Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 14, 2009

Bonus time

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Development, Measure A — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:55 am

After much tweaking and vetting by different Boards and Commissions the Density Bonus Ordinance has finally made the long arduous journey to the City Council, which will be presiding over a lot of interesting agenda items on Tuesday, which I’ll highlight tomorrow, but for now, some background.

Here is a brief history at the City Council’s first attempt to adopt a Density Bonus Ordinance, the topic simply died in 2004 and wasn’t resurrected until last year.   Some basics about Density Bonus Ordinances, the idea behind Density Bonus Ordinances is to provide an incentive for private developers to build affordable housing units by allowing them to increase the density allowed on the site and by granting a number of concessions and incentives.   Up until now, Alameda has not had a Density Bonus Ordinance.    Also, the “denser” units (in Alameda, read this as “attached units”) do not have to be the affordable housing units only, so an entire project (market and affordable units) can all be more “dense.”   Parking reductions have to be given as a concession on top of any other concession/incentive requested.   The only way the City can attempt to not grant a concession/incentive is to show that there is an “adverse impact” on the public  health and safety or the physical environment.

And here was the recap of the proposal that went before the Boards and Commissions which the Planning Board, Housing Board, and Economic Development Commission voted to recommend approval for adoption by the City Council.

As I mentioned in that post there will be two significant items for discussion…amazingly enough when I revisit these two posts there is no discussion on these items, but this is a pretty significant issue — particularly for those folks who want to Protect Measure A at all costs.   Because, as I titled the last post on the issue, the Density Bonus Ordinance is the ultimate Measure A workaround.  

So the first significant issue is the discussion around the incentives/concessions that can be requested, also as the percentage of affordable housing increases the number of the concessions/incentives increase maxing out at three , but not including the parking reduction.   They include, but are not limited to:

  1. Reduced minimum lot sizes and/or dimensions
  2. Reduced minimum setback
  3. Increased height limitations
  4. Reduced onsite open-space requirements
  5. Increased maximum lot coverage
  6. Increased floor area ratio
  7. Reduced parking requirements
  8. Allowance for attached dwelling units , considered a waiver of a
    provision of Article XXVI of the Alameda City Charter, if shown to be necessary to make the project feasible , and
  9. Development standards that physically preclude construction of the development.

So the changes from the last time around, item 9 wasn’t included as part of the list of concession/incentives the first time, but rather as a statement at the end of the section on concessions.   The statement is still there on the new draft, modified a bit, so I am unclear as to why it is included as part of the incentives/concessions.   

Previously there was a bit about allowing live-work within multi-family zones, but that is gone from the new list.

The second issue of note is the reduction in redevelopment project areas from 25% to 15% for required affordable housing in new projects.   The argument from staff is that if the number were to stay at 25%, the incentive for a developer to provide affordable housing would be low since the required percentage of affordable housing already triggers the Density Bonus Ordinance (and concessions/incentives) by simply complying with the policy currently established.   The only area this would not affect would be Alameda Point due to the settlement negotiated by the City.

Here  is the example used by staff:

For example, a 100-unit project in a redevelopment area is required to provide six very low-income units. The minimum number of very low income units needed to be eligible for a 20% density bonus is five; thus, in this scenario the developer would be entitled to an additional 20 market-rate dwelling units , plus an incentive. If the inclusionary unit policy was changed from 25% to 15%, a developer would not automatically be entitled to a density bonus and incentive because the required number of very low income units is four, which does not meet the density bonus unit threshold of five.

What remains is the issue of whether to include the number of required inclusionary housing units (15% citywide if the change is made with the exception of Alameda Point) toward the density bonus numbers or make the developer go above and beyond the number.   Staff is recommending that they be included toward the number.   The reasoning given by staff is that if the City decides to go with the above and beyond approach, the units would not be covered under the City’s inclusionary housing policy which would maintain those units as affordable for 59 years, but rather under state law which would keep the units affordable for only 30 years.


  1. Thank you Lauren, excellant summary….h

    Comment by helen Sause — September 14, 2009 @ 8:12 am

  2. Lauren,

    Thank you for your timely and informative notice on the density bonus ordinance coming before the Council Tuesday.

