Fire keeps on burning

On today’s episode of “The Millionaire,” City Finance Director Elena Adair shows up on your doorstep.  She’s carrying a check and an envelope.

The check is for $1.2 million (inflation, you know).

The envelope contains a letter enclosing a resolution signed by Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft and every member of Council granting you the authority to decide how to spend the money.

But there’s a catch:  you can use the check only for one of the purposes listed in the letter.  You get four options – the Merry-Go-Round selected the first three; City staff picked the last.

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Memo to the City Manager (Part III)

Today, the Merry-Go-Round concludes our series of columns on the major challenges confronting new City Manager Eric Levitt and his staff in the coming years.

Nobody asked us, but . . . the most difficult task Mr. Levitt may face is finding the right role for our local government to play in remedying the shortage of affordable housing in Alameda.

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Memo to the City Manager (Part II)

Twenty-two years ago last week, the U.S. Navy left Naval Air Station Alameda, and nearly 18,000 jobs went with it.

Ever since, creating jobs to replace those lost – and generating new employment opportunities for Alameda residents and others – has been one of the primary objectives for developing the 918-acre property now known as Alameda Point.

This goal, however, has not come close to being met, and it doesn’t appear that the City is working on a strategy for meeting it any time soon.  Instead, it is far more likely that the current Council majority soon will decide, if not to abandon the goal of job creation at the Point altogether, at least to minimize it in favor of a policy much more attuned to their predilections:  Building more housing.

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Memo to the City Manager (Part I)

Years ago, there was a sports writer named Jimmy Cannon who penned a syndicated column called, “Nobody asked me, but . . .”

Today, the Merry-Go-Round begins a series of posts about the major challenges we think new City Manager Eric Levitt and his staff will face in the coming years.

To paraphrase Mr. Cannon, Nobody asked us, but . . .

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Cloudy vision for Site B

Monday night, our Council members will take a tour of the Enterprise District (or the portion thereof known as “Site B”) at Alameda Point.

Afterwards, they’ll hold a meeting at the Ron Cowan WETA facility, aptly – but, under the circumstances, perhaps ironically – named for the City’s most successful real-estate developer.

Unfortunately, the meeting won’t be televised, but it is the Merry-Go-Round’s fond hope that, at the end, Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft will take the microphone and answer one question:

Just what the hell are the City’s plans for this portion of the former Naval Air Station anyway?

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Fees for service

They’re at it again.

A little more than a month ago, Council voted to increase the fees charged to Alamedans for “fire prevention services” by a total of $1,876,194 over a four-year period.

Tuesday, the Council members will be asked to raise the fees charged for a variety of “permit services.”  The total increase this time comes to $921,065 – annually.

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Our problems with Measure A

The Merry-Go-Round believes that the “wellness center” for the homeless proposed for McKay Avenue is a good idea.

But we’re having a hard time bringing ourselves around to supporting Measure A.

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