January 2015

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

Should Alameda have one comprehensive high school or two? About 50 people – including school board members past, present and prospective – showed up at Will C. Wood Middle School on Thursday night to discuss the pros and cons of each.

Yes, we usually think of track as a sport for the spring and summer months, but here in California we get to run outdoor track year 'round. But isn't track racing only for elite competitive athletes? No!

Pagano’s Hardware Mart has occupied the corner of Lincoln Avenue and St. Charles Street for nearly 70 years. But in a few short months, the iconic Island shop, which bills itself as “so much more than a hardware store,” will be moving to a new location.

I am an Alameda resident who has observed that the lagoon and park area at Oak Street and Otis Drive has become increasingly subject to illegal dumping, graffiti and a transient population. The area has been neglected for years and it is getting worse.

Last November voters approved Measure BB, which spells out the transportation and transit priorities for Alameda County over the next 30 years and the funding source for these projects: a half cent increase to the previous county sales tax for transportation. The new tax is in place through 2044.

All Alameda Education Foundation Adopt A Classroom presentations are special, but some really stand out. Sixteen year-old Josh Johnson won $1,000 to donate to a charity of his choice, and who did he choose to support? His teachers.

Jerry Green was like a brother. I spent a lot of time at his house on Garden Road, which was just next door to Dan and Dick Lufkin. From their front doors, looking across the street, were farmlands all the way to the bay.

Alameda Municipal Power is taking its first steps toward a future where digital meters will transmit electricity use data wirelessly to the power company’s Grand Street headquarters and meter readers will be a thing of the past.

It was social week in Alameda for me last week, and it came about in totally unexpected ways. To begin with: I had accepted a job as a model, one of a dozen people asked to portray a group of "active seniors" in various settings.

It's that time of the year again: Parents of fifth graders all over the Island are applying to middle schools for next fall. To help families navigate their options last year, The Alamedan asked the leaders of all seven of Alameda’s free, public middle schools – a list that includes charter, magnet and traditional schools – to offer some basic information about their programs. This year we're reprising the piece by reader request, with updates noted in the text.

An Alameda Point open house that members of the City Council and Planning Board will attend is scheduled for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, January 29 at Callahan Piano, 1800 Ferry Point, Alameda Point.


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

Alameda's school board has selected 10 finalists vying to fill Mayor Trish Spencer's unexpired school board term. Nearly two dozen people applied for the job.

Wander down the cozy hall of Park Street Plaza, and you’ll find a charming shop that Park Street Business Association has named its 2014 Retailer of the Year.

We have been proud to operate at Alameda Point and can only continue if significant upgrades come to this part of the Island.

Earlier this week, President Obama gave his annual State of the Union speech. While watching part of it, it occurred to me that we should all take stock of ourselves in a "State of the Body" evaluation.

Alameda’s housing authority is preparing to open the wait list for its Section 8 rent voucher program next week, the first time in a dozen years new spots have been available.

People who apply will face stiff competition for a spot on the list, while the lucky few who succeed in winning one will face a tough rental market.

Every December for the past 40-plus years, members of the Alameda Family Services League have put on the Holiday Home Tour, the major fundraiser for Alameda Family Services.

Blogger and roving photographer Richard Bangert took his trusty camera to Alameda Point and caught a series of pictures of the season's foliage, birds and human visitors. Here's a selection.

City Council members opted early Wednesday to move forward with a set of recommendations for strengthening the city committee that mediates rent disputes – and, over the objections of Mayor Trish Spencer, to consider gathering data on the rent market here and in other cities to inform discussion about additional steps the city could take to protect renters.

The City Council tacked rising rents on Tuesday. Here's what the council did and what you had to say about it.

Our first encounter with Fred “the Fonz” Gaspar took place kitty corner from Alameda High School at Rider’s Drive-In, which was at Oak Street and Central Avenue. Fred was 10 years older, drove a ‘48 Ford pickup and had a reputation that scared us to death.

When the federal government shut Naval Air Station Alameda's doors, in 1997, the prevailing wisdom was that cleanup of the toxics the Navy left behind would be complete in a few years, for less than $100 million. Eighteen years and more than a half billion dollars later, the cleanup team working to clear and contain contamination at the federal Superfund site.

One of Alameda's many outstanding features is its location. We sit in the very center of the action in the San Francisco Bay area; draw a circle around us 10 miles in diameter and everything important is within it.

The onetime leader of the College of Alameda, the head of Alameda Little League and no fewer than three onetime school board members are among the nearly two dozen people who have applied to fill the remainder of Mayor Trish Spencer’s term on the school board.

The Board of Education will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, January 22 at Island High School, 500 Pacific Avenue.

