Blogging Bayport Alameda

January 19, 2010

Back to basics

So as I mentioned on Friday, SunCal has submitted to the City another plan (which happens to be the same plan) with a new Development Agreement containing modifications to certain terms the City found objectionable.   This submission has now placed the next move firmly in the hands of the City to decide what they want to do next.

The complaints, to recap, with Measure B, in large part was in large part due to the appearance finality of the Development Agreement, the lack of ability of the City to negotiate terms, and the need for affirmative steps being taken by the developer only to amend portions of the Development Agreement.    This move now gives the City all the negotiating room it wants in order to scale the terms to its liking, so everyone should be behind the plan now?  Right?

After all, this is the plan that the Mayor, Councilmember Frank Matarrese, the Chamber of Commerce, etc and so forth have said that they like.   Now, they can negotiate the bejeezus out of this thing.

More than $200 million for public benefits?  Check!

Lifting of 2% property tax cap that really wasn’t a cap for individual homeowners and property owners anyway?  Check!

Giving the City latitude  to dictate terms of the land sale even though that would be negotiated in the DDA anyway?  Check!

While I am sure that SunCal is still hopeful that Measure B will pass, to not have a Plan B to Measure B would have been a bad business decision on their part.   They have already spent a ton of money — not including the money pumped into this campaign — but you know the money to actually develop the plan (consultants, community meetings, designers, traffic engineers, planners, etc…).  They have already put in the money to begin the EIR process.   But what the submission of the same plan tells us is that this IS the plan, there is no other plan that SunCal can forsee/design/craft that they think is economically feasible for Alameda Point.

They could have, since this milestone was set in the ENA, come up with a Measure A compliant plan knowing that this would be rubber stamped without any difficulty, but as the pull out of Alameda Point Community Partners and SunCal’s two opportunities to submit plans have indicated, Measure A compliant is not going to cut it.

So now, it’s time for our City leaders to step up and lead.   They now have an opportunity to do what they were complaining that Measure B did not allow them to do which is to negotiate all contracts in the City’s favor.    The majority, if not all of the Council will be running for some political office in the Summer (Supervisor) or Fall (Mayor/City Council) if there was any time to show some decisive action, it would be now.

And while some folks would blame the Initiative or SunCal for dividing the community, there is enough blame to go around that in order to move forward, we’ll have to put the finger pointing behind us.   With submission of the Calthrope plan as an “alternative” plan, there is now only one question to ask:

Do you like the land plan that was presented?

If the answer is yes, then urge your City Council and City Council people sitting as the ARRA to negotiate a fair agreements with SunCal that will ensure fiscal neutrality.     As some of our leaders who have publicly said that they love the Plan but hate the Initiative, here is their chance to see the Plan developed and move the City forward.


  1. >>> More than $200 million for public benefits? Check!

    How much more?

    Comment by Jack B. — January 19, 2010 @ 6:46 am

  2. You left out one major objection to B: the truncation of Measure A. The density bonus is a way around that, so when you talk about how Suncal’s latest proposal gives the city the ability to properly negotiate, did you mean to add that as a reason why?

    And can this be construed as a “No on B” endorsement? While the piece is notably murky on that point, it seems to lean that way….

    Comment by David Hart — January 19, 2010 @ 6:48 am

  3. Jack B.: The cap has been completely lifted.

    David H.: I have already voted yes on Measure B, and I would urge others to do so too.

    The density bonus is going to be tricky to describe how it can be done, so that will be a post for another day.

    While the “truncation of Measure A” may be your objections to Measure B and to any other Measure A stalwarts. That was not the position that our City leaders have taken. City leaders who names have been paraded back and forth as proof that ordinary voters should vote down Measure B. No, these City leaders have gushed about the plan, so what this submission has done as put those leaders, those decision makers, in the position of having to make a decision moving forward.

    Essentially what this submission has done was to put in writing what people have said SunCal would not put into writing.

