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Revitalize Alameda Point – Second Attorney Files Letter of Objection with City of Alameda

A second attorney, an Alameda resident, has filed a letter with the City of Alameda and the County Registrar of Voters arguing that SunCal’s Alameda Point Revitalization Initiative – fronted by West Alameda Business Association (WABA) Executive Director Kathy Moehring – is mis-leading and should not be placed on the ballot.

In her letter, Barbara Thomas, writes:

Alameda resident Kathy Moehring has proposed an Initiative for Alameda Point. The City Attorney is required by Election Code Sec. 9204 to write a true and non-misleading summary of the Initiative. This has not been done. The Initiative promises significant benefits to be paid for in a manner which is not permitted by California state law. As the City Attorney’s Summary does not point out the proposed financing of some benefits is not permitted, the Summary is misleading and does not comport with the Elections Code. The Summary contains additional misleading statements. It omits material points that are not within the knowledge of voters, but are known to the City Attorney and should have been provided so as to not mislead the voters.

(Kathy Moehring is the spouse of Bruce Knopf, a former City of Alameda Planning Department staffer and now an employee of Prologis-Catellus, which has entitlements to the Alameda Landing project, and was a contender for master developer status for Alameda Point. Prologis-Catellus could ultimately play a role in the build-out of Alameda Point if they should be sub-contracted by SunCal to build homes or other structures on the site.)

Ms. Thomas writes that in the initiative, “Improvements are promoted and marketed as benefitting the entire City [of Alameda].” and she asserts that “Taxing Alameda Points parcels for regional benefits is not permitted under California law.” Ms. Thomas provides as examples of regional benefits the proposed Sports Complex, new ferry terminal and transit hub.

She concludes by asking the City to not certify the initiative, nor place it on the ballot:

For the foregoing reasons it is requested that this initiative not be certified for, nor placed on any ballot. The City Attorney’s Summary needs to be corrected to accurately present to the voters what the Initiative contains. To the extent that the Initiative makes claims that are illegal or not consistent with California law, the City Attorney needs to clearly point out their inconsistency with State law.

If the City and or County Registrar fails to comport with the foregoing request, the assistance of the Court will be sought to enforce the provisions of the Elections Code, and provide any other remedies that may be available.

Yesterday, we reported that SunCal has elected to NOT submit the the initiative for the November 2009 ballot. We ultimately obtained a copy of SunCal’s press release. SunCal claims to have collected 8,083 valid voter signatures in support of the initiative since March 2009. The press release also claims benefits of the initiative for the entire island:

The Alameda Point Revitalization Initiative contains the long-range vision to clean up the old Navy base and transform it into a vibrant and sustainable mixed-use community that will yield environmental, recreational, fiscal and transit benefits for the entire island.

2 comments to Revitalize Alameda Point – Second Attorney Files Letter of Objection with City of Alameda

  • Santa Claritan

    Congratulations to Attorney Barbara Thomas, and the anonymous Alameda resident who hired a different attorney, both of whom wrote detailed criticisms of SunCal’s ballot initiative.

    Attorney Thomas’ point is well taken. California Proposition 218, adopted almost 10 years ago, makes it very clear that the types of assessments proposed on the Point’s new residents would be unlawful, because they would be used to build improvements with city wide benefit. For those interested in the comment, look at the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association’s website.

    And congratulations to all of the hard working residents of Alameda whose diligent efforts convinced SunCal they were facing an uphill battle to get their initiative on the ballot, get the voters to approve it, and then defend it in court.

    Grass roots community action does work.

    Now, if all Californians could figure out a way to rid the state of ex-planning department employees (and spouses) who use insider connections to manipulate their alma maters. It doesn’t just happen in Alameda. It happens in virtually every city in the state.

    My opinion: Back in the 1970’s local governments in California were relatively corruption free. By the 2000’s local governments in California have become as corrupt as those in the Chicago area.
    Think about it. How many city council members, County boards of supervisors members, planning commissioners and water commissioners have you seen who remind you of Governor Blagojevich…absent the poufy hair?

  • barb

    Thanks, I just wish I had hair to pouf. You deserve the credit for the case cite. Special election will add deterrent. Don’t practice that kinda stuff after leaving City Council. Never took a bribe, so just have to work. Alameda pays its council $250 per month. Then wonders why the City gets screwed. City employees get 100k per annum and retirement and we can’t afford to pay current employees because we have to pay retired employees. Life is great and then we die.