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Peter Calthorpe Makes a Rather Firm Correction

Tonight, outside Alameda Hospital’s main doors, where he was about to present to the Democratic Club of Alameda, SunCal hired planning guru Peter Calthorpe made a, uh, rather firm, verbal correction in response to our articles, which included a profanity uttered within earshot of a high-school student handing out flyers. He could have just written a letter to the editor.

Mr. Calthorpe addressed your correspondent directly, and forcefully, asserting, 1) there is indeed a private PRT system underway in Toronto that few people know about “because it’s private.” He provided no further information in the moment – like the anonymous commenter we saw in this forum last week – but he offered to forward us details which we encouraged him to do. And 2) that his statements about the Fehr & Peers traffic studies – “these aren’t my numbers” – were intended not to distance himself from those numbers but to highlight that they were “independent” from Calthorpe’s or SunCal’s efforts because the City of Alameda commissioned them last year in a separate study. We made clear to Mr. Calthorpe that in the context – a presentation to the Sierra Club transportation committee, wherein some participants questioned the numbers – it looked to us that he was trying to distance himself from the data. And we explained that we are free to interpret, characterize and report on our observations as we saw fit, it being a free and democratic country, after all. Mr. Calthorpe, in return, characterized this as “horseshit” and proceeded to his presentation to the City of Alameda Democratic Club.

Speaking of democracy, we were handing out flyers at the hospital to make Alameda Democratic Club members aware that the Club, despite its ostensible mission to promote civil discourse and despite the sign at the entrance to the hospital inviting “anyone interested in the democratic process” to attend, had refused to make time available at tonight’s meeting for opposing viewpoints, despite requests to Club officers from Club members and identification of a ready and willing speaker.

We hope that in the future, both Mr. Calthorpe and the local Democratic Club of Alameda will serve as better role models than we witnessed tonight.

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