    Comment by Lauren Do — January 19, 2010 @ 6:57 am

  4. Measure B contains the caps cited above. How does one suggest voting for Measure B while cheering the city to negotiate free of said caps?

    Comment by David Hart — January 19, 2010 @ 7:05 am

  5. First, SunCal and the City disagree on the fact that the caps are not sufficient to fund what needs to be funded. There is a disconnect between what SunCal had intended those caps to cover and what the City has determined that is unclear about what those caps cover. An unfortunate disconnect.

    Before everyone figured out why there was a discrepancy in the City’s public benefit numbers and SunCal’s, SunCal had already said that they would remove those caps if Measure B passes. Recall these were the items that everyone said that we can assume that the SunCal would relinquish rights given by voter mandate.

    Comment by Lauren Do — January 19, 2010 @ 7:18 am

  6. If one believes that the caps will be lifted, then why even bother to vote yes on B? Why make a law of something that they’re going to relinquish anyway?

    Comment by David Hart — January 19, 2010 @ 7:23 am

  7. Because the main point of Measure B — as Councilmember Marie Gilmore pointed out during the discussion of setting the election date — was the exemption of Measure A for Alameda Point.

    Now, I assume that you are going to bring up the fact that when you pressed signature gatherers as to what the Initiative does to Measure A, they said nothing, thereby proving the duplicity of SunCal. I will then suggest that if opponents to the Initiative wanted to, they could have filed a lawsuit way back when — in fact there was additional time given that SunCal sat on the signatures until the very last minute — but did not.

    Comment by Lauren Do — January 19, 2010 @ 7:44 am

  8. And personally, I wasn’t voting yes on the caps, I was voting yes on the Measure A exemption and the land plan.

    Comment by Lauren Do — January 19, 2010 @ 7:48 am

  9. Has anyone writing here actually seen what SunCal has submitted? Whatever they have submitted is subject to negotiation. Lots of speculation about very limited information.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — January 19, 2010 @ 7:54 am

  10. All I’ve seen is what Lauren has posted. Michele is referring to Lauren too w/ the city attorney confirming that a doc was indeed submitted on Thursday.

    Lauren, where/how did you get this info anyway?

    Comment by Jack B. — January 19, 2010 @ 7:56 am

  11. ANT: What I have written about has been confirmed by Andrew Thomas, and this morning Michele Ellson posted a confirmation from Teresa Highsmith confirming that (1) the land plan is the same, (2) the public benefits cap has been lifted, and (3) the 2% property tax cap has been lifted.

    Comment by Lauren Do — January 19, 2010 @ 7:57 am

  12. 8

    They didn’t “say nothing” — they lied. And you know it.

    But leaving aside that particular elephant in the room, it still begs the question: why formalize the caps if Suncal will waive them anyway? Those caps are hugely significant, it is no hyperbole to say that their removal, followed by skillful negotiation by the city, can turn this from an uneconomic fiscal drain into a fiscal positive. Voters who care about the city’s future and possess rudimentary math skills are interested in such things.

    This is an important chance to turn this from a bad deal to a good one. Does it make sense to give away the store at the ballot box based on a handshake agreement that pleges its return?

    Comment by David Hart — January 19, 2010 @ 8:06 am

  13. David H.: I never asked a signature gatherer, nor did I ever feel the need to quiz one on the street.

    If you attended or watched the video of the joint meeting, SunCal intended the caps to cover x,y, and z, whereas the City assumed they were to cover x, y, z, a, b, c, d, and e. SunCal said that the public benefit cap was to cover hard costs only and does not include either the TDM or CEQA mitigations. The City added in what the TDM costs and CEQA mitigations could cost as well as soft costs and contingencies, which SunCal was not including in those costs under the public benefit cap and had intended to pay for anyway, but would not count toward the public benefit cost.

    And, regardless of how everything penciled out, let’s say that the City got everything they wanted out of this deal in the Initiative language. You would still be against this project irrespective of the financials. As would a good percentage of the opponents waving the “it’s a bad deal” tagline everywhere.

