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Submitted by on 1, March 17, 2010 – 5:00 am12 Comments

A top-ranking executive from SunCal Companies told the City Council early this morning that the developer will submit an amended plan to develop Alameda Point by Monday and that it is prepared to release a host of once-confidential documents to the public.

Frank Faye, SunCal’s chief operating officer, said the company will amend the development application it submitted to the city on January 14 in order to correct deficiencies identified in a notice of default the city issued on February 4. City officials have said SunCal needs to submit a Measure A-compliant development plan, though the company could build additional housing if its plan includes a certain amount of “affordable” housing.

The company will also submit a letter “reserving” what it believes are its rights, Faye said, though it was not immediately clear what the letter would contain. He said the company has spent between $10 million and $12 million on the Point project so far, including $100,000 on the amended development plan.

Faye also said that SunCal has expanded the team it has working on the Point development. Faye said that in addition to himself, the company is working to bring former California State Assembly Speaker Robert M. Herzberg on board plus another “potential member” who he identified only as a resident of Alameda.

“We look forward to submitting a plan pursuant to the deadline, and to a completely transparent process,” Faye said. “It’s up to us to work with you to create something positive at Alameda Point.”

Leaders of two local trade unions – which paid thousands of dollars to help defeat Measure B, SunCal’s development initiative for Alameda Point but which now have a signed project labor agreement with the developer – stayed past 2 a.m. today to ask the council to work with SunCal to try to make a development deal for the Point.

“SunCal has created a team to move forward, to do something at the base,” said Andrew Slipka, a representative for Alameda County’s carpenters union. “The game is not over yet.”

But opponents of SunCal and Measure B stayed too, to ask the city to show SunCal the door. They said they were skeptical of SunCal’s new claims of openness, and that they thought the city should respect voters’ overwhelming defeat of Measure B by getting rid of the company.

“We’re weary and we’re wary of SunCal,” Measure B opponent Gretchen Lipow said. “We need to say, ‘Hasta la vista, SunCal.'”

The council had asked city staff to request that SunCal release documents that have to now been confidential and that the developer consider a more open negotiation process for the Point. Faye said he’d be willing to release information like the Point project’s pro forma, which lays out the financial assumptions for the company’s development plan for the Point.

In the months leading up to the Measure B vote, the city released council-requested reports laying out the potential financial and other pitfalls of the initiative. SunCal’s reps claimed their documentation, which they had shared with city staff, showed the risks were less than the city report claimed. But city officials said they couldn’t use SunCal’s documents to lay out their assumptions in the report, because the exclusive negotiating agreement the city has with SunCal required them to be kept confidential.

One document the company wants to keep confidential is the deal it worked out with financial partner D.E. Shaw to operate and finance efforts to work through the negotiating agreement for the Point.

The negotiating agreement ends in July.

The council had been set to decide on whether to give SunCal 60 days beyond the Monday deadline for it to fix the problems identified in the city’s notice of default, but Faye withdrew the request. City staff had recommended denying the request.

Vice Mayor Doug deHaan, who voted to select SunCal as master developer for the Point but has become the company’s strongest critic, said he’s not sure he can feel comfortable continuing to work with them.

“You’re coming from a position of distrust out there by the community. And you went that route by your own choosing,” deHaan said.

SunCal’s plan will need to go through an administrative process with the city and if it appears complete, it could next go to the Planning Board for consideration. Meanwhile, Faye asked the council to consider setting up a subcommittee that would be involved in the process as it happens, instead of getting all the information at the end, when they need to make a decision.


  • Barbara Thomas says:

    Ah yes the subcommittee. Please tell us in private (not many will attend and maby we can skip the Brown Act) what problems you see with our plan, and we will correct them. Commonly referred to in politics as co-opting the opposition. Sounds like they got very high up advice from someone who said to start with the unions and then the opposition can be whittled away one by one. But how can anyone trust SUNCAL after all its deceptive practices?

    Great for staff to stand tough. Kinda hard for all the elected officials to take positions for SUNCAL in view of the 85% loss, and all the upcoming newly sought elected offices at risk. Aren’t Mataresse and Johnson essentially lameducks, unless they win new races? Shouldn’t we delay any decisions until after the election with a new council? Are there going to be limits to the contributions SUNCAL can make to the candidates – in all Alameda, Oakland and County races?

    Too bad SUNCAL didn’t donate the 10-12 million to the school district instead of a deceptive presence here. If SUNCAL could have avoided the newest $659.00 parcel tax for Alameda, nearly everyone would have voted for their plan.

  • Richard Bangert says:

    We won’t be able to delay a decision on whether or not to move forward with SunCal. The Exclusive Negotiating Agreement needs to remain active in order for anything in SunCal’s new deal to materialize. That means that sometime prior to the end of the current ENA term in July the city council will have to approve another extension.

    I, too, don’t understand the subcommittee recommendation from SunCal. What the community will want, in my opinion, is not a subcommittee. They will want the Interim City Manager’s staff to evaluate this new deal quickly and thoroughly. In addition to city staff, Economic & Planning Systems is still on retainer as consultants/advisors on Point matters. I would be very interested in what they have to say about the new deal. They have been working on Point matters for over a decade. There cannot possibly be anything that they do not know about Alameda Point matters, from conveyance matters to money matters.

    The city council should schedule a public hearing at the earliest possible date so that expert opinions can be presented, as well as the opinions of local organizations and average citizens. It would be unfair to the community and unfair to the five council members on whose shoulders this decision now rests to do anything less. I don’t think the community will be supportive of moving forward with an ENA extension if major uncertainties remain.

    And a memo to SunCal: Turn in an electronic version to city hall so that the community can have early access. Handing in a pile of papers that city staff then has to scan into the computer is 20th century.

  • Alan2009 says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing what SunCal files on Monday, particularly its Draft Environmental Impact report.

    As to density bonus/affordable housing issues, somebody better take a serious look at Article 34 of the California Constitution, because under that provision not a dime of money can be spent by the City, or development fees waived, unless the project is approved by the voters at a special or general election. Of course, SunCal doesn’t want to mention that fact. The community activists in Ronert Park are experts on this issue.

  • Jon Spangler says:

    “Doug deHaan…says he’s not sure he can feel comfortable continuing to work with them. “You’re coming from a position of distrust out there by the community. And you went that route by your own choosing,” deHaan said.”

    Not so fast, Doug. The City Council, by refusing to take responsibility and lead our community by offering an amendment to Measure A on its own, forced SunCal to write and seek passage of its own initiative, without any assistance or guidance. Since SunCal has not done a lot of governing before (they are developers, not elected officials), it is not surprising that they presented the community with a business-oriented proposition.

    If, on the other hand, our City Council had proposed a charter amendment, the normal public hearings and deliberations would have produced a ballot measure that would have passed, IMHO. That would have been real leadership and a real partnership. But the City Council, in its fear of “the third rail of Alameda politics”–or perhaps its failure of vision and leadership–declined to work with the developer it had selected and with which it had an exclusive negotiating agreement.

    If the City’s partnership with SunCal fails to produce a redeveloped Alameda Point, the blame will lie as much with the City Council as with the developer.

  • Barbara Thomas says:

    I guess it takes real leadership to start a divisive campaign without having benefit of reading the 288 pages and or understanding what it all meant. Then change positions when no one except, TAM followed her lead, and JOHNSON decided to run for another elected office.

    Measure A came from the ground up. It is law. It is a Charter Amendment. It has been tested and outspent at the polls by 10:1, three times, and is a decisive winner each time. Anyone who thinks he or she is the “Leader” to turn that around and change the law the citizens put in place to protect ourselves from mismanagement from the top down, better have more than a devisive destructive campaign such as SUNCAL’s up his or her sleeve.

    The real leadership in this town has come from Ann Marie Gallant, and her staff who told the elected officials (except DEHAAN) that blindly jumped on SUNCAL’s bandwagon, that they would be creating a financial disaster and that the elected officials blessing means nothing to the voters.

    SUNCAL was not forced to do anything. It accepted the offer of an ENA that demanded compliance with the LAW, and choose instead to say SUNCAL NEEDS TO MAKE MORE MONEY THAN THE LAW ALLOWS, SO SUNCAL WANTS THE CITIZENS TO CHANGE THE LAW FOR SUNCAL.

    Leadership will not make the world flat. The laws of physics always win, and the law of political reality is that if one supports a losing position as one’s platform, one loses.

  • Betty says:

    Just tell them to leave. They can’t be trusted.
    Suncal’s only interest in Suncal.

