West County Times 9/17/2009

Letter to the Editor September 17, 2009 Richmond's proposal to rezone Point Isabel for commercial development and housing circumvents the community's desires, while benefiting Kohl's. Kohl's leased property at Point Isabel more than two years ago. Then it announced plans to open a 99,011-square-foot department store. That land is zoned light industrial, minimizing the impact on adjacent critical wildlife habitat. Kohl's needed Richmond to spot-zone for commercial development. That required a hearing and the public was against it. We want to preserve the shorel...

Read More


Richmond’s casino plan clears hurdle

by Blanca Torres Friday, July 31, 2009 The City of Richmond and the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs have completed the environmental impact report for a proposed $1.5 billion casino, hotel and resort development on a 415-acre site. The controversial casino project is expected to generate close to $1 billion per year in revenue, create 12,000 permanent jobs and aims to raise Richmond's cachet as a vacation destination. The developers estimate it would also raise more than $100 million per year in tax revenue for the city. The site is a former Naval fuel depot ...

Read More


Point Molate Casino Plan Draws Concerns, Praise

By Richard Brenneman Thursday July 30, 2009 The massive draft environmental impact report on what could become California's first Las Vegas–style metropolitan casino reveals sharp divisions among Richmond residents. But those opinions were gathered four years ago, during an economic boom that has since crested and collapsed. Berkeley developer James D. Levine, partnered with a Napa developer, a former Clinton cabinet member and two Native American tribes—one impoverished and the other flush with gambling wealth—plans a billion–and–a–half–dollar ...

Read More


Fate of Golden Gate Fields Still Uncertain

By Richard Brenneman Thursday July 30, 2009 The fate of Golden Gate Fields, the Bay Area's last remaining horseracing venue, remains uncertain as parent Magna Entertainment continues to undergo bankruptcy proceedings in the United States and Canada. In a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, creditors of the ailing company claim it illegally siphoned off $125 million in assets to other companies controlled by Magna Entertainment chief executive Frank Stronach. Representatives of Stronach's company have denied the allegations, according to Frank ...

Read More


Rumor’s of Eastshore Park Closure Untrue

By Richard Brenneman Thursday July 30, 2009 Despite reports from the state Department of Parks and Recreation, Eastshore State Park isn't about to close, reports Larry Tong, interagency planning manager for the park district. “Over my dead body,” said Robert Cheasty, who chairs Citizens for Eastshore State Park, the advocacy group that has helped raise funds for the shoreline park used by countless Bay Area residents and visitors. Tong said he has asked the state agency to correct the erroneous reports, which were broadcast Tuesday night on some regional ...

Read More


Of Birds and Humans- Aquatic Park

Would fixing the flooding in West Berkeley hurt the fish in Aquatic Park? By Eric Klein July 29, 2009 Berkeley officials are studying a plan to improve circulation in the stagnant lagoons of Aquatic Park. They say the stale water kills fish, increases algae growth, and gives the park a distinctive odor that you can enjoy when you're speeding past on I-80. But environmentalists fear the plan will increase storm water runoff, killing fish and degrading the environment in one of the Bay Area's most important waterbird habitats. Aquatic Park is Berkeley's largest ...

Read More


Readers’ Forum: Casino benefit still doesn’t add up for Richmond

By Gayle McLaughlin Guest commentary Thursday July 25, 2009 ON MAY 14, 2005, the Times published an article I wrote titled: Casino at Point Molate is a losing bet for Richmond. In this article, I took issue with the idea that a casino would sustain our local economy, our environment and our social well-being here in Richmond. Fast forward four years later and here we are with the draft environmental impact documents completed and released to the public for comment. In my article in 2005, I cited the exhaustive study "Casinos, Crime and Community Costs" conducted ...

Read More


Toll Plaza Delays Called Main Richmond Casino Impact

By Richard Brenneman Thursday July 23, 2009 The $1.5 billion gambling, hotel, entertainment and housing resort planned for Richmond's Point Molate would only create three significant impacts that couldn't be readily remedied, concludes the project's draft environmental impact report (EIR). For an EIR, the critical findings for developers and regulators are those which reveal significant and unavoidable adverse impacts resulting from construction. The Point Molate draft EIR finds relatively few in any of the casino-based alternatives. They would arise from: • ...

Read More


Environmental Review Details Richmond Casino Alternatives

By Richard Brenneman Thursday July 16, 2009 The long-delayed environmental impact report on the proposed Point Molate $1.5 billion casino resort complex is finally finished, four years after the first public meeting to gather public comment. This is the first of three articles on the Richmond shoreline project. This article focuses on the project itself, looking at the range of alternatives presented in the environmental impact report. Subsequent articles in the coming weeks will look at environmental impacts and community–and official–reactions to the ...

Read More


CESP helps the City of Albany and the Watershed Project clean up the Albany Shoreline

Report from the Watershed Project: We had a wonderful Earth Day Clean Up and Celebration on Sunday April 19 at the Albany shoreline. A total of 135 participants, 82 adults and 53 kids picked up 415 pounds of trash and 62 pounds of recycling! Those are great numbers, considering that we asked participants to focus on plastic debris. Light weight plastic trash, including small bits and pieces, is the most prevalent form of debris and also the most harmful in the environment. Albany/Berkeley Girl Scout Troop 1815 and Cub Scout Troop 505 joined the event for their Earth Day ...

Read More