Blogging Bayport Alameda

August 25, 2011

Lab partner

Now that all the community meetings have been completed for the wooing of Lawrence Berkeley Lab, I thought I would do a roundup of some of the accounts.   Of course there was Alameda’s, which happened first.   And while at first I thought that Alameda going first was a detriment to Alameda, reading some of the accounts of the other cities, it actually might have been a benefit.

Richmond, which has been widely agreed to be front runner in getting the second LBL campus, had an Alameda-esque positive rally to encourage LBL to select its city:

“Renaissance” was the watchword Thursday at a packed reception for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The city hosted a kind of pep rally ahead the meeting with local performers, free food and a greeting line of young “police explorers” in uniform.

Having the “police explorers” was a great calculated move since — say what you want about the particular site already carved out by LBL — Richmond in general has fought the reputation that there is a lot of crime in that town.  In 2010 it came in number 6 right behind Oakland in CQ Press’s City Crime Rankings.  Of course the caveat to those crime rankings, the FBI does warn against rankings like this.

While both Alameda’s and Richmond’s meetings were nearly 100% (let’s just say 99%) positive, Albany and Berkeley (the Aquatic Park site) were not a complete love fest.  From Albany Patch:

An estimated 400 people listened to presentations by the lab, the racetrack and a range of local leaders. During a lengthy public comment period, officials were met with both optimism and skepticism from residents of Albany and Berkeley.

Unlike reports of meetings in Alameda and Richmond, many commenters at Albany’s meeting noted concerns about traffic, revenue replacement, building height and open space.

Leader for the West Contra Costa County branch of the Sierra Club, Norman La Force, said it would be important to learn more about the revenue impacts on Albany, and that details from the developer had been lacking about additional commercial ventures on the site. He also said the open space offered didn’t fit with the vision plan created by Albany residents.

Some racetrack supporters said they’d prefer to see the track owner, the Stronach Group, invest in building up Golden Gate Fields and ensure the security of racetrack jobs.

At least two speakers said revenue-generating opportunities should all be built in Albany, as the city would lose about $1.7 million for schools and city services if the racetrack closes.

Berkeley’s meeting for the Aquatic Park site was mixed as well:

At the Berkeley meeting Thursday, about 200 people packed the Francis Albrier Community Center in San Pablo Park to hear developers also say that if UC Berkeley chooses the 12-acre site at Aquatic Park next to Interstate 80, the park itself would be increased in size by two acres because the campus grounds would be open to the public.

But during public comment at the end of the presentation, a few residents expressed skepticism.

Michael King, who lives nearby on Bancroft Way and has two children, wanted to know what the lab was going to do for area residents besides increase the size of the park.

“What about all the black and brown kids who live in the neighborhood, what are you going to do for them?” King asked. “What about gentrification that’s happening from Richmond to Fruitvale?”

Edward Moore, another nearby resident, cautioned lab officials and developers to come up with a design that won’t make the area look like “southern Alameda County.”

“You’re threatening to move in to a place that we all call home,” said Moore. “We’re concerned with the scale of the development and this is a debate we have over and over in Berkeley.”

And from a Berkeley Patch article:

Building height was a particular concern to a number of people who spoke during the public comment period.

Mary White, who lives and works near the proposed project, presented a letter of concern from the Golden Gate Audubon Society that said if buildings were to go to the permitted 75 feet, there is a risk of collisions to birds. “Collisions, especially with tall buildings, kill approximately 1 billion birds in North America each year, one of the most significant sources of non-natural mortality for birds. All large buildings pose some risks, but they are particularly exacerbated by buildings and windows adjacent to a sensitive area with a high density of bird use, such as Aquatic Park,” the letter said.

Norman LaForce, representing the Golden Gate chapter of the Sierra Club, expressed similar concerns for impacts on waterfowl that use Aquatic Park as a resting place on their migration routes. He also raised the issue of increasing nighttime lighting at the park, which would disturb the wildlife. The Sierra Club is calling for buildings to have 100-foot set backs from the water and height limits of 45 feet. (It should be noted that the university is exempt from following the city’s zoning laws, which permit 75 feet on that site.)

While praising the project, City Manager Phil Kamlarz raised the concern that, if the labs own or rent property in West Berkeley, it will come off the property tax roles.

When the roadshow went to Oakland though, the message once again turned positive-ish.

Touting the location’s numerous transportation links, its spectacular views and, most important, its approval for development, Oakland officials told leaders of the laboratory Wednesday that their best chance for a successful project is at Brooklyn Basin.

“It can be ready a year before any other site,” Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said. “We’ve looked at your other sites but this is the most beautiful site, this is the only site on which you can grow.”

ORLY?  The most “beautiful site? Are you kidding me?  I mean look there are several reasons why I think that the Brooklyn Basin might be one of the better sites, but “most beautiful” is not it.   And “the only site on which you can grow”?   Really?   Really?   Again, lots of reasons why the Oakland site is great but saying that makes you look like you have no idea who your competition is and what your competition is offering.

It also appears that the last meeting for the joint Oakland/Emeryville site benefitted from Emeryville’s well honed business attraction machine to get the boosters out:

While Berkeley officials, including the city manager, the economic development manager and City Councilman Darryl Moore promoted Berkeley during the meeting, it was Emeryville officials who pulled out all the stops.

Speaking in favor of the that community’s proposal were the city manager, deputy superintendent of schools, the fire chief, the deputy fire marshal, the police chief, the head of the chamber of commerce, the director of community services, the director for the Emeryville center for the arts and a group of schoolchildren who spoke about the educational possibilities of the lab teaming with Emeryville schools.

Emeryville police Chief Ken James promised quick responses to lab employees who find themselves in need of the law.

In general though the takeaway is that most cities would love to have LBL relocate their second campus to their city.  The concerns of residents who note that previously private property will be taken off the property tax rolls is definitely a valid concern.   It’s not necessarily a concern for Richmond or Alameda given the current ownership of the land.

