Missing the Boat

Current policy decisions are shaping our shoreline’s future, and Alameda is missing the boat.

On May 30, the planning board unanimously approved a plan for the Alameda Marina that provides protection for three feet of sea level rise, even though the State of California says we should anticipate six feet.  The project calls for increasing the sea wall’s height in the future “should it be necessary.”  No one from the board bothered to address this concern or ask who will pay for the adaptive measures should a three-foot wall prove inadequate. Continue reading

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A Missing Thank You

On May 23, a lot of kudos were handed out at the Site A groundbreaking ceremony for the first new neighborhood at Alameda Point.  One individual was not mentioned, but certainly deserves much of the credit:  John Russo.

As city manager from 2011 to 2015, Russo paved the way for the city itself to develop the base using a parcel-by-parcel development approach. Continue reading

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Medical Respite Facility planned for McKay Ave

Those who prefer housing for senior citizens, over other types of housing that generate more traffic, will welcome the proposed dwelling units on McKay Avenue near Crab Cove.  Former federal offices now located there will be rehabbed to create a medical respite care and assisted-living facility primarily for seniors who are homeless.

Medical respite care is for people coming out of the hospital who still require medical assistance.  Patients are referred by a hospital. The McKay facility could become permanent housing for homeless seniors with chronic and/or end-of-life medical conditions.  There will be no limit on how long they can live there, and for many it will be their final home. Continue reading

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Palestinians Tell Their Stories at Alameda Library

Everyone has a life story, and many are being told at Alameda’s Main Library at 1550 Oak Street.  An exhibit that combines black-and-white portraits of 26 Bay Area Palestinians with audio recordings is on display.  The library’s largest meeting room was filled to capacity with well over one hundred people for the opening reception on February 11.

The multimedia storytelling project “Home Away from Home:  Little Palestine by the Bay” showcases recorded interviews with Palestinian-Americans that reveal the complexities of living with hopes for Palestine in a country that is often hostile to those aspirations. Continue reading

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Breaking News … stands

Over a decade ago, banks of newsstands were installed in the Park Street business district to replace the hodgepodge of shabby-looking newsstands.  Unfortunately, the spiffy new newsstands came on the scene just as newspapers were giving way to digital media like smartphones and laptop computers.  Today, the mostly empty and vandalized newsstands are the new eyesore.

Photo Essay:

A sign of The Times

Park Street at Lincoln Avenue Continue reading

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Coulda Woulda Shoulda at Encinal Terminals

On December 19, the city council will decide whether to approve the proposed Encinal Terminals project located behind the former Del Monte warehouse at Buena Vista and Sherman streets.  The project calls for 589 homes with commercial uses and public shoreline amenities.  But before approving the proposal, we should solve its problems now, or we may later wish we had.

The proposed project falls short in affordable units, climate adaptation features, sustainable design requirements, infrastructure guarantees, and an equitable public land swap. Continue reading

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Drive your Chevy to the levee in Alameda?

Alameda is in the process of updating its local climate action plan, and sea level rise will be on the agenda.  Much of our shoreline will be impacted.

Will we need sea walls, levees and dikes?  A new system of pumps for storm water diversion? Continue reading

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Sierra Club speaks out on Encinal Terminals Project

The Encinal Terminals project was originally scheduled for approval at the October 17 city council meeting. However, it has been postponed.

According to city staff:  “There was interest in getting the project on the October 17 City Council agenda but there are still a few issues staff is hammering out with the developer and we weren’t ready.  The project is an active one and we are continuing to work on the final documents including the Master Plan, Development Agreement and Public Trust Exchange Agreement.  When everything is completed and we have a package to go to the City Council for its consideration it will be placed on a meeting agenda.”

Meanwhile the Sierra Club published an opinion piece in the local newspapers.  It reads: Continue reading

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Sierra Club Opposes Tidelands Swap at Encinal Terminals

The Encinal Terminals Project is a planned development on an old shipping site along the Oakland Estuary behind the Del Monte building.  The project proposes to construct 589 residential units with commercial buildings, a park, a shoreline promenade, and a marina.  A sizable part of the proposed project would be on land that is currently state tidelands.

The project has been approved by the planning board and comes before the city council on October 17.

The San Francisco Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club has taken a position opposing the tidelands property swap.  The Club says the land swap is a bad deal for California, is contrary to the state’s Public Trust Doctrine, undermines climate action potential, and creates an encumbrance on state tidelands. Continue reading

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Proper Channels to Breakwater Beach

There has been a secretive effort by city staff to rename one of Alameda’s beaches.  It’s not only bad form, it’s a bad idea.

Breakwater Beach is a small beach located at Alameda Point near the Navy’s former campground and the city’s Encinal Boat Launch Facility.  The beach and its adjacent Bay Trail are under the jurisdiction of the East Bay Regional Park District. If not for the breakwater there, a barrier that protects the harbor from the force of the waves, the beach would not exist.

The regional park district plans to spend half a million dollars upgrading Breakwater Beach and the adjacent dune and shoreline next year.  Unbeknownst to the public, however, city staff has told the park district to use the term “Encinal Beach” in its documents. Continue reading

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