Tag Archives: Mayor Marie Gilmore

Do something.

This is what our Lame Duck City Council sees fit to have placed on the 11/18/2014 city council meeting agenda for a vote:

   6-D 2014-1024 Recommendation to Approve an Exclusive Negotiation Agreement (ENA) with Alameda Point Partners for Development of Site A at Alameda Point. (Base Reuse 819099)

   Meeting Agenda is here (click on AGENDA for 11/18 city council meeting meeting)

The recent election that unseated Gilmore & Co. was specifically related to wrong-headed development.  That’s why Gilmore was voted out of office.

Gilmore should be deferring this important vote to the newly elected city council members and mayor and vice mayor. But she is not …  res ipsa loquitur (if you really need to know why Gilmore was voted out of office, this fact alone explains it). We absolutely 100% need to shut this down.

WE NEED TO PUT the city council and the Alameda Point Partners ON NOTICE that they should not be proceeding with this vote until after the new council is seated.

DO SOMETHING.


CALL ALL PARTIES RELATED TO THIS

City Manager Russo: 510.747.7400

City Attorney Kern: 510.747.4750

Mayor Gilmore: 510-747-4701

Alameda Point Partners: 

Brookfield Residential: Adrian Foley, President & COO, California, 714.200.1509

Joe Ernst, Principal, SRM Ernst Development Partners: 510-219-5376

Bruce Dorfman, Principal, Thompson Dorfman Partners: 415-381-3001

Pam White, Madison Marquette: 415-277-6828

Gary Berman, COO, Tricon Capital Group, Inc.: 416-925-7228

J. Scheetz, Vice President, Tricon Capital Group, Inc.: 415-848-5936


EMAIL

CITY MANAGEMENT: jrusso@ci.alameda.ca.us, jkern@alamedacityattorney.org

CITY LEADERSHIP: mgilmore@alamedaca.gov, mezzyashcraft@alamedaca.gov,

ltam@alamedaca.gov, schen@alamedaca.gov, tdaysog@alamedaca.gov

DEVELOPERS & CAPITAL PARTNERS: Adrian.Foley@brookfieldrp.com, jernst@srmernst.com,

bd@thompsondorfmancom, pam.white@madisonmarquette.com,

qberman@triconcapitaLcom,  jscheetz@triconcapital.com

HERE’S A COPY/PASTE TO MAKE IT EASY TO HEAD YOUR EMAIL:

TO: ALAMEDA CITY MANAGEMENT  & LEADERSHIP

CC: ALAMEDA POINT DEVELOPERS & CAPITAL PARTNERS

RE: NOVEMBER 28, 2014 CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 6-D Recommendation to Approve an Exclusive Negotiation Agreement (ENA) with Alameda Point Partners for Development of Site A at Alameda Point. (Base Reuse 819099)

(Then give ’em hell. Raising Hell for Good!)

This is what I wrote; feel free to copy, adapt, and/or write your own:

MESSAGE:

The recent election that unseated Mayor Gilmore, unseated Councilmember Chen, placed Frank Mataresse as the next Vice Mayor (and failed to place Tam onto the BART board), was specifically related to the wrong-headed development we’ve seen time and time again under Mayor Gilmore.  It was a loud resounding vote of no-confidence, a clear message sent by a citizens’ grassroots groundswell in under 3 months.

I urge you, City Manager Russo, Mayor Gilmore and City Council members, to immediately remove agenda item 6-D from the Tuesday, November 18th Alameda City Council meeting agenda.

I urge you, Lame Duck City Council, to do the right thing and defer this discussion and vote so that it may take place after Mayor-Elect Spencer and Vice-Mayor Elect Mataresse are sworn in.


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NOW IS THE TIME TO TAKE ACTION

GUEST WRITER EUGENIE THOMSON

If serious action isn’t taken—soon—Alameda residents will find themselves stuck in hour-long traffic jams when leaving the island.

Alameda will have its moment of truth—a day when there won’t be enough money to mitigate all the traffic congestion spawned by out-of-control growth and permit parking costing homeowners over a $400 per year. Residents will only find buses that are also stuck in traffic. When that day comes, there will be no turning back. Our fragile quality of life will be gone forever.

