Blogging Bayport Alameda

August 13, 2007

Park It

Filed under: Alameda, Business, City Council, Development — Lauren Do @ 6:55 am

The Alameda Sun reported on the City Council discussion about possibly raising the prices of the metered parking in order to facilitate drivers using the new garage on their visits to Park Street rather than looping the blocks in order to find on-street parking, highlights:

…The conversation between Development Services Director Leslie Little and the council favored raising on-street parking prices, increasing enforcement around the Park Street business district and possibly raising the price of parking tickets.

All of this came out of talk over how to encourage drivers to use the new 341-space parking structure once it opens in early 2008. By raising the fee on the street, city officials hope drivers will choose parking garage spaces priced at the current on-street price of 50 cents per hour.

The plan says the parking structure rate should not exceed the on-street parking price. It also recommends evaluating the current price of on-street parking. “It is important that the City avoid creating a disincentive to use the garage by over-pricing the rates relative to on-street parking,” the document says.

This reminded me of a post I had read a while ago on PedShed about Redwood City’s efforts to deal with traffic congestion in their main throughfares as well as the perception that there was “no parking” available in their downtown corridors.   Highlights from the PedShed entry:

At first glance the notion of free-market parking meters seems impossibly arcane. But as Donald Shoup pointed out in a recent NY Times editorial, “cruising for curb parking generates about 30 percent of the traffic in central business districts.” Shoup studied Westwood Village…and found that drivers searching for curb parking created 950,000 excess vehicle miles of travel per year. That’s equivalent to 38 trips around the earth, taking place in just one retail district in L.A.

…The unnecessary traffic congestion hurts downtown businesses and activities. The extra miles traveled waste gasoline and generate pollution. If curb parking could somehow be freed up so that it was always easy to find a space, then that extra waste and pollution could be eliminated.

One solution is free-market parking. Set parking meter prices so that 85% of spaces are occupied and 15% are open at any given moment. This idea has been getting more attention lately, and Redwood City, CA is the locality that has put the most advanced implementation into action…

The most enlightening thing about the article is the feedback from the Downtown Development Coordinator, Dan Zack, who imagined this Shoup-like parking scheme, highlights:

…We never had an overall parking shortage, but our prime areas were always chronically congested, with the frustration, cruising, and complaints of “this place has no parking” that parking congestion entails. However, within a few blocks there were always plenty of spaces. We had an odd system in which Broadway (the main drag) was free, while side streets and garages were metered. So people were actually given no incentive to walk a little bit — they were actually penalized for it! 

We were willing to bet that people would be willing to walk if there was a reward. So we set up a system in which the main drag is 75¢ per hour, side streets are 50¢ per hour, and lots/garages are 50¢, 25¢, or free depending on their desirability. 

So far, Broadway has decongested quite a bit. You can now find a spot at most times in prime areas. Many people, especially long term parkers and bargain hunters, have shifted to cheaper parking on the edges of Downtown and off the street. Seventy-five cents isn’t a lot of money, but you would be amazed at how frugal people are when it comes to parking, even if they are driving $50,000 BMWs filled with $3/gallon gas.

…I really think that it is a promising method for managing municipal parking and getting the most out of a limited amount of parking in a compact, walkable district.

Also, we borrowed a page from Pasadena’s playbook and have dedicated all surplus parking revenue (after parking expenses are paid) to increasing cleanliness, safety, lighting, street furniture, and other amenities that will make Downtown a nicer place to live, work, eat, see a band, and shop.

On the entry itself there is a map that shows the different levels of parking, of course, as mentioned by Dan Zack, the main street, in Redwood City’s case: Broadway, in the case of Alameda it would be Park Street, the rates per hour are $0.75 per hour.   Since Alameda is already considering repricing the parking in the Park Street Business District, why not take this opportunity to really make a statement about the costs of parking.   One of the many critiques about the cost of driving is that the “free” parking really isn’t free, Stop, Drop, and Roll touches on it briefly in this entry, and I talked about it briefly before as well.

