February 2015

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your weekly, two-sentence news review. Here are your headlines for the week.

Alameda’s Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach was renamed in 1973 for the state Assemblyman who championed its state public park status and use – preservation for all Alamedans to enjoy year-round. Crown died at the age of 51 after being struck by a car while jogging. But his memory and accomplishments for our city are kept alive here.

This week, my series on great places to run in the East Bay continues with the Nimitz Way Trail that begins in Tilden Park at Inspiration Point.

Alamedans who live near Rittler Field and others who happened to be passing by Thursday evening may have done a double take in order to process a surprising sight: a helicopter parked in a corner of the field, accompanied by a lineup of fire trucks and police cars.

When Angela Hockabout was priced out of her rental home in 2013 after being handed a $450 per month rent increase, she felt like she had nowhere to turn. But thanks to Hockabout, that’s no longer the case for others in her situation.

James Hahn had the most remarkable look on his face late Sunday, standing on the 14th green at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. This was the third hole of a sudden death playoff for the Northern Trust Open.

The school district is keeping Alameda and Encinal high schools open, instead of building a single, new school to house all of the two schools’ students.

It was another warm fall evening, about 7:00, still about 70 degrees, with a full moon. Ben had left the Chiquita tied to the float thinking it would be used the next day. Red, Budda and Flip owned small, very fast, 11-foot boats with 35-horsepower outboard motors. We used to race up and down the estuary and run through a slough called Sweet Pea at high tide, off San Leandro Bay.

“Let’s take the boats out for a cruise,” one of us suggested.

City leaders are set to develop an Island-wide plan to address what one city staffer identified as “the single most debated issue” generated by new development – traffic.

We experienced another "king tide" last week, but since we didn't visit the Pacific Coast (living here on the bay as we do), we despaired of seeing any of its effects.

Arthur Weil knows the face of hate. Weil, a former history teacher and Holocaust survivor, spoke before an audience Saturday on the U.S.S. Hornet Museum.

The Transportation Commission and Planning Board will hold a joint meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, February 25 in council chambers on the third floor of City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue. The City Council will also be in attendance.

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your weekly, two-sentence news review. Here are your Alameda headlines for the week.

Alameda was recently named a finalist for Sunset Magazine’s first “Sunset Travel Awards” in the category “Best Municipal Makeover/Reinvention Town” for Spirits Alley – the stretch of wineries, distilleries, and a brewery along Monarch Street on Alameda Point that the city christened with its new moniker last October.

Starting with this week's blog, I want to write about my favorite places to run here in the East Bay. For my first entry in this series, let's visit Lake Chabot Regional Park, which is operated by the East Bay Regional Park District.

City Manager John Russo is leaving Alameda for the city manager's job in Riverside, an official with that city confirmed Thursday. Russo has been Alameda's top administrator since 2011.

Property owners who The Alamedan has interviewed and others who have commented on prior stories in The Alamedan’s running series on rents have said the recent rise in rents is only part of the story of rental housing in the Bay Area. They said the free market cuts both ways, impacting both tenants and landlords.

City Council members offered a vote of support Tuesday for the expansion of Crab Cove onto a 3.899-acre federal property across the street that was once slated for housing.

This past Tuesday the City Council talked about plans for Site A, support for a Crab Cove expansion and more. That's all in our tweet by tweet.

I had just attended the first showing of “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” at the Alameda Theatre, which birthed another great idea: “Let’s get some glue and hair from the local costume store and make up as werewolves to scare the girls!”

A symbol of the Island’s shipbuilding past is set to be demolished. An 86-foot-tall shipyard crane built during World War II and located next to the Main Street ferry terminal awaits the wrecking ball. Tonight, the City Council will consider a contract to remove it.

The 16th Annual Chili Cook-Off held by the Kiwanis Club of Alameda was a big success.

Let me begin by saying that there is no single way to be a cat keeper. Just as there is no single way to be a human being, there is also no single way to be a cat, so the permutations of relationships are practically endless.

The Alamedan will be taking a break this President's Day weekend, but don't fret: We'll be back with more news on Tuesday. Have a great weekend, Alameda!

Writer and Bay Farm Islander Steve Hockensmith is a busy guy. A prolific author, husband, father of two and some-time dog wrangler, Hockensmith published four books in the last year – no easy feat when you’re also holding down a nine-to-five day job.