Plain talk is where truth resides. Yet, the City overwhelms taxpayers with reams of complex documents that stymie the average voters. Why has City Hall refused to consider how much longer it will take residents to leave the island via car or bus? Why hasn’t the City been able to explain the effects of all this growth?

Could it be that the City Council, staff and consultants don’t want the residents to know the true effects of the projects? They do mention mitigations (e.g. TDM), but those mitigations are only likely to address a tiny percentage of the traffic and parking impacts.

How is it the Del Monte project’s traffic report states there are a) No parking problems even though the parking supply is only 1.25 cars per unit and the average car ownership is 2.2 cars per unit in Alameda as per the 2000 Census? and b) When all the developments on the island are built, conclude there will only be 19 more cars than today going through the Posey Tube during the AM peak hour by year 2035 and then concluding in no added congestion due to Del Monte and all the development projects combined at the west end?

And it should not take someone like me with a civil engineering license to opine that the City’s idea to lower the parking supply at future development projects is simply not workable in Alameda where sufficient parking supply exist around the development sites. The new residents will park in the surrounding neighborhood streets instead. Traffic will not be reduced like City Hall keeps on saying with reduced parking supply. What will be reduced is the cost for not building the larger garages under the condominium complexes and greatly increasing the developers’ profits.

The Del Monte project at 414 residential units along with all the other mega projects planned by Council is a bad idea for our island. Why all these risks with irreversible harm and without the consideration that Alameda is an island?

Alamedans need to speak up to cap the growth at a reasonable level and require developers to supply parking comparable to actual car ownership patterns, not to the new city standards set by the wishful anti car folks. These unproven and unsustainable standards will result in irreversible harm to our neighborhoods.

The island and its connections to the East Bay need to work for all users, its residents and businesses, pedestrians, bicycles, cars, trucks and buses.

Ignoring the problems and then creating nightmarish congestion and parking problems will ruin what is so great about Alameda. This has been going on continuously since the environmental document process regarding Alameda Point Project started, through proposed projects like Neptune Point and today with the Del Monte and other northern waterfront projects.

Now is the time to take action. Let us move forward and use our taxpayers’ dollars to build a community, we can be proud of. That I believe starts with voting for Frank Mataresse for council who supports a cap on residential development and for Trish Spencer for Mayor who comes with a fresh approach.

And secondly, I urge residents to speak up and let Council know they must define the traffic and financial risks and challenges clearly and accurately.

So many have tried, have volunteered many hours, provided written and oral constructive comments, but Council ignores them. Sadly, I too have lost total trust in any professional report from City Hall.

I urge all Alamedans to vote for Frank and Trish for more government transparency, an open debate of the traffic and financial challenges and for capping development to a level that is reasonable for our island. As of now, I will not vote for the other council seat, neither candidate is concerned about the extremely risky financial and development decisions being made by current Council.

Act today, tomorrow it will be too late.

Reference:
The Del Monte Traffic Impact Analysis March 25, 2014 for the above traffic facts can be found on the City website: Planning Board Agenda item #7B, June 23, 2014, click on File # 2014-652, then click on Draft Supplemental Negative Declaration (Exhibit 3) and download the PDF pages 214 and 233. By doing the simple math calculation one can obtain the difference between the volumes for northbound coming out of the Posey tube (this is the volume approaching the 7th and Harrison intersection # 20: AM Existing is 902 thru and 1686 turning => total 2588 vehicles per hour; and AM Cumulative year 2035: 869 thru and 1738 turning => total 2607 vph). This calculates to only 19 more cars per hour above the report’s today’s AM peak hour volume into the Posey tube after all the developments are built including Alameda Point for the Cumulative condition without Del Monte, the cumulative condition upon which Del Monte was tested for its future traffic impacts. And then concluding neither Del Monte nor all the other projects combined would produce zero traffic impacts at the west end.

