Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 30, 2013

Swap Trek II: the Wrath of Cowan

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Development — Tags: , , — Lauren Do @ 6:00 am

A few early morning  updates in the body!


So over the weekend I received this forwarded email that was sent to Mayor Marie Gilmore and City Manager John Russo, but to their personal email addresses so you aren’t going to get a copy if you try to do a public records request.   It was sent to them from Ron Cowan, I’m not even going to try to nutshell it for you, just see for yourself.   The “redacted” is because they are the personal email addresses of the Mayor and the City Manager:

cowan email

Let me let that sink in a bit.



Got it?

As for the players in this email the “Willie” in this scenario is Willie Brown, yes THAT Willie Brown.   “Tim” is Tim Hoppen the head of Harbor Bay Isle Associates.  The first few “John’s” are, of course, John Russo.  “Marie” is Marie Gilmore.   The “John and Andrew” referenced in the last line is not John Russo, but predates even the whole Mif Swap plan too. are John Russo and Andrew Thomas (Planning Department) as Ron Cowan is attempting to push the blame on to the City for coming up with the Land Swap II idea on the City.

Here’s how I understand the background of how this email came to be and the resulting behind the scenes extras, bullet pointed for easy reading:

  • Much like the whole Mif Swap thing, the Mayor and the City Manager agreed to support a process — not a project — for conducting an open community discussion on Ron Cowan’s proposed project.   The condition was that the application had to be submitted by April 2013 so that we didn’t get a Mif 2.0 land swap community discussion where everyone and their mother was being accused of shilling for Ron Cowan for even suggesting that we should work our way through the process before saying “no way” the project itself.
  • Clearly April 2013 has passed and Ron Cowan is only in the nascent stages of actually pulling together some application.
  • When Ron Cowan’s application seemed to be nothing more than a lot of rumor, the Mayor asked the Ron Cowan pull the plug on the proposed project.
  • Also, the Mayor told Ron Cowan that there has been little to no support expressed for his project either to her directly or before the Council.
  • Supposedly, Willie Brown was asked by both the Mayor and the City Manager to intervene to speak to Ron Cowan about pulling the plug.  (clearly that didn’t work).
  • Allegedly Ron Cowan has told lots and lots of people that he will run a $100,000 campaign against Marie Gilmore if she stood in the way of his project moving forward.
  • Also purportedly this email or one very similar in nature has been carbon copied and forwarded to various people as well.

The gist of the email can be summed up in this one sentence from Ron Cowan to both Marie Gilmore and John Russo:

So let’s all take the high road….if we see any indication otherwise it’s going to be hell to pay.

Essentially Ron Cowan is threatening to take down Marie Gilmore in the next mayoral election if she doesn’t vote his way on the Harbor Bay Club/North Loop Road swap.  I love that “taking the high road” is Cowan-speak for doing what he wants.  One would think that explicit threats wouldn’t necessarily be considered “taking the high road.”

At this point given this letter, anyone who accepts campaign dollars from Ron Cowan should be pretty much tainted.  And Marie Gilmore will pretty much have to recuse herself from any vote because a vote FOR the project will be viewed as her caving into the threat by Ron Cowan.  A vote AGAINST the project could be perceived as retaliation for being threatened in the first place.  Politics really is quite a nasty business.



  1. This goes into the category of “emails that should not have been sent.” Who is advising Cowan? Even if you personally “thought” like this, it is not how it should be expressed. I am sure the Mayor already figured out that if she did not support Cowan’s latest money making scheme then he would not support her. But has Cowan ever been a “king” maker? I know he slipped the previous mayor $15,000 for her campaign for supervisor.

    Comment by commonsense — September 30, 2013 @ 6:42 am

  2. This is so outrageous. I hope Ron Cowan doesn’t get rewarded for this unbelievable bullying. Can we rename the Ron Cowan Parkway?

