What does tiny Alameda have in common with big cities like Los Angeles, Orlando, Seattle and San Antonio? They are all powered by community-owned electric utilities. In 1887, Alameda’s Board of Trustees (the predecessor to today’s City Council) voted to enter the power business. City leaders believed that, like public schools, parks, hospitals, police and fire departments, community-owned power addressed a basic community need: electricity as an essential public service. Even then, our little town was setting trends.

One of our mayors once said that raising a controversial issue in Alameda will almost assuredly start a discussion similar to a Holy War! I have lived on Bay Farm Island since 1980 and I can assure you that her statement is absolute fact.

The idea of progress in Alameda is often fought by a group of people who want Alameda to stay the same as it was in 1950. These people are often very strong and loud in their opinion, but certainly do not represent everyone. They will never represent me.

I have been visiting a patient in the critical unit at Alameda Hospital for more than a week now. I am writing because I am concerned about the care being given here and I am afraid for my family member and for other patients.

There doesn’t seem to be enough help most of the time. When the nurses need to turn people they call a nurse’s aide to help them who sometimes doesn’t arrive for more than an hour. When he comes, he is very helpful but at least twice now he has had to leave abruptly when there are announcements over the loudspeaker in the hospital about an emergency.

Banned Books Week is Sept. 27 to Oct. 3 this year, and it a week worth celebrating. Every year, some small-minded person complains about books that might harm the children, or society, or General Decency, and some weak-souled library or school district caves in and removes the book from the shelf. This causes actual harm to the public; a book that can’t be read, an idea that can’t be heard, dies a lonely death. If ideas or books were actually harmful (that is, they emitted a poison gas or the ink make your skin fall off), I could understand the problem.

Look way up in the sky. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No. They are the new ballpark lights at the Will C. Wood Little League Field — higher than all the tallest trees and taller than all surrounding houses, apartments and structures. More than $250,000 worth of lights that make we who live around them feel like O.Co Coliseum or AT&T Park just moved in.