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Cut AP&T’s Losses ASAP

Will that be one lump or two? One lump means cutting our losses now on AP&Ts telecom division, and selling it off for whatever we can get for it. Two lumps means dragging the process out forever, and searching for excuses to keep the telecom division on life support, delaying the inevitable. Were already two years into the public awareness of the crisis of the telecom division, so its not like the proposal to sell failing arm of AP&T is a dramatic new initiative.

It remains a question as to who will buy it both Comcast and AT&T have parallel existing networks in Alameda and there are few if any second-tier operators who would be interested in AP&Ts 9,000 cable TV subscribers in a small market of 30,000 households. But trying to maintain the division on an ongoing basis will be a distraction from operating the successful and sustainable electrical utility that has been the foundation of AP&T for over one hundred years.

In our position paper Greening Alameda Point available on our website, Action Alameda has outlined a number of job creation and sustainable enterprise ideas for Alameda Point. AP&T could play a critical role in the redevelopment of Alameda Point by expanding on their successful green generation capabilities, perhaps with a co-generation plant or bio-fuel generation plant located on Alameda Point. Bay Crossings , a locally owned publication providing coverage San Francisco Bay area environmental and maritime issues, recently published a feature article on an extreme green makeover for Treasure Island, another regional naval base closed in 1997, just like Naval Air Station Alameda. The project promises to replace the existing Treasure Island sewage treatment plant with a new facility that will re-cycle at least one-quarter of treated water for use in flush toilets and to irrigate an on-island organic farm. The farm will be fertilized with compost from food-scraps and grass clippings generated on the island.

The island? Doesnt that sound familiar? The bulk of Alameda is an island, and we should view the forthcoming disposition of the telecom business as an opportunity to focus on sustainable energy generation for existing residents, leveraging the light industrial facilities that already exist at Alameda Point, and creating jobs that might allow Alameda residents to both live and work on the island, further reducing our carbon footprint.

The current debt crisis faced by Alameda Power and Telecom was a product of the enthusiasm fostered by the 1996 telecommunications deregulation act. Bad decisions made by past AP&T management and allowed to fester by the Public Utilities Board and our city council should not preclude us from stopping the hemorrhaging now. Lets focus on disposing the money losing telecom division of AP&T as quickly as possible, swallow the bitter pill that we must, and move on to continued success in sustainable energy generation.

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