Blogging Bayport Alameda

July 21, 2010

The importance of being earnest

So I started watching the City Council meeting aroung 7:30ish. Big mistake. They hadn’t even started the staff and SunCal presentations yet and the Mayor was talking about giving City staff 30 minutes and then giving SunCal 30 minutes. Yes an hour worth of dog and pony that would do zero to change anyone’s mind. Then when the Mayor announced that there was 60 speaker slips and they all would be given two minutes each and that point I started realizing that I needed to check what was on my Tivo before attempting to check in again.

I caught the first few minutes of staff’s presentation and I could help but note how uncomfortable Jennifer Ott looked having to give the presentation. Generally I just listen to City Council meeting so I never really look up at the people speaking, after a while you can pretty much tell who is talking by their voices. So she introduced all the staff that was part of the group and included all the consultants on the project as well. In this case all the consultants that are part of the team you can better believe that they are getting paid out of the SunCal bank account, so it was interesting that Newdorf Legal was introduced as part of the team as “special counsel” which means that more likely that not SunCal was just billed by the City of Alameda to pay for the City’s defense against SunCal. And the farce just gets more absurd.

There appeared to be an equal number of pro and con speakers, few said anything new, but there was a certain earnestness that came from the folks who represented the unions (and really themselves) as they spoke about the need for jobs, particularly in this economy. And while one of the anti-SunCal speakers accused the union representatives that apparently filled up a fair number of seats of being “paid” to be there. Most of the union speakers that got up to speak did mention that they lived in Alameda.

A few people took the opportunity to lambast the Interim City Manager and her role in Tam Gate. Lots of people sported buttons supporting Councilmember Lena Tam. SunCal’s lawyers (one aggressive, one not) essentially told the City Council that if they moved forward and decided to take action on what the staff report told them they should: reject the Modified Optional Entitlement Application the City would be exposing itself to a legal suit.

But on to the final decision…

No surprise that the City Council decided to vote to reject the Modified Optional Entitlement Agreement. (4-0, Lena Tam abstaining)  Which essentially means Alameda is back at square one with regard to Alameda Point.

Going back to the potential legal suit, it sounded like SunCal will be considering two options, one would be to compel to City to perform (move forward with the contract under the ENA) or two sue for damages.   One of SunCal’s lawyers during public comment warned that while the City may believe their damages are capped under the ENA, the action taken last night/this morning wouldn’t indemnify the City.

So while some folks are celebrating the restarting of the entire Alameda Point process, again.  Let’s hope that the action taken by the City Council doesn’t cost our City millions of dollars in legal fees — this time they won’t be able to send the bill to SunCal, but rather we’ll be paying for it.

In the end though when I think about the public comments there was one woman who stuck out and her name was Wilhelmina Slater. I only remember her name because at first I thought it was a fake name offered up by a super fan of the now cancelled tv show Ugly Betty. But here was this woman, 84 years old urging the Council to move forward with the project. She was still working her union job but told the Council they they shouldn’t get in the way of progress and the future of our children. Probably because she wanted to see more jobs because, as she said, no one should have to work up until their 80s like she has to.


  1. You should add a violin track to play along with the last few lines, it’s not quite overwrought enough as is.

    Comment by dave — July 21, 2010 @ 6:59 am

  2. It was sadder when she said it. I just didn’t have time to make a video.

    Comment by Lauren Do — July 21, 2010 @ 7:00 am

  3. But for Suncal, we could all have retired early. Without those 4000 homes, we’re now ineffably damned to peonage in our Golden Years.

    Comment by dave — July 21, 2010 @ 7:18 am

  4. The point that leaves a bad taste in my  mouth is SunCal’s threat of litigation in the event that the exclusive arrangement is not extended. Though I am sympathetic to the $12M SunCal has already spent, this is not the way to do business with the city. I attended your meeting at the Bladium and my query about possible solutions to reducing traffic was answered by “We’ll  see what the EIR brings.”  It doesn’t take an EIR to figure out that the tubes, Webster, and Central will be most affected. I am aghast that after all this time SunCal had no proposed solution for these locations.