But back to what Redwood City is doing, they have created a really clever FAQ to answer basic questions about their new downtown parking plans, one thing that I found interesting is that another impact of moving to this “free-market” parking system is that the meters would probably need to be upgraded but the type of meters used (think of the Berkeley kiosks for a closer-to-home example) is that meters would not need to be individually placed in front of each parking spot, which would indeed clear up a lot of the sidewalk clutter and help with the overall beautification efforts.

And I will leave you all with this editorial by Donald Shoup, and pull out a quote from it by George Costanza:

“My father never paid for parking, my mother, my brother, nobody. … It’s like going to a prostitute. Why should I pay when, if I apply myself, maybe I could get it for free?”

Even free parking comes at a price.

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29 Comments

  1. “My father never paid for parking, my mother, my brother, nobody. … It’s like going to a prostitute. Why should I pay when, if I apply myself, maybe I could get it for free?”

    It does become a point of honor to not pay. What percentage of Alameda residential garage space is actually used to park cars? Most are filled with junk or converted into living space. You can’t store your stuff on the street for free, but you can park your car on the street for free. You would have to be an idiot to not take advantage of the free space.

    The new parking garage is going to sit nearly empty if Alamedans can find free or equally priced parking on the street. How cheap will the parking in the garage need to be in order for it to be used? And what happens if the parking revenue from the garage does not equal expenses? Are we going to be subsidizing parking through our tax dollars to make up for a short fall?

    What will be the unintended consequences of that new garage?

    Comment by Alameda NayTiff — August 13, 2007 @ 7:44 am

  2. At a cost of nearly $35,000 per parking space City Council knew future tax revenue is going to fund the parking garage, not the meters. We knew that going in. In fact it is likely that the parking garage revenue will not even cover the debt service (interest) on the bonds issued to pay for the garage. (Bond issues are how Municipalities “borrow” money from taxpayers.)

    A friend of mine lives in Santa Barbra and he told me the city there recently turned a surface parking lot into a parking garage. Result was that fewer people used the multi level garage than when it was just surface parking.

    Parking is important for a vibrant shopping district however. Berkeley has been slowly squeezing out parking trying to get people out of their cars. Result; increased rate of shops closing. It is amazing to see so many vacancies in Berkeley, both on Telegraph Ave, and the main line of Shattuck Ave. This is accompanied by a severe decline in the condition of the streets and much higher vandalism rates and property crimes. Just drive around to see it all – there is so much graffiti that it probably does not even get reported any more. However the developers have had their way with Berkeley – there has recently been a surge of 4- 6 story residential over commercial in Berkeley, just as there has been all over Oakland. Every street I drive on has these new huge block structures; University, Shattuck, Milvia, San Pablo, just to name a few. Another friend remarked that all these structures and the UC development have underground parking, and all the tonnage of excavated materials being trucked away may be a big factor in the demise of the roadways.

    Comment by David Kirwin — August 13, 2007 @ 4:50 pm

  3. DK,

    The Telegraph Avenue retail problem isn’t anything close to being parking based. Please verify your $35,000 per parking space.

    Comment by Mark — August 13, 2007 @ 5:25 pm

  4. I have been on Telegraph Ave…the problem as I see it, is it caters to UC students and with the rising price of tuition, housing, books, they don’t have money to support the businesses.

    I have parked in the garages there quite a bit, If you consider your hourly wage, the price of gas, and frustration, who wants to drive around for 30 minutes to save a few dollars. Everything wrong about Telegraph is the high rents (bay area), poor students and 4th street. Those who have money go there to 4th street or Emeryville.

    Comment by Joel — August 13, 2007 @ 6:51 pm

  5. To go to Amoeba Records on Telegraph I have had to park almost at College Avenue, but that’s no big deal. But the retail on Telegraph is a victim of the internet. Students have limited money but they all have access to the internet. DK trying to make it a parking issue is typical grasping at straws to flesh out his nimby apocalyptic drama. His misin”twerp”retation of reality.

    I don’t know about the incentive of the cheaper than street rate for the garages scenario, but I appreciate the reasonable meters in Alameda as opposed to 12 minutes for a quarter in Oakland and Berkeley, where I always seem to be a couple quarters short of what I need.

