Blogging Bayport Alameda

August 31, 2011

Survival of the unfittest

Filed under: Alameda, Business, Development — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

UPDATE BELOW, scroll down

So yesterday someone posted on my site a link to this address.  It is unclear if the person was truly tsk tsking the site or using it as a ruse to actually promote the site itself.   One commenter speculated that it is a SunCal job designed to “scare” Lawrence Berkeley Labs away from selected Alameda for its second site.   Another commenter revealed that the domain was registered via a proxy site which made identifying the owner a little more complicated.  And yet another commenter noticed that even though the email on the site read “” the hyperlink points to a

I screen capped the page in case anything changes. Because there are always changes.   So, not that this is a smoking gun or anything, but I delved into the source code to see if there was anything that would reveal anything else.  And left in some of the hidden tags (usually used for notes and such) was this reference to Harbor Bay Realty:

Which could mean any number of things like someone could have used a template from Harbor Bay Realty but would indicate that they had access to Harbor Bay Realty templates in the first place.

But then I also noticed that in the top meta tag area there appeared to be someone attributed to being the site’s author:

Certainly that could have been leftover from the template and I have emailed Mr. Sorensen to get a comment from him about his connection to the site.   Word is that he is not in town, but if the owner is reading this and Mr. Sorensen is not connected to the site, then it would probably be best if s/he eliminated Mr. Sorensen’s name from the website because it’s not cool to keep someone’s name connected to a site that s/he wouldn’t endorse willingly.


As mentioned by JKW in the comments section, the meta data which tagged Steve Sorensen as the author has been stripped from the website as has the tags with Harbor Bay Realty’s information.   Which at least means that even though the true author doesn’t believe Alameda is the right fit for LBL, at least they are scrupulous enough to remove information that could be associated with people who actually do support LBL in Alameda.



    Comment by Regular John — August 31, 2011 @ 6:18 am

  2. If this is from SunCal, or whatever they’re calling themselves these days, it doesn’t surprise me. I don’t wish to start the debate on whether or not they were successful in their attempts to influence the election, but THEY probably believe they were. If it worked once, in their minds, why not again? They’re like a hydra, lop off one head, another one pops up to take its place. If the Lab plan fails, they figure we’ll be more agreeable to letting them back in the sandbox. But like vigi pointed out the other day (imagine that, me endorsing vigi’s idea!), it may indicate that the Lab coming to the Point is a greater possibility than was once thought. This is exactly why I’m so enthusiastic about the Lab. You have people on both sides of other divisive issues joining together to say “yes.” After all the rancor of the past couple of years, it’s nice to see something most people can get behind.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — August 31, 2011 @ 6:35 am

  3. BTW, it was nice of Unfit Alameda (sounds like a branch of the Couch Potatoes–apologies to Jack Mingo) to provide us with contact info for the Regents. Now we can more easily call them and ENDORSE the project.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — August 31, 2011 @ 6:39 am

  4. I think Lauren is the mysterious Mr. T, since she’s giving the anti-lab so much ink. Way down deep in her heart she knows, in the long run, the Lab’s not in Alameda’s best interest. Far better that particular beautiful sited property is used for people not things.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 31, 2011 @ 8:27 am

  5. i was definitely thinking this was going to be a site for a new bootcamp class or something.

    Comment by Ken Copen (@kcopen) — August 31, 2011 @ 8:30 am

  6. “Lege, lege, lege, labora, ora, et relege.”

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 31, 2011 @ 8:39 am

  7. Lauren, since you are HTML savvy, you might want to put rel=”nofollow” in your link to the unfit site if you don’t want to give more credence to that site in Google’s “eyes.”

    Comment by Dan W. — August 31, 2011 @ 8:45 am

  8. 4. Scientists are people. What would you like to see there?