    Comment by Scott Sheppard — July 21, 2010 @ 8:04 am

  5. Lauren, The city staff is doing their job just as the majority of the council has asked. Jennifer Ott didn’t look uncomfortable to me, she just doesn’t use that irritating bureaucrat speak.
    I must say that SunCal acted just like a developer of their caliber. They didn’t answer much and tried to intimidate and bully the staff and council.
    The Point will be developed, Its just going to take some time for us all to agree on how much development and who we can trust to work with the city to do it.

    Comment by John Piziali — July 21, 2010 @ 8:23 am

  6. I gave up on caring not long before the election, though I voted No on B. It’s all just too painful and there are sooo many armchair experts, more on the anti-SunCal side I think.

    I can’t even pretend to be keeping up with all this. I was waiting for a vote on extending the ENA and everybody was talking MOE agreement. WTF? And I know a heck of a lot more than the average Joe in this town, including a lot of people who spoke with great authority, or so they thought.

    America in general and certainly Alamedans have a hugely distorted sense of entitlement. With BRT etc. we can jam a lot more people through the tubes and by 100 years from now we will be doing it. But I can’t get my head wrapped around the 4500 units in this plan being mitigated by SunCal with the continued vagueness of their projected management or whatever terms are used.

    I have a friend who works with an NGO on global warming full time and we were talking about Chin and I mentioned the obscenity of Three Gorges Dam but also acknowledged how impossible it is for us to judge China fairly. My buddy quoted some astronomical number of people who have been lifted out of rank poverty in China since 1967, something like the population of the US. That is a good thing, in fact it’s great thing. What is bad is that they can’t all drive cars, but then neither can we.

    Meanwhile people here howl with great authority and rancor about the “gridlock” which supposedly exists in the tubes as we speak. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha…..

    Comment by M.I. — July 21, 2010 @ 9:02 am

  7. While I did not agree with SUN Cal’s overall plan,there should have been room for some compromise. This is the second developer the city has sent packing. The base has been closed for fourteen years with no tax revenue to the city. Reminds me of the old Encinal Project site that sat empty for almost twenty years, the Del Monte property that is still an eye sore, and the fight over the library. Don’t expect development of the base any time soon!

    Comment by Sherman Lee — July 21, 2010 @ 9:05 am

  8. Fourteen years and no development is the real story. So SunCal was not right for our city, and they will sue, and the city will have to pay, and that apparently is the cost of Mayor and City Council and staff ineptitude. Because this Mayor and this Council and this staff contracted with SunCal, praising them to high heaven two years ago. Just extending their time would have mitigated damages even if Alameda ultimately chose not to proceed with SunCal. And what’s with the “secret” legal advice about our liability that the City Attorney claimed was not germane to the vote? Does it occur to anyone that the lack of access to this advice gives the Council deniability so that they can say “I didn’t know!” when huge legal costs are run up by SunCal’s litigation? The sham continues…

    In the meantime, we have higher taxes for the hospital (formerly supported by the Navy), schools will be closing all over town due to a lack of funds (never replaced after the Navy left), and other towns have already developed their bases. This has been a giant s&%t sandwich all due to the Mayor, the Council and its staff. I agree with being careful, but 14 years worth? This is government at its worst.

    Comment by Hot R — July 21, 2010 @ 9:25 am

  9. The original commercial & industrial plan, with much less housing, would have had a much greater likelihood of success. That plan was torpedoed by housing-focused activists. Their insistence on unworkable housing dominated plans is the primamry reason we have had no significant progress.

    While governance has some culpability in that, it’s more accurate to call it “activism at its worst.”

    Comment by dave — July 21, 2010 @ 9:48 am

  10. Suncal didn’t come up with a plan that Alamedans could live with. 85% of us rejected their plan. Even after one of the most lopsided votes on anything or anyone that I can remember, Suncal did not propose an alternate plan that would appeal to Alamedans.

    They had to know that they had alienated the population. They had this city council vote coming up. What city council is going to vote to extend a contract with a developper whose plan has been rejected by 85% of the voters and hasn’t come forth with an alternate likely to assuage those skeptical voters?

    We can point to greed or stupidity or arrogance on the part of Suncal, if we want. Who knows, maybe that does explain just how poorly they have performed in all this.

