A Statement Regarding
the Revitalize Alameda Point Initiative
HOMES is an Alameda citizens group representing a cross-section of the community. Our objectives are to provide choice in housing and to stimulate economic development at Alameda Point and throughout the City of Alameda. We believe that it is essential to Alameda’s future to create vibrant mixed use, pedestrian and transit oriented neighborhoods, enjoyable public spaces and a housing/jobs balance in the City.
We believe that in order to accomplish this, City Charter Article XXVI (Measure A) must be modified at Alameda Point. Alameda needs to build a variety of housing economically available to all residents.
We believe the Revitalize Alameda Point initiative meets these objectives for Alameda Point.
The City of Alameda selected SunCal in 2007 as the master developer to create a plan based on principles developed by the citizens of Alameda over 16 years of community meetings involving hundreds of Alameda citizens.
The Revitalize Alameda Point plan fulfills the goals for Alameda Point that are embodied in the General Plan: seamless integration with the rest of the city, a vibrant new neighborhood, maximizing waterfront accessibility, de-emphasis of the automobile and compatibility with transportation capacity, economic development, economic development, and a mixed-use development.
This plan requires amending City Charter Amendment XXVI that prohibits building any housing units besides single-family or duplex homes. Amending a charter requires voter-approval, hence there must be a ballot initiative. The Revitalize Alameda Point initiative election will take place on February 2, 2010.
After SunCal’s selection by the City as its partner in the development of Alameda Point, SunCal met with community groups and all the City boards and commissions to create the plan. The City and SunCal entered into a three-year Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) and pledged to work with each other in good faith. SunCal met regularly with City staff, in accordance with the ENA.
The Revitalize Alameda Point plan was developed out of this partnership and received support from the mayor and a majority of the Council.
Beginning in June 2009, the new Interim City Manager (ICM) removed staff that had been working on the Point project over the years. SunCal started over with brand new City staff. Since that time, SunCal has been in weekly all-day negotiations with the ICM and her staff. SunCal has offered resolutions to City concerns, but the results of the negotiations have not been revealed to the public. HOMES has repeatedly asked the Council to mandate transparency of the concerns and resolutions so that the public can be fully informed. The City has, thus far, refused to cooperate.
The City has talked about alternative plans, but will not reveal exactly what they are. There have been rumors about a City development corporation and/or about working with previously non-performing developers.
HOMES advocates for the Revitalize Alameda Point plan because it fulfills the community goals for Alameda Point. It creates a plan that will benefit all Alamedans, not just in terms of access and amenities, but in terms of creating much-needed revenue for our City.
HOMES is very concerned about the apparent effort by the City to abandon the plan and good-faith negotiations. The voices of hundreds of Alamedans who took part in developing this plan are being denied. The public is not hearing the truth about benefits of the initiative. Untruthful statements are being made by our City leaders to justify their actions.
Failure of this plan has dire consequences for our community. The Navy can auction the land piece-meal meaning that no community vision or plan would have to be adhered to. The area will continue to deteriorate, costing the City millions of dollars each year. One large-scale emergency, such as another fire, or one large systems failure would be complete disaster for our public safety and fiscal well-being.
The option of re-negotiating long-term leases which the City has recently been promoting not only fails to fulfill the community vision, but has been tried and failed as the Navy requires a clause be inserted into every lease that states they have the right to immediately cancel the lease in the event that environmental clean-up impacts the facility.
HOMES’ goal is for the community to have full knowledge of the City – SunCal agreements and allow the citizens to vote based on facts.
This plan is an opportunity to create a new neighborhood that incorporates the values and traditions of Alameda into a vibrant, economically-viable asset for all Alamedans. The City of Alameda should not prevent the citizens of Alameda from making a fully-informed decision on February 2nd.
Here are the official rebuttals:
The Rebuttal to the Argument Against Measure B emphasizes the financial loss the City suffers each year due to the cost of maintaining the deteriorating project area and again reiterates the fact that the plan is built upon community input. As with the initial argument, nothing controversial in here.
