December 26, 2008

A Look Back at the San Leandro Marina Boat Harbor

The January 1964 edition of The American City published an article by San Leandro Public Works Director G. Homer Hamlin about the recently constructed San Leandro Marina. The article mentions plans for a future recreation center and an expectation that the facility will begin paying its own way.

Here is the article in its entirety:

Drawing of San Leandro Marina in 1964

More Than Just a Marina
Public Works Director
San Leandro, Calif.

Ask anyone around San Leandro, Calif., and he will tell you that our new bayside facility is more than just a marina. It already includes 308 berths, a golf course, parking lots, restrooms, play areas and a children's fishing pier. The future will bring to this waterfront playground a restaurant, a boatel motel, 200 more berths and a recreation center building.

In design, too, it rises above. the class of simple marinas. We carved this new facility out of the tidal flats of San Francisco Bay by dredging and clamshelling the submerged material to produce solid banks and a deep channel connection. Buoyant concrete piers with hollow interiors near the gas pumps provide adequate fire resistance. Wood and styrofoam comprise the other docks, with extra support where ramps with their concentrated loads seek to bury them underwater.

An accurate feasibility report provides the essential backbone for marina construction. A good one will accurately forecast whether the proposed marina will pay for itself or whether it will turn into a money-grabbing monster that siphons off tax revenue. We have spent about $1,100,000 on our marina thus far, no small amount for a community of 66,000 residents. In March it will celebrate its first anniversary. Judging by rentals to date we should hit the first-year goal of 150 rented stalls as estimated in the report. This would fill about one-half of those already constructed.

Bigger Boats
Now that our marina has taken shape, the boats here seem to be getting longer. Many local owners have now made the transition from trailer-borne craft to larger ones that need permanent berthing. They probably tired of the two-hour task of washing the salt water off the trailers and repacking wheel bearings after every outing. And even though the boat-launching ramp is convenient and free (except on holidays and week-ends when we levy a one-dollar charge), launching and recovery can become tiresome and time-consuming. Permanent marina berths give boat lovers good reason to switch to bigger boats which they can leave in the water under protective eyes.

At 65 cents per lineal foot per month, slip rental here is not excessive. An annual rate equal to ten month's rent is also available. No vessel can occupy a berth shorter than itself. Monthly rates vary from $13.65 for a 21-footer up to $31.20 for a 48-foot craft. If boats occupied all 308 stalls, we would realize about $5,400 monthly from these fees alone. Berth rental now comprises a major source of revenue. As concessions go up, however, they will furnish the lion's share. The future will find slip rental and fuel sales each contributing about one-fifth of the total revenue.

These planned concessions, will include a restaurant, a snack bar, repair and sales sites, a motel, club facilities and some others. An approved concessionaire will lease a designated area from the city and construct all improvements at his own expense. Leases will run from 20 to 50 years, depending on the value of the improvement. Rental fees will include a percentage of gross income with a specified minimum amount: Several prospective concessionaires are now consulting with us about these leases.

Strong Decks
Our wooden piers are stronger than those of most marinas because the top decking runs perpendicular to the length rather than diagonally. For years designers have placed decking at an acute angle. This actually creates vertical planes of weakness parallel to the grain. By placing our decking at right angles to the stringers we develop much more strength in torsion. This design saves money because it eliminates excess cutting and wasted triangular sections. All exposed lumber is construction-grade Douglas Fir, penta-treated with heavy-retention solution according to Specification C-18-61 of the American Wood Preservative Association. Piles and other hidden lumber got the more economical creosote pressure treatment.

A typical pier begins at the dike with a ramp about 80 feet long. The anchored end rests on a concrete abutment but it is free to rotate vertically with the tides that sometimes change the elevation as much as ten feet. About half way out, a galvanized steel gate firmly bars the way. Only those with boats moored at this dock own keys. The other end of the ramp rides on a small pair of wheels that travel in steel channels on the floating pier as it rises and falls. A ribbed steel plate provides the transition from ramp to pier. We are experimenting with some Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Safety Tread to obtain more traction on these steep plates.

