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Trick-or-Treat Comes to Alameda Point

While Mayor Beverly Johnson and the Alameda Chamber of Commerce have issued written statements explaining their lack of support for SunCal’s Alameda Point Revitalization Initiative, one resident is having a bit more fun with his criticism of the plans.

Alameda resident David Howard, a member of Action Alameda,  is handing out “scary” SunCal-themed tricks and treats.

Howard calls the plans a “Frankenstein initiative,” and has printed candies with the names of “some of SunCal’s more than two-dozen bankrupt California projects,” he says.

According to Howard, the trick bags represent SunCal’s “empty promises for traffic mitigation, a sports complex and a levee to protect their development against projected sea-level rise at the site.”

Howard plans to be at the Webster Street Farmer’s Market at noon this Saturday to pass out some of the treats.

It will be interesting to see if SunCal plans a counter “trick-or-treat” demonstration – and how the various parties are costumed for Halloween.

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Play fair, Alameda

Life on the Island, the column I write for the print edition of the Alameda Journal, is up online now. This week it’s about Save Our City! Alameda and how the group’s tactic of asserting that the city is on the verge of bankruptcy as a way to bolster opposition to development at Alameda Point just serves to muddle debate and make it harder for people to get to the real, complicated issues that concern Alamedans.

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The method of “Save our City! Alameda”

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.

Michele Ellson has the full text of Fire Chief Kapler’s letter, by the way. And Ellson also talked to Mayor Beverly Johnson and David Howard about the issue. The Fire Chief’s direct response is here.

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Michele Ellson on discussion about Alameda Point development

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.

You can read Ellson’s whole comment here.

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Meeting tonight about SunCal development at Alameda Point

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.)

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This week’s “Life on the Island”

The column I write for the Tuesday edition of the Alameda Journal is up online already. The headline: We’re not on the school yard anymore. Many of my past columns are still online as well. Oh! And here’s a link to last week’s “Life on the Island,” Alameda mom clean and sober for 14 years, which I wrote in recognition of National Recovery month, which is September. I am grateful for “Diane”‘s willingness to tell me her story.