    But ultimately, I have to wonder if it is possible to develop the Point at this time in a manner that is acceptable to Alameda. Suncal argued that they proposed what they did as the only way to make it economically viable. We should definitely get second opinions about that (and I guess we will through a new RFP). We may find, if we are willing to entertain the possibility, that now may not be the time to redevelop the Point.

    Comment by John — July 21, 2010 @ 9:52 am

  11. 9. Dave says: “The original commercial & industrial plan, with much less housing, would have had a much greater likelihood of success.”

    With what authority do you say this? “much greater likelihood” is sort of weak. I think you are more in touch with economic realities than I am, but as much as you may think housing density activist are pie in the sky, I think there is a lot of wishful thinking by others about the viability of alternative balances of light industry,and commercial. If those alternatives are so viable why has the Landing languished and flip flopped for so long?

    Various speakers last night did a lot of speechifying about how we just need a “coat of paint ” on those old buildings and they will magically produce millions of interim lease money. This is folly.

    To me the big problem with SunCal is the Lehman failure not that they have historically gone from city to city plundering them like Vikings, because before 2008 they had some great completed projects and I personally was hopeful that Calthorpe would give us something more refined than he seems to have done, but I’m a pay person so I qualify my criticism there.

    At the time we chose SunCal Lennar was having serious problems with their stocks due to housing market and one of the reason’s Doug deHaan chose SunCal is that they are not publicly traded. I don’t know that Mare Island is some great model, but Lennar seems to have survived and is doing some kind of work around the Bay. Again, I don’t know that just because S.F. is proceeding with them that we want to replicate those projects.

    Hindsight is always 20-20 but in terms of clear vision it seems like all Alameda’s got. We can second guess each other until hell freezes but it doesn’t move us forward.

    Not being certain who is correct or whether to trust the City attorney, I’ll be curious to see whether SunCal succeeds legally over the point of ICM blocking their ability to fulfill the term sheet with the Navy.

    I was impressed with Marie Gilmore’s due diligence over the financing after the public comment and her yes vote stands alone in my mind from the others, as does Lena’s abstention obviously.

    Comment by M.I. — July 21, 2010 @ 10:18 am

  12. Typo in 11: “I’m a pay person”, ha-ha- should read “lay person”. I’m hardly a pay person, money has always been a necessary evil to me.

    Comment by M.I. — July 21, 2010 @ 10:22 am

  13. The C&I plan required far less capex, had far fewer traffic issues and did not require any contact with the third rail. Those things, among others, made execution much more likely.

    Comment by dave — July 21, 2010 @ 10:25 am

  14. My very long evening began with being called “bitch” by some people with anti SunCal placards as I passed by on the way into City Hall before 7 pm. Maybe it was the “I support Lena Tam” button I was wearing that enraged them? I stayed until 2:30 am or so when the matter of the Sunshine Task Force came up, because that was where my heart was. The Mayor gave some strange reasons for her referral that had nothing to do with what she had written, and when Marie Gilmore called her on the difference she continued to muddle around about “what I mean is. . .” and never did reconcile what her written referral to indefinitely suspend the work of the SSTF said and what her different spoken reason was last night. Thank you Marie for your questions last night. They showed you had done your homework, understood the need for transparency (both on the SSTF issue and on the SunCal issue)and were willing to demand that you be provided the information you need to make decisions.

    On the SunCal issue, I have been worried about the possiblilty of a lawsuit for some time now. Bargaining in good faith is such settled law and the City has apparently set the stage for the accusation. If SunCal sues, it is not because they are wicked, it is what businesses do when they believe that a contract has not been negotiated with the rules set up for its progress toward settlement. Paying lawyers does not put one cop on the street, one firefighter in the truck, or one book on our library shelves. Whether we kept SunCal or not is not my decision to make but I do have concerns about the City’s organizational approach to take this action. Have we taken steps to protect ourselves from suit, or have we acted in such a way as to attract litigation?

    Oh, and I do wish that those passionate about their issue could be less willing to call people who might disagree with them names. One can disagree without being disagreeable, and one can get one’s way without going out of their way to destroy others. Civility is not just a good idea, it is the way in which our society maintains order and respects the personhood of all who live in it.

