New York Times: After Development Plan Fails, the Accusations Fly


Alameda, an island long resistant to growth, threw a warm embrace around an unlikely suitor last year. The Southern California developer SunCal Companies proposed to build thousands of homes, sports fields, offices and a ferry terminal on 770 acres of a decommissioned naval base.

The project promised to transform the island city, and its leaders lined up in support.

Mayor Beverly Johnson recorded a robo-call that went out to every resident on March 25, 2009: “A plan has been created that deserves our support.”

One week after that call, the city promoted Ann Marie Gallant, its exacting interim finance director, to interim city manager. Within months, SunCal was no longer welcome in Alameda, and last week, the City Council officially voted the company off the island by a 4 to 0 vote.

How the widespread support for SunCal transformed into bitter opposition — and Ms. Gallant’s role in that — is at the heart of the surprising implosion of one of the most ambitious development projects ever in the East Bay.