And the last paragraph on page 253 provides the consultant’s parking conclusion (TR-9) of no parking problems.
Unfortunately, Council is not questioning these reports with the hidden incorrect data and unbelievable results even after the residents raise these concerns. Instead, Council is ignoring the future traffic problems, does not perform the effort to find financially feasible infrastructure solutions nor assess how much development is feasible for the island. Sad but true.


Alameda City Leaders “LISTEN” (only) when we vote.

Alameda Sun LETTERS

Fool the Incumbents Before They Fool Us

Have you driven the main thoroughfares of Alameda lately: Park and Webster streets, Island Drive, Buena Vista, Lincoln and Central avenues? Have you driven through the tubes or crossed the bridges any time around the morning or evening commute?

Recently, thanks to a non-fatal accident in the tube, it took my wife 90 minutes to get from the Webster Tube (which the accident closed) to Marina Village via Interstate 880, the Embarcadero and the Park Street Bridge — a distance of less than five miles.

Does any of this make you wonder about what’s coming: worst-case, a Napa-like 6.1 event that destroys the island’s infrastructure; best case, already approved and planned development that leads to more congestion and gridlock. And if you think you’re safe because you don’t live on one of the main thoroughfares or near the tubes or bridges, think again. If the main thoroughfares are jammed, drivers will be looking for alternate routes, and those routes are your quiet neighborhood streets. Given what is coming, none of us (except maybe the developers) will emerge unscathed.

Mayor Marie Gilmore and the City Council have planned (construction has already begun on some) 1,100-plus housing units to be built between the Posey and Webster tubes and the Park Street Bridge, all of them along Buena Vista and Clement avenues. Another 1,425 housing units are planned for Alameda Point (all using the tubes for ingress and egress) with the first 800 units to begin construction as soon as possible.

Given that each unit averages two cars, that’s 5,000-plus vehicles added to Alameda’s roadways, entering and exiting through the tubes or over the Park Street Bridge. That doesn’t include the 8,000 to 10,000 additional cars to be added by new housing construction on the Oakland side at Brooklyn Basin and Jack London Square — all of it backing up in Chinatown, Broadway, Jackson Street, Fifth 23rd and 29th avenues, as well as Interstate 880. That’s 13,000 cars — 15,000 more when all of the building is done!

These changes are already in the works. Additionally, Gilmore and the City Council have approved another 1,540 “housing opportunity sites,” which would add 3,000 more cars into the mix. These units have not yet been contracted out, though given the values and priorities of the current “leadership” of Alameda there can be no doubt about the outcome: more development and more congestion and a worsening of the quality of our lives.

What makes these plans and approvals even more dubious is that the mayor and City Council justify them by saying they are “required.” According to the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and its “Regional Housing Needs Allocation” report, Alameda only needs to add 1,723 new housing units through 2022. In other words, Alameda Point (1,425 units) and Alameda Landing (284 units) alone fulfill Alameda’s housing obligations through the year 2022. Nothing more is “required.” That’s the good news.

The better news is it is election time, the only time that “leaders” listen.

Recently more than 6,000 Alamedans signed a petition opposing the sale of Crown Beach area properties to a private developer for housing. Gilmore and the City Council, against all of its greediest and short-sighted desires, demurred and voted — as the petitions demanded — to maintain the area as open space and to stop its active pursuit of the sale. Why? Because two of the sale’s most vocal and active supporters — Gilmore and Chen — are up for re-election and they don’t want those 6,000 people voting against them. Gilmore and the City Council voted to stop the sale of land at Crown Beach, hoping to remove that item from the election agenda. I’m writing this letter in the hope of keeping it on.

Remember, the mayor and City Council tried to give away the Chuck Corica Golf Course. They are still dickering with Ron Cowan over the Harbor Bay Club. These are the same people who ignored the public vote and City Charter regarding multiple family housing and Measure WW regarding the use of Crown Beach and public land. Gilmore and the City Council seem to have not met a construction project they haven’t gleefully embraced, regardless of its impact on the existing community and the concomitant reduction of the quality of life. Elect them and expect — and we’ll get — more of the same.

