Letters to the Editor
The election is over, and the voters have spoken.
That said, one Measure B assertion from our former mayor needs to be set right, so the public can know key facts about the supposed homeless takeover of city parks and children’s futures being in danger from Measure A.
In the April 4 edition, former mayor Spencer wrote: “Homeless now have the right to sleep on public property, including our parks and publicly owned golf course.”
Alameda Police Department (APD) Chief Rolleri responded to my inquiry regarding the accuracy of her claim as follows:
“Crab Cove, which falls in the primary jurisdiction of the East Bay Regional Parks District (EBRPD) has a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. every day. Alameda city parks operated by the Alameda Recreation and Parks Department also have posted park curfews. Those curfews can and are enforced by the EBRPD police and APD as appropriate for specific circumstances.
“Apparently, there are some people who are posting false information online indicating that Mayor Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft has directed APD to not patrol the Crab Cove area. Those reports are 100 percent false. The mayor has not given any direction to the police department about any of the issues raised.
“The direction of my officers is given by me as the chief of police or by my command staff and supervisors as my designees. Anything contrary that you have read on social media or in a local newspaper is simply untrue.”
It may be technically true that homeless can sleep in parks during non-curfew hours, but the greater implications of Spencer’s statement, feeding Measure B’s characterization of the site as a “homeless magnet,” “dumping ground,” or that “the McKay Avenue site is lost forever” are out of touch with APD’s enforcement policies and those of the greater community that values facts, truth and accuracy.
Measure B got it totally wrong on this account, to say the least, and I ask that the Alameda Sun set the record straight.
Remember when you didn’t have to drive around the block more than once to park at your own house? Or when you could get off the Island in 10 minutes? I remember days when I called the police, they took care of the problem. And when I thought firefighters and police would actually do all they could to save people.
Remember when a new neighbor moved in and did extensive work without permits, the city would do something about it? Or when kids went to neighborhood schools and you met their friends’ parents? Remember when the school dress code was more about teaching respect for oneself and not about one’s right to show off their stuff? Or when adults made decisions?
Remember when you could take your kids to the park and there were no people drinking alcohol or showering in the bathroom? Or when you could pick up your grandchild at a park preschool and no one was smoking pot in the bathroom causing the odor to enter the school?
Remember when City Hall’s job was to fix things before they start new projects? Or when elected officials actually served the people? Remember when City Councilmembers were respected? Or when school board members followed the bylaws instead of changing them for their own agendas? Remember when people disagreed on something, they could still part as friends?
Remember when you could take the long way home down Shore Line Drive and actually see the view? Remember when you wanted to raise your kids in Alameda?
I bet there are a lot of you who remember when. Just remembering when.
In response to the letter, “What students are taught, from student,” April 4, I have some observations.
Maybe the author was among those at Alameda City Hall on March 15 chanting, “Get up, get down, keep fossil fuels in the ground.” In his letter he further promised militant direct action to “overhaul” our system and not our climate.” I must credit him for being very clear in his message, if not in his thinking.
The letter quickly pivoted from the subject of climate change to that of the fundamental organization of our society. Regrettably, such thinking is going around.
What others seem not to understand is how precious our existing system is. Do they know that in 1800, more than 80 percent of Americans lived on farms and were engaged in the production of food? By 1900 it had fallen to about 40 percent and by 2000 only about 1 percent of Americans engaged in farming. Such progress has freed millions of people to pursue other endeavors that have led to the way of life we enjoy today.
Much of this progress was made possible by the discovery and use of fossil fuels. How are this many people to live without them? Further, our way of life is so attractive that it seems millions of people want to come here.
I would urge all thoughtful young people to visit parts of the world that remain undeveloped before they advocate overhauling the system that produced our way of life. That is not to say we do not have problems. However, the same technology that got us where we are has been remarkably effective in solving problems as they become serious. Compare the air quality of the Los Angeles basin in the 1960s to today.
Young people should have hope for the future. Those robbing them of it with dire predictions of impending disaster do so in the pursuit of a political agenda. Fortunately, the dire predictions of the past have not come to pass, and neither will those of today.
Parents, teachers and others should be helping young people find meaning in their lives without scaring them into becoming revolutionaries.