much hope you continue to do so. That will help me to identify and focus on ideas that may not be customary.

    Granted that much of what is in the initiative is standard for development agreements. I would appreciate your comments on some items that may not be standard.

    1) approval of a large specific plan and accompanying zoning without an EIR

    2) possible rendering of a settlement agreement requiring 25% affordable housing at Alameda Point between the City of Alameda, Renewed Hope, and ARC Ecology unenforceable, and

    3) the consolidation of approval authority granted to the planning director that the City report observes on page 26 “The Specific Plan gives authority for approval of the MDIGP to the City’s Planning Director. The City Engineer, who is required to be a licensed Professional Civil Engineer with the State of California, has the responsibility for approving public infrastructure improvements in accordance with engineering standards and principles. It is unclear whether the Specific Plan supercedes the role of the City Engineer, as required by state law and City ordinance. Upon adoption of the Specific Plan, the City’s Planning Director would act as the City’s “Advisory Agency,” with respect to subdivisions within the plan area and would be assigned the responsibility for approving, conditionally approving or denying an application for a tentative map, vesting tentative map or parcel map within the plan area. That responsibility is now held by the City Council with the Planning Board, City Engineer and Planning Director advisory to the City Council for conformance with state and local law.”

    These are just a few of the dozen or more items identified by the City in their report on the initiative that may not be standard in development agreements.

    I would also point out that our long-time City manager recently resigned over unspecified “differences of approach with the City Council” and that her replacement recently let the planning director and half of the planning staff go. It would be relevant to find out from the City Council if the difference of opinion related to development of Alameda Point and if the approach to the development of Alameda Point had anything to do with the Planning Director and staff being laid off. Are there plans to rebuild the department or was it merely overstaffed?

    I concur that the change to the City Charter to allow multi-family housing at Alameda Point would benefit our community and the environment. I am concerned, though, that the intiative may not be an acceptable way to bring about the change. I would appreciate more of your insightful comments on what is or is not standard practice.

    I am also concerned that if this initiative doesn’t pass, the Navy will begin selling the property piecemeal and we will end up with a cramped suburban development at the Point with minimal community benefits, especially open space and transportation improvements.

    The vigorous discussion on this blog has been very helpful in sort through the issues. Thanks to all!

    Comment by William Smith — June 3, 2009 @ 4:27 am

  28. ANT: regarding your comment about the Exclusive Negotiation Agreement (ENA). It should be noted that is an entirely separate legal agreement than the Development Agreement (DA) which is at issue here.

    The DA, as mentioned by JKW above, is silent on who the developer entity is. That is further confirmed by the summary put forth by the City which states fairly clearly who the parties are in the DA, as written:

    The DA is between the City and “a person other than a governmental
    entity having a legal or equitable interest” in the Alameda Point property. The DA does not name the CIC or ARRA as a party.

    Comment by Lauren Do — June 3, 2009 @ 6:06 am

  29. The DA, as mentioned by JKW above, is silent on who the developer entity is.

    ——

    SunCal seems mighty confident that they know the identity of the developer-to-be-named-later.

    Comment by dave — June 3, 2009 @ 6:37 am

  30. #22. Or, to look at it another way:

    Guy 1: “If you let us do what we want here, we’ll let you have this nice thing.”

    Us: “Ok…but who will deliver it?”

    Guy 1: “Somebody will as soon as you sign.”

    Us: “Ok, we’ll sign. We trust you guys.”

    Exit Guy 1. Enter Guy 2.

    Us: “Hi. Where is the thing Guy 1 said you have for us?”

    Guy 2: “What thing?”

    Us: “You know, the thing you promsed!”

    Guy 2: “Me? I didn’t promise anything! And the economic realities/land conditions/financing is such it’s not feasible for me to deliver it anyway.”

    End.

    Comment by lets get real — June 3, 2009 @ 7:04 am

  31. Dave: quite possibly, but that wasn’t what the issue was, the issue was the the ENA and DA were essentially the same document. Which is not true.

    SunCal could default on the ENA in the midst of the election and the city would not be required to fill in the blank in the DA with their name.

    Also, does anyone find it deeply ironic that someone with the avatar of “lets get real” posts about an entirely fake sceanrio?