    Comment by cat6 — September 30, 2013 @ 8:06 am

  3. Unclutch the pearls, people. This is what politics looks like when money is on the line. You think the firefighters’ union plays nicer? You only see this email because the mayor feels secure in leaking it, she fears Cowan far less than the IAFF. (Or other groups, I only name the FF’s ’cause they are active & visible & equally bare knuckled as RC)

    Comment by dave — September 30, 2013 @ 8:37 am

  4. LOL! Shades of early HBI development talk. Love the way Ron makes it sound like his good friend Willie jumps when Ron says jump.

    Comment by Li_ — September 30, 2013 @ 9:02 am

  5. “Tell them Willie Boy was Here!” Really? Are they remaking that movie fer sure? With Ron Cowan playing Robt Redford’s part? So, on to more serious stuff. Can we be sure that this email came from Cowan? I’m wondering about the aol addy. really? AOL? Makes me wonder, and he is so well hated around town that I wouldn’t be surprised if someone spoofed him on this. That aside, my prediction- Mayor Gilmore will NOT recuse herself in this vote, nor will any other elected official. Just ain’t gonna happen in Alameda. Should have happened before on several votes, but didn’t. So, no one will be setting a precedent here. Too bad.

    Comment by Not. A. Alamedan — September 30, 2013 @ 9:27 am

  6. Ladies and gentlemen, there you have it. This is how it works in Washington, too. Surprised? Now let’s run the bastard out of town on rail.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — September 30, 2013 @ 9:30 am

  7. This email sounds like the ramblings of a demento no longer oriented to person, time, or place. What ambitions for mayor? Gilmore has been mayor for a while now-shouldn’t she be running for supervisor next? Willie has his bridge..he is old news…why should we care what he thinks any more?

    Comment by vigi — September 30, 2013 @ 9:49 am

  8. I well remember when the Harbor Bay Club was built and was to be supported solely on the expectations of the homes to be built and sold out there. The club was designated to use by HBI residents and homeowners only. When the club was finished the sales of homes came to a screeching halt because the housing market had dried up. The club then graciously requested the residents of Alameda to step up and join the club but with the arrogant caveat that the “residents” memberships would only be temporary and would be terminated when HBI was filled in. It seems the arrogance factor has now been multiplied.

    Comment by George — September 30, 2013 @ 10:03 am

  9. Can you imagine the morning traffic on Packet Landing with the already impassable Earhart congestion? Can you imagine the late night bright lights a tennis “racket” noise keeping adjacent Bay Farm residents from a well deserved peaceful evening night after night. Why not just put some homes there off North Loop Road and leave the club where it is? Can you imagine the construction congestion and noise pollution while the proposed project is being implemented?
    Council, and Mayor Marie, kill this project! Also, take his name off the cross-airport roadway and name it after a true hero.
    KTP, President, Bay Cove Owners Association.

    Comment by K. T. Pratt — September 30, 2013 @ 11:21 am

  10. NAA: the email came from Ron Cowan and apparently he forwarded to his own staff as well.

    Comment by Lauren Do — September 30, 2013 @ 11:43 am

  11. 10) Thanks, Lauren

    Comment by Not. A. Alamedan — September 30, 2013 @ 11:47 am

  12. Willy, Ron and Don’s awesome adventure

    Comment by — September 30, 2013 @ 1:14 pm

  13. Cowan’s a crook … we all know it and now, thanks to him, we also know he’s a jack*ss.

    Comment by Kipp — September 30, 2013 @ 3:05 pm

  14. Sounds like a clear case of foot-in-mouth syndrome. I am sure Marie and John have the courage to stand up to this guy. I hope he never conducts business in this town again.

    Comment by alestrella — September 30, 2013 @ 11:25 pm

  15. Are we all just pawns in Ron Cowan’s master plan? Are concerns regarding children’s safety at Amelia Earhart School and adding 200 more cars to the congestion on Packet Landing, just part of that master plan we have to accept? Did I really move to Harbor Bay Isle to see “a money grabbing …” bully our elected officially?
    Ron, I think your master plan just took its last breath. Spend all that “campaign money” on upgrading the present Harbor Bay Club.

