Blogging Bayport Alameda

October 7, 2014

City Council candidate profile 2 of 3: Frank Matarrese

Filed under: Alameda, Election — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

Frank Matarrese is a former City Council member, he ran unsuccessfully for Mayor after his last term in office. His campaign website is located here and he has probably the worst SEO of all the campaign websites out there. All my posts referencing Frank Matarrese are located here.

Frank Matarrese was a strong supporter of former Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant (currently still locked in litigation with the City).   His biggest triumph (arguably) on the City Council was his strong support of the Alameda Theatre and Cineplex project.   To see how the tables have reversed, it’s interesting to see all the people who could find nothing but fault in Frank Matarrese during that time fully support him after his about face on development in general post Measure B.

Frank Matarrese has been prepping for this come back for some time now by peppering the local publications with letters to the editor for the past two years or so demanding things that already exist particularly when it comes to the development at Alameda Point.   I had thought for sure that he would try his hand at a run against Marie Gilmore, but I guess he saw Tony Daysog’s low-budget success and decided this would be a better shot.

Also, Frank Matarrese’s convenient lapse in memory that he sat on the City Council that approved the Alameda Landing project is disappointing as he decries the effort as though the idea was birthed sometime that did not include his term in office.  He was also very cozy with the Alameda Landing developer, Catellus, picking Catellus during the great Alameda Point Master Developer beauty contest.  He voted straight out for Catellus (again the developer of Alameda Landing which he is now poo poohing) as the Master Developer for Alameda Point in 2007 and voted for the joint Lennar/Catellus partnership that eventually fell through because neither developer could get it to work.

Frank Matarrese and opponent Stewart Chen used to be fast friends as well, which makes Frank’s foray into this election surprising because he could bump off his good buddy who he was in the spotlight with only a year ago over their joint organization of a cultural celebration.

“This was not just about a flag raising,” said City Councilman Stewart Chen, who helped organize the event. “It was about celebrating our culture. One-third of the residents of Alameda are Asian-Americans. This was about recognizing them and their contributions to our city.”

Frank Matarrese, an organizer of the Alameda event, said he was disappointed protesters had forced a last-minute cancellation.

“Our mission was always to promote a greater understanding between cultures,” said Matarrese, who helped foster the sister-city relationship with Jiangyin when he served on the Alameda City Council five years ago. “But I understand the passions of those who wanted to protest.”

Here’s his campaign statement

Occupation: Consultant/Alameda Business Owner

Age: 59

As your councilman my priorities will be to keep Alameda thriving and funded by a sound budget. I will work with our schools, the park district and local agencies to pool resources to benefit Alameda. I will push for creating jobs and open space at Alameda Point.

I was privileged to serve as your Councilman from 2002-2010. I was a leader in efforts to build a new Main Library, to restore the Alameda Theater and to improve Webster Street. I proposed the Fiscal Sustainability Committee to address budget shortfalls. Because open government is vital, I held town hall meetings, listened to your concerns and kept you informed.

I am offering my experience to find solutions to the serious challenges Alameda faces. I will focus on commercial uses and establishing parklands at Alameda Point. I will work for sensible limits on residential development and to find ways to untangle traffic. With dwindling City reserves, I am prepared to make the forward thinking decisions needed for a structurally sound budget. I will use every available opportunity to maintain essential city services. I will keep you informed. I will listen and lead.

Your consideration and vote are appreciated.

Contact Frank: 510-759-9290

Add to the wiki but if you do make sure that you reference it with a link. There are various questionnaires floating out there with varying levels of readability. You can start with those if you like.


