Letters to the Editor

Let's keep it that way


As a resident in the "Wedge" neighborhood, I am very concerned about the future of the Old Island High School property. The Wedge is a mix of historic homes and businesses, but lacks a focal point for the community. The Island High School property on Everett Street has been used for the public benefi t (education) for more than 100 years. I would like it to remain that way.

I am in support of any green use of the property such as a park, community garden, or outdoor education center. The property started life as a strawberry farm and the original farmhouse is still adjacent to the property. Green usage of this property would preserve the property's history.

Alameda is a community that enjoys its history, and we have learned the hard way that to neglect that history usually reduces our quality of life.

I am opposed to the Alameda Unifi ed School District (AUSD) selling the property for any type of high-density housing development. Not only would that negatively impact this historic community, but it would negatively impact the already crowded schools in the neighborhood. I would hope the AUSD would seek a path of long-term benefi t for themselves and the community, and not be seduced by short-term profi ts.

I am requesting that AUSD allow neighborhood planting efforts to go ahead led by Project LEAF while the property is vacant. Let our community show you how this property could continue to provide long-term public benefi t.

— Doree Miles

Don't compromise our character


The City Council is about to start its decision making on the zoning for Park Street north of Lincoln, where auto row used to be. This is now called the Gateway Project. From 2008 to recently, both the Planning Board and council had agreed that the building height limit would be 40 feet. Now the city wants it to be 60 feet, which is more attractive to developers.

I strongly feel that the new construction on the north end of Park Street should not be higher than 40 feet. Even though the new buildings will be contrastingly modern compared to the old ones to the south, they should be compatible in height.

When entering our city on the Park Street Bridge, the fi rst impression would be cavernous if the buildings were taller than 40 feet. It would be an obvious new add on. Without the established trees to soften and merge the two areas, it will be even starker.

Alameda is unique in the Bay Area with its history and charm. If we continue to compromise its character for short term fi nancial gains, we will end up being just like any other suburban city and have lost our individuality.

The city wants to hear from residents, and hopefully staff will listen to the wishes of the residents.

— Patsy Baer

Thanks for supporting our newest park


Jim Sweeney and I would like to thank those who have helped get information out about the community meetings for the Jean Sweeney Open Space Park, as well as the tour of the park.

Amy Wooldridge, Alameda Recreation and Parks Department (ARPD) director, the Recreation & Parks Commission and ARPD staff have worked hard to organize the meetings, public survey, tour and community outreach. We appreciate that they are as interested as we are about informing the public and making the park a wonderful space for the future of Alameda.

We would also like to thank the following:

■ Alameda Sun for its fantastic front-page stories about the park's history, the community meetings and for the newspaper's past support of Jean Sweeney.

■ Roberta Dileo, Alameda Museum president, for the beautiful front-page story about the park published in the museum's quarterly newsletter and for inviting us to speak at the museum's luncheon.

■ Alameda Citizens Task Force for giving us time to make a presentation in its well-attended quarterly meeting at the Alameda Hospital.

■ Alameda Kiwanis and the Alameda Rotary for giving us time to make a presentation to their membership.

■ Former Councilman Doug de- Haan, a longtime friend of Jim and Jean Sweeney, for the introduction to the recording of Jean talking about her 10-year-long adventure to save the 22-acre park for Alameda's residents.

■ Alameda Public Affairs Forum's Art and Gretchen Lipow and Joseph Woodard for use of the audio recording of Jean's talk to the forum about her adventure through the years working to save this wonderful piece of land as open space. Being able to hear her story in Jean's own words is priceless.

■ The people who took time to come to the meetings, fi ll out the online survey, add their email addresses to our list and the ARPD list, visit the Facebook page and come out early on a beautiful Saturday morning for a walk in the park. I'm sure those who came on the tour were amazed at how wonderful this 22-acre piece of land is and can imagine what a wonderful open space park Alamedans can create there.

The residents of Alameda supported the idea of a park in 2002 when they voted for the open-space zoning. Now they are ready to work with ARPD, the commissioners and the Jean Sweeney Open Space Park supporters to make this park a wonderful space that Alameda will be ecstatic about enriching the quality of the lives of its residents now and for generations to come.

— Dorothy Freeman Jean Sweeney Open Space Park Committee

An apology


At a school board meeting in late February, I stated that there was a personal relationship between the contractor who erected the fence around Historic Alameda High School and the Alameda Unifi ed School District Superintendent Kirsten Vital. The rumor, which I have repeated publicly, has proven to be incorrect.

I wish to acknowledge this error with my apology.

