Archive for February, 2008

Documentary on Alameda West End

February 23, 2008

The 73-minute documentary “Civic Unity: Five Years in the West End of Alameda” will be screened on March 1 (4-6PM) at the College of Alameda, F Building, Student lounge. This will be followed by a discussion with filmmakers Gary Weimberg and Catherine Ryan as well as residents spotlighted in the film.

Perhaps this documentary might be a good opportunity to catch up on recent developments in the West End. As reported in the Journal:

… documents the mass eviction of more than 400 residents at the nearby Harbor Island Apartments, a process that began July 22 of that year.

The film offers short, compelling biographies of several of the participants, as well as numerous scenes of familiar West End life, from bicycle riders at Alameda Point, to residents picking up bags of groceries at the Alameda Food Bank.

The producers have this to say:

After 5 years of filming and editing, the result is moving beyond what any of us expected, and sure to provide a model of community engagement for other neighborhoods across the country.


Alameda Point and Measure A

February 23, 2008

The city hosted Measure A forum today. I’ll leave it to the experts (Lauren and JKW) for a commentary on the proceedings. While the (seemingly endless) Measure A debate rages on, today’s NYT had an article that is somewhat relevant to the issue at hand: low vs. high density at Alameda Point.

Titled “Suburbia’s March to Oblivion”:

“Signs of physical and social disorder are spreading” thro’gh cul-de-sac suburbia, he writes in the March issue of The Atlantic. And it is not just because of the mortgage mess. A “structural change” is occurring in the housing market — a “major shift in the way many Americans want to live and work,” moving social problems out of the city and into the suburban fringe.

Mr. Leinberger cites the work of Arthur C. Nelson, the director of Virginia Tech’s Metropolitan Institute, who has predicted that, by 2025, there will be a surplus of 22 million large-lot homes (those built on at least one-sixth of an acre). This, Mr. Leinberger writes, is a result of “the pendulum swinging back toward urban living,” thanks to a set of economic, social, and demographic trends.

The result, he says, could be that low-density suburbs “may become what inner cities became in the 1960’s and 1970’s — slums characterized by poverty, crime, and decay.”

Meanwhile, he writes, demand for “urban living” will continue apace. Although the mortgage squeeze may slow development of lofts and condominiums in the central cities and “walkable” towns and suburbs, “it will surely continue.”

Shop local!

February 21, 2008

A recent report highlights the City’s budget shortfall. Whilst it is certainly heartening to see the Towne Center report healthy sales, perhaps we could collectively help out by making more of our purchases locally.

Taxable sales transactions in Alameda during that period decreased .4 percent, or $5,542, from the same quarter of the previous fiscal year. Gains in sales of food (14.7 percent) and general retail (2 percent, which includes sales from new stores at Alameda Towne Centre) were offset by declines in all other categories, according to the report.

That includes a decline of 7 percent in the transportation category, 7.2 percent in business-to-business, 6.8 percent in construction and 36.3 percent in “miscellaneous,” which in part reflects purchases made by the city. Sales taxes contribute about $1.3 million in revenues to the city budget, making it the fourth-highest contributor to city revenues.

Alameda NAS Slideshow

February 10, 2008

Ben Peoples (a photographer from Alameda) has a collection of photographs depicting the architecture of Alameda NAS, in preparation for a documentary. He is soliciting feedback and comments on his portfolio.

Alameda Bicycle

February 10, 2008

If you are looking for bike store around town, I suggest Alameda Bicycle. I bought my first road bike from them recently and have been very impressed by the service and the very knowledgeable and helpful staff.  Apart from supporting a local business, their “free adjustments for ever” offer is simply unbeatable.

And, as reported recently in the Journal, they are very actively involved in the community as well!

The bike shop has started a reading rewards program, called Books 4 Bikes, that benefits five of Alameda’s elementary schools. The program encourages children to get excited about reading by giving them a raffle ticket to win bicycle-related prizes, such as a new helmet, for each 150-minute reading scorecard they complete; those who submit the most cards stand a chance of winning a new bike.

Pat Bail redux

February 9, 2008

Alameda’s resident Miss Manners opines:

Resident Pat Bail, the former president of the Alameda Republican Women Federated, said she supported John McCain … As for the Democratic race, “I think Hillary is too strident and harsh,” Bail said, “and she’s kind of lost it quite frankly.

I’ve never agreed with anything that Pat Bail said, so this is no exception. But I thought it was funny (in a bizarro sense) that she would use the very words that folks around town associate her with to describe Hillary!

Obama Jinxed by Alameda Daily News?

February 6, 2008

Was Obama jinxed by Don Roberts’ recommendation?

Monday, February 4, 2008

Alameda Daily News Endorses Barack Obama

Barack Obama is intelligent, articulate, innovative and has the best leadership qualities of all of the candidates for the President of the United States of America. He offers America the best chance for bi-partisan leadership. America will be a better place with President Obama. Please vote for Barack Obama for President.

Don Roberts is now in the very distinguished company of The Kennedys (Ted Inc), Maria Shriver, Oprah Winfrey and John Kerry! Who would’ve thunk this was possible … 😉