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Thank You, Council, For Standing Up For Alameda!

Dear Editor,

I was among the many Alameda residents who attended the city council meeting last Tuesday, July 20, to urge the council to reject SunCal’s Optional Entitlement Application (OEA) and refuse to extend SunCal’s Exclusive Negotiation Agreement (ENA). The ENA was to expire on July 20th and the recent application included a plan that was substantially similar to what 85 percent of Alameda residents voted against last February. It called for 5,000 residential units, as did the defeated proposal, and now includes an even larger commercial component, with a proposed 4.6 million square feet of commercial buildings.

In my opinion, SunCal effectively terminated its ENA last year when it submitted petitions for Measure B. SunCal had negated the city’s right to negotiate a fair contract and put everything the company wanted into Measure B. Furthermore, SunCal included other aspects in Measure B that it knew were not achievable via the ENA such as the biggest plan ever with caps on spending leaving taxpayers to make up the difference of hundreds of millions dollars in infrastructure funds. Why extend the ENA when in essence Suncal had already terminated it last year by doing Measure B?

Recent City investigative reports revealed that SunCal accepted emails containing and were identified as “attorney-privileged” information from Council Member Lena Tam, a breach of article 1.1 of the ENA, which states clearly that both parties shall negotiate diligently and in good faith. How could SunCal accept emails giving the company unfair advantage during negotiations? Appalling and disgusting are the words that come to mind – the same sentiments I felt after digesting the entirety of the massive techno-speak reports in SunCal’s Measure B.

The bottom line, in my professional opinion, is that SunCal’s proposed plans for Alameda Point would double traffic volumes over existing conditions and add another 30 minutes to the commute for residents leaving the island. This burgeoning congestion would destroy the quality of life in our neighborhoods. It is sheer fantasy to suppose that public transit and bicycles would mitigate the bottlenecking this plan would engender. The City’s Traffic Election Report, Chinatown settlement agreement and the Alameda County Congestion Management Agency reports all concur with my findings.

It was heartening to see so many residents who understand these issues attend last Tuesday evening’s council meeting. I am proud to stand with you and demand what is right for Alameda. Clearly, adaptive reuse of the naval air station is a much better fit for our island community. My sincerest thanks to City Council members Beverly Johnson, Frank Matarrese, Doug deHaan and Marie Gilmore for believing in Alameda. You have made us proud of our community and its leadership.

Eugenie Thomson P.E. is a civil/traffic engineer with more than 30 years’ experience in government contracts and engineering at the Alameda Tubes and throughout the region and a recipient of numerous statewide engineering excellence awards.

4 comments to Thank You, Council, For Standing Up For Alameda!

  • Barb

    I agree with the writer above wholeheartedly. My only concern is that Councilmember Gilmore, an attorney, received blind copies of emails sent by TAM to the Mayor, and did nothing. It was clearly intended to avoid the Brown Act. The Brown Act was designed to protect citizens from overly arrogant officials and under the table dealings. It is one thing to join the majority to vote on the winning side. Especially after comments and seeing which way the wind is blowing. Another thing altogether to show the courage and conviction to vote on the losing side.

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  • Hot R

    On the arrogance/under the table dealings meter = Is it arrogant for the Mayor to take a $10,000 donation from Ron Cowan/Doric Development for her failed supervisorial campaign meant to grease the wheels for the golf course land trade and then attempt to slam through campaign finance “reform” meant to allow her to keep the money for her city council bid? Or is Tam’s email really more important in threatening our public well being?

  • Hey now, Ron Cowan, my former client, is an honorable man. We flew in his helicopter over the collapsed Cypress Freeway together, aghast! He still owns 20 acres in the Biz Park, and why not attempt to finesse that into something else? Happens all the time. 20 acres in the Golf Course compared to all those at the Point, finessed by Tam? I dunno what Hot R is smoking, but I want some!