Letters to the Editor

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The Alameda Sun received a copy of this letter.

Dear Madam Mayor and City Councilmembers:
I wanted to share with you a write-up on a recent pedestrian fatality that appears to have received zero media attention. We must not accept the fate Joao Batista and the others listed here, as a normal cost of doing business in Alameda.

  • At 6:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 21, Joao Batista was walking northbound crossing Clinton Avenue along Park Street when he was struck by the driver of a car. Batista died from the injuries he sustained in the crash. 

The driver was travelling southbound on Park Street when, according to a preliminary accounting by Alameda Police Department, he decided to turn right and use Clinton to avoid waiting at the stoplight at Park and Otis Drive.

The driver stayed on the scene and there is no indication that drugs or alcohol played a role in the incident.

There have been seven fatal collisions involving pedestrians in Alameda since 2011. 

  • In 2011, on a spring afternoon, Marlene King was in a crosswalk at Mecartney and Ironwood roads. In this location, Mecartney has five vehicle lanes, a median, bike lanes, a parking lane and a bus stop to cross from curb to curb. King, 74, had more than 110 feet to cross when she had to decide if it was safe to leave the curb.
  • Early one April morning in 2014, Carol Weston, 64, was crossing Otis Drive near the Safeway gas station when she was hit by the driver of a minivan who said he did not see her. There is no crosswalk in this location. There is one 600 feet to the west and another 650 feet to the east. Otis is six lanes wide in this location. News reports all noted that the victim was “not in a crosswalk.” 
  • At 5:39 p.m., Dec. 11, 2014, Sam Sause was in the crosswalk on Otis Drive at Grand Street when the driver of an AC Transit bus struck him. This large intersection does not have separate signal phases for left turning vehicles and pedestrians.
  • On the night of May 24, 2015, James Owens was in a crosswalk at Lincoln Avenue and Park Street when he was struck by a driver. At the time of the collision, the crosswalk across Lincoln was more than seven lanes wide.
  • Midday on Sept. 7, 2015, renowned blues singer and guitarist Augusta Lee Collins, 69, was in the crosswalk crossing Constitution Way at Marina Village Parkway. The operator of a work truck for a local plumbing company hit him after exiting the Webster Tube. It is approximately 100 feet from one side of Constitution to the other. A local newspaper headline said “Accident Takes Blues Legend” and “a truck” hit Collins. The article did not mention the existence, much less actions of any driver. 
  • At 11:30 a.m. on Mother’s Day 2016, Philip Lee, 77, was crossing Shore Line Drive in a crosswalk near the post office when an eastbound driver hit him. There are three travel lanes in this area of Shore Line and there is no parking anywhere near the crosswalk which could impair a driver’s visibility.

Each of these incidents gives us an opportunity to reflect: on the lives lost and on how we can — and must — do better for our friends and neighbors who just want to safely reach the other curb. 

We at Bike Walk Alameda are deeply saddened by Joao Batista’s passing. We hope you have a safe and healthy 2019.

Brian McGuire Board President Bike Walk Alameda

Editor:
Big kudos to these amazing girls and their troop leaders, (“Girl Scouts Give Back,” Jan. 17). They could have raised money for their own pleasure, but instead chose to help homeless animals. What a wonderful thing. Their unselfish actions touched my heart.

Thank you girls, you’re obviously very special young ladies.

 

Judge Kimberly Briggs Alameda County Superior Court, Juvenile Justice Center

Editor:
I’ve been reading the arguments presented in opposition to the wellness center on McKay Avenue, and I am appalled. The inaccurate argument about costs is a strawman argument. The issue is not about costs, which have been thoroughly explained multiple times by supporters and are available through the city. 

Those who are against the project are shielding themselves from the truth: they just don’t want “homeless” or addicted people in their little world of nannies, cute shops and an imaginary “make America great again” delusion. Be real, at least. Admit you don’t want “those people” disrupting your vision of Alameda according to Disney. 

I am dismayed by the selfishness, deliberate ignorance and cynical naivete expressed by the opponents. The seniors and medically needy are us — people. Nimbyism is a symptom of the disease infecting this country, and the opponents to this project are part of the disease, not the cure. 

They think they are immune from the consequences of a disaster or a disease. They won’t lose their jobs and become homeless; they and their loved ones would never fall into the terrible pit of addiction because they are good people, smart people, responsible people and homelessness and addiction only happen to bad people. Scratch the surface of these arguments, and there it is.

This project won’t “take away the park from our children” as opponents endlessly cry. The real cost of trashing this humanitarian project is the loss of humanity, thus contributing to the national ugliness so despairingly rampant today. Wake up. Be honest. Contribute to the well-being of those who are so much less fortunate. 

I own a house near the park. I go there nearly every day. I love it. And I want people who do not have my good fortune to be able to look out the window and enjoy the beauty, smell the salty air and revel in the splendor of the trees and grass. 

I want them to have something of what I have, by the grace of God, so the devastating wounds that have brought them to despair can begin to heal. I’ve worked with homeless people, mentally ill and addicted people, and they are phenomenal human beings given half a chance, a willing ear and a listening heart.

Finally, a parable: There are two identical rooms, and each has a long table covered with a cornucopia of food. People are sitting around both tables; each has a 12-inch-long spoon tied to each hand. In one room, people are starving because they can’t get the food to their mouths. However, in the other room, everyone is healthy, smiling and talking to each other because they figured out the long spoons were the perfect length for feeding the person next to them. 

 

Kathryn Hopping

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