Main-pier lengths vary according to the number and size of berths. The pier itself consists of a deck, six feet wide, supported by three longitudinal planks of Dow Chemical's styrofoam. Two-by-eight-inch stringers raise the deck above the styrofoam and hold it well above the water level. Angle-driven wooden dowels firmly fasten longitudinal foam planks to the hollow deck section. Steel loops loosely encircle the piles adjacent to these piers to allow tidal movement.

Finger-pier construction is similar but these piers measure only half as wIde. Here, too, decking consists of two-by-sixes perpendicular to the stringers. Fillets strengthen the connections where these finger piers join the main piers. Each joint contains one fresh water hose bib and two 15-amp, 115-volt outlets. All pier lights shine downward at an angle rather than parallel to the water where they could blind boat operators. These are Shalda #583 fixtures with 100-amp lamps spaced 18 to 34 feet apart.

Because it floats, gasoline poses a terrible fire hazard on water. Our four pumps each dispense a different fuel: regular, ethyl, an oil-gas mixture and diesel fuel. Because all are so dangerous we chose lightweight, hollow-concrete sections for those piers near the pumps. Manufactured by the Unifloat Marine Structures Corp. of Petaluma, Calif., they cost more than their wooden counterparts but they contribute a tremendous safety factor.

These thin-walled floats measure 8 feet long, 6 feet wide and 26 inches deep. Three-fourths submerged, they will sustain a live load of 40 pounds per square foot. Fir two-by-eights along the top edge hold them together and minimize the danger of collision-generated sparks. Attractive plastic bumpers set closer together here than on the other piers also help. A two-inch pipe with hydrants at 100-foot intervals supplies fire protection on the piers. Hoses provide the needed flexibility at pier joints. Several Greenberg all-brass wharf hydrants on 'the dikes supply an extra safety. factor.

The dikes that enclose and protect the marina basin required 200-foot-wide tops to accommodate all our planned facilities. Dredging the six-foot channel and the deeper marina basin brought up more than enough material to build them. The combined job, however, cost more than $500,000. First the contractor clamshelled the silty material into two parallel dikes which are 200 feet apart.

He then filled the intervening area with dredged and clamshelled material. We specified side slopes of five-to-one or steeper, but the silt surprised us pleasantly when it stood at three-to-one. Riprap then followed on these portions subject to erosion.

Utilities on Fill
With some trepidation we prepared to install utilities and streets on this unconsolidated fill. A liberal bed of pea gravel went in the trench bottoms to support the vitrified-clay sewer pipe. And we specified plastic gasket joints that can move somewhat without leaking. A small lift station holds the sewer depth to less than ten feet. This is nothing more than five-foot-diameter concrete pipes on end with two four-inch Wemco submersible pumps. With their small impeller clearance, the Wemcos at our sewage plant resist clogging so we chose the same type for the lift station.

Building the roads constituted another problem. The bad soft spots we tackled first by sheepsfooting dry clay into them:. Some of these measured 50 feet long. Then we sheepsfooted the lime-rock base material into this silt instead of adding it on top. This ½-inch material stiffened up to form a base eight inches deep with a stabilometer value of 65R. Next followed six inches of base material with a value of 78R. A 1 ½-inch hot-mix leveling course now provides a temporary surface. After full settlement takes place a paver will add another 1 ½ inches. Adjacent parking areas consist of a shot of asphalt applied directly on the base course.

A piled timber dock that bulges out from the dike bears the boat hoist near the basin entrance. The timber dock abuts the six-foot channel and provides a stable and clean area in which to work. The hoist itself is a Checo Tram Chief with Yale motor. Its two-ton capacity adequately lifts outboard motors and entire sailboats onto the timber trestle.

