The Broad Brush: Your News in 60 Seconds

The Broad Brush: Your News in 60 Seconds

Michele Ellson

Welcome to another edition of The Broad Brush, your two-sentence news review. Here’s what happened this week.

After a decade of banking locally, Alameda’s Public Utilities Board signed off on a proposal to move Alameda Municipal Power’s business to a bigger bank. The city-owned utility will move customer payments from the Bank of Alameda to U.S. Bank.

A proposal to build 89 homes on the site of a Buena Vista Avenue warehouse may emerge as a test case for the city’s newly minted housing strategy. The city’s plan says the Chipman Relocation warehouse site has room for 193 homes, including dwellings for low- and very low-income residents, and that apartments could be built there; developer Trident Properties had originally planned to build single family homes but is now proposing to add duplexes to the mix.

City leaders are cheering the State Lands Commission’s approval of a land swap at Alameda Point that will allow the city’s development plans there to proceed. They’ll give the city 304 acres of inland Point property that could otherwise only be developed with maritime uses in exchange for a 121 acre-wide swath of waterfront.

The head of the East Bay Regional Park District is threatening to sue the city over a decision to allow housing development on a piece of federal property across the street from the Crab Cove Visitors Center, which the park district had hoped to acquire for a parking lot and other uses. The lawsuit threat is the latest twist in the park district’s six-year battle to acquire the 3.899-acre property known as Neptune Pointe and to fend off residential development there, and city staffers fear it could put a dent in the city’s recently won state approval of its plan to address Alameda’s affordable housing needs.

The City Council is holding a special meeting Tuesday to talk about how they’ll address the city’s pension and retiree health liability. They’ll also be soliciting public input on how the city should proceed in its upcoming contract negotiations with police and firefighters. The meeting gets underway at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall and will be broadcast on cable channel 15, and we’ll cover it with a live Tweet by Tweet and a full story on Wednesday.

Alameda’s teacher and firefighter unions have opened their checkbooks for local candidates over the past several weeks, spending more than $30,000 on campaign literature and lawn signs for the candidates they support, newly filed campaign disclosures show. Meanwhile, City Council candidate Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft pulled into the lead in that fundraising race, pulling in $13,747 in contributions during this fundraising period toward a total of $23,557 between January 1 and October 20.

News in brief(er): A flue duct and ventilator were damaged in an October 19 fire at Semifreddi’s bakery … Alameda Realtor Sally Rudloff is one of five Realtors in the country to win the National Association of Realtors’ Good Neighbor Award this year, for her work on the board of the Alameda Boys & Girls Club … and First Congregational Church is holding a Hometown Halloween fundraiser with games, face painting, a cake walk, silent auction, dunk tank, karaoke, haunted house and a hometown dinner from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.