    Comment by Dave & Judy Terry — September 30, 2013 @ 11:33 pm

  16. Live by the sword/die by the sword … the mayor is a crook also! No sympathy here!

    Comment by Cher — October 1, 2013 @ 6:48 am

  17. I am so not surprised! Every time this man needs money he comes to get it from Alameda residents!
    Get Ron Cowan and all his followers out of this town…let him try to pull this crap in another town!!

    Comment by Mr. & Mrs. Albert McCaffery — October 1, 2013 @ 12:09 pm

  18. While I don’t like Mr.Cowan’s plan to build housing on the Packet Landing site I am not sure that he doesn’t have a legal right to do so. His e-mail to Mayor Gilmore and John Russo, however, was quite amateurish bordering on thuggery. Having read this letter I find myself unwilling to support this project.

    Comment by Anne Spanier — October 2, 2013 @ 1:28 pm

  19. Cher, could you please give us specific examples of how you know the mayor is a crook? I think this is malicious slander and has no place here. The discussion should be on the issue. Is, by means of this memo, Mr. Cowan threatening our Mayor and City Manager if they do not do as he says? Sounds like it and if so, it is he, not the Mayor and City Manager who is acting inappropriately.

    Comment by Kate Quick — October 2, 2013 @ 3:11 pm

  20. Is “crook” an accurate moniker for a politician who hires a political contributor over more qualified candidates and accepts money from entities to which she then votes sweetheart contracts?

    Comment by dave — October 2, 2013 @ 3:47 pm

    • Examples please. I do not know the mayor and have no dog in this hunt. However verifiable facts are important when accusations are bandied about.

      Comment by George — October 2, 2013 @ 3:50 pm

  21. The mayor accepted a campaign contribution from John Russo, then soon thereafter voted to hire him as city manager. Russo had no prior CM experience and was chosen over the former asst. CM who had significant relevant experience. Russo was also an elected official from another city at that time. It is a highly unusual step to hire an elected person from another city for a non-elected job.

    The mayor has also accepted significant campaign contributions from the public safety unions and consistently voted in favor of their budget busting contracts.

    What do you think is the proper term for this behavior?

    Comment by dave — October 2, 2013 @ 4:03 pm

    • Mayor’s prerogative. How do the things you mention make the Mayor a “Crook”?

      “Crook” implies criminal or illegal activity.

      Comment by George — October 2, 2013 @ 4:07 pm

  22. In the Private Sector those would be called Bribes and a Company would Fire you on the spot for taking money to hire someone or giving someone raises for taking money against best interest of Company.

    If someone maliciosly slandered and did something against another person they would be fired on spot also.

    It’s ok here in City.

    Comment by We call it Serving with a smile — October 2, 2013 @ 4:18 pm

  23. Only if you can truly say that a person who was solidly employed elsewhere who gave political contributions to several candidates in various cities, and then was employed by a vote of the whole council later is proof of some sort of payoff by one individual. Or, that if a PAC contributes and people contributing to that PAC later negotiated a labor contract with several diminishments in benefits and the contract was, again voted upon by a majority of the council is proof that there was a payoff related to one person. You see, those arguments just don’t work. You are not obligated to like the Mayor or agree with her, but she did not , as an individual cause either of these two things to happen, nor are either examples of “crookedness.” Poor reasoning and intellectually bereft. I am not writing in defence of the Mayor, but in defense of rationality and a request for civil discourse in lieu of name calling.

    Comment by Kate Quick — October 2, 2013 @ 4:25 pm

    • In re: my comment #5 above-“. .my prediction- Mayor Gilmore will NOT recuse herself in this vote, nor will any other elected official. Just ain’t gonna happen in Alameda. Should have happened before on several votes, but didn’t. So, no one will be setting a precedent here.” Here’s one example where there should have been a recusal and there weren’t none.

      Comment by Not. A. Alamedan — October 2, 2013 @ 4:42 pm

    • Thanks Kate. Name calling comes to easily in today’s “polite” society. Civility in DC might need to start at the local level.