    If Measure B fails, here is an opportunity for the City to get a perceived “good deal” and I would bet that the same folks complaining about the “bad deal” will still be against it because they were against the land plan in the first place.

    Comment by Lauren Do — January 19, 2010 @ 8:17 am

  14. 12
    Your alternative to a handshake “good deal” is a no vote on B which turns this from a “good deal” to a “no deal” with nobody but the City and the Navy calling the shots. If you can’t trust the city in this “handshake” deal why would you trust them as sole proprietor?

    The elephant in the room is MA which will still apply to the Point and the density bonus work-around which needlessly complicates the whole process and gains us nothing.

    Comment by Jack Richard — January 19, 2010 @ 8:32 am

  15. 13

    Have you ever felt a need to ask any pointed questions about this plan? Blind fealty isn’t enough for some of us, we like to look under the hood.

    Comment by David Hart — January 19, 2010 @ 8:35 am

  16. 14

    I do not recall stating a preference for the city as sole prop. Would you mind citing the post for me?

    And it is just plain silly to think that B’s failure marks the end. Even Suncal is preparing for round 2.

    Comment by David Hart — January 19, 2010 @ 8:37 am

  17. 14

    If you can’t take the density bonus, here’s an alternative solution for the Measuere A issue:

    A straightforward, single issue ballot initiative that eliminates MA West of Main, while strengthening it East of Main. Say, a clause that calls for a 2/3 supermajority for future changes.

    I’d vote Yes on that, as would many others. There are sound reasons to waive A at the base; equally sound ones to protect the rest of the city.

    Comment by David Hart — January 19, 2010 @ 8:41 am

  18. 16 Well, just who is left waiting in the wings once the current developer packs his bags and leaves? You have certainly implied, if not stated openly, you’re unhappy with MB and SunCal, or am I confusing you with others?

    17 What does your alternative solution do that MB doesn’t?

    Comment by Jack Richard — January 19, 2010 @ 9:01 am

  19. Lauren, again… how/where are you seeing this? I understand it has since been confirmed… but how/where do you get your information and how/where can we see it?

    Comment by Jack B. — January 19, 2010 @ 9:09 am

  20. I don’t have a copy, I’m waiting for it, just like everyone else.

    Comment by Lauren Do — January 19, 2010 @ 9:10 am

  21. How did you get the information to make these posts? What is it based upon?

    Comment by Jack B. — January 19, 2010 @ 9:13 am

  22. 18

    B opens the door for A to be weakened for the rest of the island. Stated alternative waives it at the base, strenghtens it elsewhere. It’s a win/win.

    Stated alternative is also simple and clear. B is neither.

    Comment by David Hart — January 19, 2010 @ 9:15 am

  23. The submission was made to a City department, it’s public information.

    If you are asking if I got the information from SunCal, then just ask it. The answer is “no I did not get this information from SunCal.”

    Comment by Lauren Do — January 19, 2010 @ 9:20 am

  24. 22
    Is that why you’re against B, that it weakens A? That’s the first time I’ve heard that reason for opposing B. I thought the reason was because SunCal’s the new personification of the devil attempting to hoodwink the city into bankruptcy.

    Seems to me the density bonus is a bigger threat to MA than anything SunCal proposes.

    Comment by Jack Richard — January 19, 2010 @ 9:28 am

  25. Lauren, no need to put words in my mouth. How can we see this public information that you are seeing is my question.

    Comment by Jack B. — January 19, 2010 @ 9:28 am

  26. #25

    Same question as to the rumor that SunCal chief Bruce Elieff was in town. Lots and lots of speculation at every turn. Did Bruce Elieff himself drop off the proposal? Something is obviously going on, but the specifics are still hazy.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — January 19, 2010 @ 9:36 am

  27. “…the rumor SunCal chief Bruce Elieff was in town…”

    Comment by Jack Richard — January 19, 2010 @ 10:06 am

  28. 24

    That B weakens A is an oft-cited reason to oppose it. It is one, though neither the sole nor primary, reason why I oppose B. I do not know why you haven’t heard this.