    I applaud the Council’s efforts to pass a density bonus. It will be one small step to building a more sustainable Alameda and Bay Area.

    I oppose the proposal to reduce the affordable housing requirement from 25% to 15% in all redevelopment areas except Alameda Point. Such a reduction is inconsistent with the state density bonus law which states that the intention of the density bonus is to supplement, not replace other incentives to affordable housing.

    Such a reduction will take away from the good will the City will earn with the State Department Housing and Community Development for passing a density bonus when they review the next draft of the Housing Element late next year.

    Without an approved Housing Element, the City will be either ineligible or at a disadvantage when competing for development assistance with the State. See a forthcoming Renewed Hope analysis of the D.E. Shaw sponsored Revitalization Initiative prepared by SunCal for more on the development assistance Alameda may be passing up if it is unable to win State Approval of the Housing Element.

    Bill Smith

    Comment by William Smith — September 14, 2009 @ 8:37 am

  3. Keep the inclusionary set-aside at 25 percent for all redevelopment areas, not just AP.

    Comment by Tony Daysog — September 14, 2009 @ 9:12 am

  4. I think this is somewhat relevant to the thread and a reasonable question, should anyone know: how did Cardinal Point get built? I assume that it’s not in compliance with Measure A, so how did it get an exemption? (The reference to senior citizen housing exemption in the Measure A charter amendment refers only to a single senior housing project, Independence Plaza, not to all such housing.)

    Any thoughts appreciated.

    And thanks to Lauren for covering the density bonus topic and managing to make sense — that’s not so easy to do.

    Comment by DL Morrison — September 14, 2009 @ 12:26 pm

  5. Cardinal Point, as I understand it met Measure A, as the units do not have full kitchens, and therefore are not considered “dwelling units” under the City of Alameda definition of same. At the time the facility was built there were those who were opposed to it as being in violation of Measure A, but when the City’s definition of “dwelling unit” was publicized, the opposition seemed to go quiet.

    I have been in some of the units and on a tour of the whole facility, and it is true that they have no ovens – just cooktops and microwaves.

    Personally, I suspect that since it was a senior facility and fairly up-scale, and there was nothing torn down that it replaced in the way of historic buildings, it did not merit law-suits by those who often oppose such things.

    It is lovely, and an addition to our community – seems to meet a real need for housing that is accessible and reasonably sized for people who want to “step down” and stay in Alameda. The folks who run it are very community oriented – they have asked the LWV to do candidate’s nights and pros and cons meetings there, and allowed the whole of Alameda to attend. All our meetings there have been well attended!

    Comment by Kate Quick — September 14, 2009 @ 2:34 pm

  6. #4. About Independence Plaza; contrary to statements by people who should know better,it is not the senior complex referred to in Measure A. That was the Park Otis senior complex, called Anne Diament plaza, which had been proposed and discussed for a year or more prior to Measure A, and built shortly after the measure was passed. The 1990 Housing element says that “the City has determined that the Independence Plaza project is ‘replacement housing’, (replacing Housing Autority units that have been torn down) which is specifically exempted from the requirements of Measure A.” The Park Otis complex is also cited in Corica’s campaign literature in opposition to the Red Brick building, as the only senior complex allowed under measure A.
    Lois Pryor

    Comment by Lois Pryor — September 14, 2009 @ 3:07 pm

  7. #5 and #6: Thanks for responses, that’s very interesting. I guess senior housing can be exempted from Measure A, but not in the form of full dwelling units. I wonder if it could be a mix of full dwelling units and the smaller “assisted living” units.

    Comment by DL Morrison — September 14, 2009 @ 3:58 pm

  8. I am certain I do not have an iron clad understanding of the last three paragraphs of Lauren’s post, but taking the conclusion of staff at face value, so to speak, I would like to hear people like Bill Smith and Tony Daysog speak to those paragraphs in substantiating their view that 25% should remain everywhere.

    Comment by M.I. — September 14, 2009 @ 4:31 pm

  9. The answer to #7 is NO, that would be a violation of Measure A, and it would not matter if such housing fills a need. Much of what is being proposed at the Point is such housing to provide for singles, small families, older folk, etc. and it is being unalterably opposed due to the density issue, primarily, I believe.

