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A little bit of this, a little bit of that

Submitted by on 1, February 17, 2010 – 6:00 amOne Comment

SunCal was more or less off the agenda for Tuesday’s City Council meeting, but the council considered a number of meaty-ish items:

Trees. The council unanimously approved a new Master Street Tree Plan to guide the way the city manages its 15,000-tree urban forest. The two-volume plan is the first update the city has had on how it plans to manage its trees since 1989. The city will next tackle planning how to manage trees in city parks.

Sunshine. The council voted to put a Sunshine Issue Spotting Task Force in place to look at ways the city can do a better job of getting information to the public. Five issues the city would like the task force to consider include considering a registry for city lobbyists, expanding campaign finance report disclosure, extending the amount of notice the city gives for public meetings and providing direction on public records turnaround and cost. The task force includes Jeff Mitchell, Gretchen Lipow, Rob Wonder, Thomas Charron and John Knox White, and it will be moderated by Jeff Cambra.

Golf. The council said it wants to consider a plan that would allow a non-profit organization to take over operations of the Mif Albright nine-hole golf course. A group of golfers calling themselves the Keep the Mif Coalition has written a business plan for running the course and is raising money to operate it. The council could consider a proposal for the Alameda Junior Golf Club to run the course in early March.

Business. The city’s Economic Development Commission said the city needs to provide better online services to businesses that may seek to set up shop on the Island. The recommendation was one of 10 the commission made toward making the city friendlier to business.

And back to SunCal. The developer withdrew its requests that the city extend its exclusive negotiating agreement to ink a development deal at the base by two years, and also asked the city to table its request to rescind the notice of default the city sent on February 5. But the council voted to ask SunCal to allow the city to amend its agreement to open negotiations and release negotiation documents, including the pro forma that lays out the financial assumptions that underpin SunCal’s plan. Meanwhile, opponents of SunCal and their plan said they want the city to kick the developer off the Island.

One Comment »

  • Barbara Thomas says:

    “The city will next tackle planning how to manage trees in city parks.”

    I watched with horror, then amusement, then with utter amazement at the presentation of the street tree plan. How, in the middle of financial disaster and lack of money for nearly everything, did the Council find the tens of thousands of dollars to update the 1989 plan in such finite detail that it made my guests titter with amusement? The image that tackling the management of trees in City Parks brought to mind was a scene from Lord of the Rings trilogy or Night of the Zombies from Outer Space with the Council running around being chased by huge trees that had been freed by the lack of planning.

    [In the order of full disclosure I was the lone vote against spending the $50,000 for the original plan.]

    Trees grow. You dig a hole twice the size of the pot, plant and water them, make sure they don’t endanger electric lines, or sidewalks, but know that most will if they live long enough. Don’t plant female ginkos.

    As a citizen I paid for the installation of 4 street trees around my home in the 1970’s. They were chestnut laurels which succumbed to Oak tree fungus in the last few years. This is fairly rampant around the City so I was discouraged to see so many Oaks on the City’s new plan. When I asked the City to replace them, I was given a list of trees that were possible. None of the type I chose were available in the City’s nursery. The City had no money to buy the trees that it required for planting. Procedure would not allow me to pay the City to buy them and then the City plant them. Apparently all the tree money was being spent on the new plan.

    My neighborhood has a Cooper’s Hawk, so I listened with glee at the compliance with state and federal laws that was going to be newly adhered to. All I want is for someone to get rid of the crows and ravens that are dropping huge amounts of excrement all over the streets while sitting in the newly compliant street trees.

    Don’t get me wrong. Trees and other plants are wonderful. Our established streets were supposed to be measured and planted with street trees in accordance with the last plan. I can look in my yard and see 4 apple trees – 2 antique varieties, 2 avocados, 1 Meyer lemon which has become a 35 year old tree, nectarine, pear apple trees, a palm, and 5 street trees. Except for the Oak tree fungus I do OK with their care. There are rubber sidewalks around Franklin Park near where Doug and Marie live if they actually want to see how they work. Been there for years. Can’t we use a little common sense and knowledge and not waste taxpayer money on these sorts of things? If the City Council had spent the amount of time on SUNCAL’s project before the Mayor’s robo call that it spent on the street tree plan, the City would have been thrilled and perhaps saved $375,000.

    The City staff that does the work maintaining the streets and trees are bright hardworking people. They know what kinds of trees work and don’t work in certain locations. I have this vision of them being handed this 2 volume set, or an online link, and setting it down somewhere in their trucks or yards, and just doing what they already know how and get paid to do, working with what the City can afford after paying for this extensive update to how to manage our street trees. I just hope we don’t have to lay off any workers because of this kind of frivolous luxury, that you or I wouldn’t pay our own money to have for our own yards.

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