Letters to the Editor

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A new mega-bar called "Capone’s" is about to open, in a historic Park Street building at the crossroads to all of the Park Street businesses, just a few blocks from Alameda High School and right next door to the children’s dance studio.

How did this happen? Who voted for this? Who is going to pay for all the extra police? Why should we pay for extra police? A mega-bar In Alameda? Outsiders would have to drive here to drink alcohol at this mega-bar, then drive off the island once they are drunk.

Where are all these people going to park? Who is going to be held responsible when someone commits a crime, or kills someone after drinking at this mega-bar? What has happened to our town? In the last two years more beer, wine and alcohol permits have been passed out in Alameda than in the last 20 years.

Drunken driving arrests are an everyday occurrence, yet where is our Chief of Police Paul Rolleri, City Manager John Russo and Mayor Marie Gilmore. This mega-bar is going to open in the heart of our town and yet no one was informed of this, we did not vote on this and yet we are all going to be, forever impacted by this. It is truly a sad time for all Alameda.


— Paul Little


Appraisals are what we do in today’s world; appraisal for your jewelry, appraisals for your car, your home and other items of value. So why is our school district avoiding appraisals for the land that they wish to swap with the city? Avoiding this process almost seems illegal. Wouldn’t you think our school board should want to know the market value of the lands in question? It’s called accountability.

Avoiding this step is very irresponsible and an abdication of the board’s financial duties. Is this the same board that is going to come forth very soon with a multi-million dollar bond and expect to win the vote of the community?

If this school board wants to convince the community it needs a bond, it first needs to convince the community that it knows how to manage its finances. Blowing off appraisals is a very bad idea and demonstrates a lack of sound financial practices. Do the right thing, slow down the process; do appraisals and involve the community.


— Gretchen Lipow

The Alameda Sun received a copy of this letter addressed to Debbie Potter, the city’s director of community development.

Dear Ms. Potter:

This letter is coming from a longtime Alameda family regarding the recent taxes and fines being levied by the city in the name of business licenses. In my opinion, the method of collection and the stance that the city has taken against its own residents are astonishing.

My family established Justin Realty and Insurance back in the 1930s. Over the years, my father and my uncles purchased many Alameda properties. When they retired, they divided the properties among themselves and closed their business office on Park Street. They then simply managed and paid the business licenses on those properties.

When my father and my uncles passed away I took over managing the rental properties. We have formed family limited partnerships to keep the properties in the children’s and grandchildren’s names.

Registering our limited partnerships with the state of California required our street address, not our post office box number. Waterview Isle Partners II, LP and H.W. Justin LP both gave a family member’s name and street address in Alameda.

Our renters send payments to our post office box. I do not live in Alameda, but I pick up the mail once a week. When we have a vacancy, we have a real estate office in Alameda set the rent amount, show the unit and draw up a lease. No business is actually being conducted at the Alameda street addresses of our family members.

I was shocked and insulted when I was contacted by some auditing service in Fresno insinuating that we were not paying for our business licenses. No matter whom I spoke to at the auditing company or in the city’s finance or planning departments I was told I owed five years of back taxes and fines.

The city also wanted a "one-time fee" for a home occupation permit. Supposedly no exception can be made. However, we now know that the city has sent letters to some of those audited, saying that the program has been "discontinued," bringing those cases to a "no-obligation conclusion."

Now what was good for the goose should be good for the gander. We look forward to receiving a refund for the money we paid into the city’s disastrous business license tax fiasco.

— Margi Kangas