    Comment by Lauren Do — June 3, 2009 @ 7:13 am

  32. 26. “I’ll tell you what — if you have something to say in support of the plan, then please focus on that — please don’t focus on discrediting the comments made against the plan.”

    speak for yourself. Actually this comment by you is unwelcome. I think the basic clarification about standard practice as offered by David Burton has it’s place. I also think that criticisms of the initiative are far more effective when they do not veer off into statements of the extreme (conspiracy under EVERY rock) or wise ass comments. After all, if the plan is as flawed as many claim (and I am not arguing otherwise), what’s the need for all the hyperbole?

    Quickly re-checking, I didn’t see that David Burton even qualified his comments by referring to his profession, though that would be the obvious source of any expertise on his part. But why do you have to denigrate his effort with snark like ”Stand back! I’m an architect!”?

    Comment by M.I. — June 3, 2009 @ 8:55 am

  33. #25

    I am also concerned about some of the aspects of the DA you mention, but its clear that the City Council will have the last word, and therefore will be able to negotiate the final terms of the development agreement.

    Comment by Karen Bey — June 3, 2009 @ 10:39 am

  34. #33: No, the city council does not negotiate the terms of the development agreement — it can’t, because once the initiative w/ attached agreement has passed, then it has to be accepted in that form.

    In other words, you can’t have people vote on something and then change the contents after the vote. As the initiative says, the development agreement has to be signed within a few days after the election, in its present form.

    #31: You’re saying that the election would go ahead w/out SunCal? Could you please confirm that by some means?

    #32: “extreme (conspiracy under EVERY rock)” This is bizarre. I did not make any statements regarding conspiracy — please tell me where I did.

    We are discussing a very large, complex development that will have a major and possibly disastrous effect on our community. The discussion has to be focused on issues — as I said, if you support this project, then please explain your reasoning.

    Effots to discredit opponents are meaningless and utterly beside the point.

    Comment by DL Morrison — June 3, 2009 @ 11:14 am

  35. #31: You’re saying that SunCal would allow itself to default in the midst of this expensive political campaign, despite all the effort its gone thru to promote its plan (and itself), all the hearings, drafting the initiative, collecting the signatures, and so on?

    And then, even tho the city had no developer lined up, no idea of what that developer’s credentials might be, it would nevertheless go ahead with the election? And people would vote for the initiative, having no clue who the developer might be?

    Comment by DL Morrison — June 3, 2009 @ 11:26 am

  36. ANT,

    my comment (#10) that the developer had already been vetted was specifically about the ENA, SunCal was chosen as the developer for this project, it’s not the Initiative that is choosing them. After the vote, the council/manager will then sign the agreement with SunCal, who has previously been through a public selection project. (see Lauren’s #31)

    Comment by John Knox White — June 3, 2009 @ 12:06 pm

  37. This initiative ain’t nothing but an old fashioned snow job. Put the voters on the hook to accept a plan the average person cannot read and understand (speaking for myself honestly), and then the city is ON THE HOOK.

    The developer is under no obligation, that I can see, to do anything.

    I know these cases have no similarity to one another, but Half Moon Bay is pleading with Sacramento to bail them out with a loan to pay off a huge legal settlement with a developer.

    If we vote to accept this initiative, it means our municipality is on the hook to the developer if they go ahead and sign the DA with SunCal, not just to the plan and the changes to our city general plan and all that.

    My discussion here may be simple minded, but look, we already in financial trouble here in this town. Just seems like simple math to say NO to this plan, when it’s multiple documents are not simple and transparent–it puts the developer in the drivers’ seat, and the liability all on the city.

    Comment by Jayne Smythe — June 3, 2009 @ 1:12 pm

  38. #36
    “SunCal was chosen as the developer for this project, it’s not the Initiative that is choosing them.”

    No, it is SunCal that chose the initiative — giving themselves incredibly favorable terms. After two years of exclusive negotiations, this is what we get offered? Only an idiot would agree to sign SunCal’s contract.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — June 3, 2009 @ 1:21 pm

  39. #34 you were definitely admonishing David Burton for “discrediting comments made against the plan.” Mr. Burton did use the term conspiracy to describe many of the accusations made against the plan, and guess what? you are not the only one making critical statements against the plan. But your admonishment of Mr. Burton is still not welcome by me, whether you have made the allusions to developer conspiracy or not. When it comes down to what’s most important I admit these exchanges can get really stupid.