      Comment by George — October 2, 2013 @ 5:02 pm

  24. Trading lucrative favors for cash is, sadly, legal. It is also the bane of our system, from the local to the federal level.

    I asked what the right word is for trading lucrative favors for cash. Perhaps it’s not “crook.” It is “ethical?” Is it “honest?” Is it “good government?” What do you call it?

    Comment by dave — October 2, 2013 @ 4:30 pm

  25. Kate there are 10,000 plus Cities in US……Please give me your 10 favorite Cities where another City Employee in another City gave huge campaign contributions to a Mayor and City Council members running for office and was looking for a New Position ?

    In Fact I will just take your top 3 out of 10,000. I will be Rational.

    Comment by We call it Serving with a smile — October 2, 2013 @ 4:36 pm

  26. 25

    The “diminishments” you cite in the contracts were de minimis and you know it. They were not the significant cuts needed to A) prevent the city from burning through its reserve within a few years and B) restore some funding to parks & rec, public works, and other depts. that have had their funding slashed even while the fire budget has continued to grow. The mayor took the money from the unions. She in turn, and she was not alone, voted unsustainably rich contracts to them.

    Comment by dave — October 2, 2013 @ 4:37 pm

  27. 29

    What we need is a law requiring recusal on votes directly affecting campaign donors.

    Comment by dave — October 2, 2013 @ 4:52 pm

  28. Bottom line here, do not call people crooks in public, especially when you cannot sustain proof of law breaking. You can say you don’t like her until the cows come home, but not throw around accusations you cannot sustain when those are intended to harm her. I think we have laws about that.

    Comment by Kate Quick — October 2, 2013 @ 4:53 pm

  29. I did not call her a crook. In fact, I asked what the right term is. What is your answer? What do YOU call a politician who takes money from a party & votes that party a significant sum?

    Comment by dave — October 2, 2013 @ 5:01 pm

  30. Live by the sword/die by the sword … the mayor is a crook also! No sympathy here!

    Comment by Cher — October 1, 2013 @ 6:48 am

    Comment by George — October 2, 2013 @ 5:05 pm

  31. The mayor did do exactly what I have stated. Since when are facts uncivil?

    Comment by dave — October 2, 2013 @ 5:06 pm

  32. 32. I would call that politician an AMERICAN who got elected by a democratic process. It seems to cost money to run for public office. People do seem to want to elect politicians who use their own money to “buy” a seat, i.e. Huffington, Meg Whitman, Mitt Romney or Pat Bail. It might have something to do with the origins of the U.S. Constitution. Power to the people and the masses!

    Comment by BarbaraK — October 2, 2013 @ 5:32 pm

  33. So, Dave, were you on the citizen’s committee that screened the candidates for City Manager? I was, as was Jane Sullwold and others, representing a broad spectrum of Alamedans. We sent information to the Council (all five of them) as to what we thought the strengths and weaknesses of each of the three candidates we interviewed were. We also reviewed their resumes and things that they had written. While I cannot reveal the information we reported out (we were not asked to “pick” or “prioritize” the candidates; simply to give what we saw, as a group were their strengths and weaknesses), I can say that if you did not participate in that committee you would not truly know who was the best qualified, and for what reasons. There was a process; not just a simple “I like this one” that drove the decision that five people on the council made.
    Also, the Mayor and Council do not do the negotiations; professionals do that. They give direction as to what the City can do financially, and what concessions they would like to see as a result, but the individual council members and the mayor do not negotiate and again, as a group, they approve the final result. Most of the salary and benefits levels that are most complained about on this blog were set by prior councils. This council has started to work on concessions and has cultivated a less adversarial approach with the employees which has allowed the City to gain some ground. These issues will not be solved in one negotiation cycle, but may be realigned over several cycles.

    Comment by Kate Quick,. — October 2, 2013 @ 6:50 pm

  34. How did an elected official from another city even make it to that committee if not for personal connections with the mayor et al?

