May 2015

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your weekly Alameda headline review. Here’s what happened on the Island this week.

Nielsen Tam, a longtime educator and second-term school board member hailed as a soft-spoken champion for Alameda’s youth and for equity in the Island’s schools, died Sunday night after a months-long battle with leukemia. He was 69.

This Sunday, track and field fans had a rare opportunity to see some of the best masters (over 40 years old) athletes in the world only a few miles down the road, at Chabot College.

A spate of deadly police shootings in cities across the country – and the city’s recent settlement of an excessive force case here at home – have prompted questions about when and how police use force.

The answers? Rarely. And, it depends.

More than 100 dancers from Alameda and Encinal high schools glided, stomped, and twirled across the gym floor at Alameda High School on May 21 in celebration of the sixth annual Alameda Harvey Milk Day Celebration.

Bay Farm Island is encircled by a picturesque, multipurpose path that’s more than six miles long. It’s part of the San Francisco Bay Trail. Every day, joggers, cyclists, dog walkers and parents pushing baby strollers gambol along its route.

A journey around the entire circuit can evoke a multitude of thoughts and emotions, inspired by what is visible along the way.

Alameda’s development-watchers have a new tool to help them keep track of development proposals and construction projects on the Island.

The city has partnered with San Francisco-based app developer BuildingEye to create an interactive map that will make it easier to find planning, building and code enforcement data the city had previously offered in database form.

Reading Alameda Public Works Director Bob Haun’s May 21 op-ed, “The City Does Employ Engineers for Its Projects,” reminded me of the old adage, “saying it’s so doesn’t make it so.” Mr. Haun does a fine job of laying out the “facts” as he wants you to believe them, but when you scratch the surface of his claims, you uncover the telltale glint of fool’s gold.

Fire Station 3 is positioned on a corner in the center of town. I always liked responding from this station as we covered both ends of the city and didn’t have those infernal ambulances. Built in 1923, it has two single apparatus rooms: one faces Pacific and the other faces Grand.

The Planning Board will consider approvals tonight for a 31-unit apartment building for low-income seniors proposed to be built as part of the Del Monte warehouse development.

It puzzles me that tenant activists should push for private enterprise to subsidize housing through the support of rent controls, and "just cause termination" laws. Housing is a "very basic human right," tenant activists argue, a "human service" fulfilling a vital societal need. Aren't those just the sort of vital services we expect government to provide?

On Sunday mornings when both of us are in town, my friend Larry, his three legged dog Maggie and I go for a walk. We walk at Maggie's pace - which, oddly enough, is not affected by her loss of a leg but by the number of spots visited and marked by other dogs.

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

Today’s Island city began life as a peninsula where Native Americans — members of the Ohlone tribe — first lived, more than 3,000 years ago.

On Friday, May 15, Mayor Morten Kabell of Copenhagen met with Mayor Trish Spencer and community members.

A perceived increase in the number of eviction notices being handed out by property owners in Alameda has prompted some tenants to ask city leaders to consider a new tool to protect renters: just cause eviction rules that restrict landlords’ ability to make tenants move.

Like many, my wife and I moved to Alameda in 2003 because we were impressed by the city’s strong sense of community. When our 5-year-old son started elementary school this year, this sense of community became even more evident for us.

City Council members have signed off on an $8 million contract to build a replacement mid-Island fire station and emergency operations center.

The approval, on a 4-1 vote, followed a wide-ranging discussion about what the city should be doing to better prepare for a disaster. Richmond-based Alten Construction was the winning bidder.

Tuesday night's six-hour gabfest included approval of an $8 million construction contract for a replacement fire station and emergency operations center, a proposal to raise sewer rates and an update on Site A. Here's your tweet by tweet.

House fire, 1984

We find another three-story Victorian with smoke coming from the eaves. The house is a little like the one in the movie Psycho.

With all the news about water shortages and climate change, it’s hard not to think maybe Chicken Little was right. Bees disappearing, millions of trees lost, metallic tasting water – all pieces of a troubling and seemingly interconnected puzzle. So what can you do to conserve?

After walking and driving the streets of Alameda for the past five-plus years, I began to think that I know this town pretty well.

Alameda Municipal Power may soon provide a subscription solar power service for residents and business owners who aren’t prepared to install their own solar array.

Planning Board, 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 26, council chambers, City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue.


Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your weekly, two-sentence local news review. Here’s what happened on the Island this week.

The water crisis makes research by companies like Liquidity, based right here in Alameda, all the more relevant.

It's mid-May, so you know what that means, right?

Bay to Breakers!

With our proximity to the University at California, Berkeley, the Oakland Zoo, state wildlife parks, seminars and citizen science groups throughout the East Bay, Alameda adults and kids who love science have an incredible number of nearby options to fill their brains every month.

