Environmental Justice Progress Report

Volume 18, November 1998

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Don't Drink the Water at FISC Environmental Issues Stall Leases

Navy Ignores Outside Experts Remedial Investigation Still Flawed

Question Authority - Environmental Sampling Results Withheld from Public

Navy's Radiation Mishaps Get Recognition from Homer.

Wrong Stakeholders Benefit from Base Transition Housing Policies

Why Increase the Number of Owner Occupied Homes?

Alameda's Housing Statistics

Ad Hoc Home Ownership Committee Policy Recommendations


The planning commission received public comments on the proposed Master Leasing Program for the FISC Annex at its November 9, 1998 meeting and then continued the item to a future meeting. Comments made by East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), ARC Ecology and Clearwater Revival Company criticized the Initial Study of environmental impacts and the effectiveness of proposed mitigation measures.

An October 28, 1998, letter from EBMUD indicates that the current water supply system at the Alameda FISC Annex, may not deliver potable water. EBMUD said they will not improve the FISC Annex water supply system for a number of reasons including the proposed demolition of the FISC buildings, and the presence of contamination in soils throughout the area.

ARC Ecology expressed concerns about the baseline against which environmental impacts will be measured. Under state law, a closed military base can compare reuse activities against the previously operating military base. ARC expressed concerns that the baseline date is required to be the date base closure was announced. The closure of the FISC was announced in 1995. The City's environmental review compares such things as transportation impacts against 1990 traffic levels.

Clearwater expressed concerns about the misappropriation of FISC service costs onto current and future residents of the City, as well as, the failure of mitigation measures to prevent tenant exposures to toxic wastes. The Navy should reimburse the city for the short- and long-term expenses associated with the Navy's failure to adequately investigate and cleanup its toxic wastes.


A Toxic Waste Expert working as a consultant to the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) has indicated that the Navy failed to respond to concerns raised by a previous RAB Consultant. Comments made by Technical Outreach Services to Communities, RPM Consultants, and Restoration Advisory Board have all criticized the completeness of data used to evaluate health risks at Operable Unit No. 1 sites. Operable Unit No. 1 is a group of five toxic waste sites. The Remedial Investigation Report had previously been deemed inadequate by the RAB and regulators. The diagrams and figures have improved, but the new Remedial Investigation Report draft is outdated. Reviewers commented that the Remedial Investigation Report ignores the results of environmental samples collected over the last three years. .


The Navy, US EPA, and Cal-EPA have ignored repeated requests to release information on toxic contamination at Estuary Park. The only response received to date was that the data will be available in less than two years. While two years is an improvement over current practices, it is also an indication of the level of incompetence in Navy environmental management and the level of negligence in the enforcement of environmental regulations. Contact a BCT Member and ask them what they are trying to hide.

"REPORT ANY RELEASES TO THE PUBLIC", Commander-In-Chief, August 3, 1993 EXECUTIVE ORDER 12856 , "Federal Compliance with Right-to-Know Laws and Pollution Prevention Requirements."

homer For demonstrating a lack of proficiency in the safe handling of radioactive materials the

Homer Simpson Safety Award

is hereby awarded to the

Alameda Point Naval Air Station

1940-1960's Radium disposal in landfills and stormsewers.
1950's-1996 Strontium hot spot part of carrier homecomings on Pier 3.
1950's Ships from South Pacific atomic bomb tests decontaminated at NAS.
1994 Uranium found in metal scrap yard at FISC Annex.
1996-7 Navy allows public access to areas of known radiation contamination.
1998 Navy contractors pump radioactive contaminated water into the Bay.


Each community that played host to a military base is different. It is unfortunate that the housing assistance policies that were created for Base Transition only targeted property owners in communities with depressed real estate markets like those created around isolated military bases. Around urban bases like Alameda, the Federal Housing Assistance programs have actually worked against the residents who need the assistance the most.

Benefited Speculators. Real Estate speculators you purchase rental property in West Alameda benefit from a base-closure housing assistance program that protects them if local property values drop by more than five percent. Using this federally subsidized protection, massive speculation in the West End real estate has occurred. The result is rental increases as high as 31 percent, and a large increase in no-cause evictions. At the same time senior citizens living in these rental units have seen a 1.9 percent increase in their Social Security benefits.