92 Comments

  1. Good post.

    Comment by dlm — August 25, 2011 @ 7:37 am

  2. My friend who works for the lab say he felt Albany really didn’t want them there. Oakland has a nice enough location, but not great…and not much room to expand. The biggest problem with the Oakland site is you woud constantly have freight and Amtrack trains passing by. I guess you would get use to the noise but if you were haveing a meeting in the conference room and having a train whistle every 15 minutes would be detracting. Emeryville is frairly well saturated…hard to move around…unless you go the back way.

    Comment by Joe — August 25, 2011 @ 7:42 am

  3. Lauren: “The concerns of residents who note that previously private property will be taken off the property tax rolls is definitely a valid concern. It’s not necessarily a concern for Richmond or Alameda given the current ownership of the land.”

    Yes, of course it is (or should be) a concern for Alameda as well. The land is now public/government-owned property, but there will be millions spent to prepare the site and build the infrastructure. Those (possible) property tax dollars would help pay off the bonds necessary to get the project underway, and to fund the build-out of the base. Additionally, property taxes would help defray the ongoing costs of public safety and maintenance for the base. I’m not saying it’s an insurmountable problem, but the loss of property taxes must be considered. The lab project must be considered as part of the whole plan for the base, not taken piece meal.

    Comment by Al Wright — August 25, 2011 @ 8:49 am

  4. With alterations, this:

    “At least two speakers said revenue-generating opportunities should all be built in Alameda, as the city has lost about $1.7 million for schools and city services when the base closed.”

    and this.

    “It’s also a concern for Richmond or Alameda given that the potential for tax generating revenue will be lost.”

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 25, 2011 @ 8:58 am

  5. there, #3 and 4…two speakers…

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 25, 2011 @ 9:01 am

  6. Ms. Quan’s comments remind me of a bumper sticker I saw yesterday: “Politicians and diapers should be changed often and for the same reasons.”

    Comment by Denise Shelton — August 25, 2011 @ 9:28 am

  7. I’d put that one on my front lawn.

    Comment by John P. — August 25, 2011 @ 10:44 am

  8. This is a tough competition and it may come down to LBNL’s perception(s) of the respective communities’ enthusiasm and support for the second campus. If it does, Alameda has done well for itself despite the many unknowns that any community will face if they are successful in becoming the LBNL’s new second home.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — August 25, 2011 @ 10:51 am

  9. It’s actually a very simple competition and it will come down to one of the places where the lab already owns the land.

    Comment by dave — August 25, 2011 @ 11:06 am

  10. I don’t think Russo Hired EX Community Relations Manager for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for New Position at City he created for drill. I don’t know how it will look with all the others vying for Lab.

    Lori Taylor

    Before joining the City of Fremont, Lori worked for a variety of government agencies, including Union City and the City of San Leandro. In addition to her experience in local government, Lori has served as Legislative Aide for former State Senate President Bill Lockyer, Legislative Assistant for former Assemblyman Johan Klehs and as the Community Relations Manager for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

    Comment by John — August 25, 2011 @ 11:37 am

  11. 8
    “…Alameda has done well for itself despite the many unknowns…”

    How could Alameda have done well for itself if we do get chosen and the ‘many unknowns’ turn this thing into a big bag of problems which are out of the city’s control to solve? Maybe sometimes it’s better to come in second.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 25, 2011 @ 11:42 am

  12. I understand the concerns voiced here, however, there will never be a perfect solution at the Point. Any scheme will be fraught with challenges. The question is whether this plan will be worse in the long run than any other. I believe it would be an overall benefit to the community, but, as usual, the City will do what the City wants to do. In this case, the door has been flung open already, and it’s now up to LBNL to make its choice, which they will no doubt base on calculations based on fact. Our enthusiasm may tip the scales if the calculations don’t result in a clear choice.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — August 25, 2011 @ 12:33 pm

  13. As an aside, seen the paper today? AMG is back swinging! Let the games begin (again)!

    Comment by Denise Shelton — August 25, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

  14. I did see the Spun today and discovered in the police report that seven people got arrested for insanity. Is it something in the water? The good thing, an arrest for insanity is by definition self-canceling.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 25, 2011 @ 1:08 pm

  15. Wow, I never knew you could be arrested for insanity. I better be careful.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — August 25, 2011 @ 1:17 pm

  16. Post#9, I agree with Dave, I just don’t see Alameda as the best choice for LBL from their point of view. I understand that Alameda wants the lab, but how much weight does that carry with LBL.

    Comment by John P. — August 25, 2011 @ 2:00 pm

  17. Has anyone put a Total Upfront Dollar cost to City if we do get selected.

    What happens if Energy Dept Funds get cut and LBL consolidates to one Location. How would that effect City if we have already spent all the upfront money and there are budget cuts and they back out before they occupy?

    Comment by John — August 25, 2011 @ 2:09 pm

  18. Kate…you okay? Still with us?

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 25, 2011 @ 2:29 pm

  19. simple John, we then have a city hall SouthWest.

    Comment by John P. — August 25, 2011 @ 2:40 pm

  20. 9. “It’s actually a very simple competition and it will come down to one of the places where the lab already owns the land.”

    And for all intents and purposes, the Lab “already owns the land” at Alameda Point because we are giving it to them for free. And from the standpoint of public stewardship, the Lab would do well to keep its existing land in Richmond in its land bank and take the free land at Alameda Point.

    As for no taxes from the Lab, we didn’t get taxes from the Navy either. We’ve been trying to recover from the loss of jobs when the Navy left, not the loss of taxes. Hopefully the Lab would spur economic activity at Alameda Point and elsewhere in Alameda the way UCSF’s Medical Center is doing at Mission Bay in San Francisco. Here is a report on the economic impact of the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay:
    http://eir.ucsf.edu/eir

    Comment by Richard Bangert — August 25, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

  21. Richard do we have a Economic Impact Report of The Lab on Alameda and could you answer my # 17.

    Comment by John — August 25, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

  22. Considering that the land represents about a 50 million dollar donation and foregoing about $400,000 a year in real estate taxes for say 50 years represents about a 20 million dollar donation all the while providing police fire and other services to the property, can the city really afford this proposal. Has anyone attempted to find another place where it has been done and worked out well? Frequently government projects end up being white elephants. Alameda Telecom, Oakland Coliseum, Oakland Icerink etc.

