Oakland’s most beautiful, wild stretch of waterfront is about to go under the bulldozer. Notices have been posted around the neighborhood which warn that Signature Properties is applying for special permits to begin development on the land, without actually calling it development; so they can get around the restrictions in the environmental impact reports that have been filed for this contaminated, yet beautiful spot on the Oakland Estuary.

How long did it take the school district, city and housing authority to reach their final “win, win, win” approval of the two-year planning swap deal? Three weeks’ time from the first public notification! It was accomplished in secrecy, with them stating that closed sessions were allowed by the Brown Act. As the last elected official’s approval vote was stated, City Manager John Russo smiled a Cheshire cat grin. He had “won.”

Bill Gates has nothing on our city council when it comes to beneficence toward the favored few.

Every child probably would like to have a rich uncle who can be counted on regularly to put the latest gadget under the Christmas tree. But even Bill Gates’s nieces and nephews might envy the members of the Alameda firefighters’ union, whose letters to Santa have found a receptive audience — one might even say a captive audience — at City Hall.

The news about the deal between the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD), the city of Alameda and the Alameda Housing Authority is getting some much needed attention. This deal, which has been reported to have been the subject of many closed sessions of the city council and school board, seems to be in need of some “sunshine” to get the facts out, to provide public input to the city council and school board as they give direction to staff and to preserve accessible public record of discussion, directions and decisions made by these governing bodies.

"You’re representing developers’ interests, not the public’s, therefore we’ll take over and do it ourselves."

I recently attended a planning meeting for people who volunteered to carry petitions to place a referendum on the November ballot to save Crown Beach and stop the City "leaders" from giving public land to a private developer — just as we did with the Chuck Corica golf course, when we, the public, told our "leaders" to stop trying to give the golf course to Ron Cowan.