ALAMEDA -- Voters will consider a proposal aimed at protecting the city's parks and open space when they go to the polls this November.
If approved, Measure D would alter the City Charter so that the City Council cannot sell or dispose of any public park or portion of a park without an OK from voters.
"Twenty years ago, Alameda voters overwhelmingly approved a charter amendment banning the sale of city-owned parkland, including its municipal golf courses, without a vote of the people," according to the website of Protect Our Parks, which is behind Measure D. "However, the amendment contains an exception whereby parkland can be disposed of without voter approval. (The) City Council may decide to exchange a park for another piece of land. This measure will eliminate that exception."
Among the supporters of Measure D are former City Council members Lil Arnerich, Barbara Kerr, and Frank Mataresse; Trish Herrera Spencer, an incumbent seeking re-election to the board of the Alameda Unified School District; former school district Trustee Janet Gibson; and Tony Daysog, a former councilmember who hopes to return to the council this November.
Supporters of changing the charter began gathering signatures to place Measure D on the ballot after the City Council rejected a proposal in March to swap a portion of the city-owned Chuck Corica Golf Complex for another site owned by developer Ron Cowan on Bay Farm Island.
Cowan was hoping to build
While some welcomed the idea of an injection of money into the financialy-troubled complex, the developer's proposal still prompted allegations of backroom deals and sparked divisions among supporters of youth sports.
It also led to the campaign that launched Measure D.
The measure's backers maintain Cowan's proposal for a land swap violated the spirt of Measure C, the charter amendment that Island voters approved in June 1992 that prevents the sale of city parks.
The charter contains a clause, however, that allows officials to exchange public land for a similar sized property -- a loophole that the measure now on the ballot would close.
For more information on Measure D, go to http://protectouralamedaparks.wildapricot.org/Default.aspx?pageId=1232344.
Reach Peter Hegarty at 510-748-1654 or follow him on Twitter.com/Peter_Hegarty/.