    Comment by David Hart — January 19, 2010 @ 10:39 am

  29. 28:


    Measure B’s amendment to the 1973 Measure A/City Charter sec. XXVI specifically addresses density changes ONLY at Alameda Point, which is just what many Alameda residents have always said they would support.

    Measure B does nothing–literally or legally–to change the sec. XXVI density caps anywhere else on the island, so you cannot say that Measure B “weakens” Measure A for the rest of Alameda. The City Charter is ONLY amended for Alameda Point. Period.

    If there is no legal change in the density standards, there is no change in the “strength “of the charter limitations, by definition. Unless, of course, you think that some sort of “virus” will infect the City Charter and change it overnight without a vote of the people of Alameda.

    No change for the rest of Alameda. Got that?

    Comment by Jon Spangler — January 19, 2010 @ 10:58 am

  30. 29

    I do have that, Jon. Having read & understood the initiative, I know what it says.

    Beyond what it says, though, should it pass it sets a precedent that future initiatives can further erode the protections of Measure A. It emboldens certain groups to do just that. It can also open the possibility of lawsuits to overturn for the rest of the island. It is quite reasonable to conclude, and permissible to say, that the passage of B can weaken A on the rest of the island.

    Measure A enjoys broad support for having saved the character of our town. Many who understand the value of and reasons for mixed use zoning at the base still want to preserve inviolate Measure A’s protections for the rest of the island. The idea I posed above achieves that. It’s called a compromise, got that?

    Comment by David Hart — January 19, 2010 @ 11:13 am

  31. 25. Jack B. You know where the City Clerks’ office is located? If you go there you will see a permanent mail box for Don Roberts on the wall. Also JKW last time I was in there seeking public information. I think it is recognized that it makes sense to make it easy for people like bloggers to get this public information in a timely manner. The Journal’s office is across the street from City Hall. You could ask them what their conduit is for getting scoops asap.

    Tell me if I am being presumptuous, but when I read you queries I felt you wanted to know how Lauren could get this information so damn fast , maybe as if there is impropriety.

    Comment by M.I. — January 19, 2010 @ 11:18 am

  32. 28 Dave Hart, am I incorrect that you have been speaking against changes in Measure A since before SunCal was selected? Or maybe I am confusing you with some very old posts from “dave”. Your post 17 is a revelation to me. Is the apparent change of Hart due to the leverage of density bonus perhaps?

    Comment by M.I. — January 19, 2010 @ 11:24 am

  33. 30
    How does your compromise strengthen saving the character of our town from the density bonus? How about we vote on not allowing any exceptions to MA by any government agency at any level except by 2/3 vote? That way we’ll be able to keep the character of this town as is, forever.

    Comment by Jack Richard — January 19, 2010 @ 11:27 am

  34. #31

    Don Roberts has his own mailbox at City Hall? Why doesn’t the city clerk just post important documents on the city’s website so that those of us who work during the day can access them as well?

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — January 19, 2010 @ 11:28 am

  35. 32
    Mark, can we assume you no longer oppose MB, or have you (like me) already voted?

    Comment by Jack Richard — January 19, 2010 @ 11:30 am

  36. 32

    It’s a new idea, for me at least anyway, not sure if anyone else came up with it before.

    I am a Measure A supporter. I also understand the reason for lifting it at the base. It’s a simple compromise, really: B’s get what they want at the base, A’s get greater protection.

    Comment by David Hart — January 19, 2010 @ 11:35 am

  37. 33

    The density bonus is state law and deals with adding affordable housing to new developments. It would not be applicable to the knock-down-houses-to-build-boxes issue that was the original impetus behind MA.

    Comment by David Hart — January 19, 2010 @ 11:39 am

  38. #31 you are presumptuous. I am trying to acquire the information for a community website.

