Letters to the Editor

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Editor:

I wish to thank retired Superior Court Judge Chester R. Bartalini for his thorough recording of the events leading to Stewart Chen’s past behavior and conviction regarding fraud ("Chen Has Paid His Dues to Society," Feb. 27). Initially my thoughts were that this behavior was troubling but on the other hand, 20 years has passed and as the headline states, Chen has paid his debt to society.

Bartalini adds important information regarding the unfortunate representation Chen received and, more importantly, his continued growth in citizenship over these past two decades.

I don’t accept, as one reader states, that Chen had hidden his past ("Tip of the iceberg," Feb. 27). How many people share all of their past if it is no longer relevant? Many, I’ll wager. If Chen serves our city well, I’ll certainly consider voting for him.

— Anne Spanier

An anonymous comment left on the Alameda Sun website by user jsanders128 regarding "Fireboat Christened in Ceremony Last Week," Feb. 20, inspired a passionate response. The comment reads, "Great to hear our heroic millionaire firefighters have a new toy to play with!" The following is one reader’s response to that comment:

 

Editor:

The disparaging comment left by jsanders128 exhibits a tremendous amount of ignorance.

The new fire boat is a tremendous asset, not only to the city of Alameda, but the entire Bay Area waterfront. Alameda is surrounded by marinas and yacht clubs that berth literally thousands of recreational vessels. Consider for a moment this contribution to the local economy.

If it was his boat experiencing a fire, I am certain that jsanders128 would be very thankful that the Alameda Fire Department (AFD) had such a capable resource close at hand.

And let’s not forget that after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, it was San Francisco’s fire boat that provided water to fight the fires raging in the Marina District when local water pressure was lost.

With a 2,000-gallon pumping capability, the AFD fire boat could provide similar support for on-shore fires.

Time to get a life, jsanders128.

— Brocke De Lappe, Alameda Marina Harbormaster

Editor:

The proposed land deal that involves the city, the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) and the Alameda Housing Authority has a complex and somewhat confusing series of deals. Most residents have little if any knowledge about the five aspects of this deal:

  • The tidelands property
  • Agreements and disagreements with the city surrounding the high schools’ swimming pools
  • The properties on the table at today’s Alameda Point
  • The former Island High School site on Eagle Avenue at Everett Street
  • The $ 4.6 million the city has held in trust for AUSD.

City and school district leaders are attempting to rush this deal through without a deep and thorough public discussion. What’s your hurry folks? If the deal is as good as City Manager John Russo, AUSD Superintendent Kirsten Vital and Housing Department Executive Director Michael Pucci believe it to be, it should be able to stand public scrutiny.

Isn’t the school district in the process of creating yet another long-term master plan? How does the proposed deal fit in? Prudent long range planning should not be rushed with so little public input.

Have all the properties been professionally appraised or are we just guessing their value? I promise that developer Tim Lewis Communities knows exactly how much the Tidelands property is worth. As a homeowner, business owner and voter I would like to see the entire deal laid out publicly with facts, figures, maps, charts and long term plans before we sell, trade or give anything away.

We cannot and should not trust our city and school district leaders to make deals of this magnitude.

Examples of AUSD’s poor long-range thinking includes the recent decision to move the Alameda Community Learning Center again after just one year at the Wood Middle School site. The school district spent close to $500,000 to fence in the unused portion of the Historic Alameda High School building and is spending millions to move the school district headquarters.

Examples of the city’s poor long-range planning go back decades and are too numerous to mention here. In closing, I encourage our city leaders to slow down, show all your cards and do your long range planning in the full light of day.

— Michael Cooper

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