Letters to the Editor

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I wish to congratulate newly elected Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft and Vice-mayor John Know White and Councilmembers Tony Daysog and Jim Oddie, I hope that they realize that the residents  of Alameda are counting on their honest, transparent and thoughtful decision making Alameda the very best it can be. 

To that end, I wish that they carefully evaluate their positions on the key concerns facing the city (traffic, housing development, safety and education). I hope they realize that they took an oath to not only support the U.S. Constitution, Constitution of the State of California, but that they will also faithfully discharge (wording as it appears in the oath) the duties of their elected office of the City of Alameda. 

This last phrase in the oath is the one that I wish to further elaborate on. One of their most important duties is to uphold the City Charter. Recently, a black cloud has hovered over the City Council in regards to possible violations to the Charter. The former City Council and Mayor appointed a private firm to investigate these allegations. The firm’s conclusion was that there appeared to be violations of the Charter. 

This report was forwarded to the Alameda County District Attorney’s office to decide if criminal violations had taken place. Six months later in mid-October (3 weeks before this Fall’s election), the District Attorney’s office forwarded the matter to the Grand Jury, where it is still pending. 

I wish to again state the importance of honesty and transparency in the roles of Alameda’s elected officials. The people of Alameda will be watching to make sure that you properly serve in the role we have entrusted you with.


Kurt Peterson

Seven years. Nearly 13 tons of donated fresh fruit.

Alameda Backyard Growers (ABG) presents wonderful educational programs each month. We screen informative and important films. We publish useful articles each month in the Alameda Sun. We occasionally march in the Fourth of July Parade. We are the most popular booth each year at Alameda’s Earth Day celebration as well as at many other school and community events.

But, mostly, we pick fruit from Alameda trees in Alameda yards — apples, plums, oranges, lemons, persimmons and more. We pick fruit that would otherwise just be left to the birds or to rot on the ground. We pick fruit and take it to the Alameda Food Bank so that our fellow Alamedans can share in the bounty that is the island of Alameda.

We work hard. We are proud of our work. We are all volunteers.  Our budget is modest. We are frugal with the money we receive. We do good things.

If you can, as you make your holiday plans, please consider helping ABG with any amount you can afford. Donate on our web page, mail a check to Alameda Backyard Growers, Inc., c/o 2051 Shoreline Drive, Apt. 213, Alameda 94501, or shop Amazon Smile and select ABG as your recipient organization.

We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so your donation is tax deductible.


Linda Carloni, Birgitt Evans, Holly Johnson and the ABG Board of Directors


I noted with interest a recent letter (“The time has come for ranked-choice voting,” Dec. 13), complaining about the election results and how the presence of Frank Matarrese on the ballot took enough votes from Mayor Trish Spencer to allow Councilmember Marilyn Ashcraft to be elected with a minority of votes. 

And while I am not a real fan of ranked-choice voting, I would agree that this case makes a good argument for it, although whether it is less “anti-democratic” than plurality voting is debatable. Let me point out here that there is no “best” voting method, they all have some flaw.

The retention of Councilmember Jim Oddie despite his coming in third in a two-seat race, raises other objections, more clearly anti-democratic. I refer to “at-large” elections for Council. 

Alameda’s dependence on a “weak mayor-strong city manager” form of government, combined with at-large City Council election is truly anti-democratic and it’s time Alameda dragged itself into the late 20th Century. (The 21st Century may be too much to ask.) 

These forms were designed, in the mid-18th Century, specifically to disenfranchise ethnic minorities and the less-wealthy. Currently, it demonstrably disadvantages the West End (I believe [might be wrong] only Tony Daysog lives west of Sherman).

As an Alameda resident, I honestly don’t know whom I would contact should I have some problem with the city (perhaps that’s the whole idea). With districts, it would be clear who “my” Councilmember is. And Alameda’s struggle to find and keep a good city manager. Recent scandals, show, painfully, the bankruptcy of the strong city manager form of government. 

Jeff Mark