  1. If you want someone with no charisma, ideas and an out of control son, vote for this one.

    Comment by Real Homeowners of the the Gold Coast — October 7, 2014 @ 8:28 am

  2. 1. I’m getting old enough and the details of each mini-era, (the theater, the choices of master developers, etc.) are so numerous that it all blurs together. It is good to have my memory refreshed. Lauren has a point of view here and it may not please supporters of Frank, but even though you can disagree on Frank’s intent it is great to have his record set out there. My general impression of Frank is what lingers in my mind and that is a nice guy, often a little vague on details and most importantly, a panderer. I’d agree with #1 that he has little real charisma or clear ideas, but I wince at the comment about his son. My public criticisms are generally no holds barred and I don’t have bright lines not to be crossed about getting personal, but parenting is complicated. That incident is like telling the jury to disregard something irrelevant which they can’t really ignore. Many folks may not know or may have forgotten. Bringing it up peeks my memory about a couple other things. One is the birth of the current movement of anti-development really does go back to the theater and Frank was a huge object of derision by that group. Of all the issues and projects which had come before the city since I first moved here, the theater really galvanized or alienated people. It is interesting that it’s not just my memory which is foggy, but both Frank and his opposition. The woman who became the object of the incident with Frank’s son was a perfect example of a crack pot who put emotion before facts and went around screaming that anybody who didn’t agree with her was a bad person. The other thing about “the incident” is that scrutinizing Frank’s parenting is not clear cut like scrutinizing Stewart’s legal history. In fact writing this has peeked another memory about Chen. That would be that in order to get the endorsement of the teachers union he withdrew his endorsement of his friend Neil Tam. That was a real bad sign for me.

    Comment by MI — October 7, 2014 @ 9:03 am

  3. it’s “peak” isn’t it?

    Comment by MI — October 7, 2014 @ 9:07 am

  4. pique

    Comment by dave — October 7, 2014 @ 9:17 am

  5. I read the post on Frank’s website that you reference. There is no decrying of Alameda Landing. He refers to a “town center,” meaning the one being planned at Alameda Point.

    As for liking Catellus, they wouldn’t be the worst company to be “cozy” with. Seventeen years after the Navy ceased operations, Catellus is the only company to have delivered anything. And most people seem to like what they have delivered, and what is still to come on the waterfront.

    Comment by Richard Bangert — October 7, 2014 @ 9:28 am

  6. 4. I knew that once.

    Comment by MI — October 7, 2014 @ 9:48 am

  7. Post #1 candidates are fair game, their families are not.

    Comment by John P. — October 7, 2014 @ 11:29 am

  8. Many years ago, a candidate for school board had an errant son, and I was told by a neighbor that I should not vote for him because “his kids are out of control”. That kid is now a well respected teacher. Even the best and most careful of parents may have a kid who makes a mistake that becomes widely known. I think we should judge the candidate, not those related to him. What does he/she have to say? How has he/she performed while in office or in service to the community? Those are the important criteria by which to judge candidates for office.

    Comment by Kate Quick — October 7, 2014 @ 12:46 pm

  9. I was a recipient of one of the “polls masquerading as attack ads” against Frank. If he’s pissing off the entrenched interests in this town, he’s doing something very right. And I will be voting for him.

    Comment by B. Johnson — October 7, 2014 @ 1:49 pm

  10. I meant “attack ads masquerading as polls.”

    Comment by B. Johnson — October 7, 2014 @ 1:49 pm

  11. 1. I know Frank and his wife and, from what I’ve seen, they are nice people and were engaged and responsible parents (their boys are grown now). When his son made the comment he did, he was away at school responding to what he perceived was an unfair attack on his dad. It was ill-advised but only unusual in that most teenage boys don’t care about their parents enough to publicly defend their honor. The boys all turned out great, by the way, and that was years ago. It’s a pretty nasty thing to bring it up and is certainly nothing any reasonable person would hold against Frank as a candidate.

    Frank opposed SunCal and they made good on their threats to influence the election with attack ads that contributed to his losing his bid to become mayor. Let’s not forget that SunCal sued the City, too, and the judgment was for over $4 million. If you are going to hold Frank’s support of Gallant as a reason not to vote for him because she sued the City (lost and will probably lose the appeal), you’ll have even more reason to hold Marie Gilmore’s support of SunCal against her, too. She didn’t back off until it became politically disadvantageous and by then, it was too late to avoid having to pay the piper. She was also all for Cowan’s golf course land swap boondoggle, yet again flip-flopped, but only when it was clearly political suicide to continue to support it. If there had been no public outcry on these two issues, they would have been done deals.

    I think we need more than one side represented on the City Council. I support more development at Alameda Point than what Frank wants to see, but I think it’s crucial to have people asking hard questions and challenging proposals that seem too good to be true. Development needs to be carefully considered and held in check to a certain extent or we will all be sorry. Frank represents the opinions of many Alamedans. He has experience on the council and an historical reference for the issues. He’s also supports the arts, which is important to many people as well.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — October 7, 2014 @ 3:28 pm

  12. I’m not sure about the no charisma thing, and it’s certainly not a qualification for getting elected. Like Marie Gilmore, Frank’s got years of experience and is well qualified.