    Comment by Schoolsupporter — August 25, 2011 @ 3:24 pm

  23. 20
    The Navy paid, the DOE won’t.

    Federal Impact Aid Program

    The Impact Aid Program is designed to directly compensate local school districts for: (1) local revenue lost due to the presence of federally owned, and therefore tax-exempt, property and (2) costs incurred due to “federally connected” students, such as the children of armed services personnel working at a nearby military base. Unlike most other forms of educational assistance, Impact Aid disburses roughly $1.3 billion annually in unrestricted federal funds directly to local school districts rather than through state agencies.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 25, 2011 @ 3:29 pm

  24. 19

    John P I don’t know if it’s that simple. We are giving the property to LBL so it will then be their empty Building unless I’m missing something. Maybe then we can rent it back from them.

    Comment by John — August 25, 2011 @ 3:33 pm

  25. 20

    Is the land Alameda’s to give?

    Comment by dave — August 25, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

  26. Dave If It is why Don’t they Give it to Google.

    “What Google really wants is the land beneath the buildings, local experts say.”

    Google predicted 2011 would be its biggest year for hiring, with plans to add 6,000 workers. Halfway through 2011, Google had added 4,400 employees.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/real-estate/ci_18757506

    Comment by John — August 25, 2011 @ 4:23 pm

  27. The land is proposed to be conveyed via a long term ground lease with an option to receive title to the land upon conveyance of the parcel from the Navy to the City.

    And LBL commissioned its own Economic Impact Report last year that speaks in generalities and is not community specific as to future impacts.

    Comment by Lauren Do — August 25, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

  28. I noticed in last week’s Sun there were 4 insanity arrests. Since it’s a medical disorder, not a crime, Alameda police work must really be going backwards under the new, more costly management! Re: Parcel Taxes: Isn’t it true that the Bladium & Angela’s Bistro are tax-free parcels, also? (I forgot why). To prevent you from getting ulcers fretting over AlPo development, I’d like to invite you all, especially Jack Richard & Denise Shelton & John, to the next RAB meeting, Thursday, Sept 1, 2011, CityHallWest, Rm140, 6:30-8:30 pm. It doesn’t run overtime like city-run meetings & Derek usually brings cookies. The public is always welcome. Parking is easy & free. Clean restrooms & a soda machine. There will be a presentation of an OU-2C Feasibility Study Addendum & an update from the Base Cleanup Team, including reps from the EPA, DTSC, & WaterBoard).Hard copies of the Proposed Plan for OU-2A cleanup are now available, too.
    Y’all come now, y’hear!

    Comment by alameda vigilante — August 25, 2011 @ 5:18 pm

  29. Re: EIR linked in # 27

    “This indicates that every 1.0 direct, full-time-equivalent employee of Berkeley Lab contributes to
    another 3.3 jobs in the United States.”

    Gosh, why don’t they hire 4 million people. The US unemployment problem…solved.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 25, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

  30. 27

    Presumably the Navy is the lessor, as it is the owner. Is the Navy going to co-operate? Will the Navy lease it for free? Seems they’d have to if it’s a “gift” as Richard Bangert says.

    I’m only supposing here, I don’t know for a fact, it just stands to reason that’s how it would be arranged.

    Comment by dave — August 25, 2011 @ 5:54 pm

  31. 11: Jack, Redeveloping AP is full of unknown costs and issues despite all the studies and cost estimates. I meant in my #8 that we represented a relatively united front to the LBNL when they came to AP to meet us. (There cold have been many more negative points brought up but almost every speaker was completely positive. And we did not have any major protests or other PR-effort-damaging occurrences during the meeting.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — August 25, 2011 @ 5:56 pm

  32. 27
    You’d think it could be a simple Defense to DOE transfer if DOE wanted it.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 25, 2011 @ 6:15 pm

  33. Off topic completely, Jack I just got home from Wine tasting at Pasta Pelican. There is no better deal in the bay area. We also had dinner otherwise I would feel like a thief.

    Comment by John P. — August 25, 2011 @ 6:39 pm

  34. 31: Jon, what you suggest in your #8 and your #31 follow-up is; it’s not the outcome that counts, it’s our united front and good intentions that count. Anybody who criticizes is not part of the united front and is therefore, negative to the process and unwelcome.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 25, 2011 @ 6:48 pm

  35. 30. The Navy is not the lessor. The City of Alameda through the Alameda Reuse and Redevelopment Authority is the custodian of all land at Alameda Point except for the area known as the wildlife refuge in the runway area. As custodian and designated future title holder to the land, Alameda can enter into any short or longterm lease that it wants to, with the option to grant title to anyone they want to. The authority to lease to the Lab is no different than the authority to lease to, say, Rock Wall Winery. That Alameda would be the future title holder was established in 1996 when the DOD signed off on our reuse plan. The Navy can only interfere in our affairs in two instances (that I know of): 1) in the event that a lease holder would have to vacate in order for environmental remediation to take place; the other “interference” would be in the amount of money the Navy would want in exchange for title.

    Although I have no firsthand knowledge, I think it’s safe to assume that the city cleared this potential Lab land giveaway with the Navy beforehand, and that the Navy is going to give us the land for free if Alameda is selected by the Lab.

    Why would the Navy give us the land for free? Because ultimately they want this property off of their books and giving away parts of it will further that effort. The last thing they want is for Alameda to throw in the towel and say keep it. Because of Tidelands Trust issues (too long a story for one post), an auction would not work, and the Navy would have to figure out what to do with it.