    Do you understand how the exchange of money creates a serious conflict of interest? Even if things are completely above board, money changing hands creates the very credible appearance of corruption, something any leader must strive to avoid. Conflict of interest rules & guidelines, such as recusals, can serve to protect an official’s credibility — if they don’t vote on who paid them, their honesty isn’t called into question. Once they do vote on who paid them, they cannot be trusted. No matter how innocent they may be, their credibility is shot. They took the money & gave the goods. What else can the public conclude but a quid pro quo? Surely someone who finger wags CONSTANTLY about good government & fair dealing can understand this very simple concept. Or does it not apply to politicians you like?

    Comment by dave — October 2, 2013 @ 8:04 pm

  35. Kate in the meantime the residents sacrifice Park Programs, Pools, watch City Assets Crumble , watch fees grow to Sustain Unsustainable compensations.

    “Change will take exactly as long as you think it will”….. It could take one Contract or Going Bankrupt.


    It will take as long as the Unions dictate.

    This has been one Giant Circle Sniff for way too long….


    Comment by “Change will take exactly as long as you think it will" — October 2, 2013 @ 8:09 pm

  36. #38. The person “elected official who made it to the committee” applied for the job, just as all the others. As a long time veteran of HR work in a governmental setting, I was pleased to see that the top candidates we interviewed all met the rather stringent criteria for the job, as it was advertised, and submitted excellent applications with lots of attachments to demonstrate thier qualifications. The usual practice is to develop a matrix and assign weights to various types and lengths of relevant experience and winnow the applications to arrive at the ones who are the best qualified. I do not recall that anyone on that rather large and diverse committee felt that there was anything unusual or suspect in the process. We interviewed well qualified candidates and gave the Council our opinion of the strengths and weaknesses of each of them. I felt it was a fair process, and know enough about the rules for civil service selection that if I thought it was in any way not fair I would have spoken up, and loudly. As there were lots of very smart people on the committee, I am sure they would have spoken up, too if any irregularity was suspected. I am sorry that the candidate you favored was not chosen and that disappointed you, but I felt all the candidates were qualified and screened appropriately.

    The words “exchange of money” again implies that someone got paid off to do something. That is the kind of assertion to which I am objecting, since no nexus has ever been identified, except in the minds of those who dislike a person and wish to cast unfounded aspersions. Stick to the issue: was Mr. Cowan’s memo intended to bully our city officials into doing his will? Or not? Doesn’t matter if I “like” or “dislike” any individual; it is not right to use words like “crook” or “paid off”, intended to harm a person’s character if you have nothing but your opinion that a nexus existed. My opinion. Finger wagging finished, and no further comment.

    #39. The main reason the City has trouble funding our parks, pools, and maintenance programs is the economic downturn. A decrease in revenues from local, state and national sources has eroded our ability to fully fund all that we need. Making the situation even worse, the pension obligation is unsustainable, and the City is trying to attack that on several fronts, including getting some concessions in recent negotiations, albeit they were small. It is an unreasonable assertion that all the City’s finance problems can be laid to the door of the pension and benefits obligation issue. Ask the Kevins; they will tell you that that is just not the case.

    Comment by Kate Quick,. — October 2, 2013 @ 10:49 pm

  37. Once again, and last time:

    Money changed hands. Favors returned. Doesn’t pass smell test. Never will.

    Comment by dave — October 3, 2013 @ 6:15 am

    • You could put a rose in some folks face and they would smell skunk. Such is life. Don’t get in a pissing match with them as you will never resolve e their personal issues. And What about RC’s email? The original point of the thread before it took off on a rant against the Mayor of Alameda?

      Comment by George — October 3, 2013 @ 6:35 am

  38. Cowan’s email makes him look like a jerk, which surprises nobody. It doesn’t, and should’t, affect the validity of his plan, however. The EIR should be separate from his personality. Seems very clear that the mayor at least will not vote for it, that is the whole reason she leaked it.

