Letters to the Editor

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The “Open Letter on Leaf Blowers” you published on Dec. 23 is nothing of the sort; in fact it’s a coward’s dodge. Specifically, I’m referring to the letter writer’s claim that his badly reasoned and specious letter is supported by the “Tenants of Barnhill Marina.” I’m a tenant of Barnhill Marina, and this letter does not have my support.

That one of my neighbors would first distribute this letter to the tenants of the marina without signing his name, then publish it in the Alameda Sun as though it came from all of us, is pathetic beyond belief. If using a leaf blower on your dock bothered you, why didn’t you simply talk to the person using it about it at the time? That’s what the rest of us do. 

Waiting months to vent your spleen, then hiding behind the rest of us in the marina is appalling. While I applaud your attempts to express yourself, in the future, please append your name to your opinions, and leave me out of it.

— Liz Williams

The Alameda Sun received a copy of this letter.


Dear Mayor Spencer:

I am an Alameda homeowner and also rent space at Alameda Marina to store my boat. Boats add a lot to the ambiance of Alameda. We are an island and the surrounding waters have been used for years for both pleasure and commercial sailing activities. 

Many people do not realize that in order to have boats, it is essential to have on-shore maintenance facilities. We recently lost the Alameda Boatyard. Svendsen’s is the last, full-scale maritime maintenance facility in Alameda. Svendsen’s also provides good jobs that pay wages that enable families to live in Alameda. The retail and restaurant trades simply do not pay wages that allow a single person, let alone a family, to live in Alameda. 

It is proposed that the Alameda Marina site be developed to add housing. The housing is to be “market rate.” Market-rate housing is simply not affordable for the average person living in Alameda. Is our island to be only affordable by the wealthy?

Further, there are only four entry points: the Webster Tube, and the Park Street, Fruitvale and High Street bridges. All entry points into Alameda are already over capacity, with backups every work day. Adding more housing will simply exacerbate an already dangerous situation. 

Redeveloping Svendsen’s will make it impossible for average Alamedans to maintain their boats, will build traffic to dangerous levels and will eliminate family jobs — all for a little short-term gain on the part of short-sighted people. 

Sven Svendsen was a businessperson, but also a passionate sailor. He was instrumental in bringing the Folkboat fleet to the Bay Area and developing the Melges fleet. His legacy needs to be honored, not trashed. 

I point out that you were elected on a slow-growth platform. I request that Alameda Marina be re-zoned commercial. We can redevelop Walnut Creek or Atherton, where the proponents of the redevelopment live. Let’s see how they like it. 

— Robert C. Briscoe


The Alameda Family Services League (AFSL) would like to thank Alameda residents and businesses for supporting AFSL’s 45th Annual Alameda Holiday Home Tour, a fundraiser to support AFSL. Hundreds of tour-goers enjoyed visiting five of Alameda’s finest homes, a holiday tea, gift boutique, raffle and gourmet shop on Dec. 12. 

The 2015 Alameda Holiday Home Tour was a success thanks to many community members and business owners who donated their time, energy and goods to guarantee a fun and festive fundraiser.

First and foremost, thank you to the generous homeowners who shared with tour-goers their wonderfully decorated homes.

Musicians, home docents, head docents and volunteers at the tea, homes, gourmet shop and boutique were invaluable in the tour’s success. We also thank the donors of goodies, gifts and raffle items that made the tea, auction, gift boutique and gourmet shop plentiful. A special thank you to the Firefighter’s IAFF Local 689 for all of its support of the holiday tea. The AFSL board of directors and staff were also essential in making the tour a success.

Our gratitude goes out to the Alameda Elks’ Lodge #1015 for its hospitality in providing the location for many of the day’s festivities and First Presbyterian Church of Alameda for hosting our holiday tea. The tour would not have been possible without the support of our home tour sponsors: Farmers’ Insurance, Jeffrey Schwalm, Harbor Bay Realty, Catellus, Bank of Marin, Alain Pinel Realtors, DesignQuote and all other individuals and businesses that advertised in the tour booklet —thank you!

Finally, to the Alameda community: thank you for your continued attendance and support of the AFSL’s Annual Alameda Holiday Home Tour — we appreciate and value your dedication to ensuring Alameda Family Services continues to improve the emotional, psychological, and physical health of children, youth and families in our community.

— Katie Honegger, President, Alameda Family Services League