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Alameda may be well known for its beautiful Victorian-era houses, but one of the best-kept secrets is its Mastick Senior Center. Maybe I shouldn’t say it is a secret, for it has served more than 3,500 members ages 50 years and older — seniors from Alameda and Oakland.

I have lived in Alameda for many many years. All my children went to public school here.

When I first came here, I didn’t think I’d be going to a senior center for activities. But the years are catching up with me and I am taking all kinds of classes which they offer like computer, fitness, language (Italian, Spanish, German, French), line dancing, ballroom dancing, etc.

The staff, especially the supervisor, Jackie Krause, are all jewels! Donatella Zepplin, the transportation specialist, is also the most liked teacher in Italian (I take her class). Mariel Thomas is the travel specialist and Donna Conde keeps perfect record of all the registration and classes. Norma Nocera’s line dancing class is always full. She is an upbeat person. We all have fun in her class!

There are many many volunteers who come every day to make Mastick Senior Center a home away from home — a warm, welcoming center for all to enjoy!

Millie Lum is one faithful volunteer who is like a sergeant who makes sure everybody who comes to the center keeps to the rules in the office and lobby.

People who come to the center come to learn, have fun, do their activities and to socialize. If you haven’t been there, you should go check it out! It’s at 1155 Santa Clara Ave. between St. Charles and Bay streets. The phone number is 747-7500. Hope to see you there!

Dolly Fong

Editor:

The city of Alameda Democratic Club is deceiving voters. At the headquarters at South Shore Center, next to See’s Candies there is a banner which says, "City of Alameda Democratic Club." When my husband and I were there they had posters for Stewart Chen and Lena Tam. This certainly seems as if our local Democratic club endorsed these candidates. They did not. The club endorsed only Jim Oddie for City Council and made no endorsement for BART board, which is the race Tam is running in. My husband and I resigned our membership in the club because we will not support this unethical behavior.

Judith and Rod Arrants

Editor:

In response to the letter "Voting ‘no’ is no solution," Sept. 25, while Mark Irons sees Trish Spencer as a naysaying obstructionist, I see her as a courageous critical thinker. Let’s take a look at some of her "obstructionism."

1. She withheld support for the development of an anti-bullying curriculum in the high schools until it expanded from being dedicated to solely LGBT issues to include all bullying. (The board finally expanded the curriculum.)

2. When our business community sued the school district to invalidate a parcel tax (Measure H) that taxed them at a different rate than residences, she advised the school board to place the parcel tax paid by these businesses in escrow pending resolution of the litigation. The board ignored her advice, lost the case and now faces a multi-million dollar obligation to refund the taxes. She supported the subsequent parcel tax (Measure A), which addressed the concerns of the business community.

3. She voted "no" on the recent land swap with the city because the school district failed to get an appraisal of a portion of their land behind the Del Monte warehouse. The majority of the board described the land as worthless tidal lands, notwithstanding the fact that a very active private marina is operating on the site.

4. She voted "no" on Measure I, the proposed $179 million school bond issue because the ballot summary statement fails to inform the voters that the issuance of the bonds would result in an additional real estate tax with no opt-out for seniors of $60 per $100,000 of assessed valuation and because $90 million of the bond is allocated for high schools before the board has decided how the schools will be utilized.

5. She voted against outgoing Superintendent Kirsten Vital’s raise and the lease of the new district offices at Marina Village.

6. She voted against "Plan B," which would have closed Franklin, Otis and Washington elementary schools, while keeping open Edison, Haight, Lum, Paden, Ruby Bridges, Earhart, and Bay Farm elementary schools. She agreed with parents that Otis is a larger campus, adjacent to a Krusi Park, thus able to accommodate more students, than Edison.

I leave it to the readers to determine if Spencer is a naysaying obstructionist or a courageous critical thinker.

I would agree with Irons that Spencer has not been an effective consensus builder, but, based on her positions outlined above, does that reflect poorly on her or the rest of the school board? I see a much better chance of her building consensus on City Council. In addition to having the leadership position of mayor, the public statements of City Council candidate Frank Matarrese indicates that he agrees with her in opposing excessive residential and retail development; instead seeking to replace the good paying jobs that were lost when the Naval Base closed.

If Spencer and Matarrese unseat Gilmore and Chen we may also see other Council members rethinking their support of the currently proposed developments

Paul S. Foreman

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