    The enforcement in Alameda seems lax. Added enforcement personnel will surely eat up profit and drive rates up anyway, so it’s a little bit of a lose/lose proposition from that angle.

    Comment by Mark — August 13, 2007 @ 7:17 pm

  6. Regarding #2

    “At a cost of nearly $35,000 per parking space City Council knew future tax revenue is going to fund the parking garage, not the meters. We knew that going in. In fact it is likely that the parking garage revenue will not even cover the debt service (interest) on the bonds issued to pay for the garage. (Bond issues are how Municipalities “borrow” money from taxpayers.)”

    That number is pretty standard fare for a parking garage space. I’ve seen higher prices quoted per space.

    As for the calculations on increased tax revenue generated by shoppers using the garage, I would like to see those numbers. No one really knows what is going to happe n when it opens. It could sit mainly empty and be nothing more than a crime magnet and eyesore — or it could be a wonderful success and bring thousands of new shoppers downtown. It is a big gamble. It is also possible that it could hurt downtown and drive away shoppers. Former Mayor, Ralph Appezzato, warned that the garage location could undermine downtown development.

    Comment by Alameda NayTiff — August 13, 2007 @ 8:42 pm

  7. When did Appezzato become the patron saint of Alameda? The guy set a hideously wrong message to our children by taking his life! And to think they named a road after him, bwaaah!

    Comment by Roberto — August 13, 2007 @ 9:53 pm

  8. Is Alameda NayTiff aka Dave? 🙂

    Comment by Roberto — August 13, 2007 @ 9:54 pm

  9. #3/#5 – Sure – you may be right about the parking v. store closings, but people complain how hard it is to find a place to park in Berkeley, how expensive it is if they do find a spot, and the Berkeley stores are closing now at a faster rate. You do the math. Did I say it is the only reason Berkeley stores are closing at such a rate? I think Berkeley is growing up (developing) to be a less friendly and more inconvenient place to shop.( I would never want to live there) Some merchants on the Ave complain about the hippies and street people, but they have been around longer than most of the complaining merchants and are part of the “scene” on the ‘Ave’. Except during past riots I have not seen the level of property crime against merchants that I have been seeing recently. Today’s graffiti differs because it looks t be mindless, self-centered tagging, lacking any content of social or political importance, unless you follow Margaret Meade’s dictate that “the medium is the message”. In that case I still don’t understand the message.

    # 4 ‘wealthy shoppers going to 4th street or Emeryville instead of the Ave or Shattuck’ – this makes sense as these areas provide two things that wealthier shoppers like – higher class retail, and free parking. Even Bay St’s multi-floor garage honors validations, and each floor where I counted in the Bay St garage has more parking stalls than the whole 7-level Alameda parking tower.

    BTW, how about re-naming that block “Oak Canyon”? It has a nice natural sound.

    #6 – $ / stall depends on a lot of factors. Increased height = increased cost for structural support. Economy of scale is out the window w/ small yet tall garage.” Architectural elements add costs. Sufficient # of elevators add costs, ventilation systems add cost, height between floors adds costs, sufficient lighting to mitigate crime adds costs, elevated walkways to neighboring buildings add costs…

    The fact that you have seen some quotes w/ higher per-stall price does not mean this is a good deal for the city. There was the option (not pursued) of a much larger garage at half the height which would also have preserved the civic center for a civic use other than emphasizing the car.

    Comment by David Kirwin — August 13, 2007 @ 9:57 pm

  10. Is roberto frank?

    Comment by David Kirwin — August 13, 2007 @ 9:58 pm

  11. I work and spend a lot of time in Berkeley, and, it doesn’t seem like parking has anything to do with the changing retail landscape there.

    The new housing along Shattuck, linking downtown to the Gourmet Ghetto is pretty cool. There are a whole bunch of interesting shops and eating places that run along Shattuck. While the situation on the Avenue has been kind of sketchy lately, retailers have been moving in to the empty spaces, and there has been a lot of robust development in other parts of Berkeley.

    Dare I suggest that parking the car and walking around a neighborhood isn’t such a bad thing? A lot of business owners, many of them local, get my business in Berkeley despite my inability to always find a meter right in front of their store front.

