Letters to the Editor

Registered users may submit a Letter to the Editor after they first log in.

Editor:

Remember how in the old days our city employees worked to enhance the safety and quality of life for the residents of Alameda? Well, judging by what we’ve been experiencing over the past few years, those days appear to be long gone as we witness that at least one of the most outspoken members of the senior staff who is willing to accept pay checks from us and feel entitled to be eligible to receive a very generous pension plan appears to be working not for us, but for the political machine in Sacramento.

On the Nov. 15, the Planning Director presented to the City Council and recommended for approval, his own personal plan to upzone every one of our neighborhoods. And if accepted by the Council, developers will be allowed to construct apartment buildings wherever in the city they see fit and without being required to upgrade infrastructure. They won’t be required to expand the neighborhood electrical or water access or expand the sewar system that will be required to handle the increased flow from their projects’ occupants.

The plan in question was submitted directly to the state by our city staff without first obtaining the approval of the Planning Board, let alone the City Council. The plan that was submitted to the state was designed by staff apparently for the sole purpose of complying with what staff believed was required by Sacramento’s political machine. And given that the state’s housing requirement, referred to as RHNA, can be satisfied quite easily without the need for universal upzoning, I believe it is safe to conclude that the plan was drafted in a fashion that would satisfy the politicians without any regard for what would best serve the residents of Alameda.

Altarena Playhouse Accusations

Editor:

I was greatly disturbed to see a lengthy article about Alameda's Altarena Playhouse in the San Francisco Chronicle (“‘A vindictive, passive-aggressive move’: Bay Area community theater faces allegations of racism, workplace misconduct,” Oct. 31). The allegations were very concerning — racism, COVID protocols, and even physically unsafe working conditions! The new Artistic Director, Katina Letheule, has been described as "aloof and antagonistic", according to the Chronicle, regarding safety concerns such as nails sticking out or not giving actors basic supplies such as tape, tissues, or paper towels.

As for racial concerns, Letheule called Jewish and Italian people out for the way they speak, and the experiences of Lamont Ridgewell and Eric Gould, who both had to reaudition for La Cage Au Folles after landing their parts, which, even after reading the article, I could still not understand.

I mean, sure, it's clear the director was trying a new direction, but the situation is so illogical there's no common sense to be found. (Not to mention the ever "confusing" problem of what to do with people of colors' hair!) Earlier in the year, The 39 Steps was canceled due to the Omicron variant, or, as it seems to be in the article, the lack of precautions for the actors. While I admit I thought, up until this article's publishing, they should have performed as COVID is here to stay, I was unaware there weren't precautions for the actors, which is simply not acceptable.

I was heartbroken to read accusations against Star Valdez, who I have always found friendly and was so happy to see return to Altarena. I only hope her view was that of mine, that COVID is here to stay, but we don't want anyone to be in a higher level of danger.

There's been controversy at Altarena before, when one of my favorite local actors, Clay David, suddenly did not work with them anymore. Whispers went around as to why, but I'm sure we don't know for sure.

I will be going to plays next year because I wish to support the unproblematic people who work there (THE ACTORS), and I assume crew/backstage. I'll conclude by saying I know the Chronicle, as every source, has biases, so I know they are painting Altarena as a villain, and there's two sides to every story. However, the fact this article has been published means they clearly did something wrong, or it wouldn't exist to begin with. I hope this does not hurt theatre in Alameda, and that those who no longer contribute positively to the Altarena will be replaced.

— Hillary Pritchard

— Jay Garfinkle

Editor:
I was greatly disturbed to see a lengthy article about Alameda's Altarena Playhouse in the San Francisco Chronicle (“‘A vindictive, passive-aggressive move’: Bay Area community theater faces allegations of racism, workplace misconduct,” Oct. 31; https://datebook.sfchronicle.com/theater/a-vindictive-passive-aggressive...). The allegations were very concerning — racism, COVID protocols, and even physically unsafe working conditions! The new Artistic Director, Katina Letheule, has been described as "aloof and antagonistic", according to the Chronicle, regarding safety concerns such as nails sticking out or not giving actors basic supplies such as tape, tissues, or paper towels.

As for racial concerns, Letheule called Jewish and Italian people out for the way they speak, and the experiences of Lamont Ridgewell and Eric Gould, who both had to reaudition for La Cage Au Folles after landing their parts, which, even after reading the article, I could still not understand.

I mean, sure, it's clear the director was trying a new direction, but the situation is so illogical there's no common sense to be found. (Not to mention the ever "confusing" problem of what to do with people of colors' hair!) Earlier in the year, The 39 Steps was canceled due to the Omicron variant, or, as it seems to be in the article, the lack of precautions for the actors. While I admit I thought, up until this article's publishing, they should have performed as COVID is here to stay, I was unaware there weren't precautions for the actors, which is simply not acceptable.

I was heartbroken to read accusations against Star Valdez, who I have always found friendly and was so happy to see return to Altarena. I only hope her view was that of mine, that COVID is here to stay, but we don't want anyone to be in a higher level of danger.

There's been controversy at Altarena before, when one of my favorite local actors, Clay David, suddenly did not work with them anymore. Whispers went around as to why, but I'm sure we don't know for sure.

I will be going to plays next year because I wish to support the unproblematic people who work there (THE ACTORS), and I assume crew/backstage. I'll conclude by saying I know the Chronicle, as every source, has biases, so I know they are painting Altarena as a villain, and there's two sides to every story. However, the fact this article has been published means they clearly did something wrong, or it wouldn't exist to begin with. I hope this does not hurt theatre in Alameda, and that those who no longer contribute positively to the Altarena will be replaced.

— Hillary Pritchard

Editor:
In the Sept. 8th issue of the Alameda Sun (“Stiffing the teachers,” https://alamedasun.com/letters/16076) Jeffrey R Smith, a frequent contributor to the Sun, alleged that he had been “stiffed” for the $413.87 he spent, at the request of the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD), to set up a Zoom classroom for remotely teaching math from Encinal High during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

My sources tell us that “AUSD is still sitting on $7 million in government COVID aid."

Whether this is true or not is actually irrelevant.

After his 25 years of teaching math, Smith has retired; the last we heard, he was still waiting on his reimbursement for ZOOM classroom equipment such as HDMI cords, cameras, headsets, boom mic, and tripods.

To be clear, Smith (as he demanded we call him) was my AP Statistics teacher in 2002; as he warned us, “Expectation is the first step on the highway to disappointment.”

Nonetheless, “A Promise Made is a Debt Unpaid,” as Nietzsche wrote in “The Morality of Commitment and the Commitments of Morality.”

As Smith reported, the district’s backtracking on promises, reneging on its assurances, and welching on its obligation to honor a debt, took the form of an email: “In order to be fair to other (sic) whom (sic) also missed the deadline and got declined, I regret to inform you that we cannot proceed with your claim (for) reimbursement.”

Whether this email was from the superintendent or a minion, makes little difference; welching is welching.

Ignoring evidence of apparent mismanagement and cavalier treatment of valuable teachers, a fund source should have been found back in January of 2021, when Smith claims to have initially requested reimbursement.

Since 2020, inflation has been nibbling away at that reimbursement to the tune of 8% annually.

Has the district demonstrated its “Morality of Commitment” or “Commitments of Morality” by paying its debt to Smith and the others who “got declined?”

If not, then to clear his name and act with integrity, the superintendent should explain publicly why he is cheating Smith and others out of their money for administrative convenience.

— Jolie Scott

Pages