Letters to the Editor

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Mark Greenside’s op-ed piece ("Right Location, Wrong Plan," Oct. 9) has it exactly right. Most Alamedans, I think, would like to see the old Del Monte site developed — but in a way that is respectful of the current zoning laws and in a process that preserves the family-oriented nature of Alameda.

The density of the Tim Lewis Communities (TLC) proposal is simply unworkable for the space available. Not only does it skirt the open space requirements (as described by Greenside), but it also aggravates an already difficult traffic condition on the Island.

Further, the type of housing proposed here (studios, lofts, etc.) will do little to address the need for affordable family housing in Alameda.

Rather, it will attract individuals who are likely to be using Alameda as a bedroom community and who will have little commitment to the quality of life here.

It seems clear and understandable — that the developer wants to maximize the number of housing units, since that will maximize profits for the developer. But that goal should not be our City Council’s major concern. Rather, the Council should be considering what is best for Alameda and how best to preserve its unique character.

If TLC is not willing to modify its proposal (i.e., reduce its profit objectives) for this development, then the Council should seek alternative ideas from other developers. Perhaps the city, itself, should consider how it might play a significant role in developing this site.

Philip A. Schwartzkroin

The Alameda Sun received a copy of this letter.


Dear National Marine Fisheries Service, Conservation Division:

I am a longtime Alameda resident, and I often walk and bicycle all around our island on San Francisco Bay. I am very concerned about the proposed WETA project at Alameda Point and the effect it will have on the small colony of harbor seals that haul out nearby.

The fact that we even have a colony of seals on our island is amazing, and to endanger this small group is to endanger the greater ecosystem of the bay. People have taken over virtually all of the shoreline, and these little marine mammals are adapting to the human presence by using our old docks and structures to rest and nurse their young. And now we plan to take that small site away from them?

I worry that the "limited harassment" of the project will not be limited at all, but will permanently drive the seals away. The seals were here in the bay long before we were, and, at the very least, WETA should provide a new haul-out site for the seals to replace the one that it will destroy.

Lisa Haderlie Baker


I was so glad I accidentally found today’s Alameda Sun which had the article about the plight of the harbor seals ("Shake, Rattle, and Ignore", Oct. 9).

So I had time to send comments to the federal agency NOAA/NMFS about the planned ferry facility which will, as presently planned, destroy the old dock which has been used as a haulout by the harbor seals. My letter to them reads as follows:

"I am a resident of Alameda and wanted to comment on the current plan for a ferry facility on Alameda Point. I am particularly upset that there is no accommodation for the harbor seals who have been using the old dock as a haulout, especially during pupping season.

"I worked several years on animal care crew at The Marine Mammal Center, taking care of harbor seal pups, so I have a special concern for these charismatic animals.

"I often visit the old dock just to watch the seals’ activity and have met other people who stop by to admire the animals. It is a good place to see these animals without having to travel far, and enhances the area much like the sea lions do in San Francisco.

"More importantly, the harbor seals need the haulout, and some no doubt will be returning in pupping season and be stressed out to find it gone. It seems to me that a haulout for seals could easily be integrated into the master plan."

Mark Klein