    Comment by Denise Shelton — August 31, 2011 @ 9:13 am

  9. 8
    Weekend people with kids.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 31, 2011 @ 10:19 am

  10. Who LIVE there.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 31, 2011 @ 10:20 am

  11. 11. As soon as they build that monorail, Jack, I’m right with you.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — August 31, 2011 @ 11:09 am

  12. Is anyone else wondering why Dennis Pagones or someone from HBR has not commented on this?

    Comment by J.E.A. — August 31, 2011 @ 11:46 am

  13. Why don’t we just make the Point Disneyland Navy Style 1940. You can Relive history and take a water ride or slide into our Lagoons. Free Glow Pops at our Food Carts. Take a Tour with one of Our Consultants. Enjoy a Tour and look at our CM’s Eggs all in One Basket Display and get to Ride on Red Firetruck. Visit our Learning Center and See the Calculations in our Wishing Well pond.

    Comment by John — August 31, 2011 @ 11:46 am

  14. I love you, Denise! Esp your Hydra analogy. Whenever someone says SunCal shot itself in the foot, it seems to grow another foot. Jack, I find myself siding w/Denise against you on the Lab. Since I was a nuclear chemist @LBL in the 70’s, I can vouch for LBL scientists being people. Fun, logical, practical, sensible people who know enough not to eat AlPo dirt,which unfortunately is what children sometimes do, especially weekend people w/kids. Who live there. The Navy Proposed cleanup Plan being presented tonite @ 6:30 [hint,hint] plans for the “hypothetical resident”, assumed to be exposed to soil & groundwater contamination by:”ingestion of soil & homegrown produce…” This might take 5 years, once they get started. But that doesn’t address any of the problems addressed under the Petroleum Program, which has a timetable all its own & apparently no community oversight like the RAB (altho we’re trying to find out!). If you guys are gonna speculate abt Land Use @ the Point, you really should come learn about what’s possible under the cleanup schedule & when it will be!
    On the bright side, the unsuitability of the land in the forseeable future for lots of families is a big reason SunCal doesn’t have much of a legal case against the City!

    Comment by vigi — August 31, 2011 @ 12:12 pm

  15. I just called a friend from Harbor Bay Realty and she they were at the Alameda LBL presentation and they wholeheartedly support LBL coming to Alameda!

    Comment by Karen Bey — August 31, 2011 @ 12:28 pm

  16. I’ve always considered the ‘unsuitability’ definition rather odd. There were up to 10,000 people of all ages exposed to that ‘unsuitability’ every day for up to 50 years. Guess what, a lot of them are now dying of old age.

    I have made no argument against scientists except most of them will be commuting here, not living.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 31, 2011 @ 12:28 pm

  17. JAE,

    I spoke with Dennis Pagones about it yesterday. He said that HBR has been, and continues to be, highly supportive of LBL at the Point and that they have handed out over 100 LBL lawn signs. He said he’d be surprised if Steve Sorensen was involved given that he was at the kick-off in support and has been seen wearing his move the lab to Alameda t-shirt.

    Apparently Sorensen is out of phone/internet contact right now. The HBR/Contact info was removed from the site this morning, which would suggest that Sorensen was not involved. More likely, it’s someone who works at HBR, but doesn’t speak for HBR, that set this up during their work time, and the information was accidentally captured in the code.

    Comment by John Knox White — August 31, 2011 @ 12:54 pm

  18. Quo vadis SunCal? According to this article, they’re out buying properties again, but they’re still on very shaky ground financially.

    Slimmer SunCal Steps Up Deals

    … the largest landowner in the Western U.S., with assets valued at about $4 billion during the real-estate boom. Bruce, the company’s chief executive, had a personal fortune estimated at about $300 million in 2007. SunCal has shrunk from about 500 to 100 employees, closed several divisions and sold its corporate jet.

    SunCal still is suffering a big hangover from the go-go years. It is battling in bankruptcy court with the Lehman estate over more than 20 poorly timed California land deals. The failed investment bank had invested more than $2.2 billion into SunCal deals.

    In a worst-case scenario in bankruptcy court, SunCal faces more than just the loss of the land. Bruce Elieff has signed about $230 million in bond guarantees that could be enforced if Lehman gains control of the projects.

    But SunCal also is being helped by the numerous hedge funds and private-equity firms that are eager to get into the land-speculation business while values are so low. These firms are willing to overlook the steep losses that SunCal and its partners suffered because of the company’s strong track record in land development.

