August 2012

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, our two-sentence news review. Here’s what happened during this news-filled week:

A newly released fair housing group’s audit showed that property owners and their agents lack knowledge about their legal responsibilities toward disabled tenants. Some 70 percent of the Alameda landlords audited by ECHO Housing failed to agree to permit modifications to accommodate a prospective renter’s disability when asked.

Our first Bay Area America’s Cup event is now history, and it really does look like it WORKED. Thousands of people came out to Marina Green, and I would guess the vast majority had never watched a sailboat regatta before.

The Alameda Education Association has endorsed a number of local school board candidates over the years. But after a contentious year in which Alameda’s teachers and district leaders clashed over contract proposals and spending, their union is planning a full-on campaign for the three candidates they’ve endorsed.

Alameda’s charter school students could once again have the opportunity to participate on Encinal High School’s sports teams under an application to be considered by state scholastic sports officials in late September.

Updated at 1:35 p.m. Tuesday, August 28

City Councilwoman Beverly Johnson officially announced Tuesday that she’s ending her bid for a fresh term on Alameda’s City Council. Her announcement follows an 18-year career in local politics marked by a bevy of fresh development and revitalization of the downtown core.

More than three hours into their fourth public airing of plans to construct a new CVS drugstore and Chase bank branch at the corner of Park Street and Tilden Way, members of Alameda’s Planning Board appeared prepared to bend to what one member called pragmatism in their efforts to shape the development plans.


A colleague of mine has posted that she is nearing the Big Four Oh (Uh Oh) and seems to be somewhat troubled by the prospect. She also asks why, after a certain age, people shouldn’t be allowed to just get fat.

Robby Lyng and his crew do their best to maintain the 88-year-old lockers at Historic Alameda High School.

“We repair them. But they’re so old, it’s hard to get replacement parts,” said Lyng, the Alameda Unified School District’s maintenance, operations and facilities chief, as he and another district official took a reporter on a tour of the school.


Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your two-sentence news review. Here’s what happened this week:

Below are candidate statements for all nine candidates for three open school board seats. Statements from City Council candidates are here, and the ballot statements from Health Care District Board candidates are in the preceding post.

Updated at 10:37 a.m. Tuesday, August 28

It was completely unplanned. At a large gathering of America's Cup fans Wednesday night at the South Beach Yacht Club in San Francisco, I ran into Gerry Cannon, the gentleman who sold my wife an I our first real yacht (in this case, defined as a boat with a real engine).

Candidates for Alameda's City Council, Board of Education and Health Care District Board of Directors have submitted statements for the November ballot pamphlet. Here's what your City Council candidates had to say about themselves; we'll have statements from candidates for the Board of Education and Health Care District Board on Friday.

We had a great time at the America's Cup World Series practice races on Tuesday. We got there pretty early and parked in the hourly lot at Fort Mason... for a grand total of six dollars!! I don't imagine we can pull that off again so public transit or bikes is the way to go.

Located in the Suelflohn Building at 478 Central Avenue in Alameda is a book lover’s retreat: Wilmot’s Books.

The two candidates vying for termed-out Assemblyman Sandré Swanson’s seat have raised more than $660,000 for their primary and general election campaigns, with much of the money coming from their professional bases and from public employee unions.


When I think about Alameda Point, what sort of development of it would be best for Alameda and the current residents of Alameda, I think about institutions like Lawrence Berkeley Lab (never was going to happen but would have been a great fit) and the Veteran’s Administration Hospital

Seventy–six years ago Alameda politics reached a crisis point embroiling City Hall, the schools, the local district attorney and the community in public controversy noted far beyond the Island. The issues were resolved only after a massive student strike. Here is the story.

It is a balmy summer evening as dozens of sailors prepare for the next race in Oakland Yacht Club’s 2012 Sweet Sixteen Series – which is perhaps better known, along with similar races run by Encinal and Island yacht clubs on Friday nights, as Alameda’s beer can races.

“This is the hardest part of sailing, when the spinnaker is up,” Katherine Ulman says as the Joanna, a 30-foot Irwin on which she is crewing, carves a graceful arc across the Alameda/Oakland Estuary.

Dennis Laine drove past Historic Alameda High School this morning, and he was shocked by what he saw: An eight-foot tall fence being erected around portions of the old school.


Welcome to The Broad Brush, your weekly two-sentence news review. Here’s what happened this week.

Fundraising Fridays: Thank you for your support!

Today marks the final installment of our summer Fundraising Fridays appeal, and we'll be brief: We're donating the space where we typically make our appeal to our colleagues at Alameda Community Radio. Before we go though, we wanted to again thank everyone who contributed to The Alamedan over these last several months. Through this appeal alone we raised $1,140 - our goal was $1,000 - which will help us pay for new features we will be rolling out over the months to come.

This week, we want to thank Isadora Alman and Lorre Zuppan for supporting our efforts to keep Alameda informed, and also Laura Oda and Bobbie Centurion. We can't do this without you. If you'd like to join our growing list of supporters and help us reach our goal of raising $1,000 through our Fundraising Fridays campaign, you can contribute online today. And if you'd like more information about what we are doing and why, you can view our other Fundraising Fridays posts here.

Election season has begun, and we're working to produce coverage that will give you the information you need to make informed choices in the voting booth. You can support our efforts by making a contribution or by letting us know what information you could use. Send your suggestions to me at

Alameda Community Radio (ACR) is a new media community center on a mission: enhance community dialog and participation through the broadcast and dissemination of information, ideas, and artistic expression.

In other words, ACR modifies standard clichés and responds, “yes, we can all get along” and “new media is the message.”


