Letters to the Editor

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Editor:

On behalf of Rhythmix Cultural Works (RCW) I would like to extend my sincere thanks to everyone who made our first annual Wine, Women & Song event such a smashing success. The outpouring of community support helped our organization reach our fundraising goal. We will use the money on youth arts programming that is provided at no cost to young people in and around the Island of Alameda.

RCW will be presenting free cultural arts workshops to youth at the Alameda Boys & Girls Club, Girls Inc. of the Island City, and the Alameda Music Project, as well as assemblies in partnership with Alameda’s public schools with the capacity to serve up to 1,500 third- and fourth-grade students in the coming year.

Extra big thanks go out to all of our performers, volunteers, attendees and Arts Angel sponsors of this event. These include Perforce Foundation, Little House Café, OMM Inc., Bank of the Orient, Bay Ship & Yacht, Eyewise Optometry, First Community Bank, Greer Family Mortuary & Cremation Services, Michaan’s Auctions, Property Investment Services, Rain Defense, Tracy Zollinger, L.Ac., TransPacific National Bank, and Yankwich & Associates.

Liquid libations were provided by our wine donors: Irish Monkey Cellars, Megawines from Pasta Pelican, R&B Cellars and Rock Wall Wine Company.

Media sponsors who helped get the word out included the Alameda Sun, Alameda and Oakland magazines and the East Bay Express.

We also want to extend our deep appreciation to our silent auction donors. Altarena Playhouse, Atlantis Casino, Bay Island Gymnastics, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Bellanico, Bob Gonsalves and C’era Una Volta helped make the auction a success.

We appreciate the help from Café Clem, Cal Academy of Sciences, California Shakespeare Co., Carolyn West, Chabot Space & Science, Chelsea’s Gold and Chicha Bistro.

Chop Bar, Cole Coffee, Complements Hair Design, Concannon Vineyard, De Young Museum and Disneyland all pitched in, as did Donsuemor, Eric J. Kos and Dennis Evanosky, Feel Good Bakery, the Golden State Warriors and Greens & Grains.

Ho He Ha: Home Healing by Hathaway gave generously to the auction, joined by Jan Mason, Kamakura Restaurant, La Mediterranee, La Note, Mark Sorensen and Tom Squire and the Napa Valley Wine Train.

The Oakland Raiders and the Oakland Zoo both donated to the auction. Ozumo, Pacific Pinball Museum, Pasta Pelican and Pier 39 all came through for RCW, as did Rain Defense, Raley’s/Nob Hill Foods, San Francisco Ballet and the San Jose Sharks.

Semifreddi’s, Sol Rouge Winery, Spice I am and The Kleid Group also helped with donations for the auction.

And we certainly couldn’t have done it without The Winery-SF, Touchstone Climbing & Fitness, Trabocco, Trader Joe’s, Trang’s Nail Spa, Tucker’s Ice Cream, the Walt Disney Family Museum and the Winery Collective.

We are also grateful to our board of directors and community advisory board members for their support and generosity as well. With you there is art!

Tina Blaine (bean), Executive Director, RCW

Dear Alameda:

I wanted to let you know that I am falling out of love with you.

I know it is foolish for me to think that you would be the wonderful paradise of my childhood of the ’50s and ’60s. I moved away for a long time. I left the hassle of San Francisco to come back to Island life and now it’s the hassle of living in Alameda.

I support Alameda businesses. I have no interest in the same old buildings which house the same old businesses that can be found on freeways from Los Angeles to Sacramento. This new shopping area (Alameda Landing) will back up traffic coming into Alameda through the tube. I have no intention of shopping there. How can I accept a Michael’s in place of the perfection of Needle in a Haystack or an In&Out Burger for Scolari’s work of art?

I tried my best to accept your changing personality, but it’s getting very difficult. I know the first thing that really hurt you was "The Fill." I always wondered if your residents actually voted for this invasion of your shores. Developers started knocking down your beautiful homes to build ugly six- and eight-pack apartment buildings and the fertile farm lands of Bay Farm Island turned into Harbor Bay. The residents saved you by voting Measure A into their charter. Now, they want to build 4,000 more units on your land putting more cars on your streets and instead of SunCal’s pods we have Tim Lewis’ water taxis to solve the traffic problem.

