Stop the developers and pals in City Hall

I recently attended a planning meeting for people who volunteered to carry petitions to place a referendum on the November ballot to save Crown Beach and stop city "leaders" from giving public land to a private developer -- just as we did with the Chuck Corica golf course, when we, the public, told our leaders to stop trying to give the golf course to Ron Cowan.

I learned more than 500 people had already signed-up as Friends of Crown Beach, and more than 30 had volunteered to carry petitions to get the 4,500 signatures needed to place the issue on the November 2014 ballot. I've done this sort of work before, and the numbers looked very good, very doable. Still, it would be better to have more people working on this, signing up as Friends of Crown Beach and carrying and signing the petition.

I understand time is precious, we're all busy, our lives are full -- and the neighborhood we live in is more important than the neighborhood across town -- but tackling the same issue one neighborhood at a time, as we are doing with Harbor Bay, Crown Beach and Alameda Point is thinking small and wasteful of energy and will lead to smaller victories rather than larger.

The Crown Beach referendum is to stop the city from giving public land to a private developer, but that's not all it is. It's also a vote of no confidence in the leadership of the leaders. It sends a message to them -- yes, another message, like the Golf Course message, and the unannounced-cutting-of-trees-on-Park Street message and the two-previously-failed-attempts-to-develop-Alameda Point messages -- all of which say, "You're representing the developers' interests, not the public's, therefore we'll take over and do it ourselves."


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It's the same everywhere -- Harbor Bay, Bay Farm Island, Alameda Point, Chipman, Boatworks: leadership hellbent on developing everything it can, regardless of public sentiment or negative impact, such as traffic congestion and gridlock.

We should present the public with a general referendum: there shall be no commercial/residential development of any public land (including the secret, nonappraised, backdoor deal with Alameda Unified Schools) without a public vote of approval.

We all live here, and we're all affected by what happens to Crown Beach and to Harbor Bay and Alameda Point. It's time we started getting together and acting together. I ask friends and neighbors to join in the Crown Beach effort. Come on out and support the open space petition: sign the petition and vote "yes" to protect Crown Beach and "no" in our "leaders" leadership.

Mark Greenside

When were Islanders asked on mega bar?

A new mega bar is to open in a historic building along Alameda's downtown Park Street, only one block from a public high school, adjacent to a children's dance studio and at the cross roads to all of the Park Street business district.

How did this happen? Who voted for this? Who is going to pay for all the extra police? Why should we pay for extra police? A mega bar. In Alameda -- an island. You have to drive here to drink alcohol at a mega bar, then drive off the Island once you are drunk. Where are all these people going to park? Who is going to be held responsible when someone commits a crime, or kills someone after drinking at this mega bar?

What has happened to our town? In the last two years, more beer, wine and alcohol permits have been passed out in Alameda than in the last 20 years. Drunken driving arrests are an everyday occurrence, yet where is the chief of police, the city manager, our mayor?

This mega bar is going to open in a historic building in the heart of our town, and yet no one was informed of this. We did not vote on this, and yet we are all going to be forever impacted by this. It is truly a sad time for all Alameda.

Paul Little

Parking meters not fair to small business

Recently, I received a parking ticket in the public parking area behind Park Street. I paid the fine under protest, but as a longtime Alameda resident I felt I must speak out.

Clearly, the city is unclear on the concept of supporting local businesses. The big box stores at South Shore have free, unlimited parking. The merchants on Park Street have aggressive meter people ruining the shopping experience. This is not a level playing field, and the city is to blame.

Any normal person would naturally avoid such an environment and shop where he or she can do so at leisure without the pressure of worrying about the meter expiring. City governments that attempt to fund themselves by extorting onerous, excessive, unfair and draconian fines on their electorates will find themselves unelected. The city must put the best interests of the community front-and-center in every discussion and act accordingly.

Discouraging shoppers on Park Street benefits the big box shareholders, not the people of Alameda. The city government owes it to its citizens to support the local merchants and let the big boxes know they will not get an unfair advantage in Alameda.

Lee Jester