Letters to the Editor
On Tuesday, May 17, our City Council will consider a request to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell asking her not to build the new dams proposed for California.
This is a state-wide issue, but it affects Alameda in a very direct way. The health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the entire San Francisco Bay is under severe stress due to ever reduced freshwater flows into the delta.
Building new dams that divert still more water from the major Delta tributaries drives another nail into the coffin of our native freshwater fish and other wildlife in these riparian ecosystems. The value of Alameda’s existing waterfront parks, the new parklands proposed for Alameda Point, and much of what makes Alameda such a great place to live, depends on a healthy bay environment.
California already has more than 1,400 dams. All but two of our major rivers are dammed, most are dammed multiple times. The history of the large water projects in California shows that the major beneficiaries (agricultural companies) have always received water at greatly subsidized prices.
Projected operating costs (borne by the public) for one new dam works out to $1,300/acre foot, while today central valley irrigation districts receive water for as low as $20/acre foot. Water priced like that creates its own demand. California acreage of crops requiring irrigation has increased even during the recent drought years. Building new dams does not solve water shortages; instead it pours fuel on the fire.
We have many smart, proven, cost-effective methods to meet our water needs sustainably. Alameda has been a leader in promoting water use efficiency. Come to the May 17 Council meeting and show your support for our tradition of responsible stewardship and protection of our environment and natural resources.
This year, the Alameda Education Foundation (AEF) distributed $78,000 to deserving Alameda public school teachers, thanks to the generosity of our community. I wish to thank the following donors who supported our teachers in March: The Tricia Collins-Levi family, Howard Brizendine and Sherry Price and the Olson family.
Teachers use the funds to support the unique needs of their classrooms, such as building a library, going on a field trip or purchasing art supplies. AEF is able to give 100 percent of each Adopt-A-Classroom donation to the teachers thanks to our generous program sponsors who underwrite the cost of running the program.
The Adopt A Classroom major sponsor for 2015-2016 was the Alameda Rotary Club — thank you Rotary! We are also very grateful to our other sponsors: Alameda Point Partners, Catellus/Alameda Landing, Star Harbor/Tim Lewis Communities and Wellguard Insurance Solutions. They all truly support public education in Alameda.
The Alameda Education Foundation is now accepting adoptions for the 2016-2017 school year. Donations may be made on our website at www.AlamedaEducation.org.
Readers of the Alameda Sun can access useful information about voter registration and the June 7 primary elections from three key websites and at two upcoming events.
First, it’s not too late to register to vote for the June 7 primary. Monday, May 23, is the final date to register. Visit the Alameda County Registrar of Voters at 1225 Fallon St. in Oakland or register online at www.acgov.org/rov.
Be prepared with your California driver license number or the last four digits of your Social Security number. You can also update contact information and change party affiliation, especially if you intend to vote in the presidential primaries.
Second, read the Easy Voter Guide, your entrée to California voting. These guides are available in various public places in Alameda (libraries, places of worship, schools) and also online at www.easyvoterguide.org.
Third, find what candidates and issues are on your June 7 ballot and be prepared to make informed decisions. According to www.votersedge.org/ca, the ballot will list as many as 124 candidates for 17 offices. Type your address to access your candidate and ballot measure information and to learn when, where and how to vote.
Six different primary contests are listed for the office of president: not only Republican and Democratic parties but also Libertarian, Peace and Freedom, Green, and American Independent.
In addition, primary challenges are underway for representatives to the U.S. Senate and State Senate and Assembly as well as the County Board of Education, Alameda County Superior Court and representatives to county party committees.
Fortunately we have only two ballot measures in June (watch for dozens in November): State Proposition 50 and San Francisco Bay Area Measure AA. Read about these measures on the sites mentioned above or at the first of the two exciting events mentioned below.
The Alameda League of Women Voters is hosting two free pre-election community forums on two upcoming Tuesdays: May 10 and 17, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Mastick Social Hall. The first is an in-depth view of the primary election system, what’s on our ballot, how measures get there, what offices hold primary contests and how the presidential primary count of delegates to the party conventions works in California.
The second is a question-and-answer session with candidates to the State Senate and Assembly positions and the Alameda County Board of Education. This is a great opportunity to learn about the election process and to meet the candidates. Everyone in the community is invited.