Archive for November, 2006

Alameda Landing Update

November 29, 2006


With a special City Council meeting scheduled for Dec 5th, the Chronicle has an article on Alameda Landing. Having been to one of the early workshops, it is clear that a significant amount of planning and community input has gone into the proposed design. Alameda Landing is expected to eventually contribute nearly $5m in annual property and sales taxes. The city could definitely use this extra income.

Some highlights from the article:

Alameda Landing is described as a tribute to environmentally friendly design. Nearly all the buildings would be constructed from recycled, reused and nontoxic materials. Bike and pedestrian paths would weave past East Coast-style walk-up duplexes, outdoor restaurants and rehabilitated warehouses.

Catellus has made a number of concessions to the city, such as agreeing to clean up the contaminated soil, build the infrastructure and help promote local businesses that might be adversely affected by the influx of retail. The company also agreed to set aside 25 percent of residential units as affordable housing and to design the development to blend with its surroundings by extending streets and using matching streetlights, signs and other features.

“We got everything we asked for, certainly,” said David Brandt, Alameda’s assistant city manager. “We think it’ll bring more people and activities to the waterfront, and we’re happy about that.”

The article also mentions that traffic mitigation still remains an important issue.


Good Government, on the Web

November 28, 2006

A recent ComputerWorld article ranked local government sites on several criteria: usability, the ability to pay local taxes, bid for contracts, access to officials to voice everyday concerns about potholes etc.

We did not make the list! Huntsville was the top ranked web site for cities with a population of 50,001 – 250,000.

Alameda County, however, was ranked #2 in the top web sites for counties with a population over 250,000.

Mythbusters: The Alameda Connection

November 27, 2006

Nah, this isn’t about naming those who are in the developer’s pockets or debunking any such conspiracy theory. That discussion effectively ended with the elections and we know what Alamedans thought about the prophets of doom … ’nuff said.

Did you know that some of the episodes in the “Mythbusters” program (on the Discovery Channel) were actually filmed right in our backyard? That’s right … they were filmed at Alameda Point. Additional details in a recent NYT article  that featured a Mythbusters episode on recreating the Hindenburg disaster.

Webster Pharmacy: Last Man Standing

November 9, 2006

Continuing the occasional series on local businesses, I came across this article that talks about Webster Pharmacy being the city’s only independent corner drug store.

After graduating, Ed Clark came to California and started work at Alameda Drug in 1965. He purchased Webster Street Pharmacy in 1973, the same year he bought his house. He recalls Alameda was home to 15 or 16 independent drugstores at the time.

Today, the business owner surrounds himself in history. Old photographs, faded medical reference books and vintage pharmaceutical containers can be found in his shop. Clark is well-versed in the history of pharmacies and famous people, such as Ben Franklin and playwright Henrik Ibsen, who started out as apothecaries. But behind the counter, he uses the latest technology to fill and track prescriptions. Reference materials once on printed page are now found online, and Clark stays up to date by attending pharmacist conferences.

Clark is also a frequent contributor to the Alameda Sun and maintains an archive of his articles.

Election’s Over!

November 8, 2006

The first Tuesday in November started off with overcast skies and dense fog. After months of passionate debate on the merits/demerits of each candidate, it was finally showtime (with the advent of absentee ballots, it was well-past showtime for many of the early voters; but it makes for a compelling story, nevertheless).

Any expectations of a close fight were belied by the early returns that showed Johnson, Tam and Matarrese staking a sizeable lead over the opponents. The relative percentages did not change much over the course of the night resulting in a landslide victory for the incumbents (and one new comer). Johnson’s tally (10349) was nearly double that of DeHaan’s (5627). while Tam and Matarrese’s aggregate (15225) was significantly higher than the Slate’s candidates (8761).

Clearly, a vast majority of Alamedans are happy for the most part with the current state of the city and this is a mandate for the city council to continue working on the improvements that have been set in motion. The results also show a complete repudiation of the fear mongering tactics and the many insensitive/inaccurate remarks from some of the candidates.

Where do we go from here? With the election’s over, now it’s time to tackle the realities!

As with any election, there are bound to be winners and losers. Regardless of whose candidates ended up where, it is in the community’s best interests to overlook the election rhetoric/fringe extremes and seek a common ground that will benefit all of Alameda. We chose to make our homes here for good reason and therefore have a vested interest in the common ground.

Alameda Point: Update

November 7, 2006

Nearly 20 development firms have indicated an interest in developing Alameda Point. They have until December 4th to submit a non-refundable $20,000 deposit and other references to prove their qualifcations. Among the development firms are: Catellus/Prologis, Lennar Urban, Standard Pacific Homes and Warmington Homes. The above link has the complete list.