Luckily, though, we have choices.

Frank Matarrese, former councilman, has written several public letters arguing for fewer housing units and more light industry, adding jobs and reducing congestion. He’s also argued for more open space and more public input in land-use decisions before those decisions are made… It’s true, he has a spotty history

and he originally supported the 5,000 housing SunCal plan. However, he seems to have re-thought those issues and he has been publicly counseling less housing and slower growth. He has also publicly recognized transportation and congestion — this is an island after all — as matters to be addressed before development takes place, not after. Ask him where he stands on these issues today, and if his positions haven’t changed, vote for him.

Trish Herrera Spencer, current school board member, is running for mayor. She worked to get signatures on the Crown Beach petition. We know how she feels about Crown Beach. We also know she is not pleased with the secret, back-door, land swap deal recently made by the Alameda Unified School District. She was the only member of the school board to vote “no” on the new $176 million school bond. If she has the same concern and caution about lack of public input in general, and she believes traffic issues must be addressed before development takes place, vote for her.

Jim Oddie is a staff person for Rob Bonta, which is not good news, as Bonta, too, never seemed to see a construction and housing project he didn’t love. Bonta is one of those who voted to override the City Charter and rezone single family properties into multi-story, multi-family complexes before he was elected to the state legislature and got out of town.

Still, Oddie is not necessarily Bonta, and perhaps he is his own man with his own thoughts; though it’s impossible to tell. His campaign website skillfully manages to say nothing. Ask him about public input and land use and transportation plans and gridlock at the many community meetings he will attend, and see what he publicly says — and writes. If his answers are correct, vote for him.

Gilmore seems incapable of doing anything other than opening the new Walgreens. Chen has past legal problems and a reputation for easy-going, do-nothing, going along with the crowd.

Remember, three votes change everything. It’s a working majority of the City Council.

If you don’t like the direction Alameda is racing toward, vote the incumbents out. They are counting on low voter turnout, despair, fatigue and short memories. Fool them before they fool us.

“Anyone but the incumbents” should be the mantra for the 2014 election for City Council and Mayor. Say it: “Anyone but the incumbents.” It feels as good as it sounds, and the city you save is your own.

Mark Greenside is an Alameda resident and retired professor of political science, history, and English.


ACT MEETING NOTES

Thank you to Nancy Hirdman who took down these notes:

Notes from Alameda Citizens Taskforce (ACT) Meeting held June 26th
Speakers: Jim Smallman, Doug deHaan and many members of the audience

JIM SMALLMAN

Measure A was an Alameda City Charter amendment which states:

A. There shall be no multiple dwelling units built in Alameda except for the Housing Authority’s Senior Housing
B. The maximum density shall be no more than 1 unit per 2,000 sq. ft. of land

This was passed by the voters in the 1970s because Victorians were being torn down and replaced with apartment buildings and because 10,000 homes were planned for Bay Farm which would cause traffic problems.

There are ways around Measure A and the state of CA has required affordable housing to be built through laws such as the Density Bonus Law. Some community governments attempt to resist the stat’s mandate and some use the mandate to push through development. Affordable housing is for low low (not a typo) income, low income and moderate income.

2% of the land is to be set aside for affordable housing but this 2% compounds every 7 years with the requirement for new housing plans. The last was unveiled on 7/3 of 2011 or 2012. Note: City Council passes important issues on evenings around holidays when people are not paying attention.
DOUG DEHAAN (and some audience members at times):
Density and transportation are the 2 hot points

The City of Alameda has 2 philosophies about transportation: 

A. Commercial – must have more parking spaces because we need tax revenue from sales. “Drive your care here to spend your money.”
B. Move masses with public transportation so we need state and federal funding and high density to support it. More riders means more dollars for more public transport. Ideas, either tried and did not work or are on the drawing board: (1)Water Taxi (had one) but now there will be 3,000 more units build in Oakland on the estuary which may have fees to pay for it. (2) Lite Rail to Fruitvale Bart (3) Bus lane dedicated through tube (4) Ferry Service with WETA on Alameda Point with a 7 story office/maintenance building (hangers are 40’) (5) Del Monte – Bus passes, 3 zip car parking spaces, 3 stop lights synchronized with other city lights
NOTE: Ferry carries only 180 passengers. Location issue. It will take 5 minutes for it to get out of lagoon if located there (has to go slow so it will not create wake that will disturb other boating in lagoon). Current location on estuary – takes too long to get out of estuary.

