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Johnson, deHaan oppose Measure A

Submitted by on 1, November 17, 2009 – 6:00 am9 Comments

This election is going to be Alameda’s! Funnest! Ever! Why? Because the folks at the Alameda County Registrar of Voters have assigned the ballot order for SunCal’s Alameda Point development initiative, and since it’s the first measure to hit the ballot in 2010, they’re calling it … Measure A. Oh, the irony! Oh, the headlines!

Okay, I’m calm now.

So the whole point of this post was to share the ballot arguments for and against the initiative – Measure A – which were due Monday. Perhaps the most interesting thing about them is who’s signed them – East Bay Regional Park District president Doug Siden, HOMES’ Helen Sause, Perforce’s Christopher Seiwald, Alameda Little League president Ron Matthews and library supporter Honora Murphy for, and Mayor Beverly Johnson, Vice Mayor Doug deHaan, City Treasurer Kevin Kennedy, Chamber of Commerce president Blake Bryd0n and local real estate broker Dennis Pagones against.

I’d reproduce them below but I want to give you the language without all the icky sharing of people’s home addresses and phone numbers. So here’s the cut and paste. The argument for:

The Naval Air Station at the western end of Alameda permanently closed more than 12 years ago. Since then, many plans have been developed, but little progress has been made to transform the base into a safe and productive part of our city.

Costs to maintain the crumbling infrastructure and decaying buildings at Alameda Point continue to grow, making it a burden on the City of Alameda and Alameda taxpayers. After decades of military use, the Navy is cleaning up the contaminated soil and groundwater; however, the site’s aging buildings are contaminated, and the roads, sewers and utilities need to be replaced.

Now, there is a unique opportunity to further clean up Alameda Point and make it a vibrant part of our community, without cost to current Alameda taxpayers.

World-renowned planners, with input from citizens of Alameda over many years and through dozens of public workshops and community meetings, have developed a plan to create a green, sustainable, transit-oriented development at Alameda Point.

If approved, the plan will:

*Remove decayed buildings and further clean up the toxic waste
*Improve public access to water and create bayside walking and biking trails
*Provide 145 acres of parks and open space
*Preserve historic structures
*Build a new ferry terminal
*Bring new businesses and jobs to Alameda
*Build recreational and sports facilities
*Build a new library, fire station and school

This plan will NOT cost existing taxpayers. In fact, the City requires that the plan must pay for itself.

The plan to revitalize Alameda Point is supported by community and business leaders, environmentalists, seniors and residents. Please visit www.alamedapointcommunity.com for more information.

Now it’s up to you to help make this plan a reality and decide Alameda’s future. Vote YES on (Measure A).

(Signed)

Doug Siden, Helen Sause, Christopher Seiwald, Ron Matthews, Honora Murphy

And the argument against:

VOTE NO ON MEASURE (A)
A BAD DEAL FOR OUR CITY

Like many fellow Alamedans, we want to see Alameda Point developed so this historic area can
be revitalized to benefit the entire city again. Therefore, we do support a smart, economic
development. However, the SunCal proposed development is wrong for the future of Alameda
and for all taxpayers. Here’s why:

Measure (A) is a developer-sponsored measure, by SunCal, that is one-sided. It circumvents City complete control of Alameda Point.

If passed, Measure (A) guarantees the developer the following rights:

Loses $51 milion in fees for our City that would ordinarily be collected from the Developer for basic infrastructure.
Diverts nearly $12 million in yearly lease revenue from our City to the Developer.
Locks in a short fall for public improvements and benefits by $175 million.
Guarantees SunCal can sell Alameda Point to any developer – immediately – with no say from voters or the City.
Leaves the door open for neglect and blight with no actual development required.
Freezes the Developer’s already insuffcient funding at today’s dollar value for the next twenty- five years.
Approves this development without crucial information on environmental mitigation costs until after this election.
Risks raising other taxes and fees when Alameda Point’s costs exceed the 2% cap.
Exposes the City of Alameda to potential costly lawsuits.

WE CANNOT AFFORD A PLAN that will leave our City and its taxpayers responsible for
millions of dollars if Alameda Point development fails.
WE CANNOT AFFORD TO GIVE any total control and complete oversight of Alameda Point to any developer.
WE CANNOT AFFORD TO FUND any portion of the critical infrastructure and promised
public benefits with your tax dollars.
WE CANNOT AFFORD UNATTAINABLE PROMISES from the developer.
WE CANNOT AFFORD MEASURE (A).

PLEASE VOTE NO ON MEASURE (A)!

(Signed)

Beverly Johnson, Doug deHaan, Kevin Kennedy, Blake Brydon, Dennis Pagones

9 Comments »

  • techies says:

    Based on the this read up, we now know the outcome of the future vote. Also, Suncal's financial status is not the greatest. You have to think about the technicals, business, and political parameters of this project. We want something because it feels good does not cut it. Who is going to pay for this deal when it goes bad? Taxpayers. No thanks. I will vote NO.

  • Scott says:

    The City of Alameda should be a place where families can raise their children and enjoy our beautiful scenery along the San Francisco Bay. But an enormous piece of our island is off limits because it is a toxic mess. After more than 100 years of military and industrial use, Alameda Point sits in decay and disrepair. I believe that it is our responsibility to clean up Alameda Point to make way for outdoor recreation, schools and housing. I support the plan to revitalize Alameda Point because doing nothing is no longer an option.

  • Yo says:

    pagones is against A? that means I am for A.

  • Lorre says:

    Scott, I agree with you. It's very unfortunate that SunCal chose to include such onerous and one-sided financial terms into the initiative instead of including the terms where they usually are, in a DDA negotiated with the City. Before their negotiating agreement lapses, SunCal still has time to place another initiative on the ballot with the same plan for revitalization, but without the financial and other terms that don't belong there. This would allow SunCal and the City to negotiate terms that make sense for developers and us as taxpayers. It's my hope that they do.

  • ET says:

    Wow! It is interesting that at least one voter is planning to vote for something just because someone else is voting against it. I wonder how informed that person is, and how seriously they take their civic duty to vote. Considering that this project will cost about a billion dollars (much of this in the form of bonded indebtedness on the city), when all is said and done, that seems a very off-hand approach to the matter.

  • ct says:

    It's my understanding that during weekly meetings between SunCal and city officials to negotiate certain issues in the development initiative, SunCal agreed to lift the $200 million cap on public benefits. This proves false the opponents' claims that Measure A "locks in a short fall for public improvements and benefits by $175 million" and "risks raising other taxes and fees when Alameda Point's costs exceed the 2 percent cap" and calls into question the veracity of all their other arguments against the measure.

    In her post titled "Substantial Point" (laurendo.wordpress.com/2009/11/18/substantial-point/), Lauren Do at "Blogging Bayport Alameda" does just that, addressing the incorrect assertions of each "against" argument.

    • Thanks for your comment, ct. I actually have asked SunCal several times for any legal opinion they might have that shows that these things can be negotiated in the wake of a successful ballot measure, and they have not yet given me the information despite assurances that something was forthcoming.

      So where I'm at on this in terms of the reporting I've done thus far is that the items in dispute are part of the ballot measure, opponents are arguing that these things can't be changed if the measure passes, our city attorney is saying she's not sure if they can be changed, proponents are saying they can, and I'm hopeful I can find a legal opinion or something conclusive that can set the matter to rest for everyone, because it's an important issue that begs resolution.

  • Keith Nealy says:

    Seems to me it's not safe to vote for something before we're sure what it is.

  • Mike P. says:

    For a straight answer, my money's on you over Highsmith any day, Michele.

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