Burden to Residents of Rental Housing. The effect of base closing was easy to see. The Navy was a bad neighbor. The Navy's presence led to a concentration of low-cost housing. The Navy's departure has led to an immediate improvement in the property values in areas surrounding the base. Federal assistance should have been extended to renters facing these unfair increases in housing costs due to base closure.

Who would have known? Environmental Justice advocates saw the oncoming increase in property values. In a September 1, 1995 letter to a commissioner of the East Bay Reinvestment and Conversion Commission, the following concern was expressed:

"Low income and minority populations are also at risk of being dislocated by the base closings as local property values increase and the availability of affordable housing diminishes. This issue should be addressed through base reuse planning."

Why Increase the Number of Owner Occupied Homes?

The City Councils Ad Hoc Home Ownership Committee undertook a year long process to develop policy recommendations to increase the percentage of owner-occupied homes in the city to 60 percent. When asked, none of the committee members could explain what the purpose in achieving this goal was. However, anyone with knowledge of Alameda Housing issues could tell you.

In 1981, California refused to certify Alameda's General Plan Housing Element because of the removal of the statement: "to maintain the supply of rental units at a high proportion to existing inventory." The State's requested that: "The housing element should be revised to include a discussion of the steps that are being taken to mitigate Measure A and provide affordable housing (including assisted housing) at a level consistent" with Alameda's fair share of regional housing needs.

The Goal of the Home ownership mandate is clearly to maintain the "segregated, non-black character" of Alameda. Unquestionably, it is a racist objective.

Alameda Housing Statistics

1990 Census Data

Current Navy Housing Status

Renter Occupied 15,635 51% Renter Occupied * 660 37 %
Owner Occupied 13,443 44% Owner Occupied 0 0%
Unoccupied 1,442 5% Unoccupied 1,140 63%
Total 30,520 100% Total 1,800 100%

* includes a total of 300 units which are occupied by the Coast Guard, 280 units undergoing a $30 million renovation project for Coast Guard, and approximately 80 units of "officer-housing" being marketed by the Local Reuse Authority.

Ad Hoc Home Ownership Committee Policy Recommendations

The Ad Hoc Home Ownership Committee will present its' Policy Recommendations to the City Council on November 17, 1998, 7:30 PM at City Hall. The Council will hear public comments at the meeting.

For a complete copy of the Ad Hoc Home Ownership Committee's Report contact Steve Belcher, Housing Development Manager, City of Alameda, 510-747-4730, sbelcher@ci.alameda.ca.us.


  1. Provide opportunities to raise the issue of affordable ownership and showcase particular programs or projects which support access to affordable ownership.
  2. Make providing affordable ownership housing to Alameda residents a high priority.
  3. Assist people who live and/or work in Alameda to become home buyers.
  4. Develop a three to five-year program for savings toward a down-payment, establishing good credit and educational programs or services on home buying techniques which will result in Alameda families becoming homeowners.

Income and Finance

  1. Develop programs that facilitate home financing assistance to increase the number of potential homeowners in Alameda. These programs should be initiated as soon as possible to take advantage of current market conditions.
  2. Create programs that provide financial incentives to property owners who sell properties to current tenants.
  3. Provide incentives to employers who encourage home ownership in Alameda among their employees.

Legislation and Process

  1. Give Residential development a high priority in the City's entitlement process.
  2. Encourage future residential developments to provide a range of ownership products which reflect traditional Alameda housing patterns and respond to variations in household size and income.
  3. Have the entitlement process and particularly the zoning ordinance encourage the development of ownership units in a variety of configurations (1, 2, and 3 bedrooms).
  4. Encourage developers to provide "tiers" of ownership opportunity by producing homes with different selling prices and sizes.
  5. Have the General Plan and zoning ordinance accommodate more flexibility in design and encourage diversity in housing solutions, particularly in areas outside the developed core of Alameda.
  6. Use the zoning ordinance as a tool to persuade developers to produce more diverse projects offering housing opportunities not found in the typical housing development.
  7. There should be a public forum to provide continuing public input and guidance to City staff on developing programs to increase the percentage of home ownership in Alameda.

Production and Construction

  1. Increase the amount of property available for residential development to increase the supply of new housing units.
  2. Develop housing units priced between $130,000 and $220,000 to meet the needs of people with incomes between 80% and 120% of the area median income ($45,300 to $75,900 for a family of four).
  3. Create affordable home buying opportunities through the conversion of a limited number of rental properties to home ownership units.

October 1998 Edition | NAS IR Site Map | Clearwater Revival Home Page

Revised November 13, 1998