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

Cinema Grill, on the corner of Central Avenue and Oak Street, isn’t your average restaurant. Co-owner Elgina Conner said her vision for Cinema Grill, which opened quietly late last year, was to create a place that is hip but fun and accessible for your whole family.

I like to track my fitness. When I was in my 20s and 30s, I focused mostly on how fast I was running, typically comparing my times for road and track races.

Rising rents and a spate of termination and eviction notices have prompted speculation about who owns the thousands of rental units that populate the Island. So we decided to look into who owns property here, what’s changed hands over the past year – and who is responsible for rent increases that have been challenged by residents as excessive.

I am proud to call Alameda my new home. However, when attending the January 6 Alameda City Council meeting, I watched in shock as our newly sworn council, led by a mayor who promised “openness” and “transparency,” saw no issue with holding a three-hour discussion on the already approved Del Monte project with no new information available in print, by staff, or by the requestor of the item, Mayor Trish Spencer.

Are you getting less than eight hours of sleep per night? Do you wake up during the night several times? Do you wake up and have trouble getting back to sleep? You have insomnia!

The Alamedan will be mounting a stronger fundraising push this year to support our work, which will include some events (like our upcoming Tomatina Dine & Donate fundraiser next Wednesday, January 21), an advertising program and more reminders from us about the importance of supporting local news.

This is the way it was in the ‘50s and ‘60s in a great American city called Alameda, in a much simpler time. Where money was tight, people worked hard, and a friend could be greeted on Park Street for coffee. It was a time when Tucker’s ice cream cones were under a dollar, a waffle was always good at Ole’s and fried chicken came from Lola’s on Alameda Avenue (until it burned down).

Here are a few years in the lives of some local teens.

Schools leaders are set to issue $75 million in bonds for school construction projects and to consider which projects the money will pay for.

Sunday mornings, early, I join my friend and his dog for a stroll. It's a long stroll, perhaps four miles in all, and it gives us plenty of time to talk over the events of the week in our lives and to enjoy some parts of Alameda living that usually are hidden away.

The developer behind one of the most prominent, most litigated projects in Alameda has restarted the permit application process. Some key details have changed since his last push, according to newly available documents.

Boy Scouts from Alameda Troop 3 were excited to volunteer at the Alameda Food Bank over the holidays.

The Library Board is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday, January 14 in Conference Room 224 on the second floor of the main library, 1550 Oak Street.

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

Tensions run high when feuding neighbors lie, cheat and sneak around to get what they want, leading to bitter betrayals with tragic consequences. No, it’s not an episode of Real Housewives. It’s the breathtaking story of Lucia di Lammermoor, by Gaetano Donizetti, and the next exciting performance presented by the newly formed and locally grown Island City Opera.

Running on trails is definitely going to be on my resolution list for 2015. What do you need to know to go for a trail run?

The public got a chance to comment Wednesday night on a list of suggestions to address Alameda’s rising rents, and now it’s up to a group of tenants and landlords to make recommendations to the City Council.

Some of the 50 or so residents who attended the event at Mastick Senior Center assumed some conclusions would be reached at this meeting. But instead of recommendations based on what was presented in prior hearings, community facilitator Jeff Cambra had the group examine six discussion points proposed by the city’s Rent Review Advisory Committee, which mediates disputes between tenants and landlords.

I have referred to my 76-year-old brother in my writing, and I find the theme of our vulnerability to physical change can be demonstrated with another story.

The City Council unanimously rejected a proposal Tuesday to rescind the prior council’s approval of the Del Monte warehouse development.

Even Mayor Trish Spencer, who put the rescission discussion on the council’s agenda, voted against a repeal, saying concerns about the project could be addressed by the council in other ways.

The City Council voted unanimously to uphold approvals for redevelopment of the Del Monte warehouse after a raucous public hearing before an overflow crowd. Here's our tweet by tweet.

Support local news and enjoy a delicious meal on Park Street at the same time! Alameda’s Tomatina is supporting The Alamedan by sponsoring a Dine & Donate event on Wednesday, January 21.

Mayor Trish Spencer has asked her dais-mates to consider rescinding a plan to redevelop the Del Monte warehouse into hundreds of new homes and shops.

How the celebration of the new year has changed in my life.

Girls Inc. of the Island City has provided services to children in Alameda for over half a century. For nearly a decade, Karen Kenney has helmed the organization as its executive director, and this week, she embarks on a new adventure: retirement.

With the transition in city administration, there have been letters regarding the legacy of outgoing Mayor Marie Gilmore. In the recent letter to the editor titled “How I’ll Remember Mayor Gilmore,” Rion Cassidy describes a City Council meeting in early December when the development of Site A at Alameda Point was considered and the process by which the meeting took place.

The City Council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday, January 6 in Council Chambers on the third floor of City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue.