San Francisco Chronicle: Alameda city attorney wants new job plus old one, January 15, 2011


Gallant and Highsmith were controversial figures in Alameda, especially over development plans at Alameda Point, the former Navy base.

Some credited the pair with standing up to Orange County developer SunCal, which wanted to build a 12,000-resident community on the point. The city had a contract with SunCal, but voters were resoundingly opposed to the plans, defeating a pro-development measure in February by 85 percent.

In July, the council voted to not renew SunCal's contract. SunCal was the second developer to part ways with the city over Alameda Point.

SunCal then sued the city for breach of contract, specifically accusing Highsmith and Gallant of derailing the plan for their own profit. In October, SunCal sent out thousands of mailers comparing Gallant with the city manager of scandal-plagued Bell (Los Angeles County).

The city continues moving ahead with plans for Alameda Point, which makes up one-third of the island.

The council is hosting community meetings and discussions with the public about what should happen at the former base, with its spectacular views of San Francisco and historic significance.

Redevelopment funds

A major factor will be the fate of redevelopment funds, which Gov. Jerry Brown said last week he intends to eliminate. The city was relying on redevelopment money to purchase the land from the Navy.

Going forward, the city is likely to act cautiously and conservatively, not turning over so much authority to a third-party developer, Gilmore said.

"Hiring a master developer has not worked for us, on two occasions," Gilmore said. "I think we probably shouldn't do it a third time."