Feb 05 2011

Why the Bulb Should Be Left As It Is

Published by at 2:35 pm under albany bulb,Waterfront Planning

Albany Bulb
1. It would be prohibitively expensive to mitigate numerous hazards at the BULB in transforming a former garbage dump into an officially sanctioned public recreation area. These hazards include: jagged pieces of concrete, broken glass, sharp protruding metal debris, assorted toxic chemicals and heavy metals. The beach is strewn with hazardous metal protrusions and submerged hazards.

2. The State has a 28-billion dollar budget deficit. Transforming the BULB into an officially sanctioned recreation area would require tens of millions of dollars to upgrade roads, street lighting, pathways, signage, sanitary facilities and parking. The BULB would have to be closed to public for years to come in order to effect these changes.

3. As it now stands, Mother Nature in her own time and her own way is reclaiming this small piece of real estate – mitigating years of abuse by humankind, healing the toxic sores and soothing over heavy-metal wounds. Wildlife is returning to the waters around the BULB and to the skies above. Humankind with our political compromises and back office dealings have clearly demonstrated an inability to conceive of and carry out long term plans to the benefit of posterity and to all life with whom we share this planet. We have proven ourselves to be but short-sited, selfish little creatures.

4. The coastlines along both sides of the road, around the perimeter of the BULB proper, and along “the lagoon” are a perfect place for canine aquatic activity but too hazardous to be suitable for human recreation. There is no practical way of reclaiming these shorelines for human activity.

5. Environmental progress and reclamation of the BULB up to this point has occurred as a result of NON-government intervention! No chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides have been introduced to the area: making it exemplary of the “organic” process by which natural forces reclaim the land. Gradually, pioneer species of flora have established a foothold at the BULB. Other second and third-phase plants have naturally been followed as the conditions have improved along with a variety of animal life. Government intervention will introduce chemicals that will arrest this natural process: killing plants and animals alike. The run-off from these chemicals and fertilizers will drive off and kill shore birds, predator birds, migratory birds and other sea creatures.

6. Should the State and Park District attempt to transform the BULB into a officially-sanctioned recreational area, the nature of the BULB: the numerous hazards of sharp, dangerous and toxic debris would open the State to an immediate and never-ending string of law suits from injuries incurred in normal recreation. The State would then by necessity respond by closing off the entire area baring public use.

7. The only example of government intervention at the BULB, the fenced-in area on the “upper meadow” set aside as a habitat for the Burrowing Owls, is a complete failure. This project demonstrates governments’ inability to manage even a well-intentioned restoration projects. The project was expensive to implement, is expensive to maintain and has done nothing other than remove from public use a valuable resource and create a fire-hazard maintenance problem. NOT ONE SINGLE OWL HAS MADE ITS’ HOME THERE!

8. Records of crime statistics demonstrate that the BULB, potentially a high-crime area next to a gambling facility, separated from the main body of the City of Albany by both a freeway and an expansive parking lot, is virtually crime-free and safe at all hours of the day and night. All policing activities otherwise the responsibility of the municipality are successfully performed by the off-leash dog guardian community with only minimal oversight by the Albany Police Department. Get rid of the dogs and you invite crime!

9. Bay Area weather patterns and tidal currents are such that the beach at the BULB is the natural depository for flotsam and jetsam- ocean debris from throughout the San Francisco Bay. The off-leash dog guardian community regularly maintains the beach- monitoring and correcting potential hazards and picking up trash such that the beach is virtually litter-free. To replicate this level of waste management with government resources would be cost-prohibitive to the State.

We have healed this place; don’t allow them to spoil it!
Gary Rosenberg / garyrosenberg@gmail.com


5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Why the Bulb Should Be Left As It Is”

  1. Million Treeson 06 Feb 2011 at 8:51 am

    Thank you for this article, explaining why plans to transform the wild and wonderful Albany Bulb into a native plant garden are prohibitively expensive, even if there were any prospect of success.

    Please visit the Million Trees website for a comparison of the Albany Bulb with expensive and unsuccessful “restoration” efforts in San Francisco: http://milliontrees.wordpress.com/2010/07/03/what-is-natural/

  2. Marcia Grossmanon 07 Feb 2011 at 5:36 pm

    I believe that the old adage: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it… applies to the Bulb. It’s working beautifully as it is. As it is, it’s an ASSET for Albany — a canine mecca, and a beautiful, peaceful spot to view the splendors of the Bay.

  3. Chris Campon 07 Feb 2011 at 5:52 pm

    As a long time user of the bulb, I say – don’t change a thing! I’m all for more park space but let’s spend money on reclaiming something that’s not already effectively being used as a park… The Bulb is a wonderful resource as it is and it’s be a shame to lose years of quality public use in what may end up being an expensive and failed effort to turn it into a traditional park space.

    Thanks for your post and Long Live the Bulb!

  4. Steve Haflichon 15 Feb 2011 at 9:24 am

    I agree of course with the sentiments in this article, but there are some terminology that needs to be cleaned up.

    The Albany Waterfront Committee makes a big point that the “bulb” refers only to the bulb at the end of the peninsula. That remains Albany property (along with an 80′ wide easement along the road) and the only portion under Albany’s control and responsibility. Only the other portions of the land have been transfered to EBRP. (Albany desires and intends to transfer the bulb to EBRP some time in the next 40 years, but there are difficulties preventing iediate transfer.)

    So, to speak of the cost of eliminating the dangers of the “bulb” has nothing to do with EBRP — for the next tens of years it is only Albany’s concern. Of course there are similar dangers (although perhaps less numerous) hazards on the EBRP land, but it confuses argument to use incorrect terms, and gives opening to opponents who would imply we don’t understand the land or the legal issues.

  5. Steve Haflichon 15 Feb 2011 at 9:32 am

    About the Theoretical Burrowing Owl Habitat, it may be a failure so far, but every right thinking person should hope that it can be left for some more years on the chance the critters will find and use it. The implication that it was a waste or should now be removed is unwise, since it alienates the wildlife enthusiasts (I’m one) who otherwise ought be our friends.

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply