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The Island’s CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE

Name: Tony Daysog

Age: 44

Occupation: Urban Planner / Sr. Associate

Relevant experience:
City Councilmember, 1996-2006
vice mayor, 2002-2004
vice mayor, 1998-2000
urban planning professional, 1989-2010
Master’s City Planning, UC Berkeley, 1993
Alameda Redevelopment Re-use Authority, 1995-2006
Oakland Base Re-Use Authority, 1998-2003
Alameda Economic Development Commission, 1995-1996
City of Alameda Fiscal Sustainability Committee, 2008-2009
CalTrans District 4 Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee, 2009-2010
Publisher: www.moderatedemocrats.com
Publisher: www.westalameda.com

Why are you running for this office?: I’m in this race to provide fresh
leadership that focuses on getting results through good city- and
neighborhood-planning, with a priority focus on getting Alameda Point
going. Building off of my success in championing the demolition of
dilapidated former military housing called East Housing and replacing that
with what is now known as Bayport, I want to lead residents in finding the
right private developer to transform the rest of Alameda Point into a
vibrant mixed-use community. To that end, I will lead the community in an
effort to modify “Measure A” for Alameda Point, so that we can build at
the former military base lofts and townhouses for young adults, stylish
multi-family buildings for seniors, as well as Bayport-style single-family
homes for families with school-age children. Having this mix of housing for
all incomes and ages is critical toward building the tax base to pay for
beautifying Alameda Point, installing new infrastructure, preserving historic
military buildings, and enrichening the former military base with wide
range of amenities, from multi-sport complex to waterfront paths with
stunning views of San Francisco. A beautiful Alameda Point, in turn, will
allow us to attract quality industries that provide a wide range of career-
track occupations. Right now, we’re attracting mostly low-pay
warehouse/distributions/storage oriented industries. We can do better,
but we must carefully plan our future.
Why should we vote for you?: I am a former City Councilmember who
used his urban planning professional background and City Planning
Master’s degree to make fair and impartial decisions to move our
community forward. As a progressive, I authored legislation to allow
gay/lesbian households eligible for the real estate transfer tax exemption,
as well as led the city in expanding medical benefit to gay/lesbian
spouses and family members of city employees. As much as I love our
historic movie theater, drawing on my urban planning/economics
background, I made the difficult decision of voting against the deal with
movie theater developer, on the grounds that the base rent he’d pay the
city (thirty cents a square foot) was too far below market rent ($1.25 per
square foot), and that the percentage share rent was unfair (80% to him,
20% to us). I make tough decisions based on my impartial analysis of the
data – and, because I’m always diplomatic, I still manage to get along
with everybody in town, including so-called “conservatives” and so-called
“progressive-liberals.” In short, I have the political experience,
educational and professional background, and respect of various
factions of the community, all of which will help me as I try to move our
city through the difficult process of “getting Alameda Point going,” one
aspect of which involves modifying for the Point the 1973 City Charter
amendment called “Measure A”, which precludes the development of
multi-family residential structures.

What do you feel are the roles and responsibilities of the office you’re
seeking?: The Mayor of Alameda must set the direction the city needs to
go in the short-, intermediate- and long-terms. For example, as Mayor, I
will draw on my urban planning professional background and Master’s
degree from US Berkeley, as well as lifelong residency in Alameda and
past Council experience, to lead the city in finding the right developer to
get Alameda Point going. We must get that area onto the property tax
rolls not just to begin to beautify the area, enrich it with amenities for
Alamendans, and provide a lively, vibrant community for all ages and
incomes, but also because when we get Alameda Point going we will
begin to stabilize our school district and City Hall, both of whose finances
have been (and continue to be) severely affected by base closure. As
Mayor, I will make decisions based on fact and sound analysis, and speak
out against fear-mongering, because I believe our city can move forward
based on sound, rational city planning. While a Mayor such as myself will
be clear as to what needs to be done at Alameda Point, Webster Street,
Park Street and with cutting City hall budget, I will always make sure to
work closely with residents, strike compromises where necessary, but
always move our city forward in the direction I believe we need to go.
What do you think is the most pressing issue you would face if elected and
what would you do to address it?: The school district and City Hall were
dealt severe and lasting financial hits because of base closure: let’s get
Alameda Point going! Getting Alameda Point going – that’s the most
pressing issue. Here’s my plan: I will lead efforts to find the right private
developer, not Sun-Cal. I will exercise strong mayoral over-sight, make
that new developer work w/ Alameda we need a reasonable number of
upscale homes for families with school-age children, stylish senior housing,
complexes, upscale waterfront town-houses, lofts for young adults. Let
me stress: I seek a reasonable number of homes that makes sense for
Alameda. All this creates a tax base to pay for beautifying the Point, new
infrastructure, open space, waterfront paths with stunning views, world-
class recreational amenities for all Alamedans, and saving historic
buildings. All this will attract quality industries to Alameda Point. To be
sure, there are many valuable businesses right now at the Point (the
winery, Bladium, etc) but let us remember almost all leases right now are
below market and do not generate enough revenues. Hence the closure
of the Alameda Point fire station. So let’s redevelop the Point, not simply
rent old facilities. While in 2003 I devised a fee paid by Alameda Point
residents at Bayport to compensate City Hall’s General Fund, to this day,
our school district is yet to fully recover from lingering financial affects of
base closure and the loss of school children in the West End of Alameda.
In getting the rest of Almaeda point going, we will put our school district
back on firmer and more stable financial footing.

