June 2015

The Alameda Food Bank has a new executive director. Cindy Houts will take the helm after the food bank's current director, Troy Gilbert, leaves on July 4.

From left to right: Interim City Manager Liz Warmerdam, Vice Mayor Frank Matarrese, City Councilman Jim Oddie, Councilwoman Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer, Councilman Tony Daysog and Fire Chief Doug Long. Photo courtesy of the City of Alameda.

Alameda's Board of Education has signed off on a pair of contracts for the school district's teachers and paraprofessionals.

On June 23 the board unanimously okayed a one-year agreement with the district's teachers and a three-year agreement with the paraprofessionals union. District and union officials are still working on a contract to cover Alameda Unified's custodians.

Police from Alameda and a host of other agencies wrote dozens of tickets during a pedestrian decoy sting Wednesday.

Officers issued 168 citations during the operation, which took place at eight of Alameda's busiest intersections. About 80 percent of the tickets were written for pedestrian violations, with additional citations issued for distracted driving and excessive speed.

Getting into a habit of fitness can be a challenge for many people. If you are ever going to do it, or if you have dabbled in fitness from time to time, but never really committed, now is the time!

Why now? Why not three months ago or three months from now?

In his June 11 commentary in the Alameda Sun, John Knox White, a city Planning Board member, attempts to defend that the analysis for the environmental impact report for Alameda Point’s 1,425 homes and 9,000 jobs will result in net-one-car-off-Island during the morning commute.

Station 1, mid-1970s, 1 a.m.

The crew was catching some ‘zs. I awakened to the voice of Archie Bowels and the often-heard phrase, “Alameda Fire Department.” The plea of a female voice on the other end was alarming.

Last week we asked our readers to help us continue providing news as we seek new management, and you stepped up to the plate.

 

My ambivalence about hair cutters began long ago and far away, in the wilds of the East Bronx at the end of the 1940s.

Alameda’s West End served the railroads well in the 19th century. But the East End also played an important role in their history.

This year, there is another noteworthy event starting on July 4 besides the Alameda R.A.C.E.: the Tour de France.

Want more Alameda news? We'd love to keep providing it for you - but we need your help.

Four years had passed, and I was on duty at our “new” Station 1 at the corner of Encinal and Park streets. My probation was completed, and I had quite a few fires under my belt; I was beginning to feel truly accepted and pretty comfortable in the fire department.

It's a week and a day early, but the first farmer's market of the summer happened Saturday. The stalls were all bursting with produce, the stone fruits are in abundance, Asian vegetables abound and the air is warm and soft and inviting.

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.

With morning and evening commute traffic expected to grow as the Island develops, the pressure is on to get out of the car and onto a bike.

Alameda Boy Scouts Cedrick Becerra, Branden Christman, Joshua O'Neil, Nicklas Gardner and Adam Reyes received the Eagle Scout award during a recent Boy Scouts of America National Court of Honor.

I just registered for the Alameda Mayor's July 4th Parade R.A.C.E. (Ralph Appezzato Charity Event). This is a terrific event for everyone. If you don't know about it, here's the scoop.

With rents rising and vacancies rare here in Alameda and across the Bay Area, it’s perhaps no surprise that rent control has become one of the hottest topics on the Island. It’s also one of the most emotional, pitting renters and housing advocates who say housing is a basic human right against property owners who feel controls would take their own rights away.

If Alameda’s political leaders were to implement rent controls – and the council is showing few signs that it intends to do that – what if any relief would those controls provide to renters? What impact would rent control have on property investment in Alameda? And what other factors affect housing costs and supply?

Patty Harding, mother of Clay Harding - who died tragically last November - speaks at Saturday's dedication of an Eagle Scout project in her son's name. The project, a memorial at City View Skate Park, was organized by Edan Winckler of Alameda Troop 73.

If you have ever walked across the Golden Gate Bridge, flown a kite along the waterfront in Tiburon, rollerbladed along the Foster City levee, hiked through the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge or built sandcastles on Robert W. Crown Beach on Alameda’s main Island, you have experienced part of the San Francisco Bay Trail.

Schools leaders said Tuesday that they’ll reconsider a proposal to slash funding requests for a pair of innovative school plans that have been in the works for the past 18 months.

Dear Councilmembers:

On June 16 you will vote on whether to approve development of Site A at Alameda Point. We, the city’s last three living former mayors, have been involved in reimagining the former Naval base since 1997. Time is overdue to implement a plan, and you can now deliver it for Alameda.

Adrenaline is the most descriptive word I can think of to explain this job.

Alameda’s City Council will get a report Thursday on homelessness on the Island and on next steps that should be taken to combat it.

Parking is tight in Alameda, but I didn't have to tell you that. Parking is tight in the commercial corridors, but even tighter in the neighborhoods.

In the mid-1950s, Alameda was home to the great comedienne Phyllis Diller. Fast forward to present day and meet Alameda gal, stand up comic, activist and motivational speaker Nina G.

The Alamedan got several letters last week regarding Site A. For your convenience, we're printing all of them in one handy post.

The City Council will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 11 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 news review. Here’s what happened in Alameda this week.

When my family and I moved to Alameda, in 2005, the Island was a veritable burger desert. Fast-forward a decade, and it seems that the Island’s burger SOS has been answered by a bevy of patty-slinging outlets ranging from local startups to national chains.

I don’t eat burgers very often, but have to admit I was curious who had the best burger. So I set out on a nine-day burger odyssey.

Few things keep skateboarders off Alameda's streets, but briefly last November, the streets were quiet as the city's skate tribe gathered at St. Joseph's Church to mourn the tragic death of 17-year-old Clay Harding. On Saturday the clan gathered again in his memory, but this time loud and proud at the skate park where Clay was a high-flying regular.

This week, I want to tell you about my experiences with a corporate wellness program, and to give you a brief recap of the Masters Championships track meet last Sunday at Chabot College.

Business owners who are frustrated about the Point’s bursting water mains, potholed roads, overflowing sewers and spotty phone and electric service have urged the City Council to approve a 68-acre waterfront development proposal there known as Site A, which they believe will start to fix the problems with an investment of more than $100 million in new infrastructure. The council is expected to vote on whether to move forward with development of Site A on June 16.

I read with interest your reporting on the City Council discussion on the new emergency operations center.

I find great pleasure in humor. As my writing continues, I will intersperse anecdotal stories.

City leaders on Tuesday unanimously okayed a $188 million budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1 and a $174.4 million budget for 2016-17.

“We’ve shown restraint. And we’ve also started to restore some of the cuts we made during the Great Recession,” said City Councilman Jim Oddie, who said the budget begins to address deferred maintenance and long-term retiree costs.

The City Council signed off on budgets and police body cameras on Tuesday. Here's the tweet by tweet.

I was at home on Marina Drive, on the living room floor playing with my family and watching television. For some reason, though – I don’t remember why – Laura said that we looked at each other as if we heard an unusual sound and, within five minutes, a call came in from Central Fire. Dispatch was recalling me to work.

The Alameda Unified School District and its teachers have reached a tentative, one-year contract accord, the first time in a decade they have done so prior to the expiration of their existing contract.

The City Council is set to consider a contract to purchase body cameras for Alameda police and access to a system that will store all the video they record.

Central Avenue has a safety problem. Between 2008 and 2012, 21 people bicycling and nine people walking were hit by vehicles between Encinal Avenue and Main Street. Crossing Central on foot can be perilous due to poor visibility, long crossing distances, and four lanes of fast-moving traffic; bicycling along Central is equally daunting for similar reasons.

The outstanding feature of many adventures is just how unexpected they are. "Expect the unexpected" is an old saying - pithy but useless. One cannot, by definition, expect the unexpected.