When you enter the old Naval station at Alameda Point from Main Street, (named after Mr. Main, not to be confused with Park St., Alameda’s real “Main” street) you drive along the waterway for several blocks. The opposite shore is lined with the huge cranes used to load and unload the freighters and beyond them is a great view of San Francisco.
“I certainly hope they sustain this view,” I thought driving through the gate. The last thing we need is a row of million dollar houses blocking the views.
With my admittedly biased opinions firmly in place I parked in front of the O
Club and went in to join the workshop.
There was an introduction by the deputy city manager and then a presentation by the head of the firm tasked with coming up with feasible alternatives for development of the Point. Since the presentation was designed to lead us all to the point of giving our own opinions it was interesting to observe the subtle flow of emotions around the room.
One outstanding attribute of Alameda is its people. They are intelligent, educated, concerned and happy to get involved. Speaking to this sort of group takes great sensitivity and tact which was displayed by the presenter. As he spoke you could feel some of the initial suspicion in the room begin to soften. When we broke into groups to ask questions or give opinions about specifics the mood was collegial with just a little edge left.
To sum up the workshop I’d have to conclude that the City is preparing a full court press on the subject of bringing the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories to the Point. Everyone can see that it’s the best sort of answer to the problem of developing the site so most other ideas will take a back seat until November when the decision will be rendered. We citizens of the city can take comfort in the group of people who are attending these meetings and giving us all the benefit of their expertise and involvement. In fact, if I were to offer an overriding reason for the Lab to locate here it would be the people.
It is undeniable that when you cross the bridge into Alameda the atmosphere changes for the better and that change is totally due to the inhabitants. Lawrence Berkeley, you’ll just like it better here.
Side Notes: The process of getting a VA hospital is moving forward at a reasonable pace given that several bureaucracies are involved.
Lawrence Berkeley Labs works on sustainability issues. Lawrence LIVERMORE Labs works on nuclear energy. Quite different. We want the Berkeley.