Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 5, 2022

“Deeds not words”

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

Anyway, the saga of the McKay SHPO nomination just gets worse everyone. In my latest PRA I asked for any additional correspondence regarding the nomination. Yesterday two letters were uploaded from the GSA. I found this part to be really interesting because, remember, the SHPO staff was supposed to vet the information within the nomination itself and, as I mentioned yesterday, despite the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society (AAPS) not authorizing use of their name before the nomination was submitted, they, nonetheless, sent a letter of support and have not disavowed the nomination despite many problematic and poorly sourced “facts.” There were a few key pieces in the GSA letter which further highlighted issues with the nomination which — as long as AAPS doesn’t denounce the nomination that carries their name — reflect poorly on the preservation organization that provided the imprimatur of respectability and gravitas to the nomination that it wouldn’t have had without the AAPS connection.

From the April 27 GSA letter to SHPO:

I’ll go through the integrity assessments in another post but this is the part in the nomination which hand waves the existence of the US Merchant Marine Academy. The nomination does later address this but it’s buried and it may be that the nominator didn’t understand what Academy was being referenced in her narrative.

Which, as the GSA letter points out, is not true. From (yeah, yeah at least there are traceable citations) Wikipedia:

Congress passed the landmark Merchant Marine Act in 1936, and two years later, the U.S. Merchant Marine Cadet Corps was established. In that year, the USTS Nantucket (ex-USS Ranger) was transferred from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy to Kings Point and renamed the USTS Emory Rice. The first training was given at temporary facilities until the academy’s permanent site in Kings Point, New York was acquired in early 1942. The Kings Point campus was originally Walter Chrysler‘s twelve-acre waterfront estate, named “Forker House” (now known as the USMMA’s Wiley Hall).[4] Construction of the academy began immediately, and 15 months later the task was virtually completed. The academy was dedicated on 30 September 1943, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who noted “the Academy serves the Merchant Marine as West Point serves the Army and Annapolis the Navy.”

From 1942 to 1945, the academy graduated 6,895 officers. 

Authorization for awarding the degree of Bachelor of Science to graduates was granted by Congress in 1949. The academy became fully accredited as a degree-granting institution in the same year. It was made a permanent institution by an Act of Congress in 1956. The academy accelerated graduating classes during the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

At this point the lack of due diligence on the part of AAPS and SHPO is getting, frankly, embarrassing.


  1. If I were Chris Buckley, I’d be holding emergency meetings of the board to figure out how to salvage my personal and organizational credibility. Next, they’re going to tell us the wind blows straight down Webster. 🌬️

    Comment by Gaylon — May 5, 2022 @ 6:53 am

  2. It’s amazing that the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT actually went out of their way to say Carmen Reid is wrong. In print.

    Not “applicant,” not “AAPS,” but “Carmen Reid” in particular.

    They know what Alamedans have known all this time. This letter is absolutely glorious.

    Comment by NIMBYs Gonna NIMBY — May 5, 2022 @ 7:26 am

    • The mayor also did something similar in her letter. She all but accused Carmen Reid of lying by omission, by accusing her of omitting critical facts. We should usually not look to China as a model for citizenry, but their social credit system might be fascinating to see in this case. Your individual score gets penalized for things like abusing public resources, falsifying information, lying, identity theft of organization name, and it would inform others of your credibility. The GSA letter and the mayor’s letter should follow Carmen around forever so people will know what they are dealing with and to scrutinize things very carefully.

      Comment by OGC Irony — May 5, 2022 @ 12:39 pm

  3. The consistent argument against housing development over 3 stories in the Webster Street Business District, is that it is a historic district.

    And therefore, because it is a historic district the AAPS has continually thwarted the attempt to increase the height limits on Webster Street to match the height limits on Park Street – which is 5 stories. The current draft of the Housing Element has recommended increasing the height limits on Webster Street to match the height limits on Park Street.

    But unlike Park Street (which was registered by the California Office of Historic Preservation in 1982), Webster Street has never been registered or recognized as a Historic District by the California Office of Historic Preservation.

    It appears that the larger goal – is to have Webster Street registered as an historic district using the McKay Ave application to designate McKay Avenue as an historic district; which will establish Central Avenue to Lincoln Ave – as the historic core of the Webster Street Business District.

    Comment by Karen Bey — May 5, 2022 @ 9:02 am

  4. Unless they denounce the submission, AAPS are effectively pimping themselves out to Carmen Reid for her nefarious purposes. That is shameful.

    Comment by BC — May 5, 2022 @ 9:20 am

  5. Andrew Thomas has repeatedly said that limiting the height limits to 3-4 stories in the Webster Street CC district – will render any housing development infeasible.

    Central Avenue to Lincoln Street happens to be a high resource area on the West End. Not only does Its walkable restaurants and shops make it a high resource area, it is a major transit corridor, a 5-10-minute walk to the AC Transit bus stops on Santa Clara Ave.

    So, removing housing development opportunities in this area would be in direct conflict with the goals established in the Housing Element. Additionally, in their letter to the City of Alameda, the YIMBY Law Greenbelt Alliance has urged the City to ease any constraints that may impede development on our city’s housing sites.

    Imposing last minute historic restrictions, and new development standards and codes in the middle of the current Housing Element planning process would fall in the category of impeding and constraining development.

    Comment by Karen Bey — May 5, 2022 @ 11:09 am

  6. Having known several Kings Point grads in the course of my career in the maritime industry, this assertion about the Alameda site being the only remaining place to remember Merchant Maring history was so strange. and .

    Comment by KBB — May 6, 2022 @ 8:51 am

  7. Catching up on the latest shenanigans being pulled against the Wellness Center have got me REALLY hot under the collar. Is there anyone in particular at AAPS I should express my boundless disappointment to? I assume I should also be writing Ms. Bonta if there’s a chance this comes up again in August. Any other recommendations?

    Comment by sepoohroth — May 6, 2022 @ 2:17 pm

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