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UPDATED SUNCAL SUBMITS SIGNATURES

Submitted by on 1, September 23, 2009 – 12:33 pm10 Comments

Updated 11:42 a.m. Thursday, September 24

This just in: SunCal has submitted the petition signatures for its ballot measure that spells out the developer’s plans for Alameda Point, and its development agreement with the city.

The developer hopes to have the measure before voters in 2010.

This morning, the developer submitted 9,618 signatures to City Clerk Lara Weisiger. They needed 6,369 to qualify for the ballot.

Weisiger will send the signatures today to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters – along with requests from 557 people who said they want their names off the petitions – for a random sampling they’ll conduct to determine whether there are enough valid signatures to move forward. The check could be completed as soon as November 4.

If a complete check is needed, that could be completed by December 21.

“This is a very exciting day for all Alameda because it means that for the first time the city’s voters will get the chance to decide the fate of Alameda Point,” Council member Lena Tam was quoted as saying in a press release from SunCal’s reps. “As people learn more about this plan to clean up and convert the dilapidated former Navy base into a productive new neighborhood, I am sure they will join me in supporting it.”

The release also quoted Doug Siden, our local member of the East Bay Regional Park District board and chair of a committee that supports the initiative.

“This initiative will transform an underused and decaying old military base into a vibrant new mixed-use, transit-oriented neighborhood,” Siden was quoted as saying. “The new Alameda Point neighborhood will feature parks, schools, shoreline access and many other important civic improvements.”

Opponents Protect the Point are gearing up to fight the plan. From Protect the Point’s Dave Needle:

They have moved forward despite the more than 500 people who have taken their name off the petition; they have done this despite the opposition of the Alameda Chamber of Commerce; and they have done this despite the fact that their proposal will take away Alameda’s ability to negotiate in its best interest.

They’re fearful that SunCal could abandon the Point or that the development could cost the city money it doesn’t have.

The plan includes 4,841 new homes, 3.2 million square feet of office space, 350,000 square feet of retail space, 145 acres of parks and open space, a school, bike trails, boat slips and more.

Last week, SunCal announced the formation of a new community advisory group that supports the initiative, and in addition to Tam, Mayor Beverly Johnson has voiced support for it, appearing on mailers and auto-calls in support. But this week, Alameda’s Chamber of Commerce said that while it supports the plan, it is against the initiative.

More to come.

10 Comments »

  • Miriam says:

    I’ve noticed a trend here. First a story is published and then an update is issued a while later with quotes from SunCal. In this case, no opposing point of view is presented. I think that it would be better journalism to publish a complete article with balanced coverage rather than continuing to issue updates. In fairness, this story should be updated again with more balanced coverage. I appreciate the effort to get the story out fast, but I think that also has a drawback. The swiftness carries with it some sacrifices that I don’t find positive. I appreciate your reporting and writing, but I wish you would consider changing this aspect of it.

    • Hi Miriam,

      Thanks for your comment. The story will indeed be update with an opposing view as soon as that information is available. But while we’re here, let me take a little time to walk you through my process.

      I do, in fact, publish the posts as soon as I have enough information to run with – much the same way a wire service or even a newspaper would publish a major news story like this and update as the information rolls in. I think it’s important to get it out as soon as the news is available. To me, that’s an important component of operating in this medium.

      That said, even in my life as a newspaper reporter who had the luxury of a full day to report many stories, there were times when I was not successful in getting both sides of a story to respond before the story was due. And in those cases, I had no opportunity to add it in later. Sometimes, deadline comes calling and you’ve just got to go with what you’ve got.

      That said, I think if you review my posts, you will see that there are several cases where the chronology you’re seeing – story, story plus comment form SunCal, no opposing view – didn’t happen. Examples include last week’s post on the initiative traffic report, which I received at 5 p.m. last Tuesday night; the story was published at 6 a.m. the next day and I didn’t receive a comment from SunCal late in the day; or my post this week on the Chamber’s announcement that it opposes the initiative, which was run without a comment from SunCal at all.

      As I noted in the story and in the earlier part of my reply, I did solicit a comment from opponents of the plan, and I will absolutely include their response as soon as I get it.

  • AD says:

    Michele, since it is sometimes difficult to figure out what changed with the update, can I make a suggestion to include the later update in caps or italics, and to maybe strike through the revised text. . This way it is clear right away what information was available at “press time” and what was solicited later.

    Thanks for keeping the news hot!

  • Scott says:

    This is a very exciting day for all Alameda because it means that for the first time the city’s voters will get the chance to decide the fate of Alameda Point,” As people learn more about this plan to clean up and convert the dilapidated former Navy base into a productive new neighborhood, I am sure they will join me in supporting it.

    More than 3000 signatures than what was required. People against the point need to start realizing that their are too many people who support Suncal and this project. The time has come to admit the project is moving forward, Lead Follow or Get out of the way.

  • Liz says:

    Yes. The project is moving forward “Scott” despite the questionable signature gathering tactics used.

  • RM says:

    At this point, what is moving forward is SunCal/DE Shaw’s “campaign.”

    They are waging a full out campaign to develop an annexation of the old navy base for their financial benefit.

  • Jon Spangler says:

    RM,
    SunCal and D.E. Shaw have every right to make a reasonable profit given the risks thay are taking and the amount of money they are putting into revitalizing Alameda Point and creating a new, sustainable community where only limited economic and social activity is now taking place.

    And the City of Alameda and our community will reap many benefits from a well-executed and sustainable plan at Alameda Point, which Peter Calthorpe has produced. This redevelopment is not a one-way street with benefits only accruing to the developers, folks. Alameda will get a completely new infrastructure at AP, 4000-plus new homes, many new businesses, new transit facilities, a school, a library, and more. Not to mention more economic activity and tax revenue to replenish our private and public sectors.

  • David Hart says:

    Jon:

    The plan will be a net loss of tax dollars — the sales taxes generated by new businesses at the point will never equal the forgone property taxes. From this and other comments you have made, such as your statements that it will be funded by private investors, it is obvious that you completely fail to comprehend the financing scheme on the table. I suggest you familiarize yourself with TIF before you make more uninformed comments.

  • Miriam says:

    Dear Mr. Spangler,

    You are by far the most intelligent of SunCal’s spokesmen. What benefits is SunCal required to provide according to their initiative and by what dates? You are a great writer and I really enjoy reading what you have to say.

    Peace,

    Miriam

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