    Berkeley is actually supporting the type of development that will allow communities to be less car dependent; I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Allowing this type of development in some parts of our town wouldn’t be a bad thing either. But advocating such a viewpoint means that I’m anti-Alameda and that I am on the developers’ payrolls, right?

    Charge me more to park on Park; I’ll get over it.

    Comment by Michael Kusiak — August 13, 2007 @ 11:54 pm

  12. I’m not Frank … whoever that might be. Is DK off his meds?

    Comment by Roberto — August 14, 2007 @ 7:36 am

  13. I think now that the garage has moved from the planning stage to physical reality, the problems with it are becoming apparent. Though the architect made an effort to include design elements that would help to minimize the visual massiveness of the structure, the building is still massive and out of scale with its surroundings.

    The size of the building is visually jolting, especially the butt end facing Long’s. I can foresee a crime problem developing behind the rear of the garage. The Long’s building is nearly windowless. The garage could create a dead space around it and hurt the businesses on Santa Clara. Right now, it looks like a giant massive wall that separates Santa Clara from Central.

    Comment by Alameda NayTiff — August 14, 2007 @ 8:05 am

  14. Confirmed … Dave is back! We can expect the same distorted postings as before.

    Comment by Roberto — August 14, 2007 @ 8:17 am

  15. DK,

    Have you noticed how the PARKING at 4th street is very limited but it doesn’t deter the hordes does it? There are two lots near Shattuck which have been taken for development but there are two more multi-story garages where I now park to go to the movies or other stores, like the game store. I have never liked that area for shopping, but have always gone there and will continue to for the needs that are met.

    Sorry DK, but your comments are as flawed as the “new” graffiti you bemoan is mindless.

    Dennie Abrams and partners wanted to build a parking garage on 4th Street but the city wouldn’t go for it.

    Comment by Mark — August 14, 2007 @ 9:15 am

  16. Mark – you have the chutzpah to call that “very limited parking”? This is another feather in your “credibility hat.”

    How can you say parking at 4th street in Berkeley is at all limited? What a distorted twist of reality you try to project! How many lots do you need to choose from?

    Anybody can go to Google maps and check out “4th St, Berkeley, ca” on the Hybrid map. Looks to me like between Addison and Virginia, within 1 block of the 4th street shopping district, that there is almost as much land dedicated to parking as to retail.

    As parking in the retail areas diminish, so go the shoppers. It may be a sad reality, but it is foolish to deny. Yes, Berkeley is doing some positive things to help pedestrians. I like some of the short cuts that motorized vehicles can’t access. That helps local foot traffic reach shopping areas as quickly on foot as by car, but auto access is required to support retail or the retail fails. Where does foot traffic alone support successful retail? Maybe Disneyland?
    I don’t want to sound mean spririted but come on – stick to reality!!

    Comment by David Kirwin — August 14, 2007 @ 5:02 pm

  17. Re #7
    Roberto-
    Mr. Appezzato had cancer. I am not going to write about the parking garage comment he allegedly made, because I don’t want to start a whole discussion about whether or not he said that. BUT having been close to people who have been in the last stages of abdominal types of cancer, I know how excruciatingly painful that type of illness can be, and don’t tell me that there are medications for it– at some point they all stop working. I don’t know if he was in a lot of pain, but I have always thought he must have been, and as an ex-Marine, had the means and knowledge to end it for good. That doesn’t make it right, but have some compassion.

    Comment by Kevis Brownson — August 14, 2007 @ 7:02 pm

  18. Re the garage– I think the solution is to have a generous validation program for the garage, and not validate for street parking. Where this is a policy elsewhere, I automatically head for the parking garage instead of aimlessly searching for street metered parking.

    Comment by Kevis Brownson — August 14, 2007 @ 7:18 pm

  19. I agree that it looks huge, but none of the final architectural details have been made, such as the facade, so it is hard to tell with all the construction equipment and disruption of the site what the final product will look like. I’m willing to wait and see (and criticize if that’s in order) how it looks as a finished product. The Jack London garage did four hour free parking when it opened, with movie/restaurant validation. Got people used to using it. Smart idea, that!