    As for the possibility that the Lab project doesn’t work out well because of government cutbacks, leaving us with empty buildings, I think we face the same risk whether it’s a corporation or the government. At least the Lab is a real entity with real federal dollars committed to building at least the first phase of the new campus, which is a night and day difference from the SunCal plan which had no commitment from any companies to build any businesses or hire anyone.

    Comment by Richard Bangert — August 25, 2011 @ 6:50 pm

  36. Thank you, Richard. I was aware of the short term leases for businesses, but a long term ground lease is a different animal than a short term lease of an existing building (in the private sector anyway). Thanks for the explanation.

    As for risk or govt cutbacks, I know little about the history of LBNL, or other federal labs. Have they experienced significant ebbs & flows in the past? Is there a history of facility closures, etc?

    Comment by dave — August 25, 2011 @ 7:20 pm

  37. Frankly I’m not so sure, given the economic situation the federal budget is in, there is much difference between a corporation and a federal department like DOE. DOE and especially the Labs and one that has not been built, face some turbulent weather with no clear sky ahead. The DOE’s primary mission is in no danger of being defunded, the labs may be in a more difficult situation.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 25, 2011 @ 7:27 pm

  38. Jack if you didn’t make so much sense all the time I would go by JS and pick up my Pom Poms and Sip on their Koolaid and do the Nod like the Bobbleheads.

    Comment by John — August 25, 2011 @ 7:51 pm

  39. And here’s one concrete example that just came to mind, re longterm leases with options: The owner of the Bladium has the option to buy that parcel when the land is transferred to Alameda. I have a vague recollection that the option to buy was the only way the owner was going to sink any money into an old hangar. I think it’s the only parcel with an option to buy, but not certain.

    As for a history of funding ebbs and flows, I can’t cite any trends. But I would point out that a lot of money for UCSF (which is expanding to Mission Bay) is coming from the National Institutes of Health, $400 million annually to be exact. I think that no matter how much pressure there is to cut federal entitlement programs, science programs will continue to get funding as a matter of national economic security.

    Comment by Richard Bangert — August 25, 2011 @ 8:58 pm

  40. 39
    From what I’ve found, the science programs the LBL are engaged in, have next nothing to do with national economic security (unless one buys into the green energy push at the expense of global economic power). The Lab’s current funding bump stems from this administration’s push towards fossil free energy with a political agenda and Tarp money. That doesn’t mean they couldn’t change their focus with a different political agenda in power or that there’s anything wrong with research in those arenas but, and it’s a big but, given the short term expectations of the economy, the economic ebb and flow may be ebbing away into the visible future.

    We’ve heard a lot about spin-off from the Labs’ research and innovation but look closely and you’ll find that a select few have directly benefited from Lab research as far as forming profit seeking companies. Most of these were formed because the Berkeley Lab has a very forgiving intellectual copyright policy and research performed at the Lab, paid for by taxpayers, transferred into private companies.

    The Labs are a creature of the DOE and outside their primary mission, which is to oversee nuclear weapon research, updating and disposal. The Labs, if there’s a budget crunch, will bleed at the expense of DOE’s primary mission.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 25, 2011 @ 10:12 pm

  41. Here is the RFQ for LBNL Second Campus

    Enviromental Assesment Starts 11/2011 -11/2012

    DOE and University Approvals 10/2012 -11/2012

    Occupancy December 2015

    http://www.cityofalamedaca.gov/getdoc.cfm?id=3970

    Comment by John — August 25, 2011 @ 10:17 pm

  42. Jack, as with almost all matters financial, you have no idea what TARP is or does.

    Comment by dave — August 25, 2011 @ 10:22 pm

  43. Select Preferred Site was for June 2011

    The Schedule is subject to change depending on outcome of each project phase.

    Looks like were already a few months behind already which pushes us into 2016 .

    This looks like no quick fix and might empty out alot of funds before any benefit is seen by the Citizens.

    Comment by John — August 25, 2011 @ 10:25 pm

  44. Dispelling Popular Delusions: TARP And Balance Sheets

    If I hear one more time about how TARP “worked” I’m going to throw up.

    TARP passed on 10/3/2008. The XLF (Financial Sector exchange-traded fund)) at the open of that day stood at $20.19. It never rose above that number from that day forward until the market finally bottomed in March on the 10th.

    What’s the importance of that date? It was two days later that Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) stated that:

    “We can, however, no longer deny the reality of the pro-cyclical nature of mark-to-market accounting. It has produced numerous unintended consequences, and it has exacerbated the ongoing economic crisis. If the regulators [SEC] and standards setters [FASB] do not act now to improve the standards, then the Congress will have no other option than to act itself.”

    That was a clear threat. You could call it extortion if you like; FASB (the accounting standards board) was told to either allow financial firms to lie about the market prices of their alleged assets or Congress would legislate into effect that which FASB refused to.

    TARP, objectively, failed. The financial sector’s market cap was decimated to the tune of more than 60% after the passage of TARP.

    Comment by John — August 25, 2011 @ 10:39 pm

  45. John: LBL announced during the shortlist phase that they had pushed the selection date to early fall because of the number of applicants. While they are technically “behind” it was not an unexpected delay.

    Comment by Lauren Do — August 26, 2011 @ 6:05 am

  46. 40 “The Labs are a creature of the DOE and outside their primary mission, which is to oversee nuclear weapon research, updating and disposal. The Labs, if there’s a budget crunch, will bleed at the expense of DOE’s primary mission.”

    from the Energy Dept’s website: “The mission of the Energy Department is to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.”

    It’s idle speculation that the Berkeley Lab will suffer cutbacks because it does work that is deemed less important than weapons research.

    Comment by Richard Bangert — August 26, 2011 @ 6:23 am

  47. 42 Re 40
    Strike Tarp ($700 Billion) and replace with ARRA ($787 Billion ) American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Sorry guru of all things with $ signs, it’s all yuan anyway.

