Sierra Club Questionnaire

General Approach:

Getting Alameda Point going is one of the key aspects of my campaign for City Council, along with helping solve our cities unfunded liabilities and bridging City Hall and the larger community. I am committed to redeveloping Alameda Point as a transit-oriented mixed-use development that is sustainable on a number of fronts, including stewardship of natural environmental resources, fiscal sustainability, sustainable with respect to improved carbon-foot print, and sustainable with respect to balancing wide-range of career track jobs and housing for all income segments. To this end, one of the critical matters that I will pursue, if elected to City Council, is de jure or de facto modifying of “Measure A” for Alameda Point, as well as for Webster Street north of Buena Vista Avenue. As Councilmember, I will lead the public in an effort to modify Measure A with respect to these important areas. As a professional urban planner and someone with a Master’s degree in City Planning from UC Berkeley, I am uniquely qualified to lead our community in this dialogue. In pursuing Alameda Point, I am committed to pursuing Alameda point with larger needs and constraints of the City as a whole in mind. When I was on City Council and even before as early as 1995, I championed Bayport, which was needed to create a tax base to jump start redevelopment: now, we need a mix of housing for all incomes, not just “McMansions.” In addition to transit-oriented land-uses, we need to provide incentives to new industries to hire local residents, or encourage local Alameda Point residents to work locally, so more and more people either walk, bike or take the bus to their local place of employment – get people out of their cars on long SOV commutes that pollute the air and harm the natural environments. At Alameda Point, we also need to take a look at parking regulations to see how we can incentivize households to get them to take alternative forms of transit and depend less on the auto: my home is 100 feet away from the Webster Street transit corridor and does not have parking – I get along well taking the bus to work, or car-sharing with my significant other. With respect to equitable redevelopment, on top of the 25 percent affordable housing set-aside, we need to attract quality industries that provide a wide range of careers and pay-scales, so that young adults hired by a quality industry can move-up the ladder of success over time. Right now, the industries at Alameda Point are mostly warehouse-oriented entities that place a premium on low-cost space, i.e. businesses such as the winery, distillery, athletics merchandise wholesaler, the storage facility, Antiques By the Bay that, while quality and valued, don’t offer the breadth of occupations and income earning potential needed to allow young adults to move up a career ladder and earn enough to adequately live in the high-cost San Francisco Bay Area. Moreover, these quality warehouse-oriented businesses are the exceptions to the hundreds of industrial/commercial acres that remain in deteriorated, substandard condition. So, what will guide my approach to Alameda Point is: (1) redeveloping Alameda Point with needs and constraints of the community in mind; (2) redeveloping Alameda Point in a way that meets life-cycle needs of residents; (3) focusing economic development on re-using existing facilities, with special attention to industries/sectors that provide career pathways for workers, i.e. not dead-end jobs.

Toxics and Environmental Restoration:

The City of Alameda and the ARRA need to work more closely with the Restoration Advisory Board. A RAB member recently pointed out certain features on a map presented by the Navy to the RAB, features that do not align with land uses and activities envisioned by the City/ARRA. If there is a need to improve clean-up standards, that’s a discussion the City/ARRA Governing Board ought to have with the RAB, Navy personnel over-seeing clean-up, appropriate persons from the EPA, and appropriate persons from the DTSC: such discussions should occur regularly in any event. Is it advisable to accept deed restrictions, you ask: such restrictions are in place.

Regional Development:

While Alameda is an island, it is not an entity unto itself: we depend on and have much to contribute to the region. Thus, we need transit-oriented development to get more and more people out of SOV commutes and into mass transit, to improve regional air quality and improve traffic on our highways. We also need TOD to husband our land resources wisely, so we don’t develop every possible square inch of land, that we set-aside areas for passive and active open space for people and other species, endangered or not. The City of Pleasanton decision underscores that cities can no longer simply build homes without thinking through questions pertaining to jobs-housing balance: redeveloping Alameda Point as a transit-oriented mixed-use community offers a way to pay for the improvements needed to attract quality industries that provide a wide breadth of industries to employ future Alameda Point residents, as well as other residents, to move people away from SOV commutes from Alameda to Silicon Valley or Bishop Ranch in San Ramon. Moreover, at Alameda Point, creating lofts will allow people to live and work in place. Having residential on top of commercial (office/retail) also achieves that. Alameda Point also needs new rental stock for families that are priced out of the market, as well as homeownership opportunities for low- and/or moderate-income first-time home buyers. The 25 percent 2002 affordable housing agreement that I joined Mayor Appezzato in crafting is a critical step in this regard: but we need to take it further by specifying **how** we are going to achieve the 25 percent target. For example, we need to strategize a FHA low-down strategy for first-time home-buyers, as well as devise strategies that encourage interested seniors to sell their homes to qualified first-time home buyers as a way to get bonus points to move into top notch units at future Alameda Point senior residences, i.e. kind of like a reverse mortgage program.

If you’re going to do multi-family overlay, cluster it along known transit corridors, as well as cluster it at planned multi-modal transit nodes (such as at Alameda Point).

Fauna, Flora, Open Space and Recreational Land Management:

I have always supported the establishment of a wildlife refuge at Alameda Point and, if elected to city Council, I will continue to support the wildlife refuge as articulated to me in the past by local Audubon Society and Sierra Club members. I understand that the Veterans Administration is proposing a facility near or perhaps even on site originally set-aside for endangered species – the California Least Tern and California Brown Pelican. I also understand the US Fish and Wildlife Service refused to accept the runway area to create a refuge. But even so, it is my firm belief that this site should must remain a wildlife preserve for the Least Tern and Brown Pelicans. The VA proposal also fails to provide assurance that any residual contamination that is transferred with the property will be properly remediated. NAS Alameda is big enough for us to accommodate the VA facility elsewhere, but not at expense of prior and right commitments we made with regard to the ANWR. Oh, yeah: I voted for the Re-use Plan back in 1996 – don’t see any need to change that now.

No, [I do not believe it’s appropriate for the city to require EBRPD to give Measure WW funds to the city before the park district creates and manages a regional park on the Northwest Territories.] [T]he EBRPD’s has faithfully worked with the City – it’s not fair to stick them with a $3 million bill now. We never talked about then back when I was on; I don’t see why we need to stick them with the bill now. We can come up with other ways to finance stuff.

I have no problems with planning that area [Enterprise Park], since I already helped EBRP in determining appropriate uses before. I am very sure we all agree that there will be no RV Park or overnight camping accommodations, since this would attract n’er do well: keep it a day-time active regional park to be used by kids and young at heart. But absolutely no RV park or camping ground because that’ll unnecessarily invite some persons with bad intentions -- a very few never do-well who unfortunately spoil it for all: you wouldn’t want THAT in your neighborhood, right. So what makes you think putting a night-time RV park and camp ground next to an existing neighborhood is okay? The EBRP has abandoned the RV Park/camp ground idea long ago – and they for sure don’t want to revisit that controversy. Because the EBRP has faithfully worked with the community and city, they shouldn’t be stuck with this $3 million tab.

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Candidates 2012: