Letters to the Editor

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Given our climate crisis, it blows me away to see, hear and smell two stroke engines roaring around me. I have noticed a proliferation of what I call “mow-and-blow teams” that come through my neighborhood almost daily to exact their planned assault on the mostly dried up lawns that surround me. 

Surely these noise- and air-polluting yard tools should have been outlawed by now, I think to myself. No wonder bees and butterflies no longer coexist with us.

I could not hold it in this morning, when I noticed a large cloud of dust and fumes in our backyard engulfing our vegetable bed. Perhaps it’s because my son is home from college; I ran out to ask the unsuspecting fellow working next door not to blow debris in the direction of my backyard. He seemed not to hear or understand as I gesticulated to get his attention over the 100 decibel tool he was wielding. I let him know that my son and I suffer from severe allergies and that he should not blow dirt in our direction. He shrugged his shoulders and continued his task. 

We live in a small community in tiny houses on tiny lots. Most of us live in passively cooled homes. Our windows were left open at night and early morning to allow the lovely bay-freshened air during this heat spell to cool our house. Instead, a cloud of dust entered our kitchen, and my throat is still itchy as I write this. 

Do we need to resort to shutting windows and plugging in air purifiers instead? I appeal to you, dear neighbor, to stay at home with windows open while your hired hands do your dirty work. You might be compelled to make a different choice of yard care. 


Alexandra Odabachian

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.

Cindy Houts Executive Director Alameda Food Bank

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.


Ashley Jones