May, 2007 Newsletter

Welcome to the HOMES e-newsletter! HOMES is a grassroots citizen’s group dedicated to preserving Alameda’s character at the Alameda Point redevelopment site. We believe that by offering a variety of homes in lively, mixed-use neighborhoods, Alameda Point will offer the historic feel, cultural richness and economic vitality that make Alameda such a wonderful place to live.

In This Issue

    Meeting Updates
  1. ARRA Meeting, May 8th
  2. City Council Meeting, May 15th
    Upcoming Meetings
  1. Planning Board
  2. WRT Meeting
  3. City Council
    Other News
  1. Turning Up the Heat on Sprawl

ARRA Meeting

On May 8, 2007, the ARRA met to make the final selection of the Master Developer for Alameda Point. Previously, the ARRA had asked Catellus and Lennar Urban to work together to form a joint partnership to take on the role of Master Developer. However, the two corporations were unable to come up with a mutually satisfactory agreement. On May 8th, in somewhat of a surprise move, the ARRA selected SunCal as the sole Master Developer.

SunCal offers some exciting potential. They are working with Peter Calthorpe, the founder of the New Urbanist movement. They have also committed to gathering input from the community as part of their process.

More information on SunCal can be found at their web site:

City Council Meeting

Community members jammed the May 15th City Council meeting to speak to the issue of the appeal filed by members of Action Alameda to prohibit the Planning Board from planning a forum to discuss the impact of Measure A on the City of Alameda over the past 34 years.

In March, a by a vote of 6 to 1, the Alameda Planning Board appointed a subcommittee to design a forum to objectively review the impacts – pro and con – of Measure A on planning since its passage in 1973. The subcommittee’s only role was to recommend a format for the forum to the full Planning Board.

Members of Action Alameda, the slate that promoted Pat Bail and Eugenie Thompson for Council and Doug DeHaan for mayor in the November 2006 election, filed an appeal that placed a prohibition on the Planning Board’s moving ahead with a subcommittee. The appeal was reviewed at the May 15th Council meeting.

Over 40 community members spoke to this issue on May 15th, a little over half speaking to the need to have transparency in government and open, public discussions about issues that directly affect our lives and our future. The other group expressed its fear of having any sort of public discourse on Measure A.

Freedom of speech prevailed as the Council did overturn the formal appeal that had been filed to prohibit the formation of the subcommittee by a vote of 5 - 0. The Council also denied Councilmember Doug DeHann’s request to halt any action by the subcommittee until the Council reviewed the Planning Board’s ability to form the subcommittee.

However, fear prevailed as well as the Council allowed the Keep Measure A folks the right to appoint three of its members to the Planning Board’s subcommittee, giving it a decidedly biased membership.

Planning Board: Next Steps

The first subcommittee meeting will be June 7, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m., at the Alameda Library, Conference Room A. Please attend.

The subcommittee working on the Measure A forum is to report back to the Planning Board within 30 days. Your oversight and continued expression of interest will help ensure that a meaningful discussion will occur. Don’t doze off now, please!

Upcoming WRT Community Workshop

The WRT study, funded by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to discuss land use and transit issues, is scheduled to meet before the end of June. The focus of this next meeting will be on transit and parking. This will be the second of four meetings. Stay tuned for details as they become available.

City Council

The Council will meet 60 days from designation to consider its deal with SunCal. Watch for the definitive date when this is scheduled.

Turning Up the Heat on Urban Sprawl

Paraphrased from the Greenbelt Alliance spring 2007 newsletter.

Are you concerned about global climate change? If you are, you should care about how we use land, because that determines how we get from place to place – whether we can walk, can take a bus, or must drive. Land use determines transportation, and transportation is a major factor in human-caused changes to the Earth’s climate.

In California, cars and trucks on our roads contribute 44% of all the Bay Area’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Certainly, each of us can do our individual part to personally reduce our impact on the climate, but to tackle such a big problem, we need larger-scale solutions as well.

More compact development, with homes, shops and jobs close together, near transit can significantly reduce emissions and their negative impact on the environment.

Simply put, it needs to be easy to be green.

It needs to be easier for people to get around without using a car for every errand, so that they right choice is the easy choice. Building in a compact way near transit has an enormous effect on people’s habits. For instance, people who live and work less than a half-mile from transit are 10 times less likely to drive to work than people who live and work farther from transit.

As cities grow, if they choose to focus development around transit stations instead of building sprawling suburban subdivisions, they could significantly cut the amount of driving in these new neighborhoods. That could have a real impact on greenhouse gas emissions, as well as on traffic congestion.

Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. – Ancient Native American proverb

HOMES asks: With the development of Alameda Point imminent, what sort of gift will we be leaving our children if we are not thoughtful and careful to explore every kind of sustainable development as we plan this new neighborhood?


Alameda Cottage

Please support HOMES’ efforts to educate the community about the issues and opportunities presented by Alameda Point by sending a donation to: Rose Foundation/HOMES, 816 Grand St., Alameda, CA 94501 (Rose is our fiscal partner). Donations are tax-deductible.

HOMES Executive Committee:
Helen Sause, President – 510-521-3940;
Diane Lichtenstein, Vice President – 510-523-1115;
Susan Decker, Secretary
Michael Krueger, Treasurer
Doug Biggs, Nancy Heastings, Daniel Hoy, Joan Konrad, Tom Matthews, Bill Smith