Support the Crown Beach Effort Now

Support the Crown Beach Effort Now

"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.

At the meeting, I learned that more than 500 people had already signed-up as Friends of Crown Beach, members and more than 30 had volunteered to carry petitions to get the 4,500 signatures needed to place the issue on November’s ballot.

I’ve done this sort of work before, and the numbers looked very good to me, very doable. Still, it would be better to have more people working on this, signing up as Friends of Crown Beach and carrying and signing the petition.

I understand time is precious, and we’re all busy, and our lives are full — and the neighborhood we live in is more important than the neighborhood across town—but tackling the same issue one neighborhood at a time, as we are doing with Harbor Bay, Crown Beach, and Alameda Point is thinking small and wasteful of energy, and will lead to smaller victories rather than larger.

The Crown Beach referendum is to stop the city from giving public land to a private developer, but that’s not all it is. It’s also a vote of no confidence in the leadership of the "leaders." It sends a message to them, yes, another message, like the golf course message and the unannounced cutting of trees on Park Street message and the two previously failed attempts to develop Alameda Point message. All of which say, "You’re representing developers’ interests, not the public’s, therefore we’ll take over and do it ourselves."

It’s the same everywhere, in Harbor Bay, Bay Farm Island, Alameda Point, the Chipman warehouse, Boatworks and elsewhere: "leadership" that is hell-bent on developing everything it can, regardless of public sentiment or negative impact, such as traffic congestion and gridlock.

Instead of going neighborhood by neighborhood, we should present the public with a general referendum: there shall be no commercial/residential development of any public land (including this week’s secret, non-appraised, back-door deal with Alameda Unified Schools) without a public vote of approval.

We all live here, and we’re all affected by what happens to Crown Beach and to Harbor Bay and Alameda Point. It’s time we start getting together and acting together.

I’m writing to ask friends and neighbors to join in the Crown Beach effort. Come on out and support the open space petition: sign the petition and vote "yes" to protect Crown Beach and "no" to our so-called leaders’ leadership.

Mark Greenside is a retired professor of political science, history and English at the Peralta Colleges and a resident of Alameda.