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SUNCAL THROWS IN THE TOWEL

Submitted by on 1, February 1, 2010 – 8:53 pm6 Comments

apThings are looking so bad for Measure B that even SunCal has announced that they think their Alameda Point development initiative will fail – a day before voters head to the polls.

But the developer’s insisting that voters still want their vision to be carried to fruition at the Point, and they say they intend to continue to work to make that happen.

“Revitalize Alameda Point today announced that despite a vigorous and intensively executed Yes on Measure B campaign, recent polling suggests that the initiative will not secure enough votes to pass on the Feb. 2 election,” SunCal’s reps wrote in a statement release to the media late Monday afternoon.

But they insist voters are turned off by the “ballot box planning,” and not their plan.

Opponents of the Point plan dismissed the announcement as a cheap trick intended to lull potential “no” voters into complacency and to keep them away from the polls.

“I’m very happy to hear that SunCal believes they are going to lose,” said Dave Needle of Protect the Point, which opposes the ballot measure. “However, let’s recognize that their political skills are very good. This is one more textbook mechanism to convince people that it’s all over and they don’t need to vote.”

The announcement was the latest twist in what, if I can editorialize for just a moment, is the most bizarre election this reporter has ever covered.

The developer’s plan had the support of the majority of the City Council and of many people who had long been involved in putting together a plan to redevelop the Point – until SunCal submitted a ballot measure with a business deal that many saw as a poison pill.

As a result, SunCal’s reps fought a rising tide of discontent with the measure that saw group after group rise in opposition, culminating in Mayor Beverly Johnson and Councilman Frank Matarrese switching positions to oppose the measure and Councilwoman Marie Gilmore issuing a last-minute endorsement opposing it.

The company fought to convince leaders and the electorate that their issues with the measure could be fixed (and it remains to be seen what voters think). So far, they have spent close to $1.3 million on their campaign, disclosure reports show.

The developer had said it didn’t have an alternate plan for developing the Point if Measure B failed. But on January 14, it delivered one to the city for city leaders’ direct consideration.

“We are committed to working with the City and the community to ensure the successful re-use of Alameda Point,” SunCal’s vice president of public affairs, Dave Soyka, said. “To that end, we submitted an Optional Entitlement Application to the City and are actively engaged in the environmental review process.”

We’ll keep you posted on all the latest Measure B madness, so stay tuned.

6 Comments »

  • William Smith says:

    While I agree that the business deal in Measure B was poison, there were other poisons as well. The Measure was poison to both good governmental process (e.g. removing much of the discretion of the planning board and city council normally have in approving development plans and businesses) and to environmental policy (e.g. entitling a large development prior to an EIR so that reducing the number of homes or square footage of commercial space would not be a possible mitigation for traffic impacts).

    From the point of view of this transit commuter, the worst thing is that passage of Measure B would have eliminated much of the incentive for the developer to pressure MTC (the Metropolitan Transportation Commission) to improve regional transportation systems. Developers, nearly all heavy contributors to local campaigns, are in the best position to pressure MTC to support mass transit systems rather than automobiles. If Measure B passes and entitlesvSunCal or other Alameda Point developer, the most the City and its residents could require of the developer is a few band aid solutions with a transportation management system at Alameda Point. Transit will not work unless it runs to where people work – and that requires regional solutions as well as local band aid Transportation Management Systems.

  • Miriam says:

    They are not throwing in the towel; they are using the towel to clean up one of their messes.

    Peace,

    Miriam

  • Dave Needle says:

    Lets not be fooled by SunCal’s latest political trick. Remember when SunCal said that this ballot measure was “Alameda’s Last Chance” ? Well, its not Alameda’s last chance, its SunCal’s last chance.
    Please vote on Tuesday. The election is NOT decided yet. Vote NO on measure B.

  • ben says:

    This is the company that said “if measure b doesn’t pass, game over” we’re walking away? The company that said “this is your last chance to develop alameda point?”

    you can’t trust anything they say.

  • Mark Irons says:

    Bill, Your argument about SunCal and MTC just doesn’t make much sense unless you expect the SunCal will do the absolute minimum to mitigate each and every impact, which is of course what a lot of rabid anti-SunCal people want to believe. Realistically, they brought Calthorpe into this and it’s in his and their interest to make it work, but I know you have had your differences with Calthorpe on this one.

  • J.E.A. says:

    Not to be a rabid anti-Sun Cal person….but….if you lay down with dogs, you will wake up with flees……

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