Letters to the Editor
My wife and I are disappointed to hear Croll’s may have to close. It’s our favorite restaurant. The combination of great food, local decor, the friendly feeling of locals behind the counter, and an ineffable sense of history has drawn us there time and again.
If it’s all a dispute between the restaurant and the big bar next door about the name "Croll’s," perhaps they can agree to both use the name, or neither use it. Whatever it takes, just make peace, kids! Certainly we, the loving customers, don’t care what the place is called so long as it doesn’t get put out of business by a petty dispute.
My question is: Why hasn’t the Alameda Sun covered Croll’s Pizza’s situation? It was on the front page of the Alameda Journal last week.
Alameda is losing an iconic business (there’s been a Croll’s in Alameda since 1883, and a Croll’s Pizza for about 50 years) but if you read the Sun you wouldn’t even know it was being forced to close. I read with great interest the thread on Alameda Peeps (Facebook Group) a few days back, and given the level of curiosity and animosity, there seems to be more to the story than just some business losing their lease to a greedy landlord.
No interviews with the landlord, owners of Croll’s or 1400, no story at all. There seems to be a much bigger story here, and the silence from the Sun is glaring. Why is that? If ever a local story called out for some real investigative journalism, this is it. But nothing from the Sun.
Editor’s note: There are several types of stories that the Alameda Sun simply does not cover. These include suicides, domestic violence and landlord-tenant disputes. Unless a law is broken, landlord-tenant disputes are private, legal matters. The fact that a tenant’s lease ran out and that the tenant had to close its doors is not a story that belongs in a newspaper. If that were the case, the Sun would be covering every instance of expiring leases in town.
Croll’s Pizza losing its lease is a prime example of a non-story. Gallagher and Lindsey gave Croll’s Pizza a full year’s notice that it was not renewing its lease. Croll’s Pizza knew for 12 full months that it would have to vacate the property owned by Gallagher & Lindsey in the Croll’s Building. Croll’s Pizza had ample opportunity to relocate (and apparently take the historic Croll’s name with it). The pizza maker chose not to do this.
Instead Croll’s Pizza waited 11 months and, suddenly, when it came time to vacate, the owners decided to put out a press release that painted Gallagher & Lindsey as the evil landlord. The Sun felt that the realty company was more than generous with its 12-month advance notice. With that point clearly in mind the Sun decided not to run the non-story.
Over the years a series of businesses have occupied the very spot where Croll’s Pizza currently dispenses its wares. The Sun did not cover the other businesses vacating this spot for the same reason it chooses not to cover the current pizzeria closing its doors.
The building's namesake, John Croll, arrived in town in 1883 at the South Pacific Coast Railroad’s invitation. The current owners of Croll’s Pizza have absolutely no ties to John Croll other than selling pizza in his namesake building for the past eight years. In fact before Croll arrived the building had several other names, including Britt’s Hotel.
Ron Matthews’ many contributions to the city of Alameda, especially his extensive volunteerism in youth sports, are without question. However, I take issue with his interpretation of what is happening with Harbor Bay Isle Associates (HBIA) ("War Has Broken Out in Alameda," Oct. 1).
This isn’t about fear of progress, and it’s not about adding to the city’s fitness amenities; it is about a real estate transaction that has the potential to make the Cowans and their business associates many millions in profit at the expense of the community.
As has been widely reported, the Cowan organization believes that the city of Alameda owes it the right to build up to 200 more homes on Bay Farm and has been looking for a location for a number of years. The last effort involved a proposal to take over a community recreational area — the Mif Albright Golf Course — through a land swap. Due to public opposition the deal fell apart. Subsequently, a restoration project commenced, and Alameda residents are now able to enjoy an improved golf course. I call that progress.
HBIA is once again going after an existing sports facility as a location for the residential building project. Cleverly, they have chosen an asset in which they already have an ownership stake. Regardless, HBIA does not have carte blanche to do what they want on Packet Landing. The land on which the current club sits is zoned for recreational use and should remain that way.
Can Matthews, or any other Alamedan, imagine if we were talking about razing one of our other parks or recreational facilities? What if the proposal was to build these homes on top of Leydecker, Godfrey, or Tillman parks? Would that be progressive?