Letters to the Editor

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In Gaby Dolphin’s letter to the editor (“I am not a crude and crass woman but…” April 14, 2022), she referred to a State of the City luncheon sponsored by the Alameda Chamber & Economic Alliance as a “’by invitation only,’ high-cost-ticket cabal that met with the mayor to discuss Alameda’s future.”

I can understand how one might think that the Chamber’s State of the City event held on Thursday, April 7, was exclusive, especially with a ticket price of $120 listed in the advertising. However, this was not the case, and there were opportunities for residents to hear the mayor speak about the state of the city without a charge prior to the Thursday date in addition to being able to attend the Chamber event without any fee.

The first opportunity was at the virtual City Council meeting held on Tuesday, April 5. This meeting, just like all City Council meetings, was properly noticed and conducted in accordance with all the provisions of the City’s Open Government law known as the Sunshine Ordinance. A quick check of the city’s archives showed the active link to the video of the entire meeting.

Since the Chamber event was also a State of the City address, it was governed by the Sunshine Ordinance. Once again, the city complied with all the requirements of the section. The event was noticed on the city’s website, it appeared in the calendar section, and an agenda was posted. There is also a video of the presentation.

To watch the presentation, visit http://alameda.granicus.com/player/clip/2945?view_id=6&redirect=true.

While the city complied with all notice and production requirements, the massive advertising campaign for the Chamber’s event overshadowed the city’s official notices of both the council meeting presentation and the Thursday lunch event, which left the impression that one needed to pay to hear the mayor speak.

I think the State of the City address is a big deal and residents should have the opportunity to attend an in-person presentation. This means that weekday lunch and evening meetings pose a time barrier to many residents. Perhaps a family-friendly Saturday presentation would give more residents the opportunity to attend and share in the celebration.

The venue is another important factor when planning such an event. For those that rely on public transportation or cannot afford the $5.75 per gallon gas prices, a location that is close to where residents, who rely on alternate transportation live would encourage attendance.

Finally, and equally important would be to get the word out through a variety of media sources so that all residents are aware of the opportunity to hear the accomplishments achieved and the challenges the city will face in the future.

In going one step further, a combined State of the City and a State of the District event would provide both legislative bodies the opportunity to inform residents of what is happening in the community and in our schools in a more convenient two-for-one event.

Perhaps Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft and Alameda Unified School District Board President Jennifer Williams could discuss the possibility to further promote the notion of open and accessible government for all residents.

— Jeff Cambra, Commissioner of City of Alameda Open Government Commission

“Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party,” or so the typing exercise went.

Now is the time to let slip the dogs of war, that is to say: to call in the markers and bring to heel, the hacks, lackeys, and patronage slackers within the politicized D.O.J., the F.C.C., the S.E.C and the F.T.C.

Certainly, there must be some plausible excuse for ousting Elon Musk from the board of Twitter.

The time to act is now; before he begins bombarding and assaulting innocent, naive, ovine Americans with inconvenient truths that run contrary to the woke, liberal and Democratic narratives.

While the Constitution guarantees freedom of the press, I am certain that its framers did not envision the reckless excesses of the internet nor the abuses of social media.

Confidential sources inform me that neither Alexander Hamilton, James Madison nor John Jay were even on the electrical grid when they drafted the Federalist Papers or the Bill of Rights.

How could they possibly have been on the WWW or have estimated its unbridled clout, without electrical power?

Admittedly, Ben Franklin did have electrical power, but it only delivered in stormy weather, it was dangerously intermittent, even less reliable than the Texas grid or California’s PG&E monopoly.

Solar cells had not even been invented and windmills were used exclusively for pumping water and protecting Holland from global warming and the ensuing rising sea level.

The public should mark Monday, April 4, on the calendars and time how long it takes STASI, the KGB, SMERSH, KAOS, MOSAD, AOC or POTUS operatives, to escort a handcuffed Elon Musk out of the Twitter boardroom.

Elon Musk already has duped 80 million Twitter followers, plus the battalions that have purchased his government subsidized luxury vehicles; how many more somnambulists do we want to tumble into his yawning pit of candor and veracity?

The time to act is now, before the truth gets out there, before the elections, before the age of enlightenment begins, and it’s too late to put the genie back in the bottle.

— Lieutenant Commander Jeffrey R. Smith, U.S. Navy Retired

I would like to register my strong support for the continuation of the CARE team pilot program.

Authorizing an extension of this program until June 30, 2023, is both necessary and prudent.

The goals of the program are both challenging and worthy of support.

• Provide an alternative to APD involvement in calls for service for community members experiencing a mental health crisis.
• Allow APD to have Officers available to respond to higher priority calls by assigning CARE Team to calls associated with residents or visitors experiencing a mental crisis.
• Foster a robust private-public working relationship between AFD and AFS to foster positive outcomes for community members needing mental health services.
• Assist residents experiencing mental or social challenges with navigating and accessing the appropriate resources to allow them to have a pathway and plan for a safe and balanced lifestyle.
• Reduce the repeated need of community members to utilize emergency services to progress towards mental health or addiction recovery/stabilization.
• Reduce the use of AFD ambulances to transport 5150 patients so that they are available to respond to higher priority medical calls within the city that have continued to increase with population growth.
• Reduce census impacts to regional emergency departments and psychiatric hospitals (John George) by identifying alternate treatment facilities and plans for affected community members.
• Provide services to community members that have historically not had access to services that could assist them in navigating a successful outcome.
(Editor’s Note: The following goals are from Alameda Fire Department Chief Nick Luby’s program executive summary).

This program has already started to have some positive community impacts. It will take time and resources to realize the programs full potential. However, while I stand by my strong support of the pilot program, it has come to my attention from other concerned community members that Alameda Police Department is still playing a more significant role in these calls than first conceived and that is one area the program needs to continue to work through.

— Jennifer Rakowski

Editor’s note: This letter was originally sent to the City Council. The City Council will hear an update on the Alameda CARE pilot program at its next council meeting on April 15. The Sun went to press before the meeting.