Sunday, July 19, grab your bike and go to the Bicycle Film Festival. The films, all centered on bicycle-related themes, will be shown at various venues, including Michaan’s Auctions Movie Theater (at Alameda Point)
2700 Saratoga St.
Last week I wrote a column for the Alameda Journal about Measure A, a sacred cow of Alameda politics. I said that we ought to think about means of controlling growth that allow for thoughtful and comprehensive (rather than reactionary) planning. I wrote:
It is well within human ingenuity to craft laws that allow for the construction of apartments where it is appropriate and still protect handsome old houses. And it is folly to cling so tightly to a law passed out of fear and anger. It’s time for Alameda to show that it can protect what is valuable about its past at the same time as it embraces the future.
After the fire in an abandoned building at Alameda Point in late March, many Alamedans were concerned about the possibility of debris from the fire containing toxic byproducts. Alameda’s fire marshall says debris was tested, and found safe. You can watch ABC news story the day after the fire started here—with info about how authorities think the fire started and what they say burned in the fire. Some Alamedans have expressed concerned about the smoke. And this blog, Alameda Army Medical Fire Depot, was started to track citizen concerns about the burn and their efforts to get answers about asbestos and other toxic byproducts from the fire. And here’s the city’s Q&A about the fire.
[Updated, 7:49 am: The Island has some good info about the smoke's toxicity and the city's response.]
The Chron’s Carolyn Jones did a story. In November, Alameda voters will be asked to weigh in on what they think the future should hold for the westerly third of our man-made island. Will we allow multiple unit dwellings there? Or nix any changes to Measure A, the 1973 law which capped new construction at two units max? You can read more about the proposed development here and here and here and here. And one more.
I met with the Alameda’s Fire Chief Dave Kapler this morning to ask him the question that I think is probably on most Alamedans’ minds: “What do fire station ‘brown outs’ mean for us when we call in an emergency?”
Kapler gave me some stats, comparing response time in 2008 to response time in 2009 since brown outs began. (His stats are from before last week when the department changed the vehicle slated to be closed when staffing levels drop below 27 because of illness or vacation from a Bay Farm ambulance to the engine at station five, the western-most Island station.)
In 2008, the average time in took both vehicles (staffed by five firefighters/paramedics) to be at the scene of an emergency was Read the rest of this entry »
As detailed by Lauren Do over at Blogging Bayport, David Howard, chief of Save our City! Alameda, the group that is advancing the argument that the City of Alameda is on the edge of bankruptcy (as part of an effort to side-line plans for development at Alameda Point), took this quotation from a letter from Fire Chief David Kapler about cuts to fire department overtime:
Setting aside history, the current economic situation (local, state and federal) is what is forcing this move. If the city does not adjust spending, it would be facing bankruptcy in as little as 36 – 48 months. If that were to happen the impact to the Department and its members would be much worse than temporary brownouts.
And changed it to this:
the City (is) facing bankruptcy in as little as 36-48 months
And then Save Our City! Alameda blasted the misquote out in a press release. In the real email, the Chief says if we don’t adjust spending we might just face bankruptcy in three or four years. The version put out by Save our City! Alameda, with the word ‘is’ inserted, makes it read like the fire chief is saying bankruptcy is imminent. But, of course, most every institution, public and private, will likely be will be in financial straits if spending is not adjusted as revenue falls.
As I have said before, there are many rational reasons to question the plans for development at Alameda Point, and plenty nuanced discussions that we as a community should be having about what the future can and should look like there, but distorting the fire chief’s meaning in order to advance that cause is–uh? What do you think? And then continuing to do so even when the inaccuracy is documented is further perplexing.
If you aren’t visiting Michele Ellson’s The Island blog on a regular basis, you should be. She’s issuing daily reports on all things Alameda. Yesterday she posted an editorial comment on the recently-launched campaign by a group called “Save our City! Alameda,” which opposes development at Alameda Point. (You can watch that group’s ad here.) Ellson looked into the facts and figures presented in the spot—you can read what she found here. And, yesterday, she posted this call for reasoned debate about development in Alameda:
Our Island is facing its biggest issue in a generation, the redevelopment of the former Naval Air Station Alameda. The issues around the redevelopment are complex, and the ramifications of any development or lack thereof are huge. We need to critically examine SunCal’s proposal and any viable alternatives, and we need someone who can honestly and respectfully outline any concerns.
What we have instead is Save Our City! Alameda, which launched an all-out assault on the plan this week based on a conflation of facts and outright misinformation, with the offer of a nice-sounding but largely undeveloped idea to turn the site into another Presidio as an alternative to SunCal’s development plan.
As you may or may not be aware—we are all busy with so many things, no?—tonight Alameda’s City Council (sitting as the Alameda Redevelopment and Reuse Authority) will hear from SunCal, the company that is working on a plan for developing Alameda Point. Michele Ellson over at The Island has a clear and helpful presentation of the type of development, plans for funding the development, and so on. You can read (or skim) the SunCal plan here and there is some discussion of the ads put on by a group advocating for a different solution to development at the point, here and here. (You can see the ad put out by the new David Howard-spearheaded group, “Save Our City! Alameda,” here.)
A group called “Save our City! Alameda” has launched a 30-second ad. Here’s a list of supporters of the group (you’ll have to scroll down to see all the names), which include David Howard, Pat Bail, Art Lipow and David Kirwin. You can watch the ad (which I happened to catch as I was flipping channels the other night) below.
The “clustered villages” concept calls for 28,900 people, 12,300 housing units, 26,500 jobs and about 3,200 acres of parkland and open space. That’s 64 percent of the base’s 5,028 inland acres, which is the part slated for development.
There’s a bit more detail here, and the Contra Costa Times—one of the parent publications of this blog—has a whole page devoted to the former Navy facility in Concord. You can read up about development at Alameda’s former base on Lauren Do‘s blog and, too, on Michele Ellson’s The Island.