Blogging Bayport Alameda

February 1, 2010

You spin me right round

Before the votes have even begun to be tallied, opponents to anything ever happening in Alameda have begun spinning what will be the cause of voter’s rejection of Measure B.   While you know and I know that it has been nothing but Development Agreement, Development Agreement, Development Agreement that has been the cause of people’s apprehension about Measure B, not so today 24 hours before people are going to start voting.  No, today it is because people don’t like the PLAN for Alameda Point.

Let us revisit the arguments against Measure B that are contained in the voters guide, shall we?  Here are the bullet points that the signers asked us to consider when rejecting Measure B:

Loses $51 million in fees for our City that would ordinarily be collected from the Developer for basic infrastructure.
Diverts nearly $12 million in yearly lease revenue from our City to the Developer.
Locks in a short fall for public improvements and benefits by $175 million.
Guarantees SunCal can sell Alameda Point to any developer – immediately with no say from voters or the City.
Leaves the door open for neglect and blight with no actual development required.
Freezes the Developer’s already insufficient funding at today’s dollar value for the next twenty-five years.
Approves this development without crucial information on environmental mitigation, design or costs until after this election.
Risks raising other taxes and fee when Alameda Point’s costs exceed the 2% cap.
Exposes the City of Alameda to potential costly lawsuits.

Did you catch anything about the Plan in any one of those bulleted objections?   Me neither.   How about the bulleted points for the Rebuttal to the Arguments in favor of Measure B:

There’s no guarantee that any additional agreements will be legally enforceable, or protect our city should this Initiative pass.
This is a one-sided Initiative that gives the developer 100% control of the project development with NO requirement to fulfill their financial commitments.
The Initiative doesn’t guarantee funding for or construction of a single public school at Alameda Point.
Developer’s shortfall of nearly $500 million in funding for public benefits will result in a failure to deliver promised benefits.

Did you catch anything about hating the Plan in those points?  Yeah, me either.

Let’s not forget that practically every single group or individual that has come out against Measure B has caveated that statement by saying, “yeah, but I support the plan.”

Like, you know, the Chamber of Commerce.  And Marie Gilmore.  And Frank Matarrese. And Mayor Johnson.

But despite all the historic and campaign materials almost exclusively talking about issues raised in the Development Agreement, we are now supposed to buy the spin that people HATE the Revitalization Plan and that is why Measure B is going to go down in flames.

Honestly, the one person I think that deserves almost all the credit for taking Measure B down, singlehandedly, is Mayor Johnson.    She undoubtedly has the most name recognition of anyone on the City Council.   And of any of the names paraded against Measure B, she is probably the one that gives folks the most pause to reconsider their position.

So let’s be realistic about what happens tomorrow and frame it in context of how the actual campaign against Measure B was run.   After all, Measure B was a “Bad Deal for Alameda” not, a “Bad Plan for Alameda” and anyone who is trying to spin it differently is conveniently and deliberately neglecting what people’s concerns with Measure B were.

Oops, forgot the soundtrack for today.  🙂


  1. The spin is coming from “Yes on B” as to how to frame a loss.

    Voters have many different reasons for supporting or opposing B — or any measure. Trying to force everyone who supports or opposes a measure into a box many be convenient for some, but it isn’t realistic. The same is true for those who support or oppose a particular candidate.

    Some oppose B mainly because of the development agreement. Some because they don’t want a measure A exemption. Some because the plan has too many housing units. Some for all these reasons or for other reasons. It is like saying that all those who support B do so because they hate Measure A or because they hate the old-timers in Alameda and want to teach them a lesson.

    People are free to vote as they wish for the reasons they wish.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — February 1, 2010 @ 6:44 am

  2. ANT, nah. Weeks ago I complained this over reaching reaction by opponents was inevitable because the core of people opposed to the initiative were opposed to the plan before the initiative existed. SAVE MEASURE A! Any council person who tries to negotiate with SunCal after a NO victory will be shown the rail for transport across city limits.

    Comment by M.I. — February 1, 2010 @ 7:46 am

  3. Lauren, where’s the spin of which you speak?

    M.I., what “core”? You make it sound like a conspiracy. Normal everyday people are against the measure for all kinds of reasons and aren’t being pushed around by some “core.”

    Comment by Jack B. — February 1, 2010 @ 7:52 am

  4. Jack B.: there is an email being circulated, I’m sure you have been on the receiving end of many forwards given your interest in the Measure B issue.

    Comment by Lauren Do — February 1, 2010 @ 8:04 am

  5. Don’t be too sure because I honestly don’t know what email you are referring to. Guess I’m not on the spinning core list. Would you mind forwarding it to me?

