Letters to the Editor

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Dear AUSD Community:
With Thanksgiving week upon us, I want to extend my gratitude and appreciation to our entire staff and our families. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to serve this community and blessed to work with educators, employees, and families who not only value education, but demonstrate a willingness to rethink, reimagine, or reinvent what that education looks like for students.

There is much to celebrate in our schools, but above all we are thankful for our students: their irrepressible candor in discussions, their unbound curiosity and creativity, their hard work, and their managing of the range of uncertainty and newness they navigate at all levels of their education as growing people. They can try our patience, pressure check our proverbial last nerves, but they are amazing and filled with potential that is readily observable in some, buried deeper in others, but present in all. Our futures as adults are inextricably linked to the opportunities and outcomes we support and facilitate for all of them.

We can both celebrate the things we are doing well in the present and push ourselves as a community to create even better, more responsive, more impactful educational experiences for our kids. We can dent the disturbing racial predictability that we and other districts still see in many outcomes for students, we can consistently work against any and all forms of bias, remind ourselves to be reflective and creative in our lesson design, and never relent in a commitment to craft school environments that are welcoming, respectful, stimulating, and supportive for everyone.

We may not be there yet, but again, we can both celebrate the present positives, and also lock our efforts in on our challenges, and be thankful for both what we have accomplished as well as the opportunity to work towards the better together for kids.

"Happiness," wrote author Shawn Achor, "is not the belief that we don't need to change, it's the realization that we can."

I very much appreciate the opportunity to work with and for you all and wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.

— AUSD Superintendent Pasquale Scuderi

Editor’s Note: This letter was originally published in AUSD monthly newsletter.

Recently, my car got towed. It caused me to learn that, in Alameda, any car that hasn’t moved for three days is considered legally abandoned and in need of a tow. One morning I found a warning notice sticker on my car’s window that it would get towed again soon.

Hoping to avoid another $675 ransom and uber ride to get it back again, I drove down to Marti’s diner to ponder the situation. Then it hit me. Rather than complain or, God-forbid, try to reform the rules…I’d go into the tow avoidance business!

Come Xmas break, thousands of cars in our fair city will be legally “abandoned” and in need of tows as their owners selfishly visit loved ones. And $675 is just for starters. Towing companies charge three-figure daily “storage fees” (because dirt lots in industrial Oakland are in that kind of demand).

So, over Christmas (assuming a zealous and evenhanded enforcement of the law) the fees per vacationing family could get to well over $1,000, maybe even $2,000! In light of that, paying me a mere $300 to move your car every three days means a net savings to you of $300 to $1,700!

Yes, you heard that right. In Alameda it makes financial sense to pay someone $600/week to pointlessly drive your car while you’re out of town.

My kids heard my business plan and asked me why a car left un-driven for three days should be considered abandoned? They pointed out that not driving for 3 or 10 days is scant evidence that you’ve decided to throw away a $50k car. People self-isolating with COVID-19 probably intend to use their cars again. And people with the flu. And people on business trips.

I told them that the real motive is to make sure Alamedans emit our fair share of greenhouse gases.

So, drop me a line at tows@thekings.org (really, do it)! My slogan is “It’s cheaper than not driving your car a minimum of 1 mile every three days for no reason in accordance with the law.”

— Bradley King

Alameda Community:
Unfortunately, trash left along the shoreline in Alameda blows into the San Francisco Bay, endangering Bay wildlife. The Rotary Club of Alameda participates in San Francisco Bay Hope Spots shoreline clean up the second Saturday of each month at 10 a.m. to noon at Alameda Waterfront Park 2151 Ferry Point. At a recent clean up, Rotary Club of Alameda members picked up eight buckets of trash, protecting the Bay from this pollution. The public is welcome to participate.

Rotary is all about service above self and we partner with non-profits in town to give back to the community. In addition to the shoreline clean ups, Rotary provides the Midway Shelter a dinner every other month; has monthly weeding and trash cleanup at Jean Sweeney Park; helps the Scouts sort food gathered from the Scouting for Food annual event for the Food Bank; parks bikes for the public attending the Alameda Boy’s and Girl’s Club annual fund raiser; contributes to Alameda Education Foundation’s Back-to-School Backpack Drive; the Friends of Alameda Animal Shelter jewelry drive; the Girls Inc. Children’s Holiday Sale Drive; and plants trees in Alameda parks with 100K Trees for Humanity.

If your non-profit could use some help from Rotary, email Joyce Mercado, Rotary Community Service Chair, at jlmercado246@gmail.com. If you are interested in joining Rotary to give back to the community, email rotaryclubofalameda@gmail.com.

— Rotary Club of Alameda