— Ashley Jones

Mount Trashmore land use


Our model of Mount Trashmore focuses on using exclusively recycled material and renewable energy. While our layout promotes sustainability, our design promotes local businesses and recycling within the Bay Area and the state of California. The basic design features public picnic areas, public dock usage and a number of California native themed gardens. All the wood used for the docks, benches and picnic tables are made from scrap lumber.

The bathrooms, located on either side of the gardens, use recycled porcelain, low-fl ow toilets, and are lit by solar power. The paths throughout the gardens and along the water are made from recycled glass and plastic materials ("glassphalt"), and are lined with natural buffering systems (succulent plants). Pathways are lit by solarpowered lights.

All the paths lead to a fountain located in the center of the area. The fountain, built or sculpted by a local artist, uses water from nearby San Leandro Bay, and is powered by solar energy. Other sculptures featured throughout the gardens promote local artists who use recycled/ recyclable materials. Tall, thick trees border the sides of the land area facing Doolittle Drive and the Bay Farm Island Bridge.

The garden sections are organized by theme around the various forms of California ecology, strictly featuring plants native to California.

All the plants in the garden are watered with drip irrigation installations. There are fi elds/meadows on either side of the gardens for communal use, with picnic areas on the southern side of the Mount Trashmore land area.

— Madeline Rose and Emma Finn

Time for Boy Scouts to change


Today the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) do not accept gay members. This must change so that we can teach our children true tolerance.

My two sons have joined the Alameda Pack 1076 as Cub Scouts over the past couple of years and they love the program. They built their own toolbox and were so proud. They learned to help others when they sang Christmas carols for the elderly.

They realized that it takes a lot of effort to support the environment when they worked on beach cleanups. And all along they made wonderful friendships built on respect and tolerance.

And then there is the BSA antigay membership rule looming over us: We all know that a certain number of Cub Scouts in my boys' dens will be gay. One day those boys all of a sudden will no longer be welcomed by the BSA, or even worse, those children will deny their true sexuality to continue to fi t in. It pains me knowing that every day I am responsible for adding to their future pain and suffering by being part of the Boy Scouts.

In May the BSA will vote on its membership policy. I hope the BSA will realize that sexual orientation has nothing to do with scouting and that the ban on gays must be removed. Once that is accomplished all the good that Boy Scouts do can truly shine again.

Readers who are interested in more information on tolerance in scouting can reach me at theiding@ yahoo.com.

— Mark Theiding

Indiana wants you


I am writing to you as part of a class project. We are working on a travel diary called "Walking across America." My classmates and I are contacting newspapers across the country in states we choose to learn more about. I picked Alameda because my father used to live there.

I would like your readers to write back to me about why they like living in California and what kind of things they do there.

I look forward to hearing from them.

— Maddie Dennison Queen of Peace Catholic School

4508 Vistula Road Mishawaka, IN 46544

Hostesses alive, well


Recently rumors have surfaced concerning the demise of the Alameda Hostesses, the Island City's premier clandestine fraternal organization of culinary obsessives, conservative political subversives and capitalist extremists. Be advised that these rumors are vicious lies, perpetrated by Alameda's leftist- socialist media cabal.

I would like to reassure the residents of Alameda that the hostesses are alive and well, and in spite of some recent political and economic setbacks to our myriad civic improvement projects, all 15,000 hostesses are still working hard — by any means necessary — to make Alameda a better, business friendly and morally pure place, for real Americans.

This year the hostesses are ready to capitalize on one of today's most important social issues, gun control. The hostesses will soon be marketing an innovative hightech gun-disabling product called "Wind-Breaker".

Engineered and built in Japan, the Wind-Breaker, when activated within 50 yards of a gun, will prevent the gun's ammunition primer and propellant from igniting, and will warp the gun's barrel, causing the gun to clog and jam.

Those who "bear arms" nearby will fi nd their arms "wind-broken" and unbearable.

The only drawback to this newtechnology, (although some fi nd it amusing) is the incredibly loud, (110db) rude noise it creates when it activates. The ultra low frequency burst is called "the fl atulence of Godzilla" by its Japanese inventors. It's a huge, blasting sound like "brrrrappp-foof." (Hence the name "Wind-Breaker".)

To me, it is no worse than being around my Uncle Fred, after a lima bean and ham hock dinner. Actually, I and other hostesses who don't like guns, fi nd that raucous brrrrappp-foof sound to be a great comfort; knowing that when our Wind-Breaker is on, no one with a gun can impose their will upon us.

The Alameda Hostesses will be proud to bring Wind-Breakers to Alameda, ending gun tyranny. We look forward to hearing that comforting brrrrappp-foof resonating all over the Island — and the world.

— Pandora Thighripple Humble Heavyweight Hostess Alameda Hostesses

Editors Note: Rumor has it demonstrations of the Wind-Breaker will be available locally by appointment beginning Monday, April 1.


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