Swap opponents turn in petition signatures for ballot measure

Swap opponents turn in petition signatures for ballot measure

Michele Ellson
Photo from Protect Our Alameda Parks

Proponents of a measure that would prohibit city leaders from selling or trading parkland without voter approval turned in more that 10,000 signatures to Alameda’s city clerk on Thursday, with the city acknowledging about 50 percent more signatures than they will need to qualify for the ballot.

Leaders of the Protect Our Alameda Parks told City Clerk Lara Weisiger in a letter accompanying the signatures that they’ve turned in their signatures with enough time to qualify for the November 2012 ballot. Weisiger acknowledged receipt of 9,372 signatures Thursday and is passing the petitions to county elections officials to be checked.

"To my knowledge what this group, Protect Our Alameda Parks, has accomplished in 37 days is unprecedented in Alameda political history. For 140 volunteers to have obtained over 10,000 signatures in this amount of time is truly amazing," City Councilman Doug deHaan, who had tried to get the council to put the measure on the ballot, was quoted as saying in the group’s press release.

The release said that 143 volunteers collected nearly 11,000 signatures between February 25 and April 2, though some were duplicates and signers with non-Alameda addresses that were eliminated by the group before the petitions were turned in. They needed signatures of 15 percent of Alameda’s registered voters, or 6,190 signatures, to qualify for the ballot, a letter from Weisiger acknowledging receipt of the petition signatures said.

"We are very pleased with the enthusiastic response of Alameda residents to our initiative," Marie Kane, one of the initiative’s three chief proponents, was quoted as saying in the release.

The county will have up to 60 business days to check the petitions to ensure they contain enough valid signatures, and if the measure qualifies for the ballot it will head to the City Council, which is responsible for placing it on the ballot.

The petition drive was sparked by residents who opposed a proposal to trade the Mif Albright golf course to developer Ron Cowan for cash and land he owns on North Loop Road. The City Council unanimously voted against the plan on March 6.

Voters overwhelmingly approved a measure in 1992 prohibiting the sale of parkland, but it allowed city leaders to sell or trade land if a comparable park were to be built nearby. If approved by voters, the measure would eliminate that language and would instead put such deals to a public vote.

Related: Mif swap opponents press measure to change charter language

Protect Our Alameda Parks: http://protectouralamedaparks.wildapricot.org

Comments

Submitted by tomcharron on Sat, Apr 7, 2012

Congrats to all who performed this feat of preservation!!!!

Jon Spangler's picture
Submitted by Jon Spangler on Mon, Apr 9, 2012

I share the petitioners' concerns about our parks but disagree with them that this initiative is necessary. The proposed sale/swap would have been illegal under the current charter and easily stopped in court, had the City Council not voted unanimously to turn it down.

It was clear to many observers--myself included--last fall that the swap was headed for defeat. Listening carefully to our elected and appointed officials made that quite clear after attending many meetings about the Corica complex...

Submitted by Karen Bey on Mon, Apr 9, 2012

I have mixed feelings about this ballot measure. While I’m an advocate for conservation, preservation, and open space I don’t believe this measure was necessary. We were and are not in danger of losing our parks to development. Our elected officials clearly saw there was no support for the swap and voted against it.

My main concern is that this measure will end up tying the hands of the city as we move forward with the development of the Point.