Archive for August, 2011

Leading by Example

August 31, 2011

Exemplary generosity.

Some people give back to their community. Then there’s Fresno County School Superintendent Larry Powell, who’s really giving back. As in $800,000 — what would have been his compensation for the next three years. Until his term expires in 2015, Powell will run 325 schools and 35 school districts with 195,000 students, all for less than a starting California teacher earns. “How much do we need to keep accumulating?” asks Powell, 63. “There’s no reason for me to keep stockpiling money.”

I certainly recognize that no two circumstances are alike, nor this is a clarion call for every school superintendent across the country to give up their paychecks. But it does put things in rather stark perspective when you consider that AUSD’s Superintendent was just awarded a pay hike. Whilst the actual increase in her salary may not amount to much in the grand scheme of things, you have to be really tone deaf to ask for and accept a pay hike under the present circumstances.

Also interesting to see that Powell is responsible for 35 school districts with 195k students … that is more than 2x the entire population of Alameda and 35x the number of school districts!


Measure H & A: Fool me twice?

August 30, 2011

Measure H

To offset severe state budget cuts to Alameda schools, minimize school closures, and protect the quality of education, student safety, class sizes, excellent teachers and staff and to restore prioritized cuts to music, athletics, advanced placement courses, shall Alameda Unified School District levy a temporary, 4-year emergency tax of $120 per residential parcel and 15 cents per square foot for commercial/industrial parcels (see the voter pamphlet), with exemptions for seniors, citizen oversight and all funds staying local?

Measure A

The parcel tax would fund community priorities for the schools, including small K-3 class sizes; recruitment and retention of teachers; neighborhood schools; Advanced Placement courses; music, media, PE, and drama; programs to improve student performance; high school athletics; technology; secondary school counselors; and adult education.


The school board approved a new, four-year contract for Vital on a 3-2 vote Tuesday night, with board President Ron Mooney, Vice President Margie Sherratt and trustee Niel Tam voting for the contract and trustees Mike McMahon and Trish Hererra Spencer voting no. The contract retains Vital’s $204,225 salary for this year and grants her an annual 3 percent raise, full medical benefits and performance pay of up to $15,000 a year. It’s in effect through June 30, 2015.

Union leaders said they think the district is spending too much money on administrators. They said the district has added several administrators this year at the expense of front-line workers.

Can’t wait to see AUSD spin this one!

Alameda’s Big Screens of Years Past

August 29, 2011

Cinema Treasures has an interesting collection of theaters (open or closed) searchable by zipcode. From the NYT article:

Cinema Treasures is significant as a research database — it now lists more than 31,000 theaters in nearly 200 countries — but it’s also become a forum for cinephiles and insiders like projectionists, ushers and ticket takers, who animate its robust comment sections.

I didn’t realize that there were nearly a dozen or so  theaters in Alameda, at various points in time! The comments for each of these theaters harken back to a different time …

Skip the BBQ?

August 25, 2011

There’s been some angst on the intertubes over the dwindling number of BBQ restaurants in Alameda (from a high of four down to just a solitary establishment). While the closure of any business isn’t always a good thing, as a vegetarian I couldn’t be more pleased 🙂

Considering that even folks down in the deep South are reconsidering their diet, maybe we have four too many such restaurants.

Not much seems out of place in the Mississippi Delta, where everything appears to be as it always has been, only more so as the years go by. But here in the fellowship hall of a little Baptist church on a country road is an astonishing sight: a plate of fresh fruit.