    And, like Lauren, I’m from the “show me” state. I’d very much like to “see” what is being touted as a gamechanger. Wouldn’t you?

    Comment by Jack B. — January 19, 2010 @ 11:42 am

  39. Maybe I’m missing it, but I don’t see the fundamental issues here:

    1) Is this new plan supposed to substitute for the plan contained in Measure B? If so, how is that possible, given that the contents of the initiative can’t be revised?

    2) Is this new plan in compliance with Measure A (which seems unlikely) and if not, then how does it get around Measure A, which would require a vote?

    Comment by dlm — January 19, 2010 @ 12:03 pm

  40. 37
    You’re right but you don’t go far enough. MA’s impetus was really about keeping certain elements out of the city by stopping the building of multiple dwelling structures and filling them with po people on gov largess subsidies. Since the density bonus circumvents MA and the will of Alameda voters and does exactly what MA hoped to halt, what’s the big deal with MA?

    Comment by Jack Richard — January 19, 2010 @ 12:26 pm

  41. What Suncal supposedly filed with the City is either public record or it is not. City Hall should not be selectively leaking portions of it. My guess is that a media organization will soon be filing a public records request if they haven’t already done so.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — January 19, 2010 @ 12:38 pm

  42. SunCal released a statement about their submission to the City, as an aside, I’m still working on getting a copy:

    “As permitted by the Alameda Point Exclusive Negotiation Agreement (ENA) between SCC Alameda Point LLC and the City of Alameda, the CIC and ARRA, an Optional Entitlement Application (OEA) was submitted to the City on Thursday, January 14 by our project team. As the developer, we are expressly authorized by the ENA to submit an Optional Entitlement Application for the entitlement of the project, and the City anticipated this filing.

    The development plan submitted on Thursday is the same plan that will be on the ballot on February 2, 2010. The scope of the development is identical, as are the residential components, public benefits and amenities, and other facilities and elements. Our goal is to develop Alameda Point with a vibrant, transit-oriented, mixed-use community that provides great public benefits to the City of Alameda and its residents.

    As has been the case for many months, the City of Alameda and our staff are continuing their ongoing discussions to mutually resolve the outstanding issues and continue the entitlement processes that are necessary to making Alameda Point a reality.”

    Comment by Lauren Do — January 19, 2010 @ 12:42 pm

  43. christ, what a charlie-fox

    Comment by E — January 19, 2010 @ 12:46 pm

  44. We’ll have to wait to see the details of the “Optional Plan”, but my guess is that it provides for the same development put forth in Measure B but it utilizes density bonuses instead of a Measure A exemption.

    The other important change we should note is that SunCal submitted a “draft development agreement” —one that will be negotiated in the normal process.

    But in the meantime, we still need to DEFEAT MEASURE B!

    Comment by Karen Bey — January 19, 2010 @ 1:14 pm

  45. Sticking with my NO on B vote.

    Comment by RM — January 19, 2010 @ 1:14 pm

  46. Well, I’ll take a guess too. I think this is just a procedural step they have go thru in order to meet the deadline for submittal for some form of an “alternative plan”, so, rather than rewrite their existing plan, they just changed two of the major sticking points. If they lose the election, then they’ll have to revise this plan to come up with something viable under Measure A, or give up.

    I think it’s a matter of political spin as well — it makes them look like they’re backing away from their Measure B plan, given the timing of the deadline, so they have to stick w/ their existing plan, whether it makes sense in the long run or not.

    As for the density bonus: From what I’ve read about it, I don’t see how the density bonus would permit anything close to the Measure B plan. The housing project would have to start with whatever’s allowed under the existing zoning, then look at the percentage of affordable housing that’s being proposed, then determine how many more homes would be allowed under that percentage. (“Homes” in this case means “housing unit”, if that needs to be explained.)

    So if Measure A allows 2000 homes of 1 or 2 units at Alameda Point, then (for example), if 15% of those are affordable to low income people, the project might (for example) get a 20% bonus, so they could add on 400 more homes, for a total of 2,400.