Welcome to the first post for my new blog for The Alamedan, one that offers news from Bay Farm Island. Living here since 2001, I have come to love and cherish this corner of the universe and consider it unique, perhaps even special.

Nearly 77,000 people now call Alameda home, new state data show – the most residents who have ever lived on the Island.

Station Four, 8:30 p.m. December 23

I’m lieutenant at Alameda Fire Station Four, Harbor Bay Isle, and John Laramie is the engineer. We’re looking forward to a quiet shift being that Harbor Bay is in the suburbs.

Alameda’s Planning Board offered critical approvals Monday for a plan to develop a 68-acre slice of Alameda Point with new homes, commercial space, acres of parks and transit.

The seven-member board voted unanimously to move forward with a development plan for Site A, which is expected to serve as the long-awaited catalyst for revitalization of the former Alameda Naval Air Station.

The Planning Board voted unanimously Monday to approve a development plan for Alameda Point's 68-acre Site A. Here's the tweet by tweet, and your reactions.

The residential and commercial neighborhood proposed for 68 acres at Alameda Point’s east entrance implements the approved 1996 vision for conversion of Naval Air Station Alameda to civilian use.

We are spending the weekend with friends and family from out of town, who are here to celebrate my sweetie's birthday. These are old friends who have come from the East Coast and Southern California and are themselves the presents my sweetie requested.

Island drivers, prepare: Overnight closures of the Park Street Bridge begin today.

The closures are scheduled to take place from 8:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday until August 14. The bridge will be totally closed to car and bicycle traffic during those times, with a detour routing drivers over the Fruitvale Bridge in effect. Cyclists will be routed down East 7th Street.

The Restoration Advisory Board meets at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 14 in Suite 140 at City Hall West, 950 West Mall Square, Alameda Point.

With a pair of agenda items going before the Planning Board on Monday, the city’s staff is attempting a grand bargain of sorts that would allow the far West End of the Island to begin its transformation into something other than a shuttered military base.

The hard work that takes place in our public schools was evident on Friday, April 24, at the Alameda Education Foundation’s Salute to Education.

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


The city has settled a lawsuit accusing Alameda police of using excessive force against a disabled man they arrested on suspicion of stealing a cell phone charger from a local phone store.

Dear Editor:

For the past 21 years I have co-owned Bay Ship & Yacht in Alameda Point. We employ nearly 400 people to repair, convert and build, commercial, military vessels and super yachts.

How much longer will your commute be if 1,425 homes are built at Alameda Point? That’s the question residents who worry about the traffic development at the Point and elsewhere on the Island will create are asking.

Bike Walk Alameda is very excited to finally see tangible movement in new housing and infrastructure at Alameda Point. We have been involved in planning at Alameda Point for more than 15 years and believe that the current, community-created plans offer the most benefit for all Alamedans.

City Council members agreed in principle on new rules intended to strengthen its process for mediating rent disputes but stopped short of passing an ordinance on Tuesday.

Alameda's City Council okayed a 7.7 percent garbage pickup rate hike to help Alameda County Industries cover the cost of better pay and benefits for its recycling workers. But council members held off on new rent dispute mediation rules. Here's the tweet by tweet.

August 1969, 1:00 a.m.

My mind returns to my first structure fire. I am riding the tailboard with Moe Hale. He is extremely confident and anxious to get into the battle.

Upon reading an article out of The Alamedan called "Alameda paramedicine pilot set to launch," published April 7, 2015, I am writing this as a concerned citizen of Alameda County. It has come to my attention this pilot program has been approved by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.

Yesterday we were shopping in a store we occasionally shop at and often make purchases. We bought a pair of fuzzy slippers for my grandchild because she had hurt her foot and couldn't get into any other footwear. Alas, they turned out to be too small, so I had to return them.

In mid-April, the East Bay Municipal Utility District adopted mandatory water use restrictions in response to Governor Jerry Brown's mandate that Californians conserve.

Water district officials voted to ask customers to use 20 percent less water than they used in 2013, though district staff expect that homeowners, apartment dwellers, business owners and other classes of customers will conserve at different rates. So far, the district hasn't laid down penalties for failure to conserve.

So, our questions for today: What are you doing to conserve water? And what penalties do you think the water district should impose on people who don't cut their water use?

Let us know by posting a comment below. And if you're a water super saver, give us a shout at letting us know what you're doing to save - we'd love to write a story about you.


The City Council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 5 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 weekly, two-sentence local news review. Here’s what happened on the Island this week.

During the final moments of this past Monday’s Planning Board meeting, City Planner Andrew Thomas announced a plan that would cap the number of homes that can be built on 37 acres of the North Housing parcel – Navy land that sits just north of the housing now occupied by members of the Coast Guard.

Video courtesy of the Association of Bay Area Governments.