We get “transportation” dollars from state and federal sources. This transportation takes people and their spending (dollars) out of town. We should be having transportation as four “20 person buses” looping around island from Buena Vista round Encinal and back covering shopping areas. (Mastick Sr. Center has buses that loop around from 9-4 every 10 minutes) Target has a bus for employees.

We need to push for becoming exempt from the state mandates because we are an island and have constraints. Lobby Sacramento. We are already dense.

School Bond Issue – need more money for more students who are going to be coming to live in all the new units. Developers to pay some impact fees which will be passes on to buyers.

Density Bonus – as long as we are under this we can’t have more than 1 parking space per unit of affordable housing, and need less than 32 sq. ft. of open space which can be private open space such as patio or balcony.

More building increases tax base to cover the city staff pensions.

Today’s Measure A = Russo’s agenda to support ABAG (Assoc. of Bay Area Governments) We are seeing a fast moving implementation of “plans”. Audience member suggestion: We don’t have to belong to ABAG.

Alameda is “land wealthy” due to Alameda Point. Most development will be on the West End. Big issue is the tube.
Measure A is too general. It does not stipulate how it applies to re-development areas. There is a multi-family over-lay and city council and staff keeps saying “We could get sued”. How much housing in new development must be affordable? City says 25% (per agreement made with housing advocates) and developer Tim Lewis says 15% per state law.

Neighborhoods must come together such as Del Monte area where there will be 35 units per acre plus Tim Lewis wants to build 108 more units behind it on 1.5 acres. Note – This is not just that neighborhood’s problem – it is every neighborhood’s problem. For Del Monte area residents, in a crisis mode right now. What is done here could be blueprint for next development area.

What to do:

• Get more info to be more methodical in thoughts.
• Note “plants” in the audience, read the room.
• Make views known.
• Read blogs such as The Alamedan, Alameda Merry Go Round, Blogging Bayport
• Study census data
• Look into getting exempted from state density mandates (small group formed to study this, due to report back next monthly meeting)
• Look into getting out of ABAG (small group formed to study this, due to report back next monthly meeting)
• Stop dependency on state and federal money
• Require developers to pay for ongoing infrastructure costs such as police, fire
• Everyone – write letters to council members, letters to the editors
• All neighborhood groups should band together to join in the cause to keep Alameda livable. ( e.g Wedge, Harbor Bay, etc)
• Join the free website Nextdoor.com – help us to create a “relay” to get information across the whole island

Join in with Facebook groups:

P.L.A.N. Alameda
Alameda Peeps
Alameda 94501

Please visit our website: www.alamedacitizenstaskforce.org
Submitted by Nancy Hird
Disclaimer: Notes could not be written as fast as people were speaking. I attempted to capture what was said as accurately as possible.

MORE: From Alameda Citizens Task Force website under “Get Involved”

Getting involved is as easy as joining us for a group discussion at one of our monthly meetings held the fourth Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m. at the First Congregational Church UCC, 1912 Central Avenue. Our attendance varies and our informal discussions are about ways to better the quality of life for Alamedans. Often they take on an organizational or political nature.
Each quarter we have a special meeting with a guest speaker regarding a locally oriented topic. These meetings are held in the community room on the second floor at Alameda Hospital. Notice of the meetings is sent to a large anonymous email list primarily of regular and active members of ACT.

ACT watches the city government meetings closely and we frequently attend the City Council Meetings, Alameda Reuse and Redevelopment Agency and the Transportation Commission, and Planning Board meetings. Our members also attend the AUSD meetings and other government meetings. Because the information presented at these meetings is vitally important to Alameda, we like to reserve a time in our General monthly meetings for reports given by attending members. This assists us in keeping informed about what our elected and appointed officials are deciding “for our own good”.

When we disagree with the actions taken by our city leaders, we coordinate letter writing campaigns to our leaders and the local newspapers. We also speak at the public government meetings to communicate alternatives to proposals being considered.

Governmental meetings are scheduled as follows:

City Council – 1st and 3rd Tuesdays, usually beginning at 7:00 p.m. These meetings usually follow closed council meetings regarding litigation or personnel matters. The closed meetings often cause the Regular City Council Meetings to begin after 7:00.

Planning Board – 2nd and 4th Mondays, usually starting at 7:00 p.m.
These meetings are located on the third floor of the Alameda City Hall in Council Chambers. (Corner of Santa Clara and oak Streets) They are also video streamed live and then archived for easy retrieval on the city website.
http://www.cityofalamedaca.gov/

The city website is a very good source for information and has relatively good recent document archival capabilities which are accessible via the website. If additional information is required, requests can be made by the city clerk’s office at City Hall.
To access information regarding City Council, Alameda Reuse and Redevelopment Agency, Planning Board, Public Utilities Board, Transportation Commission or Special Events, Click on “City Hall”.

Webcasts and Podcasts are also available under “City Hall”. You can view meetings that are scheduled in the City Chambers in this area as well as watch or listen to archived meetings. Both the agendas and the videos, MP3 audios or MP4 videos are available in this area.

How Government Meetings Work

Upon arrival on the third floor of City Hall, there is a desk in the hallway that has agendas and speaker slips.
If a person intends to speak on any subject, he/she fills out the speaker’s slip and gives it to the person at the City Clerk Desk within Council Chambers at the left hand side of the dais (elevated semi-circle where the city leaders sit). The speaker’s slip can be for any subject, whether or not it is on the agenda as there is space on agendas for public comments that are not agendized. In the case of City Council, there are two Public Comment times for nonagenda items, one in the beginning of the meeting and one towards the end of the meeting to accommodate the schedules of people who want to address issues with the city council members. Speaking times are generally limited to 3 minutes and a light/sound system exists to alert speakers of their time at the podium.
Considering the three minute time limit, it is often helpful to plan in advance with other members of the public who want to speak on the same topic with the same views. By dividing up the subject areas of a topic among multiple speakers, all the points can be covered. (It is difficult, however; to schedule speaker’s time so a conversation with the council flows from one subject to another by a string of speakers.)

Some speakers read and others speak extemporaneously. It is always a good idea to organize thoughts and planned words in advance. It is also OK to just get up at the podium and say you agree with something another speaker has said. Speaking is usually one sided. It is rare for a city leader to ask questions or make comments during public comment times. They sometimes will call a speaker back to the podium with questions during their discussion times so it is wise to stay until the end of the meeting if possible.

Some people watch the meetings on cable television (Comcast Channel 15) and wait to attend until their particular subject is scheduled to allow them less time in council chambers, and to continue personal business at home until the last minute. They still must complete a speaker’s slip and present it at the proper location.


The City Attorney pleads inanity

Mr. Sullwold’s blog article this morning posted on Alameda Merry Go Round, republished here:

Alameda Merry-Go-Round

The Merry-Go-Round was looking forward to reading the analysis by City Attorney Janet Kern of the potential claims against the City arising from passage of the initiative re-zoning Neptune Pointe to open space.

When Council assigned the task to Ms. Kern at its June 3 meeting, Councilmen Tony Daysog and Stewart Chen, D.C., heartily endorsed the need (stated by a public commenter well known to us) for Ms. Kern to “dive down and dig deep” into the legal issues raised by the initiative.  “You need a report that’s going to tell you what the facts are” relevant to any potential claims, the speaker urged, as well as “what the likelihood is” of those claims being raised at all and ultimately succeeding if they are raised.

