Letters to the Editor

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Alameda needs to have a living wage ordinance reflective of our local cost of living. The current applicable minimum wage is set statewide at $9 per hour and is scheduled to increase to $10 per hour next year. 
Although this may be adequate in Manteca where the San Joaquin County living wage for a single adult is $10.47 per hour, it is not adequate here in Alameda where our county’s living wage for one adult is $13.35 per hour.
An individual living in Alameda earning the current minimum wage and lucky enough to have found an Alameda apartment for $1,000 per month would be paying 64 percent of their income in rent alone. Little would be left for food, clothing, taxes and the other necessities of life. 
Other cities in our area have successfully implemented minimum hourly wage ordinances reflective of local needs:
• Oakland: $12.25 
• Berkeley: $11 going to $12.53
• Emeryville: $12.25 for less than 55 employees; $14.47 for more than 55 employees
• San Francisco: $15 per hour
• San Leandro and Hayward have set minimum wages for companies doing business with the city. 
The majority of local wage ordinances were passed by legislative action. San Francisco and Oakland passed their minimum wage ordinances by ballot initiative with overwhelming support, 76 percent in San Francisco and 80 percent in Oakland. 
I believe that Alameda residents would show a similar level of support for the establishment of a city-wide minimum living wage.
Our City Council should consider and pass a minimum wage ordinance for all of those who work here on the Island and who deserve to earn enough to live on.


Dennis M. Owens

After reading Smith’s rambling sortie into Affordable Housing (“Councilman Sees Good vs. Evil in Current Rent Crisis,” Dec. 3); some burning questions emerge.
In the text, Brian McGuire is quoted identifying “landlords” as those “who need only wait by the mailbox to profit from a 50-year housing shortage …”
Will curtailing potential profits from rental property exacerbate or ameliorate the 50-year housing shortage? In what other enterprises would diminishing potential earnings attract more entrants to that enterprise? Were there a teacher shortage in Alameda, would cutting teacher pay attract more teachers, thereby reducing the shortage?
Secondly, who were the people who crowded renters out of the inner sanctum of City Hall? Were they the nefarious “out-of-town” landlords or the benign “mom-and-pop” landlords?
Thirdly, was it an “out-of-town” landlord who ousted Croll’s Pizza — the only non-franchise, non-chain, pizza parlor in Alameda —from their niche within the Croll’s building?
And lastly — and most importantly — did Croll’s Pizza leave behind their recipe for their one-of-a-kind tomato sauce?
In addition to affordable housing, we are entitled to answers.


Jakob Windermeister IV

I could not agree more with Jeff Mark’s letter about leaf blowers (“Bring on the leaf sucker,” Dec. 3). They are extremely bad for my health, being asthmatic, and seem unavoidable in walking around Alameda. Of most concern to me is their use by the Alameda Recreation and Parks Department.
Blowing somewhere with little to no leaves on the ground withinfeet of a swimming pool, children playing, etc. is just not OK and not necessary.
I fully support banning leaf blowers, as many other cities have and let’s start with the city of Alameda itself. By the way, I see gardeners around town that don’t use them. These are also the gardeners that pick up their leaves instead of depositing them into the street to become someone else’s problem.
Good practices beget good practices, I suppose.


Debra J. Sarver