What do you think needs to be done with Alameda Point – and what steps
would you take to make that happen?: As Mayor, I will work with residents
to find the right and best private sector developer to fulfill the
community’s vision of Alameda Point as a beautiful, well-planned, mixed-
use community enriched with a wide range of amenities, with quality non-
polluting industries that offer high-pay and a range of career-track
positions. To this end, one key step I will seek is to modify the 1973 charter
provision that precludes new multi-family housing in Alameda (“Measure
A”), so we can build a reasonable number of townhouses, lofts for young
adults, and stylish waterfront multi-family homes for seniors, along with
Bayport-style homes for families with school-age children. This approach
has the benefit of generating a number of revenue sources with which to
begin to pay for “hard costs” regarding beautifying Alameda Point and
“soft costs” (i.e. municipal services). “Hard cost” revenue streams include
(1) property tax increment, which in essence is all property taxes
generated by residential and commercial properties at Alameda Point in
the future (2) community facilities district (CFD)(i.e. “Mellos-Roos”) (3)
private equity brought by future Alameda Point master developer (4) Mills
Act tax abatement for purposes of rehabilitating and preserving historic
military structures at Alameda Point (5) 20% federal historic preservation
tax credit (6) proceeds from sale of land to master developer or other
entities (7) lease revenue by current leases that we continue to maintain
even after selecting a master developer (8) proceeds from lease revenue
bonds secured by capital assets such as the MARAD ships. Of the eight
revenue streams to be used to implement the community vision of
Alameda Point as a vibrant mixed-use area, the first six (which provide the
greatest amount of dollars) can only happen if and when we work with
the private sector. To boot, we cannot continue what was supposed to
be a short-term base closure policy of simply leasing out old military
facilities because almost all rents are below market and thus preclude us
from accruing enough revenues to pay for implementing the community
vision for Alameda Point.

With respect to “soft costs”, by working with the private sector and getting
Alameda Point onto the tax rolls, we begin to generate the following
revenue streams to fully pay for police, fire, and other city hall services, so
historic Alameda no longer continues to subsidize Alameda Point as we
do now: (1) municipal service fee (a program for Alameda Point that I
created in 2003) (2) redevelopment area pass-throughs (3) lease revenues
from leases we decided to continue to extend; (4) sales tax dollars
generated by retail and other business-to-business activities; and, (5)
special use of redevelopment dollars for targeted purposes with respect
to blight alleviation. Under the current leasing regime, we only obtain
lease revenues and sales tax dollars, which are not enough to pay for on-
going costs of operating Alameda Point. Hence the closure of the
Alameda Point fire station.

What steps would you take to bolster Alameda’s economic base?: Year in,
year out, in its annual survey of corporations, Fortune 500 ranks quality of
schools as the number one reason why businesses choose to locate or
expand in one area versus another. After all, corporate manager and
personnel are also parents of school-age children, and they want what’s
best for their children. As it is, I had the opportunity to go through
Alameda’s school system from second grade to high school graduation. I
attended Paden School, Chipman Middle School and Encinal High
School, before going on to and graduating from UC Berkeley. I owe so
much to my teachers in Alameda. That’s why when I was on City Council
between 1996-2006, I resurrected the long-dormant City Hall-AUSD joint
committee. As well, any opportunity I got, I sought to help out our schools,
to the extent of creating a novel strictly voluntary funding mechanism
between AUSD and Alameda Municipal Power (AMP), called “Power Up
for Learning.” As Mayor, I will work diligently with school officials to
increase funding for our schools. I supported Measures H and E, and will
look forward to playing a leading role in passing a new parcel measure in
Spring 2011. Since parents of school-age children will be the largest
number of shoppers at the long-delayed Target-anchored “Alameda
Landing” regional shopping center slated for the West End, why not return
some portion of sales taxes generated there to our schools? Why not work
with our state legislators to figure out a way to create special legislation
that allows a greater portion of property taxes generated at Alameda
Point to stay with our school district instead of City Hall’s redevelopment
agency?