    Comment by Jack B. — February 1, 2010 @ 8:09 am

  6. Sent! Let me know if you didn’t get it, I have several different emails for you, I chose one arbitrarily.

    Comment by Lauren Do — February 1, 2010 @ 8:17 am

  7. For a wide range of reasons why voters oppose Measure B, see today’s

    If you read the posts and watch the clips, you will see that there are many different reasons people do not want Measure B and/or SunCal and DE Shaw in Alameda.

    Comment by Bob — February 1, 2010 @ 8:18 am

  8. #5
    I haven’t seen the email either. Was it softcore or hardcore?

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — February 1, 2010 @ 8:21 am

  9. Thanks for the email. It was from Action Alameda.

    Comment by Jack B. — February 1, 2010 @ 8:31 am

  10. I’d like to see it also…

    Comment by David Hart — February 1, 2010 @ 8:33 am

  11. I’m sure Lauren will set you up… or you can email me jack [at]

    Comment by Jack B. — February 1, 2010 @ 8:35 am

  12. Also, I’d suspect that many of the folks who say they like the plan are speaking generically, ie they like the pictures, they want to see something happen out there, but aren’t necessariliy endorsing the 280 pages chapter & verse.

    Comment by David Hart — February 1, 2010 @ 8:36 am

  13. Actually the “Plan” aka the Draft Redevelopment Master Plan is only 176 pages long, less if you take out all the table of contents, blank pages, and graphics.

    Comment by Lauren Do — February 1, 2010 @ 10:13 am

  14. You are right Lauren, the spin has begun. SunCal has hired super spinmeister Sam Singer to turn dark into light. They will be telling us what the election means and what the local yokels actually meant when they voted. The bs barrage has begun. They’re trying to “discount” the loss before the first ballot is even counted.,1145964.shtml

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — February 1, 2010 @ 6:24 pm

  15. ANT-

    BFD, so SunCal is out to protect the millions of dollars they have already invested. Wow, how nefarious. The polling data was pretty innocuous. But this one gave me pause:

    “Polling also shows that a clear majority – 60 percent – of Alamedans want continued negotiations to occur with the City to ensure that Alameda Point becomes a reality, but in a more traditional development process that yields better business terms.”

    I’m not sure whether this means 60% want negotiations to continue with SunCal or just with SOMEBODY. Either way, it’s the other 40% who like the Republican minority in D.C. will continue to set the agenda. Chalk one up for the Party of NO.

    Comment by M.I. — February 1, 2010 @ 7:00 pm

  16. Do not let SunCal/DE Shaw’s spin keep you from the polling place.

    Get over there and put your NO on B vote in to be counted!

    If SunCal truly cared what the people of Alameda wanted, they would have waited before conceding defeat.

    Get to your polling place now.

    Comment by RM — February 1, 2010 @ 7:35 pm

  17. Hell, even Alf Landon waited until Election Night to concede…

    Comment by David Hart — February 1, 2010 @ 7:49 pm

  18. I found SunCal’s press release to be informative, but most importantly, one of the few statements they’ve issued during the campaign that rang true. I, and many of my colleagues and friends, agree with the majority of those polled who find SunCal’s plan to be promising for Alameda Point.

    What’s more, we will support that plan as long as Measure B fails and the plan then goes through the normal development approval and planning review process, including EIR’s and public hearings before both the planning board and council before planning procedures are changed, the plan approved, and the development agreement is approved.

    If SunCal meets all applicable affordable housing requirments at Alameda Point, it will be able to build the condos, apartments and townhomes it needs to provide housing for all income levels and to make a healthy return on investment for its investors – and for Alameda businesses ($) and all Alameda residents (services) as well.

    Comment by William Smith — February 1, 2010 @ 8:56 pm

  19. While I agree with Ms. Michele Ellson over at the Island that the business deal in Measure B was poison, there were other poisons as well. The Measure was poison to both good governmental process (e.g. removing much of the discretion of the planning board and city council normally have in approving development plans and businesses) and to environmental policy (e.g. entitling a large development prior to an EIR so that reducing the number of homes or square footage of commercial space would not be a possible mitigation for traffic impacts).

    From the point of view of this transit commuter, the worst thing is that passage of Measure B would have eliminated much of the incentive for the developer to pressure MTC (the Metropolitan Transportation Commission) to improve regional transportation systems. Developers, nearly all heavy contributors to local campaigns, are in the best position to pressure MTC to support mass transit systems rather than automobiles. If Measure B passes and entitlesvSunCal or other Alameda Point developer, the most the City and its residents could require of the developer is a few band aid solutions with a transportation management system at Alameda Point. Transit will not work unless it runs to where people work – and that requires regional solutions as well as local band aid Transportation Management Systems.

    Comment by William Smith — February 1, 2010 @ 9:15 pm

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