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Joint Alameda Daily News, Action Alameda News Effort Survey’s City Council and Voter Sentiment on Alameda Point Revitalization Initiative

A joint effort by Alameda Daily News and Action Alameda News surveyed last week City Council member sentiment on SunCal’s Alameda Point Revitalization Initiative, and reader’s views on where City Council members stood.

A straw poll of Action Alameda News readers revealed that 84% of respondents believed Alameda Mayor Beverly Johnson to be “for” SunCal’s ballot initiative, and 16% believed her to be “against.” Conversely, 84% of respondents believed Vice-Mayor Doug deHaan to be against the initiative, and only 16% believed he was in favor of it. The for and against numbers for Lena Tam, Marie Gilmore and Frank Materrese were, respectively 17% (against) / 83% (for), 44% / 56% and 42% / 58%.

The chart below displays these numbers graphically. Again, remember that these numbers reflect our readers’ opinion of each council members’ view of the SunCal initiative. (Note, not all respondents declared a vote for all council members. Also, by definition, a straw poll is not scientific.)

84% of Respondents Believe that Alameda Mayor Beverly Johnson Supports the SunCal Initiative. Sentiment was mixed on Gilmore and Matarrese.

84% of Respondents Believe that Alameda Mayor Beverly Johnson Supports the SunCal Initiative.

At the same time we initiated the reader survey we asked each council member individually, by email, to state their position on the initiative. Our query to them, and their responses, exchanges or non-responses are included below.

Our Query:

Dear Councilmember,

On behalf of Alameda Daily News and Action Alameda News, I am sending you this inquiry, which is being sent individually to each Councilmember. Both Don Roberts and I would like to sample your state of mind regarding the SunCal initiative in light of recent events, for reports we will publish later in the week. We would like your response by close of business, Wednesday, September 23rd.

Our question to you is as follows: In light of the Alameda Chamber of Commerce’s announcement of a “no” position on SunCal’s Alameda Point Revitalization Initiative, and the recent newspaper ads by Protect the Point calling on you to take a position on the initiative, do you stand in favor, or opposed to SunCal’s initiative? (Please, no “neutral” stances – either “yes” or “no.”) And why?

Thank you.
Beverly Johnson Response:

No Response.

Doug deHaan Response:

The City of Alameda is currently in negotiations with SunCal. At this time, I am limited as to what I can share, but here are some facts: Most of you already know I do not support SunCal’s Ballot Initiative. The initiative as written is not fiscally viable and will negate the city’s oversight ability. As outlined in the City’s Executive Summary Report, SunCal’s Ballot Initiative limits their financial responsibility and legal risks. This most likely will cost the city hundreds of millions of dollars. The proposed SunCal Alameda Point Specific Plan and it’s transportation/ traffic impact on Alameda Point, the West End and the entire City of Alameda is alarming. Alamedan’s must familiarize themselves with all aspects of SunCal’s Ballot Initiative, SunCal’s Proposed Specific Plan and the City’s Executive Summary Reports. SunCal, the developer, is willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on the campaign to pass their one-sided initiative. Voters must keep in mind this is not a community/city ballot initiative.

Lena Tam Exchange:

Lena Tam:
The City is currently in negotiations on an agreement with Suncal regarding the initative. It would be inappropriate for me at this time to pre-empt those negotiations.

Challenge to Lena Tam:

In light of your statement about it being “inappropriate” to comment would you care to characterize your comments quoted today in SunCal’s announcement about submitting signatures:

“This is a very exciting day for all Alameda because it means that for the first time the City’s voters will get the chance to decide the fate of Alameda Point,” said Councilmember Lena Tam. “As people learn more about this plan to clean up and convert the dilapidated former Navy base into a productive new neighborhood, I am sure they will join me in supporting it.”

Should I interpret your quote by SunCal as a “for” position?
Len Tam:

There will be no initiative until the County’s Registrar of Voters validates the signatures submitted yesterday, and I have not articulated a position on the initiative. I am supportive of the plan and the process to let voters decide the fate of Alameda Point. The negotiations between the City and Suncal over the iniitative are still ongoing.

Marie Gilmore Response:

Since the Registrar of Voters has not certified the signatures for the initiative and more importantly, the City is still in negotiations with SunCal, I feel that it is inappropriate to comment.

Marie Gilmore, Councilmember

City of Alameda

Frank Matarrese Response:

No Response.

2 comments to Joint Alameda Daily News, Action Alameda News Effort Survey’s City Council and Voter Sentiment on Alameda Point Revitalization Initiative

  • barb

    It is pure unadultered b.s. to refer to being supportive of this ballot measure as a “process to let voters decide the fate of Alameda Point.” The voters are being handed an all or nothing plan that will rob the citizens of this City for decades. If the Councilmembers (except DeHaan) believe that this is democracy in action, they have a pretty distorted sense of themselves and their role.

    Why would anyone rubber stamp the theft of our future by an entity with millions of dollars? What do they stand to gain? Anyone with an ounce of courage can see that this is what is being proposed. There is absolutely no accountability with this Initiative and no role for the Council to play. They can go to bed at night saying, “The voters decided. We are off the hook.”

    Except we will all know that the Council could have, should have and was too spineless and or bereft of mental acuity to step in and do what they were elected to do in the first place. Represent the citizens of the City of Alameda. Not big bucks.

  • Stan

    Just look at how this developer has tried to buy councils and politicians in other cities and let that be the guidepost to how you will vote on the issue.