Blogging Bayport Alameda

October 17, 2006

Alamedans for Climate Protection

Filed under: Alameda, Election — Lauren Do @ 2:38 pm

The group Alamedans for Climate Protection (you knew we had one right?  right?) asked all the candidates to submit answers to three questions regarding Alameda and environmental issues.  It’s a shame that not all the candidates submitted answers. (*cough* Beverly Johnson *cough* Kenneth Kahn *cough*)   But it makes for interesting reading nonetheless.  Here are the answers in their unedited format, because to take away from some of the deliciously, um, how to put this nicely…inane answers would be a travesty.  And also because many of the candidates had very thoughtful answers.  

The questions:

  1. What government decisions would you unequivocally support during a coming term in office, in order to protect our climate, reduce global warming and mitigate risks from the forecast rising of global sea levels?
  2. What measures will ensure that Alameda achieves sustainable development while the city adds housing, commerce, and jobs?
  3. How can elected officials interact with and lead our city’s residents and businesses to use energy more efficiently and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution?

The answers:

Doug deHaan

  1. I strongly continue to support the efforts to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, and enhance urban sustainability. The Kyoto Protocol agreement is only the initial step in bringing the worlds gas emissions under control.
  2. The Cities for Climate Protection (CPC) task group will establish, implement, monitor, and evaluate the developed International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) initiatives. We must incorporate green building technologies and make it a stronger segment within our building codes. Expand the use of recycled water that is mandated in new developments into our entire city operations. We must better understand the ramification of noise and dust pollution and act accordingly.
  3. The Council has recently increased the city’s commitments to more environmentally friendly community outreach, awareness and involvement programs. We recently adopted and endorsed the city’s participation in the CCP in support of ICLEI and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV’S) with a soft order for electric vehicles. We established the new City of Alameda Climate Protection Campaign CPC Task Force in support of the CCP campaign, coupled with our very successful Alameda County Industries (ACI) waste management recycle program, and our own city’s Planet Alameda environmental activities. Our city is a leader in meeting the County of Alameda’s voter approved Measure D in diverting 75% of all solid waste (garbage) from landfills by 2010. We have already reached a 60% recycling factor.I was instrumental in having Calstart, an advance technology transportation incubator located at Alameda Point. This was the initial headquarters for upstart companies that were developing new transportation technology, which included electric vehicle prototyping. In complimenting our commitment of the benefits of electric vehicles and electric power generation, in 1998 the city declared itself as “Alameda Electric City.” We must reestablish this commitment and encourage electric vehicle or like industry R&D activity at Alameda Point.Alameda has the benefit of owning and operating the city’s electric utilities, Alameda Power and Telecom (AP&T). This has given our community a unique opportunity to develop our electric sources.

Eugenie Thomson

We can turn Alameda around for more open government and community driven development

We can stop developments when we believe the quality of life for current residents will degragde

As a community we can establish simple measurable criteria, that can be used to say we have gone too far.

Two such measures are the travel time delays leaving our island and/or traffic volumes on our neighborhood streets. When those criteria are exceeded, we can limit development to a handful of new units each year.

So immediately after I am elected, I pledge to propose the Island Traffic Plan that includes these traffic limiting measures like the above as well as improvement projects. And that will be developed in open session and driven by the community!!!

