Blogging Bayport Alameda

February 28, 2012

Protect ya neck

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Point, City Council — Tags: , — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

I had meant to write about this a while ago, but something always came up and managed to capture my attention before I could get around to it. A few weeks ago the City put out a press release which indicated that the federal judge in the SunCal suit had dismissed a portion of SunCal’s case where SunCal was seeking damages in the amount of $100 million.

United States District Court Judge Charles Breyer tossed that portion of the case because SunCal was seeking future profits and it was speculative that SunCal would have received those profits since the development plan had not been approved.

This, of course, is really good news for the City because now it only has to deal with the portion of the case that deals with the amount of money SunCal claims to have spent on pre-development costs and whether they are eligible for reimbursement based on how everything shook down in Alameda post Measure B’s demise.

But that’s not the juicy part of the hearing up to that particular ruling.  Really long post ahead, you’ve been warned.

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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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December 1, 2010

On the amend

Since tonight’s City Council’s Special Meeting has been cancelled (yep that’s right, it was cancelled yesterday afternoon around 4:30 p.m.) I’m hoping that someone will bring up the case of the $173K accountant at the next regularly scheduled City Council meeting next Tuesday. As a reminder, what was signed as a six week contract by Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant ballooned into a contract for more than eight months of work.

Also, as a reminder, the purchasing authority of the City Manager (Interim or otherwise) only $75,000 without City Council approval according to the City’s Municipal Code, which this contract is well over.

Interestingly enough, I was recently pointed to a miscellaneous provision in the City’s Charter which says:

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October 14, 2010

Jumping the Shark

Filed under: Alameda, Election — Tags: , — Lauren Do @ 6:12 am

An anonymous reader sent me one of the latest e-mail blasts from the Frank Matarrese for Mayor campaign and titled the email “Jumping the Shark” for those unfamiliar with what “Jumping the Shark” is in reference to, see this Wikipedia entry. After I read it, I couldn’t disagree with that characterization.

The thing is, Frank Matarrese very early on was running a really strong campaign.   If I’m not mistaken, he actually had Jeff Mitchell and Lorann Snow to thank for that.   A really strong social media presence, great messaging, great outreach, and a really early start,  he was the one that everyone would need to catch in terms of campaigning.   But then the message started changing from one of “Here’s what I can do for Alameda” to “SunCal is the boogyman, ooohhhoooohhh, and I’m the only one that can stop them!”

Here’s a snippet of the email blast:

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September 30, 2010

A “mandate”, is neither a man nor a date, discuss

Big news from yesterday, in addition to the two other lawsuits SunCal has filed against the City of Alameda, there is now a third that was filed in Alameda County Superior Court.  They filed a Writ of Mandate, which essentially is a way for the court (if the plaintiff is successful) to tell the defendant to simply do something that they are supposed to do anyway.

Essentially SunCal contends that the City of Alameda, but specifically Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant (note, they spell her name incorrectly, adding an extra “e” to “Ann” throughout the document) has deliberately withheld records that were specifically requested under SunCal’s very extensive Public Records Act request.   And, of course, emails play a huge role in this and, yours truly, makes another cameo appearance much to my own chagrin.

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August 30, 2010

Back to business

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Point, City Council, Development — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

August is almost over and the City Council, sitting as the ARRA is back to work on September 1st on the dot.

The biggie agenda item to watch is a presentation on “Alameda Point– Going Forward,” but right now there are no documents available to review in advance of the meeting.    Also there is a presentation on “Citywide Asset Management Strategy – Alameda Point Application” also without documents to review ahead of time.   I guess we’ll just be surprised when we are allowed to hear what City staff has planned next for Alameda Point.

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August 6, 2010

The O.C.

For those that didn’t catch it in the comments section, or on Michele Ellson’s site, SunCal has uploaded their filed complaint to their website.

A few interesting things that were pointed out to me.  One I had already noticed and that was that SunCal had opted to file their case in a federal court in Santa Ana.   I thought of this as an additional “fuck you” to the City, since defending their case in Southern California would increase the cost to the City in legal and travel fees.   However, strategically, I was told, that a smart lawyer would attempt to find a venue  — in addition to being proper and appropriate — which would be most favorable to his/her clients.   SunCal is claiming that because the majority of the negotiations occurred (on SunCal’s end) in Orange County and “significant performance” occurred in Orange County that it will be best handled in their jurisdiction.  I imagine that the first thing the City will do will be to attempt to move the venue to Northern California.

There are four things that SunCal claims/wants out of this lawsuit.

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August 5, 2010

The shoe drops

You all know I never post twice in a day unless it’s something significant.   Well the other shoe has dropped and SunCal has filed a lawsuit to compel the City of Alameda to allow SunCal to develop the plan.

SFGate has the story here, it’s fairly light since SunCal has been relatively quiet about it  – in other words there is no press release about it, at least I didn’t get one.   According to the article SunCal is not asking for money, but they didn’t rule out another lawsuit asking for monetary damages.

July 28, 2010

Great Park / Grand Jury

Filed under: Alameda, Alameda Point, City Council, Development, Election — Tags: , , , , — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

It’s rather interesting now that both Frank Matarrese and Doug deHaan have both now — publicly — announced that they would be totally interested in a non-profit city led development corporation to move forward with Alameda Point.   Frank Matarrese also placed this as a Council Referral last night.   Frank Matarrese mentioned in the Island article that one could be formed in the vein of the Great Park in Orange County.   If you will remember  Frank Matarrese, Beverly Johnson, and the Interim City Manager paid a visit to Orange County to check out the Great Park lats November.   In a Sun article describing the visit to Great Park, Frank Matarrese said the reason why they paid a visit was:

“We are hoping to get a little background on what they have been doing,” said City Councilman Frank Matarrese, who is traveling south for the one-day visit. “They have been dealing with the Navy and that’s something we also must do.”

Which is a laughable excuse since the deal between the Navy and the City of Irvine about the El Toro base was extremely straightforward.   The Navy did an outright auction of the land in parcels.   Lennar won all the parcels and then the City of Irvine and the private developer worked out an agreement on their own.  $200 million to the Great Park folks and 1300 acres for their “Great Park” and Lennar can pretty much do whatever it wants with the rest of their land (in excess of 3000 acres).

What makes the “Great Park” model even more suspect is the recent (and past) Grand Jury scrutiny about (1) the structure (2005-2006 report) and (2) the financing (2009-2010 report)

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July 21, 2010

The importance of being earnest

So I started watching the City Council meeting aroung 7:30ish. Big mistake. They hadn’t even started the staff and SunCal presentations yet and the Mayor was talking about giving City staff 30 minutes and then giving SunCal 30 minutes. Yes an hour worth of dog and pony that would do zero to change anyone’s mind. Then when the Mayor announced that there was 60 speaker slips and they all would be given two minutes each and that point I started realizing that I needed to check what was on my Tivo before attempting to check in again.

I caught the first few minutes of staff’s presentation and I could help but note how uncomfortable Jennifer Ott looked having to give the presentation. Generally I just listen to City Council meeting so I never really look up at the people speaking, after a while you can pretty much tell who is talking by their voices. So she introduced all the staff that was part of the group and included all the consultants on the project as well. In this case all the consultants that are part of the team you can better believe that they are getting paid out of the SunCal bank account, so it was interesting that Newdorf Legal was introduced as part of the team as “special counsel” which means that more likely that not SunCal was just billed by the City of Alameda to pay for the City’s defense against SunCal. And the farce just gets more absurd.

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