    Comment by Kate Quick — September 14, 2009 @ 9:40 pm

  10. Please, don’t be so quick Kate. (please pardon the pun), why couldn’t other small “intentional communities” enter the Alameda market under the Cardinal Point model?

    Using the definition as established by Cardinal Point, I see hope in meeting local urban housing growth without SunCal’s silly style of development.

    With the housing or mortgage crunch extending a great many college grads can’t find local housing that offers a foot into the owner market at rates .so affordable to them. Some present owners of oversized homes may want to divide their property into multi-tenant ownership shares.

    Because of the practical reality: Increased numbers of individuals now seek shares inside a home offering lower than or at market ownership opportunities. Selling shares of your home instead of renting rooms has many other social values as well. As well as allowing a style of home ownership, meeting tax requirements, a new community can be formed with intent. Aside from reducing the ho-hum of doing things alone when ‘community’ is so important, adding non-dwelling ownership housing assists those living in the homes, increases likelihood of ride-sharing if not car-sharing, It would also help the City meet goals for achieving more housing and increased owner occupied units. Overall it would ADD value to homes by planning allowing select unique instances the ability to add bathrooms, or sinks in existing structures. As long as there are not a greater number of units than allowed as a duplex each of those units could be shared by groups of individual owners as represented by a fractionalized TIC mortgage. There are even local centers of blight that would benefit from such a retrofit by our local housing authority so the eventual ‘shares’ remained as “limited equity properties”, or they use private funds for eventual full market rate equity. Groups like HUD, Berkeley Housing Authority, the Northern CA Land Trust, and private resources have pooled investments for creating such co-ops and co-housing opportunities. They are normally the greenest developments because it is the consciousness of the self-selecting community which brings them together. Co-housing for the elderly is also a growing reality.

    Comment by Dave K — September 14, 2009 @ 11:56 pm

  11. The question was about mixing the uses in a single development – some full dwelling units; some not. Under Measure A this would not be permitted. Other Cardinal Points could be created if they stayed within the critera of not being “dwelling units” and were not opposed or subjected to lawsuits.

    The way you are suggesting does not fall under any of the current conventional, tested criteria in Alameda, and would have to be considered as a different thing altogether.

    Comment by Kate Quick — September 15, 2009 @ 7:45 am

  12. Lauren, what item does this come up under on the City Council agenda – believed it to a Public Hearing but do not see it… h

    Comment by helen Sause — September 15, 2009 @ 8:09 am

  13. Helen,

    The density bonus and reduction in inclusionary housing requirements comes up under the City meeting as the economic development commission. That meeting is schedule to begin about 7:31 and last until 7:32. I believe it is the first meeting after the Council concludes its meeting as the ARRA.

    Comment by William Smith — September 15, 2009 @ 10:12 am

  14. Kate – Please help me to understand the point – Cardinal point was deemed ok, legal and otherwise because of the way “dwelling unit” has been defined. Not a separate dwelling unit without a kitchen; not a kitchen with out a conventional oven / stove top. Sink, counters, microwave, refrigerators etc do not make a kitchen unless there is a conventional or stove top oven. (What was PB opinion on dishwashers or disposals, (hot plate, mixers, waffle irons etc, are just plug-in so not regulated by codes, correct?

    Why is what I suggest outside of meeting the criteria of established already? Relevant building and Municipal Codes regulate type of structure and occupancy, – isn’t ownership or style of ownership irrelevant? As long as privately owned dwellings remain privately owned dwellings, and no rental units are eliminated from the Alameda housing market, what is there to regulate property ownership? Certainly when public dollars assist establishment of such a project there should be regulatory trade-offs, such as mandates for ‘limited equity’ or those buying shares must meet 1st time home buyer status, etc.

    I ask out of real interest and concern for both the 30-40-something crowd still living like they did during college years, and our aging Alameda seniors who are going to need more personal assistance, but not ready for ‘assisted care units’. I see this as community building in a positive way. I have been supporting (for a long time) the need to address affordable housing without ‘inclusionary below-market-rate housing”, because I see that as “fake” affordability. – It’s not affordable, there is just someone else paying for it.