    What I’m concerned about though is his views on development. Frank says he wants to use Harbor Bay as a model for developing Alameda Point – but the housing went in first at Harbor Bay. Like most developments including Alameda Bayport, housing usually goes in first because it’s easier to finance and it helps pays for the backbone infrastructure (roads, utilities, parks, etc.). Having the backbone infrastructure in place or having the funding to pay for the backbone infrastructure is crucial if we’re to be successful developing commercial and creating jobs at the Point.

    Commercial on the other hand takes longer to develop – as is the case with Harbor Bay. In fact, we’re still filling up the space at Harbor Bay Business Park. But having the backbone infrastructure in place makes it easier to negotiate deals with potential commercial users. It also puts us at a great advantage because today’s commercial users want the backbone infrastructure, the housing, and the amenities in place for their employees. And they want amenities like retail and restaurants, etc. – the very thing that Frank seems to oppose at Alameda Point.

    The other issue I have is that I’ve seen articles where Frank has proposed no housing at Alameda Point. That would completely lower land values at the Point — which in turn makes it much harder to fund infrastructure, and makes it much harder to fund the new ferry terminal proposed for the Point. We desperately need a new ferry terminal because we’ve already reached capacity at the current ferry terminal – and having a world class ferry terminal at Alameda Point is going to be a great selling point to potential commercial users.

    Finally, I like and respect Frank Matarrese and I hope to learn more about his views and vision for Alameda over the next few weeks.

    Comment by Karen Bey — October 7, 2014 @ 8:42 pm

  13. 5. “As for liking Catellus, they wouldn’t be the worst company to be “cozy” with. Seventeen years after the Navy ceased operations, Catellus is the only company to have delivered anything. And most people seem to like what they have delivered, and what is still to come on the waterfront.”

    Catellus has changed hands twice in 17 years making it three entities in total, but whoever got the original deal to build housing phase at FISC ( including Lincoln Properties or Martin Group) would still be the only developer to deliver anything because the rest of the development history would likely not have been any different. And phase two for the Landing has taken the three Catellus forever to break ground. Also “most people” may seem to like what is being built at the Landing ( more likely most people are oblivious and indifferent), but lots of folks who support Frank hate Bayport and have been screaming about Alameda Landing, so I’m confused by your post. Not trying to be argumentative, just genuinely confused by what you wrote. Also the Town Center Frank says is a mistake in his web site was something I thought had been proposed under Gallant, but at any rate it’s dead as far as I can tell. Further, I simply don’t understand Frank’s pining for return of superfluous EDC. Nostalgia for his heyday? Let’s have another cumbersome board which costs money in staff time so the usual suspects can be appointed to rubber stamp everything. That’s what Frank was doing under Ralph.

    Actually Lauren, could you put a finer point on how Frank has pooh-poohed Catellus development at the Landing ?

    Comment by MI — October 7, 2014 @ 9:33 pm

  14. Kate and Karen , I would never have thought I would be able to agree with you , I do !
    I have no doubt we will be sparing words in the future as in the past .

    Using sibling , relatives , acquaintances as weapon against ANY candidate is reprehensible ,””” Frank just got 5 more vote just for that “”””, I sincerely hope Alamedan will be able to read behind the smoke,

    Anyone who plead guilty is guilty , coming out and saying They did not know demonstrate mental capacity incompatible for the position and duties they have been elected . Or an even deeper character flaw .

    Would you hire a police Officer with a criminal record , A fireman , any public Employee , the answer is most likely no .Then Why have one in leadership position. Therefore Mr Chen is unfit for public office .

    M.I. should DeHaan had steped aside as He should have done , He had no chances , Mrs Gilmore would have never been elected .
    Mr Ratto would still be fighting in his office in Oakland “almost time for Him to enter a political career , if they put a Dog as candidate in Oakland , He does have good chances to be elected “

    Comment by Joel Rambaud — October 8, 2014 @ 12:19 am

  15. 13. “but lots of folks who support Frank hate Bayport and have been screaming about Alameda Landing, so I’m confused by your post.” Reread Lauren’s post. It refers to Frank’s opinions, not the opinions of some of his supporters. She said that Frank decries the Alameda Landing effort. That is simply false. Sorry that you’re confused when a correction is made.

    I think your statement that there are people decrying the Landing is fiction. The final approval for Alameda Landing a number of years ago drew out exactly zero speakers against the project at the council meeting. The only opposition I have heard in recent times has been from people afraid of consumers of fast food hamburgers and french fries.

