Letters to the Editor

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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

I have been following the effect of climate change and potential rise in sea level for some time. I was interested in seeing what the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the City of Alameda had to say. Unfortunately, neither site proved useful.  

The Alameda site got me to an “accept box,” which I did, and was presented with a map of Alameda, pretty but uninformative. The FEMA site proved not much more useful.  Here are a couple of websites which I think provide useful info with the option for what-if scenarios.

A European site shows the effect of rising sea level in meters. With patience, one can get to Alameda at flood.firetree.net.

The Seeing Climate Central site shows Alameda with its climate and allows the viewer to enter different scenarios. Visit www.seeing.climatecentral.org and type in Alameda CA USA. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) climate change predictions anticipate an increase of approximately one degree Centigrade by 2050. The map mentioned above shows a seven-foot sea-level rise with that scenario.  

NOAA predicts 3.5 degrees Centigrade or 6.8 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100; the map shows a 26-foot sea-level rise at that temperature. Visit the NOAA website at climate.gov.

Who is to say how realistic these predictions are? They do make our island pretty small.


Robert Anderson


As a parent from Bay Farm Island, I think Alameda Unified School District’s (AUSD) proposal to merge high schools is a bad idea. To put it simply, this proposal lacks vision.

Property tax is the main revenue for the city. Alameda has top elementary and middle schools such as Bay Farm, Edison, Earhart and Lincoln schools.

But its high schools are so-so. That is why so many parents moved out of Alameda to areas where their kids can attend top public high schools. That is why Alameda’s property value increase is lagging behind!

Merging an okay high school (Alameda High School) with a marginal one will upset many more parents for sure. This will cause a big dent in the property values!

I think AUSD should come up with a different proposal to make Alameda High a top high school in California instead. For example: only residents east of Park Street can attend Alameda High. And charge tuition or a donation of $1,000 to $5,000 to help retain teachers and improve programs just for that school.


Steven Gu