    Dyed-in-the wool MA protectionists may want to cut my tongue out if they see this as a side step to MA, but I really see this as being very different from cutting up old Victorians as rental units. It would limit the number of “real” kitchens to 2, would protect all other requirements, (such as set backs, amount of ‘green space’, and space per unit). I see it as a real positive alternative to doing things that would cost the community so greatly – This would benefit all individuals willing to live in “family style” green communities, and is a huge progressive step forward into property ownership instead of rentals, or college style house sharing without ownership.

    Think what it could do for Alameda’s blighted properties such as the old Red Cross building on Central, or some of the other run-down over sized white elephants that have not been getting their differed maintenance needs fulfilled. Small intentional communities can choose a compatible blend of owner-individuals to help meet over-all needs.

    Comment by Dave K — September 15, 2009 @ 4:05 pm

  15. DK, your “radical” idea essentially proposes throwing up an in-law unit on a lot along with a regular dwelling. Look up codes on in-law units.

    Comment by notadave — September 15, 2009 @ 4:12 pm

  16. NAD – If you look at the example of Cardinal Point, you should understand I am not talking about additional units – not legally speaking according to AMC.

    So those codes not relevant? The type of cooperative living I am suggesting, may seem radical to some, (unless you lived with friends in college in cooperative style) Really the only thing ‘radical’ is the style of ownership which some have coined as “fractionalized TEC’s”. The duplex I live in had been purchased by 4 individual in the 90’s. We were all TsIC – My wife and I and another couple who were still unwed at that point. It is not really a new idea, just improving on an old one.

    Comment by Dave K — September 15, 2009 @ 5:06 pm

  17. Dave K. I understand what you are proposing, and it is an interesting concept, actually utilized in some communities, but I am totally unsure if it meets Alameda criteria for legality. Someone from planning and development would have to answer that. I suspect that it might be found by many to be a way to pump up density by circumventing Measure A, and since it appeals to those with limited resources, it is likely to be opposed on both density and “encouraging the wrong sort of people” grounds. But who knows?

    Comment by Kate Quick — September 15, 2009 @ 8:28 pm

  18. Can CC grant a waiver of a provision of Article XXVI of the Alameda City Charter? I suppose they have a pocketful (about 100?) of exemptions left over from the Guyton lawsuit which they have not yet used, but #1 and #8 are really limited by City Charter. Aren’t they?

    #3 strikes me as frightening if the current height restrictions allowed the parking garage.. How high can will they go?

    Where exactly would they build up to so many units, with no setback from street, allow inadequate parking, no green space, 10 stories or more tall, with the reduced floor space ratio? And what does “reduced floor space ratio” even mean? Ratio to what?

    Thank goodness for #9 – LOL. Yeah we’re developing an unbelievable housing bonus – so good for developers we’ll even find a way to not let them use it. ..unil they get us to court, where they can sue use for our intent to block the law we created as required to not accept the State density bonus law…. (Of course we’ll settle out of court to give Cowan and friends more money when they want it.)
    Not exactly a new direction for Alameda is it?

    Comment by old gimme gimmick — September 15, 2009 @ 9:40 pm

  19. I appreciate your candor. I don’t know either, but it seems you & I have the right to let whomever we want in our homes, and likewise we have the right to sell our homes or “shares” of them, however we choose. I am not familiar with any of the regulatory restriction on condos but I don’t think that applies to this proposal. Really it seems like a straight TIC. Perhaps Planning dept could prohibit additional bathrooms or ‘snack counters with sinks’ such as the Cardinal Point non-kitchens. Those would be nice or perhaps expected amenities, but certainly not requirements for an ‘intentional community house”.

    More important or expected could be things like added insulation on flat roof ceilings, addition of functional thermal mass in interiors, rain and gray-water reclamation systems for irrigation, solar panels etc.

    More interesting and more critical to the City would be whether such ‘shares’ could be made into taxable parcels, that shares recognized by city as separately owned. Not having their own kitchens probably more defines a “no” than MA as far as being individual properties.

    I think it is an interesting concept for perhaps adding value to ‘upside down’ houses in this market, and would certainly provide full spectrum of affordable market price home ownership without taxing our infrastructure any more than if the houses were full of family and kids in current occupancy. It is also riding a new wave of ownership style.

