Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 18, 2006

City Council Candidate Profile, part 4 of 6, Mike Rich

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

Mike Rich is running for City Council, there are only two seats for six candidates.

His website is:, where he has listed a number of position statements on hot topic issues for this election season.

Thanks to John W for this link to the Green Party’s questionnaire, with answers from the candidates.

Mike Rich is a “Decline to State,” as was disclosed at the Democratic Club Candidate Forum

He is also a member of the Civil Service Board.

Mike Rich submitted this letter to the Alameda Sun which ran on September 8th:

The pending construction of the downtown cineplex and accompanying garage leaves many Alamedans who attended meetings on the project concerned that legitimate issues were not addressed. The lack of an environmental impact report on the project gave the impression that the outcome was predetermined, regardless of facts.

Though the outcome is not what many people wanted, there is still an opportunity to improve the process around the project. To that end, I would like to suggest a compromise with due respect for the views of those involved.

The city could sequence the construction work to give priority to renovating the historic theater and conduct an environmental impact report (EIR) on the rest of the project. No work on the new construction would go forward until the EIR was complete and the results evaluated.

The group who filed the lawsuit on the project could drop the lawsuit and help spearhead a private fund-raising effort to support renovation of the historic theater.

This suggestion takes into account the possibility that the lawsuit, which is on appeal, may succeed. If that were to happen and the city had begun the new construction, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to make any changes indicated by the EIR.

Almost everyone agrees that renovating the historic theater is a good idea. Focusing on that aspect of the project first can foster a positive atmosphere while improving the quality of the restoration, which would be a good outcome.

This letter to the Oakland Tribune (or Alameda Times-Star) in June of last year:

IN RESPONSE to the author of the Thursday letter “Fines without warning,” who was fined $250 by AC Transit for being picked up by a car at a bus stop: I would like to share some information.

I occasionally participate in casual carpools in Alameda. The pickup spot for these carpools is an AC Transit bus stop that is well-known to almost everyone in Alameda.

A couple of months ago, I heard that drivers were being ticketed by police for stopping at the bus stop. The reason given by the police was that there were complaints from residents about traffic.

I wrote a letter to an online newspaper pointing out the irony of Alameda police ticketing cars for creating traffic when in fact carpools reduce traffic.

I subsequently had a chance encounter with a highly placed Alameda city official I know, who had read my letter and said that it’s not the Alameda police who were doing the ticketing; it’s the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department, which is paid by AC Transit to ticket cars at bus stops because the casual carpools cut into AC Transit revenue.

So yes, it is about AC Transit revenue, not about safety or traffic caused by cars stopping at bus stops.

And the Alameda Journal had this to say in regards to Mike Rich after a candidate forum at the Elks Club:

Rich, a personnel director for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, suggested that incentives be offered to homeowners for the restoration of old Victorians, while allowing greater density near the city’s entryways.

Finally, his candidate statement:

My name is Mike Rich and I have lived in beautiful Alameda for nine years. My wife and I have a five year old daughter, so quality of life issues are important to us, as they are to so many Alamedans. I am running for City Council because I think that Alamedans want more meaningful input into City decisions that impact us all, and I am confident I can help in that regard.
If you’ve been following the campaign you know that mine has been positive, based on ideas for improving our quality of life here. I have been respectful of the views of others; offering creative suggestions to try to build consensus on important issues that affect Alameda. As a City Council member I will act the same way: leading by bringing people together around ideas for improving our quality of life.

I am a CSU graduate with twenty years experience in local and regional government. I am qualified and ready to bring my knowledge and experience to bear on important issues. Finally, l have refused to take any campaign contributions from real estate developers; I think that’s important for credibility. I welcome your vote. Thanks for reading this.

If anyone has more information about Mike Rich, please feel free to add it to the comments section.  BUT…if you do post something, please make sure to cite your reference and add a link so that others can reference it. 


