Blogging Bayport Alameda

November 17, 2014

I will wait for you

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Point, Business, City Council, Election — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

So some folks have been angrily posting about the agenda for the City Council meeting coming up on Tuesday that this “lame duck” Council shouldn’t be able to do anything but twiddle its thumbs between now and when the new Council is sworn in. And while I’m not necessarily going to angrily post about it, I have to say that I agree that relatively new substantive matters that are at the beginning of the process should probably wait until the new Council is seated before taking a vote.

For example, on the City Council agenda for Tuesday is an agenda item to approve an Exclusive Negotiation Agreement with one of the pared down finalists for Site A. I’m not going to get bogged down in a substantive discussion on whether the City should or should not start the negotiation process by entering into an ENA with a developer, I’m just saying that as the City is at the beginning of this ENA process, it might be prudent to wait to allow the new City Council time to weigh in on the ENA. That’s all.

Mostly because if the new City Council is going to undo all the work anyway, it simple strings along all the parties unnecessarily.

While I don’t think that there is an nefarious intent by City Staff to place this on the agenda, unlike four years ago when City Staff was rushing to shoe horn an item into one of the very last meetings that had never been publicly vetted before, it will be best for all parties to allow the Council who will charged with overseeing this process to get a chance to say “yea” or “nay” from the jump.  Otherwise it will allow the City Council opponents to the project/ENA/anything to throw up their hands and cry foul because they were not allowed to begin the process.  Whether next week or December when the new Council is sworn in, won’t make a bit of difference.  What will be unfortunate is if City Staff wastes time beginning negotiations only to have the City Council/City Council majority throw up road blocks.

However, I’m not a fan of stopping the business of the City simply because in a month there will be a new Council, particularly if an issue is at the end of its process, for example the City fee schedule, go ahead and vote on that. The ENA with the Pacific Pinball Museum is a tough one though. My brain says to wait on that one too because it’s sort of the same scenario with the Alameda Point site A, but my gut says that it’s probably an issue that no one will really have a problem with, so probably safe to vote on it just to move the process along.

So to wrap up. Issues at the beginning of its process cycle: punt for new City Council. Issues at the end: handle it.


  1. It’s the Mayor’s call, but I would like to see the old council finish what they started — this has been a 20 year planning process. I think Jennifer Ott explained it well in her “Alameda Point Posed for Development” piece. The new council will get plenty of chances to weigh in on this development for the next four years, and they will get the final word. Phase 1 ends in 2018.

    Comment by Karen Bey — November 17, 2014 @ 6:45 am

  2. I should say that Phase1, should the new council elect to proceed with development at Alamed Point will end in 2018.

    Comment by Karen Bey — November 17, 2014 @ 7:17 am

  3. I don’t disagree that the new Council will have plenty of time to weigh in, with the exception of weighing in on the vote to begin the ENA process with a specific developer. This is key. It’s not unusual for the City Council — despite beliefs to the contrary — to do something slightly different than that which is suggested by City Staff. Perhaps the new Council would like to open an ENA process with both developers, perhaps the new Council would like the developers to form a partnership and work together, who knows. It would be a terrible waste of time for everyone involved if the current Council elects to move forward with the ENA and the new Council questions every single tiny detail either out of (1) not having followed the process, (2) sheer orneriness or (3) a combination of both.

    Comment by Lauren Do — November 17, 2014 @ 7:22 am

  4. The Alamedan reports that both the school board and city council are meeting Tuesday. November 18 in the evening. I wonder which meeting the Mayor Elect will attend? Has she said anything publicly about relinquishing her seat on the school board?

    Comment by Not A Alamedan — November 17, 2014 @ 7:27 am

  5. Though the new Mayor has different thoughts about development than our current Mayor, will everyone on Council agree with her? A 127 vote variance is certainly not a mandate for change. The 10,000+ voters who leaned in favor of Mayor Gilmore need to simply be a force in this town and make demands that gain attention and gain approval. If more Alameda residents stood up for what they believe in, we might continue to make progress. BTW, can The Alamedan do a story on the new Mayor’s rental and why she rents vs owns? Will her rental status impact any of her future decisions?

    Comment by Bill — November 17, 2014 @ 7:36 am

  6. Lauren, this is true, — and these are just my thoughts. I still would like the current council to finish what they started, but it’s their call. All of what you mention, will probably happen anyway because this development if approved will take 20 years to build out.