This April, he’ll be undertaking an additional task: traveling to New York City as a finalist for a prestigious Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award, his second nomination since he was up for Best First Novel in 2007.

February is historically designated as American Heart Month. More than just a time to “wear red,” many health professionals consider this an opportunity to promote cardiovascular wellness and encourage patients to learn more about the risks for heart disease and stroke.

Alameda’s Board of Education voted Tuesday to give Superintendent Sean McPhetridge some birthday presents: A new contract and a shorter title.

Ben had fished a 14-foot-long, 12-inch wide piece of driftwood out of the estuary and decided to secure it to the end of the pier as a homemade diving board. Depending on the tide, it could be 12 or 14 feet above the water. Too cool!

How are your Alameda Health Care District parcel tax dollars being spent? The district’s board approved some changes to the budget last week that will see parcel tax money used to pay down more of the hospital’s bills than originally planned.

Over these past few months, we’ve reported on a series of hot-button local issues that have included an election, rising rents and the selection of a new school board member. The stories have generated a lot of reader interest – and a growing number of anonymous personal attacks have been posted into our comments queue.

After the long dry spell, the rains came! As befitting Alameda however, the rains came overnight, the winds stayed reasonable and Saturday morning dawned bright, sunny, mostly under clear skies and sparkling with the beads of water that had fallen through the hours of darkness.

Have California’s chronic school funding problems, at long last, been fixed? If you’ve been listening to the governor’s political cheerleaders in Sacramento this winter, you might start to think so.

The Board of Education meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 10 in council chambers on the third floor of City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue.

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your Alameda week in review. Here’s your Island news for this week.

Got plans for Valentine’s Day? If not, look no further: We’ve got the 411 on where you and your sweetie can enjoy a special dinner, a few glasses of wine or some sweet treats, right here on the Island.

Here’s a rundown; if you’re a business owner hosting an event we missed, feel free to leave it in the comments section of this piece.

For the first time in its 50-year history, the Peralta Colleges, which includes College of Alameda, will have its own FM radio station to provide educational programming to the community and hands-on broadcast experience to its students.

Golden Gate Park was the scene of a large race last Sunday: the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon & 5k. Over 7,000 runners finished one or the other of the races.

Last fall, the City Council passed on a proposal to create a city-sponsored rents task force whose charge would have included collecting data on the Island’s rental market. So City Councilman Tony Daysog, who had favored the task force proposal, decided to collect some of that information on his own.

As many of you have heard, several California counties are experiencing outbreaks of measles. So far, we have had no confirmed cases of measles in the Alameda Unified School District. But I wanted to send a message to encourage all parents and guardians to vaccinate their children against measles and to let our community know what we are doing to keep our students, employees, and other community members safe.

In 2006 my former father-in-law, Jesse, was hospitalized after falling at home. He had fallen on more than one occasion and my mother-in-law, Florence, was not able to get him up. She was 89. Medicare was not going to cover most of the in-home care he required.

A former college professor and newcomer to Alameda has been chosen as the new member of Alameda's Board of Education.

Philip Hu, an assistant general manager for Public Employees Union Local 1, has lived on the Island for only seven months. But he won the trustee’s post Tuesday night after another finalist, Jane Grimaldi, withdrew from the race.

Ben and Joanie Randolph lived on Marina Drive, 17 houses from the High Street Bridge. They loved having us teens around; it also gave them control, as we knew that Ben was in charge, and we loved being there.

The San Leandro Bay Bridge – better known to locals as the Bay Farm Island bridge – will be getting a bit of a facelift.

The car bridge will be closed nights starting in October. The bike bridge, meanwhile, will be shuttered for some daytime and some evening hours.

This past week was a humdinger in the sense that my activities brought much of the future of Alameda into stark relief - with no relief in sight. The week was really "ramblin' Alameda," rather than amblin' (which wouldn't have covered nearly as much territory).

On Tuesday night, the school board is set to pick a new member to fill the remainder of Mayor Trish Spencer’s unexpired term. We asked all 10 of the finalists for the board seat how they would handle some of the key issues the board will be addressing over the next few years, and also, what their priorities would be as a board member. Nine of the 10 responded. Here’s what they had to say; responses were posted in the order they were received.

The Historical Advisory Board meets at 7 p.m. Thursday, February 5 in council chambers on the third floor of City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue.