Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 2, 2010

Finding Memo

Josh Harkinson from Mother Jones magazine is my new hero for the moment.   If the name sounds vaguely familiar, he is the journalist for Mother Jones that wrote the article about environmentalists and density, but used Alameda Point as sort of the poster child for the disconnect between liberal environmental groups and their desire to rein in sprawl, but yet fight in fill higher density projects as well.

The article is now fully on-line in all it’s cut and pastable glory, but the neat thing is that Josh Harkinson has anticipated that his article might cause a bit of a deluge of angry comments and so has written this blog post in advance of the virtual finger wagging. He mentions that critics (I bet he got a lot of pissy emails) will probably contend that he didn’t drill down deep enough into the specifics of Measure B to truly see its flaws, but he does go into more detail on his blog post. Excerpt:


May 11, 2010

In fill ‘er up

At the last City Council meeting toward the end of the meeting when the City Council gets its requisite SunCal/Alameda Point updates, Mayor Beverly Johnson goes on this huge tear about not understanding why SunCal has yet to put out a “transportation plan” yet and how she doesn’t understand how a development can be “transit oriented” if  there is no transportation plan.


That is literally what I did when she said that.

These are the times when I really, really, really wish that the City Council had access to Google on the dais.


June 12, 2009

It wasn’t me

It appears that whoever hired the big guns to send a letter out to the City Attorney regarding the Alameda Point Initiative isn’t willing to come out and own it.   In fact, groups that were virtually waving the letter around the other day are now pulling a Shaggy and denying involvement with the letter.

While Peter Hegarty is reporting that:

…[Lawyer Dana] Sack is allied with Protect the Point, a community group against the SunCal plan…

Both Protect the Point and Action Alameda/Save our City Alameda are saying to Michele Ellson, “it wasn’t me”:

…Sack wouldn’t tell me who he is working for (”She asked me not to”); representatives of Action Alameda/Save Our City Alameda and Protect the Point both told me they didn’t retain him…


June 11, 2009


In keeping with the one word titles…

You all probably saw on Alameda Daily News the posting of a letter written to the City Attorney claiming that the Alameda Point Initiative is defective.  Or rather in the words of Don Roberts’s headline, “Fundamentally and Fatally Flawed.”  Of course given all the hoo hah over the “misrepresentations” made by the signature gatherers about the toxic clean-up, I guess I was surprised to see that the defect was over the number of square footage for the commercial and business space.   

This is the argument and reference to the supporting evidence:

…Attached hereto as Exhibit A are four pages from the Alameda Point Revitalization Initiative stating that there will be 3,182,000 square feet of commercial and business park development. Attached hereto as Exhibit B is Table 11-2 stating that there will be 2,515,000 square feet of commercial and business park development. The difference is 667,000 square feet. That is 20% of the higher number and 25% of the lower number…This is too significant and material a mistake and discrepancy to be ignored…


June 2, 2009

SunCal never promised us a rose garden, part 2

Continued from Part 1…

Jean Sweeney goes on to say in her letter to multiple editors (thanks to David B. for the Alameda Journal redirect)

Do you notice that the Alameda Point Master Plan is not one of the Applicable Rules? The Master Plan has no enforceable effect. It has big promises and pretty pictures but not enforceable.

See, here is where we get into a pure terminology issue. Just to clarify initially, the Applicable Rules that SunCal is bound by under the Development Agreement (p. 4 – 5) are:

  • The City Charter of the City of Alameda on the Election Date, as modified by the Initiative Approvals…
  • The General Plan of the City on the Election Date, including the new Alameda Point Community Plan and other modifications made by the Initiative Approvals…
  • The Alameda Point Specific Plan…
  • The Zoning Ordinance (i.e., Chapter XXX of the Alameda Municipal Code) of the City on the Election Date, as modified by the Initiative Approvals…
  • All other provisions of the Alameda Municipal Code and other rules regulations, ordinances and policies of City applicable to development of the Property on the Election Date, as the same may be modified by the Initiative Approvals.


June 1, 2009

SunCal never promised us a rose garden, part 1

But they did promise us a Sports Complex.

Before I get started, first off, the City has produced its Alameda Point Development Initative Election Reportas directed by the City Council.   More on that document later, it’s about 39 pages and supposedly breaks down the SunCal Initiative into easy to understand plain language bits.  I don’t want to get too in-depth about it because I have been sitting on this particular post for a while and want get to it.  

Last week, Jean Sweeney submitted a letter to Alameda Daily News that was chockful of, um, information that isn’t quite true. I don’t think she deliberately was trying to misrepresent what is in the SunCal Development Agreement, but I found some inaccuracies in her letter. The letter has since disappeared off of ADN, but it is screen capped below.


May 8, 2009


Because Alameda just doesn’t have enough “community groups” floating around, another one has cropped up, but this time, it’s actually not a spin off of SaveOurActionforaBetter!KeepingMeasureAofAlameda and friends.   Both JKW and Michele E.have given this group a mention previously, I, and apparently others, received the same media releases about the group’s videos.    After a bit of digging -(okay fine it was one Google search) I turned up this blog for Save Our Future! Alameda (SOFA), the group behind the counter videos.

So, for those of you that have watched KeepingMeasureAofAlameda and friends videos, you may notice that there is some, um, overlap in those videos and the SOFA (snicker) videos.     For folks that have not watched the videos the SOFA videos are, for lack of a better term, spoofing, but I suppose one could say it was political commentary under the fair use doctrine, Edmundo Delmundo has done a very thorough analysis of the first two videos.  


May 5, 2009

Risk Management Business

Filed under: Alameda, City Council — Tags: , , , — Lauren Do @ 6:59 am

Scooping all others, JKW over at SDR has updated us all that the Dr. Zehra Attari lawsuit has been settled.   Click the hyperlink for background on the lawsuit.

When all was said and done the the parties were able to get together and negotiate a settlement of $2.25 million which, according to both JKW and Michele Ellson over at the Island, will be covered by insurance or in this case the California Joint Powers Risk Management Authority.


April 16, 2009

Pace maker

The signature gathering process has gotten a lot of people up in a tizzy, and personally, I think all the people getting pissed off about this process should be saving their energy for the actual campaign.    This campaign isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.  So pace yourself and drink plenty of water.   Because, to steal a phrase from Gavin Newsom, “like it or not” SunCal will get their signatures.

ActiontoSaveourCityforaBetterAlameda and Company can line up all the legal experts or attorneys that they want to in order to attempt to challenge the process or challenge the signatures or whatever they are going to try to do, but you have to remember that this isn’t SunCal or the consultants’ they have hired first time at the proverbial rodeo. They know the law, they know how it works to their advantage. Is it fair, is it right? I guess that depends on how you feel about the issue, but until there is political will to change our ballot initiative process there will always be a place for paid consultants who know how to massage the process for the organization that is signing their checks.


March 25, 2009

Let me kick my credentials

Good lord.

Thanks for giving us the nutshell version of development/housing/redevelopment/density bonus/kitchen sink issues in Alameda SFGate real estate blog, On The Block! Just what we need, another barely skimming the surface assessment of highly complex and complicated issues from the reporters at the SF Chronicle.

First of all, the density bonus ordinance was not passed in order to shepherd in a new age of crazy home building in Alameda. It was done because we want our fricken Housing Element to finally get approved.   And as real estate bloggers, I’m sure that the authors know that the density bonus is required by state law and even if Alameda did not pass one the City would still be required  to grant one, if requested by a developer, but using the state parameters instead of ones that we bring upon our own heads.


Older Posts »

Blog at