Letters to the Editor

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The Alameda Sun received a copy of this letter addressed to Alameda Recreation and Parks Director (ARPD) Amy Wooldridge.

Ms. Wooldridge:

I have lived near Jackson Park since 1988 and have long been an admirer of the Clark Memorial Bench. Recently, I have been researching the bench’s history and getting together a citizens group to support the effort to repair and restore it. This group includes Park Avenue residents Betsy Mathieson and James and Mary Manning, all of whom spoke at the March 13 Alameda Recreation and Park Commission meeting.

We were all very surprised when the bench was painted on Saturday (particularly in light of the color change). I understand that this is probably just a Band-Aid effort to forestall further deterioration and applaud the efforts of the Latter Day Saints community service group that pitched in to help. If bench is saved from demolition, it may be a good idea to poll the residents of Park Avenue as to what their color choice would be.  

In the meantime, I’m trying to find out what the original color was. Knowing what month it was installed would be helpful in cutting down my time at the microfilm machine going through a year of daily newspapers for a description. Please let me know if you have any information about what month the bench was installed.

In any event, I am in favor of the repair and restoration of the bench and believe that a fundraising campaign to support this effort is long overdue. I spoke to Bill Sonneman and have been emailing back and forth with Bill Delaney about ways in which this might be accomplished.

Delaney believes we should wait until the city decides what it is going to do, but I believe that, without the option of drawing upon donated funds, the city’s decision will be based on fewer options and be less satisfactory than if funds were already being raised.  

I suggest that fundraising can be done through two channels: an Indiegogo account, which I would be happy to set up, monitor, and maintain, and an account at a local bank where those who did not feel comfortable using credit cards on the Internet could send donations by cash and check. I have spoken to Dawna Dowdell at Bank of Marin and she is assisting me exploring this option.

I would also love to involve high school students in the effort. Sonneman tells me that, if the city approves repair and restoration of the bench over demolition, he will assist me in setting that up. 

In my research, I uncovered the fact that Isabelle Clark was “worthy matron” of the Alameda Order of the Eastern Star in 1902 and one of its charter members. Her death in 1924 was front page news and her funeral was held at the Masonic temple. I have notified the Masons of this fact and hope they will be interested in supporting the restoration effort. 

I am also reaching out to the Native Sons of the Golden West to see if they would be willing to place a plaque at the restored bench site, explaining how the bench came to be and what “In Memory of My Dumb Friends” really means. 

— Denise Shelton


I read with interest Steve Tabor’s letter to the editor (“Not resilient enough,” April 24) regarding the failure of the city to obtain the Rockefeller resiliency grant which is awarded to cities who have demonstrated a capacity to prepare and withstand natural disasters. 

Tabor goes on to discredit the “carbon dioxide theory of global warming” by saying it is “long ago discredited” which has resulted in “mass hysteria.” As usual, the climate change denialists fail to back up their statements with facts. Here are the facts: Climate scientists overwhelmingly agree that climate change is real and is manmade. In a study of climate papers which discuss climate change, over 97 percent agree that is real and human-caused. 

As a scientist living here in Alameda who studies health and climate for a living, I know that Alameda in particular is at risk for higher storm surges due to sea level rise. Changes due to climate change puts California’s agriculture and water supply at risk, and public health is threatened by more extreme weather events and more severe heat waves. 

The year 2012 was the hottest on record in the United States, so many of these impacts are happening now. Unfortunately, those who will suffer the most impacts are our children and those living in developing countries such as island nations which are preparing now for mass out-migration of their populations due to climate change. 

This is not mass hysteria, these are the facts. I would be glad to provide detailed scientific references from peer-reviewed journals for any statements I have provided in this letter. I challenge Tabor to do the same.


— Paul English


Thanks to our caring Alameda community, Girls Inc. of the Island City’s Women Who Dare Event was a phenomenal success, raising more than $60,000 for our innovative programs!  With this critical support, Girls Inc. of the Island City can deepen its capacity to help more girls seize opportunities and thrive. On behalf of the Women Who Dare Committee, I would like to thank our tremendous sponsors and supporters for helping us to inspire all girls to reach their full potentials and create bold futures. 

A strong, Smart and Bold Thank you to our Women Who Dare sponsors, Alameda Welfare Council, Kaiser Permanente, Excel Graphics, Alameda Hospital, Alameda Alliance for Health, Alameda Elder Communities in honor of Darnelle Zimmerman, Alameda Pediatric Dentistry, Andy and Nadine Barbera of Barbera Pangelinan Insurance Agency, Dorie Guess Behrstock, First Community Bank, Greer Family Mortuary, Trader Joe’s and the Alameda Police Department.
In addition we’d like to thank Lauren Zimmerman Cook, The Office of Deb Knowles of Edward Jones Investments, Sally R. Han of Alain Pinel Realtors, Harbor Bay Realty, Karen Petrulakis, Kate Rezucha, and Morgan West Hansen.

Our in-kind donors included Alameda Bicycle, Alameda Theatre, June Allen, Susan Cashin, Beth Degolia, Dragon Rouge, East Bay Crew, Irish Monkey, Peg Kofman, Ken Pearce, Bryan and Madonna Pendleton, Rythmix Cultural Works, Charlotte Tlachac, Trukid, Trader Joe’s and Julie Van Buhler.
We also like to thank our time and talent sponsors Nick Sandy, Lauren Hopkins, Olivia Lopez, Janet Thoma, Mary Ann Rose, Maricel Ago, Al Wright, Marilyn Sandifur, Anita Battle and Rose LeCount.

— Audrey Lord-Hausman, Chair, Special Events, Girls Inc. of the Island City