Letters to the Editor
I want to respond to Horst Breuer’s letter that berated San Francisco Chronicle writer Chip Johnson for his interpretation of an interview with City Manager John Russo. (“Russo’s amanuensis,” May 15).
Breuer incorrectly states that Measure A, the 40-year-old charter amendment was to “preserve our Victorians.” Actually the measure simply states that “no multi-family housing could be built on the Island of Alameda.”
One can interpret the meaning of that simple phrase only as prohibiting any type of multifamily housing.
Fortunately, the state has found this type of language exclusionary. The state has ruled against such restrictions. They prevent housing opportunities for those who would like to downsize to a small condo or provide starter housing for our kids and any others needing a variety of housing types.
With the closure of the Navy base, a third of the Island’s land mass has been deeded to the city. Now with support of state law and added land we are fortunate to have a way to address the need for homes in Alameda.
We are also fortunate to have the civic leadership and staff that support the need for more employment opportunities by creating new jobs at the former base and providing a diversity of housing there to serve all incomes.
The lack of a housing inventory in Alameda doesn’t provide for the housing needs of our current residents and certainly not the new workers at Alameda Point.
This is in response to the May 2 letter to the editor, “Redirecting Alameda Point Efforts,” written by my friend Frank Matarrese. He was critical of the city’s planned development of Alameda Point and advocated no new housing.
Suggesting that we have no new housing at Alameda Point is essentially advocating that we do not develop Alameda Point.
I, too, would like to create more jobs and have more open space but I understand that this cannot be done without building new housing. However, I would like to limit the number of new housing units as much as possible.
There are also certain points in his letter that I would like to address and clarify.
First, in the City Council debate that Matarrese mentioned, I was advocating to limit the number of new housing units at site A to 800, which is the minimum quantity required for a residential/commercial mixed use project to work.
Any unit over the 800 cap will have a $50,000 penalty. It is just not financially feasible to develop Alameda Point without new
Approximately $600 million of infrastructure costs will be required to develop Alameda Point and transform it to a vibrant community. This cannot be funded solely by expanding open space nor developing commercial buildings.
Second, the historic bachelor quarters are too costly to reuse or renovate. We actually considered this and offered them to the Veterans Administration but they declined after determining that it is cheaper for them to build a new facility.
Third, the city’s Economic Development Commission no longer exists but this City Council has long been working on initiatives to attract new businesses and solidify current ones.
We all want what’s best for the city of Alameda, including having more jobs, more open space, smooth-flowing traffic and we all recognize the value of Alameda Point.
This City Council is responding to the community’s desire to develop Alameda Point and is trying to do it with the least number of new housing units possible.
I am asking the readers of the Alameda Sun to help us save the Clark Memorial Bench in Jackson Park from demolition. This 94-year-old large concrete bench is a favorite place for young Alameda residents to gather.
Our petition asks the Recreation and Parks Commission to repair damage caused by a storm six months ago.
Log onto MoveOn.org and enter “Alameda.” The petition is entitled “Save the Bench.”
The fate of the bench will be determined at the Thursday, June 12, Recreation and Parks commission meeting.