The Rebuttal to the Argument in Favor of Measure B is unfortunately full of mistruths and misleading statements:
Setting Things Straight: Allegation Versus Fact
Allegation: SunCal has 27 bankruptcies.
Fact: Each SunCal project is a separate entity. Lehman Brothers was a financial partner in certain SunCal properties throughout California. When Lehman declared bankruptcy in 2008, they were unable to honor their commitments to the communities in which they were partners. For that reason, SunCal placed 19 Lehman-related developments into bankruptcy in order to bring in new funding. Alameda Point has nothing to do with Lehman. It is backed by D.E. Shaw which has $28 billion in world-wide assets.
Allegation: Creates traffic without sufficient funding for managing traffic.
Fact: There are a myriad of traffic strategies in place to mitigate and pay for traffic management. And, again, the project must be fiscally neutral. (Sources: Alameda Point Revitalization Initiative: Sect. 2.d and 3.d; Exhibit A:General Plan, Transportation Sect. 9.4.a through 9.4.z; Exhibit B: Alameda Point Community Plan, Sect. 11.3, 11.3.1 and 11.3.2; Exhibit C: General Plan Amendments, Alameda Point Sect. I. 3. g Traffic Constraints; and Exhibit D: Specific Plan, Chapter 5: Transportation Element)
Statement: Defeat Measure B and our City will move forward to develop Alameda Point.
Fact: The City has managed the Point for twelve years now and has spent over $100 million on it and costs are increasing every year (resulting in a shortfall of $3.8 million over lease revenues in fiscal year 2008/2009 alone). In addition, the City does not have the staff, expertise, and financial investment to develop Alameda Point itself. The City has been discussing long-term leases, indicating no imminent plans to develop the former Base.. (Source: Alameda Reuse and Redevelopment Authority Budget Report for September 2009)
Allegation: There is no guarantee that any additional agreements will be legally enforceable.
Fact: The intiative says: “Nothing in this Development Agreement limits the discretion of the ARRA, CIC and/or the Developer in establishing in the DDA, or such other contract between the CIC and Developer, certain development and phasing obligations of the Developer.” (Alameda Point Revitalization Initiative Exhibit F: Development Agreement, Section 2.8)
Allegation: Gives the developer 100% control of the project.
Fact: Once there is an approved plan, the Navy will convey the land to the City. The City controls the release of the land for development and the DDA negotiated between the developer and the City establishes all the business terms. (Alameda Point Revitalization Initiative Exhibit F: Development Agreement, Section 2.8)
Allegation: The Initiative doesn’t guarantee funding for a single public school.
Fact: The initiative sets aside 25 acres for future school sites. The Specific Plan has addressed the basic framework for the community but allows for flexibility in number, size, location and phasing of schools. Refinement has always been anticipated once more detailed school planning occurs. The initiative sets forth the requirement for a CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) analysis that will determine the exact needs of the school district.
Allegation: $500 million shortfall in public benefits.
Fact: The City has used the $500 million figure to refer to a couple different things, making it a bit of a moving target. In terms of public benefits, SunCal proposed a $200 million budget based on industry peer review, then the Interim City Manager had the City’s public works department developed a new budget of $375 million, which means a $175 million supposed shortfall. But SunCal has agreed to remove any cap, so there can be no shortfall. Sometimes the City seems to referring to $500 million in terms of redevelopment dollars. This is the money the City is going to generate at Alameda Point that has to be spent on redeveloping Alameda Point regardless of who develops it.
Our City misleading its citizens like this is simply shameful.
Hanging Shameful Untruths
Many Alameda residents have found their doors festooned with hangars from the anti-development campaign. Alamedans for Alameda Point Revitalization did an interesting point-by-point rebuttal of the door hanger piece. Read it here: http://alamedapoint.blogspot.com/2009/12/door-hangars-hang-on-mistruths.html