    Comment by Karen Bey — November 17, 2014 @ 7:38 am

  7. I read the Jennifer Ott piece and was curious about a reference by Ott (to be fair, she is not the only one who makes this reference) at the beginning of her piece to 15,000 jobs lost from the base closure in the 1990s and its relevance to a forward-looking policy re the base. Alameda is not an isolated industrial town crippled by the closure of the factory that employed everyone around and in need of a replacement economic engine. It’s in the middle of (probably) the strongest economy in the US. In fact, I believe the 15,000 number includes active military stationed at NAS, not just civilians employed at the base (and who did not all live in Alameda). The former NAS is a space to be used wisely; what goes there will not and cannot be a replacement of what was there before. (BTW this is not an argument against preserving elements of the base such as the Hornet which, for those who have not visited, is extraordinary).

    Comment by MP — November 17, 2014 @ 7:47 am

  8. Without weighing in on the merits of the specific issue raised (voting on the ENA), the principle of allowing the sitting Council to complete its term of office, for which they took an oath to serve, in the best way they see fit, is important. Their term of service did not end on the day of the election; it will end when the term of office is finished and the new Council/Mayor are seated. Those in favor of the item should speak up and those opposed, likewise. Those voting on the item should be allowed to exercise their best judgment about how to act without accusations of foul play. There is reason on both sides of this one; but it is up to those currently in office to make the decision. They have both the right and the obligation to continue to serve fully until they leave office.

    Comment by Kate Quick — November 17, 2014 @ 8:29 am

  9. I think the term of office for sitting elected officials should end when election results are certified. They no longer serve the electorate so why keep them hanging around as lame ducks.

    Comment by jack — November 17, 2014 @ 11:12 am

  10. make that losing sitting elected officials

    Comment by jack — November 17, 2014 @ 11:13 am

  11. I tend to side with those who say they should keep doing what they are doing except that the Exclusive Negotiation Agreement may cause some unnecessary backtracking as Lauren suggests. It’s the new council’s ball and they will be dealing with these folks going forward. Given the major shift in values the new team represents, it would be kinder to the developer to wait. No sense in starting out with hard feelings a la “you say yes, I say no, you say stop, and I say go go go.”

    Comment by Denise Shelton — November 17, 2014 @ 1:41 pm

  12. I’m so glad Bill asked the question he asked. A fundamental core principal and goal of the base reuse process is to recreate economic opportunities lost with the decommissioning, and more specifically make those economic opportunities available to residents with the greatest need – the homeless. That is the vision behind the homeless accommodation component of the McKinney Vento Act. There already exists a community at Alameda Point – both residents and small businesses. These “pioneers” in every sense of the word, came here with the promise of being the first to establish a vibrant community equal to the rest of Alameda. And here we have been for more than 15 years….

    It is beyond insulting to disregard and diminish the needs of this community and say we should further postpone the process of development just because. We are also Alamedans, and we are entitled to the same opportunities provided to those on the rest of the island. We are also entitled to safe and effective infrastructure, just like every other Alameda resident. Every day that development is postponed at Alameda Point the city faces increasing liability and costs in the event they need to do an emergency replacement of infrastructure. The current City Council was elected to serve out full terms (as was the School Board by the way, and I certainly haven’t seen a plethora of postings stating they should suspend business) and they should be allowed to do so. Entering into an ENA with a developer for parcel A is just one hurdle to overcome in a marathon, and is the culmination of a series of public meetings and processes that have taken place over the last several years.

    Comment by Doug Biggs — November 17, 2014 @ 3:22 pm

  13. The following was posted on Facebook from Linda Forgues-Weinstock. It is claims to be from Frank Matarrese.

    This is a repost from Frank ……

    I want to thank you all, again for your support and more importantly, your participation in this past election!

    Many of you may have already seen the Agenda for the upcoming 7 PM Tuesday November 18th City Council meeting including a vote to enter an exclusive negotiating agreement with a developer for Alameda Point Site A which includes a proposed 800 housing units.

    NOVEMBER 28, 2014 CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 6-D Recommendation to Approve an Exclusive Negotiation Agreement
    (ENA) with Alameda Point Partners for Development of Site A at
    Alameda Point. (Base Reuse 819099)

    This agreement, outlining the negotiations with a prospective developer is significant step and I feel strongly that this is a question for the new council rather than a council whose majority is leaving office.

    I plan on attending and speaking to this item and requesting that the item be tabled until the new council is seated. The more people that can attend the better to set our priorities of creating jobs and establish park lands at Alameda Point and to put reasonable limits on residential development.

    I look forward to seeing you on the 18th.



    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — November 17, 2014 @ 5:47 pm

  14. 12. Hear, hear!
    13. Of course.

    Just a reminder, regardless of how we think members will vote in the coming months, the new members of the council are not a team. They did not run together as a team and for all we know will consistently vote against each other.

    Comment by Li_ — November 18, 2014 @ 7:15 am

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