    46
    When crunch time comes, which DOE mission branch do you think will take precedent, Mr. Bangert? And which do you think is more important?

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 26, 2011 @ 8:53 am

  48. 28. Don’t know about Jack and John, but I tend to decline invitations from anonymous sources. In the movies, folks who do that usually disappear. Temping though this Derek and his cookies may be.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — August 26, 2011 @ 8:57 am

  49. 48

    RLOL….Your not falling for that heres a cookie little Girl story

    Comment by John — August 26, 2011 @ 9:18 am

  50. Gosh, Denise, now you’re too cynical even for me. I don’t know what movies you mean. Anonymity is relative. I saw Jack in the Parade & John P. goes to city meetings, but how do I know “Denise Shelton” isn’t a pseudonym? Has it ever occurred to you that you should have to prove YOUR identity? Since there are dozens, but you seem to respect them, would it help if I signed my name “John”, also? How about “Al Wright (all right!)?”. I extended the invite for 3 reasons=1.)this weeks Public Notice from the Navy in the Sun is missing the date, 2.) Richard Bangert didn’t do it 3.)too many folks criticize the process @ the Point who haven’t been out there to LISTEN to the facts & GIVE INPUT WHERE IT COUNTS! You don’t have to be a RAB member to sit in the audience, ask a question, & have it recorded in the meeting minutes. Unlike City Council, the Navy [Derek Robinson] & the regulators actually try to answer your questions! And often if they don’t have an answer, they write it down & come back w/an answer @ the next meeting. Personally, I find that refreshing. While I’m here, I forgot to mention that the Public Comment Period for the Proposed Plan to clean-up Sites 9, 13, 19, 22, & 23 began Aug 24. Until 9/24/2011. There’s a Public Meeting next Wed 8/31/2011, AlPo Bldg.1, Rm 201, 950 W. Mall Sq. from 6:30-8 pm. Navy reps will provide visual displays & info on environmental cleanup (what & how long it will take). B/c no matter what is speculated here, no development will occur until it’s safe enough to proceed, determined by the Base Cleanup Team (BCT).

    RB:Why would the Navy give us (back) the land for free? How bout b/c they only paid the City $1 for it in the 1st place? And the sum of their improvements has been cancelled out by the size of the toxic footprint they left behind?

    Jack:while the Labs began as an outgrowth of the Manhattan Project, that’s no longer their primary mission. It’s to Win More Nobel Prizes & increase the prestige of the Lab as a magnet for global research.
    Again, if you visit any other blogging site outside Alameda, (like SFGate even) you’ll find few “real names”, but lots of handles. Like truckers use. 10-4, good buddy. You should get out more, Denise!

    Comment by vigi — August 26, 2011 @ 10:16 am

  51. vigi,
    DOE is currently the parent of the National Labs. Admittedly, the climate change research done at the National Labs is the sexy babe in the room right now. The DOE Nuclear mission doesn’t get the ink (most of what goes on in that arena is classified, not made public and few besides wikileaks and a few of our enemies a know much about it) but that DOE mission is alive and well and soaks up most of the money allocated to DOE.

    My point is that when push comes to shove, budget wise, the Nuke arena will be funded at the expense of other programs.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 26, 2011 @ 11:11 am

  52. As it should be Jack. I just think we should approach this with open Eyes and Not Open Wallet. I know that doesn’t appeal to the Shirtails that get pieces of the pie.

    Heres your ARRA #s for Alameda

    http://www.recovery.gov/pages/TextViewProjSummary.aspx?data=recipientAwardsList&State=CA&AwardType=CGL&zip=94501

    Comment by John — August 26, 2011 @ 11:34 am

  53. And furthermore, I’m trying to weld a lamb’s tongue to steel railing with a mig welder and the lamb is not cooperating! I could have used a training grant.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 26, 2011 @ 11:41 am

  54. 50. Busted. Yes, vigi, ‘Al Wright’ is a soodonim. Henceforth, I’ll sign with my real name.

    Comment by Not. A. Alamedan — August 26, 2011 @ 11:58 am

  55. 50. Yes, Denise Shelton is my real name. My maiden name is Luczai. I was born in Kingston, NY, and quite a lot of people know me personally especially through local theater productions, school events, and charity fundraisers. I even filled in for Bette at PSBA one year when she went on vacation. As profiles go, mine is not particularly low. I have a list of references and supporting documents if you’re interested. As for Al Wright, if you don’t know him on sight, YOU clearly don’t get out much. The man is everywhere and his business on Park Street, Raintree Studios, has been around since God was in diapers. He’s taken photos at almost every major event in town for years. Kate Quick and Jon Spangler are also very visible in the community, not just on the blogs. Some of us believe that people who speak out in public but don’t have the courage to do so with their name attached should not be taken seriously, and why should Lauren take all the heat? (I’ve never met Jack Richard in person, but I have been to the Pasta Pelican on wine tasting night, so I know he exists.) A couple of people on this blog like John P. and M.I. use shortened versions of their names but most of us know who they are because they post on other sites that require a full name. I’m well aware that a lot of people use handles on blog entries and I know why: they don’t have the guts to be taken to task in person for their rants and in Alameda, there’s a good chance that could happen. If you don’t really care enough to stand up and be counted, why should anybody care what you have to say?

    Comment by Denise Shelton — August 26, 2011 @ 1:38 pm

  56. Thanks for your comments, Denise. Vigi posts under several names but is generally identifiable as the same person because of her use of language, references, and tone of speech. I don’t get too excited about people who post uncivil comments under “handles”, except to wonder if they were to see the victims of their rudeness in public would they feel so free to be so confrontational and adversarial? It is sort of chicken *** to hide so your adversary can’t attack you in the same way you feel free to attack them. I think if you don’t want to “own” what you have to say, you probably should not say it, anonymously or not. Being deliberately mean, nasty or spiteful in lieu of offering rational arguments for an issue is intellectual laziness, or at worst, ignorance. I get beat up a lot for saying this, and accused of being mean myself, but it is the method I deplore, not the person’s right to have something to say and to say it.