    Currently Oakland has more of these communities than any other city in the US.

    Comment by David K — September 16, 2009 @ 10:38 pm

  20. Fellow Alamedans,

    Renewed Hope, an Alameda Housing Advocacy Group, is seeking to rebrand the Alameda Point Revitalization Initiative. To do so, we are reaching out to the community and sponsoring a rebranding contest. The winning name will appear in a forthcoming press release from Renewed Hope on the ?????? Initiative.

    Note to entrants: Renewed Hope already has a strong candidate for rebranding the ???? Initiative. Our own candidate for the prize is the

    SunCal/Shaw Hedge Initiative.

    All Renewed Hope decisions on the winner will be hedged and not subject to negotiation with any other party. Decisions may, however, be put up for a blogosphere community vote soley at the discretion of Renewed Hope.

    To enter, post your winning entry on one of three community blogs, Don Roberts Alameda Daily News, Lauren Doh’s Blogging Bayport Alameda, or Michelle Ellson’s The Island.

    William Smith
    Vice President,
    Renewed Hope Housing Advocates

    Comment by William Smith — September 19, 2009 @ 7:06 am

  21. Bill,

    As you are aware from my contacting you directly on this one I am in terrible ill humor today. Unfortunately what I consider your ill timed attempt at humor in your contest post only aggrevated my sad state.

    Comment by M.I. — September 19, 2009 @ 3:09 pm

  22. continuing 21.

    Bill, you have confirmed that Renewed HOPE’s analysis of the initiative has not been released. I feel your making light of the funding at this premature point has the effect of a lead balloon. I guess Renewed HOPE just thinks the whole funding is a joke, so no need to read the analysis.

    Two groups, one pro and one con, each pulled a half page in the Sun this week and the rhetoric will be ratcheting up from here until the election. There is plenty of time to poke fun and there’s nothing like comic relief, but I think your comic timing is off on this one. This is specific to your official role as part of Renewed HOPE.

    Comment by M.I. — September 19, 2009 @ 3:20 pm

  23. Mark,

    I have already begun to discuss your concern about the timing of my intended humorous announcement of the Rebranding Contest with other Renewed Hope members. Some of them share your concern with my timing of the contest – and with opening the contest up to the community at large.

    My highest priorities in any governmental process, and nonprofits as well, are inclusion and transparency. I push the envelope on those core values with all organizations with which I am associated.

    On complicated and emotional issues like Alameda Point, communications are easily misunderstood, and timing matters -thus immediate inclusion and transparency may lead to confusion and obfuscation, and needs to be carefully timed.

    Thank you for providing me with the feedback I and Renewed Hope need to improve the timing and style of our press releases.

    Should the SunCal initiative campaign get underway, I look forward to working with you to clarify the issues and to highlight not just the concerns, but also the many benefits of the initiative that would be beneficial to capture in any redevelopment alternative to the Initiative.

    Comment by William Smith — September 19, 2009 @ 11:35 pm

  24. how ’bout: Unscrewed Hope Initiative

    Comment by Jack Richard — September 20, 2009 @ 8:50 am

  25. Bill, I think you are on to something. Enough playing games. This initiative is a scam, and should be called so. Initiatives are not supposed to be written by corporate lawyers to their benefit and fraudulently sold to the people. I call it the SunCal Corporate Scam Initiative.

    Also see

    Comment by AD — September 20, 2009 @ 9:35 am

  26. How ’bout: NoMo SpinCo Initiative

    Comment by Jack Richard — September 20, 2009 @ 9:53 am

  27. How ’bout: Pointless Suckers Initiative

    Comment by Jack Richard — September 20, 2009 @ 9:58 am

  28. My entry is, “Win a Free Ham.”

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — September 20, 2009 @ 11:30 am

  29. Bloggers!

    Now we are into the spirit of the contest!

