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Submitted by on 1, January 21, 2010 – 5:05 pm8 Comments

City Councilwoman and mayoral candidate Marie Gilmore has said that while she supports redevelopment of Alameda Point, she is taking a “reluctant” stance against Measure B.

Gilmore has come under fire in recent weeks from groups who oppose Measure B because she had not taken a stance on SunCal’s Point development plan. She is the last member of the City Council to do so.

Here’s Gilmore’s statement:

As someone who strongly supports the community-developed vision for the redevelopment of the former naval base that is the basis of the land-use plan in Measure B, it has been a difficult and complicated decision for me on whether to endorse or oppose Measure B. I have reluctantly decided to oppose Measure B.

I say “reluctantly” because, like many Alamedans, I am eager to move forward on developing the former naval base. It is the only base from that particular round of closures that has failed to make any progress on the development front. Community members have provided input over the many years since the base closed and this input is the basis of the land-use plan in Measure B, which has the potential to create a vibrant, mixed-use community that would be an asset for Alameda.

However, I have been concerned from the time this measure was submitted about fiscal aspects of the initiative and the process for implementing this plan. Specifically, I have always been concerned about approving this initiative prior to negotiating a Disposition and Development Agreement. Because the City is in an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement with SunCal, I believed it was my duty to permit the negotiation process to proceed. While I had significant concerns about Measure B, I was optimistic that these concerns could be addressed through ongoing negotiations.

That negotiation process has proceeded substantially since the submission of the measure, and with the election less than two weeks away, I feel it is now appropriate to state my opposition to Measure B. My concerns regarding the fiscal terms and process have not been adequately resolved through the negotiations as I had hoped. During the holidays, I had the opportunity to review all the recent information regarding Measure B, including the City Attorney’s recent legal opinion regarding amendments to the Development Agreement. It became clear to me that Measure B had to be considered as written without regard to any post-election modifications or negotiations. As a result, the financial concerns are still present and there is no guarantee when, or if, the financial risk to the City will be alleviated. That was a significant factor for me.

Like many Alamedans, I am frustrated with the failure to develop Alameda Point in the 14 years since the base was closed. Alameda Point in its current condition is not sustainable. Asbestos and lead-filled buildings present dangerous fire hazards—such as the FISC Hospital fire, which cost the city $2 Million. Items such as broken water valves cost the city hundreds of thousands in repair costs each year that cannot be passed on to tenants. Although the Navy owns the land, the City is responsible for its maintenance and security. Revenues from leases do not cover the ever-rising costs of maintaining Alameda Point.

I believe it is necessary to have a negotiated Disposition and Development Agreement in order to be assured that the community plan is implemented in a manner that is in the best interests of the city, fiscally and otherwise. Measure B does not afford this assurance. I assure you, this is a decision I have made with great deliberation and thoughtfulness. I also assure you that whether Measure B passes or fails, I will work diligently towards the redevelopment the former base. It is imperative that we move forward to fulfill the community vision for Alameda Point.

Incidentally, the Greenbelt Alliance is supporting a yes vote on B.


  • Jon Spangler says:

    I am disappointed in Marie Gilmore’s stand against Measure B, but I understand her concern about the shortcomings in the way Measure B was written. If she and others on the City Council had stepped up to the plate last year and placed a charter amendment on the ballot to amend the 1973 density restrictions (as the City Council did in the 1990s), I would be better able to accept her reasoning, though.

    Whatever happens on February 2, SunCal demonstrated with and in its January 14 submission of the same development plans with a revised proposed Development Agreement, it is more than willing to discuss and change its proposals to satisfy genuine City concerns, even when the City has made it very difficult to do so.

    No matter what happens in the special election there will be lots of work to be done to revitalize Alameda Point on February 3. And I look forward to helping to get the long-awaited revitalization of Alameda Point accomplished–soon.

  • Richard Bangert says:


    You assert that we would have avoided this campaign battle (and I would add, a waste of $300,000 on a special election) over what appears to be a losing effort on SunCal’s part if “the City Council had stepped up to the plate last year and placed a charter amendment on the ballot to amend the 1973 density restrictions”

    You go on to then state that SunCal’s “Plan B” submission shows they are “more than willing to discuss and change its proposals to satisfy genuine City concerns” Perhaps if SunCal had demonstrated their willingness prior to placing the measure on the ballot they would have had a different outcome.

    Even if they had discussed this ballot measure with the city and the city had placed it on the ballot, we would still be just now getting ready to think about voting on it. Why? Because a city-initiated measure would have required an EIR prior to a vote. This is exactly where we are going to end up, minus $300,000 in the city’s treasury, and minus one more year. How smart was that?

    The citizens of Alameda, as well as the citizens of Oakland’s Chinatown, in my humble opinion, want to see an EIR first. Voters in Alameda will be ready to either a) vote on something, or b) urge their mayor and city council to approve something once they know the ramifications of what they are getting into. It is also our responsibility to see that our neighbors in Oakland are happy with our plans before going forward. Talking about creating a walkable neighborhood at Alameda Point while at the same time making Chinatown less walkable is not the kind of “new” thinking, as in new urbanism, that I think we should be embracing.

  • Barbara Thomas says:

    Measure A was a response to unchecked development by developers when “sufficient mitigations” enacted as directed by planners, never satisfactorily solved the problems they created as promised. Even though outspent by a factor of 10 to 1, it passed overwhelmingly. Measure A was challenged by the developers of Marina Village in the form of “Save the Red Brick Building.” The voters saw through the attempt to exempt anything from Measure A. It too was overwhelmingly defeated.

