An example to follow


“Wetlands Rise at Old Airbase” the San Francisco Chronicle headline read on April 26. 

Sadly, the heading and article were not about restoring the shallow wetlands shoal buried under the landfill of Alameda Point in the 1920s but instead at the former Hamilton Air Force base property adjacent to Novato and San Pablo Bay. So why not restore Alameda’s West-End wetlands also? 

Alameda is an island with shallow edges. The days of filling in wetlands for space to erect more buildings and houses and airports are gone. The tide, so to speak, has turned. Restoring the Bay by uncovering superfluous landfill is the future.  

Witness the ongoing reclamation of Hamilton Air Force Base, salt ponds in the south bay, and other locations around San Francisco Bay.

This begs the question: Hasn’t Alameda contributed more than its share of housing not only on the island proper but also on the 400 acres of artificial South Shore land that wasn’t there before?  

Should not the city get housing credit for the thousands of residences added once the South Shore infill was completed and fully developed?

Follow Hamilton Air Force Base’s example. Remove the landfill over Alameda Point and return the shoal to a semblance of what it once was.  Short-term financial gains for developers building more houses solves nothing long term for the city. 

It simply increases the size of the same urban problems experienced today, but now potentially including the cost of levees and pumps to hold back projected rising bay waters.

— Ralph Joy