Letters to the Editor
Leaving Alameda by way of the Webster Street Tube recently I saw Trish Spencer supporters with signs reading, "Tired of Traffic"? Not, "Tired of Alameda traffic," just "traffic." Traffic was moving smoothly through the Posey and Webster tubes as it does most days. There were no horns honking in support of the protesters. I support the right to make a statement, but it bothered me to see their message. It was ingenuous. Here’s why:
To me, the signs implied that Mayor Marie Gilmore was responsible for bad traffic in Alameda. She is not. Traffic back-up in Alameda is due primarily to poor traffic management on the Oakland side of the tube. If we want relief we need to take it up with the mayor of Oakland and Oakland’s Chinatown. Gilmore is already in talks with our neighbors.
Alameda is not an island unto itself, we exist in community, and we are called upon to engage and work with that community. Gilmore has the social and communication skills as well as the political savvy to do this.
Examine Spencer’s record on the school board, talk to those who have attempted to work with her. You will find she lacks these critical leadership skills. Her modus operandi is to criticize plans already in place and offer no alternative. She digs in her heals and just says "no." Look carefully and you will see Spencer has no answers, no plans
Spencer makes the dire prediction that if we grow, meaning increase housing in Alameda, our traffic will be insufferable. This no-growth position is not viable. For starters, state and federal mandates require a housing element that includes low to moderate income housing. Without it, funding for basic services to our city will be denied.
Measure BB would double the transportation sales tax for the next 30 years and hand over the proceeds to the 21-politician Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC). Once it gets its hands on the proceeds ACTA plans to misspend most of the money raised.
For instance, according to the ACTC’s countywide transportation plan, Measure BB would do nothing toprevent driving in Alameda County from increasing by 46 percent by 2035. In addition, Measure BB would provide $400 million to a low-ridership, grotesquely over-priced BART extension to Livermore and lavish almost $2 billion on AC Transit, no strings attached.
The city of Alameda, though contributing significantly to county sales-tax revenues, would receive virtually no benefit from measure BB. MTC says that it would take $350 million right now to bring Alameda’s deteriorated streets up to standards. Yet over the next 30 years Measure BB would provide the city of Alameda a total amount of no more than one-fifth of the funds needed to restore the streets.
Taken all together, Measure BB, if it gets past the voters on Nov. 4, would constitute a 30-year lost opportunity for Alameda County. There are many important transportation problems to be addressed. Measure BB manages to miss most of them.
I am voting for Jim Oddie for City Council, I’ve seen his work on behalf of the community, and I’m confident he’ll be an effective and productive contributor as a City Councilman.
I’ve seen Oddie in action during my years of service as a board member and board president at Alameda Hospital. Oddie has been a tireless supporter for maintaining hospital and emergency room services at Alameda Hospital through his service on the Hospital’s Finance and Management Committee, and as an advocate in countless informal ways.
One example that’s worth noting was the role that Oddie played in forging a set of agreements among very disparate stakeholders during the negotiations that led to the affiliation of Alameda Hospital with the new Alameda Health System, the new partnership that guarantees the continued operation of Alameda Hospital for the future. One of the big obstacles that had to be overcome was a set of agreements about how to handle the potentially crippling long term financial impact of multiple employee retirement benefits as the new system came together.
Oddie worked tirelessly, behind the scenes, to obtain the approval of multiple stakeholders to support the passage of Assemblyman Rob Bonta’s AB 1008 — legislation that effectively and fairly resolved the long-term financial challenge.
Oddie’s energy and commitment to resolving challenges, his mastery of the complex implications of policy and practice and the creativity that he brings to problem solving will serve Alamedans well on the City Council.