Good idea, Jane.  Unfortunately, that’s not what we got.  The “Potential Legal Impacts of the Initiative and Estimated Costs” section in the report released by…

View original post 2,215 more words


Alameda Loses the Rockefeller Foundation Grant It only Just Received

reprinted from NPO (Non Profit Quarterly)

Alameda Loses the Rockefeller Foundation Grant It only Just Received

April 3, 2014

What is a “resilient city”? Whatever it might be, in the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities program, it no longer includes Alameda, California. The Rockefeller-funded program, with a grant review panel including former president Bill Clinton, had selected Alameda for a $1 million two-year grant, with a purpose described in December by city manager John Russo as to “help the city continue an ongoing effort to help the city weather an earthquake, fire, tsunami or other disaster.” A few months later, Alameda learned that it lost the grant it had only recently been told it was receiving. The explanation, according to an email from the director of 100 Resilient Cities, Michael Berkowitz, was that “it is clear to us that Alameda’s strategy is incompatible with 100RC’s vision for our network of cities.”

For nonprofits and foundations, that is an unusual sequence of events. It could be that Rockefeller discovered that Alameda’s actual resilience strategy did not comport with what it submitted as its grant application, though one would have expected that the foundation’s due diligence process would have tested the substance, depth, and commitment of the city’s proposed strategy. It could be that the Rockefeller Foundation had second thoughts or cold feet about some aspect of Alameda’s strategy or politics. Or it might have been neither.

The 100 Resilient Cities website defines building resilience as “making people, communities and systems better prepared to withstand catastrophic events—both natural and manmade—and able to bounce back more quickly and emerge stronger from these shocks and stresses.” Alameda was one of the first 33 cities for the program, but the 100 Resilient Cities website has quickly been amended to eliminate Alameda in its list of grant recipients and to reduce the count to 32. The remaining 32 are international and high profile, with the likes of Bangkok, Da Nang, Christchurch, Melbourne, Durban, Dakar, Mexico City, Rio, Glasgow, and Rome—and, interestingly, Ashkelon in Israel and Ramallah in Palestine.

With Alameda off the list, the remaining North American grant recipients are Boulder, El Paso, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Norfolk, and three other larger Bay Area California cities: San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley. Berkeley’s program seems to include strategies “to deliver critical city services for seven days without outside power in the event the region experiences a major outage” and “for a distributed energy microgrid to power buildings should the electric grid fail.” Oakland’s program apparently is built on “groundbreaking community partnerships…[for] effective community-based climate resilience planning.” San Francisco’s builds on the “city’s innovative use of financing and building codes has dramatically improved building safety, and their use of social media to educate and motivate the public.” What might have done in Alameda, the fourth of the Bay Area cities selected by Rockefeller, so abruptly?

It may have been over a disagreement between Rockefeller and Alameda over what appears to have been a core commitment of each funded Resilience city, the authority to be given a new “chief resilience officer.” In a statement quoted in the Alamedan but not attributed to a specific foundation or program representative, the “crucial” resilience officer is meant to be a mandatory component of each city’s program: “The importance of such a silo-busting role is why 100RC committed to fund the (officer) for each member city for two years.” Back in December, the Alamedanattributed to Russo a statement that the “resilience czar’s” role would be to put together and execute a plan that would help the city get back on its feet after an initial disaster response (Alameda has been long concerned about dealing with a possible tsunami). As described by a Rockefeller vice-president, Neill Coleman, “We know this person will need to be a networker, a connector…We also expect them to play the role of an evangelist for resilience thinking.” Half a year earlier, Rockefeller president Judith Rodin made it clear that the key to the foundation’s funding was paying for “Chief Resilience Officers” at the heart of the program. A disagreement over the concept and power of a CRO seems likely to have been the instigation of the Rockefeller reversal.

As of mid-March, the Guardian had published a piece about the activities of the four Bay Area winners of the Resilient Cities grants, including a two-day seminar involving all four at the Presidio on topics such as a rising sea level, seismic events, and wildfires. Most of the article addressed the programs and initiatives of the three bigger cities, referring only to Alameda as “quaint and low-profile,” with no reference to any of Alameda’s resilience strategies. Only a few weeks after the Presidio meeting, Alameda was on the outside looking in, informed that the Rockefeller grant was no longer. There’s a story here for sure. NPQ would love to hear from the principals in this dynamic, especially from the small city of Alameda, to learn about their experience of interacting with a high profile foundation initiative.—Rick Cohen


Stop the feds? Stop our mayor and city council!

