Letters to the Editor
The Alameda Sun received a copy of the following letter.
Dear members of the City Council:
It is disappointing that the transportation study is to be out-sourced. It suggests that either the Planning Department or City Planner Andrew Thomas, lacks experience or is otherwise unqualified. It is hard to understand how effective city planning can be accomplished without knowledge of transportation issues.
Relying on studies presented by partisan sources is negligent at best. I would also suggest that the funds could be better invested in city staff trained to address transportation issues, not a one-time study by a group that perhaps has other agendas. I suggest that you take quite seriously the thoughts of Eugenie Thomson. She seems qualified and thorough, is a resident, and would be an effective voice.
Alameda’s renters have few options to escape rising rents and unfettered evictions. Rents in Alameda can and do go up by double digits, which families cannot absorb even in this time of economic prosperity. Unfortunately, there is little the renter can do to achieve housing stability with real estate inventory at historic lows and rental market rates so high.
There is hope on the horizon. Next month the City Council will consider improvements to the Rent Review Advisory Committee (RRAC) and the development plan for Site A at Alameda Point.
The improvements to the committee require landlords to participate in good faith at the RRAC and mandates that renters be notified of the existence of the RRAC whenever they receive rent increases.
The plan to bring housing to Site A at Alameda Point includes 800 rental housing units. The 25 percent affordable-housing requirement at Alameda Point stands to provide more than 100 below-market-rental-units to the most vulnerable members of our community.
It’s time for Alameda to address this housing crisis. Do we want options for the more than half of Alamedans who rent? How do we maintain enough rental housing at stable, affordable rates for people of all income levels?
Site A is a crucial first step that will restore opportunity to our local housing market, giving renters more options to stay in Alameda. Improvements to the RRAC will give renters more tools to fight back against exorbitant rent increases that threaten to push them out of their homes. We hope that the city council will see these opportunities for what they are: a concerted effort to address our region’s housing crisis that should not be ignored.
I am thrilled to introduce myself as the new artistic director of Alameda’s longest-running performing arts organization, Altarena Playhouse. I believe that theater helps us understand who we are, how we grapple with the environments in which we live and how we impact others. Experiencing theater helps us understand more fully what it means to be human.
My 30-year career has spanned acting, directing, design, production management and arts education. I’ve been recognized with a number of awards, most recently the 2014 Theatre Bay Area Titan Award for Excellence in Theatre. I’ve performed and directed off-Broadway and for national tours and regional theater, including Berkeley Playhouse, Novato Theatre Company, and Ross Valley Players.
In addition to acting, directing and designing professionally, I have devoted much of my career to theater arts education. I have been a theater professor and lecturer at Loyola Marymount University, the University of Connecticut and Contra Costa College, and also served as artistic director for Contra Costa College’s Knox Center for the Performing Arts.
As a passionate advocate of the endeavors of disabled performers, I foster and celebrate expression for all artists, abled and disabled, to effect personal and societal growth, enlightenment and change.
I believe that my role as artistic director is to provide a focused, unifying vision for the total production. I am looking forward to teaming with directors, performers and designers who are imaginative, resourceful and willing to take risks, and who share my love of the magic of the theater.
Altarena Playhouse has the kind of rich, humane theater ethos I can thrive in. As artistic director, I hope to continue its tradition of bringing the Alameda community exciting theater honed to a high professional standard.