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On Point: The new deal?

Submitted by on 1, January 19, 2010 – 6:00 am12 Comments

apIn case you missed it, last Friday blogger Lauren Do broke the news that developer SunCal submitted a development plan to the city that could serve as an alternative to the development plan and development agreement local residents are voting on as we speak.

City Attorney Teresa Highsmith confirmed the document was submitted Thursday, though she said she’s not sure yet if it’s a public document and she declined to release it to The Island when we asked for it Friday afternoon. (Guess we can’t feel too bad, though: Development Services Director Leslie Little, whose job it is to oversee redevelopment at the Point and elsewhere, apparently wasn’t told the document had been submitted – even though she was in negotiations with SunCal the day it came in.)

Highsmith was at least willing to confirm most of Do’s account, which says that the land development plan for the Point is exactly the same as what’s on the ballot. She confirmed the new development agreement SunCal submitted – a business agreement between SunCal and the city that the developer put on the ballot, much to the city’s dismay – would make at least two key changes to the agreement on the ballot.

Do said the newly submitted agreement would lift a $200 million cap on the amount of money a developer would be required to pay for public benefits and 2 percent cap on the amount of taxes new residents and commercial property owners would pay at the Point. City officials had argued that the benefits, which include transit, a new library, fire station upgrades and a sports complex, could cost upwards of $375 million.

Representatives for SunCal did not return calls seeking a copy of the document. But the company’s reps had previously told city officials they would be willing to change the development agreement that’s on the ballot to make it more to the city’s liking, and Highsmith told the City Council in a December 17 memo that under the ballot language, the developer could do so.

The alternate plan was submitted Thursday, a day before the deadline SunCal faced to do so under the exclusive negotiating agreement the city holds with the developer. An amended version of the agreement envisioned a November 2009 vote on SunCal’s plan. But the developer stalled submission of its ballot signatures in order to work out price and other issues with the Navy and the city, respectively.

So what effect, if any, should this have on the ballot – and your vote? More to come on this later today (I hope).


  • Barbara Thomas says:

    SUNCAL has taken a poll and knows the probable results of the election. It is trying to salvage what it can. Secret documents with new SUNCAL promises would not be enough to change anything let alone my vote, which was submitted on January 4. What will it do to SUNCAL's future to have a little community like Alameda – say "Thank you but no thank you?"

  • stb says:

    Isn't it fascinating that Lauren Do has the alternative SunCal plan, given that it is "not yet .. a public document" according to the City Attorney? Michele it must be somewhat frustrating that SunCal does "not return calls" from you, yet they gave an advance copy of their alternative plan to Lauren Do. Am I the only one who suspects that Lauren Do is working for SunCal? And that she is being reimbursed for sharing the SunCal perspective on Measure B? You might do well to stop referring to Lauren's blog given the likelihood of her financial relationship with SunCal and her complete lack of journalistic integrity.

    • Hey stb,

      Just to follow up, I don't think Lauren said in her post that she had the new plan, and if she does, she didn't indicate where it came from. So I'd be loath to speculate on that.

      Also, I think she has in fact denied that she is working for SunCal. Do you have evidence that contradicts that?

      As to linking to Lauren's blog, I think she has made it clear that she is running an opinion blog and that she is not a journalist. But that said, she broke news here – big news. And I think that, while I'd like to have it myself – and am actively working toward getting it myself – as long as I can independently verify it (which I did in this case), it's my duty to share the news with my readers, regardless of the source – and to give credit accordingly.

  • Jenna says:

    I've already voted also.

    I never voted so fast in my life, and with as much anger.

    Anger at the resident of Alameda that put this on the ballot for SunCal;

    anger at the misinformed people that have come out in favor of the Suncal measure. Folks, it doesn't matter what Suncal promises you – library, parks, schools – you're not going to get any of it. Suncal will milk Alameda for millions and then declare bankruptcy (again) and then Pat Keliher is off to make promises at some other project.