    “It’s all about getting position for when the market comes back,” Stephan Elieff says.


    Never say die.

    Comment by dlm — August 31, 2011 @ 1:06 pm

  19. “Shaky Ground?”

    The exchange process began in earnest when more than 150 investors, contractors, developers and other interested parties attended an “Industry Day” to launch the Army’s search in 2007. SunCal was notified of their selection in September 2008 and a letter of agreement was signed in January 2009 – leading to yesterday’s signing of the official exchange agreement.

    On the 180 acres it receives, SunCal will develop Dublin Crossing, a pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use community that will connect the east and west sides of town currently separated by Camp Parks.

    “We’re excited to continue working with SunCal as we partner to bring new jobs, shops, restaurants and homes, plus parks and trails, to Dublin,” said Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti. “This new neighborhood is a significant part of our city’s future.”

    DLM, shouldn’t you call Mayor Sbranti and the Pentagon and tell them they made a big mistake?

    Comment by Dave L. — August 31, 2011 @ 1:20 pm

  20. Dlm has just upgraded my LEH shares from toilet paper to paper towels. Can I interest you in some Lehman Preffered dlm.

    Comment by John — August 31, 2011 @ 1:21 pm

  21. 20. Your habit of attempting to apply bathroom humor into as many of your comments as possible is not only annoying, it obscures your message. I’m attempting to not just write people off because I have disagreed with them in the past but take it on an issue by issue basis. You’re not helping.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — August 31, 2011 @ 1:29 pm

  22. Let me put on some Show Tunes of Glee to make you feel better Denise.

    Comment by John — August 31, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

  23. 22. OMG, you’re morphing into Jack!

    Comment by Denise Shelton — August 31, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

  24. I’m not sure if that’s complimenting me or putting down John.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 31, 2011 @ 3:09 pm

  25. See!

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 31, 2011 @ 3:29 pm

  26. SF Democrats hard at work (O, Sweet Saint Of San Andreas hear my prayer)

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 31, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

  27. #19: What, are you their promoter now? I’m going to assume that you haven’t read up on the bankruptcy issues, or you didn’t notice the part about staff reductions from 500 down to 100.

    Here they are, “positioning” themselves, for a market surge that may never come. It’s deja vue all over again.

    Comment by dlm — August 31, 2011 @ 6:05 pm

  28. #19, cont: I’m posting this whole thing because it’s on a restricted site. Here’s the key phrase: “The appeals court made clear that its ruling doesn’t bar SunCal from seeking to subordinate Lehman’s debt, but only that it requires the developer to either sue in the New York bankruptcy court or otherwise gain approval from Lehman’s judge.”

    SunCal’s “plan” for its bankrupt projects is to dismiss Lehman’s debt and simply not pay it. Now they have to go to the NY bankruptcy judge to get approval for their plan, which means they’ll probably lose, since the NY judge has consistently ruled in Lehman’s favor. You knew about this, right?

    Appeals Court Blocks SunCal From Demoting Lehman Debt
    Eric Morath
    | 04 August 2011

    The federal appeals court in San Francisco sided with Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., finding that California real-estate developer SunCal can’t push the failed investment bank’s debt below that of other creditors without the permission of the judge overseeing Lehman’s Chapter 11 case.

    The ruling issued Wednesday is a potential blow to SunCal’s plan to lift more than a dozen of its properties out of bankruptcy. The bankruptcy judge overseeing Lehman’s case has rebuffed SunCal on previous requests.

    The appeals court found that the Bankruptcy Code’s automatic stay provision, “bars actions that would diminish the estate of a debtor in bankruptcy.”

    “Therefore, if another wants to equitably subordinate the creditor claims…it must seek relief from stay from the first debtor’s home bankruptcy court,” Judge N. Randy Smith wrote in his opinion on behalf of a three-judge panel.

    The automatic stay, a bedrock of the Bankruptcy Code, protects a company in bankruptcy from being “depleted” by lawsuits or seizures of property. Smith said SunCal’s move to wipe out Lehman’s lien on a California property valued at $42.9 million constitutes such a seizure.