The mayor, city council and city manager are responsible for destroying the quality of life of those already here who have put down their roots to raise their children or to grow old. They have sold you out, Alameda. Measure A was passed to save the Island we love and the quality of life we all share. Measure A was supported when we sent SunCal packing with an 85 percent vote against its housing plan that wasn’t compliant with Measure A. Now the city manager has called us racist because we want to preserve the quality of life you provide us.

The city government has approved developers to build homes not compliant with Measure A on land that has been inundated with toxins for years.

The Navy has told us it is cleaning up its mess, but who wants to raise their children, play with their pets or grow a garden in soil that will probably never be safe? How can homes be built here? How can we send our children to school on toxic land? Can their health be trusted in this environment?

We have been informed that Tim Lewis is creating a "utopia" at the Del Monte warehouse and Encinal Terminals with at least 1,000 units. According to Tim Lewis’ representatives there will be small studios and one-bedroom condos. They want wealthy, working and mobile young adults to live there.

So, if Helen Sause thinks there will be housing for everyday working people or families she’s on the wrong page of Tim Lewis’s plan. They promised access to the water, coffee shops and art galleries, making this area a real destination spot with just 46 parking spaces for guests and workers who can’t afford to live there.

They are giving $2 million to help with the Jean Sweeney Park, (so good of them). They have increased the low-income housing from 15 percent to 16 percent, but all the low-income units will be located in one building outside the Del Monte warehouse for easier management (that’s what we were told at Mastick Senior Center). Tim Lewis is going to make a lot of money from your destruction and we will be left with overcrowding and traffic, while we wait for their private buses and water taxis to appear. Developers don’t care what kind of mess they leave they just want the money in their pockets.

I foresee a very sad future for you, Alameda. Your personality and uniqueness will soon be gone. This mayor, city council and city manager are selling your soul. They have the mentality like the rest of the country that put the quality of life aside to make room for the almighty dollar.

Too many cars, traffic on the bridges and in the tubes, ugly dense houses either on toxic land or on your dangerous shores to be inundated by rising waters or liquefied by a major earthquake, more speeding cars on your streets (Central and Lincoln avenues are speedways and very few seem to follow the 25 mph speed limit anymore) dangerous crosswalks, safety issues for evacuations — a complete destruction of our way of life.

So, what will I do? Will I sell my house that has been in my family for 50 years and move on because it breaks my heart to see what a few people who were elected to follow your laws fail you so miserably? Or will I decide to stay and ignore what is happening?

Gail Wasserman Howell

Editor:

Since I became director of the Alameda Food Bank, I have been skeptical when anyone in our organization refers to our clients as "them."

This past year, I have spent many cold mornings at our warehouse on the old base at Alameda Point, giving clients information and food options.

When I look at the older singles, or the moms with kids or the older brothers and sisters picking up for their homebound parents, I see our community — the faces of our friends and neighbors, people who live among us whose children go to our schools, whom we run into on the street, whom we see at the physician’s office.

Food insecurity can affect all kinds of different people at different times in their lives for very different reasons. And many of "us" need help, even temporarily, so difficult choices between enough food and paying the electricity bill or between enough food and paying for needed medications need not be made.

The quadrennial "Hunger in America" study commissioned by Feeding America, the national network of food banks, was released recently. Our partner agency, the Alameda County Community Food Bank, serves one in five county residents. Here in Alameda, the Alameda Food Bank serves one in six city residents. The Hunger in America study described a food security problem nationally that has worsened:

• Each week nationally, local food banks served 37 million Americans including 14 million children and nearly 3 million seniors; this is a 27 percent increase over numbers reported in "Hunger in America" in 2006.

• 36 percent of these client households are experiencing food insecurity or hunger, meaning they are sometimes completely out of food.

• Locally, the Alameda Food Bank served 4,136 people in 2007, and 5,071 people in 2013

With nearly 200 volunteers and collaborating churches, grocery stores and local service agencies, we are truly Alamedans (and Bay Area residents!) coming together to support those among us who are having a tough time. A bright spot for us in the dismal news of the Hunger in America study, has been the truly remarkable way Alamedans (and other Bay Area residents!) have stepped up to support the Alameda Food Bank again. Our broader community’s response to the Spring Challenge was to contribute more than our goal of $30,000. We are deeply grateful to every person across the Island City who wrote us a check or made a credit card pledge. We are especially appreciative of the more than 20 local businesses who contributed to us.

Caring and giving on the local level is a wonderful way to help food scarcity problems in our region and in our nation. Our community’s gifts and support continue to sustain and help "us."

Troy Gilbert, Executive Director, Alameda Food Bank

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