Blogging Bayport Alameda

August 30, 2010

Back to business

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Point, City Council, Development — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

August is almost over and the City Council, sitting as the ARRA is back to work on September 1st on the dot.

The biggie agenda item to watch is a presentation on “Alameda Point– Going Forward,” but right now there are no documents available to review in advance of the meeting.    Also there is a presentation on “Citywide Asset Management Strategy – Alameda Point Application” also without documents to review ahead of time.   I guess we’ll just be surprised when we are allowed to hear what City staff has planned next for Alameda Point.

But one item that does have a staff report to review ahead of time is on the consent agenda which is to extend another contract amendment to Economic and Planning Systems (EPS) the consultant used by the City to review all the SunCal Alameda Point documents.    Yes, I did write fourth amendment.   All in total with all the amendments EPS got, or rather will be getting, $415,000 of SunCal’s money to essentially say that SunCal’s plan sucks.   Must be nice to be able to spend someone else’s money indiscriminately and go completely over budget without having to worry about possibly not getting paid because you blew the budget.

According to the staff report, EPS blew the budget in the last two months before the ENA was due to expire by $25,000.

Although now I can see how Orange County’s Great Park has frittered away their hundreds of millions of dollars on a plan and hardly anything else.   Great Park, for those who don’t know, is the name that was given to the El Toro base reuse project.   Hopefully City staff will pinch its pennies a little more tightly now that there isn’t the SunCal piggy bank to dip into.


  1. One item on Wednesday’s ARRA agenda that is conspicuous by its absence in the post of the day is the one concerning the VA. Outside of road building, this will be one of the largest public works projects in the county in many years, certainly in the city of Alameda, and hopefully a catalyst for more progress at Alameda Point.

    Maybe you don’t find this encouraging news.

    Click to access cc_sub_3612.pdf

    Comment by Richard Bangert — August 30, 2010 @ 7:55 am

  2. 1. I do.

    Comment by jayare — August 30, 2010 @ 8:13 am

  3. Why WOULDN’T that be encouraging news?

    Serious question.

    Comment by dave — August 30, 2010 @ 10:25 am

  4. Hi Lauren: I just sent a quick email over to Lara W. to ask about this and she said Item 3B (Alameda Point: Going Forward) will be presented by the interim city manager’s office in the form of a PowerPoint Wednesday night. She added that the presentation was still being worked on as of about noon today.
    This is yet again another example of the lack of respect the ICM and senior staff have toward the citizens of Alameda and the public process. Ms. Gallant and her staff have had since July 20 when SunCal’s ENA extension was denied to formulate some ideas on this critically important aspect of Alameda’s future. You’d think she might have committed a few of those ideas to paper by now — and, god forbid, share those ideas with the council and the public.
    But, no, her tactic will be to put on a colorful dog and pony show Wednesday night that leaves nothing for the public to review, analyze and otherwise dig into. This needs to change.

    Comment by Jeff Mitchell — August 30, 2010 @ 12:26 pm

  5. Sounds good, but a question or two: is the city on the hook for any infrastructure development or other “unfunded mandate-like” expenses? And I hope they secure the least tern refuge before they start building. Bulldozer operators tend to go fast: and have you seen road graders in action? As the ad said, “Zoom, zoom.”

    Comment by Linda Hudson — August 30, 2010 @ 12:46 pm

  6. #4 “This needs to change.”

    Maybe it is changing. As of 12:50 pm this site was/is out of service.

    In the meantime, here is something “for the public to review, analyze and otherwise dig into.”

    Comment by Richard Bangert — August 30, 2010 @ 12:54 pm

  7. The city has absolutely no clue nor the leadership to develop Alameda Point. I hope her presentation doesnt ignore the issues, and has a plan to address all the significant infrastructure , and flood plain problems at Alameda Point.

    Comment by Mobi — August 30, 2010 @ 1:05 pm

  8. #1: It would be great if Congress approved “an appropriation for $17 million to begin design work” for a VA hospital at Alameda Point, but with the economy recovering ever so slowly, if at all, now, and other, more vital priorities requiring federal funding, a realist might say the odds are long that Congress would approve such a proposal.

    Comment by charlie — August 30, 2010 @ 1:12 pm

  9. Good news for the VA it sounds like. Looking forward to hearing the City’s asset management strategy and moving forward strategy on Alameda Point.

    Comment by Alameda2000 — August 30, 2010 @ 1:16 pm

  10. Jeff: Get a grip. This IS the initial presentation to the Council and a public. Nobody has made any plans, commitments or anything else, and nobody can, until the Council chooses to act.

    The notion that the city manager somehow “runs” the city is a fiction, and one that has been completely overblown. The City Council has the final say on the ultimate decisions — just as it has had all along.

