Bay Briefs

Monday February 19, 2001

Battle over golf course 

OAKLAND (AP) – A public golf course in the Oakland hills that has offered 78-years of affordable golf to Bay area residents now is at the center of a tug-of-war between residents and the city manager. 

City officials led by City Manager Robert Bobb have spent the last two years working on a $15 million deal with a high-powered private company to transform the 251-acre Lake Chabot Golf Course into a world-class, money-making venture. 

They argue that a makeover for the golf course will help revitalize Oakland’s image as it strives to attract corporate CEOs and high-tech businesses to the area. The city is working out the details with La Quinta-based KSL Recreation Corp., whcih has promised to put at least $12.5 million into the renovation. 

Opponents – who number in the hundreds – say the venture would transform the course – with its rolling hills and panoramic vistas of Lake Chabot and the San Francisco Bay – into an expensive playground for the wealthy. 

Greens fees range from $9 to $23. Under the proposed renovation, the fees would range from $45 to $135. 


Caltrain ridership up 

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – More commuters are ditching their cars and instead hopping on Caltrain to get to work. 

Ridership is up almost 12 percent along the entire Caltrain line, and up more than 50 percent in the communities south of Silicon Valley said Caltrain spokeswoman Rita Haskin. 

Haskin said long commutes on Highway 101 have prompted the ridership increase. But Caltrain could become a victim of its own success, she added. 

The current system – which runs from San Francisco to San Jose and Gilroy – will soon run out of capacity if demand continues to increase. 

Power companies hope charity work will help 

HAYWARD (AP) – Power plant makers Calpine and Bechtel corporations are hoping to trade perks for the chance to build power plants in several Bay area cities. 

The companies hope funding city programs will boost community support for power plant construction. 

Calpine and Bechtel hope to donate $30 million in benefits to the city of Hayward and discount what the city pays for power. The money would go to education, parks and library programs. 

In exchange, the companies would spend $400 million to build a 600-megawatt, natural gas-fired facility across the street from Hayward’s sewage treatment plant. 

Jerry Lahr with the Association of Bay area governments said the state’s power crisis has made more cities more receptive to hosting power plants. 

Calpine and Bechtel are also offering perks for plants in Tracy and Pittsburg in hopes to build 

But the offers don’t always work. 

San Jose’s city council rejected a plant despite Calpine’s offer of millions in rate discounts.