    Comment by Richard Bangert — October 8, 2014 @ 8:36 am

  16. recent opposition is opposition Richard and you can’t tell me all the folks who decry the new housing units all around the island are sanguine about the residential at the Landing. I’m sure not in love with what’s getting built. The number of speakers at any time on any subject are not meaningless, but less than reliable way to poll public opinion. The final approval of the Landing several years ago had none of the specifics. In subsequent reviews as plans were fleshed out there has been plenty of noise. My confusion was about why you used a conjecture ( which I deem to be erroneous) to correct something when it contradicts what Frank is supposed to stand for. Still waiting for Lauren to put a finer point on “decry”.

    Comment by MI — October 8, 2014 @ 9:18 am

  17. What bothers me the most about Stewie Chen’s past is that, when questioned about it This Year in The Alamedan, he said “They didn’t have anything on me.” That sort of implies that he was trying to get away with something. That he thought he was coated with Teflon [ya know-like Ronald Reagan, your favorite, MI and JP] and nothing would stick.

    If he had said he did do something wrong, and was sorry, I would think differently of him. But he didn’t. Expressing remorse is important when rehabilitating yourself.

    Comment by vigi — October 8, 2014 @ 10:22 am

  18. #13, I can’t speak for Lauren, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Frank’s blogs comment about how development of retail at Alameda Point (1 1/4 miles away from Webster) is going to be detrimental to Webster Street, then it would stand to reason that development of retail 1/2-3/4 miles away at Alameda Landing would be equally problematic. I can see how the comments about retail at Alameda Point look more like concern trolling than being a strongly held philosophy given Frank’s strong support of the re-configuration of Alameda Landing to a retail center. It makes little sense that Alameda Point is a problem and a concern, but Alameda Landing wasn’t.

    #5, While it’s true that Catellus has successfully built stuff. So far, Target is the only thing, plus a giant soon to be completed retail center. Oh, and housing. In the Alameda Point RFP process, Catellus has been clear (as has every other developer that’s ever touched Alameda Point and been a real prospect) that housing at Alameda Point is essential to the development of a commercial center. So taking a position of no housing/no retail at the Point is akin to “do nothing.” Frank’s new plan for the Point (commercial and “even more” open space) is a pipe dream that has no hope of coming true. It’s why he supported the SunCal plan (even when he was against the SunCal Ballot Initiative) because four years ago, he knew that housing and commercial were wed, no matter how much a person wanted to hope for no housing.

    IMHO, on Alameda Point Frank is flat-out wrong, my only question is does he know it and trolling for votes, or has he decided that doing nothing is better than building a single housing unit (a position I may not support, but can respect). If the latter, I wish he’d just be straightforward and say so.

    Comment by jkw — October 8, 2014 @ 1:09 pm

  19. #18. Frank is not for “even more” open space. He’s for turning the existing zoned open space into open parks. He’s for more parks, not more open space. Bringing a 147-acre regional park online on the Northwest Territories is a formidable task that currently is going nowhere. Ditto for the 26-or-so-acre Enterprise Park.

    I don’t think his position is “doing nothing is better than building a single housing unit.” I haven’t heard him say he is against the Site B commercial effort. Yes, I know the Site B finalists say that housing supports many more options. Personally, when it comes to bringing housing online at Alameda Point, I think there’s more promise in the Main Street Neighborhood which won’t require a $90 million infrastructure commitment before a single building is constructed. I’m also not too worried about a go slow approach. As it turns out, it was a good thing we didn’t sign off with Alameda Point Community Partners. They would not have been on the hook for levee costs.

    Comment by Richard Bangert — October 8, 2014 @ 3:14 pm

  20. So which council people are against those two parks that Frank showing up is going to come in and make it happen (and given our experience with his last four years in office, what makes us think he’ll succeed?)

    As I said about the “pro-site B” it doesn’t happen without housing, so if one’s stance is “no housing” as Frank’s is now, then you can be a pro-site B as you want, in actuality, you’re staking out a no-growth position. My point was yours exactly, I’ve never heard Frank say he’s no-growth, but I have heard him say “no housing” and at Alameda Point, it’s more or less the same thing.

    Comment by jkw — October 8, 2014 @ 5:46 pm

  21. 20. Which council people are against those two parks? It’s more about who is for them. All of the current council authorized the removal of the words “regional park” from the planning maps. Who has agendized sitting down with the park district to do long-range planning so the park district can begin applying for supplemental grant monies? The only person that I trust will do that is Frank.