    As you well know, the Council has been on recess for the past several weeks, so that may explain why we haven’t heard anything until now. Various members of the Council (also candidates) have made detailed proposals for alternative plans at the Point — as well as numerous members of the public — so it’s entirely appropriate for city staff to contribute to this process as well.

    Comment by dlm — August 30, 2010 @ 1:20 pm

  11. It is absolutely ridiculous that the presentation has not been posted to the City’s website! This is yet another example of the ICM’s inability to be transparent, especially when it comes to development at Alameda Point. How can we get development at the Point moving forward???

    Comment by Mary — August 30, 2010 @ 1:23 pm

  12. Here’s a link for the video of the first “Moving Forward” forum on Alameda Point, held 8/11. A second forum was held last Thursday (8/25), but I don’t see the link for that on this, Joe Woodard’s, site as yet, tho he’ll be putting it up.

    Far from being negative, the discussion around a community driven process for Alameda Point has been very positive, and it’s generated a lot of interest.

    Comment by dlm — August 30, 2010 @ 1:34 pm

  13. #8 “odds are long that Congress would approve such a proposal”.
    see page 17 here:

    Click to access Fy2011VaBudgetRolloutPresentation.pdf

    Over $1 billion in construction requests. $17 million for design work at Alameda Point is insignificant compared to the lump sum for Denver.

    Comment by Richard Bangert — August 30, 2010 @ 1:45 pm

  14. I attended the presentation on Thursday and Doug Yount’s presentation was by far the most interesting.

    The presentation on the Presidio Land Trust was appealing for those who want to see the land turned into a Historic Preservation property — but my understanding is that this model is too restrictive, and does not allow for long term leases and/or land conveyances. The adaptive re-use of the existing buildings, the emphasis on open space, the development of a National Park at the Point and historical tax credits are all very appealing. I could see parts of Alameda Point designated as a park – but not the entire development.

    The Great Park presentation was lacking in my view. Doug DeHaan labeled this project as the extreme of the three ideas because there was only one master developer that controlled most of the property. There was no mention of the advantages of this project – the split between the two uses (the land trust and a mixed use development to pay for it), and it would have been nice to understand the organizational structure for the Great Park and hear what he had learned about the status of the Park and the challenges they were having. It would have also been nice to learn more about the mixed use development – but Doug didn’t seem to know much about it.

    The Fort Ord presentation was by far the most interesting. Doug Yount is a highly qualified and skilled real estate professional, and his understanding of real estate development is important to note.

    The Dunes at Fort Ord is a large mixed use development – very much like what was planned at Alameda Point, with one caveat – the City acts as master developer. Most of the land is designated as open space and they created a National Park. He also explained the structure of the organization which I thought was very interesting. It runs separate from the General Fund and functions more like a corporation with Project Managers running different communities within the project.

    Most of its funding sources come from the development – land sales, development fees, CFD, tax increment with the smallest of its sources coming from state grants and loans. He also pointed out that that the creation of this type of non-profit worked well during the height of the real estate market when Fort Ord was created, but they are having some challenges in this real estate market.

    He also mentioned that Alameda Point has been studied to death – and he felt the solution to Alameda Point is in front of us. I couldn’t stay much longer – so I missed the explanation of what he thought the solution is.

    Thanks Richard Bangert for the video, hopefully I’ll get to see the parts I missed.

    Comment by Karen Bey — August 30, 2010 @ 3:19 pm

  15. #3:

    The reason the Navy wants to do this is because it wants to get rid of a “hot” potato–the still-unassessed runways and wildlife refuge areas at AP–and do it on the cheap.

    And they want to get out of their responsibilities to clean up the site, which they are more likely to get away with dealing with the VA than with the City of Alameda’s RAB.

    1) The VA knows nothing about wildlife refuge management, endangered species, or toxics remediation.

    2) The VA does not have the money for all the infrastructure that would be required for this project. And all that infrastructure would not necessarily help make any of the rest of AP more accessible or less congested by cars.

    3) A health clinic that far removed from transportation and community resources is ill-advised. The health clinic would be much more accessible to vets and their families if it were integrated into Alameda Hospital’s current site, in downtown Oakland or in San Francisco–or at least situated closer to Main Street where it would be accessible to existing transit. Right now, the VA complex is a remote, unconnected, standalone facility that will remain polluted and isolated. Is that how we want to treat our vets?

    4) Any buildings that close to the wildlife refuge and the endangered species that live there now (least terns, brown pelicans, and burrowing owls) will encourage raptors to hunt these species, which is against US FWS guidelines.

    I do not want the VA to run a wildlife refuge any more than I want the Fish and Wildlife Service to run a columbarium or a health clinic for veterans, whose service I deeply appreciate and respect.