  1. Lauren,

    I believe the Journal article about Mike Rich supporting incentives for restoring Victorians to be erroneous. Mike has been attempting to fine tune an idea where by multi unit credits be offered to a developer for a place like the Point if they will tear down an existing apartment on the historic island and replecae it with a single family home. I have been telling him that without more details it seems unlikely the economics could ever pan out and so it’s sort of pie in the sky.

    I think Mike deserves credit for trying to be both creative and flexible.

    My greater concern lately has been bad reporting by the Journal.

    Comment by Mark — September 18, 2006 @ 9:37 am

  2. I also have to hand it to Mr. Rich for his creative approach to the issues, though at this point I share Mark’s skepticism about the real-world feasibility (economic and otherwise) of some of his proposals.

    As a regular bus rider, though, I feel I have to address the “parking in bus stops” issue. Bus stops are for buses, period. The use of bus stops by any other vehicles interferes with the safe and timely operation of the buses. This is why AC Transit has the sheriff write those tickets, not to discourage casual carpooling or to raise revenue.

    I commend AC Transit for actually taking bus stop parking enforcement seriously. This is a welcome contrast to the situation across the bay in San Francisco, where people park in bus stops and drive in the “bus-only” (ha!) lanes with impunity, and many of the bus drivers can’t even be troubled to do so much as honk at the scofflaws . . . they just stop the buses in the middle of the street and let the passengers climb around the cars. I’m glad we have a little more respect for the rules here in the East Bay.

    Comment by Michael Krueger — September 18, 2006 @ 10:36 am

  3. Lauren,

    I want to thank Mark and Michael for their kind encouragement.

    For those who haven’t read the complete text of the idea on mulitple-unit dwelling credits, let me offer a fuller explanation here:

    Let’s say you own a large Victorian house that has been divided into 6 units. The idea is that if you convert it back to a single family home, the City would give you a piece of paper conveying six multiple-unit dwelling credits, which could be sold to a developer at market value. The developer would then be permitted to build six multiple-unit dwellings in a zoned area near the tunnel and bridges where it makes more sense to have density due to the proximity to egress.

    This idea would create an incentive to restore historic homes, while also allowing for inclusion of multiple-unit dwellings in new residential development.

    I share this idea because I think it is viable (many people with more knowledge than I have of real estate have been excited about it), but just as importantly, to start a dialogue as part of a consensus building process.

    The point is that we need to think creatively, with a goal of finding a middle ground that speaks to the interests of people that often have very different ideas on new residential development. In that spirit, I encourage further comment on the idea of multiple-unit dwelling credits, and I encourage those who have alternative comromises to come forward and offer their ideas as part of consensus building.

    With regard to the casual carpool issue, I accept Michael Krueger’s thoughtful criticism. I’m all for law and order. My letter on the subject should have included a suggestion to fix the situation, rather than criticizing a legitimate, if counterintuitive (for me), enforcement effort.

    At the time I was writing the letter, someone pointed out that by offering a suggestion to legitimize the casual car pool, I might do more harm than good. Enough said on that one.

    Thanks for reading this.

    Mike Rich

    Comment by Mike Rich — September 20, 2006 @ 10:31 pm

  4. Alameda Journal has a good reason why they rejected Mike Rich’s answers!

    Editor’s note: The Alameda Journal stands by the decision to delete two of Mr. Rich’s responses from the City Council Q&A published in last Friday’s edition. Mr. Rich was asked the question of whether he supported or opposed the cineplex project and proposed Target department store (to be built at Alameda Towne Centre.) Upon careful review the Journal reached the conclusion that Mr. Rich’s responses talked in generalities about the developments but in fact did not yield a direct answer as to the questions, i.e. whether he supported or opposed the projects.

    Comment by Jon — October 27, 2006 @ 10:36 am

  5. Unfortunately, the Alameda Journal did not apply the same criteria to all the candidates.

    In today’s paper (Oct. 27) please read Mayor Johnson’s response to the Target question. Did she give a direct answer to whether she supports or opposes the project? No. Yet her answer was printed.

    Regardless of who you support, candidates Thomson, Matarrese, and Rich have been treated unfairly.

    Comment by Irene Dieter — October 27, 2006 @ 1:04 pm

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