    #38 I agree about the terms SunCal has given themselves, they aren’t stupid. So don’t vote for it.

    Comment by M.I. — June 3, 2009 @ 7:00 pm

  40. It might have been “some secret plot by a cabal in a dark castle somewhere” that brought to mind the torches and pitchforks.

    When I look at what David Burton wrote above (#22), I can’t know for certain if he’s right or not. In fact, I don’t know if he’s read thru all or some of the Initiative documents (and all the cross-references among the documents), or whether he’s considered the sum total effect of all the revisions to the city’s land use laws.

    That’s the issue, at bottom — who can tell me for sure what this means? If I were to vote in favor of the initiative, it would be a matter of blind trust — in a very complex set of documents that’s beyond me and beyond most voters to understand.

    Comment by DL Morrison — June 3, 2009 @ 8:27 pm

  41. Mark,
    It is plainly obvious DL was referring to DB’s “conspiracy comment.” in post #24

    She was simply trying to keep the comments on the true issues rather than untruthful personal innuendos.

    Statement’s like the last paragraph in Burton’s #24are not helpful in maintaining fact-based civility; “I think that the debate over the base needs to be civilized and fact based, not built on disinformation or conspiracy theories.”
    An odd inflammatory statement being that no conspiracy theories have been brought up, but it seems it was meant to discredit the posts that discredit Sun Cal’s ballot initiative.

    If he believes his own stated philosophy, he should stick to the facts, right?

    It reminds me of saying we must have a school curriculum focused on “inclusiveness” of a particular sub-group, and then having a an absolutely exclusive group design what that curriculum will include and how it will be taught.

    Comment by dk — June 3, 2009 @ 9:03 pm

  42. #37-“then the city is ON THE HOOK.”

    The City is ALREADY on the hook–and apparently was in the red last year overall last year–for every inevitable infrastructure repair to every failing roof, power line, water line, or sewer pipe at Alameda Point.

    The relentless collapse of the aged, antiquated, and overburdened infrastructure (mostly water and sewer pipes) at AP continues apace, and current lease revenues are inadequate to pay for the repairs. (Guess who pays? WE DO, out of the City’s General Fund.)

    The entire ANAS infrastructure was originally designed to below-civilian standards 70 years ago and installed not-so-well by the US Navy. Even if no additional capital outlays are made to upgrade this collapsing infrastructure to existing civilian standards, the City of Alameda will go broke just trying to repair what’s out there: current lease revenues do not even cover the existing repair costs. (And those costs ARE going to increase as more breakdowns occur.)

    Without redevelopment at AP, the City of Alameda could never afford to replace its massive infrastructure, much less do the additional cleanup that SunCal will do when it redevelops AP or install all the other transportation and recreation “amenities” listed in the development docs. The City of Alameda does not have the tax base or other revenues needed to redevelop AL on its own, unless you all have a spare $2-3 billion lying around. (Yeah. Thought so. Neither do I.)

    But if this redevelopment measure with its amendment to the City Charter passes and the USN transfers title to the City, one-third of the Island of Alameda will be added back onto the tax base as private property again, adding considerably to the City’s revenues. The increased number of parcels, higher property tax base, and stepped-up property tax revenues will also aid Alameda Hospital, Alameda Unified School District, and every other jurisdiction that benefits from property taxes or parcel taxes.

    This is not pocket change, folks: the estimated addition in assessed valuation will be about $4 billion, which makes for a lot of school supplies, parks, and other publicly-funded necessities. All this will vary depending on how quickly the development proceeds and how dynamic the real estate market is at the time, of course, and how cooperative the USN is about finishing its cleanup duties and transferring the base to Alameda’s hands.

