Letters to the Editor

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Editor:
As a neighbor to the proposed site for the Alameda Point Collaborative’s (APC) Wellness Center, I write to request that my neighbors and friends withdraw the open space ballot initiative scheduled for special election on Tuesday, April 9. The ballot initiative is costly, unnecessary and a threat to medically fragile, homeless seniors.

First, the ballot initiative is costly. The election alone will cost the city more than $500,000. If passed, the initiative will then obligate the city to spend approximately $11.7 million to renovate or demolish the existing federal buildings and create a park, plus $140,000 annually to maintain it. This taxpayer money could and should be used elsewhere.

Second, the ballot initiative is unnecessary. Alameda is already blessed with numerous parks and open spaces, and the East Bay Regional Park District has no interest in the proposed site. With Crab Cove, Crown Beach and Washington Park in the same vicinity, the adjacent parcel of land on McKay Avenue would make little difference.

Most importantly, the initiative will delay and could even prevent medically fragile seniors from receiving supportive housing and care. APC has a proven track record of caring for people experiencing homelessness, and their proposed wellness center is desperately needed given the rising cost of housing and the insecurity facing seniors in the Bay Area. Indeed, the center is a humanitarian endeavor that Alamedans should be proud to support.

In closing, my family and I live in the Park Webster Condominiums across McKay from the proposed site for the wellness center. Like our neighbors and friends, we love Crab Cove! My one-year-old and I frequent the visitor center at least once a week, and we often play along Crown Beach and the marine conservation area. Having a wellness center next door would not detract from these treasures. Instead, the APC Wellness Center would increase the number of reasons we choose to make Alameda our home.

Please, neighbors and friends, withdraw the open space ballot initiative. It presents an unneeded cost to the city, and it could prevent medically fragile seniors from receiving the housing and care they desperately need.

 

Duke W. Austin, PhD Assistant Professor of Sociology, California State University, East Bay

 

Editor:
As faith leaders in Alameda, we wholeheartedly support Alameda Point Collaborative’s efforts to create a center on McKay Avenue that cares for homeless seniors and individuals with acute medical needs. People in need often come to our churches looking for help that we are ill-equipped to provide. The proposed center would meet a need that we have seen firsthand. 

In light of some of the opposition to this project, we feel compelled to ask a challenging question as ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ: Who do we want to be? What values should define our community? Do we want to be a place where the lowest common denominator determines our future? Or do we want to be an island of hope in the midst of the hopelessness that afflicts so many around us? 

Island City Faith Coalition has spent the past two years praying and seeking to support solutions to the housing and homelessness crisis afflicting the Bay Area. We believe this proposal is a small but hope-filled answer to the problem. Will we let cynicism set the direction of our community? Or will we take a step forward toward making this island a place of peace and justice for all our neighbors? 

Our homeless neighbors are people just like us, made in the image of God. They aren’t to be feared, isolated or ignored. They’re worthy of dignity, respect, and love. That is a message of hope and inclusion we should all want for our children and our community. 

 

Jeff Locke, Steve Quen, Nathan Batres Montoya & Mark Hofman, Island City Faith Coalition

 

Editor:
In today’s politically polarized America, it seems impossible to bridge the chasm between red and blue. This alarming phenomenon has divided communities, created social media chaos and made even family gatherings uncomfortable. How did we get here, and what can be done to knit Americans of all political persuasions back together?

You can find out by attending the League of Women Voters’ upcoming forum, “Bridging the Partisan Divide,” next Thursday, Jan. 24, at Phoenix Alameda, 2315 Lincoln Ave. Speakers will include experts on political polarization, and representatives from Better Angels, a nonpartisan group that strives to bring red and blue Americans together.

The forum begins at 6:30 p.m., and is free and open to the public. More info is available at www.lwvalameda.org/calendar.html. 

 

Georgia Gates Derr & Michele Ellson, LWV Alameda

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