Letters to the Editor

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Now that Shore Line Drive has been "graced" with bicycle lanes; does the city have enough schillings left in its coffers to install a few more benches along the area?

Shore Line Drive stretches 1.5 miles from Westline Drive to Broadway. The distance between existing benches is equal to two plus football fields. Try that walk with a bad hip, knees or whatever old age has blessed you with.

Being an Alameda resident for 60 years, a senior and disabled, how gratifying to be able to sit and also enjoy the scenic views awarded the able-bodied cyclist.

New locations near the restroom facilities should be avoided (reasons being apparent).

Let’s hear it for the "cotton heads" (seniors).

Beverly Church

The Alameda Sun received a copy of this letter.


City Council, Mayor Spencer and taxpayers:

Alameda is facing the potential of a new period of economic pain due to efforts to rescind certain economic development projects. These attempts could cost the city hundreds of thousands in State funding and require the city to spend millions of dollars on infrastructure replacement.

In addition to the strain on the city’s budget, a decision to rescind decisions made by our City Council sends a message of instability to businesses considering expansion into Alameda. This message encourages companies to do business with other cities whose word is their bond.

Government inconsistency combined with insufficient infrastructure, like roads and utilities, limits the city’s ability to attract new businesses and new jobs. It could even result in the loss of existing businesses and the jobs

Without businesses, the burden falls directly on Alameda residents to fund budget deficits and maintain properly equipped fire and police departments. Tax increases may be the next shoe to drop.

In recent years the Island City’s economy has overcome political in-fighting and has turned budget deficits into surpluses. Plans for redevelopment of blighted buildings have moved forward to the delight of nearby residents, increased taxes on homeowners have been averted, civil services have been strengthened, and our business districts are once again providing products and services that helped Alameda to be voted one of the most desirable places to live in the United States.

Certainly, progress doesn’t come without challenges. However, countless hours of thorough planning by city staff and its community partners have skillfully crafted solutions to provide affordable housing, traffic management, infrastructure replacement and the end of blight in Alameda.

For instance, projects such as the redevelopment of the Del Monte warehouse and Alameda Point include traffic management solutions and replacing the badly deteriorated utility infrastructure at the Point. More importantly, the repeal of these projects robs the city of revenue that is paramount in keeping property and sales tax increases to a minimum.

Repeal of progressive
economic development is the not the solution to the city’s
challenges. These can only be met with action.

Delays threaten to send Alameda back into a time of political in-fighting and tarnishes the city’s reputation in the Bay Area’s greater business community. The likely result will be economic pain due to fewer jobs and higher taxes.

The progressive view of the future held by Alamedans has enabled its residents to reap the benefits of hard-fought projects like the library and the renaissance of the Alameda Theatre & Cineplex.

I urge our residents to, once again, look beyond the fear and embrace the Del Monte warehouse and Alameda Point projects.

We can all stand proudly by sending a message that "Alameda’s Word is Its Bond."

Michael McDonough, President, Alameda Chamber of Commerce


Please correct your characterization of the death of Raymond Zack off Crown Beach on Memorial Day 2011 ("2014 Year in Review," Dec. 25).

Zack did not drown. He died of hypothermia, a much longer and, one would think, a more painful process. This was the Alameda fire and police departments’ version of a botched execution of a helpless victim who had not been accused of any crime, had not been represented by an attorney, had not been bound over for trial following a preliminary hearing, had not been indicted and had not been tried by a jury of his peers.

He was, however, sentenced to death by an incredibly callous group of public safety officers. His death was viewed by several, if not dozens, of horrified observers, who, unlike the usual witnesses to the infliction of capital punishment, did not request to view his killing.

You also state that the episode demonstrated the need for a fire boat. It is more likely that no watercraft whatsoever was required on that occasion. Press accounts stated that the first U. S. Coast Guard boat sent to rescue Zack could not navigate the shallow waters in which Zack found himself.

Has it ever occurred to those who defend or even explain the conduct of our paid servants that the Coast Guard, being — almost by definition — intimately familiar with the depths and other conditions of San Francisco Bay, anticipated that land-based, non-Coast Guard personnel would have been able to effect a rescue so close to the shore?

It is reasonable to anticipate that the new City Council will again consider the city’s response to the Zack’s death? At his "Town Hall" meeting last Sept. 15, then-candidate Frank Matarrese stated honestly and firmly that "there is not a culture known on earth" which would find the conduct of the Alameda public safety officers to be acceptable. Matarrese indicated that he would consider a request to the Alameda County Superior Court to set aside the dismissal of the Zack lawsuit.

In my opinion, however, the city’s soul can be saved without a reopening of litigation. The new City Council can very easily enact a resolution which would not imply that its public safety officers were either morally obligated or legally obligated to try to save Zack. It would, however, recognize that, in all likelihood, the conduct of the public safety officers helped to cause Zack’s death.

The resolution would state very simply that the public safety officers were able to try to rescue Zack; that it is likely that, if the public safety officers had attempted to save Zack, they would have been successful; that the city regrets that the city’s public safety officers did not attempt to rescue Zack; that the city regrets that its public safety officers prohibited bystanders from attempting to save Zack; and that the city regrets that Zack suffered a needless, undeserved and very painful death.

John Zugnoni

Editor’s note: The Alameda County Coroner attributed the cause of Zack’s death to drowning. The incident called attention to the city’s need for a boat and the personnel needed to handle the boat.