    Comment by Kate Quick — July 21, 2010 @ 10:30 am

  15. Well Lauren,
    “Another one bites the dust.”
    I watched this thing for an hour or so and then when to bed (some of us still work) We will certainly see what happens soon, but maybe there will be some real
    leadership now to update Alameda Point. I appreciate all the work that the City staff has done this last year, but most people knew that SunCal didn’t have much
    of a chance after Measure B failed. Let’s see if they just walk away quietly.

    Comment by Harry Hartman — July 21, 2010 @ 11:49 am

  16. #13 “C&l”? Remember APCP walked away, was not driven away as somebody stated, because they couldn’t get 1500 (1800?) single family homes to pencil out against the massive infrastructure costs.

    In an RE: to comment by Richard Bangert I claimed ACPC should have known this coming in and I frankly don’t think the PDC is adequate or realistic, though it may be a point of departure (emphasis on departure). Doug deHaan claims SunCal s lied by saying they would honor PDC just to get the gig.

    Harry if you had $12 million plus damages on the line, would you simply walk off into the SunSet?

    Comment by M.I. — July 21, 2010 @ 12:00 pm

  17. #14: Hear, hear; I couldn’t agree with you more, Ms Quick.

    Comment by charlie — July 21, 2010 @ 12:05 pm

  18. I was no fan of the SunCal plan but I find it frustrating that our city leaders have utterly failed for 14 years to transform Alameda Point into something other than a decaying, dismal wasteland that occupies one-third of the main island’s landmass. Unfortunately, our city was so inept in its dealings with SunCal that, at a minimum, SunCal will be able to make colorable claims for breach of contract and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

    Comment by Frustrated — July 21, 2010 @ 1:10 pm

  19. Too bad Disney was sent packing way back when they proposed to build “Ca Adventure” at the Point. I wonder what the reasoning was back then. I imagine because Disney wanted everything for them selves with as little revenue as possible going to our city. Too bad we did not have good negotiators back then either.

    Comment by b.watchn — July 21, 2010 @ 1:54 pm

  20. I think CC made wise move last night. An extension would not have made the ultimate divorce any easier. Sun Cal had clearly shown over the past years how untrustworthy they are. Good Riddance!

    Comment by b.watchn — July 21, 2010 @ 1:57 pm

  21. #14, 17

    Kate Quick is not a member of the State Bar of California. As a result, her opinion about the risks or potential outcome of litigation are irrelevant.

    She and her opinion are, in legal terms, irrelevant.

    Comment by Incredulous — July 21, 2010 @ 3:16 pm

  22. 21: Maybe. But her opinions of others’ behavior and the need for civility are, in non-legal terms, as relevant as those our local army of ambulance-chasers.

    Comment by BC — July 21, 2010 @ 3:43 pm

  23. 21 — Are you a member of the state bar, Incredulous? If not, then your opinion about Kate’s opinion is, in legal terms, irrelevant too.

    If you are a member of the state bar, then I trust that you are familiar with the First Amendment. You know, the one that gives her the right to express her concerns about the possibility of litigation — even if you disagree with her?

    Comment by Hello, Pot? It's Kettle. — July 21, 2010 @ 4:03 pm

  24. now that suncal is gone, no other developer will come to alameda because we are perceived (accurately, IMO) as anti-development.

    Comment by E — July 21, 2010 @ 5:15 pm

  25. I hate that they sent SunCal packing the base is falling apart literally. Every building need painting, some need a lot more work, the roads are in disrepair, other building present a danger to the public and need to be torn down…and every year it gets worse. I will not vote for anyone currently on the City Counsel for any position. And actually if they asked me to testify for SunCal in a lawsuit I would.

    Comment by Joel — July 21, 2010 @ 5:18 pm

  26. No, I am not an attorney, but I am a trained government administrator with 33 years of highly effective and much praised service, and I know that risk avoidance is of utmost importance to the fiscal health of any government entity. I also know that allegations of failure to negotiate in good faith is often a source of legal action and is expensive to fight. I don’t want the City to have to put out big money it doesn’t have on something that could have been avoided. I am worried about this, and hope it does not happen. One does not have to be an attorney to recognise the potential for litigation – it is common sense. I am not a doctor, either, but I know if I see someone falling on a knife they may bleed to death.

