The day of reckoning is upon us.
As we head (thankfully) into the last weekend before Tuesday’s Measure B vote, I figured I’d layout why I’ll be voting “Yes.”
To me, Measure B is a choice between moving forward to develop a very good, sustainable (environmentally and economically) vision for Alameda Point. The question before us is, will we (the city) be able to see this vision come to fruition, and after much research and thought, I’ve decided that yes, we will.
No matter what path the city chooses to take, there will be risks and Alamedans will need to remain engaged in the process through to the end, Measure B is no different. The East Bay Express got it wrong in their endorsement, which for some reason decided to take shots at proponents, rather than clarify their position. Alamedans do not have to rely on the good-will of the developer to negotiate in good faith, they have to rely on their elected officials to negotiate in the best interest of the city. The same people who be involved in the same negotiations whether B passes or loses.
The financial arguments that are being used are “worst possible case” in the words of former Asst. City Manager David Brandt, who wrote the city’s election report, upon which much of the No on B talking points are based. Subsequent numbers are downright incorrect, outspoken critics can’t seem to find a number they can stick with, because every one they choose turns out to be wrong.
Measure B is a first step, not perfect, not what I would have written has I been in charge, but an OK first step that contains the protections the city needs to move forward in developing Alameda Point. It contains a vision supported by 4 city council members, the chamber of commerce, every media outlet that has made an endorsement and most community groups that have taken a public stance. It will be interesting to see if these individuals step up after the election and take control of the process to get this done, or not. I have very serious doubts.
At the end of the day, the city retains all the power it needs to make sure the project proceeds in the way that detractors claim it must. To quote from Renewed Hope’s “Doubtful Promises” report:
“If the initiative passes, the city’s only practical power to avoid environmental impacts would be to refuse to convey the property to a developer on a timeline required by the development agreement.”
SunCal has to come to the table and negotiate, or in the end, there’s no project for them to develop. The worst case scenario of Measure B is that we’re back where we started. Which is where we will be on Feb. 3 if it doesn’t pass.