Letters to the Editor

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Editor:

It seems fitting that the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) facilities proposal caused a capacity issue of its own at the recent School Board meeting, as the fire marshal came to manage the numbers of parents, students and staff from affected schools.

The articulate and eloquent student speakers were the highlight, testaments to these schools’ success. Oliver, one young Alameda Community Learning Center (ACLC) seventh-grader, brought the issue into focus when he reminded all that this proposal will mean every year of his middle school education will be spent in a different location.

AUSD forced this situation with last year’s poorly conceived move of ACLC to a struggling Wood Middle School campus. Now here’s another ludicrous package, proposing the upheaval of six schools across five campuses to add nine classrooms for Wood’s expansion — an expansion plan which the board has not seen, and is not in line with falling enrollment.

Stop the musical sites. Deliver a stopgap of portables until there is a real plan that benefits all and doesn’t unfairly punish those who have already given too much.

— Scott Dodds

Editor:

The city hired the Municipal Auditing Services (MAS) from Fresno an effort to improve its business license tax collections. MAS is paid a bounty for all additional revenue they collect for the city and as such are searching high and low for new tax payments in remarkably aggravating ways. I own a business in Alameda, and pay my city license tax, which is tied to sales (not profits).

I was recently contacted by MAS to pay for a city license for a family trust that does no business in Alameda, and was set up to protect our family assets (which are also not businesses operating in Alameda.) According to the city bylaws, a business license is required "if your firm, employees, agents, or contractors solicited, proposed, represented, sold, delivered, serviced, advertised, or acted in any method or manner with the purpose or intent to solicit or transact business in the City of Alameda." A family trust for passive investment is not a business by this definition.

When I phoned MAS partner Kevin Wiegant’s office to inquire why I was being asked to make payment for a business license for an entity which does not fit this criteria, I was told that any entity filing a statement of information with the California Secretary of State with an address in Alameda is deemed to meet this criteria.

Clearly, this is not correct and amounts to a shakedown for those who do not know the law. All this is done at the behest of the city. More upsetting still is the manner in which the city itself collects business taxes yet delivers no services to business in any way or form that can be tied to the sales of any business.

Shame on the City of Alameda, trying to shake down families and passive retired investors to pay a business license tax for the privilege of merely living in Alameda and protecting their hard-earned assets.

— Randy Friedman

Editor:

The success of Kiwanis Foundation’s 15th annual Chili Cookoff was underscored by our sponsors and the 100-plus merchants, vendors and supporters donating to the silent auction. Proceeds from this event go to other Alameda non-profits and as to fund scholarships to graduating seniors.

We heartily thank each of the following sponsors for their participation in this community event: Alameda Business Network, Dominic McKenna of Edward Jones, Harbor Bay Realty, Bank of Alameda/Bank of Marin, H&R Block, Jan Nichols-Franz Piano Studio, Sterling Mortgage, Advanced Health, Alameda Fire Fighters Local 689, Hewitt, Jones & Fitch.

Silent Auction donors included: The Diaper Connection, Chuck Corica Golf Complex, Wendy Sanda, Dave and Joyce Denyven, Golfland of Castro Valley, Alameda Theater, Pacific Pinball Museum, Subpar Mini Golf and Color Me Mine.

Thanks also to donors: Mark Sorenson and Tom Squire, Linda and Russ Grant, Dave Hewitt, Kristy Perkins, JCCellars, Kevin Brown, Bladium, Books Inc, Donsuemor Cookies, Seelenbacher Jewely, Total Woman, Bob and Heidi Larsen, Jessica Catano, Scott’s Shoes, DB Shoes, Fred’s Wrenchhouse, Jim Franz, Jan Nichols, First Community Bank, Berkeley Electric and Alameda Bicycle.

Barry and Lolly Parker, Alameda Eyes Optometry, Mariner Square Athletic Club, Dawna Dowdell, Pier 29, Oteaz Restaurant, Alameda Beauty Center, Southshore Car Wash, Panera Bread, China House, Sumbody, The Presidential Yacht Potomac, Black Angus Restaurant, Waterfront Hotel and Pagano’s Hardware also donated to the silent auction.

Daisy’s Gift Shop, Gayle Gow, Altarena Playhouse, Ulta Beauty & Spa, Anna and John Towata, Gerard and Leslie Falcone, Rythmix Cultural Works, East Ocean Seafood, Jim Sweeney, Dog Bone Alley, Gayle Thomas, Scott and Cindy MacAskill, Ed & Peg Kofman all contributed as well.

The silent auction also received donations from Will Golden, The North Face, 1400 Bar & Grill, Cera Una Volta, Raintree Studios, Dave Edwards, Bob and Darlene Hessler, Leid Design Group, Melissa Margolin L.C., Cheryl Saxton, Barbara Capon and Stephanie Prothero.

More silent auction donations were made by Bonne Vie, Aphrodite’s Closet, Trader Joe’s, Kendra Holloway, Oakland Raiders, Laura and Todd Palmer, Peggy and Bob Lubeck, Natalie Gelman, Safeway, JP Seafood, John Jacobs, Alameda Auto Lab, P.F. Chang, Asena Restaurant, Gold Coast Restaurant, Doug Korach and Claire Thompkins.

— Diane Lichtenstein, Kiwanis Club of Alameda

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