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City of Alameda Withholding Key SunCal Alternative Proposal Documents

On January 15th, in accordance with a provision in their Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) with the City of Alameda, SunCal submitted to the City an alternate development plan for Alameda Point. Now, the City of Alameda is withholding from the public a key document – the revised development agreement.

Under the ENA, SunCal had the option to submit to the City an alternate plan for Alameda Point, regardless of whether or not their ballot initiative – Measure B – passes or fails at the pols. The deadline for submitting that plan was January 15th, and SunCal did submit a plan, including a revised development agreement. The terms of the development agreement in the Measure B initiative is one of many issues – including the traffic resulting from roughly 5,000 homes at Alameda Point – that have caused problems for SunCal in this election campaign.

SunCal’s cover letter to the City for the new submission refers to a draft development agreement document as attachment N. When Action Alameda News made a public records request for that attachment, we received a file that read only:

Please note: Attachment N, the Draft Development Agreement, is not a public record and is exempt under Government Code Section 6254(a) as a draft document.

The California Government Code cited reads:

6254. Except as provided in Sections 6254.7 and 6254.13, nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require disclosure of records that are any of the following:

(a) Preliminary drafts, notes, or interagency or intra-agency memoranda that are not retained by the public agency in the ordinary
course of business, if the public interest in withholding those records clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

Action Alameda News has asked for, and is waiting on, a formal written explanation from the City of Alameda as to why it is in the public interest to withhold the draft development agreement.

In their cover letter to the City, SunCal notes that the development plan in the alternative filing is essentially the same as that in Measure B, and that it could be implemented through an amendment to Chapter 26 of the City’s Charter (Measure A) or through the use of the state density bonus law. Contrary to SunCal’s threats to walk away from Alameda Point if Measure B doesn’t pass, SunCal is clearly making contingency plans.

And well they should. Formal and informal polling data received by Action Alameda News suggests that Measure B will go down in defeat on February 2nd. SunCal has tacitly conceded as much – in their cover letter, they’ve asked the City of Alameda to apply a $250,000 deposit for an environmental review of the Measure B initiative to a review of their alternative plan instead.

SunCal Alternative Proposal Cover Letter

3 comments to City of Alameda Withholding Key SunCal Alternative Proposal Documents

  • Alan2009

    If the city comes up with a half-assed explanation for why it is in the public interest to withhold this information, it will be time for some resident and voter of Alameda to file an action in the Alameda County Superior Court to obtain an order that the document be released.

    It should be noted that if a member of the public is the prevailing party on a California Public Records Act case, the court is supposed to award their attorneys fees.

    For that reason, it shows how stupid the City Attorney, Acting City Manager and other city staff members are, in refusing to release what has been submitted.

  • Mike P.

    From what I’ve seen, the city attorney thinks that withholding information makes her clever.

  • barb

    Perhaps it is just the easiest way to cover up the lack of leadership and work ethic provided by the majority on the council. Only takes 3 votes to show the CA the door. (And two of our council are lawyers) Or to tell her that they would like to have an emergency hearing on the matter BEFORE the election. Is this a preliminary draft not maintained in the normal course of business? I think not.

    It looks like we just have a bunch of elected officials who prefer to sit on the sideline until the game is nearly over before taking a public position. After counting the opponents against Measure B, everyone from the unions to the Chamber of Commerce, it doesn’t take a great mind or leader to smell how this one is coming out. Looks like most of the Council were for Measure B, until hit with the landslide of outraged voters. Then each of their plans of running for future office forced them to sign off.

    A real Council, would have have told SUNCAL to go jump in a lake after reading the 288 pages of Measure B. They would have humiliated SUNCAL into paying for the election up front, while openly opposing the Measure. No way, not in our city.

    Instead our “leadership” forced everyone to do their jobs for them. The Unions, the Chamber, the Sierra Club, the bloggers, the newspapers, everyone who has been forced to digest this gargantuan shell game of hiding the money. Why elect officials who cannot lead? The CA is only keeping the voters from discovering more truth sooner, but she may be saving the Council from further embarassment.

    It is time we stopped blaming SUNCAL for what SUNCAL is: the scorpion riding the turtle across the river. SUNCAL will always do what scorpions do. Sting. We need to educate our turtles to not let the scorpion climb aboard again.

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