    This attempt to create exemptions prompted Chuck Corica to return to the Council and then Mayor. As Mayor, Chuck Corica felt that Measure A needed more tightening to thwart greedy developers. He worked with land use attorneys and came up with an additional sqare footage requirement for each unit. This is what the Council put on the ballot in the 1990’s: A tightening of Measure A.

    Measure A is simple. It avoids all the fast talking, money laden developers who come to town, promising the sky, taking our money and leaving the citizens with aggravated traffic problems, increased need for services and insufficient tax increases to pay for those services. Measure A has been called archaic and mean spirited and a means of limiting of low income families. But Alameda has always met its fair share of increased housing more than any other city in Alameda County – except Berkeley and Oakland. And Alameda far exceeds Tiburon, Belvedere, and such cities in the Bay Area that formally exclude the poor.

    The return of the Naval Base to Alameda creates a unique opportunity to bring Alameda to fiscal soundness for the rest of its existence. If and only if, Alameda develops the base for Alamedans with the profits staying in Alameda. Why should we build a Marina that nets millions of dollars a year in perpetuity to make yet another developer rich or richer? Why not keep the money for our schools, our traffic mitigation, our parks, our libraries? Why should we be in a hurry to do this? Whatever gets built will be here for hundreds of years.

    Exempting Measure A is only seen as necessary by developers and those who believe we might actually get more transit and low income opportunities from a concentrated residential development. That ignores the real problem and solution. The Navy coexisted because its traffic flowed in the opposite direction at peak times. Any development that provides this same traffic pattern is probably going to work. Any development that doesn’t provide opposite flow, isn’t going to work. And amending Measure A will simply exacerbate the results for the remainder of the citizens.

    Measure A was one sentence long: No multiple dwellings shall be built in Alameda. The Amendment was equally short: The maximum density for any residential development within the City of Alameda shall be one housing unit per 2,000 square feet of land. (There were some exceptions for rebuilding existing units)

    SUNCAL has come forward with 288 pages of gobble-dy-gook. But the real thrust of SUNCAL’s efforts is to repeal Measure A as to SUNCAL, take all of the profit that it possibly can out of the last best undeveloped land in the San Francisco Bay Area, and go back to Irvine or where ever, with that money, while leaving Alamedans with whatever shakes out. There isn’t one word about profit sharing with the city of Alameda. Or modifying the project if the projections don’t pan out.

  • ct says:

    Mr Bangert, the “waste of $300,000” is due to Mayor Johnson, Vice Mayor deHaan, and Councilman Matarrese voting in November for this special election on the SunCal initiative. The initiative could have gone on the general-election ballot in June, but the City Hall powers-that-be preferred to spend up to $325,000 in order to follow a lax reading of election codes than show some common sense and hold the vote in June.

    This is just one example of how certain members of our city government lack the common sense, long-term vision, and conviction necessary to realize the potential that Alameda Point holds. In what may be an effort to conceal this weakness, Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant has shrouded with secrecy the inner workings of local government, as demonstrated last week when Alameda citizens requested from City Hall copies of a document pertaining to an alternative plan from SunCal and those requests were initially resisted. Why else would Gallant feel the need to control what we may know about the Point, when we may know it, and in what context it should be delivered?

    This arrogant disregard for transparency in government carries over into the City’s business dealings concerning the Point. On the one hand they claim to be conducting good-faith negotiations with SunCal, but on the other hand they produce a biased fiscal-impact report, they go on fact-finding missions to other shuttered military bases in search of alternatives, and then they propose a long-term-leases plan that would essentially keep the Point unchanged. The City is at an utter loss on how to move forward with the Point, so they repeatedly do nothing, are letting it deteriorate, and are obstructionist when a new plan is proposed. This is a critical moment; we need leaders who are genuinely interested in the future of Alameda and not just looking to further his or her own political career.

  • Irene says:

    SunCal, not the city, chose to postpone putting its initiative on the general election ballot of November 2009, which came a surprise and disappointment to many. Also, the Chamber of Commerce and Renewed Hope Housing Advocates independently came to the same conclusion as the city did about the fiscal impacts of this ballot measure. Hardly biased. Let’s give them all credit for being “genuinely interested in the future of Alameda.”

  • dlm says:

    Michele: If there’s something controversial about a link to a polling place locator (which you wouldn’t let me post), then I have to say that I don’t see it. My best guess is that you’re pissed off because your side isn’t winning — that’s what it looks like.

    As for the “speculation” on Target (the other link you wouldn’t post): There’s a really good chance that they’re not coming here, regardless of what anyone says. Target stores are generally a good distance apart, and Target seems to be moving towards “megastores” like the one it has in Albany, which was built in recent years. The space they’re taking over in Oakland/Emeryville has a huge parking lot and it’s quite a large building as well, so I suspect that they’ll build another megastore there, which will absorb all the nearby Oakland shoppers — who’ll go there for the better access and many stores nearby. So a store here would be for Alameda shoppers alone and that doesn’t sound likely.

    If links are now a big issues to you, then maybe you should post a policy to that effect. I don’t see one here.

  • ct says:


    The fact remains that Johnson, deHaan, and Matarrese voted to spend up to $325,000 for this special election on a single issue of no urgency. The City’s fiscal-impact report on development at Alameda Point is supposed to take a neutral position but instead assumes worst-case scenarios in its analysis.

    Michele Ellson’s editorial “What’s the Point?” is required reading for anyone interested in Measure B, the Point, and the future of Alameda:


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