In addition to improving funding for our local schools, with respect to


bolstering Alameda’s economic base, I will have a multi-pronged
approach. The unprecedented downturn in the economy underscores
the point illustrated by the vacancies along Webster and Park Streets: we
need to assist our local businesses. Without letting local businesses aware
of this opportunity, City Hall recently extended contracts worth $125,000 to
two consultants from outside of Alameda to help “brand” our city. Yet
there are a number of residents and local businesses expert in this
marketing niche. We must give local businesses a chance at competing
for these kinds of contracts, especially when the two contracts were
extended on a no-bid basis. Another way we can help local businesses is
by having City Hall work with local lenders to see what opportunities exist
to bolster “Community Reinvestment Act” lending to help local small
businesses. With regard to Webster Street in particular, I played a role this
Spring 2010 in getting Council to pay as much attention to this street, by
reminding officials that since I left City Council in 2006 little to nothing had
been done with the Webster Street Strategic Plan that was adopted in
2005. As a result, the current Council refocused their attention from the
so-called Downtown Civic Plan to Webster Street: this time, we must find
the money to implement many of the strategies right now being
considered for Webster Street like we found the money to improve Park
Street.

In addition to helping the small business along Park and Webster Streets,
we need to target value-adding industries that are clean, non-polluting
industries that are high-paying and provide a breadth of career-track
positions. We must stream-line the permitting process to reduce red-tape
and also implement tax- and fee-abatements for businesses in targeted
industries, particularly on the promise of hiring locally (including summer
internship for high school students) and extending business-to-business
contracts to local businesses. My grave concern is that City Council has
begun an 15-month process for Alameda Point whereby the kind of
industries that will be targeted are “logistics” and “distribution”, which is
another way of saying warehouse and trucking. To boot, Council recently
begun the process of allowing the Port of Oakland to create a “foreign
trade zone” that will be manage by the trucking company called Matson
at Alameda Point. To be sure, one business that will be a part of the FTZ is
an assembly company that will assemble goods manufactured and
designed in another country. In its haste to fill space at the former military
base, I believe the current Council is moving away from the vision of
attracting clean, quality, non-polluting industries to Alameda Point. We
need to attract quality high-paying value-added industries like light
manufacturing that are aligned with Alameda’s educated workforce and
high-aspirations we hold for Alameda Point, not simply warehouse
distribution and assembly shops.

Finally, there are many skilled workers in many of the leading corporations
in Alameda, such as WindRiver (Intel) and Abbot Diabetes Care. No
doubt, many might be interested in starting up their own businesses. I’d
like Alameda to reconsider having a high- and/or bio-tech incubator at
Alameda Point. I led the effort to assist another incubator called “ACET”
expand its facilities at Alameda Point, but due to management issues
internal to ACET it didn’t complete its building expansion plans.

Questions have been raised about whether the city is transparent enough
in conducting its business. Do you think this is an issue and if so, what do
you see as being specific problems and how would you seek to resolve
them?: Transparency is the cornerstone of our democracy. The People
need to know what officials whom they elected to office are doing. A
key platform of mine is to “open the doors of City Hall even wider”, to
bring in more people and volunteers, and have them play greater
decision-making roles in City Hall. To that end, I will create two new
commissions – a commission on “streets and sidewalks” and a “finance
commission.” The former will allow greater transparency with respect to
budgeting and planning for major assets that most residents take for
granted every day, the sidewalks they walk on and the streets they drive
on. The latter also allows greater transparency in matters that affect all
aspects of City Hall – providing any service and fixing any municipal asset
requires financing. The “finance commission” will assist City Council in
monitoring and preparing local budgets, with an eye toward ensuring
that Council maintains operating and capital budgets commensurate
with the size and aspirations of a city such as Alameda. It’s not enough to
say our budget is “balanced” if balancing comes at the expense of
reduced level of service without any plan to bring service back to levels
commensurate with Alamedans’ quality of life aspirations. The “finance
commission” will help City Council prepare and manage sustainable
budgets, as well as help Council make decisions with respect to long-term
financial challenges, such as post-employment benefits for retired workers.
Pensions and retiree health benefits will be a huge financial issue for the
city. How would you address it?: In 2008-2009, I had the privilege of serving
on Alameda’s Fiscal Sustainability Committee and perhaps one of the
loudest messages we sent was that Alameda needs to begin now to
place more money into pensions and retiree health benefits. The longer
we delay full-funding these post employment benefits, the greater the
cost of these benefits will grow over time. Yet, placing money for future
retirees means less money for current city services. How then do we begin
the address this “unfunded” liability problem? In the immediate term, I
propose to increase the number of furlough days. Each furlough day
represents approximately $200,000 in lost wages to city employees, with
five furlough days representing $1 million in lost savings. I will call on
Council to consider five to 10 furlough days to generate $1 million to $2
million in “savings”, which the City Manager will then be re-programmed
back to the city employees in the form of money set-aside to help close
the annual unfunded liability gap.

