Letters to the Editor

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Michael Hyman’s response ("Simply unbelievable," Sept. 18) to my letter ("Is there an EHS Population Explosion?" Sept. 11) is a specious argument.

I would like to correct his allegation that I was making a postulation in my letter. I was making an assertion concerning a phone call from Encinal High School (EHS) principal Kirsten Zazo.

Has Hyman listened to the phone call Zazo made to EHS parents and students, concerning this subject?

Why would Zazo choose to announce to all the parents and students of EHS that this surprising student increase, over that postulated by the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD), would cause schedule changes and disruptions.

The principal also asked that students be patient while the necessary changes were taking place. All this, for a mere 50 student increase in a population of 1,100 students? This would seem a bit overzealous and alarmist to announce this to all the parents and students. Would I, or anyone else, care about a 50 student increase? The answer is, no

She said "about 50." Is it possible that I misheard the statement as 500? Yes, it is possible.

Hyman’s postulation that I may think AUSD issues visas is both scurrilous and insulting.

I am quite aware who issues residence visas. And I, like many Alameda residents, wonder what AUSD really does do in their new, $5.9 million building? The city rents many buildings that have not had seismic retrofits to various tenants. Why is AUSD entitled to a higher degree of safety than the general population of our fair island?

Robert F. Robillard


Mark Greenside ("Fool the Incumbents Before They Fool Us," Sept. 18) is directly on point. Read it, please. I read in the same edition on page one, incumbent Gilmore’s revealing comment, "Alameda is an island, but we cannot act like it." Wrong! We are an island and unless we act like it, the health, safety and quality of life on the Island will become a thing of the past, if it hasn’t already.

That is the root of the problem with Gilmore’s philosophy; don’t act like we’re on an island, simply build more houses and bring more traffic to our streets. Oh, by the way, she prides herself on, "protecting the health, safety and quality of life of our citizens."

It can be difficult to demonstrate that a politician is acting purely out of self-interest. We can say that a vote at a Sunday night secret meeting to violate our mandate that Crown Beach be maintained open space was undertaken in the self interest of the incumbents. We may never know what motivated the incumbents to take such an action; the act was clearly not in the interests of protecting our quality of life.

We may not be able to demonstrate self-interest when the incumbent Mayor and City Council members approve multiple housing construction projects under the false pretense that the number of housing units was mandated by a higher authority. But we definitely can demonstrate that the reversal of their secret vote to zone Crown Beach for housing, was in the self-interest of incumbents Gilmore and Chen, who are running for reelection this

This political maneuver, doing what should have been done the first time around, rendered the hard work of many residents devoted to the well being of our Island City superfluous. Incumbents Gilmore and Chen simply brushed saide this measure that they so selfishly caused our residents to undertake. That is self-interest personified.

Having performed the reversal, the path is clear for Gilmore and Chen to smear the Island with their "vote for me" political signs, as if each hadn’t betrayed us, time and time again. However, the path is also clear that it is time to stand up and vote each out of office for this betrayal of the trust placed in them.

The injury they (and the non-running incumbents) have inflicted on us with the massive amount of automobile traffic we will have to endure for the rest of our, and likely our children’s lives is irreparable; they made sure of that in their current term of office; their housing projects have been approved

A "no" on incumbents is required, lest we ratify their past transgressions. A "no" to the running incumbents will send a message to the remaining incumbents that we want no more vehicular traffic (or automobiles requiring parking dumped into our neighborhoods, because a proposed project — Del Monte — will not provide its required parking) under the guise of progress, or of increasing our tax base, or for the health, safety and quality of our lives. It is obvious that incumbents Gilmore and Chen cannot be trusted to protect our well-being.

Finally, if not the incumbents Gilmore and Chen, who do we vote for? Anyone else you choose, but not incumbents Gilmore and Chen. Send the right message; get out and vote.

Michael Cosentino

On Sunday, September 28, arsonists started seven fires. One of them totally destroyed Angela's restaurant just as it was set to open.
Saboor Zafari is a refugee from Afghanistan. He managed to get to France, where he learned French cooking and became a chef. He then moved to Wisconsin, where he learned American tastes and blended his dishes. Then he moved to Alameda, California with his wife and daughter, Angela, and opened his own restaurant, named after his daughter,with a blend of French Mediterranean, American and Afghan dishes. He quickly drew a following as one of the area's most imaginative chefs. He then moved twice - just recently to a new location in a fast developing location on Park Street in Alameda. He worked feverishly to get the restaurant ready to open. When you do that, sometimes you forget things. This time, he didn't stop to get insurance.
The Zafari family was a classic immigrant success story. After leaving Afghanistan with nothing, Saboor built a new life for his family based on hard work and skills. All that he built has now been destroyed, based on a random act of violence.
Yes, he should have had insurance. But his dream was destroyed through no fault of his own - a random victim of serial arsonists. We have the power to restore his dream (and someday soon enjoy his cooking.) A small donation from many of us will see a new Angela's - and and old dream - rising from the ashes.
I have no connection with the Zafari family or Angela's restaurant, except as a satisfied customer and a person inspired by his struggle and success. Please help me restore this family's hopes.You can contribute at http://www.gofundme.com/f9ruzs

David C. McGaffey