It's finally here. Next week, August 21-26, the events leading up to the real America's Cup races next year come to San Francisco Bay.

According to the website of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County, which owns and operates REDUX Studios & Gallery, "'Neighbors helping Neighbors' is the heart of everything we do." So the gallery suspended its usual requirement that artwork feature reclaimed or salvaged material for “Your Friends & Neighbors," which opened on Friday, August 10 to a packed crowd.

Nine people are vying for three spots on Alameda’s Board of Education this November, including all three of the first-term board members whose four-year terms are expiring.


When a person lives a long time, in my case more than our allotted seventy years, he or she thinks they know the facts of life, including that it someday ends.

Four people are running for two seats on the Alameda Health Care District Board this fall in what could be a make-or-break year for Alameda Hospital, whose management is hopeful that new programs can raise enough money to help lift the hospital out of its deep fiscal slump and also help the hospital meet critical upgrade deadlines.

Joana Darc Weber has lived in Alameda for eight years, but the Brazil native feels like she’s lived here her entire life. She wants to give back to the community she loves. So she’s running for City Council.

Friends and family are mourning the loss of a 19-year-old Alameda man and avid swimmer and water polo player who died of natural causes while playing a water polo match at a local swim center. Ryan Joseph McDaniels died Tuesday night while on a break from a match at Emma Hood Swim Center.


Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your two-sentence news review. The big news this week: We’ve got a whole mess of candidates for the upcoming City Council election.

I’ve got a short FRF post for you today, to remind you that The Alamedan will be at Crab Cove for tonight’s final Concerts at the Cove gig. We’ll have the donation jar out, and a contribution of $5 earns you a chance to win one of our Alameda T-shirts (we’ll pick three winners).

Alameda Elections ’12: Eight candidates vying for council seats

Updated at 10:50 p.m. Thursday, August 9

Eight people will be running for two – and possible three – seats on Alameda’s City Council. The filing deadline for candidacy papers tolled at 6 p.m. Thursday.

The field includes Alameda Health Care District Board member Stewart Chen; former City Councilman Tony Daysog; former League of Women Voters president Jeff Cambra; Joana Darc Weber, a former communications director for the Brazilian city of Goiania, Goias; Planning Board member Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft; Gerard Valbuena Dumuk; incumbent Councilwoman Beverly J. Johnson; and Golf Commission president Jane Sullwold.

Voters will be selecting a replacement for outgoing Councilman Doug deHaan, who terms out of his seat at the end of this year, and they’ll decide whether to keep Johnson in her current seat or to select someone new. If Vice Mayor Rob Bonta succeeds in his effort to win a state Assembly seat, the third place finisher in the council race will take Bonta’s seat – if they earn 10 percent or more of the vote.

City Treasurer Kevin Kennedy and City Auditor Kevin Kearney are running unopposed for their seats.

Candidates for the Board of Education and the Health Care District Board have until the end of the day Friday to file their papers with the Alameda County Registrar of Voters.

So far, incumbent Health Care District Board member J. Michael McCormick and board president Jordan Battani have filed their papers to run again for that board, as has former school board member and current Open Government Commission member Tracy Jensen.

Incumbent school board members Trish Spencer and Nielsen Tam will run to retain their seats, in a race that as of 6 p.m. Thursday included Open Government Commission and Restoration Advisory Board member Kurt Peterson, Measure A parcel tax campaign chair Michael Robles-Wong, Dennis Spencer and Jon G. Murphy.

The election is November 6, though more than half of Alameda County’s voters will have mail-in ballots that they may submit as soon as October 8. More information on the election is available on the Alameda County Registrar of Voters website.

Where do you go on a date with your spouse?

Democrats will leap some high hurdles in their quest for national office this fall, Congresswoman Barbara Lee told a rapt audience at the Alameda Democratic Club on Wednesday, but she’s optimistic they’ll succeed in clearing them.

The Alameda Association of Realtors selects a local cause to support each year and for 2012, they’ve chosen the Alameda Point Collaborative. Its major effort will be the construction of a new teen center in a former Collaborative office space on Orion Street.


We’re entertaining some very good friends for a few days on a stop-over in their trip from Canada to SoCal and their visit has revealed a side of myself that makes me uncomfortable. I’ve become smug about living in Alameda. (As opposed to grateful.)

Local officials said they’ll continue to provide timely notification of upcoming City Council, school board and other meetings despite state lawmakers’ decision to partially suspend the requirement – and the state funding associated with it.

Updated at 5:45 p.m. Monday, August 6 in bold

A proposed housing development that would line a stretch of waterfront near the Park Street Bridge is once again tied up in litigation, with the city insisting the blighted property be cleaned up and its owners saying those cleanup demands are inhibiting their efforts to sell.


Welcome to another edition of The Broad Brush, your weekly two-sentence news review. Here’s what’s happening:

As we frantically worked to launch The Alamedan early this year, my former editor, mentor and (now) advisory board member Terry Winckler forwarded me a lengthy post from media prognosticator Clay Shirky on online newspaper paywalls.


Did you happen to visit Crown Beach this weekend? You might have seen a bustle of activity as 33 Hobie catamarans ran their annual Hobie Fleet 281 Round Treasure Island Regatta.

Attorneys representing the city are asking an Alameda County judge to throw out a wrongful death suit filed by the siblings of Raymond Zack, who drowned in San Francisco Bay on May 30, 2011 as Alameda police and firefighters and dozens of beachgoers watched.

The City Council voted Tuesday to release a confidential memo laying out staffers’ case for new rules allowing apartments and other multifamily housing despite voter-approved restrictions put in place by Measure A.