Around the state, communities and agencies are taking a look at Pacific Gas & Electric Co.’s (PG&E) assets and deciding if a publicly owned electric utility might better meet their residents’ long-term goals. But here in Alameda, that decision was made 132 years ago by residents who saw electricity as an essential public service. Since 1887, Alameda Municipal Power (AMP) has offered low rates, local control and commitment, as well as public accountability and responsive customer services to residents and businesses of the Island City.

In 1917, the Edward T. Foulkes-designed Alameda Savings Bank Building opened its doors at Webster Street and Santa Clara Avenue. Foulkes had already made his mark in Alameda. In 1907 he teamed up with D. Franklin Oliver to design the Citizens Bank Building on Park Street at Santa Clara Avenue, home to today’s Bank of America. 

In 1923, six years after American Savings opened on Webster Street, Foulkes used the Tower of San Marco in Venice, Italy, as inspiration when he designed the Tribune Tower for Joseph R. Knowland in Oakland. 

Resident opposes South Shore plan

Alameda’s South Shore shopping center is looking to make some big changes. Jamestown, owners of the center, recently released plans to add 1,215 residential units, reduce retail space by 182,000 square feet and increase parking by 1,241 spaces.

Redevelopment of South Shore provides Alameda with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a real town center. But the land-use plan the owners revealed harkens back to the worst of 1950s suburban development rather than acknowledging community needs for 2020 and beyond.

Every day on TV, the radio, or in the pages of the Alameda Sun, we are confronted with warnings of looming armageddon. With few exceptions, the speaker or writer assumes that we all “know” as a matter of established fact, that human activity is causing the warming of the planet and that reducing our carbon footprint is the moral thing to do. But is this actually true?

Sea-level rise will eventually come, but a much more immediate threat to the Island is flooding caused by stalled, prolonged storm systems. Major storms are becoming more common as the changing climate causes erratic, unpredictable and devastating weather events.

In October the city will ask Alameda property owners to help prevent future flooding and Bay pollution by voting to increase the “urban runoff fee” that appears on annual property tax bills.