    Comment by kate quick — August 14, 2007 @ 8:21 pm

  20. I have never waited more than 5 minutes looking for parking on 4th street in Berkeley. Usually I park close to Harvest Home. Centrally located and a lot of stores….I do want to be mean spirited Dave, none of your post stick to reality. The parking in Berkley is not the problem Berkley as a lot of poor students.

    If your boys are so involved in a way where you need to take all these trips, maybe you can make some of them on public transit now and then (or are they to good for that). My boss living in Nob Hill SF, takes his children to homeless shelters to help, Glide Church to feed the hungry, takes them through the Castro, just so they would get more experience in life and different people. They did play tennis and one soccer but they don’t make try to do everything. They are very well rounded and have a huge respect for everyone, and now almost grown teenagers.

    My other fried takes her daughter to music lessors, soccer, karate, ballet lessors, jamborees classes. Their life has become all about the child and she expects everything. The child talks back and as a 6 year old expects her parents to cater to her every need. They just had another baby so some of that is changing.

    My dad was the only driver, with 6 kids he drove to work, grocery store with my mom and once in a while to one of our events. I think a lot of kids are running the family. We all want the best for our children, but it family doesn’t all revolve around them, but what is good for everyone. Maybe one play date, birthday party or activity on the weekend, go out eating as a family, and some other family outing, such as hiking or the zoo. Your life really doesn’t revolve around your children, your children are a part of your lives, as well as, part of the family.

    Start watching the Nanny…if you are driving your 2 children to 8 events on the weekend, because if you are then something is wrong. Who the parents here?

    And then you want to complain about us here who don’t make all these trips and limit them…doesn’t it seem a little wrong?

    Comment by Joel — August 14, 2007 @ 8:22 pm

  21. Kevis, the point is what sort of message does that send to the rest of society? That it is ok to take your life? I would argue that this is a very selfish act, but topic for another discussion.

    Comment by Roberto — August 14, 2007 @ 9:14 pm

  22. Roberto ; Ralph was extremly sick with terminal prostrate cancer, he was under medication that was altering the way he was thinking. My father died of cancer and I have had it also. The one thing my father always said as he slowly and painfully died was that he wished there was just a pill he could take to end the suffering. I knew Ralph almost from the day he moved to Alameda and I will tell you that I have never met a finer more caring person.

    So you know the old saying about walking a mile in a mans shoes, if you haven’t done it then perhaps you should save your criticisums.
    John P.

    Comment by John Piziali — August 14, 2007 @ 9:46 pm

  23. Joel,
    To return your mean spirit which I have no need for;
    Either you have kept your promise and are not reading my posts, or you are maintaining your gift of not comprehending what you do read.

    Examples: 8 vehicle trips on a road = 4 round trips, 2 of those RTs, as I mentioned in my post, were taking my wife to work and picking her up. Add a trip to south shore, and a separate trip to pick someone up at the air port combined with a trip to Park St & Home Depot, and it doesn’t seem like a lot. Jeez, my poor children got shuttled so much & didn’t get a special trip for their needs. Maybe now you’ll tell me that without those special trips each day they will feel neglected or isolated..
    Please, in the future keep your parenting advice for those who may care to hear it. Frankly, I do not. Why would I give any credence to parenting advice from someone I do not know, who is not a parent, who gets their ‘parenting lessons’ from TV shows, (why would anybody even watch ‘the nanny’?), and who clearly communicates poorly, and cannot comprehend what he reads before responding?

    As for the parking on 4th street;
    If you have been following the thread you responded to, you would realize you are confirming my point: 4th St is one small retail area in Berkeley which has oodles of parking and seems to be thriving, but is basically only selling upscale non-necessities to wealthier consumers. It does not replace the retailed needed to sustain the city. Unfortunately, Berkeley’s historically established downtown shopping areas, and the Ave, are losing retailers and gaining vacancies at an alarming rate. This follows the loss of parking in those areas as Berkeley tried to make parking scarce and expensive to get people out of their cars. The result is to keep more shoppers away from Berkeley. This would be a poor example for our city to follow. Concurrent with Berkeley’s newest burst of mixed use growth is the decline of public amenities such as the roadway maintenance, park service, and graffiti abatement.