    The November ballot measure may not be perfect. It cannot control how the US Navy will act or how quickly it will transfer the title of the former ANAS to the City, but it IS a big financial improvement over the status quo, which spells out inevitable City cost increases for AP infrastructure without any relief in sight. Keep your eyes on this wider horizon while you are getting lost wandering around in the details of the DA, the ENA, or the attachments to the plan.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — June 3, 2009 @ 9:59 pm

  43. Okay, the comments about my use of the “conspiracy theories” are well taken. Thanks for the defense Mark, but they’re right that I should find a more constructive way to express things. Thanks all, and I’ll do better next time.

    It’s really too bad that SunCal couldn’t have come up with a better way to present this darn thing to the voters. They’ve done a disservice to the voters and certainly haven’t helped their own case with the way this has come down.

    My hope had been that they would present a much more clear document for consideration; something that would list the 10 (or 20, whatever) issues most critical to the voters and then state in clear layman’s language what their resolution for that concern. Then it really would have been easier to focus on the issues and not detoured into the fog that seems to afflict us all when it comes to the point. Folks might agree with the plan, or not, but at least it would be a more pointed and relevant debate.

    Jon S. does raise a good point about the existing infrastructure at the point. If the SunCal plan is not deemed to be the right plan for Alameda, then we at least need to be realistic about what we’re left with in it’s place.

    Comment by david burton — June 3, 2009 @ 10:21 pm

  44. Isn’t it true that the lease revenue is currently averaging over $12M annually? Remember this is with artificially low lease terms because no long term leases are allowed by our redevelopment department, therefore no renters are willing put upgrade the facilities or infrastructure.

    At least with piecemeal development, we can curtail it when the west end says the traffic is too much, by whatever basis is chosen for that decision.

    Comment by dk — June 3, 2009 @ 11:23 pm

  45. #44 – I think the point is that you wouldn’t be able to attract long term leases out there without pretty much totally replacing the electrical, sewer, and water services to the area. Tenants aren’t going to pay for that (if you’re lucky you can get them to pay for some of the building improvements). So without someone laying out a whole boatload of money nothing happens out there – not SunCal, not keeping what’s there, not a big park – nothing.

    Comment by david burton — June 4, 2009 @ 12:08 am

  46. I think the point is that you wouldn’t be able to attract long term leases out there without pretty much totally replacing the electrical, sewer, and water services to the area.

    What gives you this idea?

    What negotiations have been explored?

    ..and we have seen other ways to fund infrastructure improvments, but remember the land is still the Navy’s…

    Comment by dk — June 4, 2009 @ 6:32 am

  47. There are some very good ideas in the city’s recently released long term financial forecast written by the Fiscal Sustainability Committee.

    “If SunCal terminates the agreement with the City, the City Council should
    consider hiring its own land planner and develop its own reuse plan, with
    community input. If voter approval is obtained, the City can then offer an
    approved plan to the market place on a bid basis with a plan that is acceptable to
    the Public and has the zoning, mix, and density in place.”

    http://www.ci.alameda.ca.us/archive/2009/attachments/cc_sub_2326.pdf

    The section on ARRA is well worth reading (pages 39-40 of the report).

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — June 4, 2009 @ 6:57 am

  48. re: 42

    This is not pocket change, folks: the estimated addition in assessed valuation will be about $4 billion, which makes for a lot of school supplies, parks, and other publicly-funded necessities.

    =================================

    Because the entire base is in redevelopment zone, the city will receive almost none of the property tax revs from this putative 4 yards of assessment. The TID will get almost all of it, and the bulk of that will be used for debt service.

    This is the primary financial objection to the plan, Jon (as opposed to enviro, Measure A and other objections). I strongly suggest you read up on this.

    Comment by dave — June 4, 2009 @ 7:43 am

  49. I think David Burton is correct in #45. There is a certain amount of space with a higher value for leasing, but tons of it is weird and broken down. There is a wood shop in the building next to the blacksmith where the master lease holder had to spend $60,000 for electrical upgrades because the old infrastructure was so arcane. They spent that on speculation that their limited lease would last a while and I guess they won out.

    It’s a whole other ball game and another type of development to go with leasing the existing spaces and I don’t think it could ever be the same kind of economic engine as with the current plan. Obviously the liabilities would be much lower as well. But this is where the no cost conveyance versus $108 million becomes important.