The adjacent nine-hole golf course, opened only a few months ago, has proved immensely popular. This, too, will double in size as need dictates. Some experiments at our activated-sludge sewage plant have solved the grass-growing problems on our fairways. Mixed with the existing soils, the sludge improves drainage and enriches the seed bed.

Our young marina is attracting residents at a furious rate. Every day more turn up to watch and then take part in the activities there. Soon, this facility will begin paying its own way and much of it will be due to the extra thought that makes this community attraction more than just an ordinary marina.

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December 23, 2008

Christmas Lights in San Leandro

Arguello Dr. (near Monterey Blvd)

15164 Wiley

15102 Chapel Ct. (near Farnsworth)

1171 Oakes Blvd.

975 Estudillo Ave.

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December 18, 2008

Santa at the Fire House on Saturday, December 20, 2008

Santa Claus will join the Alameda County Firefighters on Saturday, December 20, 2008, for the second annual Santa at the Fire House. For a $10 donation, you can take a picture with Santa on an antique fire engine, have milk with some of San Leandro's Otis Spunkmeyer cookies and listen to firefighters read "A Firefighter’s Night Before Christmas."

Proceeds will go towards the Alameda County Firefighters Holiday Toy Drive and a scholarship in memory of Craig Alaniz, who lost his battle with cancer in January 2008. Alaniz was the inspiration for the first Santa at the Fire House event in 2007.

The event will take place at San Leandro Fire Station #9 at 450 Estudillo Ave. in San Leandro from 11:30am to 3:30pm. For more information or to make a donation call Aisha Knowles at (510) 618-3479 or email

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December 17, 2008

Councilmembers Swearing-In Speeches

San Leandro City Councilmembers Ursula Reed, Joyce Starosciak, and Jim Prola were given the opportunity to give speeches after they were sworn in at the December 15, 2008, City Council meeting. Reed will assume office as of January 1, 2009, after defeating former City Councilmember and School Board member Linda Perry in a runoff election in November 2008.

If you want to hear what your City Councilmembers have to say, see below:

Ursula Reed:

Joyce Starosciak:

Jim Prola:

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December 15, 2008

Hollister Appointed City Manager; City Settles Police Officer Lawsuit

San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos announced that Interim City Manager Stephen Hollister was appointed City Manager effective immediately at the December 15, 2008, meeting of the San Leandro City Council. The City Council also voted to settle a lawsuit by the San Leandro Police Officers Association that demanded compensation for getting into and out of their uniforms.

Hollister was appointed Interim City Manager in September 2008 when John Jermanis retired after 12 years as San Leandro's City Manager. The City Council did not consider outside candidates, although it is common for cities to hire a firm to conduct a search for a new city manager. The City Council also extended Hollister's contract to June 30, 2010. A copy of Hollister's contract will not be available until next month.

The police settlement means that a total of 20 minutes will be built in to police officers' shifts for getting into and out of their uniforms (donning and doffing). The San Leandro Police Officers Association had originally asked for a total of 30 minutes for donning and doffing. The settlement also extends the current police contract to 2010 and is estimated to cost $200,000. For more details, see the staff report.

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December 8, 2008

New School Board Sworn In

Four new School Board members were sworn in at the San Leandro School Board's meeting on Monday, December 8, 2008. Hermy Almonte, Morgan Mack-Rose, and Diana Prola were sworn in by California Assemblymember Mary Hayashi and Carmen Sullivan was sworn in by Alameda County Judge Gail Brewster Bereola.

The short agenda consisted of electing new Board officers and considering putting forth a nomination for a delegate to the California School Boards Association Delegate Assembly. First, Vice President Lisa Hague asked which Board members were eligible to become Board president. The School Board has a policy that states, "Prior to serving as Board President, he/she shall have completed the California School Board Association’s (CSBA) Board Presidents’ Workshop."

Only Pauline Cutter and Mike Katz-Lacabe were eligible under the Board policy, but Pauline indicated that she was not interested in serving as Board President, so Katz-Lacabe was elected unanimously.

Cutter nominated Hague for Vice President and Katz-Lacabe nominated Prola. In a four to three vote, Prola was elected Vice-President, with Prola, Almonte, Katz-Lacabe, and Mack-Rose voting for Prola.

Cutter was asked if she was interested and Mack-Rose nominated her. Cutter was elected clerk unanimously.

Prola replaces Ray Davis as the Area 5 School Board Trustee and was unopposed, so her name did not appear on the November ballot. Davis decided to run for the At-Large seat instead of running for re-election against Prola. Prola is the wife of District 6 San Leandro City Councilmember Jim Prola.

Sullivan replaces Linda Perry as the Area 3 School Board Trustee and was also unopposed. Perry left the School Board to run for the District 2 San Leandro City Council seat and lost to Ursula Reed.

Almonte replaces Rick Richards as the Area 1 School Board Trustee after defeating Richards in the November 2008 election.

Mack-Rose replaces Stephen Cassidy as the At-Large Trustee after Cassidy decided not to seek re-election. Mack-Rose defeated Davis and two other candidates in the November 2008 election.

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December 6, 2008

San Leandro Teacher Jim Sorensen Named Masters Track & Field Athlete of the Year

San Leandro teacher Jim Sorensen was named Masters Track & Field Athlete of the Year in the Mens 40 to 44-year old category by USA Track & Field (USATF) at its Annual Awards Breakfast on December 6, 2008.

Sorensen set the world masters record for 1,500 meters on June 3, 2007, and the world masters record for 800 meters on June 30, 2007.

Sorensen teaches physical education at Bancroft Middle School in San Leandro, California. San Leandro Bytes previously reported on Sorensen's accomplishments in June 2007.

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December 3, 2008

Corbett Re-Appointed as Chair of Senate Judiciary Committee

California State Senator Ellen Corbett was re-appointed as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee on December 3, 2008, by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. Corbett has served as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee since she was elected in November 2006 to represent Senate District 10, which stretches from San Leandro to San Jose and Pleasanton to the San Francisco Bay.

Ellen Corbett previously served on the San Leandro City Council from 1990 to 1994, as San Leandro Mayor from 1994 to 1998, and in the California State Assembly from 1998 to 2004.

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December 1, 2008

City Council Votes for Partial Dredging and Banning Alcohol in Parks

The San Leandro City Council voted to ban alcohol in parks and open spaces and to partially dredge the San Leandro Marina Harbor at its December 1, 2008, meeting.

The Shoreline-Marina Committee of the City Council considered three options for the future of the boat harbor at the Marina: Option 1: do nothing; Option 2: a complete dredging; and Option 3: a partial dredging. The Shoreline-Marina Committee recommended Option 3, which was approved by the City Council. According to the staff report, Option 3 was as follows:

This would entail closing the Harbor or converting it to a small boat facility, while parts of the rest of the marina would be improved to meet the overall recreational objective. Under this option, 85,000 cubic yards of material will have to be dredged from the federal channel and disposed of in the next two years. The cost of dredging will be fully covered by the COE [U.S. Army Corps of Engineers] with the available allocation, but the City would have to cover the dredge disposal cost of about $2,000,000, partially from the available harbor area dredging allocation of slightly more than $1,000,000. Maintenance dredging and material removal (about 50,000 cubic yards) would have to be undertaken in about five years at a cost of about $2,200,000 to $3,500,000. A four-year cycle maintenance dredge will ensure a continued use of the Marina for small boats and crafts.

The use of alcohol at city parks was discussed at four meetings of the Recreation and Parks Commission and on November 4, 2008, the Facilities and Transportation Committee recommended that alcohol be banned at parks and open spaces. The ordinance has an exception for City-sponsored events that have prior approval of the City Council. These events would likely include the Sausage & Suds Festival and the Cherry Festival.

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