Candidate’s name: Robert Matz
Candidate’s contact: 510-263-8775
1. Transportation: As a city council member or mayor, what specific early actions will you take to get people out of single occupancy vehicles?
We need to restore shuttle service to the main ferry terminal, we need to find a solution to the parking problem at the Harbor Bay Ferry terminal and improve the shuttle service, and we need to implement a water taxi/shutte across the estuary, not an $80 million dollar bike/pedestrian bridge that the Coast Guard has not yet approved, will impact boaters, and have significant environmental impacts.
2. Sustainable Development: What does sustainable development mean to you as applied to Alameda? What are three specific measures that the City can undertake that you would endorse?
For me, it means, first and foremost, development that does not alter the quality of life on our island. Another aspect of sustainability is, of course, using new methods to become more environmentally friendly, many of which are or will soon be provided for in the building code.
Three specific measures I would endorse are:
i) Improved shuttle services to help get people around the island and to existing ferry terminals.
ii) Implementing a water shuttle/water taxi service to get people off the island and to public transportation options without taking their car through the tube or over a bridge
iii) Seeking greater implementation and use of solar energy in both commercial and residential projects.
3. Resilience: What does resilience mean to you as applied to Alameda? What are three specific measures that the City can undertake that you would endorse?
Resilience means taking steps to ensure our island can withstand changes in the environment and being prepared for emergencies. If we have a natural disaster, or emergency, due to our limited points of egress, it is likely we will have to hunker in place for a while instead of leaving. We can come up with a solid, affordable, Climate Action plan that addresses resilience, we can update our disaster/emergency response plan, and we can work to increase the use of solar energy which will enable us to be “off the grid” in the event of a disaster/emergency.
4. Sea Level Rise: In order to protect Alameda from sea level rise, are you more in favor of further hardening or armoring the perimeter of Alameda or a soft living edges approach?
I do not think further hardening is a viable solution as the City does not have the funds for it; the only viable solution given our budgetary constraints is softening.
5. Energy: Would you support a city ordinance that requires new construction to include electric vehicle charging facilities or be EV ready, and comply with solar net Zero Building Standards? Would you support energy efficiency standards beyond those required by CalGreen? How would you address our existing buildings to reduce their carbon impact?
Yes on the charging, but I’m not in favor of a city ordinance on solar net Zero as changes to the building code that will soon come into effect will address this. As for existing buildings, directing homeowners to resources that will show them how to make their homes more green and rebates are a good way to address this issue. Education will be the cheapest way to make this happen for existing buildings; we don’t have an unlimited pot of money to draw from for every project from every community organization on the island. I replaced outdated lighting in my office with new low energy lighting at a reduced cost through a program with AMP. Perhaps we can see if this program (and other projects like it) can be extended to residential uses.
6. Zero Waste: How would you enforce the City of Alameda’s Mandatory Recycling Ordinance (Alameda Municipal Code Section 21-2.1(b)) ? Would you support siting a Center for Hard to Recycle Materials/Education Center in Alameda (similar to the El Cerrito Recycling Center)?
I would only support an enforcement action if there is evidence of intentional violation of the code, and only after repeated efforts and obtaining substantial compliance with the ordinance have failed. I would support an education center and a limited recycling center, but only if it’s funded from outside resources. Again, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the City is broke.
7. SF Bay Ecosystem: Alameda may soon be designated as a HOPE spot by Mission Blue. What specific actions can Alameda take to protect and restore the life of our bay and waterways?
First and foremost, due to past uses and practices, we have environmental contamination that is buried under decades of sediment. Any project that would require pilings to be driven in the bed of the Bay is going to have a significant impact on the Bay. For this reason, a specific action we can take is to protect and restore the life of our Bay and waterways is to avoid waterfront projects, bridge projects, and BART projects that would dredge up years of contamination buried under the sediment. We can also improve the situation by improving our storm drain system and educating people on this issue.
8. Climate Action Plan: Given the recent California wildfires, extreme weather events and rising global temperatures how will you support the increasingly urgent funding and implementation of the measures identified in the Climate Action Plan update?
We have $235 million dollars in unfunded pension liability, $300 million dollars in deferred maintenance, and a budget shortfall that prompted putting a sales tax measure on the ballot. We have parks underway that have not yet been fully funded (we need $11 million dollars to fund that gap). The only way to find additional funding will be to conduct an across the board review of the budget to trim where we can and see where and if we can reallocate monies. We need to make sure we are being responsible with our spending on this Climate Action Plan, and properly prioritizing it along with the many needs we have in Alameda.