    Comment by M.I. — June 4, 2009 @ 9:03 am

  50. Thanks, DK, for speaking up — yes,it’s the reference to “conspiracies” that’s an issue. I don’t see a conspiracy — I see a developer looking out for its own best interests. We need to look out for ours.

    And thanks, David Burton, too.

    #48: Quite true — all tax increment revenue goes back into the AP site, beyond state/school passthroughs.

    #43: There’s just no way to make this simple, because it’s so overwhelmingly complex, and that;s the problem. People will have no idea what they’re voting on.

    SunCal has written this wholesale overhaul of the city’s land use controls. I’ve considered trying to list the revisions, taken one at a time, but there’s so many that it just seems to tedious to even attempt.

    This initiative is much, much too complicated, much. And that’s not my “persuasive argument” either, that’s my honest opinion.

    Comment by DL Morrison — June 4, 2009 @ 9:52 am

  51. Note to David Burton and Mark: The initiative overrides the city’s building codes, and recognizes only the uniform building codes — any idea what that means?

    Any thoughts: The initiative can be amended by a “majority vote” or by an “application to the City Council” by the developer (in Sec. 14).

    If the initiative “includes by reference” the various planning documents, such as the Specific Plan”, then are they subject to amendment by the same terms — that is, by a vote or “application”?

    Aren’t plans normally modified thru a Commission/public hearing process? Does this mean that none of the attachments to the Initiative could amended thru the standard process?

    Also, does “application by developer” mean “only when the developer requests it”?

    No conspiracy, just a snow job, as someone said above.

    Comment by DL Morrison — June 4, 2009 @ 10:00 am

  52. #51 – Only time for a short response, so I’ll respond to your first question.

    I don’t have the specific language that you refer to in front of me, but “uniform building codes” would almost certainly refer to the building, electrical, mechanical, fire, and other standard codes adopted by the State of California. These codes are in turn adopted by the city (with the occasional local amendment).

    I’d have to look at the specific language you’re referring to, but a first guess is that they are trying to insure that any particular piece of the development that comes up is evaluated according to the code that is in force at that time and not by some other standard.

    That’s my two cents.

    Comment by david burton — June 4, 2009 @ 10:23 am

  53. 51. Most municipalities adopt the Uniform Building Code as a basis for their codes and then make additions where they want something stronger. I can’t tell you if nationally the UBC is considered a legal minimum but it is the minimum standard used everywhere I’ve worked in this state and in my personal opinion it’s plenty stringent. What would the concern be, rampant use of substandard code like the electric showers in Iraq? To me ZONING is the area with which I would have greatest concern.

    As to plans normally being modified through commissions and public hearings, “normally” plans are not initially approved by ballot initiative to begin with.

    Comment by M.I. — June 4, 2009 @ 12:58 pm

  54. Yes,I know the UBC applies normally, I’m just not clear on what gets dumped if the local building code no longer applies. That’s a minor issue (relatively) but something I can ask here.

    And yes, plans don’t get approved thru initiatives, true.

    Comment by DL Morrison — June 4, 2009 @ 1:20 pm

  55. Regarding the statement in the original posting re: the Applicable Rules:

    It helps to remember that the Specific Plan “prevails over” (overrides) the city ordinances, and that the Specific Plan can be amended by the developer (!) — ergo, the contents of the Specific Plan can be revised, and the future revisions to the Specific Plan will override city ordinances. There’s nothing definite here.

    It also helps to remember that the Specific Plan contains words such as “may” and “could” and “expect” and so on, which are not the same as enforceable promises.

    As for asking SunCal about the density bonus — that doesn’t prove anything either.

    Is there a point, ever, when the proponents of this plan will find fault with it?

    Comment by DL Morrison — June 4, 2009 @ 1:31 pm

  56. They only fault the people who see through it.

    Comment by dave — June 4, 2009 @ 1:49 pm

  57. #47

    I agree. Thanks for the report!

    Comment by Karen Bey — June 5, 2009 @ 4:42 pm

  58. #47
    The SunCal plan is based on a LOT of community input. People who attended the community workshops recommended the non-Measure A compliant option. However, as I recall, there were few, if any members of the “Keep Measure A,” SoCA-choo-choo organization at those meetings. Perhaps they wanted to say that “they weren’t asked” their opinions. Hmmm, that sounds so familiar.