    Yes, Jack I am still around; just took a few days off to clean my house and catch up on some writing. Glorious weather this afternoon. When I finish this I will go out to walk the dog.

    Comment by Kate Quick. — August 26, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

  57. Thank goodness Kate, thought they may have snagged you in the insanity sweep last week. Came close to getting me but I told the nice officer my name was Denise and turns out he knows her so he knew I wasn’t insane.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 26, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

  58. The Voice of Reason, that’s me. (Damn, now someone’s gonna hijack that for their handle and everyone will think it’s me. Sigh!)

    Comment by Denise Shelton — August 26, 2011 @ 4:37 pm

  59. The lab has said all along that they’ll put up the money to build the infrastructure — that’s one reason why the city can justify the “free” land. You’ll have to take my word for it because I don’t feel like looking it up. The offer of free land to the lab is not all that different anyway from having the land transferred to the VA. It’s still a form of fed to fed — nobody has said that, but I don’t see why not.

    I think Richmond is the only real competitor and the most logical site, because it has better access to the UC campus and it’s not on fill, plus being UC’s land. The Berkeley sites of course have the best access, but Berkeley residents have a long history of battling it out w/ the lab, and that neighborhood in particular has been battling with the city over land use for a couple of decades, literally. They don’t want the lab there. Albany depends on Golden Gate Fields for property taxes, and can’t afford a tax exempt use. The Oakland site is maybe 3 feet above sea level, and like the others above, is practically on top of the railroad tracks. The lab wants a site free from vibration, so good luck on that.

    Alameda is just not that accessible. That’s the problem and it always will be.

    Comment by dlm — August 26, 2011 @ 11:58 pm

  60. 55 and 56

    I think most keep their political beliefs to their own. If you own a Business or have Children in our Schools or Work for the Government or some Department of a Agency getting public funds or Supplier or provide a Service to some type of Government your hands are tied publicly.It encompass a large portion of our City. Probably why a lot don’t attend meetings and speak up publicly.

    The Threat against your Safety is a major concern also just listening to the Auditor and Irene Dieter for just speaking up against the raises of the Fire Department back in 2001.

    Look at how the Auditor and Treasure got fired upon for simply telling truth.

    I’m sure it cost them financially in their private practices.

    In my opinion it showed great character and courage.

    Look at how the Citizens of Alameda were treated at the Council Meeting with Zero Respect from Mayor and Council……..and New CM……..on Firemans Contract.

    Spin it anyway you want Kate

    Comment by John — August 27, 2011 @ 1:50 am

  61. Here is the “spin” you asked for: No one to my knowledge in the City in this administration or in past ones has put anyone who spoke up on any issue in harm’s way. If the voters vote for or against someone for any office based on their public positions, that is called a democracy. I admire those who stand up and say what they think and don’t weasel around, but the risk of doing that is that some people aren’t going to like what they say. It is incumbent upon the candidate to make his/her case well to the voters to convince them that their opinion is the best one. Just having an opinion and not doing the convincing part doesn’t get people elected. I thought many of the people who appeared before the Council in the matter of the Firefighter’s contract were extremely rude, strident and not well informed about the process or the outcome, which they consistently mischaracterized. There was abundant anger there and the presenters showed it. I thought the Mayor and the Council showed admirable restraint in the way they handled being shouted at and personally attacked. I think because they did not agree with the dissenters they were accused of being treated poorly. Sometimes you get what you want; sometimes you don’t. That doesn’t mean that those who were listening were being mean; it simply means that they disagreed. When my daughter was little and she wanted something badly, she sometimes raised her voice and said “Mom, you are not LISTENING!” I would tell her “Yes, I heard you, but the answer is no.” It is like that.

    I would suggest in future that the dissenters do a couple of things better: Research the issue well before responding to it publicly. Use reason, not emotion when presenting the case. Organize the presentation so that the speakers are not redundant and build the argument from factual information. Stay away from personal attacks and stick to the issue. Correctly separate fact from opinion. If there is an opinion, be sure it is stated as such. Have a concrete plan for a better way to do it when you criticize, and make sure the plan follows the governing laws and city obligations that may constrain the governing body from acting in a way that differs from what you think it should.

    Comment by Kate Quick. — August 27, 2011 @ 8:50 am

  62. # 60

    “Look at how the Citizens of Alameda were treated at the Council Meeting with Zero Respect from Mayor and Council……..and New CM……..on Firemans Contract.”

    MILWAUKEE — Protesters crowded the street outside Messmer Preparatory School in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood as Governor Walker visited the school Friday to read to children.The protests came just hours after someone vandalized the school ahead of the Governor’s visit.

    “Some of these folks super glued our front doors at the prep school,” said Br. Bob Smith, OFM, the president of Messmer Catholic Schools, about the school on the corner of North Fratney and East Burleigh Streets.According to Br. Smith, one protester said ” ‘Get ready for a riot,’ because they were going to disrupt the visit.

    People ought to start acting like adults,” said Br. Smith.”Such tactics should come as no surprise to anyone who’s been following (and in some cases channeling) the Left for as long as I have. Snarling viciousness has always been their default mode when their almost wholly imaginary “morality” — whence comes it? — is threatened by forces inimical.”

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 27, 2011 @ 8:51 am

  63. @John – Throughout history there have been people willing to speak up regardless of the consequences, often with a lot more at stake then getting mean mugged at the supermarket. And then, there have been people like you. A favorite quote from Frank Herbert: “Fear is the mind killer.” With a few (notable) exceptions, when comments are identified, the person holding forth puts a little more thought into what they say and tries to be more diplomatic. In spite of our occasional lapses, those on this blog who use their own names are, IMHO, a lot more coherent on average than those who don’t.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — August 27, 2011 @ 9:11 am

  64. Kate Look at what the Firefighters did to their own that Cost the City and it’s Citizens 640 k in a Lawsuit by thier actions if you don’t play by their rules. I suggest you review the transcripts of that lawsuit and talk to the Auditor about how he has been treated in this City by the Firefighters.