  • Barbara Thomas says:

    Anyone who goes off island to work on a regular basis, knows the obvious: that the tubes cannot support 6000 homes at Alameda Point. The Navy was a comfortable neighbor because it created opposing traffic flow. And it was for our defense as a country. Why would anyone support any for profit development that syphons off any remaining capacity in the tubes & takes its profits and jumps on the freeway back to its comfortable home anywhere else but Alameda? Am I the only one that thinks we must co-exist with a very powerful neighbor – Oakland? And if a developer creates havoc for Oakland, I hesitate to think what Oakland can do in return. Just look at the proposed 74 million in "improvements" for 23rd Aveune.

    A marina, light industry and recreation are a good start for the Point. And maybe that's all that will fit without us shooting ourselves in one or both feet. And we certainly don't need a developer to tell us the obvious. Develop the Point ourselves, keep the profits, and pay for our own amenities.

    How much did this Special Election cost Alamedans? Does $250,000 cover it? That would pay for at least 2 full time teachers plus benefits for a year.

  • Scott says:

    98% of Alameda citizens know that doing nothing is no longer an option. It has been 13 years since the navy left. Current residents do not need housing on the point. All they want is for the point to stop looking like a toxic waste dump. They don't care if it is Suncal, Darkcal, Lowcal, Norcal, Socal, or Joe's construction that develops it. Just as long as it starts to be redeveloped this year. People act like a developer will not take into account the fact that this is an island and traffic might be a concern. The parks, sports complex, new ferry terminal, restaurants, office space and retail need to break ground this summer. Enough is enough.

  • dlm says:

    Lauren Do indicates taht this "new" plan is essential the same as the "old" plan under Measure B, minus a couple of that caps that were a sticking point. So, again, it may just be a procedural step they have to get thru, due to the 1/15 deadline for submission of an alternative plan. So maybe they're just looking for ways to spin this obligatory submittal, by presenting it as evidence of their "willingness" to negotiate — "Oh, look, they're coming around!"

    In reality, this changes nothing where Measure B is concerned, and if there's going to be any real negotiation on this "new" plan, then we still need to DEFEAT MEASURE B.

  • Karen Bey says:

    The SF Gate published an interesting editorial on Sunday about Measure B. It’s called “Alameda’s Measure B is off base”. It pretty well sums up how many of us feel about Measure B.


  • Barbara Thomas says:

    If 98% of the people want the Point "to stop looking like a toxic waste dump", and development at SUNCAL's cost, then the vote on Measure B will undoubtedly be 98% for and 2% against.

  • dlm says:

    I've heard that some polling places may be combined for this election, so voters may want to confirm their polling place.

    It should appear on the back of the Voter Information Pamphlet, but it can also be looked up on this link — just scroll down.


  • Barbara Thomas says:

    Vote now at the Alameda County Registrar’s office. Avoid the rush, the rain, the 98% people in favor of SUNCAL. 1225 Fallon St. Rene C. Davidson Courthouse in the basement. Lunchtime is the best time to find parking.

  • ct says:

    “Secret documents with new SunCal promises,” “Lauren Do is working for SunCal,” “SunCal will milk Alameda for millions” — are these the sorts of statements that are supposed to convince a rational, clear-thinking adult to vote against Measure B? Even if a development plan for Alameda Point met every demand currently being made by each individual opposed to SunCal’s plan/initiative, it still wouldn’t be good enough — no plan would be good enough, as certain members of the opposition are resistant to change and want the Point to remain exactly as it is. Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant seems to have this mind-set, as her fiscally irresponsible long-term-leases proposal would essentially keep the Point unchanged. And Mayor Beverly Johnson, Vice Mayor Doug deHaan, and Councilman Frank Matarrese’s opposition to Measure B is yet another demonstration of politicians making a calculated effort to safeguard the future of their own careers. (What was the outcome of their fact-finding missions to other retired military bases?) Given the state of this economy and how uncooperative our local government has been with respect to land development, it’s highly unlikely anyone will show interest in Alameda Point until the next economic upturn. So if SunCal concedes defeat, the Point will lie fallow, a romantically crumbling ruin by the bay, for many years to come.

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