Letters to the Editor

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In answer to writer Kevin Barrett’s letter (“On schooling other town’s students,” May 29) there are at least four good reasons for allowing students living in Oakland to attend Alameda public schools.

First, their influx has promoted racial integration in the Alameda schools. Alameda enjoys a unique position in that most, if not all, other school districts have integrated their schools only by moving students who live within the district. 

Second, as long as a student from Oakland does not utilize a fraudulent address, the student’s attendance in the Alameda schools is lawful. We can assume that the students or their families choose Alameda schools for good reasons, including higher test scores, safety and superior all-around sports programs. Their attendance in the Alameda schools boosts Alameda’s average daily attendance (ADA) and thus increases Alameda’s allocation of education funds from the state of California.

Third, in all likelihood, the Oakland attendance at Encinal High School (EHS) is a principal reason why the school remains open. In the last 40 years, eight school districts in the East Bay alone have been forced to close a combined total of nine comprehensive high schools because of declines in enrollment (two of the schools were merged into a single and much larger school). 

The breaking point seems to be 1,000 students, which would be very close to the size of an Encinal student body minus the students from Oakland. Would the existing facilities at Alameda High School (AHS) be able to accommodate 1,000 additional students? Keeping EHS open is a better use of taxpayer dollars. 

Fourth, closing EHS would also harm AHS’s athletics program. The teams could draw from more students and might be more successful in interscholastic competition. However, AHS would have lost its natural rival. Anyone who compares the crowds at Alameda-Encinal games with the crowds at other contests can see which games generate more — by far — proceeds for the two schools.

Would Barrett accept a decision by the city of Oakland to close Doolittle Drive and Ron Cowan Parkway to Alamedans who wish to travel to Cal State East Bay, the airport, the coliseum, the University of California, BART, and San Francisco? If it did, then Alameda would be in a pickle. 

Bay Farm Island residents could vacation on the main island, and main islanders could vacation on Bay Farm Island. You think the Bay Farm Island Bridge is crowded now. Besides, young people and adults both enjoy travelling through the tubes and across the old-time bridges which set Alameda apart from most cities. 

When most Alamedans say, “Go Jets,” they are not saying, “Leave, Jets.” They are saying, “Soar, Jets.” 

— John Zugnoni


This last Memorial Day, I was proud to attend the beautiful tribute for the men and women who served so honorably in our armed forces. The service was at the Alameda Veterans Memorial Park on Island Drive. 

Groups from each of the armed services took their places and proudly marched one after another up the center aisle to place a lovely wreath at the memorial. 

I was so moved when the Vietnam veterans stood and marched down the aisle. Some were not as polished as many of the service representatives that had preceded them, but nonetheless were very proud to pay tribute to the fallen men and women who had served with them. The one thing that stood out to me was that there was no wreath, not neccesarily the most important symbol of respect, but its absence was notable. I wondered if it might have been an expense that couldn’t be managed. 

If that is so, I make a promise to these outstanding men and women that as long as I live in the city of Alameda or anywhere else, that there will be a wreath that they will be able to place in memory of the fallen military persons of Vietnam. 

This was the war of my generation. Those of us who were around in the ‘60s and ‘70s know just how poorly these men and women were treated on returning home to the U.S. I was a flight attendant with World Airways from 1968 to 1973. We took thousands of men back and forth to the war zones in Vietnam. 

When we flew out of Travis Air Force Base, there was total quiet. Some of those men had never been out of their counties let alone their country. In many cases they were asked to fight a war they didn’t understand and in most cases were drafted. 

The cheers on their return to the U.S. was deafening. Yet as we all know, the protesters were lined up with signs, cursing, throwing things at these servicepeople that were there to serve their country. Many of them still struggle, are living in the streets, never feeling appreciated for their service. 

Memorial Day was such a great day, why bring it up? I just would like to remind everyone that many of these soldiers are out there still fighting a war and may never recover. As we pay respect to all of the wonderful men and women on every Memorial Day, let us not forget the wonderful servicepeople of the Vietnam War. 

I promise I won’t. 

— Shirley Sutherland


The constituency in Alameda, I believe, is being governed by all things that have been deemed ugly in America: its insatiable debt, the power to pass that debt on and development as an easy fix for that debt. 

Presently Alameda is being threatened by an experiment testing the effects of stress from overpopulation. Witness the issues surrounding Crown Beach, the site of the Del Monte warehouse and the site of the now-shuttered Nelson Marina on the old Naval Air Station. 

Is an environmental impact report required for all of these? Is that a joke? In real estate jargon, they’d say that Alameda is being “flipped.” 

We seem to be harangued by the lack of a sizable vote. The City Council somehow manages to keep its ethical basis within the boundaries of “turn Alameda into a sad place, yet commit no crime.”
Is it too late for Alameda?

— Michael Karvasales