    Comment by dave — October 3, 2013 @ 7:26 am

  39. #43. Did you miss the part where Lauren said she got it from Cowan directly, and that he copied his staff? Please do not persist in assigning motives and actions to people you don’t like when you ignore factual information that is presented to you. Not helpful to the discussion of the issue. Argue the issue and leave off the smears. This is less of a “pissing match” than it is a plea for reasoned discussion of the issue. What do the facts of Mr. Cowan’s email mean to how his plans for building on Bay Farm will succeed in the approval process?

    Comment by Kate Quick,. — October 3, 2013 @ 7:42 am

  40. I took Lauren’s post 10 to mean that the email is authentic, as in it came from Cowan. The post she was answering was doubting it was real. It doesn’t say, to my reading at least, that LD got it from Cowan.

    Blogmistress, please clarify.

    Comment by dave — October 3, 2013 @ 7:55 am

  41. Lauren, did you get it from Cowan?

    Comment by dave — October 3, 2013 @ 12:32 pm

  42. I did not receive the email from Ron Cowan.

    Comment by Lauren Do — October 3, 2013 @ 12:48 pm

  43. Then is it safe to conclude, with Kate’s permission of course, as she is the arbiter of all that is decent & civil, that the mayor or CM leaked this themselves? Cuz it’s either that or they got hacked…

    Comment by dave — October 3, 2013 @ 12:55 pm

  44. I didn’t get the email from the Mayor or the City Manager either.

    Comment by Lauren Do — October 3, 2013 @ 12:56 pm

  45. So did they get hacked or did they release this to someone willingly? And if it’s the latter, can there be any reason other than to discredit Cowan?

    Comment by dave — October 3, 2013 @ 1:01 pm

  46. As I wrote above, the email was forwarded, by Ron Cowan, to many people, including his own staff. I received the email either second or third — maybe fourth — hand. But I did not receive it directly from Ron Cowan, the Mayor, or the City Manager.

    Comment by Lauren Do — October 3, 2013 @ 1:04 pm

  47. From whom did you receive it? Has either Russo or Gilmore had any issue with you publishing it?

    Comment by dave — October 3, 2013 @ 1:06 pm

  48. Not to be coy, but I don’t reveal my sources so, well, they continue providing me with source material. I don’t typically take phone calls and any email sent to me is fair game, so if either have a problem with it I haven’t heard anything directly.

    Comment by Lauren Do — October 3, 2013 @ 1:12 pm

  49. Then may we conclude they are not unsatisfied with the public airing of Mr Cowan’s jerkiness?

    Comment by dave — October 3, 2013 @ 1:14 pm

  50. ‘Revenge Porn’ Now Illegal in California

    Publishing nude photos with the “intent to cause serious emotional distress” violates a “revenge porn” law signed Tuesday by Governor Jerry Brown and may result in up to six months in jail and/or $1,000 fine.

    In other news it’s still ok for City Employees to leak things that cause emotional distress and politically motivated and revengeful.

    Comment by Always good to know — October 3, 2013 @ 2:02 pm

  51. My opinion remains the same if he did or did not send the above email. As part if the Harbor Bay Isle residential master planned community, the club has been and shall be for the residents of the Harbor Bay Community. This is per approval with the City planning Department. He requested the zoning to be commercial recreational as part of his planned community and he received that. The club is par of a homeowners/community association and there are set rules for and change requests. He is not exempt from this. He then requested the Club be opened to the public stating “tough economic times” as all of Community had not yet been developed. He received that approval with the reminder from the City that the Club lis and shall continure to be open recreational space for the residents of Harbor Bay Isle. If anyone has noticed, many homes in the Community of Harbor Bay have tiny front/back yards as owners were promised the nearby club as their Open Space facility. From what I understand, it went from 46 acers of open space to 9 so the developer could pack in more homes. The Business Park is NOT part of the Harbor Bay Residential community. It is separate. The kids of Harbor Bay walk and bike to the Clubs after school and summer programs. I think everyone can agree its not safe (and its to far) for children to walk or bike down Harbor Bay Parkway. Who’s advocating for their best interest and safety? Ron wined and dined lobbiest and politicians to have his “road to nowhere” built to loure tenants to his business park. Sorry but Doolittle is not that far out of the way and certainly not worthwhile for taxpayers to spend 40 plus million dollars for his financial benefit. I also find it beyond offensive his name is along with John Glenn Drive and Neil Armstrong Way at the airport. Our community of residents, parents, friends and neighbors have spoken loud and clear. Lets just hope city officials are not bought off by Ron.

