Letters to the Editor

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I was glad to read last week that a new pool is reportedly on the way to Alameda, via a joint venture between the Alameda Unified School District and the City of Alameda (“City, Schools to Team up on Swim Center,” Jan. 18). This is very good news: the Emma Hood pool facility has been an embarrassment for years, and apparently is too small to even host high school swim meets.  

We have a thriving swim community here in Alameda. Let’s think big here. This is a much-needed city swim center. 

Just as an example, take a look at the Point Richmond Municipal Natatorium, a.k.a. the Plunge. That is a fantastic city resource, with a beautiful building, open to all, and something to be very proud of. Berkeley, San Francisco — many nearby towns — have spacious new facilities. 

We can do it! Let’s build something that will be a proud companion to the newly refurbished Alameda High School, and this time bring in the larger community as well, to a new Emma Hood City Swim Center!

Who was Emma Hood, anyway?

Gene Grealish

Editor’s note: Emma Hood worked as a cashier and custodian at the Alameda Swim Center as it was known when it opened in 1955. She was so popular among its patrons that in 1992, the city renamed the swim center in her honor. Hood’s career resonates with that of her daughter, Norma Arnerich, the city’s first female golf commissioner. The Norma Arnerich Teaching Academy at Corica Park Golf Course recognizes the fact that Arnerich supported young golfers well into her 90s.  


Good job, Board of Education!
What a notable accomplishment it is to have signed Pasquale Scuderi to the post of Superintendent of the Alameda Unified School District. He served Berkeley so well as he honed his skills as Berkeley High School (BHS) principal and assistant, then associate, Superintendent of Berkeley Schools. 

While life is not a chess game, I will state that Berkeley’s loss is Alameda’s gain. The two districts do differ in their issues, but for the Alameda Unified School District to pluck him in his prime is a near-silent, silken coup. Most impressive, and wonderful for Alameda moving forward. 

Administrators, teachers and staff, and especially parents and the learning people themselves, you will learn your good fortunes if you are of the crowd that pays attention. 

I was blessed with the opportunity to step in as the operations manager of BHS during Pasquale’s last years there, and I learned that he moves within an aura of calm perception and his wisdom is gracefully discharged, often with wit and humor. 

I think this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship, one in which all stakeholders on all sides of the tables will feel both seen and heard. It almost makes me wish my kids were still in school, well, nah, it doesn’t go that far, but young families of Alameda, know that delivery of high-quality education to your children has quality at the helm. 


David Kirwin, former Alameda school parent

We moved to Alameda in 1973. We reared our children here, Alameda was just what we wanted.  We became involved in the schools and the swim centers. The kids participated in sports and community theater. They graduated from Alameda high schools and all went on to college.

We moved to our current home in 1982, a rundown Victorian and spent a lot of dollars and sweat restoring it to its original beauty.  

In the early 1990s, we decided to rebuild the uninhabitable second unit. It turned out to be a win-win. Tenants loved the charming cottage (and its below-market rent). We gained new friends, and we had a little extra to pay down the home improvement loan.

When we retired, we made the decision to direct that extra money to shared experiences with our grandchildren.

And that brings us to today. When our last tenant moved to be closer to her place of employment, we made the decision not to actively seek another tenant for the cottage, even though we knew it would have an impact on our grandchildren’s adventures.

One of the basic tenets of financial management for seniors on a fixed income is “Do Not Take Financial Risks!” With required relocation costs and just-cause restrictions looming, we had to face the fact that renting the cottage could become a huge financial risk. We recognized the potential overwhelming financial costs related to evicting a problem tenant. 

I am sure there are others like us who will eventually decide that they can’t afford those risks and they will leave the market.

That is when we decided it was time to leave our beloved Alameda.  We sold the house and will leave this Sunday. There is excitement for our new adventures, sadness as we leave behind so many positive memories and good friends, and a degree of bitterness at being driven out.

Goodbye, Alameda. For the most part you’ve been so good to us and we to you

Barbara Rasmussen