Archive for August, 2006

End of summer hiatus

August 26, 2006


A tip o’ my hat to say thanks to all those who have stopped by this blog. Alameda Musings will take a two week end of summer hiatus while I’m on a bicycle from Prague to Budapest — contemplating the scenic vistas in Bohemia 🙂


Darwin Award for an Alamedan … almost!

August 23, 2006

This guy almost got himself nominated for a Darwin Award 🙂

A man who lives in the 1800 block of Shore Line Drive told police that a woman he met at a local bar stole his computer and other property after he allowed her to stay with him. The victim, 28, said he met the woman about two weeks ago at Lucky 13 on Park Street and offered her a place to stay when she told him she was from out-of-town. After the suspect was living with him about a week, the man went out-of-town for a couple of days. When he returned home, the woman was gone, along with his computer, watch and debit card. The stolen items are worth about $2,650. The victim described the woman as 28 years old and provided police with her possible name.

Global warming and Alameda

August 22, 2006


Among the many dramatic images from “An Inconvenient Truth” was the impact of rising sea levels as a result of the large scale melting of the polar ice caps. Sea levels worldwide are expected to rise 18-20′ as a consequence. The potential impact on the bay area is certainly not for the faint hearted. Alameda will not survive the rising sea levels and most (if not all) of the island is projected to be underwater 😦 The movie postulates that we have a small window of opportunity (the next ten years, IIRC) before these changes to the environment become irreversible. There are a number of suggestions on what we, as individuals, can do to prevent these catastrophic events from occurring.

Additional ways in which Alameda can do its part:

  1. Join the more than twenty California cities in banning gasoline powered leaf blowers.
  2. Offer rebates to entice customers to install solar photovoltaic systems, instead of excuses that border on cliche and platitude. If solar photovoltaic systems can work in San Francisco (despite the fog!), there is no reason for it to not work in Alameda.

Pedestrian friendly Alameda

August 20, 2006


One of the (many) reasons Alameda retains its “old world charm” is the rather strict enforcement of the 25mph speed limit. There are numerous speed trap sightings around the island that reaffirm the above enforcement. The one exception to the 25 mph limit is Atlantic Avenue, where the posted speed limit is 35 mph. Motorists often whizz by on the stretch of Atlantic Avenue between Webster and Main St at speeds in excess of 35 mph. Sparked by complaints from residents last year, APD parked a portable radar to display the speed of oncoming vehicles. This was a short lived exercise and following the removal of the radar truck after a few weeks, the speeding has resumed!

We need more rigorous enforcement of the speed limits and perhaps a few pole mounted permanent radar speed signs as well (they now have them on Lincoln Ave and Otis Dr).

Contact APD and Pedestrian Friendly Alameda.

Dissent based on principles or …

August 19, 2006

Blogging Bayport Alameda has an update on the proposed Oak to 9th project in neighboring Oakland. The project is slated to revitalize a particularly blighted part of Oakland’s waterfront and has the potential to create 8,000 jobs and nearly $1bn in property tax revenues. As with any project of this scope, there are bound to be disagreements over the proposed changes. Such principle-based dissent is a “good thing” and is encouraged.

Unfortunately, as is all too often the case, we’re seeing the emergence of dissent based on the “just because” factor (a.k.a NIMBY or dissent for the sake of dissent). Folks who fall into this category often resort to innuendo and FUD to make their point. Any middle of the road compromises are shot down without any valid reason or facts. Worse, any alternatives are summarily dismissed because “they won’t work here”.

Alameda has seen its share of FUD in the debate over Measure A. It is now Oakland’s turn to have a similar experience as the opponents of Oak to 9th have gathered enough signatures to force a referendum on the issue. Having every major redevelopment issue addressed at the ballot box seems like a waste of time and resources. Why have a city planning board if you can’t trust their decisions or work with them towards a compromise? It’s either your way or the highway, eh?

Freeway jujitsu enroute to Alameda?

August 19, 2006

Of the many freeway exits (from I-880 and 980) that lead to Alameda, there are atleast three that are counter-intuitive and have caused endless confusion for folks new to area.

1. 880-North -> Broadway Exit -> Left on Broadway -> “weird partial U-turn” at the first light into Webster Tube.

2. 980-West -> Jackson St Exit -> Left on Jackson -> Left on 6th Street -> It looks like you are back on the on-ramp for 880-North, but follow signs for Broadway -> Left on Broadway -> Follow above directions (“weird partial U-turn” etc).


3. 880-South -> Broadway -> Right at the first light -> Follow signs for Alameda -> Watch for a partially obscured sign indicating only the 2 left lanes are Alameda bound -> Make a goofy left turn into Webster Tube at Broadway.

880s-0.jpg 880s-01.jpg 880s-1.jpg 880s-2.jpg 880s-3.jpg

Paul’s Newsstand

August 17, 2006


The newly renovated Paul’s Newsstand was recently inaugurated. As it turns out, this isn’t any ordinary newsstand, but has been an Alameda landmark since 1936. Located at the corner of Park Street and Santa Clara Avenue, it survived an earlier attempt to have it relocated elsewhere.

Additional background information from the Alameda Sun:

The newsstand was named for Paul Manning, who in the 1930s would regularly sell newspapers on the street to Bank of America Vice-President John J. Mulvany. In 1936 Mulvany donated the materials and labor to create a small newsstand for Manning, who was wheelchair-bound due to polio. Paul Manning operated the newsstand until his death in 1949.

Since then the newsstand has had numerous owners in the Manning family. Currently, there is no official owner of the newsstand, and the San Francisco Chronicle has obtained the business license.

Alameda Wireless

August 15, 2006

Alameda Wireless is a set of user owned and operated wireless nodes with the goal of providing internet access to the entire island and creating a community owned broadband network. There’s a handful of wireless nodes spread across Alameda.

To see the local wi-fi hotspots, use jwire.

Alameda Daily News: Entertainment or News?

August 14, 2006

Don Roberts maintains — an “award winning” site that positions itself as the purveyor of all Alameda related news. One of the first things that strikes the visitor is the rather loud font and color scheme that simply makes your head spin. Oddly enough, for a news-related website, there are NO archives. The postings on the site follow a FIFO pattern and old articles continually make way for the newer ones.

Don, perhaps you ought to rework the site as a WordPress blog?

A quick glance at the site is often sufficient to give you the flavor du jour (or atleast, those issues that Don deems important to publish) 🙂 Currently, it is long running debate over the feasibilty of Measure A exemption for Alameda Point. Don is also quick to publish articles on how he scooped the other newspapers on items of local interest (but the self-laudatory scoops can get annoying after the third or fourth time; Woodward and Bernstein, this certainly is not!)

Virtual walk: Naval Air Station

August 13, 2006


The total area of the former Naval Air Station (NAS) is 2,527 acres (stated differently, this is one-third the size of the entire island!). The shaded areas in the above figure show the areas currently being considered for redevelopment.

Golf course: 215 acres have been designated for an 18-hole golf course, a 300-room hotel and a 300,000 sq ft conference center. The development plan states that these facilties will be developed “when the Bay Area hospitality industry can support hotel construction”.

National Wildlife Refuge: 565 acres of land and 413 acres of water are to be designated as a Wildlife Refuge for the protection of migratory birds (California least tern, Caspian tern and California brown pelican). The Navy has not yet transferred the land to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.