Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 19, 2011

Lucky number seven

As mentioned by Mike McMahon, you can still ask a question to incoming City Manager John Russo over on In Alameda, he’s our Officially Speaking guest for this week.

Zennie Abraham on his City Brights blog on SFGate has a 40 minute interview with John Russo that he posted the other day.   The first part is all about Oakland and why John Russo has decided to move on from Oakland which is interesting but not necessarily topical about Alameda.   The end there are some very specific Alameda-centric questions and answers that I think folks might find worth noting.  The links will jump to direct time codes in the video that I am referring to.

When asked by Zennie Abraham what the first thing on John Russo’s agenda was when he comes to Alameda, he responded that filling all the interim positions with permanent employees in order to stabilize the City.  He points out that since 2005 Alameda has had seven City Managers, which at first I was taken aback by the number because it seemed rather inflated, but he’s not wrong:

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May 17, 2011

Alameda’s gain

Interesting story from Berkeleyside, apparently two citizens groups are suing the City of Berkeley over the the West Berkeley Plan and Zoning Requirements.  Specifically they are suing over:

Master Use Permit (MUP) sites – developments of more than four acres — and focuses on three aspects: the proposal to increase building height limits from 45ft to 75ft, the impact of taller buildings on residents, and the effect of proposed development on the environmental resources of Aquatic Park.

How does this relate to Alameda?   Well, this lawsuit could make an impact on one of the shortlisted sites that Alameda is competing with.  The Aquatic Park site off Bolivar Drive may be impacted by this lawsuit given that one of the requirements for the LBNL site was for the community to be welcoming aka they didn’t want a bunch of angry neighbors storming the City Council and not supporting the project.

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May 11, 2011

Setting ourselves apart

I have to say that after thinking about the selections made by Lawrence Berkeley National Labs for the second campus, it appears that some of the criteria that was initially in the RFP was not used in the ultimate selection of the whittled down sites, which bodes well for Alameda and Alameda Point.

Interestingly enough, when I wrote about Alameda’s competition in early March, it appears that all three Berkeley proposals moved on to the shortlist, which speaks to LBL’s desire to stay close to its main campus.   Those proposals include, according to Berkeleyside:

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May 10, 2011

What’s going on

Sometimes there’s just so much going on in the City that it is time for a round-up to remind you of the great things that are happening.

First, Alameda has been shortlisted along with five other sites for the Lawrence Berkeley Lab‘s second campus.   According to the Berekleyside the other locations are:

  • The Richmond Field Station. The University of California already owns this land, and it is presumed to be the front runner for the second campus.
  • Golden Gate Fields — This 30-acre parcel sits mainly in Albany, although a section also sits in Berkeley.
  • The Goldin brothers/Jones family parcel off of Bolivar Drive near Aquatic Park in Berkeley. This 12.5 acre parcel is the site of the old American Soils property.
  • A 64 acre parcel known as the Brooklyn Basin along Oakland’s waterfront.
  • A portion of the old Alameda Naval Air Station in Alameda. The city has offered this land for free to the lab as a way to quick-start development of the old base.
  • Wareham Development’s sites straddling Berkeley and Emeryville.

LBL has announced that it won’t make the final selection until November now as opposed to June when they initially had intended to make the final pick.   So this is as good of a time as any for the City to start some strategic campaign to tip the scales toward Alameda Point.   And many many props to Deputy City Manager Jennifer Ott who led this particular effort, standing out amongst 21 other proposals was not an easy task.

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April 4, 2011

What a campus user wants

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Theater — Tags: , — Lauren Do @ 6:00 am

Here’s something largely off topic to Alameda issues, but it does have some practical applications when we talk about future development and particularly around the City and most of its citizens desire to lure a large campus user to Alameda Point (coughlawrenceberkeleylabscough).   I say “most” because even though luring Lawrence Berkeley Labs to Alameda Point appears to be something that we all should agree on, there are some folks that don’t see LBL as a boon to Alameda and the future development at Alameda Point. Google (you all know Google right?) has its headquarters based in Mountain View and in their attempts to take over the world will need to eventually expand.   But Google and all their Google-smart employees don’t want to be just anywhere or they could just go to Pleasanton or Dublin (no offense to either city).   Most recently Google sent a letter to the Mountain View City Council clearly defining the place that they want to grow into, from Tech Crunch quoting Google’s letter: (more…)

April 1, 2011

Food trailer court trash

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Point, Business, Development — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

I had considered writing something in honor of April Fool’s Day, but decided against it since what I had thought of may have been taken out of context in a non April Fool’s Day moment which would then require me pointing out that it was a joke and so on and so forth.   So I decided best to save myself the trouble in the first place.

I haven’t talked a lot about what is actually in the City’s Lawrence Berkeley Lab’s proposal so it’s as good a time as any.   I can’t say that all this “OMG, Alameda going bankrupt?” business is going to do us a whit of good when the selection team thinks about which City to shortlist.  And can I just say how obnoxious I find when reporters/bloggers/writers put question marks after what really is a statement in order to insulate themselves from the perception that they what they are really writing is an opinion they would like to you draw from the information.   It’s intellectually lazy.   And I say that having used that method myself when I am too lazy to come up with an interesting title.  (Sad that no one seemed to enjoy the Doctor Who reference from yesterday’s title, where my Doctor Who geeks at?)

The City’s response to the Lawrence Berkeley Lab’s RFP is pretty straightforward, all the really important information has already been disclosed, such as the fact that the City intends to offer the land for free to LBL. But there was one thing in the response that I found really creative.

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March 7, 2011

Stiff competition

Friday was the deadline for the Lawrence Berkeley Labs proposal, in case some of you haven’t been following the coverage.  It appears that Alameda’s competition includes more than just cities putting in applications, private developers have also submitted applications to woo LBL to their particular sites.

As everyone has been pointing out, Point Richmond is probably the biggest competition for everyone given that LBL already owns property out there that would accommodate the needs of a second campus, but the downside is that it’s Richmond.

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February 25, 2011

What’s new pussycat?

Based on all the community meetings and the survey on line, City Staff has  analyzed all the responses which will be presented in a enormous report the first week of April.   However they did provide a digest of major findings in this update which will be presented for comment to the Planning Board on Monday.

Staff broke down the major categories and then what most people were in agreement with one another and what they disagreed on.   So here is my digest of their digest.

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February 7, 2011

Lab, again

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Point, City Council, Development — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:23 am

On Wednesday night, the City Council sitting as the Alameda Reuse and Redevelopment Authority (ARRA) made some policy decisions on the Lawrence Berkeley Lab (LBL) proposal.

The ARRA approved the site that City staff had selected.   Just to follow up on a question asked about why that particular site was selected.  The first was that the plot of land was fairly clean of toxics.   The second was that the land was not encumbered by any restrictions such as the Tidelands Trust or in a Historic district, also it doesn’t have any existing historic buildings either.

Also, interestingly enough something that was mentioned by staff that night was that MARAD (MARitime ADministration) is a client of LBL, so hopefully the proximity would be an appealing selling point to LBL as well.

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February 2, 2011

Lab space

Tonight, the City Council will be sitting as the ARRA to chat about some stuff and on the agenda (and on every agenda until the proposal is due) is the Lawrence Berkeley Lab response.

You don’t care about the silly little details right?   You just care about where the City is proposing to site this puppy if we are lucky enough to be shortlisted.   Well here it is:

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