    Ray Zack act was undefensible but still have never apoligized to the Citizens or Stood up and take responsibility.Yet our Leaders Keep Riding the Firetruck and Slide up and down their Pole.

    Something doesn’t go from 30-32% of your Budget to 70% of your Budget in two contracts and you treat it like kid gloves while it will effect every decision you make in next 3 Years and sacrifice anything the Citizens Value To benefit a few that pay you off.

    How the Citizens stepped up at Council Meeting and how you viewed their treatment by council and Mayor and CM is why we don’t see things the same .

    I voted for most members on the School Board and Mike McMahon and asked a simple request so I could make an educated decision on Measure A. I have been given so many end runs and Total BS excuses for not being able to give information on something so simple. I have lost total Trust in these people.

    Comment by John — August 27, 2011 @ 9:34 am

  65. 63
    I think it’s not a good thing to generalize, categorize, temporize or compromise when interpreting the written word written by otherselfs.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 27, 2011 @ 9:54 am

  66. RE: 50. It’s official, none of us are real unless we have been sighted and verified in the flesh by Dr. Strangelove.

    Comment by M.I. — August 27, 2011 @ 10:01 am

  67. Way to go Mark, supports my case.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 27, 2011 @ 10:17 am

  68. Jack your 53 is priceless…….62 is what I see…….BWTFDIK

    Comment by John — August 27, 2011 @ 11:55 am

  69. John, if you’ve ever tried to weld a cast iron lamb’s tongue to a steel railing with a mig welder, you’ll know what I mean (for people who don’t know, a ‘lamb’s tongue’ is that curly thing that slants down then curves up terminating a hand rail).

    But I’m just a wannabe welder, not even any OJT so I probably could qualify for one or a dozen of the gov training grant giveaways. Then I could get off the unemployed list.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 27, 2011 @ 3:51 pm

  70. Lab Partner study aids coming up in the next AUSD tiny tot curriculum…or ‘show and tell’ in the new millennium.

    “Officials in Basel have agreed to rename the “sex box” after receiving some 3,000 letters of protest from parents angered by the controversial trove of wooden penises and fabric vaginas set to be used in a new sex education programme for playschool and primary school kids.

    Christoph Eymann, Basel education minister and member of the liberal democrat party (LDP), responded to parent’s protests in an interview with SonntagsBlick.

    “It was no doubt stupid to call it a ’sex box’ – we will change that. But we will stick to our goal: to get across to children that sexuality is something natural. Without forcing anything upon them or taking anything away from their parents,“ he said.”

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 27, 2011 @ 4:11 pm

  71. 63: Writing under one’s real name doesn’t guarantee truth, virtue, or coherence, DS! Just read the comments by Jon Spangler, Kate Quick, or (M.I.–was that you @ the Paramount Theater Fri. nite?). Nor does using an alias mean one has no guts or nothing important to say–I again refer U to Mark Twain, Lewis Carroll, & other prize-winning authors too numerous to mention. I’m glad you’re assured of your own self-importance, but I have yet to encounter you outside this blog. My handle is part of my message, unlike Kate Quick, who is anything but (sorry, but that name is just asking for it) The message should stand on its own merits, not the identity of the messenger. Do you want
    people to groan & roll their eyes & tune out what you have to say, like when Jon Spangler gets up to speak @ a Council meeting? I hope you get over your “identity” crisis soon, Denise!

    Raintree Studios is part of why I avoid Park Street. Gouged me $60 for a passport photo once.

    PS:While @ MIT, we Californiac grad students all piled into my 78 Honda Accord (the one APD stole) one autumn for a leaf-viewing excursion thru New England. Drove all the way to Maine & back to Cambridge. Never did it again b/c we all found those “colors” vastly overrated. Can you sing “I Love You, California”? Go Bears!

    Comment by alameda vigilante — August 27, 2011 @ 4:23 pm

  72. I wish I could get $60 for a passport photo.

    Comment by Not. A. Alamedan — August 27, 2011 @ 4:32 pm

  73. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_songs_about_California

    Comment by alameda vigilante — August 27, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

  74. 72
    You could if you had this one.

    http://www.passport-collector.com/2011/08/23/press-photo-1922-benito-mussolini-passport/

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 27, 2011 @ 5:31 pm

  75. Nice tactic, vigi, restate what I said inaccurately so somebody who doesn’t read the earlier posts thinks I hold opinions that I don’t. As for the fall colors, some years are better than others but it may just be a case of pearls before swine. (Some say those Bears are over rated, too. Not me!)

    Comment by Denise Shelton — August 27, 2011 @ 6:07 pm

  76. Cal probably won’t have a winning football season but I’ll have my Cal flag flying each game day anyway. Go Ducks! (I’m a transplanted Orgonian)

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 27, 2011 @ 6:28 pm

  77. Vigi – LOL. I married him and so take no responsibility for the name. Maiden name is definitely Irish as Paddy’s Pig and when we got married 43 years ago I was, like most others at the time, happy to change my last name to be Mrs. Quick. Proud to be still married to a great guy – much smarter than I and a great life partner.

    So it is either we love California (Go Bears!) and that means we can’t love anything about anywhere else (Go Fall Colors on the East Coast!)??? As a seventh generation Californian and a product of our public schools I think we are capable of loving our home state and loving a lot of other places, too. (Glad to know you know “I Love You California”, Vigi – most people think “California Here I Come” is our State song.). We all learned it in grade school as part of the standard state curriculum. Do you know the name of the fellow who wrote it? I have an autographed copy of the original published score. Not bragging, but that is how I know who wrote it.

    Hope you have a lovely Sunday, filled with love and peace and positive vibes (what could be more California than that?)

    Comment by Kate Quick. — August 27, 2011 @ 10:31 pm

  78. Lab Partners

    Our neighbors to the North know a lot more about us and what would be(is) good for Americans than we do.

