Letters to the Editor
I agree wholeheartedly with the comments made by Lissy Honor about the situation at Alameda Hospital (“Staffing Unsafe at Alameda Hospital,” Feb. 5).
I am 77 years old. I was admitted to the hospital in March 2014 with a temperature of 102. I was there for four days and witnessed exactly what Honor described. I take my hat off to her.
I needed to go for another surgery soon after and elected to go to another hospital.
I have lived in Alameda for 36 years.
As a parent of children who have attended both district public schools and charter public schools, I am appalled by the conduct of school board president Barbara Kahn in the recent board member selection process. Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) school board members are public officials elected (except for this rare selection process) by the entire community of Alameda, not just those whose children attend district schools.
School board members are responsible for upholding the interests of all students attending Alameda public schools, not only those at district schools. Also, AUSD, as the authorizing agency for Alameda’s public charters, has oversight of these schools, so the board is required to serve charter students as well as district students.
Alameda has a history of positive and synergistic relationships with its charter schools as providers of innovative alternatives or replacements for district schools that have failed completely. Kahn’s denigration of charters and her reprehensible treatment towards a dedicated and qualified long-term community volunteer like Sherice Youngblood is not only shameful, but shows her lack of understanding of the role public charters have served in Alameda.
As an Alamedan who voted for Kahn in the last election, I am calling for her resignation from the school board. Her clear personal bias makes her unfit to hold this position of public trust and unable to make fair decisions for the benefit of all public school students in Alameda.
Kahn should resign and Youngblood should replace her.
Most of us think of city councils as legislative bodies, but they sometimes act in an adjudicative capacity — like when they judge applications for land-use permits. Where they do, the applicant must be given due process with the council acting as a neutral and unbiased decision-maker.
Where a councilmember takes a public position against a land-use project on which the city council will later act as a judge, that council member must recuse him- or herself. If not, the applicant will win.
In Woody’s Group, Inc. vs. City of Newport Beach, a councilmember led efforts to overturn a planning board decision allowing a restaurant to expand its property and failed to recuse himself from the vote. The court overturned the council’s decision for violating due process. The law is clear: allowing a biased decision-maker to participate in the vote invalidates the decision!
What does this have to do with moving the Harbor Bay Club? During their campaigns Trish Spencer and Frank Matarrese signed petitions against it and publicly promised to vote against it.
When Cowan’s application comes before the Alameda City Council, both will have to recuse themselves and not vote due to this bias — or vote and hand Cowan an easy legal victory. Either way, Cowan will get to move the club.
Shouldn’t Spencer and Matarrese have known better?
Editor’s note: The Newport Beach case involved City Councilmember Michael Henn leading efforts to overturn a Planning Board decision granting the popular restaurant Woody’s Wharf a permit to allow dancing on its property.
Henn failed to recuse himself when the vote came before the Newport Beach City Council. The Council voted to reverse the Planning Board’s decision.
Woody’s Wharf filed a petition for a writ of administrative mandate with the Orange County Superior Court, asking the court to set aside the City Council’s decision. The court denied the writ. On Jan. 29, the appellate court reversed the Superior Court’s decision and, for now, the way is paved for dancing at Woody’s.
When Henn acted against Woody’s Wharf, he was sitting as an elected member of the Newport Beach City Council. Spencer and Matarrese, on the other hand, were private citizens when they allegedly made their statements and signed petitions regarding the Harbor Bay Club.