    Annotated summary of Entries for Rebranding the Initiative:

    1. Unscrewed Hope Inititiative (Highlights threat initiative poses to affordable housing)

    2. SunCal Corporate Scam Initiative (Highlights threat thT initiative promises, yet fails to fund, benefits in Initiative present but may obligate City to pay anyway)

    3. NoMo SpinCo Initiative (A campaigan slogan as we certainily want to put an end to the spin shrouding the inner workings of the Initiative’s fine print that hedge the risks for SunCal/D.E. Shaw Hedge Fund by foisting them on the City)

    4. Pointless Suckers Initiative (Highlights possibiity that well intentioned, but naive, Alameda Citizens could lose us all control of Point for 30 years)

    5. Win a Free Ham (No doubt about it, SunCal/D.E. Shaw’s supporters have been hamming it up to distract from the dangers the Initiative poses to City finances and affordable housing).

    6. Gift Horse Initiative (We’re all in trouble if we can’t convince enough of the citizenry to ignore the old proverb “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” and do just that to discover the sclerotic (stroke inducing) financing for public benefits included in the initiative. Fortunately City staff, in their analysis of the Initiative, have looked this gift horse in the mouth. An added communication benefit, Gift is the German word for Poison or Toxin – the poisons that may seep under the homes built at Alameda Point years after they are build if SunCal/DE Shaw, the Navy, and the regulators continue to downplay the significance of chlorinated groundwater at the Point. Check with the Restoration Advisory Board, and Frank Matarrese, the Council’s representative to the RAB, for how this definition of GIFT applies at Alameda Point.

    7. Trojan Horse Initiative – (See any of the above – opens the door from the inside to City Finances, especially a neighboring redevelopment area from which all tax increment revenue might be sucked into Alameda Point).

    8. SunCal/Shaw Hedge Fund Initiative. (See above for just some of the innumerable hedges in the initiative which protect the interests of the hedge fund by putting tax revenues collected from Alameda citizens at risk.)

    I know we have not yet begun to tap the creativity of Alamedans – keep those informative titles coming!!!!!

    Comment by William Smith — September 20, 2009 @ 1:18 pm

  30. #29

    Actually, Win A Free Ham is a contest. All of those who vote for the SunCal initiative will be entered into a contest to win a free ham. Please be sure to read the fine print on your ballot. In case of bankruptcy, SunCal may choose to not award the prize ham. Be sure to vote early and often in order to improve your chances of winning!

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — September 20, 2009 @ 1:48 pm

  31. Bill, gee in post 23 I thought I noted some contrition for this stunt with regard to Renewed HOPE, but judging by your giddy enthusiasm in 29 one wouldn’t know it.

    Even standing in opposition to the initiative for any number of reasons I would not wish to jump on this gratuitous bandwagon bashing the Initiative if I valued any of the elements plan over all, as you have claimed you do, Bill.

    One reason is that such bashing blurs all the issues, and unbridled ridicule even in the service of opposing real flaws, also hands a victory to those who wish to see Measure A stand unaltered forever in all parts of the island, and those who for the sake of preserving their own little chunk of turf are against all change.

    Comment by M.I. — September 20, 2009 @ 4:04 pm

  32. How ’bout: Unbridled Flaws Initiative

    Comment by Jack Richard — September 20, 2009 @ 4:25 pm

  33. Gratuitous bandwagon initiative, he-he…

    Comment by AD — September 20, 2009 @ 6:43 pm

  34. The Shawshank Redemption Initiative.

    Comment by Richard Bangert — September 20, 2009 @ 11:03 pm

  35. How about the Big BJ Inititive?

    “BJ” obviously stands for “Big Joke” -right? hehe

    Big Big Joke

    The ‘simple’ BJ initiatve was the one that CC used to create the city’s “Transportation Commission” – Thjat was another bad jojkw.

    Comment by anon. — September 20, 2009 @ 11:14 pm

  36. How ’bout: P

    How ’bout: Project Isle Dysfunction

    Comment by Jack Richard — September 21, 2009 @ 1:58 am

  37. How about stopping with the name calling, and discussing the project on its merits. Is this really the best the Sierra club has to offer to the debate? Really?!?

    Comment by notadave — September 21, 2009 @ 7:27 am

  38. I’m with #37. This silliness does nothing to forward the debate around this very serious issue. Time to spend our intellects on study and finding appropriate compromises and solutions, rather than being clever in the way we bash the current proposal. Our energies are finite; let’s use them to be constructive.
    There is also an element of rudeness here that does not meet the civility test – we should break ourselves of that, even though it may be a ton of fun for some.