    Comment by David Kirwin — August 15, 2007 @ 12:20 am

  24. DK,#16

    Time and again, 4th street has been pointed to as an example of ideal design for a pedestrian friendly retail district, with the trees and benches and the set back in front of Pete’s. So the developers are no fools, but they still wanted a garage! Parking is a pain in the neck there, even if it only takes three minutes as Joel says. There are three pretty limited lots along Fourth where the developed stores are. But, because I am not trying to sell my line despite the obvious facts, I want to concede that I completely forgot the old Spenger’s lot across Hearst St. which has been there forever. When Spenger’s was jumping in the evenings they could fill that lot. In fact I think it used to be exclusive to the restaurant.

    The Spenger’s lot is pretty large but they charge for it and the other lots are free. It’s amazing how the generally affluent shoppers want to hang on to their quarters. Even with commercial plates on my truck I often can’t get a yellow zone because of the Lexus SUVs which are parked illegally.

    You started off by going on about how lack of parking has ruined retail in Berkeley and my point was, and still is, that you are simply full of crap. There are a couple very large multi-story lots in the main stretch of Shattuck and a significant amount of curb side parking all along the street. It’s about the retail and perhaps the ambiance of the street scape and sidewalk, but not parking.

    You may not be delusional, but you refuse to acknowledge any information which doesn’t suit your very selective theory about reality. I truly think most of the rest of us who are in dialogue here are not so disingenuous.

    A discussion with you is like trying to watch some movie which requires huge suspension of belief in order for the plot to proceed.

    Comment by Mark — August 15, 2007 @ 11:56 am

  25. DK,
    you don’t know if I don’t have kids, I was married at one time and you always assume you know everything about everyone…you do not know much of my live experiences at all…except the very little which I left here. Don’t tell me what I am experience in and not, because you might be surprised. I am quite a few years older than you, although if someone would judge from the outside I look somewhat younger.

    Comment by Joel — August 15, 2007 @ 6:31 pm

  26. Mark – Goodness man, – you call me disingenuous and full of crap? The reek of your bluster belies your weak argument.

    If 4th street is the ideal for ‘pedestrian friendly’ then we are in complete agreement with how much parking should be required for retail within a 1 – 3 block range. The rest of Berkeley’s established districts need to match the parking availability of the 4th street district.

    You mentioned the 3 lots behind the 4th street retail on the west side of 4th street, you confirmed the Spenger lot that holds about 400 car spaces, but you forgot to mention several lots, like there by the train station, and the lot at Brannon’s that holds between 100 & 200 cars, the one on the corner by what was the Nature Store. Isn’t there also one right by Betty’s Bake Shop? What about the lots just east of fourth, on the west of 6th at the little set of shops where Cal School of Diving is located? This is one of the pedestrian based highlights; one of the lots that has direct pedestrian access to 4th St, but not direct vehicle access. Isn’t that the goal of ‘pedestrian friendly’ – to put the cars on some other street, but still get the needed shoppers?

    Face it; the reality is that “4th St” is a destination shopping district, not a neighborhood shopping zone, that’s why so many Alamedans are familiar with it, and why there are so many well used parking lots.

    It doesn’t meet the needs of a neighborhood – it doesn’t even have a food store, a post office, or bank. These (and a gas station) are vital community needs. This is not saying I don’t appreciate 4th Street. Peets is my ‘go to’ coffee store in other neighborhoods, Builder’s Book Source usually has books I need but can’t buy off the shelf at most other book retailers. I really appreciate that there is no liquor stores or fast food allowed on 4th street. COB seems to prefer to place liquor stores in less fortunate neighborhoods, as they do with fast food joints where the unsightly litter will not affect sales tax revenues.

    Comment by David Kirwin — August 15, 2007 @ 9:17 pm

  27. Mark, you can use your civil right to disagree to the above post, you can say that the point of ‘Pedestrian Friendly” has noting to do with meeting the needs of the immediate neighbor hood, that in your opinion it is more about parking once and shopping by foot and returning to your car (like a mall), you can call me names, whatever – I don’t need to convince you.