Lena Tam

  1. As the water resources planning manager for East Bay MUD, one of my many responsibilities include tracking policies and reviewing legislation that helps protect our climate because of the impacts on future water supply reliability from global warming. I understand that transportation sources are by far the largest contributor of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. I would unequivocally support decisions on the City Council that helps reduce CHG through some of the following options:
    Working with the Port of Oakland to reduce freight-sector emissions across the Estuary, and capping air emissions at Oakland Airport
    Increasing availability and use of alternative fuels, such as bio-fuels, wind, solar
    Reducing vehicle miles traveled by City vehicles
    Improving vehicle efficiency by converting fleet cars to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles or other cost-effective energy efficient alternatives.
    Expanding use of rail and public transportation, particularly water transit, cross-island shuttle to BART.
  2. The City of Alameda faces a unique opportunity to plan and incorporate the best management practices of sustainable development with the plans for Alameda Point that is in keeping with regional “carrying capacity.” I support plans that encourage live/work opportunities as a way to reduce traffic impacts of housing, commerce and job. This means providing affordable housing opportunities close to work. To encourage public transit and reduce single occupancy vehicle traffic, we need to have compactness in development of neighborhoods, retail and commercial projects. When I served as a Planning Commissioner for Alameda County, our commission was in instrumental in working with the community to develop and enforcing land use policies and programs for Alameda County that respect these land use principles towards sustainable development. Under my leadership, the County certified its Housing Element providing adequate workforce housing, preserving open space and historic landmarks. It is important to incorporate my past experience in making land use decisions in the City of Alameda. While our City needs more workforce housing we must equally work to promote job creation and commerce so that our community can spend its tax dollars in Alameda and reduce vehicular traffic on already congested freeways like I-880.. Understanding that traffic is an issue with any new development we must work collectively to promote the usage of mass transit and creating walkable communities. 
  3. As a city with its own electric utility, Alameda has and can continue to set the example for its residents by relying less on energy sources that produce greenhouse gas emissions. First we must work together to educate everyone on the importance of using energy more efficiently and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. We also need to work with other government jurisdictions to develop more programs and incentives toward energy efficiency, employing the best in new technology for insulation, power consumption reduction, and use of recycled building materials.

Pat Bail

  1. Greenhouse emissions are one of the most important aspects of global warming. When it becomes time to replace them, I would support ALL city vehicles being electric. I also believe we should lobby Bart for more shuttles (electric) that could pick up passengers at existing bus stops.I would encourage waste management, during our next contractual period, to avoid three different diesel garbage trucks picking up green, recycling plastic, and regular waste. We also need to further explore solar energy production as well as wind generation as sustainable sources.
  2. I believe support of Measure A, the low density Charter Amendment, allows us the ability to control growth in a reasonable and sustainable way. The lead issue of high-density housing is the amount of traffic it produces. All of our bridges and the tube are currently at capacity or near capacity. If we continue with unabated development, the currently 4,000 new homes planned, and Oakland develops to the level they are planning, it will become almost impossible to use current roadways to move traffic. Big box stores located in areas of the city that produce cross-town traffic are a bad idea.
  3. We should have incentives that encourage both residents and businesses to change their energy consuming habits. I believe I covered some of my other positions in item 1. To round out my overall concerns, we need stable and long-range plans for population growth and traffic control.

Mike Rich

  1. I support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging and creating incentives for alternative fuels/energies/technologies, as well as alternatives to driving a car. Specifically, I would propose that the City of Alameda begin a program to provide alternative fueling facilities at Alameda Power and Telecom, including compressed natural gas, hydrogen, bio-diesel and electric recharging plug-ins. By providing a range of alternative fueling capacity on the island, we can encourage use of alternative fuel vehicles in Alameda, including expanded use of those vehicles in the City fleet. Alternative fueling capacity on the island would also provide a service to those Alamedans who currently use alternative fuel vehicles. I would also propose what I call “residential congestion dues” that would apply to all new residential development in Alameda. This is different than the EcoPass that is currently included as part of the planned Alameda Landing development. The basic idea is that people who bought a residence in a new development in Alameda would be told in advance that, as a condition of residence, they would be subject to “residential congestion dues” that would be applied every time they drove their car through access points into or out of the development. I want to stress that this would not apply to residents who are already living in Alameda in existing developments; applying it to them would not be fair because they did not have forewarning before they bought their home in Alameda. [He provided additional details about answering some residential congestion issues, including compliance.] . . . . It could: 1) mitigate congestion resulting from new residential development by creating a true and ongoing incentive to use public transit; 2) provide an ongoing revenue stream that could be used to fund transit improvements in Alameda, including bike lanes, pedestrian amenities, and low-emission alternatives to AC Transit buses, such as smaller electric or hybrid shuttles; 3) mitigate the traffic impacts of any density housing that was included in new developments; 4) improve air quality in Alameda by reducing the number of vehicle trips.
  2. To achieve sustainable development we must ensure that the citizens of Alameda have meaningful input into development decisions; this means that the City Council should be responsive and willing to look at creative alternatives when legitimate concerns are raised, and citizens should keep an open mind to other views and a middle
    ground. The focus of all new development should be maintaining or improving our quality of life, keeping in mind that new development should include a mix (residential, business, retail, infrastructure/schools and open space) to mitigate impacts and achieve sustainability.
  3. One idea would be for the City to take a greater role in encouraging alternative energy sources such as solar power for new homes and businesses. With all of the planned new development, there is an opportunity to have alternative energy be an integral part of the new development. For example, new development could be required to generate some percentage of its own energy through the use of solar panels. With Alameda Power & Telecom being part of the City, we could look at it as an enterprise opportunity that may have the potential to address our long term energy needs and keep electricity affordable. We should also look closely at energy savings that can be achieved through innovative building methods and materials, including expanded use of green materials and energy-efficient appliances for new residential development.

