Letters to the Editor

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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


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


I was shocked and dismayed to learn that the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) is floating proposals to move Alameda Community Learning Center ("ACLC") at the end of this school year. This is a mere one year after the school board voted to rip ACLC from its moorings at Encinal High School, over strong opposition of the ACLC community.

ACLC has spent well over $100,000 in the latest move, as well as innumerable hours in improving its new facilities at Wood Middle School with the expectation that it would remain there at least for the time being. I would like to take the opportunity to remind the School Board and Superintendent Kirsten Vital that when any of our schools are devalued, the whole community is devalued.

ACLC is not a traveling road show and deserves better than this.

— Jennifer Chambers