    Lehman and SunCal have been battling for more than two years over the fate of the real-estate projects in courts in New York and California. The bank and SunCal, a family-owned developer based in Irvine, Calif., were once allies during California’s real-estate boom. But the two fell out after Lehman’s collapse, leaving some 19 real-estate projects mired in bankruptcy protection in Orange County, Calif. SunCal itself is not in bankruptcy.

    The former partners have proposed rival bankruptcy-exit plans for the SunCal projects, in which Lehman sank more than $2.3 billion prior to the collapse of the California real-estate market.

    SunCal’s plan to auction off the properties calls for paying creditors, other than Lehman, in full.

    The developer justifies that treatment of Lehman’s claims because it’s suing, in California, to bump Lehman’s hundreds of millions of dollars in secured debt to a lower priority.

    SunCal says Lehman reneged on a promise to fund its real-estate projects in an effort to squeeze the land developer and to take over the projects for itself.

    Lehman has repeatedly denied the bank acted improperly with respect to financing the SunCal projects and likened the developer’s litigation strategy to purchasing a “lottery ticket.” It says the strategy is actually designed to benefit members of the Elieff family, which controls SunCal.

    The appeals court made clear that its ruling doesn’t bar SunCal from seeking to subordinate Lehman’s debt, but only that it requires the developer to either sue in the New York bankruptcy court or otherwise gain approval from Lehman’s judge.

    Lehman’s lending affiliates have proposed a pair of their own Chapter 11 exit plans for the properties.

    Together, Lehman’s plans call for the investment bank to take control of the projects. While its plans offer creditors between 10 cents and 50 cents of every dollar they are owed, Lehman said this is still a better deal for creditors because their chance of recovery is greater under Lehman’s plans than under SunCal’s rival plan.

    -Patrick Fitzgerald contributed to this report.

    Comment by dlm — August 31, 2011 @ 6:32 pm

  29. Why are we spending so much time on SunCal, which is a dead issue (other than the lawsuit, over which we have no leverage by continuing to be obsessed by them) and not spending our time trying to figure out who did the unfit alameda stuff? It seems to me unlikely that it is SunCal. The use of the HBR template does not point in that direction, but what direction we should be looking in is still a mystery to me. We have a lot of super sleuths in Alameda who are technologically adept – we need to find where the trail leads and deal with the person or persons who have an issue with the Lab coming to Alameda. Then we can have a dialogue and see what the underlying issues are and confront them as adults. Lord, I hate this sneaky stuff. How do we have a meaningful exchange of ideas with a mystery person(s)?

    Comment by Kate Quick. — August 31, 2011 @ 8:19 pm

  30. Ron Cowan, currently bargaining with the City is part owner of HBR along with Pagones. It was done on their computer and “scrubbed” by them. conclusion- they did it to gain some advantage in bargaining with the City for the land swap, OR a HBR employee did it to undermine HBR. Sorenson’s computer was picked because he was out of town. HBR probably requires an employee login ID so Pagones knows who did it right now. His comments are deliberately misleading. Very bad business either way.

    Nice scoop Lauren.

    Comment by really? — August 31, 2011 @ 8:41 pm

  31. 17. I love the website unfit Alameda. It is just what the city deserves. Hey Johnny, your investigative powers are so cool. Did you learn that in journalism school?

    Comment by Bernice Wong — August 31, 2011 @ 9:43 pm

  32. 24

    RLOL……….Jack I will take that as a compliment…..If I only had 10% of your knowledge and wisdom I would probably let all this BS roll off like water on a ducks back……….I don’t know why i try and fight getting dumbed down.

    Comment by John — August 31, 2011 @ 10:02 pm

  33. Shhhhh John, they’ll find out my real name is John and you’re my alter ego.


    THIS CERTIFIES THAT John Jerome Richard has honorably completed the High School Courses of Study as prescribed by this Institution and is awarded this Diploma.

