The Broad Brush: Your News in 60 Seconds

The Broad Brush: Your News in 60 Seconds

Michele Ellson

Here’s another edition of The Broad Brush, your weekly news in review. Here’s what happened this week.

Alameda Unified School District students who started classes this week will be welcomed by new schools and principals, millions of dollars in facilities upgrades – and a new lunch menu. And there are even bigger changes to come, as the state implements a new school funding scheme and districts put new curricular standards in place.

Monday’s Planning Board hearing on the design of new buildings that will house an In-N-Out Burger, Chase bank branch and Safeway gas station near the foot of the Webster Tube didn’t pack City Hall with residents who lined up to air concerns about crime and traffic the way an earlier discussion about drive-through lanes for the restaurant and bank branch did. But while the cast of characters who participated in Monday’s discussion may have been smaller, the nearly two-hour conversation about the buildings’ design and other issues was wide-ranging.

Long-simmering tensions between school board members and district staff erupted into public view Tuesday, as discussions over the district’s strategic goals for the year and plans to ask voters for bond money to fix Alameda’s aged schools spawned charges that some board members are overstepping their roles and micromanaging district staff. Our live Tweet by Tweet from the meeting is here.

The city department charged with maintaining Alameda’s streets, sidewalks and trees is getting new leadership. City Manager John Russo has appointed Robert G. Haun as the city’s acting public works director. Haun is replacing Matt Naclerio, whose resigned after 14 years on the job; Naclerio’s resignation takes effect on October 16.

Harbor Bay Isle Associates and a related company that operates the Harbor Bay Club are asking the city’s permission to move the fitness club to a nine-acre site in the Harbor Bay Business Park and to build 80 luxury homes in its stead. City Planner Andrew Thomas said he hopes to provide official notice of the city’s plans to prepare an environmental review next week.

Alameda Unified failed to reach federally mandated test score targets this year, putting the school district on a path to state intervention and sanctions. The district’s overall academic performance index score grew by five points, from 847 to 852 – well beyond the score of 800 that serves as the state’s benchmark for success. But the district was unable to meet a federal mandate that 89 percent of its students demonstrate proficiency in English and math.

Neptune Pointe occupies a relatively small sliver of Alameda, tucked away at the end of a narrow, crumbling lane obscured by a Foster’s Freeze restaurant and a thick row of leafy trees. But the 3.899-acre property sits at the heart of a massive dispute between a trio of public agencies that are warring over its fate.

News in brief(er): An environmental review of potential Alameda Point development is due out next week … VF Corp. is opening an innovation lab in Alameda … and Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill from Assemblyman Rob Bonta that allows noncitizens to work Election Day polls.