Imagine, if you will, a special interest group meeting with members of
Alameda City Staff a government agency. Let’s also imagine that during this meeting it’s proposed that the group will not insist on getting something that they need want at a very specific location at a very specific time and in return they want support from the City this government agency to get what they want somewhere else at a time to be determined.
Sounds pretty shady eh?
I believe when you work out a deal like this outside of the public process, it’s generally referred to as being done in a back room, no?
In this case, it’s not about the Beltline, but rather the new and “improved” Veterans Administration plan. But, in the case of the Veterans Administration’s plans, the special interest group is the City and the government agency is the Navy/VA. From all appearances the City is not going to fight the VA/Navy over the encroachment into the Northwest Territories and in return the Navy’s not going to make the City’s life difficult over the conveyance of the rest of Alameda Point. Win – win?
The VA has released their EIR notice (they’re calling it an Environmental Assessment or EA) but it’s sort of like an EIR for the clinic and “cemetery” that they want to build. Oh by the way, I know the EA calls it a cemetery, but when I think of cemetery I tend to think of burial plots and headstones, this is not that. In the details it does clarify that it will be of the columbarium variety, so ashes not bodies.
So the plan was to have all of the assorted VA buildings in the runway portion of Alameda Point, but now they want to encroach on the Northwest Territories to place the physical buildings there, but still be responsible for the runaways portion.
Here is the old plan (also called Alternative 1, also called, not the one the VA wants)
Here is the new plan (also called Alternative 2, the Preferred Alternative aka the one they are probably going to build):
So, I’ll say that, I really don’t care which the VA builds, Alternative 1, Alternative 2, it’s all really the same to me. What I don’t care for is the process of how we got to this state. Or rather, the lack of public process of how we got to this place.
It’s the same issue I have with the Beltline and the Alameda Youth Sports gentleman’s agreement which was done outside of the public process. If the City wants to release terms of the agreement and what quid was swapped for what quo I’m sure we would all be interested, but this dealmaking outside of the public’s notice is not very transparent.
It really is a puzzle on how we got to the point where the VA was supposed to build wholly in the runaways portion and become stewards of the Least Turn colony to the point where they said, eh, we want to build here instead and the City didn’t fight it and instead will be saying, cool with us.
In the end, much like the Betline deal, the VA will end up putting their clinic and columbarium wherever they want to and nothing will derail the train because the only entities that could make large enough waves have already been promised something in the future that is worth this sacrifice.