    Comment by Kate Quick — July 21, 2010 @ 5:26 pm

  27. I was generally not in favor of Suncal’s plan, but I agree with Kate Quick to the extent that I do think that our City Council members should have considered the litigation costs and likelihood of prevailing on a suit brought by Suncal. In fact, I think it would be irresponsible for a City Council member to vote on the issue without a full understanding of the litigation risks. Maybe I’m misreading it, but in Michele Ellson’s account of last night’s meeting, she seems to indicate that Teresa Highsmith was refusing to share her analysis of the litigation risks with City Council members unless the Council member came to her office to review the written analysis. Regardless of how you feel about Suncal, Alamedans should be very concerned if litigation risks were not considered by City Council members in making the determination that was made last night. If someone who attended or watched could reassure me that the City Council was fully briefed on the legal risks, I would feel much better about last night’s vote.

    Comment by Hello, Pot? It's Kettle. — July 21, 2010 @ 5:46 pm

  28. SunCal’s one sided development agreement they tried to ram down our throats with their voter initiative was not done in good faith. It’s hard to see where SunCal is the victim here.

    This was a failed strategy and SunCal has no one but themselves to blame.

    Comment by Karen Bey — July 21, 2010 @ 5:58 pm

  29. Post #18 Frustrated, our city leaders in no way could have developed the base within the last 10 to 14 years. It is a “SUPER FUND” site, and needs to have the Navy do a lot of work in preparation for it to be developed. I personally believe that it was SUNCAL who did not deal with our city in good faith. If we go back to the signature gathering process and go forward from there they have never dealt with us honestly.
    Post #24 Developers will always come to ALAMEDA because they are like SHARKS in the water and the base is just to tempting for them to pass up. I know we have an anti development image, but as Doug DeHaan said last night this city has some pretty smart people living in it and we know what we want. Yes its going to take us some time to get it right but I become more hopeful as time goes by.

    Post #25 Joel actually the roads on the base seem to me to be just about as bad as the ones in the rest of the city. I walk there every day and ride it on the weekends. As for the buildings I don’t know of any that are a present danger to people. We have the City Hall West, Rock Wall, Hanger One, Balladium, a church,Blacksmith, and many other’s that are doing business there every day. I do understand what you are trying to say. We need to get the base redeveloped, and we will, but it will take time and patience.

    Post #28 Yes thank you Karen.

    Comment by John Piziali — July 21, 2010 @ 6:36 pm

  30. While I think that city leaders should practice appropriate risk management to avoid lawsuits, I also believe strongly that fear of lawsuits should not get in the way of doing their jobs.

    Businesses and governments will be sued. Most of the recent high profile suits against the city (mostly AUSD) have resulted in losses for those suing Alameda.

    While defending lawsuits does const money, it is possible to sue losing parties to recoup the cost of defending against the frivilous lawsuit. I am not aware of AUSD doing this in their defense of Measure H or against Balde et al. I don’t know if local governments are barred from suing to recoup defense costs or if there was a decision not to do so.

    If governments can sue (as individuals and organizations can) to recoup the cost of defense against frivilous lawsuits, I think it should be a city-wide policy to do so in each and every case that the city wins.

    Comment by John — July 21, 2010 @ 6:56 pm

  31. Why were the Councilmembers denied the ability to review the City Attorney’s memo on liability risks? If it was not for the Council, who was it written for? That doesn’t make any sense as I am sure as closed sessions are often for our Council to review litigation risks? I think our City Attorney is officially off her rocker.

    Comment by Mrs. Frumble — July 21, 2010 @ 7:38 pm

  32. The way I heard it was that this is privileged attorney-client document that was not to be reproduced or copied. It is available in the City Attorney’s Office for the Council to read. It had no bearing on the decision that the Council was making according to the City Attorney. There seems to be an element in the community who see conspiracies at every turn.