On a parallel track to the 5 to 10 furlough days, I will also begin the


process of creating a two-tiered retirement system. Existing workers will
continue to operate within previous agreements, with new hires subject to
new retirement packages. In particular, new employees’ retirement
package will be a 401-K plan (or a variant): we will begin the process of
moving away from a defined benefit retirement system (where the city
automatically shells out an agreed-upon amount based on a formula) to
a defined contribution, 401-K style system found in most private sector
businesses. This transition will not immediately alter the post-employment
difficulties alameda faces right now, since most employees will continue
to be on a defined benefit plan, but we will begin the gradual change.

I will hold down salary increases for all workers, since the defined benefit
plan is predicated on how much employees make. And, finally, I will
make all labor bargaining issues a matter of public discussion – not behind
closed doors.

Would you seek to preserve Measure A or amend it and if you’d amend it,
under what circumstances would you do so?: I am proud to have played
the leading role when I was on City Council in demolishing dilapidated
military housing called East Housing and replacing that with what is now
called “Bayport,” 490-unit stylish, upscale single-family homes. As I look at
this project and look forward to the rest of Alameda Point, I now want to
lead the effort in creating a greater, more vibrant mix of homes at
Alameda Point, not just “McMansions.” To this end, as Mayor of Alameda,
I will lead the effort to modify “Measure A” for Alameda Point, as well as
for parts of Webster Street north of Buena Vista Avenue.

I want to modify Measure A for Alameda Point because, with the former
military base, we have a rare opportunity to design a stylish, upscale
community for all ages and incomes. I want to see lofts and townhouses
for young adults, as well as stylish waterfront multi-family housing for seniors
who want to enjoy their golden years in smaller-size homes in vibrant
community atmosphere. I also want Bayport-style homes for families with
school-age children, although these homes should be designed a la the
handsome Fernside District in Alameda’s East End. I want to cluster homes
around transit and commercial nodes, so as to encourage many modes
of alternate transit, from car sharing, bus riding, to commuting by ferry.
And I also want to see retail and coffee shops on the bottom of many of
the townhouses, lofts, and multifamily buildings, to create a lively mixed-
use community where people actively engage each other. My home on
Haight Avenue is near the Webster Street transit corridor and
neighborhood shops that I go to – and I have Alameda’s Farmers’ Market
right in front of me. There’s a liveliness there that I just absolutely enjoy!

I also want to modify Measure A for Webster Street north of Buena Vista
Avenue. This is important because this will bring young adults immediately
to Webster Street, living in stylish, well-designed communities targeted a
demographic with much disposable income and lifestyle that can only
help Webster Street stores. There is controversy as to whether the height
limits on Webster Street should be altered to go up to five stories, to which
I say, sure, why not. But, to me, what matters the most is the style of the
design – I only want stylish new housing on Webster Street north of Buena
Vista avenue – not “box” like lofts found at Jack London Square. In
modifying Measure A for Webster Street north of Buena Vista Avenue, we
will begin to make a commensurate investment we as a city made in Park
Street with the recent completion of the movie theater/downtown
garage project.

In my first year in office, each month starting in February, as Mayor of


Alameda, I will hold public meetings where I invite experts in a number of
fields: climate change/global warming, traffic/transportation planning,
home builders and developers, historic preservation, alternative residential
community planners such as co-housing experts, open space/wildlife
managers, structural engineers knowledgeable about infrastructure,
transit-oriented development developers, developers of stylish multi-family
residential such as Patrick Kennedy from downtown Berkeley. In these
forums, we will engage the public on pros and cons, questions and
answers about transit-oriented development, with an eye toward building
common set of understanding, knowledge and, above all, citywide
consensus as to how we can modify Measure A for Alameda Point and
Webster Street north of Buena Vista Avenue.

Starting in June 2011, I will ask for volunteers to help me craft language
pertaining to modifying Measure A for Alameda Point. This period will
occur between June and August, 2011. In late August, after public
deliberation, we will identify what I call “consensus” language to be used
to modify Measure A for Alameda and parts of Webster Street. In
September, I will ask volunteers to help me get signatures so as to place
the consensus verbiage for modifying Measure A for Alameda Point onto
the ballot, most likely for the presidential primaries in March 2012 or June
2012 primary election.

The ballot measure will pass in 2012 because we will have involved
everyone in the community, although I will always being clear as to the
goals of the measure: modify Measure A for Alameda Point and parts of
Webster Street north of Buena Vista Avenue.

How are you financing your campaign and to whom are you reaching out
for money?: While I have obtained small contributions from a number of
friends, I am largely self-financing my campaign. I have committed myself
to not taking any contributions from political action committees of
developers and labor groups, so much do I value my integrity and
independence.