Letters to the Editor

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Editor:

Many observers were aware that David Armijo was doing a good job as AC Transit’s general manager. His abrupt and unexpected departure on March 26 therefore came as an unpleasant surprise.

Armijo was the first AC Transit general manager (GM) in a long time to be a competent and effective staff leader. He had enough experience to know how to bring AC Transit up to standard and possessed the courage and persistence to follow through effectively.

As was recently acknowledged by AC Transit’s Board President H. E. Christian Peeples AC Transit’s anemic ridership had at last begun to rise during Armijo’s tenure. The rise in AC Transit’s financial position during Armijo’s tenure as GM was even more
impressive.

He put a young and energetic group of planners to work modernizing AC Transit bus routes by eliminating unnecessary loops, turns, zigzags and detours, and by making other needed operational improvements. Despite this, AC Transit’s board saw fit to force him to resign, and that’s too bad.

Now AC Transit’s board of directors is asking for help in determining the qualities that AC Transit’s next GM should possess. Here are a few suggestions:

 Resurrect a decrepit bus operation whose daily ridership is currently roughly 100,000 lower than it was 15 years ago. The new GM should have the experience and perspicacity to know what’s needed and the courage to make the necessary changes.

 Work effectively with the many cities, regional and state agencies, transportation organizations and funding authorities affected by and associated with AC Transit’s far-flung
operation.

 Be able to lead and inspire the AC Transit staff to outdo itself on behalf of making the East Bay’s bus system more useful to more people.

 Possess the standing and stature in the field to be able to stand up and tell AC’s often meddlesome board members when they are wrong or out of order.

A public agency cannot afford to discard a competent manager because of a few ruffled feathers. Yet that is what appears to have happened last March at AC Transit. It’s now time for AC Transit’s board to redeem itself. It can do so by picking a strong and effective successor GM and then by providing the backing and political support needed to ensure success.

Gerald Cauthen, Bay Area Transportation Working Group

Editor:

I was disturbed to read of the $450,000 settlement between an officer of the Alameda Police Department (APD) and a mentally and physically disabled resident. ("City Settles Lawsuit for Cop’s Excessive Force," May 14).

Newspaper reports and a video of the incident strongly suggested that excessive force was used by the Alameda police officer to restrain a disabled man who was a suspect in a case of petty theft in Alameda. The man was sent to the hospital for months as a result of his treatment by the police officer.

APD did an internal investigation of the incident and cleared the officer of wrong doing. A press release from Interim Assistant City Manager Amy Wooldridge stated that "the police did nothing wrong and acted legally." A viewing of the video of the incident leads me to a different conclusion. The suspect was clearly hurt and said at the scene that he couldn’t breathe. No charges were ever brought against the suspect.

I’m opposed to force being used on nonthreatening fleeing suspects and as a taxpaying resident of Alameda I am not happy to see our tax dollars going to pay settlements in cases that should never have happened. The concept of an internal police review of their own actions as being sufficient oversight is a clear conflict of interest.

I believe it’s time for Alameda to have a citizen oversight board to make policy-level recommendations regarding discipline, use of force, training, community relations and the complaint process. This could help us ensure that every citizen gets equal justice.

Sue McIntire

Editor:

The 20th Annual Encinal High/Alameda Elks Band Extravaganza was a fantastic day of young people playing concert and march music. High school and middle school bands came from all over Northern California to see our beautiful city and try to earn a coveted trophy, all while making memories.

This day would not have been possible without help from many parent volunteers. A special thanks to Ann McCormick for coordinating the entire event for the third year in a row.

We also want to thank our sponsors, especially our main sponsor, the Alameda Elks Lodge #1015 who helped by underwriting trophy and banner costs, permits and many other items. The Elks are truly the best. Their commitment to the community is limitless.

Our other sponsors included the Alameda Museum, Dr. Bruce Bothwell DDS, Drs. Johnson and Jolley and Harbor Bay Realty. We couldn’t have done it without Gina Galera DDS, Taco Bell of Alameda, Alameda Awards, Dr. Barry Parker, Alameda School of Music, Dance 10 Studio and the Law Office of Gina Mariani.

Kevin Kennedy LLC pitched in this year, as did Sumiko Cafe, Wescafe, and the resdidents of the 300 block of Haight Avenue. Thanks also to our talented emcee, the incomparable Bill Sonneman.

This is truly a one-of-a-kind event. Encinal High has a great group of band students and we had fun showcasing their talents.

Teri Kennedy President, EHS Music Boosters

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