    The argument that the whole site is available for housing is bogus, because the 1 and 2 family homes can only be built on land that’s cleaned to residential standards. That’s what the PDC looked at, and they came up w/ a maximum of 1800 (?) or so homes.

    So I’m looking forward to hearing more details.

    Comment by dlm — January 19, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

  47. The SF Gate published an interesting editorial on Sunday about Measure B. It’s called “Alameda’s Measure B is off base”.

    Comment by Karen Bey — January 19, 2010 @ 2:47 pm

  48. Back to the original story. Lauren, do you have a “blogger box” at City Hall next to the one for Don Roberts and John Knox White that M.I. mentions in #31?

    Michele Ellson reports on The Island that you knew about the filing by SunCal even before the Development Services Director knew — and she is the one who is supposed to oversee redevelopment at the Point.

    So, how did this all come about? You mention Andrew Thomas, Planning Services Manager in your entry. How did you two make contact? If he is giving you a summary of the document, don’t you think that all of the public is entitled to see the document that the summary is based on? I find this selective dissemination of information very disturbing.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — January 19, 2010 @ 4:02 pm

  49. I’ve heard that some polling places may be combined for this election, so voters may want to confirm their polling place.

    It should appear on the back of the Voter Information Pamphlet, but it can also be looked up on this link — just scroll down.

    Comment by dlm — January 19, 2010 @ 4:59 pm

  50. We need to add “SCOOP!” to the headline, a la the award winning newspaper of our town (although I haven’t any scoops there in a while) 🙂

    Comment by alameda — January 19, 2010 @ 5:04 pm

  51. ANT, all media have sources.

    Because I have spent a lot of time at City meetings and have been on a city board I know many staff by name. Right before New Years I asked Andrew Thomas if I could catch him for coffee and I did. My purpose was to find out how to find out about AP lease and status of buildings. He directed me to Leslie Little and Jennifer Ott. I coincidentally saw Jennifer on the street a day later and talked to her, but otherwise I haven’t followed up. But I haven’t had to because it seems that half the activists in Alameda have been grilling Leslie Little for details on leases revenue since then. At LWV event at the library I was in a discussion with Horst Breuer who said he had just debriefed Leslie at length on leases.

    When I spoke to Andrew I made a point of telling him about an ongoing debate taking place on the lease spread sheet on this blog. I said the same to Jennifer. Both remarked that they don’t have time to read blogs daily and Jennifer referred to using Google alert to help keep up with discussions she needs to know about.

    That is an exhaustive account of my personal inroads to communications with staff. Lauren can say what she pleases about her sources and if she says nothing, it won’t raise either of my eyebrows. Politics and activism are built on relationships. I have talked to the mayor and all five council members one on one at various times, and even though I’m open about most of this it’s my business and if somebody wants details about I know what I know, I’ll tell them at my own discretion.

    Comment by M.I. — January 19, 2010 @ 5:09 pm

  52. >>> That is an exhaustive account of my personal inroads


    Comment by Jack B. — January 19, 2010 @ 5:34 pm

  53. 34. To the best of my knowledge the City Clerk’s office does not personally post anything on the web site. Like Haiti disaster relief there is a lag because this work is handled by an outside I.T. firm.

    That is how the mayor’s personal press release on her flip flop on Measure B was inappropriately posted on the home page of the City’s web site (for several days) and was later taken down at the request of the City Attorney. It was the rather odd and arbitrary choice of the I.T. sub contractors.

    If you have serious concerns, you might inquire with the City Clerk about priorities for what makes it to those personal boxes on the wall of the office. I’d be curious about details myself.

    Comment by M.I. — January 19, 2010 @ 5:44 pm

  54. 52. Jack B.. You and ANT seem to be particularly concerned about the flow of information. #51 was as long as it needed to be for me to create context for the habits of staff from my anecdotal experience. The point is that they seem too busy doing their jobs to be working the blog circuit.

