The citizens of our city have an important decision to make on Feb. 2; the outcome of the local election on that date will determine whether the city moves ahead with the plan put forward by the developer SunCal for the redevelopment of Alameda Point, the former Naval Air Station. Since the Point covers one-third of the city, the manner of its redevelopment will have an effect on all Alamedans for generations to come.
The Alameda Naval Air Station closed in 1997. In 2000 the U.S. Navy agreed to convey the land to the city at no cost, but federal law passed in 2006 required that the fair market value, later determined to be $108.5 million, be paid for the land. After the previously chosen developer dropped out, the city chose SunCal as the master developer. The initiative before the voters consists of SunCal's proposed plan.
The proposal is designed to encourage the use of public transit, walking and cycling by clustering housing, including apartments, near public transportation and neighborhood commercial establishments. It would add parks and other public amenities. It also would require exemption of Alameda Point from the restrictions of Measure A, an initiative passed by the voters in 1973 prohibiting multiple dwelling units within the city. The initiative before the voters in February, called Measure B, includes the charter exemption as well as the development plan.
The Alameda League of Women Voters' prime mission is to help citizens get the information they need before voting. To that end, a public event featuring pro and con speakers regarding the initiative has been scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Jan. 7, at the Alameda Main Library, 1550 Oak St. After hearing brief presentations by each speaker, members of the audience will have the opportunity to ask the presenters questions about the content, implications and feasibility of the plan.
In addition the league will publish pro and con arguments based upon promoters' and opponents' responses to nine questions it has posed. Representatives of SunCal and Alamedans for Alameda Point Revitalization will respond to the questions for the supporters, and those from Protect the Point and Action Alameda for opponents of the initiative.
The league plans to have binders available to the public at the main and branch libraries, and at Mastick Senior Center. The material also will appear on its Web sites, alameda.ca.lwvnet.org and smartvoter.org, late this month. In addition the league is producing videos presenting pros and cons which will appear on the local TV program Alameda Currents and on local blogs in early January.
Both men and women members of our community, who are over 18 and interested in participating in or supporting our work, are invited to join the League. Connect with us at alameda.ca.lwvnet.org.
Joanne McKray and Karen Butter are chair of voter education and action co-chair, respectively, for the Alameda League of Women Voters.