Letters to the Editor
The Alameda Sun received a copy of this letter addressed to the Mayor and members of the City Council.
Dear Mayor Spencer and council members:
In your current budget deliberations, please consider the serious and pressing need for additional building inspectors to handle the substantial number of new residential units that have recently been authorized for Alameda.
Over the past 30 years, I have seen several examples of low-quality construction that have been accepted, including our own brand-new house.
Together with 15 of our neighbors, we filed a successful lawsuit against the builder, leading to the complete replacement of defective siding.
Since that time, however, widespread adoption of the practice of “design-build” construction has largely eliminated architect/engineer inspections prior to acceptance of buildings, so the only check on quality of work is being done by the building inspector.
Since housing comprises much of the value of property in Alameda, its inherent quality is of prime importance. For this reason I request that you resist the easy temptation to go along with some of the budget proposals put forth by the previous City Council and allow sufficient time to fully assess the situation you have inherited while you still have a little time.
We are writing on behalf of more than 140 Alameda businesspeople who have signed the petition: “Support Plans for Site A at Alameda Point” on Change.org We represent some of the larger employers currently operating in Alameda. One of the many attributes that attracted us to locate on the island is the promise of desirable housing and recreation for our employees — an attractive environment for jobs. We call upon Alameda’s Mayor and City Council to fulfill this promise.
Collectively, we employ thousands of people, many of whom commute on and off the island each day. Our employees work hard and play hard and prefer to rent or own in Alameda. However, the persistent housing shortage, lack of mid-size apartment rentals and rising costs create obstacles and present a recruiting and retention challenge for local businesses.
The city is presented a real opportunity to attract quality commercial tenants with plans to re-develop the former naval base. Most employers are no longer looking to fill large office parks and force employees into long commutes to corporate campuses. The Site A plan will attract commercial businesses in the technology and new economy sectors. But to start-up or relocate here, and to recruit and retain a durable workforce, they need a community to support them. This includes infrastructure, capital, facilities, a collaborative culture and places to live.
Plans for two-thirds rental housing — workforce housing — including 25 percent affordable units, are part of this business ecosystem. Housing employees near their workplaces also will alleviate rush hour traffic in the tubes and on our bridges. A new ferry terminal, bus rapid transit and bike paths also are part of this network. Artisan dining and retail, parks and recreation complete the community. Without an interconnected system, we cannot grow or sustain jobs. Site A is the catalyst for job generation at Alameda Point.
There is a reason Alameda is considered one of the most- sought-after places to live in the country. It is also one of the best places to work. By joining in this public-private partnership, Alameda can model the success of other cities that have planned for a thoughtful mix of housing near workspaces — creating a sense of place for employees seeking to improve their lifestyle by living closer to where they work.
I love the Arctic because it is so important for the environment. It’s the earth’s built-in cooling system. Shell Oil got a permit to drill in the Arctic, which would be very bad because there’s a 75 percent chance of an oil spill. If there were to be an oil spill, many animals would die. If you love the Arctic like I do, please pass on this information because together we might be able to change Shell’s mind. For more information, go to www.greenpeace.org.