    Comment by Kerry Kohler — October 3, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

  52. I really like Kerry Kohler’s piece( above) and admire his articulate and well researched thoughts and words.
    Kerry, I hope you submit this piece to our local newspapers etc..
    Thanks for writing it.

    Comment by rachel kerry — October 3, 2013 @ 4:33 pm

  53. Thanks Rachel, I’m a she:)

    Additionally, as a club member and airline flight attendant, I seriously doubt it’s in the memberships best interest to have a facility directly under the OAK flight path. Relaxing by the pool, playing tennis or enjoying a coffee with extremely loud jets overhead doesn’t seem pleasant.

    Comment by Kerry Kohler — October 3, 2013 @ 5:16 pm

  54. 56. Why are you so opposed to non-Harbor Bay residents using the club? As long as memberships are available, and residents have priority, doesn’t it make sense to admit other people? The memberships certainly are costly enough that the dreaded “low-income” folks planned community people seem to fear, couldn’t afford one anyway.

    On a side note, last night at 5:30, I walked from Habor Bay Parkway near the ferry terminal to my home near the intersection of Broadway and Central. It took one hour and fifteen minutes and I’m over 50 years old and no athlete. It was a beautiful evening, but aside from a couple of people walking their dogs, I didn’t see anybody until I got over by Amelia Earhart school where a couple of kids were arguing over the correct wording of “fuzzy wuzzy, was a bear.” I didn’t see any vibrant, healthy, after-school, neighborhood kid activity until I hit Encinal. It was surreal. The idea that Harbor Bay Parkway is “too far” for kids to walk or bike to is an exaggeration. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in favor of Cowan’s plan, but the reasons Kerry states are not very compelling. I would also suggest that the parents of Harbor Bay encourage a little unstructured play and stop driving their kids everywhere. They will be healthier, more creative, and more socially adept. The air quality would improve, too.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — October 4, 2013 @ 8:51 am

  55. @32= I believe you call it “quid pro quo” or “pay to play”. However, our mayor is not the only person Mr. Russo gave money to. He donated to the campaigns of several local politicians, in different cities. Not a bad way to make friends, actually. I am looking forward to the upcoming LWV [D] forum on “Politics in Alameda”, featuring Robert Gammon, of the East Bay Express, who has done some marvelous research pieces on Perata & Cowan.
    As for where Lauren got the email, my money’s on Lena Tam. Isn’t she “Email Leaker- In-Chief?”

    Comment by vigi — October 4, 2013 @ 9:46 am

  56. I did not get the email from Lena Tam and there’s no point in speculating anymore because it’s the last that I’m going to respond to guesses as to who leaked the email. The content is what matters here, all else is irrelevant.

    Comment by Lauren Do — October 4, 2013 @ 9:51 am

  57. Denise @59

    I’m not opposed to anyone using the Club but was merely pointing out the History and planning agreements.

    I would have to strongly disagree, but I don’t think it is safe for 5-10 yr old children to walk or bike from Earhart or Bay Farm to the proposed site. There have been safety conscious adults that have had near accidents with the traffic congestion. I believe the parkway speed limit is up to 45+ miles per hour. I cant imagine barely balanced 5yr olds riding that route.

    Our street has children biking and playing outside regularly. Come by sometime! My son and I bike often and we see active kids playing throughout the Island. Kinda harsh and judgemental comments about parenting and socially adept children without knowing peoples situations. It’s ironic, as the original plans for HB were for a jogging/biking community:)

    There are tons of reasons why Cowans plan is bad for Alameda. I just mentioned the top few that were important to me. What are your reasons for opposing Cowans plan?