  • ct says:

    Ms Thomas,

    It is deeply disappointing to hear someone say in all seriousness that Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant offers “real leadership in this town,” when Gallant has tried to keep the inner workings of local government shrouded in secrecy, allowed the release of a purportedly neutral but clearly biased fiscal-impact report, and seems to think that a large part of her job involves land management.

    I suspect that you offer up Gallant as a “real” leader mainly because she is in lockstep agreement with your vision for Alameda Point, i.e., keeping the Point the way it is, even if it means governance by fiat, conducting business in bad faith, and diverting limited resources away from more pressing concerns. This kind of partisanship is tiresome and counterproductive. Gallant is not a leader, and she is not the answer to ineffective local government: She is part of the problem.

  • dlm says:


    Measure B lost by EIGHTY-FIVE PERCENT — let me emphasize that since I guess it hasn’t quite sunk in. This kind of loss did not come about because of the undue influence of a few individuals — such as Anne Marie Gallant or Doug deHaan — so you can drop the personal attacks on both of them that you and John Knox White have been carrying on.

    It’s interesting that Measure B required so much spin to promote it — apparently there weren’t that made good things to say about it, at least where the community was concerned. And when the spin fails, that leaves nothing but personal attacks to fall back on, which is what’s happening here.

    The Election Report that Ms. Gallant oversaw was objective and fair, and it pointed out, in objective and fair terms, the problems inherent in SunCal’s initiative. Please note that the Chamber of Commerce and Renewed Hope — obviously pro-development groups — produced their own analyses, which were just as critical. To put it in plain english, Measure B was an attempt to scam us, and we can thank all the people who saw thru that.

    Please drop the small minded efforts to belittle people because they happen to disagree with you. In the end, you do nothing but belittle your own cause.

  • ct says:


    I am stating facts about Ann Marie Gallant’s actions and not making any “personal attacks” of the kind you have just resorted to.

    Yes, I know that “Measure B lost by EIGHTY-FIVE PERCENT” — yes, that has “sunk in” — but according to “The Island” polling results reported earlier this month, just 40 percent of the 85 percent who voted against B did not like the land plan.

    With regard to the “objective and fair” election report: An independent review commissioned by the Greenbelt Alliance “found that the election report relied on several worst-case assumptions. A more standard analysis would have likely revealed that [Alameda Point]’s fiscal impacts would be either neutral or slightly favorable for the City.”

  • dlm says:

    Just a reminder: Today’s the deadline for SunCal’s Measure A compliant plan to be filed with the city, in acccordance with the default notice. This should be interesting.

  • Richard Bangert says:

    ct says, An independent review commissioned by the Greenbelt Alliance “found that the election report relied on several worst-case assumptions. A more standard analysis would have likely revealed that [Alameda Point]’s fiscal impacts would be either neutral or slightly favorable for the City.”

    An independent review on behalf of the citizens of Alameda commissioned by the city council found that the initiative relied on several best-case assumptions. For the record, here’s a few of the election report’s findings: http://alamedapointinfo.com/uncertainties

    An independent review commissioned by SunCal found that the city was probably right about the money shortfall. That’s why they said in their letter to the city http://alamedapointinfo.com/sites/default/files/lettertocityofalameda10-20-09.pdf they would “commit funds in excess of the $200 million cap on public benefits” and “To consent to additional property taxes on the Alameda Point property in excess of the 2% overall tax rate cap on property taxes.”

    An independent review on behalf of the citizens of Alameda prepared by the officer hired to look out for our interests covered no less than 25 topics in the city manager’s reply to SunCal http://alamedapointinfo.com/sites/default/files/2009-11-18LetterfromCMtoSunCal_0.pdf

    Many more independent reviews are here http://alamedapointinfo.com/election-reports

  • gretchen lipow says:

    I was one of the late night citizens who attended the council meeting til 3am so I saw it roll out in person. I was amused at Mr. Faye’s lecture on “transparency”…he went on and on and then when he was asked to introduce his team he ducked the question! Quite a hypocritical performance…but he continued to speak highly about a Mr. Herzberg, who it turns out was sitting in the audience and Mr. Faye didn’t even bother to introduce him!
    There was another gentlemen there as well who went unidentified. This small episode speaks volumes to the poor representation of SunCal/Shaw. Lack of protocal at best and secrecy at worst. So much for transparency! How else could you describe this behavior?

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