January 2013

Ed Kofman was once a Boy Scout, he said, an experience he got a lot out of. But as a member of the Alameda Community Fund’s board of directors, he helped usher in a non-discrimination policy last year that effectively prohibits the fund from giving grant money to local troops due to their national organization’s ban on openly gay scouts and scout leaders.


Lots of news and events on the water this week!


Alameda is officially a Coast Guard City, and we are all used to seeing the big white ships docked at Coast Guard Island, across from the Alameda Marina.

Parents at Wood Middle School asked the school board Tuesday to consider putting the Alameda Community Learning Center somewhere else next year, while some school board members said more needs to be done to support the middle school.

What happened at last night's school board meeting? We've got the play by play - or, Tweet by Tweet - right here, along with your comments.

The Alameda Education Association, Alameda Firefighter’s Association and a host of state and local politicians are hosting a Crab Fest “Fun” raiser to support the Alameda Point Collaborative educational and teen centers on March 1 at the Albert H. DeWitt Officers Club, 641 West Redline Ave., Alameda Point. Tickets for the adults-only event are $50, and are available online or by calling (800) 838-3006.

Housing advocates say they’d like the city to consider allowing the construction of more housing than what’s now on tap for Alameda Point, while members of a group that oversees the environmental cleanup there said they want the potential impacts of contaminants there to be explored.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee kicked off her new job as Alameda’s representative in the House on Monday by announcing plans to help constituents who are having issues with the federal government. Lee’s office will hold office hours at the Main Library from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursday of each month.

Dear Editor,

In December and January, the Alameda Education Foundation made 26 Adopt A Classroom presentations to Alameda public school teachers. Each “adoption” represents a $500 donation, 100% of which is given to the teacher to use to support learning opportunities in his/her classroom. I would like to thank our generous donors:

Schools administrators want Alameda’s teachers to sign off on a school reform pilot that would see teachers collaborating on lessons and poring over test data in order to boost student achievement instead of working individually with a focus on implementing required curriculum, a directional shift that the head of the teachers union said would increase teachers’ workload without a corresponding

In February the city will host planning meetings for the former Alameda Belt Line property, known to a growing number of Alamedans as “Jean Sweeney Open Space.” It is a good time to take stock of some lessons learned and apply them to Alameda’s future parks.

Updated at 3:51 p.m. Sunday, January 27

Alameda teachers are asking the state to declare an impasse in their efforts to reach a wage agreement for their new contract, the day after schools leaders submitted a long-sought wage proposal at the bargaining table.

City staffers are charting an ambitious course toward developing Alameda Point, kicking off a series of planning efforts Monday that they hope will prepare the Point for development as soon as 2014.

“We’ve got a big year planned,” Alameda Point Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Ott said.


Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, our weekly, two-sentence news review. Here’s this week’s news, in brief.

Photos provided by the artists and by Michael Singman-Aste; click photo for slideshow.

Families at Wood Middle School say they’re frustrated about the possibility of a charter school being added to their campus, a move that has stoked both rumors and fears that the school is slated for closure.


Kathy Moehring has joined the Harbor Bay Group of Companies as its director of community affairs.

Cheryl Taylor and her daughter Julia Ruderman, 6, attend an inaugural event at the main library on Monday. Photo by Michele Ellson.


We just returned from a memorial service for one of my partner’s dearest friends who was killed in a freak accident at much too young an age (60). The life being celebrated was a rich and varied one as attested by the hundreds of people who attended the gathering.

Missed this morning's inaugural ceremonies for President Barack Obama? Here are the remarks he delivered for the official start of his second term; video is available here.

As Prepared for Delivery –

Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

From left to right: Alameda Point Collaborative Director of Social Enterprise Andrea Schorr; Division of Apprenticeship Standards Director Diane Ravnik; San Leandro Adult School principal Bradley Frazier; landscape apprentices Deja Roofener and Lance Martin; landscaping and horticulture technology trainer Deborah Lindsay; landscape apprentice Daryl McCray.

City leaders are asking the community to say what they want in a future Belt Line park. Photos by Michele Ellson; click for slideshow.


Need to know what happened in Alameda this week, and fast? Here’s this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, our weekly news review.

