In a scenario seen frequently in California, unions are holding hostage a crucial development project in a town much in need of revitalization. The Alameda County Planning Commission approved in February the building of a 163-unit apartment complex on the site of an old Mervyns store that has been sitting vacant since 1995. However, the East Bay Residents for Responsible Development, a coalition of union trade groups whose favorite tactic is to use environmental laws to bend developers to their will, have strangled the project. To break the log jam, the developer would have to agree to use all four trade unions exclusively for the project.