    At this rate the VA will be up and running, and visitors will be driving past a gauntlet of eyesores.

    Frank succeeded in delivering a new library. He succeeded in delivering a renovated historic theater. He succeeded in overcoming obstacles to bring into being Bridgeside Center. He wasn’t alone in those efforts, but they didn’t happen by accident. Success makes me think he will succeed.

    Comment by Richard Bangert — October 8, 2014 @ 8:07 pm

  22. To say no to housing at Alameda Point is truly a vote for nothing. The infrastructure is needed regardless. And commercial development alone will not support it. The economics are simply not there. Attempt to understand the underlying economics of commercial development in the east bay, and this is the only conclusion that can be reached. And for those who want mom and pop retail, the only way that works is with a critical mass of people living in the immediate vicinity. Some businesses may come, but for real value creation and economic benefit to the city, true mixed use is a necessity.

    Comment by Face the Facts — October 8, 2014 @ 10:22 pm

  23. Yesterday, someone was at the Transbay bus terminal in SF handing out fliers for Frank and Trish. Are they coordinating their campaigns or was this someone independent who supports them both?

    Comment by ajryan — October 9, 2014 @ 7:54 am

  24. “authorized the removal of the words “regional park” from the planning maps” is such an amazing misstatement and misdirection. Here’s what the approved Master Infrastructure Plan says:

    Northwest Territories – Improve this large area with passive uses such as, wetland
    restoration, picnic areas, trails, trailhead, etc.

    The project description from the just adopted EIR:

    Northwest Territories. These lands are suitable to provide passive recreation and gathering facilities along the Oakland Estuary waterfront, which could include trails, picnic areas, viewing areas, wetlands and parking lots. These parklands complement the adjacent Nature Reserve and will be accessed by a road connecting the main portion of the base with the western waterfront. The Northwest Territories and Nature Reserve are connected by a seasonal pedestrian and bicycle trail and visually by views of the San Francisco Bay and Bay Bridge.

    The just approved zoning has it zoned as open space, which is defined as:

    Open Space (aS) – This Sub-district provides lands for parks, recreation, trails, and large-scale public assembly and event areas consistent with the Public Trust Exchange Agreement. Development standards are intended to support maximum public access, use and enjoyment of these lands, and the protection of natural habitat and wildlife.

    And the Alameda Point Conceptual Planning Guide:

    Northwest Territories – These lands are suitable to provide passive and active recreation and gathering facilities along the Oakland Estuary waterfront, which could include trails, picnic areas, viewing areas, wetlands and parking lots. These parklands complement the adjacent Nature Reserve and will be accessed by a road connecting the main portion of the base with the western waterfront. The
    Northwest Territories and Nature Reserve are connected by a seasonal pedestrian and bicycle trail and visually by views of the San Francisco Bay and Bay Bridge.

    So the opposite of what you suggest is true. All of the planning documents show a large regional park. There is no universe where the current city council has somehow stepped away from the idea of the Northwest Territories becoming a large, regional park, except a very narrow one, where all the actual language that spells out the plan for the parcel means nothing because the words “regional park” are not overlaid over the map where every document says there will be a park and every document identifies it by it’s zoning as open space.

    Comment by jkw — October 9, 2014 @ 7:57 am

  25. post #22 “face the facts” what you have said here is just plain common sense, folks go back and read it, one short paragraph. no politics


    Comment by John P. — October 9, 2014 @ 9:36 am

  26. post #24 The mayor and council have acknowledged that they removed the “regional park” designations from the planning maps.

    Here are just two of the previous planning maps:

    Click to access exhibit_1_property_and_biological_opinion_areas_map.pdf

    I don’t see why those two words had to be scrubbed. I’d love to see a current map with those two words back on it.

    Comment by Irene — October 9, 2014 @ 11:12 am

  27. Yep, you’re right Irene, I didn’t disagree, I’ll copy and paste what I said about it:

    There is no universe where the current city council has somehow stepped away from the idea of the Northwest Territories becoming a large, regional park, except a very narrow one, where all the actual language that spells out the plan for the parcel means nothing because the words “regional park” are not overlaid over the map where every document says there will be a park and every document identifies it by it’s zoning as open space.

    It’s a tempest in a teapot.

    The park is there on the map shown as a park, with the language as strong as ever in the places where it actually matters.

    Comment by jkw — October 9, 2014 @ 1:04 pm

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