    I gave up on “dinner and a movie” in Berkeley over 10 years ago because of having to decide on one or the other because of the lack of parking (we ended up with a nice dinner in Oakland that night) and it has gotten worse. I was given expensive tickets to see the Chinese Acrobats two years ago at UC but because there were no vacancies in any of the lots or multi-floor garages near the Ave you mentioned, nor could any of parking places be found all the way down to Shattuck, we gave up and $100’s of dollars of tix went unused. I don’t need to add that kind of frustration to my life; I just don’t have the time for it.

    You are welcome to go shop in Berkeley whenever you want. I bet you park in the yellow zone w/ your commercial tags. I have chosen not to inconvenience myself with spending money in Berkeley. But I work in Berkeley, I know the condition of the roads, I see all the new construction, all the closed shops, and the increased vandalism. You may BS others, but I see it firsthand 5 days a week.

    To make you happy, you can control the rest of this thread on this blog, I need to break from this site for a while.

    Since I don’t think you can attack the above with logic or fact, I’ll leave you with the following suggestions devoid of facts so you have something to harp about;

    I encourage readers to check out two books by John Perkins; “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” & “The Secret History of the American Empire”. After understanding these 1st hand accounts of how corporations seize control to suck the wealth from the peoples around the world, examine what is happening, or happened, to the huge wealth that the American taxpayers had amassed. Then I encourage any readers to act locally, and at any level they can, to insure that public dollars get spent to benefit the public, not friends of the empowered. Help protect State and local public treasuries. Check out http://www.redevelopment.com/norby/toc.htm

    Question if a ‘friendly lawsuit’ will make it easy for major political contributions to buy the will of our city staff, and indemnify the benefactors of the contributions. All of Ron Cowan’s former ‘friendly lawsuits’ vs. Alameda were settled out of court in a “friendly” fashion, whereby he always got what he wanted. Small wonder why he invests so heavily in political campaigns.

    Watch the CIPs (Capital Improvement Projects), question if staff is really doing the work it takes to insure our money is being spent wisely. Some times and some projects look like government staff might pick a way to spend money, and then look for ways to justify the spending. Perhaps it is poor communications; perhaps it is misplaced trust in the work and reports of others, perhaps repaying political debt.

    Most of all look for the ways multinationals are installing new legislation across our country making it possible for them to reap new profit centers at the taxpayer expense. We need people to reclaim our government from the corporatocracies to protect what belongs to the public before our governing bodies bankrupt the public treasuries beyond what the future generations can ever repay, or pray we can be saved by “black swan.”

    Comment by David Kirwin — August 15, 2007 @ 11:42 pm

  28. Just to provide more context to the link provided above by David K. (the redevelopment paper.) Which was funded by the Fieldstead Insitute. Which is the private foundation of Harold Ahmanson, Jr. and this article in Salon gives a pretty good overview of his political donations over the years. If you read anything, read the Salon article. It is illuminating.

    Comment by Lauren Do — August 16, 2007 @ 6:50 am

  29. Dk,

    If you post to every post with a response the length of Time magazine, you’ve chased me out of here.

    I said that 4th street is touted as pedestrian friendly, did not really weigh in myself. It does have some design amenities, but isn’t all that different from any other street in a lot of ways. One thing I think people don’t often think about 4th Street it’s tucked away in a corner of town. Ocean View was a residential/industrial ghost town full of squatters in school buses before the retail development and even that was a group of about six sleepy businesses for a few years until it took off.

    It’s not much of a through corridor, except being right next to the freeway. I believe the developers wanted a garage to enhance the parking in order to maximize the retail out put and argued their case using the amount of tax dollars already produced and how that would increase even more.

    You obviously spend half your life on the computer, so maybe you can Google the East Bay Epress article about the 4th street garage debate, from several years ago.

    I’ll keep it simple. My only hard contention here has been that your claim about parking killing retail is false. I also maintain that you are full of it. Sorry for the name calling, but you really invite abuse, even if truly civil behavior would prohibit that. I have opinions and a point of view , but don’t feel like I’m here to ram a whole agenda down people’s throats.

    Have a nice day.

    Comment by Mark — August 16, 2007 @ 9:06 am


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