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Business Without Borders

A program that aired on National Public Radio recently talked about the proliferation of book-oriented social networking sites on the Internet. Borders has announced it is up for sale, and recently Borders ran back into the arms of to let Amazon run Borders’ online book sales operations. And the Borders store at South Shore Center is about to open – just in time to either change names, or for a new owner to consider shutting it down. If the store stays open – who will go visit it?

A study of U.S. college students in September of 2007 reported that among male college students, the YouTube video sharing site was their 3rd most frequented website, and for female college students, YouTube was their 2nd most frequented site. The computer video game industry now generates more revenue than Hollywood. We’re about to complete a $40 million taxpayer-funded movie megaplex project. Who is going to go to the megaplex?

Do you see a pattern here? City staff – who really drive these projects – are trying to create retail sales tax revenue, but they are really behind the times. Even with all the stalls in the parking garage filled (ha!) with with people parking their cars and going to the theatre, with parking free on weekends and evenings, how much revenue will that generate for the city?

Alameda Point represents an opportunity to draw to Alameda the businesses and industries that are sounding the death-knell of brick-and-mortar book stores and the movie theatres. I’m talking about telecommunications firms, software development firms, gaming companies and the investors that fund them. I would even go so far as to suggest that if the megaplex has any hope in succeeding, it must implement the technology to allow screenings of live events from across the country or across the world – a New York Philharmonic Orchestra presentation, for example. Such an approach to developing Alameda Point would bring a range of jobs and opportunities to Alameda, and businesses pay tax to the General Fund too.

Alas, the majority of our council members have had their election campaigns largely funded by home builders, so they are unwilling to show any leadership on this issue, and all they can think about are building houses at Alameda Point.

Citizens need to call on our leaders and demand they switch focus to bringing jobs and industry to Alameda Point, and not just building houses.

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