    Comment by Linda Hudson — June 5, 2009 @ 5:00 pm

  59. 52, 53-

    Peter Calthorpe, the lead designer, has addressed the building codes issue in several public presentations. If anything, the current plans for AP’s “green” construction and landscaping would probably exceed the current CA building code requirements re: water use and recycling, insulation, passive and active solar, ventilation, etc. No one should get the idea that somehow the general construction standards would be lower than what is legally required. (We already have that, courtesy of the US Navy.) I think it would be illegal under CA law to build anything that did not meet or exceed California’s UBC requirements.

    As to losing control over the development post-election, the Planning Board will still have to approve the Design Guidelines for AP, just like it did for Bridgeside Center, Marina Cove, Bayport, and South Shore Center (sorry–I think they call it Townie Centerie now). And just like they will do when Alameda Landing goes forward.

    Approving the design guidelines for AP offers the City complete control over what kinds of buildings get built, what they look like, and where they can be built, all within the zoning established in the current plan. The approval of design guidelines will be a complex process with many opportunities for community involvement.

    There are also the additional development agreements, all of which offer the City the opportunity to negotiate with the developer regarding transportation and other issues.

    This redevelopment process is extremely complex, and, by definition, it cannot be rendered simply–no matter which project(s) one is discussing. (It has taken me years to learn how some of this works, and I am not an expert.) Make sure that you really understand what is written and what the various processes are before making any final judgments. Ask the City’s professional planners and Development Services staff if you have questions, and pay attention to what they say at public meetings. They will be happy to help you, and will deeply appreciate it if you ask nicely.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — June 7, 2009 @ 9:35 pm

  60. #59 It’s best to read the documents yourself…don’t depend on “staff” to answer your questions.

    You get two minutes, three at most, at city council meetings. All they say is “Thank you. Next.”

    When plowing through the almost 300 pages, see how little of it is understandable to an educated reader…see how much of it is directing you to another section, then another section….

    I believe most average Joes and Josephines will find little of it understandable.

    OR go straight to the 39 page Executive Summary…it is understandable, written in voter friendly language. “Thank you to those who wrote the Executive Summary.”

    Yes, we the voters, are being asked to vote on a money making scheme devised by a hedge fund and a developer that has filed bankruptcy 27 times.

    Incidentally, looking back, even with allll of the Planning Board meetings and discussion of the Bridgeside Landing, I think people were disappointed in the results.

    That’s a very small development compared with the NAS/Alameda Point/Alameda West that Sun Cal is proposing.

    The developer’s plan is called Alameda West in their documents.

    If SunCal’s initiative passes in November, the developer(s) will make the money, and we will be left in the toxic laden dust.

    Comment by Joe — June 8, 2009 @ 9:21 am

  61. #60 “#59 It’s best to read the documents yourself…don’t depend on “staff” to answer your questions.” Yes, exactly.

    I’ve gone thru many discussions around the initiative, and gotten into more and more detail on many topics, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s beyond the ability of most people to explain or understand what the Initiative really means, even those who make a major effort to do so — so how can we vote on this? What are we getting ourselves into?

    I hear Jon saying what I hear SunCal saying as well: “Trust us, it will all be fine.” To me personally, with something like this, trust is not good enough, not remotely. If I were entering into a written agreement that had 300+ pages of fine print attached, I would need more than someone’s assurances on what it all meant, and what reasonably competent, responsible person wouldn’t? Obviously, if the source of those assurances is the party pushing the agreement, or someone who clearly favors the agreement, then that’s not a source that I’m going to trust.

    By the same token I’m not going to vote for this Initiative on the basis of assurances from the developer — and certainly not for an initiative that pretty much dumps every land use control that the city has.

    Comment by DL Morrison — June 8, 2009 @ 2:49 pm

  62. Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — June 8, 2009 @ 2:57 pm

  63. DL Morrison –

    I guess you’ve hit the nail on the head here. A written agreement has to be based on trust.

    I have a question for you and for anyone else who wants to jump in and add their own voice, and I’m really sincere here because it’s essential to the community debate no matter what happens:

    Who would you trust to develop Alameda Point?