    Sorry if reading three short paragraphs taxed your concentration. Feel free to skip my posts. I don’t read your blog.

    Comment by M.I. — January 19, 2010 @ 5:59 pm

  55. #54

    I appreciate your comments. I don’t always agree with them, but I find them interesting.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — January 19, 2010 @ 6:02 pm

  56. 48, 50-52:

    ANT and all,

    As Mark Irons has said in #51, “all media have sources.”

    I have zero personal knowledge of the “new” SunCal plan or any of the details of when and to whom it was submitted, other than what I read in Lauren’s posts. But I did not need to resort to conspiracy theory or any allegations of unethical or improper behavior whatsoever to reach a perfectly logical explanation about the coverage of last week’s events.

    I can easily imagine how Lauren got her “scoop” simply by considering the time line, accounting for some good luck or coincidence (when a phone call or an encounter might have occurred on Thursday or early Friday), and understanding geography (the location of the Planning & Building Department, where plans are submitted is at City Hall; Development Services is located at City Hall West).

    I knew the players, understood the issues, and applied some common-sense knowledge of City processes and office locations. Connecting the dots in the public record, and I do not need any subterfuge or impropriety to develop a probable and quite plausible explanation entirely on my own.
    This is not rocket science, folks. And there is no press or blogosphere conspiracy here, either. (Just a top-down conspiracy of silence being enforced by
    the Interim City Manager, IMHO. And no, SunCal did not ask me to say that. It’s as plain as day to anyone who wants to look.)

    It’s easy to connect the dots and get an accurate picture if you pay attention to the details of the story. And they are all in plain sight, folks, despite the ICM’s counterproductive attempts to control the flow of information.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — January 20, 2010 @ 11:49 pm

  57. Lauren/Spangler/M.I. – since when is trying to seek the information that is being spun equivalent to “conspiracy theory” or accusing Lauren of working for Suncal? I’m not seeing.

    Meanwhile…. Spangler goes after the City Manager with a conspiracy theory of his own.

    Comment by Jack B. — January 21, 2010 @ 6:10 am

  58. 57:

    Just this morning the City reversed the decision (most likely the ICM’s last Friday) to clamp down completely on the release of any of SunCal’s recently-submitted proposals. Everything except Appendix N of the SunCal proposals and plans is now being posted to the City’s web site, according to a phone call I received from the City Clerk’s office this morning. This is great news and it vindicates both Lauren and the city staffer(s) who legitimately shared public records with members of the public.

    Seeking and distributing public information–as Lauren did last week–is crucial to our democracy in general and to revitalizing AP in particular.

    I was addressing contributors to this blog who falsely and needlessly accused Lauren or any city staffers of engaging in a “conspiracy” to provide information to a limited number of people, which was clearly not the case.

    I have spoken to Andrew Thomas and verified that he was simply following standard procedure in releasing SunCal’s proposals and plans as public documents last Thursday and Friday, before this
    “standard operating procedure” was reversed, *most probably* at the Interim City Manager’s direction.
    (This last conjecture, which is based on the ICM’s public track record, can be easily proven or disproven once the decision maker(s) are identified. Not a conspiracy but a reliable hypothesis or “best guess” based on the public record, since the ICM herself seems to avoid or dislike transparency…

    Last Thursday or Friday, Lauren received the same information about SunCal’s latest plans that should have been released to everyone else in the world. And she published that information here in good faith.

    Right after she received it (legally, appropriately, and without any conspiracies on her part or the part of the staffer(s) she had dealt with to limit access to it), public access to these normally-public documents was inappropriately and temporarily withdrawn. They were declared “confidential.” And there are simply not many city officials who outrank Andrew Thomas and have the authority to reverse his decision(s).

    This morning, the ICM’s inappropriate and ill-considered decision has been substantially reversed, as it should be, for the good of our body politic and the health of our democracy.

    The Interim City Manager has a well-documented public record of statements describing:

    1) her “cautious” (one of her words)approach towards maintaining absolute confidentiality with regards to the SunCal proposals and negotiations. Her decisions have, in fact, inappropriately denied public access to planning proposals that are normally classified as public records as a matter of course under California public records laws and procedures.

