Letters to the Editor

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Editor:

In response to the recent letter, ("Something is very wrong with the post office," Sept. 24), what’s very wrong is that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is under the impossible burden of pre-funding the next 75 years of retirement of its (our) employees. No business has, nor can survive, such a cost, and you can be sure profit-making companies (like FedEx and UPS) applied their lobbyists and "donations" several years ago to effect this requirement from "our" representatives in Congress.

It’s apparent that USPS has been working exceedingly hard to cut costs, become more efficient and appeal to customer needs, this at a time when it has also lost revenue to online services through which people can email and pay their bills instead of mailing letters or checks.

I have relied on USPS for many decades and have been more than satisfied with excellent service. (I cannot say the same for the last decade or so of telephone and online "service!") Both delivery and counter persons over the years have been courteous, informed, helpful, even on the rare occasions when a customer was rude and/or impossibly demanding.

That said, perhaps our local postmaster has some control over some things that would aid customer access. The main post office used to open at 7:30 a.m. on weekdays, which was great for those of us who worked well past closing time.

Every worker must have a duty-free lunch. Perhaps the postmaster could relieve the sole counter person at Redwood Square so as to keep the post office open continously. (My wonderful principal at Hillside School in Berkeley, Dr. Frank Fisher, taught reading every day to a class of first graders and would not be interrupted, even by the superintendent.)

Thank you to USPS workers who are working hard doing a yeoman’s job under impossible constraints!

Misao Brown

The Alameda Sun received a copy of this letter with the writer’s curriculum vitae attached.

 

Dear Bay Farm Island Resident:

My name is Ray Davis. I have been a professional traffic engineer for the last 35 years.

I have been retained by Harbor Bay Isle Associates (HBIA) to do a comprehensive analysis on traffic patterns on Bay Farm Island. It didn’t take me long to recognize the most serious traffic congestion occurs at two intersections: Island and Doolittle drives, followed by Robert Davey Jr. Drive and Packet Landing Road, particularly in the mornings and evenings.

HBIA plans on building a new Harbor Bay Club (HBC) in the Business Park on North Loop Road (between the Chinese Christian School and Kindercare.) I have been asked to opine on the traffic impact of moving the existing HBC to the new location and replacing the old club with 80 single-family homes.

The HBC is a destination fitness and tennis facility that has a range of 3,600 to 4,000 members which include individuals, couples and families. The membership numbers fluctuate depending on the season. The hours of the club are 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 7 to 8 p.m. on the weekends. The heaviest use is in the mornings and evenings.

What I found surprising was that 52 percent of the members and all the associated activities come from the Main Island of Alameda. These members are probably the largest contributors to traffic delays at the Island Drive and related intersections.

In addition to membership activities, the HBC also operates a number of well-attended activities by non-members of the club, such as youth camps, spa, café, clubhouse bar, private and group swim lessons and has approximately 150 employees coming and going over the hours of operation.

The relocation of HBC will result in a dramatic reduction in traffic on Island Drive mornings and evenings because HBC members who live on the Main Island will bypass Island Drive and take Doolittle Drive to Harbor Bay Parkway.

Another critical point is that traffic studies have demonstrated that residential vehicle drivers travel slower in their neighborhoods than non-residential drivers such as HBC members. Slower traffic will make it safer for all pedestrians and bicyclists along Packet Landing Road.

Regardless of your opinion on the pros and cons of moving the HBC, I can state emphatically that there will be a dramatic reduction of traffic and much-improved traffic flow on Island Drive if the HBC moves and 80 single-family homes are constructed.

In addition, there is a significant number of Bay Farm Island residents who are members of the HBC who will be located closer to the proposed new club at the business park, and have no occasion to enter the Island Drive/Doolittle Drive intersection, again significantly improving traffic flow on Bay Farm Island.

Raymond E. Davis III

Editor:

I read the commentary ("On Renters in Alameda and America," Oct. 1) in which you proclaim that the American way is to step on the little guy in order to succeed in this country.

The part you missed is that for those of us who are not dealing with deficits or disabilities you can reach a level of success most of the world can’t dare dream about.

From what I can tell, you are an intelligent person who decided along the way to start a local paper. I’m fairly positive you did not have grandiose plans of taking over the world through this venture. Your landlord did not put you in this position, nor did your banker or any other person you are allocating blame to right now

If you are not happy with your vulnerability toward the successful (financially), the great news is, you live in America! You can immediately start a new path.

I also can imagine how powerless people can feel in cycles like this. The answer is not to rent control or not to rent control. It requires people sitting down at a table (maybe a council of sorts) who can thoughtfully put together a plan so that people lives are not monetized.

We absolutely need affordable housing. We need a plan that would, for example, provide 20 percent of

all commercial (5 or more units) as below-market units. The plan already exists at the state level. It would be extremely easy to adopt the already existing plan for new developments for the existing housing stock.

The 80 percent of market-rate housing would allow real estate investors to maintain a standard in practice and will incentivize them to continue investing in the buildings of this community.

Rent control was never intended to be a permanent ordinance. All you have to do is Google the words "effects of rent control " and within 10 minutes you can see for yourself that it’s not the plan people think it is. Are we discussing rent control because it has been so successful keeping rents down in San Francisco and Oakland? We all know that is not happening.

Farhad Matin

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