    No matter who we ask to develop a plan for the base in the end they’re going to give us a bunch of plans and a contract. They can’t build a full scale model and say “see there it is and it works just like we said it would”, so we’ll have to trust them.

    Remember, before answering, this is a sincere question and I really would like to know. Folks in support and against the SunCal plan can and should weigh in.

    Comment by david burton — June 8, 2009 @ 3:03 pm

  64. #63

    I would support the recommendations made by the City’s Fiscal Sustainability Committee.

    “If SunCal terminates the agreement with the City, the City Council should
    consider hiring its own land planner and develop its own reuse plan, with
    community input. If voter approval is obtained, the City can then offer an
    approved plan to the market place on a bid basis with a plan that is acceptable to
    the Public and has the zoning, mix, and density in place.
    City”

    The same report also has some good recommendations as to Alameda Point finances.

    http://www.ci.alameda.ca.us/archive/2009/attachments/cc_sub_2326.pdf

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — June 8, 2009 @ 3:27 pm

  65. #64. Now you are talking! Yeah! That might be better than a giganto master plan. Why not do some of those fed to fed transfers, like to the VA hospital (keep that federal funding in the hip pocket!). Let people or companies that are interested rehab and reuse existing hangars and such. Sell small tracts for development, a bit at a time, as the economy comes back.

    It don’t seem like anything would be happening out there in the near future anyway, considering how long it might take to do the toxic clean up.

    Comment by Jayne Smythe — June 8, 2009 @ 3:45 pm

  66. 65. If there are any fed to fed transfers it’s not like anybody but fed agancies will have much to say about it. so much for local control there.

    when you think about it, doesn’t piece meal development comes with it’s own down sides, like it’s much less likely to provide a comprehensive transportation solution. There are good reasons for a master plan along with the reasons people site to bad mouth that approach.

    This statement stands independent of SunCal and what they are proposing so save your breath if you want to vent about how horrible the SunCal transportation element is, 60,0000 auto trips a day blah, blah, etc.

    Comment by M.I. — June 8, 2009 @ 4:39 pm

  67. Well, hell, if they take away the estuary bridges, like reported on SD&R might be happening, then there ain’t no chance of a comprehensive traffic solution!

    Talk about lack of local control! Cut the ferries, first, then the bus routes, THEN cut the bridge access, and you cut off local control of EVERYTHING. And people be swimming to their jobs in SF. HUH!

    I don’t need to vent about the SunCal plan… it ain’t going NOWHERE if the bridges are out of the picture.

    Get it? The developer ain’t gonna stick around if the traffic gets CUT OFF. If we all gotta funnel out of the tube, you’d better believe Oakland will have a thing or two to SAY.

    Comment by Jayne Smythe — June 8, 2009 @ 5:27 pm

  68. #67: True, we don’t control the ferry or the buses — the bridges,, I don’t know, that seems too extreme. If a future earthquake should damage them in part, or the tubes, then yes, we’re in deep shtt.

    #63: On who I’d trust — for starters, we have an initiative that many observers feel is inappropriately changing city laws across the board. It’s not possible to minimize that, to say, well, it’s only this change or that one — it’s so many that even attempting to list them all in the simplest format would be an effort. Attempting to amend the City Charter is enough in itself, let alone the Charter, plus the General Plan, plus the zoning.

    I don’t think I would trust a process like this under any circumstances, not really. I don’t buy the “this or nothing” argument — “this” is just too drastic — way too drastic.

    Comment by DL Morrison — June 8, 2009 @ 5:50 pm

  69. And ANT had mentioned that the city could come up with its OWN master plan.

    Why not? That would mean more local control than having a bankrupt developer from Irvine and a hedge fund from NY, don’t you think?

    But nobody gonna be interested in doing nothing if the state and county take away ACCESS.

    Comment by Jayne Smythe — June 8, 2009 @ 5:50 pm

  70. #68. yeah, I am with you… I think it is just one of them empty threats. There is way too much business at stake in this town. Shutting down the bridges sorta means shutting down the shopping centers and saying goodbye to any new development or other long range planning. Might even reduce the tax payer pool, if folks feel they need to relocated to have better transportation options. (Fruitvale starts lookin’ real good when you think about if from that view!)