    It is too bad that those who know best how to run city hall are too busy writing blogs to run for office.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — July 21, 2010 @ 7:57 pm

  33. I agree with HP, #27 & Karen B., #28. There is no way any reasonable person could think our City acted with less Good Faith than SunCal throughout the whole term of the ENA.

    Doncha think this was what that 40 minute ‘6-minute break’ was all about just prior to CC discussion and vote? I have faith that every CC member considered this at length and discussed realities during that break with all the required legal support for this issue and others before they came out and resumed the meeting. I also think Tam did the right thing by abstaining, although part of the backroom discussion may have been about her need to recuse herself. I think the mayor ‘more than slipped’ when she referred to Tam’s abstaining as a recusal. It not like these CC members are legally ignorant, and maneuvering is what politics is all about.

    Whatcha think of Daysog coming out in favor of extending ENA?

    Was this real? Was it an “anything for the west end – even if it poisons people, bankrupts the city, and gridlocks the island”?
    (…And that’s the best scenario of the project actually getting built, more likely it would be as productive as Catellus’ progress on Alameda Landing, where only the City-funded road construction of the off-ramp improvement and Tinker extension has happened in the ensuing years.)

    In a perverted way I wondered about the extension – I would have liked to see the end of the SunCal ‘train wreck’. An EIR is still not out of the question, and SunCal can still negotiate with the City, they just lost their “exclusive” grip.
    Unfortunately it is likely that the longer the SunCal – City relationship lasted, the greater the damage to all parties would become, the worse the lawsuits etc,.

    Comment by b.watchn — July 21, 2010 @ 8:41 pm

  34. 32. I want to see you repeat that no bearing statement when the legal action commences. Did you also hear Council member Gilmore’s description of her attempt to gain access, and her quotation of the charter with regard to her right to access? Your conspiracy remark is really entertaining, because that shoe sure seemed to fit when it was SunCal’s foot.

    I went back and forth between Louis C.K. show, Tour de France on my TV and the meeting on a lap top, because I had to check out when certain people droned on ineptly, etc. I missed the staff presentation and SunCal entirely but just went back to hear the big bad bully lawyer. The guy was sort of strident, but I just can’t see his rap as bullying. He was doing his job laying it on the line. I’m with Kettle regarding my comfort with vote and where this legal stuff is headed. People may have thought the whole election stunk to high heaven but with regard to legality I have a hard time seeing how you can make accusations of bad faith stick there.

    John P., I can’t see developers falling over themselves to work with us after this, not in the near future.

    Comment by M.I. — July 21, 2010 @ 8:47 pm

  35. How do *you* know that, ANT? Why don’t you run?

    Comment by ANT in 2010? — July 21, 2010 @ 8:48 pm

  36. I was a fan of Peter Calthorpe and had high hope for what would be planned by him. The result that SunCal decided to go with was/is a disappointment considering what could have been. With SunCal gone, perhaps “what could have been” will come out of the closet. Fed bucks will be there for a real “Green” development, not the ‘greenwashin wishes’ of SunCal.

    Comment by b.watchn — July 21, 2010 @ 8:50 pm

  37. 30: I agree with you completely on your point that our city leaders should not have their votes swayed by the threats of unmeritorious lawsuits. The lawsuits against AUSD are perfect examples of that.

    OTOH: I do think that our city leaders should be able to have access to a competent analysis of whether a lawsuit has any merit, and if there is the possibility that the Plaintiff could prevail, what those costs might be. It appears that the City Attorney was refusing to provide that analysis. It is not up to her to decide what information is relevant to a City Council person’s decision. And I don’t think that any competent attorney would say that a litigation risk analysis was not relevant to the decision that was being made last night.

    As to the discussion of attorneys fees. Generally, attorneys fees are not available unless there is a statutory or contractual basis for the attorneys fees. There are many statutes that give citizens the right to recover fees when they prevail in a case against a government entity but do not give the government entity the same right when it prevails. I couldnt say whether Suncal would be able to assert a cause of action that would trigger one of those statutes. Realistically, the only way that the City might be able to recover its fees if it prevails is if there’s an attorney’s fees clause in the contract between Suncal and the City.

