Letters to the Editor
Nearly 10,000 Alameda school kids are back in class now after a summer of freedom. Odds are that one in four isn’t always getting enough to eat.
The poverty rate for children attending Alameda schools is a little more than 25 percent, meaning that about 2,500 kids live in homes struggling to make ends meet. A little more than 30 percent of Alameda Unified School District students qualify for free or reduced-price meals. The story is similar throughout the nation.
The problem is likely to get worse before it gets better. Proposed regulations tightening eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will result in half a million school children nationwide being dropped from the U.S. Deptartment of Agriculture’s free lunch program, including many in Alameda.
Children who don’t get enough to eat don’t do well in school. They have trouble concentrating and their brains don’t develop effectively. This creates a lifelong disadvantage and fosters a cycle of poverty.
The Alameda Food Bank (AFB) exists to fill the gap left when government programs don’t go far enough to meet the needs of our neighbors who have trouble putting enough food on the table. More than 5,000 people turn to us every year for help.
Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to be sure children are well-nourished. If you are fortunate enough to be able to pack a healthy school lunch for your kid, give some thought to those who cannot. A donation of $1 allows AFB to purchase $7 worth of nutritious food for your kid’s classmate. Visit our website at www.alamedafoodbank.org/donate to find out all the ways you can help.
Reading in the paper about the plans for South Shore (“South Shore Plans Have Barely Begun,” Aug. 22) I recall the first time I visited Alameda in 1952, when there was no South Shore. I went down to the end of Laurel Street and dipped my feet into the bay.
When I read about Jamestown with its big plans to renovate or update the shopping center on South Shore, I think about when I moved here with my bride in 1957, when the landfill was brand new. Alameda was still a small town with a small-town atmosphere.
Those are now memories I cherish. But they are long gone, and now there are plans for a new South Shore.
I guess times change, but I don’t have to like the changes, and it’s not too late for others like myself to stand up and say, “No!” By the time this project is completed I will be long gone, but for the sake of those still here, stand up, Alameda, and say, “No!”
Alameda is truly becoming a city. Alameda will continue to change, beyond the reach of my lifetime. I don’t want to be an old curmudgeon. I have no say in what is to become of Alameda. I now leave it those who will be here to enjoy it. Bon voyage.
In response to the landlords’ complaints about regulation, I would like to talk about the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is used in the annual rent increase calculation.
The federal government provides an annual index of inflation based on the primary human expenses. This index is a weighted average of standardized personal expenses, Shelter (housing) makes up 33 percent. Shelter is made up of the equivalent cost of the landlords’ property, the cost to the renter, cost of other lodging and renter’s insurance.
Each year, landlords have cost increases, forcing them to raise rents. If they were limited to the index of inflation (as is part of the new regulations), they would be limited to only the average of all rentals in their area. In this case, all landlords would raise rates the same percentage, so we could all plan on the financial burden. Hopefully, we all get a cost-of-living raise.
Looking at the current proposed regulations, landlords can increase rent by the CPI plus 7 percent. As of July 2019, the U.S. Annual CPI Shelter Index was 3.5 percent. So, any new agreements would all be 10.5 percent higher! Landlords get a 7 percent bonus on top of their increase in cost to provide housing. They also get to deduct interest, depreciation, repairs, personal property, business travel, office, employees, insurance, legal and 20 percent of rental income from pretax annual income.
How many homeowners can afford a 10.5 percent increase in their monthly mortgage payments? Renters, know your rights! Check out California’s tenant laws online.