    Comment by Kate Quick — September 21, 2009 @ 7:41 am

  39. Kate, I’m with you on the silliness. Though I do believe that humor relieves stress, and this initiative has stressed us all, being the hairy ball of wax it is.

    The folks at are doing exactly what you are asking for. Your take and solutions to the specific concerns they’ve highlighted is welcome.

    Comment by AD — September 21, 2009 @ 8:04 am

  40. I vote for # 36. It’l take more than viagra to get this project up!

    Comment by PJ — September 21, 2009 @ 8:14 am

  41. Mark #31 and NotADave #37,

    Although as I’ve indicated in message #23, the timing and form of the launch of the rebranding campaign may have benefited from more extensive discussion before hand, the campaign has none-the-less launched. So a quick review of the strategy for the campaign is in order after a brief discussion of NotADave’s comment on the Sierra Club’s involvement.

    NotADave, as the Sierra Club remains neutral on the Initiative, the rebranding campaign does not involve the Sierra Club at all. At my request, the Sierra Club will be discussing whether or not I should continue to be the spokesperson for the Club on Alameda Point Redevelopment issues at the Monday, Sept. 28th meeting. The Northern Alameda County Group leadership of the Club will discuss whether it is possible for me to reconcile my roles in a campaign against the initiative for Renewed Hope with my role as a spokesperson for a Club that is neutral on this issue. My recommendation to resolve the potential for conflict, supported by the soon to be released Renewed Hope study on the initiative, is for the Club to actively oppose the Initiative. Alameda Point is expected to come up on the Group’s agenda about 9:00 p.m. at the SF Bay Chapter HQs at 2530 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley. To my chagrin, the group leadership intends to hold the bulk of the discussion in closed executive session – openness and transparency is a problem even in the Club. Sierra Club meetings are open to the public and I will walk out of the meeting, as I have done before, if at least representative spokespeople for Alamedans who attend are not allowed to speak.

    The rebranding campaign is intended to facilitate inclusive, open and transparent government. The objectives of the campaign are to identify issues of concern to Alameda residents, articulate them, and develop short pithy messages for communicating them. I envision the first stage as a public brainstorming session – where ideas are clarified, not critiqued. I encourage those who are offended by the messy nature of brainstorming to contact the blog moderator. I honestly don’t know if public brainstorming is appropriate for this blog – and we’ll never know unless someone tries it. If you don’t like the messy and sometimes ugly brainstorming, you could ignore it rather than request that it be banned. The brainstorming is occurring deep in one thread of the blog. I would encourage you to monitor and comment on the process as a nonparticipant, though, as critical comments often provide the best guidance for improving a process – or in this case keeping it from getting out of hand. I share your concern about keeping rebranding from degenerating into name calling.

    The next stage is to critique the entries, which the Renewed Hope Board is likely to do internally, with the winners evident from the ideas we use in our official communications. Unless an entry is potentially libelous, defamatory, or grossly distorts the facts, we would likely critique a contribution publicly only if the person submitting it requested a public critique. I may attempt to clarify submissions, especially if they relate to topics in Renewed Hope’s analysis. Our policy is not set in stone,yet, on this. Again, this is your contest as well, your comments are welcome.

    The final stage is to use the winning entries to highlight the many shortcomings of the initiative identified in Renewed Hope’s soon to be released report on the Initiative. We intend to contrast how the public and City could work to resolve development problems using the City’s current development process and under the process described in the Initiative. The Initiative sharply curtails not only citizen participation in the development approval process for 25 or more years, but more alarmingly oversight by the City government as well.

    So I disagree with Mark’s take that identifying challenges to development at Alameda Point will hinder future projects. I maintain that acknowledging and clarifying problems and drawing the community together to solve them will instead facilitate those projects.

    Comment by William Smith — September 21, 2009 @ 8:26 am

  42. Notadave, aren’t you the same notaperson who usually only posts to flame David Kirwin? If I’m not mistaken, you launch more personal attacks than anyone on this blog.

    And that’s saying a lot.

    Comment by Jack B. — September 21, 2009 @ 8:33 am

  43. 41, blah, blah, blah, Bill. I think this is one of those lip stick on a pig situations. You should have quit while you’re ahead. Others were likely to get to these tactics anyway, but you look foolish.