    “The most influential teacher in North America today doesn’t have a teaching degree. He has never taught inside a classroom. But his ideas could begin to transform what happens in it.”

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/teaching-the-khan-way/article2143949/

    As more & more kids use his videos to actually learn something, watch for teacher’s unions across America and Canada to actively try to destroy him.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 28, 2011 @ 10:38 am

  79. Jack MIT has been offering FREE College courses online for years If someone really wants to get educated it’s avalable.

    http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/audio-video-courses/

    The Schools are for Teachers , Administrators and Staff…..You can see that in the Budgets. We have forgotten the Students in the whole equation and how could they benefit most .

    Our Education system needs to be totally reengineered but it will be huge battle. There is a reason they Spend more than any other lobbying group in protecting a system that is total failure.

    RE 53

    The reason I said it was priceless is because it reminded me of my Dad trying to weld stairway out to water years ago and having toughest time with him being a novice welder at best but would always try something at least once except maybe square dancing .

    Comment by John — August 28, 2011 @ 11:47 am

  80. Jack that Video on TED that you posted is why I have hope for us as a Country and World. There are some brilliant people out there with alot to offer without the Do Gooders mentality. Truly inspirational. A few of your jewels that you post here make wading thru all the dog droppings here worth it.

    Comment by John — August 28, 2011 @ 12:29 pm

  81. John, your Dad and I have a lot in common.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 28, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

  82. This video will blow away all that we have been told by the 340,000 Teachers in The CTA and Every Administrator Selling their Story To Every Parent and Citizen in California.

    Salman Khan Talk at the MIT Club of Northern California

    Comment by John — August 28, 2011 @ 2:14 pm

  83. If you’re a 7th gen Californian, Kate, why is your heritage Irish, & not Hispanic?

    Comment by vigi — August 28, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

  84. 77 via Kate: “So it is either we love California (Go Bears!)…”

    Well that clears that up! When you scream ‘GO BEARS’ it has nothing to do with modern day sports. Instead you’re beseeching Fremont, and your fellow rebels to raise the Bear Flag in revolt from Mexico back in the 1830’s.

    Shouldn’t you live in Fremont?

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 28, 2011 @ 4:40 pm

  85. Old car towed from your lawn, volunteer trees taking over your yard, insanity arrests, dislike of East Coast fall foliage, ardent Alameda nativism. Vigi, you are the most entertaining poster to this site. Please keep ’em coming.

    Comment by BC — August 28, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

  86. 67. “your case”…..case of what? if it’s contagious it’s not my doing.

    Comment by M.I. — August 28, 2011 @ 5:41 pm

  87. The scenes that I remember from my native New England, tho not quite the music, but it’s a nice juxtaposition.

    Comment by dlm — August 28, 2011 @ 8:10 pm

  88. Vigi: Spanish comes from the other side (maternal grandmother’s family). Name of Robles. Came to Monterrey in 1797 via boat from Mexico. Worked in the mines (New Almaden and at Kelseyville.) Settled in Los Gatos to farm in the late 1800’s. My great grandfather, Gabriel Robles lived to be 97 and was quite a character. He is buried in Lodi. His father is buried in Jolon at the mission in Ft. Hunter Liggett. Great grandpa Robles married his fourth wife at 92 (she was 77, just a kid) after outliving the first three. That part of the family didn’t have much use for the Bear Flag Rebels, since they believed that California should have stayed as they had known it as Californios, and that the gringos just ruined things.

    Irish came to Sacramento via the new transcont. railroad. They worked on the part that came from the East and when things met up at Prom. Pt. they just came on through to Sacto. So there you have it; I am a California mutt.

    Comment by Kate Quick. — August 28, 2011 @ 9:34 pm

  89. Thank you, KQ, for the extensive bio. Since I’m 3rdGen, & my roots only go back to 1870s, I was afraid 7th gen might go back to the Pleistocene.
    BC=Correction: my 1979 INSURED & Clubbed Ford Pickup Truck was LIFTED out of my DRIVEWAY (photo available on request b/c the dishonest police technician, Karen Timney, snapped the photo). According to the Alameda Municode: “Vehicles may be parked in driveways”. She probably got a bonus for bagging it, too.

    Comment by vigi — August 29, 2011 @ 7:06 pm

  90. Finally. A reason I could support a Lab here.

    Boeing said the preliminary design review was a key step toward building a FEL prototype for realistic tests at sea. More than 30 U.S. government and National Laboratory representatives attended the design review March 9-11 in Arlington, Va.

    Read more: http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2010/03/19/Navy-laser-weapon-goes-through-early-tests/UPI-58861269004576/#ixzz1WvEfMlDX

    Comment by Jack Richard — September 3, 2011 @ 1:15 pm

  91. It blowed up REAL good
    Fun, Indiana style

    Comment by dlm — September 3, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

  92. “August 25, 2011Lab partner
    Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Neighbors, Alameda Point, Business, City Council, Development — Tags: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am
    Now that all the community meetings have been completed for the wooing of Lawrence Berkeley Lab, I thought I would do a roundup of some of the accounts.”

    It’s about time to dwell on the significance of the delayed 2nd Lab placement decision. Wonder what Russospiere and his Jacoban Sprites’ see in the delay, optimism/pessimism. Wouldn’t be surprised if the final decision wasn’t further delayed until after next year’s elections given all the bad press DOE has undergone in the last few weeks.

    When it comes down to Alameda and the Lab, wouldn’t be surprised if the city did finally win (if there ever is a decision) the Lab booby prize. This city is probably the only entity on the face of the earth that would offer to give away a multimillion $ piece of property to a dysfunctional organization that has spent umpteen billions of other-people’s-money on a series of hoodwinking enterprises meant to dupe dim-witted scientists.

    http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2011/11/17/solyndra-hearing-becomes-giant-waste-of-time/

    Comment by Jack Richard — November 27, 2011 @ 11:11 am


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