Frank Matarrese

  1. Accelerate the establishment and timeline for seating and activating the Task Force that the City Council mandated. Promote resolutions for policies based on the goals and recommendations of the Task Force.
    Set a priority on obtaining Federal (Corp of Engineers, Home Land Security, etc.) assistance for monitoring and maintaining our shorelines. Just this last winter we had a preview of the future when the storm/high tide combination caused damage to the rip-rap out on Bay Farm Island. We also have other areas of old/inadequate bulkheads for today’s conditions; let alone what the future has in store. Establish city waste/energy reduction standards for our operations
  2. build Commercial (other than retail) development, particularly building out Harbor Bay Industrial Park and the spaces identified in the preliminary design concepts for FISC and Alameda Point needs to be given more attention. Having well paying jobs locally takes commute pressure off our freeways as well as reduces commute time (save energy, reduces pollution, etc.).
    Promote additional work/live opportunities under the current city ordinance (again, a good solution for taking a commuter off the streets).
    Look at policies to use in evaluating the building code to incorporate “green” construction practices (the Task Force could work on this with the Planning Commission).Increase ferry service, improve links to BART and Capitol Corridor rail service (electric shuttle) as part of the development of the Point (not after it is developed).
    Work with Oakland to come up with regional traffic mitigations, including increased subsidies for mass transit.
  3. The vehicle purchase policy was a first step. Trip reduction and vehicle use policies for city employees are a next step
    Work with AP&T to prioritize upgrades to city facilities to save energy
    Set policy that new city facilities are designed to meet LEED standards (such as was done with the Library)
    Increase the number of public events which focus on energy efficiency and climate damage (currently Earth Day and the Beach Clean Up have such elements, but there are more opportunities)
    Evaluate the best way to embed these activities (to be carried out initially by the Task Force) into to the routine workings of the city, with constant update
    Work with ACI to increase recycling opportunities (such as batteries and electronic waste)

 Ash Jones

  1. I would unequivocally support any measures that would protect our planet from further harm caused by all of us . . . Unfortunately the city just decided to purchase 12 vehicles that did not meet “functional requirements” imposed by alternative fuel vehicles. (Opportunity gone.)
  2. Sustainable development may be a debatable issue. But purring putting in huge retail stores that generate excessive amounts of fuel and energy to operate and get to is not the way I want to see us grow. The more small stores to support nearby housing will benefit us all.
  3. This question is a little vague. As stated in #1, we missed a chance to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If we all sat down together to think of other ways to conserve energy, I’m sure we could come up with many.


  1. So if Pat Bail has her way, we will have a MONSTER truck that is three times the capacity of the current truck to pick up all three bins simultaneously? Will this have 3 sets of arms (and look like Doc Oc in Spiderman?)

    Eugenie’s answers lack specifics (so much for a transportation background). Ditto for Ash, lots of coulda-woulda-shoulda!

    Lena Tam and Frank have perhaps the most thoughtful answers!

    Comment by Greenist — October 17, 2006 @ 3:55 pm

  2. “Cough, cough” is right. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I find the lack of responsiveness by our mayor to be disturbing. Makes me wonder if she responded to any organization’s questionnaire/interview.

    Comment by Irene — October 18, 2006 @ 7:36 am

  3. Thanks to Lauren for posting this information.

    ACP decided to send this information to the papers and let them do what they wished, which to date seems to be nothing.
    It was my job to forward the material and I made the unilateral decision to also send it to Lauren and Don Roberts.