    Comment by M.I. — September 21, 2009 @ 8:34 am

  44. While I’m tempted to join M.I. in not taking a public stand on the initiative, this doesn’t have to turn into picking on individuals who do. I say lighten up and have some fun! This exercise is immensely enjoyable to watch.

    Comment by Sam — September 21, 2009 @ 10:17 am

  45. You know, I’m going to be dead serious here—the SunCal Land Grab Initiative.

    Comment by AD — September 21, 2009 @ 10:24 am

  46. AD,

    There’s plenty in the soon to be released Renewed Hope analysis to support the accuracy of your pithy description of the Initiative as the SunCal Land Grab. Definitely a leading candidate!

    Banking land can be beneficial to the development process, but the conditions under which it is banked are critical, and usually negotiated between parties.


    Comment by William Smith — September 21, 2009 @ 12:31 pm

  47. OK, ok here’s one HOMES will really enjoy:

    “The Point Initiative for the Wheel-less Realists.”

    Unfortunately aside from the risk-free land-grab SunCal is trying to initiate, Alameda’s true realists understand that the development is not really for the wheel-less. Nor are there any certainties for the advertised community benefits of the proposal in the initiative, nor is the proposed development anywhere close to being an environmental model as wisdom and technology does presently enable, nor does it prevent the known sea level rise coming soon to this island.

    Other than that, it still has too many problems to stand on it’s own.

    Comment by David Kirwin — September 21, 2009 @ 2:30 pm

  48. I have a second contest entry. Unlike my first, this one needs no explanation:

    Pricked by the Point.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — September 21, 2009 @ 4:23 pm

  49. The Chamber of Commerce just came out against SunCal — Action Alameda has the text of the press releaase:

    Comment by DL Morrison — September 21, 2009 @ 6:39 pm

  50. 49. Speaking of shills, I love the way the first comment in the Action Alameda “news” piece is by “Action Alameda” (himself). When is David Howard going to interview himself again?

    I’m happy to see this Initiative defeated before it gets to the polls, if there is a movement for an alternative initiative to reform Measure A at the Point. I’m sure all the legions of newly environmentally conscious Alamedans who oppose the initiative because of water use etc. will be clambering to work for the new initiative and we expect the Chamber and Sierra Club to lead that effort since they claim to be enthusiastic about the SunCal Plan itself as opposed to the Initiative.

    Comment by M.I. — September 21, 2009 @ 7:24 pm

  51. Mark: For once, spare us, okay?

    Comment by DL Morrison — September 21, 2009 @ 8:48 pm

  52. Mark(#50),

    I completely agree with you that when the SunCal/Shaw Hedge Fund Initiative is defeated, both the Sierra Club and the Chamber will have a special obligation to support an alternative means for realizing that vision.

    There are several other ways to implement the community vision, and at first glance I prefer the alternative identified by the City Treasurer and the Auditor – the Council sponsor an initiative supported by the community.

    As the campaign against the SunCal/Shaw Hedge Fund continues, I look forward to screening, selecting and promoting a better alternative with you.


    Comment by William Smith — September 21, 2009 @ 8:55 pm

  53. Rebranding Contestants!

    Does the Alameda Chamber Press Release inspire any new entries?


    Suggestion: Compare the Chamber Press Release with 45 by AD.

    Comment by William Smith — September 21, 2009 @ 8:58 pm

  54. 51. Darcy, spare you what, the obvious?

    Comment by M.I. — September 21, 2009 @ 9:40 pm

  55. MI – I’m happy to see this Initiative defeated before it gets to the polls, if there is a movement for an alternative initiative to reform Measure A at the Point.

    Why does your happiness require altering MA? Do you think developing the Point must require high density housing over jobs, open space and low density? Remember there is a lot of space that is not adaquate for building homes ans by Navy standards should remain open space. Just curious because I don’t recall you ever pitching any ideas yourself.

    Comment by Dave K — September 22, 2009 @ 6:39 am

  56. #53 “Does the Alameda Chamber Press Release inspire any new entries?” Yes.

    You Can’t Snow the Snowman Initiative

    Comment by Sam — September 22, 2009 @ 3:12 pm

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