    Comment by Kerry Kohler — October 5, 2013 @ 5:46 am

  58. How much money is enough, Ron? Why don’t you unclench, and get your sights and mitts OFF of Harbor Bay? You act as if you WANT to make our lives crappy out here with too much congestion and too damn many houses and residents and cars. A vendetta, perhaps? It all seems so sleazy. Leave the Club where it is, and please move your designs to a place that could REALLY benefit from your wealth, such as Haiti or Cuba! Go HELP some people, rather than confound the lives of current Harbor Bay/Bay Farm homeowners! I know that Mayor Marie and the City Council ARE AWARE that we residents will not tolerate this vainglorious swappage idea. NO more homes out here! GET a GRIP on Reality, DUDE, bow-out Gracefully, and just go and enjoy your current fortune! Relax!

    Comment by BayFarmer — October 6, 2013 @ 5:52 pm

  59. 62. The sidewalk and bike paths are set well back from the street so the only real danger would be at the intersections, which, I agree since many people are so used to no one being there, they don’t come to complete stops before barreling through. If parents are unsure of their kids ability to cope, they could always accompany them. Of course there’s little point of debating this since we both agree the plan is a bad one, anyway. I oppose the plan because I believe it will make traffic terrible, especially around the school where accidents are most likely to happen and also because I feel it’s unfair to people who paid premium prices for their homes because of the club’s proximity only to have it moved out from under them. Cowan does not manage money well. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s in financial trouble and his thug tactics are motivated by fear. Not our problem, though. He can swim with the fishes for all I care. Actions define character and, near as I can tell, he’s an egotistical, money grubbing, stain on the landscape.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — October 7, 2013 @ 9:26 am

  60. Great comments about oppositions Denise 64. I totally agree.

    Comment by Kerry Kohler — October 7, 2013 @ 9:41 am

  61. Can the Harbor Bay Master Association afford to buy the Club from Ron Cowan (or whoever owns it)? That way, we could rebuild/remodel it, remove some of the tennis courts and put in another pool, make the Clubhouse better, and give HOA members a discount while keeping it affordable for non-HOA members?

    Comment by Maria Z. — October 7, 2013 @ 12:14 pm

  62. Gee whiz, Mr. Cowan, that’s mighty neighborly of you! You and your plans are Not good for Alameda. Paying hell is preferable.

    P.S. Ms. Tam, not “everybody does it.”

    Comment by Jan Walton — December 3, 2013 @ 8:15 am

  63. This island is so crooked that it is not funny. They all have their own agendas in this city, all the way from the mayor and the crooked housing authority. It’s crazy that that people have to scratch claw and fight to get into housing, but yet hud and the housing authority let’s all the drug dealers, people who work underneath the table an people who have 4to6 people living under one roof that are working on housing and section 8. Plus they are driving nice cars like, Cadillac escalades, range rovers and other expensive cars with rums on them ect…. Do you see the housing authority or hud or the mayor getting rid of this problem that plagues the housing and section 8 problem in alameda, but of course not cause they know the federal government funds them. But yet they make the people who truly need housing who can’t afford an actual apartment or who are truly sick and need a place to live suffer because they want to know keep the problem people in there places that they are cleary abusing it and are blind that there is people who truly need a home.
    Y’all can say thank you to your crooked housing authority and the people who allow them to stay crooked an they know who they are.

    Comment by reatalk510kid — March 12, 2014 @ 11:29 pm

  64. If I have to I will record all areas of this city were there is section 8 and housing is and I will let the news media and then I will e-mail the video to the president of the united states to see that it is not only the big city housing authorities that are crooked, but a small island is just as crooked as they are an that this island is most likely worse then the bigger urban city’s. This island makes there own laws an obeys none.

    Comment by realtalk510kid — March 12, 2014 @ 11:53 pm

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