Television commercials. Political door hangers on front porches. Signs on lawns.

On Tuesday, voters will decide the fate of Measure B, SunCal's development plan for Alameda Point.

Supporters say the measure will jump-start environmental cleanup and help prevent the ongoing decay of buildings, sewers and other infrastructure at the former Naval base, which closed more than a decade ago.

They also say SunCal's proposal — which calls for about 4,500 new housing units and 350,000 square feet of retail space — offers "green, sustainable, transit-oriented development at Alameda Point," according to their ballot argument.

Opponents disagree, vehemently.

They say SunCal's ballot measure will allow the developer to sidestep the city's planning process — and so give away local oversight — and that it will cause traffic congestion and other problems in the city's West End.

"I am still undecided on it," said Barry Dorrance, 31, who moved to the Island from San Francisco in December, as he walked through Alameda Point on a recent afternoon. "Most people here seem to be against (SunCal's plan). But given how things are going with the economy, it might be the only chance we have to get something done out here for years."

Supporters of Measure B include the Rev. Roger Bauer and Douglas Biggs, who both work with the Alameda Point Collaborative, which provides housing and other services to people who were once homeless.

Mayor Beverly Johnson and City Treasurer Kevin Kennedy are among those against the SunCal plan.

Trouble has dogged SunCal ever since it decided to place its plan before voters, beginning when it hired paid signature-gatherers to circulate the petition.

Not only were some people upset that non-Alameda residents were soliciting signatures, many claimed they were misled into signing the petition because gatherers had emphasized SunCal's plans to help with base cleanup.

As a result, more than 550 people asked the city clerk to remove their names after having signed the petition.

Then after qualifying for the ballot, the initiative was set to be called Measure A, which also caused problems.

Johnson and others argued that calling it "A" could confuse voters since the upcoming ballot measure would allow SunCal to sidestep the ordinance that restricts most housing within the city to single-family residences and duplexes. Passed in 1973, the ordinance is popularly known as Measure A.

Even the February election date caused concern, with City Councilwoman Marie Gilmore saying it could cost the city $325,000 instead of the $75,000 of a June election. Like Johnson, Gilmore opposes Measure B.

City officials decided on the February date based on election law, saying it was necessary because Tuesday's ballot measure contains both a charter amendment and an ordinance.

"I find the entire thing confusing," said 46-year-old Marissa Moreno, a shopper at Alameda Towne Centre. "I know it's important, but part of me does not feel comfortable about it because I have not been following the issue all that closely. I don't even know if I will vote."

The city selected SunCal as the master developer for Alameda Point — an area that takes up about one-third of the Island — in May 2007. SunCal was one of five developers that submitted proposals.

Along with new housing, the developer's plan calls for a new ferry terminal, 150 acres of public parks, 650 boat slips and 3,182,000 square feet of commercial space.

The ballot initiative also puts a $200 million cap that SunCal would have to pay for parks, a public library and other civic benefits. Opponents say that's not nearly enough money and so will leave the city scrambling to make up the shortfall as construction takes place.

Perhaps fearing that their measure may fail at the ballot box, SunCal officials provided the city with a revised plan for Alameda Point earlier this month, which could allow it to go forward even if voters reject it.

Along with lifting the $200 million spending cap, the revised plan also would lift the initially proposed 2 percent cap on property taxes at the development.

Both were key reasons that some city officials were opposing the SunCal measure.

No matter what happens Tuesday, Interim City Manager Anne Marie Gallant said the city will continue to try to redevelop the former Naval base — either with SunCal or with another developer.

For Info
For more information, including the location of polling places on Election Day, go to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters web site at http://www.acgov.org/rov/index.htm