    You cannot tell me any of our local officials, developers, business groups, bankers, etc, gonna lie down for THAT!

    Comment by Jayne Smythe — June 8, 2009 @ 5:59 pm

  71. SunCal wrote the initiative to maximize the terms and benefits for itself. Our city leaders should be leading the effort to oppose their plans. Instead, some are carrying SunCal’s flag and blowing SunCal’s bugle.

    Think of it this way. You want to get your house painted. You ask a painter for a bid. In it he says that he gets to pick the paint, the paint colors, what parts of the house he paints when, when he starts the project, when he ends the project — or even if he does the project at all. Would you sign a contract with that painter? That is exactly the contract that SunCal is asking Alameda to sign. We need to be able to write our own contract and then have painters bid on it.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — June 8, 2009 @ 6:38 pm

  72. What ANT said!

    Comment by Jayne Smythe — June 8, 2009 @ 6:46 pm

  73. #71 Add to the November Initiative (contract) something like this: We, the taxpayers say “If you, the developer want to remodel YOUR OWN place (which they’ll call Alameda West) while you’re at it, here’s MY credit card for you to use.”

    This is, in effect, what Alamedans will be doing if they vote “Yes” on SunCal/DEShaw’s plan.

    In twenty five words or fewer, that’s a very simplified version of tax increment dollars

    For more info on TIDDs and how SunCal works them, google “SunCal and New Mexico.” There’s a bundle of good (baddddd) information there for you to read and absorb.

    Voters Beware of what has been put in front of us to vote on.

    Comment by Joe — June 8, 2009 @ 6:57 pm

  74. Take away the bridges? That’s insanity talking – so it must be from a source like John Knocks White! Yea yea, the bridges get closed for repairs, repainting, and now some seismic work. Sure it is inconvenient – and it is temporary, and it is for an upgrade.

    Fortunately they are doing a lot of this bridge work during this summer which has many benefits;
    1. Long daylight hours for extended workday;
    2. Fewer commuters with the popularity of summer vacations;
    3. Still fewer commuters because of the currently high unemployment rate.

    Have you noticed the difference in traffic recently? The slight difference in numbers (due to unemployment?) makes a drastic difference in ‘traffic jam’ – I read that as a sign as to where we are relative to maximum limits for reasonable traffic delay.

    In other words, we need to restrict development. We are losing more public transportation dollars, and people generally were dismissive about the busses anyway. CA DWR (dept of water resources) wants all cities to use less water – how would that be possible if we are talking the kind of growth SunCal wants?

    Yes it is all insanity, it must be JKW (What are ya gonna do if yer pants are on fire? -SDR)

    Comment by Ibt — June 8, 2009 @ 8:05 pm

  75. #74 Well, I guess you didn’t hear about the state wanting to take our piece of gas tax. Yeah, it was at SD&R. That was what got me mentioning the “possibility” of bridge closures.

    And, I guess you also didn’t hear that Doug Linney, from the EBMUD board, thinks it is just fine to promise water for all that build up at the point.

    And, yeah, you right, it’s all really insane.

    You and Joe (#73) are totally right on. And none of this is green or sustainable, so any adverts to that effect are a bunch of claptrap.

    Comment by Jayne Smythe — June 8, 2009 @ 8:39 pm

  76. Here is more from “The Island” on a “Plan B,” or lack thereof, for Alameda Point.

    http://www.theislandofalameda.com/2009/06/plan-b/

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — June 9, 2009 @ 9:18 am

  77. This Mayor , City counsel “but for Mr dehan “are crooked and elected with fund from real estate devellopers , just like the communist they kept us until past 3 am to adress this issue only to have City staff using data from unlicensed traffic suveyor = illegal provided by the developers to deny our claims ,why ? because their salaries are paid by DE SHAW and Suncal. IT WAS SO DISCUSSING THE LADY CITY PLANNER ACTED LIKE LOVE BIRD IN A HOONEY MOON WITH THE SUN CAL REPRESENTATIVE. SOME SAY THEY ARE LOVERS

    Comment by joel — June 10, 2009 @ 9:18 pm


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