1617 Central Avenue is getting a makeover. Photos by Peter Lyons; click for slideshow.

An historic home that languished for years as its owner and the city battled in court is set to get a makeover.

Boats pass under the Park Street Bridge. Photo by Dave Bloch.

Schools leaders are getting ready to draft a long-term facilities plan for the first time in half a century – and also, to figure out how to pay for the schools the plan says Alameda will need.

Alameda’s teachers made a fresh public push for a new contract at Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting, saying they’d like better pay and benefits.


Tomatina Alameda is hosting a Dine & Donate fundraising event on Wednesday, January 23 to support Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter.

Clement Street bicycle lanes, street and sidewalk maintenance and continued funding for a shuttle to BART top a list of priority transportation projects okayed by the City Council on Tuesday.


The house we live in, like many in Alameda, just turned 100 years old and looks like it’s good for another hundred.

Last month’s shootings at a Connecticut elementary school have spurred fresh questions about whether schools should be doing more to keep students safe, though local schools officials say they're confident they're doing the right things.

Photos by Michele Ellson. Click photo for complete slideshow.

Hundreds of the Alameda Unified School District’s youngest charges are on wide-open school campuses where some basic security measures aren’t being followed, visits to three of Alameda’s elementary schools showed this week.


Welcome to another edition of The Broad Brush, our review of the week’s headlines. Here’s what happened this week.

In an earlier version of this story, The Alamedan misidentified the ethnicity of testers used for an ECHO Housing audit and the numbers of testers employed. The Alamedan regrets the errors.

Discrimination against non-Hispanic renters may be on the decline in some local communities, the results of a newly released audit show, though other audits referenced by the new one showed different results.

Four people with more than a century’s combined experience in different aspects of the health care field have applied to fill out the second half of former Alameda Health Care District Board member Stewart Chen’s four-year term, in the wake of Chen’s ascension into a City Council seat.

Photo: Dave stands next to (one of many) signs in the lobby of the Mayaland hotel promoting the showing of “Tales of the Maya Skies.” Photo provided by Dave Bloch.

To a casual observer, the scene that played out during at the Alameda City Council’s January 2 discussion about the Marina Cove housing development may have held some surprises. The city’s top planner, Andrew Thomas, was detailing his efforts to prod developer Trident Partners to build more homes on the 7.14 acre Marina Cove II site, which now holds a warehouse.

An earlier version of this story misidentified the style of the Mossberg MVP .223. It is a bolt-action rifle that is capable of firing rounds from detachable magazines. The Alamedan regrets the error.

Updated at 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, January 8

A state appeals court has agreed to revisit its decision to strike down portions of a 2008 Alameda school parcel tax, a ruling that could ultimately cost Alameda Unified millions of dollars and put other school districts’ parcel taxes at risk of being tossed by courts.


We’re just finishing the clean-up from my partner’s annual New Year’s Day party and the “let’s share our leftovers” dinner with friends who also throw a New Year’s Day party.

It’s quiet in the small Lincoln Avenue gym that once served participants in the local Boys & Girls Club – save the sound of a host of 2.7-gram celluloid balls bouncing off rubber paddles and rows of vast, blue wood tables.


Last month we took a little bit of a break to enjoy the holidays and to provide you more of the news you need in 2013, with our final post of the year an appeal to readers for the support we'll need to continue making sure we can keep Alameda covered. I'm excited to say that we raised $980 over the holiday season. I'd like to offer my heartfelt thanks to Stephanie Lipow, Connie Turner, Nicole Marcucci, advisory board member and blogger Mort Chalfy, Janet S. Deutsch, Susan Krauss, Marilyn Schumacher, Jim Pruitt and Patricia and Roger Baer. I really appreciate your support and will be working extra hard this year to make sure The Alamedan continues to provide the coverage that moved you to invest in what we're doing.

When Alameda High School became home to one of Alameda County’s first school-based health centers, in 1993, its arrival aroused a storm of protest.


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

City leaders have granted what some deemed an historic early approval for a new housing development that will include homes that don’t comply with Measure A, despite a lawsuit that challenges an earlier decision that allows such development on a limited number of sites.


On the coldest night in Alameda this year our furnace broke. It took a little while to realize that fact as one minute it was blowing out heated air and the next it wasn’t.