    Given at St. Patrick High School
    Walla Walla, Washington

    Sister Jeanne Marie
    Directress of Schools

    Comment by Jack Richard — September 1, 2011 @ 9:03 am

  34. Okay, Jack. Let’s see the report card.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — September 1, 2011 @ 10:29 am

  35. #16: Jack, you won’t be hearing from the people who didn’t make it to old age now, will you? Both my parents were Navy lieutenants during WW2/met @the O’Club bar/married in the NAS Chapel. Mom died age 66 from cancer/dad died age 64 from a stroke. But since few adults got thru WW2 w/o using tobacco &/or EtOH, it’s impossible to know what role exposure to now-banned toxins like Ra226 & PAHs played in their deaths. I’ve had to tell too many 75 yo men that they have lung CA even thought they quit smoking 25 yrs ago, b/c they smoked from ages 25-50. Anyway you look @ it, its a horrible way to go. At least, let’s try to prevent future cancer deaths by making sure Alameda Point is as clean as possible before we let more families live out there.

    Comment by vigi — September 1, 2011 @ 11:40 am

  36. 34
    You show me yours first. I will say I didn’t do too well in deportment but got good grades in hanging around the pool hall, perfecting the correct dangle of the cigarette, drinking beer, combing the hair, dragging the gut…you know, the stuff that counts.

    Comment by Jack Richard — September 1, 2011 @ 1:29 pm

  37. Jack wait til the Church Lady finds this out…LOL

    Comment by John — September 1, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

  38. Take the lady out of the church and she ain’t no lady…that’s one thing I learned real Quick in a Catholic high school. Something about, you can always go to confession so….course I myself never had much to say in the booth, being such a nice guy.

    Comment by Jack Richard — September 1, 2011 @ 2:18 pm

  39. Vigi. think this recent spate of insanity on the island might have something to do with the toxins on the base? Five more cases in today’s Sun. There are a lot of people working and playing on the base, could be a connection.

    Comment by Jack Richard — September 1, 2011 @ 2:38 pm

  40. Back when the base was open, they had a vector center, The current island insanity cases might be misdiagnosed.

    There may be a vector host spreading a communicable disease across the island. A likely incubation site would be from an area already known for its Slyme disease ridden unhealthy environment. Other than a few pizza joints, that leaves the base. A vector center would have located through commonality of victims and symptoms quickly. In the meantime, without causing undo alarm the prudent thing is to abandon unhealthy sites.

    Comment by Jack Richard — September 1, 2011 @ 3:14 pm

  41. Enlightening Ride On Subway (via Wellness Expo)

    Comment by John — September 1, 2011 @ 6:36 pm

  42. jay Leno had a hilarious segment called “Police Blotter”, w/real small-(&big)town items, Fri nite. I say we should send him the Alameda Sun w/ the most insanity arrests.
    Could be due to West Smile Virus in the water of the Least Tern preserve. Since it attacks birds as well as humans, maybe that explains the behavior of those annoying crows.

    Comment by vigi — September 3, 2011 @ 3:04 pm

  43. Any follow up on any of this? Comment from Mr. Sorensen? Comments from Harbor Bay after IT examination? Just curious.

    Comment by Jeff Ward — September 6, 2011 @ 7:53 am

  44. 29. . .” .and deal with the person or persons who have an issue with the Lab coming to Alameda.”

    OMG. Ms Quick, I don’t yet support the lab coming to Alameda. What are you gonna do about it? Now I’m scared. Are you gonna sic your ‘super sleuths’ on me and put the hurt on me? I can’t believe you are threatening people like that on a pubic forum.

    Comment by Not. A. Alamedan — September 7, 2011 @ 10:24 am

  45. #44. When I said “deal with”, I did not mean it to be any sort of threat, but that we would be able to have a dialogue if we knew who it was that put out the unfitalameda stuff. It is hard to have any conversation with an anonymous person or group. How does one deal with their issues? Or is this just another “hit and run?” Of course, Not AA, you knew that was my intent, but it is just tons more fun to poke fun at an individual than it is to deal with the issue in an adult, respectful manner. Then you don’t have to come up with cogent arguments. Feh!

    Comment by Kate Quick. — September 7, 2011 @ 11:06 am

  46. I have given my cogent arguments re: the lab on this forum previously under my psoodonim.

    Comment by Not. A. Alamedan — September 7, 2011 @ 11:50 am

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