    Comment by Hello, Pot? It's Kettle. — July 21, 2010 @ 9:29 pm

  38. #35

    I have no reason to doubt the City Attorney. This is her job. If the council is unhappy with her work, they can let her go. If the council is unhappy with a city commissioner, they can choose to let him go. The buck stops with the council. As for Lena Tam, I’ll let the legal system sort that out. That is its job.

    As for serving on the council, I’m surprised that we can find five people in the city who can sit through a six hour meeting and stay sane. I probably would have started yelling and spitting at people well before the third hour.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — July 21, 2010 @ 9:53 pm

  39. Seriously, ANT? You don’t think a litigation risk analysis was pertinent to the decision that was made last night?

    As to your comment about the six hour meetings, perhaps that’s just proof that only insane people would agree to take that job in the first place.

    Comment by Hello. Pot? It's Kettle. — July 21, 2010 @ 10:16 pm

  40. #9: The original commercial and industrial development concept envisioned in the 1990s (and recently reborn as the ‘green” redevelopment plan recommended by Howard, Gillitt, and others) would recreate the same nasty commute traffic in the tubes that Alameda had when the ANAS was busy. It also does not generate sufficient tax revenue and other income to sup[port the massive infrastructure replacement, rehabilitation of historic buildings, and other work that AP requires.

    That is why Planner Cynthia Eliasson and others spearheaded a more balanced plan about 8 years ago. The amended Alameda Point Specific Plan recommends a balance between housing and jobs (commercial, retail, industrial, etc.) so that the city’s overall jobs to housing ratio approaches the ideal of 1:1.

    Peter Calthorpe’s higher-density plan, or one much like it, will be necessary to a) meet the requirements of the General Plan, as contained in the AP Specific Plan; b) create and raise the revenues needed to redevelop AP; and c) reduce the traffic congestion impacts per housing unit on the Tubes.(Put the housing for the workers close to their work places and close to transit resources in a transit-oriented development (TOD), and they will be more likely to walk or bike to work and take a bus.

    Whether Suncal or another developer redoes AP, the principles of transportation and the economic realities of AP will not change. And I see no available source of funding other than from a developer to cover the huge costs of redeveloping the base.

    Especially if the City loses its collective shirt to Suncal in court….

    Comment by Jon Spangler — July 22, 2010 @ 12:41 am

  41. #39

    How do you know that they haven’t done one? The council has known of this possibility for a long time. Didn’t they hire a law firm to do some pre-litigation work? In the end, the vote was 4-0. I am going to trust that the council knew what they were doing when they made their decision.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — July 22, 2010 @ 6:25 am

  42. 40:

    Suncal’s did include a lareg amount of private capital but was heavily dependent on puiblic financing via a TID. This has been explained to you more than once but has yet to get through. But I’m patient…

    Comment by dave — July 22, 2010 @ 6:31 am

  43. 41 — It appears you missed my point. According to Michele Ellson’s report, the City Attorney said that a litigation analysis wasn’t relevant to the decision that was being made. I couldn’t disagree more.

    Comment by Hello, Pot? It's Kettle — July 22, 2010 @ 8:22 am

  44. 42: I was not ignoring the significant role that tax increment financing will play at Alameda Point.

    But long before the tax moneys begin to trickle in after development takes place, Suncal and DE Shaw were prepared to spend something in excess of a billion dollars to replace the infrastructure at AP and make the site marketable. That is not small change, and the city has no sources available for such significant pre-development capital investments. I stand by my previous posts on this topic, Dave.

    The tax increment financing comes in AFTER the conveyance, AFTER further cleanup of the buildings (above ground cleanup is NOT a Navy responsibility), and AFTER the long-overdue infrastructure replacement is accomplished. Nothing can be developed, sold, or taxed at a higher valuation until then…

    Comment by Jon Spangler — July 22, 2010 @ 3:03 pm

  45. I was bothered by the seriously Alice-in-Wonderland nature of the staff report.

    After Suncal hired Peter Calthorpe, touted his TOD plans,and developed a terrific transportation plan to get AP residents and Alamedans in general out of their cars, city staff questioned the developer’s “commitment” to mass transit, building a ferry terminal, building a TOD at AP, etc.