    2) Last fall, the ICM spoke to the Chamber of Commerce at a breakfast meeting I attended as a Chamber member. In her remarks she referred to a “backup plan” she and others at the City were working on or had worked on, but she refused to divulge any specifics about it then. the “secret” plan she knew about. Since then, she has not revealed any details, even when challenged in public to be more transparent about possible “hidden agendas” and the conflicts of interest and legal entanglements tht could easily result from “bad faith” practices on the City’s part.

    Governmental transparency (which she apparently dislikes, judging from her public statements and her actions as ICM as recently as last week)is critical: knowing about other City-developed “options” that do not include SunCal (which, BTW, would violate the spirit if not the letter of the City’s commitments to SunCal under the Exclusive Negotiating Agreement) is critical to the voters and residents of the City of Alameda.

    There is more than enough evidence to justify the unfortunate criticism of the ICM that she is actively withholding information from the citizens whom she serves.

    We need greater transparency and public disclosure from our City officials about City decisions and the City’s business. The law requires it, and Alameda deserves better from its public servants.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — January 21, 2010 @ 10:57 am

  59. #58

    The concern is that the public’s information be provided fairly and equally to all. Perhaps some good will come from this episode.

    Where on the city’s website is the City Clerk posting SunCal’s proposal? Section N is the development agreement and key to negotiations, so it is understandable that it is being kept confidential — rather than being put to the ballot.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — January 21, 2010 @ 11:27 am

  60. 59:


    Apparently the City is having difficulties posting the entire public document on the City Web site. (Including graphics and illustrations, it runs well over 100 MB.)

    But you CAN read it (all but the still-confidential part) at the City Clerk’s office, the Planning & Building Department, and the library now have everything in SunCal’s new submittal. Everything BUT Attachment or Appendix N, which remains confidential. is now available to review or to take home. You can:

    1) Read a hard copy, available at the Planning & Building Department and the Main Library for free.

    2) The City Clerk’s office can photocopy all or part of the entire publicly-available document (some 480 pages) for 10 cents a page. (Probably under $50 for everything, or about $25 if double-sided copying is used.)

    3) Buy a CD with the entire (public) document on it for $5 from the City Clerk.

    4) Bring in a USB memory stick and download the entire public document (about 150 MB) at no charge.

    This info is straight from City Clerk Lara Weisiger in a phone conversation about 1 PM.

    No downloading of the document from the City’s Web site is available. (Ask Lara about this if you want to.)

    I’m off to City Hall, USB stick in my pocket…

    Comment by Jon Spangler — January 21, 2010 @ 3:02 pm

  61. The ballot initiative and supporting technical documents are indeed very large. So, I went ahead and broke up these documents into manageable pieces, so people on dial-up or high-speed should be able to get the documents easily and see the ballot initiative language for themselves.

    In many instances, on my site, sections of the initiative link to documents the sections are referencing, again to make things easy for the public.

    Each exhibit is also a stand-alone section at my site — each exhibit is also broken up for the most part by their constituent parts.

    So, for those interested in taking a look at the ballot initiative on-line in an easy-to-download manner, simply go to:

    – Tony Daysog

    Comment by Tony Daysog — January 21, 2010 @ 5:45 pm

  62. Ok . . . I finally just posted the ballot statement for the upcoming initiative called Measure B. Included are the impartial analysis
    by the City Attorney, and statements for and against the measure.

    Like I said before, I posted the voluminous ballot initiative and corresponding documents that the initiative references . . .but made sure to break up these
    large files so voters can quickly and easily access key documents.

    And, I included headings and sub-heading to give a clear indication as to the nature of each file.

    Whether you are for or against, don’t you want to see in part or in full the substance of what Measure B is about?

    go to:

    – Tony Daysog

    Comment by — January 21, 2010 @ 10:47 pm

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