Wonderful Alameda


I’ve lived in Alameda for a relatively short time. My wife and I moved here five years ago, and we now live here with our 11-month-old son. As a new Alamedan who plans to stay, I’d like to respectfully disagree with Jo Williams in her assessment of the Alameda of today. (“Island life deteriorating in quite a few areas,” July 19). 

I do not wish to discredit her opinion. Her views are shaped by her experience. How she feels is neither right, nor wrong. However, the Alameda where I live is a much different place than the one Williams describes. 

It’s a vibrant, beautiful, diverse City on the Bay full of love, charm, character and beauty. The Alameda where I live celebrates diversity, and is full of caring neighbors and strangers who say hello when crossing your path. 

My interactions with fellow Alamedans are overwhelmingly positive. I spend a lot of time outdoors in my neighborhood walking around, eating out, visiting the nearest corner store or going to the park. Wherever I go, I’m surrounded by people who are smiling, kind and talkative. In my profession, I work alongside police officers who are responsive, and genuinely care for the well-being of the people of Alameda.

Williams’ letter references a number of places that used to exist in Alameda, and “places for teens to go, be safe and enjoy.” Many of these places, or types of these places still exist. There are some new ones too. 

Sure, Alameda isn’t perfect. There are facets of Alameda that I could do without. There are still unfriendly people here; we are not immune to crime and people who insist on double parking. I’m sure that Alameda has changed, and I’m also sure it will continue to do so. 

But, the Alameda where I live is a great place to live and raise a family. This is why people want to live here. Things change, and change can be tough. I feel passionately that the wonderful Alameda is still here. The eyes of this beholder see this Alameda every day. I have family, friends and colleagues who love the Alameda of today as well.

I hope that everyone here will help to keep Alameda wonderful. I invite everyone who feels similarly, to help revive the parts of Alameda that were loved and are no longer here. We can all do our part to help our community, in ways that are big or small. 

I hope that readers will do their part, and I will pledge to do mine. We can start small together by helping a stranger, picking up trash on our streets rather than stepping over it and positively engaging with our vibrant, beautiful and wonderful Alameda.


Shawn Smith