    I was dumbfounded. What, in fact, had Suncal been presenting to the city since 2007-2008? Did the staff mistake Suncal for a returned-from-the-dead
    Alameda Point Community Partners? If they were reading the same proposals I was, how could they have been so confused as to Suncal’s actual intent?

    Comment by Jon Spangler — July 22, 2010 @ 3:10 pm

  46. Here’s an article from the Bay Guardian:

    Comment by RM — July 22, 2010 @ 4:15 pm

  47. Kate, I”m afraid there are lots of ways to get around civility without being outrageous. A tone, an attitude of Superiority and Expertise, as I have often display, and you have, will do the trick. It’s just off-putting, suggests that your opponent has no right to his opinions.

    And for all the other comments, let me remind you that only about 3,000 voters voted YES on Measure E, SunCal’s cynical attempt to get around its own partner, the City. Less than HALF as those who voted agains Measure E, AUSD’s cynical attempt to shift the tax burden, away from the Gold Coast and the Malls. So those who still support SunCal are in a tiny minority, about .075% of the total populations of Amameda. But you sure are a noisy bunch!


    Comment by Dennis Green/ZenDada — July 22, 2010 @ 5:47 pm

  48. More than 14,000 voted for Measure E.

    Comment by B.S. Alert — July 22, 2010 @ 6:02 pm

  49. Gee, Dennis G/ZD. My point is that others of COURSE have a right to their opinions and it is people who feel a need to belittle, demean and bully those who do not share the opinions they hold who are in need of being asked to return to civil discourse. Civility means a recognition of one’s right to hold an opinion that differs from yours and to listen carefully, weigh with some intellectual rigor, and sort out fact from opinion when deciding whether or not the other person might change your mind. If that sounds “superior and off-putting” so be it. Basically it is good manners, and good manners are a respect for others. That’s what my momma told me, and that is what I would like to see others do instead of this slander and abuse, which never serves to allow compromise and eventual bringing together of the community. If you want to hear me say something un-civil, here it is: “I hate bullies!”

    Comment by Kate Quick — July 22, 2010 @ 6:58 pm

  50. Hello Dennis- I can see you are back trying to get some attention. You sure do get around. I was really enjoying the constructive comments prior to your arrival, you just cant help yourself. Do you need a hug? (( ))
    Kate- Dont give DG/aka ZenDada your time and energy. Dennis is a fisher of conflict. He thrives on pushing buttons and throwing sand. Next he will list his credentials, say that everyone is being mean to him and we dont want him to share his opinion. He hasn’t figured out the difference betweening sharing information and belittling people. But I’m not giving up on him.
    Hi Dennis- Hope you are feeling well. Nice to see you again.

    Comment by tkoliver — July 22, 2010 @ 9:15 pm

  51. Years ago, I worked as a lobbyist for President David Saxon at U.C. systemwide. In Sacramento, I met several times with Speaker Jesse “Big Daddy” Unruh. The best advice he ever gave me is “Don’t take the bait!” He recommended I write that on Post-It notes and put them up all over the house. On the bathroom mirror, on the fridge, on the inside of my front door. Great advice from a great old politico.

    Comment by Dennis Green — July 23, 2010 @ 3:03 am

  52. And my mother advised me not to be taken in by the superficial good manners of snooty people.

    Great advice from a great old South Dakota farm girl.

    Comment by Dennis Green — July 23, 2010 @ 3:44 am

  53. Dennis,

    Hey, we’ve got somethings in common! My mother was, and still is, a “great old Iowa farm girl.” She still gives me, and my siblings, similar advice.

    I grew up on an Iowa farm. Did you grow up in South Dakota?


    Comment by William Smith — July 23, 2010 @ 5:57 am

  54. Yup. And I picked tomatoes and strung hops in the Sacramento valley in the summers to put my way through college and earn my high school pin money. I’m a valley person, where our family valued good manners and hard work and treated others as we would like to be treated. Work hard, play fair and show respect. So much for the snooty, David. I was in Elk Grove at my mother’s house yesterday (she is 95)and she was wearing a t-shirt that said, “When I am talking you had better be taking notes.” That is the kind of folk I come from.

    Comment by Kate Quick — July 23, 2010 @ 6:41 am

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