Letters to the Editor

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A recent opinion piece in your paper implies that the city is violating the law in allowing the construction of multifamily housing (“City Must Follow Charter,” May 29).

It is true that the 1973 Measure A still sits in the City Charter as Article XXVI. It is also true that under state law the city must allow a developer to build multifamily units under the bonus density ordinance. 

Moreover, Measure A is almost certainly illegal. A 1992 state Superior Court decision in the Murphy case said the city would have to prove that the measure “is necessary for the protection of the health, safely, or welfare of the population of the city.” The Murphys and the city, instead of pursuing the original suit, settled for a very large sum.

— Selina Faulhaber


With the recent court decision finding three sections of the State Education Code unconstitutional, the California Legislature will have to make some changes. Unfortunately, none of these changes will fix what is wrong.

What is wrong with California education? Teachers are not required to know anything about teaching and education. Current requirements are: skilled in subject matter and/or perform adequately in the job, a high school diploma or equivalent, a basic skills exam (except general subject applicants) and the recommendation of a sponsor.

In the 1980s I was asked by a Fortune 100 company to operate an international training institute in Los Angeles. In order to provide continuing education units (CEUs), I was required to get teaching certifications in California and Wisconsin, the home of the company. For my certifications, I had to take courses in techniques of teaching, learning and instruction, analysis, development, presentation, and evaluation. These courses were eye-opening.

I am a community college professor and many of the instructors are having difficulty with the recent state requirements of student-learning outcomes due to their lack of education in teaching and learning. I looked into offering training in these areas from the teacher certification programs and I learned that these courses are no longer required.

How can we expect our students to learn from people whose only difference from any college graduate is the desire to teach? We need to require all educators to know how people learn, what makes them not learn, how to create objectives, how to institute those objectives, how to assess learning, and how to modify these procedures to improve them over time.

The difference between teaching and watching a video or reading a book is that teachers help students overcome their barriers to learning and adapt the process throughout the experience with the student. Every student can learn but it takes a real teacher to make it happen.

I hope that in the coming years, the California legislature and the educational organizations can work together to put teaching and learning skills back into the requirements for all educators.

— Randy Watkins


On behalf of Alameda Family Services (AFS), we thank the many members of the community who so generously supported our second annual Shoots and Ladders fundraising basketball game on May 16 between the Alameda police and fire departments. First and foremost, we thank chiefs Paul Rolleri and Mike D’Orazi for agreeing to participate on our behalf and the two teams who played their hearts out on the floor. A close game decided that the the trophy will remain at the police department.

We thank our sponsors: Catherine Bierwith, broker, Alain Pinel Realty; Alameda Theatre and Cineplex; Chief Paul Rolleri; Churchward Pub; German Auto Service; Harbor Bay Group of Companies; Lucky 13; McQuire and Hester Company; Omega Termite and Pest Control; and Perforce Software. 

Donations included pizza from Bowzer’s Pizza, printing by Island Print Express and basketballs from Bank of the Orient. Raffle prizes were donated by Scooter Importer, Big O Tires, Scolari’s, Seelenbacher and VF Outdoor/the Northface.

The event was supported by the Alameda Police community volunteers Gaylord Gelle, Gerry Gelle, Thomas Hugel, Marie Reyes, Andreana Mevoli, Brenda Harrigan and Georgia Wyatt, coordinated by Mike Sapinoso; Alameda High School Staff Brad Thomas and Lizz Wong; the Alameda High cheerleaders led by Reyna Stefani and Shannon Skiles; referees Randy Marmor and Mark Clement; John Peralta; and Tom Cobb. 

A big thanks to Ron Matthews for calling the game and using his own sound system so that he could be heard! Our own award-winning photographer Victor Miller took the action shots that can be seen on APD’s Facebook page.

We are most grateful to all of the above as well as to the people who attended the game. It was a great night for all and it raised more than $6,000 for AFS programs: Head Start/Early Head Start, School-Linked Services, Counseling, Drug and Alcohol Treatment, a clinical training program and DreamCatcher, the only emergency shelter in Alameda County for runaway and homeless youth between the ages of 13 and 18. 

We look forward to a Round Three next spring!

— Kathy Moehring, President and Dani Musso, Secretary, AFS Board of Directors