See recent editorial in the SF Chron about Neptune Pointe below.

Shameful: our City leadership is actively on the wrong side, they worked against we-the-residents when they changed the zoning to residential to help out developers (their theme song must be: We Champion Developers!) which was one-million percent in opposition to citizens’ expressed preference which we also funded when we approved the 2008 Measure WW: expand the damn park people!

Reprinted below without permission and from: http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/editorials/article/Stop-feds-land-grab-from-state-parks-5082588.php

 

Stop feds’ land grab from state parks

Updated 4:55 pm, Friday, December 20, 2013

In an audacious display of bureaucratic arrogance, the federal government is threatening to use its eminent domain powers to seize a state-owned street near Alameda’s Crown Beach to accommodate a proposed development of up to 90 homes.

It gets worse. The targeted property is not exactly state surplus. It is a short stretch of McKay Avenue that provides access to the interpretive center at Crab Cove, which sits at the eastern edge of the largest stretch of public beach on the San Francisco Bay. The General Services Administration wants to claim the road to assure utility services for the Roseville (Placer County) developer who outbid the East Bay Regional Park District for the 4-acre site on what is known as Neptune Pointe.

The parks district had hoped to acquire that plot of abandoned federal office space to accommodate a park expansion – funding for which was included in the 2008 Measure WW, which was passed by more than 70 percent of voters in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

So to sum it up: We have the GSA selling its surplus office park to a private developer for $3 million, a price that was nearly triple the parks district’s appraisal, on the presumption that state parks would willingly cede access on McKay Avenue for utilities. When state parks balked, the federal government pulled out the eminent domain threat.

“We’re very experienced here at dealing with urban parks and developers and politics … but this one’s for the record books,” said Bob Doyle, general manager of the regional parks district. “We just haven’t been able to get a fair shake from day one.”

State Attorney General Kamala Harris‘ office recently sent a strongly worded letter to the U.S. Department of Justice about GSA’s threat to use eminent domain to seize the street and sidewalks of McKay Avenue.

“We are extraordinarily troubled by GSA’s intent to take public land for a private developer’s benefit,” Deputy Attorney General John Devine wrote.

The letter went on to cite federal law dictating that agencies disposing of surplus property should give priority to public uses, and can offer it to state and local governments for discounts of “up to 100 percent.”

The park district had bid $1 million, a third of the sale price to Tim Lewis Communities, a home developer based in Roseville. GSA officials said they needed to get full market value out of that 4-acre plot as part of the offices-consolidation project that made that area surplus.

Doyle directs some of his irritation at the city of Alameda for rezoning the land from office space to residential after the sale. The parks district has filed a lawsuit against the city for making the zoning change without an environmental impact report.

However, Alameda City Manager John Russo called the parks-district lawsuit “a bazooka on a fly” and a big waste of taxpayer dollars. He explained that the zoning change was made because the property was being acquired by a developer – and the growth-resistant suburb has long been under pressure from the state to do more to meet housing demand for diverse income levels.

Besides, Russo added, the developer’s initial application with the city is not going anywhere until the McKay Avenue dispute is resolved.

“If you don’t have access, you don’t have a project,” he said, adding, “They all need to get together to work something out.”

Here’s what should happen in the public interest: The GSA’s deal with the developer should be nullified by one or both parties because of the lack of access. Parks officials have made plain they are not giving up the street to a development that would preclude expansion plans and could even come in conflict with the park experience and its operations. The GSA should then strike a deal with the parks district – at a reasonable discount – to facilitate the park expansion that voters overwhelmingly approved five years ago.

Members of Congress need to get off the sidelines and lean on the GSA bureaucrats to work out a deal with the regional parks. The attorney general’s office should not be the only high-level voice against the taking of a state-owned street for the benefit of a private developer.