    Veterans and the least terns deserve better than this half-baked proposal.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — August 30, 2010 @ 6:28 pm

  16. 14. did anybody note the huge emphasis on housing in all these models, including Presidio as an essential part of the cash flow? The Marina model includes doubling their population from 20 to 40,000. El Toro was a waste of time in that there seemed to be little there to emulate, lots of pie in the sky, not to mention Grand jury investigations over money, and Doug’s attempt to present the power point on El Toro was so mangled I left. It would have been better had the audience simply read what was projected.

    It’s not that there may not be a lot to glean from these examples, including more of what not to do, but I also felt like it was a lot of apples and oranges. I hope to catch up on the Q&A through Joe’s site, maybe some of my questions were addressed.

    Comment by M.I. — August 30, 2010 @ 6:30 pm

  17. #15 Jon,

    “The VA knows nothing about wildlife refuge management, endangered species, or toxics remediation.” At the RAB meeting at which the Record of Decision for the Site 2 disposal area within the Navy/VA parcel was discussed, a representative of the US Fish and Wildlife Service refuted the assertion that the VA would be managing wildlife, and instead it would be USFW which would be hired to attend to the well-being of the least terns.

    You might be right about the RAB not being in the loop on cleanup in this area after transfer, but US EPA Region 9 will be. Furthermore, I have heard no talk about tearing up runways regardless of whether the VA is there. Before the VA entered the picture, the runways were going to be left as is because they tend to minimize plant growth and the possibilities for hiding places for predators. As I understand the terns habits, they try to avoid plant growth out of caution, and which is why the ice plant growing wild has been a concern for management of the site.

    “The VA does not have the money for all the infrastructure that would be required for this project.” You should have testified before Congress this summer. How much is it going to cost to get sewer, water, gas and electric underground another 500 yards from the main mixed-use area?

    “A health clinic that far removed from transportation and community resources is ill-advised.” You should have testified before Congress. This is the first time I have heard anyone publicly express concern about the ability of veterans to transport themselves to VA facilities. Mostly what I hear are complaints about the care they receive when they get there, or denials of care because they didn’t have a personal lawyer with them while in service.

    “Any buildings that close to the wildlife refuge and the endangered species that live there now (least terns, brown pelicans, and burrowing owls) will encourage raptors to hunt these species, which is against US FWS guidelines.” You should have testified before Congress. Can’t figure out a way to keep red-tailed hawks off of a hospital roof?

    “Veterans and the least terns deserve better than this half-baked proposal.” Half-baked? It’s been cooking for about six years. See chronology below.

    All that said, I would support moving the hospital/clinic to the mixed-use area of Alameda Point. That would reduce infrastructure costs and improve transit options for veterans. But the train is leaving the station, and unless our AWOL congressional delegation becomes involved, the VA facility will be where it is planned.

    > USFWS requested Fed-to-Fed transfer of former airfield for proposed wildlife refuge in December 1996.

    >In 2003, the Navy and the USFWS reached an impasse regarding transfer of this real property.

    >2004 Navy makes VA aware of opportunity for fed-to-fed transfer of property at NAS Alameda.

    >November 2004 VA Secretary Principi sent Formal Letter of Intent to Navy expressing VA’s interest in acquiring property at the former NAS Alameda.

    >December 2005 VA and Navy initiate series of meetings with USFWS regarding transfer parcel.

    Comment by Richard Bangert — August 30, 2010 @ 7:42 pm

  18. wait, so the VA is gonna get the base? There was a VA hospital at my university, and with that hospital came TONS of crazies. I guess the NIMBYs would rather have crazy ass bums than a transit oriented community out on the base. le sigh.

    Comment by E — August 30, 2010 @ 11:19 pm

  19. 18.
    As one small poundage of the, “TONS of crazies”, this, “crazy ass bum”, would welcome my brothers and sisters.

    Comment by jayare — August 31, 2010 @ 8:45 am

  20. #13: Members of Congress probably use all sorts of criteria to decide who or what deserves how much of a budgetary pie, but I still think we’ll be incredibly lucky if they approve Alameda Point’s $17 million because it is “insignificant compared to the lump sum for Denver.”

    Comment by charlie — August 31, 2010 @ 10:37 am

  21. Why are people still talking about getting the NAS for free? If Pelosi (CA) and Feinstein (CA) can’t persuade Obama to pony up, is this even worth discussing?

    As far as I’m concerned, the President has weighed in and any one who is still talking “no-cost conveyance doesn’t fully understand this issue here (are you listening to any of this, Frank?)

    Comment by Dave L. — September 1, 2010 @ 3:19 pm

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