    I am glad Greenist had the same immediate reaction I did to Pat’s answers. I complained on the ACP list serve that Pat seemed not to grasp the concept of conservation of mass and I got flak from a slate supporter who supposed there might be some logic to her answer.

    Comment by Mark — October 18, 2006 @ 9:25 am

  4. The typo of “purring” for the word putting in Ash Jones’ response is by APC. Ash does not have a computer and all his responses to questionnaires have been hand written.

    Comment by Mark — October 18, 2006 @ 11:02 am

  5. Ms. Bail’s proposal for replacing multiple waste collection trucks with a single truck reminds me of her proposal for a deep-water port at Alameda point. At first blush, these ideas may sound like innovative solutions to vexing problems, but they fall apart as soon as they are subjected to any deeper scrutiny; for example, see comments #2, #3, and #11 on the “Pat Bail endorsement” post.

    Although it’s true that the same mass of waste would be moved in either case, Ms. Bail is actually correct in concluding that one truck would be more efficient than three, all other things being equal. That’s because there is a fixed amount of energy required just to haul the truck and its driver along for a given distance, even if the truck is empty. Of course, the catch here is the phrase “all other things being equal” . . . in real life, they are not necessarily equal, as I will now attempt to demonstrate.

    What if the three types of waste are not destined for the same processing facility? The single truck might have to travel out of its way to hit all three facilities, whereas multiple trucks could each take the shortest route. The energy saved might cancel out the amount used by the extra trucks.

    OK, but if there is a single processing facility, then a single truck with multiple compartments might work, right? Maybe, but what happens when one of those compartments fills up? Presumably, the truck would have to go all the way to the processing facility to unload, even if the other two compartments were nearly empty, and such extra trips could well cancel out the energy savings. Of course, this problem does not occur with multiple trucks. The only other way to solve this would be to have compartments whose size could be adjusted to account for variations in the waste stream; for example, there will be more yard waste in the summer than in the winter.

    The point I’m trying to make is that even seemingly simple things like picking up waste are often complex problems, and when someone offers you an easy answer to a complex problem, it’s often too good to be true. Our elected representatives need to be able to think through the implications of their proposals, not just conjure up off-the-cuff schemes that sound good.

    Comment by Michael Krueger — October 18, 2006 @ 1:45 pm

  6. Thank Michael for your post it raises a lot of questions.

    I would hate to see bigger trucks as it is they cut the corner to much and run over my yard. I keep replacing the dirt but then they running over it again. The trucks have to get into some tight spaces..I can’t see bigger trucks. But if they can do the same job with the same size truck, and all the points you bring up on your post are address properly I would be for it.

    Maybe instead of changing thing in ways they might not work they could pay a little more and get natural gas trucks (which I have here do let off any emissions) or look into something else.

    Comment by Joe — October 18, 2006 @ 6:25 pm

  7. Joe- one word…biodiesel.

    The city of San Francisco is looking to run emergency vehicles like firetrucks on the stuff. Very low in harmful emisions. Berkeley ran it’s recycling trucks on it until they got some bad batches and lost two engines. There are now quality control standards in place and they are returning to using it. Our public works director has been slow to come around on this one.

    Comment by Mark — October 18, 2006 @ 10:21 pm

  8. Hey Mark I was just looking on Rebecca Kaplian Smart Voter Information and one of her “Top Priorities if Elected

    * Sustainable energy, including bio-diesel fuel and solar power”

    Comment by Joe — October 19, 2006 @ 6:38 pm

  9. The Oakland paper wrote an article about prop 87 today which I totally disagree with.

    Prop 87 may not be the perfect solution but it is a start. We pay now rather than later…what legacy are you leaving your kids. With Bush in office we are already deeper (very much deeper) in dept, problems with social security and medicare as the baby boomers become eligible…and bond payments for who knows what…now global warming. It is time we take some responsibility and pay our for our mistakes and our own way. Invest in the future to help those out who will be paying for your future.

    Also I heard today, we are currently paying for so much for the war in Iraq that they need to cut financial aid for our own children for college… a war “with no end in site”…just benchmarks without consequences.

    Once again no matter who you vote for Mayor or City Council vote yes for prop 87.

    Comment by Joe — October 25, 2006 @ 6:38 pm

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