Just wanted to post a link to this op-ed from the Alameda Sun, since someone on my Facebook page asked if any attention would be given to piece. It was an eloquent defense of Stewart Chen which said exactly what I wanted to write (except for the part about voting for him and being interested in voting for him again) albeit with a lot more gravitas and conviction.
This part is especially quote worthy:
Something that happened 20 minutes ago may be relevant and probative. Something that happened 20 years ago may be relevant, but it is certainly not probative of anything at this time. Time, in fact, does make a difference. The very foundation of the procedure in California to expunge a conviction from one’s record is the belief that one can be rehabilitated and, therefore, should be given a second chance, free and clear of that conviction.
As JKW reported the City Council voted unanimously to approve funding and construction of the cycle track on Shoreline. It will of course be the end of the world for all residents on Shoreline when it become a Thunderdome type environment jockeying for previous parking spaces until everyone just figures something out and then enjoys the fact that there’s this awesome cycle track that has now made walking on the pathway more pleasant because bikes are now on the street safely.
Of course there was some pretty noteworthy moments from the open comments. I particularly enjoyed the one from the woman who lamented as she walked away about where all the money was coming from for this project when “there are all these starving children.” Won’t someone think about the children?
Somehow the City Council remained unmoved by the thought of starving children and went ahead with the cycle track anyway.
But the non sequitur starving children comment wasn’t the best part of the City Council. Oh no.
I guess this has become a “thing.” And by “this” I mean anyone with a half baked idea on any particular subject can have their idea agendized and heard before a random City body. Regardless if that particular idea is (1) feasible or (2) conflicts with current plans that are underway.
For example, the Historic Advisory Board has on its agenda for tomorrow night a citizen idea for life sized Monopoly playing board. Because nothing says “Alameda” more than a game about pretending to be real estate developers and building as many houses and hotels as possible hoping to bankrupt the other players if they land on your property by charging them rent. Oh and when going to jail is actually a good thing when people start building a ton of houses and hotels so that you don’t have to pay anyone rent for three turns.
Tonights City Council meeting has one major agenda item, the Shoreline bikeway project, but in Closed Session City Manager John Russo is being evaluated so if you hate the job he’s doing, I imagine you can go and speak before the City Council adjourns to closed session.
Anyway, there were lots and lots of meeting about the Shoreline bikeway project. I imagine that they went a little something like this.
Oh, safe biking is great. Wait, what’s that, you want to remove parking spots.? No way, bike safety is a horrible idea, everyone drives down Shoreline anyway! There’s a parking shortage where is everyone going to park when they want to go to walk or ride their bikes on the beach!
Something in that vicinity.
What is being built is a cycle track which is that bicycle path type thingie that you see near Lincoln Middle School if you want an Alameda example. There will be some impact to parking, naturally, and here is a map where the parking changes will be made. The good thing is that the number of spaces that you can park 24/7 has increased. That means you don’t need to rush out before 9:00 a.m. every morning to move your car before parking control tows it. But the bad news for residents that rely on on-street parking is that the overall number of free street parking will reduce. Here’s how it breaks down from the staff report:
It’s interesting because in the comment section of my post about the Alameda Sun’s response to the Encinal High gas leak, someone suggested that the op-ed by “Paul Ivanovitch Chichikov” was “satire” and that we all should have recognized it as such. But another commenter made a good point about the response the Alameda Sun’s editors made to a Letter to the Editor in last week’s Sun which implied that the Alameda Sun’s editors weren’t running the Chichikov piece as satire at all, but as a true piece of fact-ish information that contained some information that was not necessarily independently verifiable, but that they wanted to be sure that their readers picked up as a key part to the whole gas leak saga.
Here’s the Letter:
Let me ask editor Dennis Evanosky (“School District Under Fire,” Feb. 20) and Paul Ivanovich Chichikov (“District Issues Worrisome Directive,” Feb. 20) a question. Assume you are employed by a company. Assume that something that your company has done is a matter of public concern. And let’s say you walk out the door of your workplace one evening after work, and a journalist with a notebook or a reporter with a microphone asks you for your opinion on this company matter. What are you, as an employee of the company, allowed to say? The answer is nothing. Legally, ethically and as a matter of loyalty and common sense, you are allowed to say nothing.
A rare public service announcement but something that caught my eye while watching the School Board meeting from Tuesday night.
If you decide that you want to speak at any public meeting in the City Council Chambers, I don’t have a lot of advice for the actual public speaking portion other than: keep it short if possible. If you are going to read something pre-written, you might want to just submit them as written comments. But that’s not the advice, no this is advice is where not to sit while waiting for your turn at the mic. Particularly if you have absolutely no interest in any of the other agenda items and might find yourself slipping in your seat or dozing off or looking bored.
Have I mentioned that the School Board has gotten slightly better because a lot of the School Board members have been much more assertive and have pushing back against some of the antics of other School Board members?
It really is quite refreshing.
But I have to give a special shout out to School Board member Barbara Kahn who was on fire on Tuesday night in many many good ways. The first time came during a discussion about Wood Middle School’s restructuring program. The teacher’s union rep had spoken during public comment about the need to negotiate some of the plans that were in the restructuring plan such as the bell schedule, etc. Barbara Kahn asked whether there could be loosening of the rigidity in the union contract which dictates that some of the key parts of the Wood plan would need to be negotiated prior to implementation. The sense that I got from Barbara Kahn was that everyone involved: District, union, teachers, etc. should be putting their all into making the plan work for Wood Middle School and make the program successful.
The terms of the deal between the School District, the City of Alameda, and the Housing Authority has always been a bit on the fuzzy and hazy side. We all know that the School District is getting some amount of money if certain property is turned over and blah blah blah, but the press release by the City that was put out yesterday was probably the most clear enumeration to date of what actually is going to happen AND how the Housing Authority got into the mix as well:
The Agreement Details
The agreement, which includes both sales and exchanges of land, will be implemented in three steps:
Ø The City grants $750,000 to AUSD to pay for renovations to the Encinal Swim Center.
Ø AUSD rescinds the deed to the six-acre Tidelands parcel, which results in the City holding the title.
A few things on the School Board agenda tonight. First the Academy of Alameda charter renewal, staff is recommending that it be renewed. Ruby Bridges Elementary is losing its principal, Jan Goodman, the current assistant principal Cheryl Wilson is getting the nod as her successor.
As an aside for those that didn’t see the update, but the gates to the play yard at Ruby Bridges was opened on Friday evening:
I walked by a little earlier than 6:00 p.m. on Friday because I dropped off #2 son at his classroom to prepare for the Ruby Bridges talent show (replaying on channel 9 — I think that was what was referenced — and it will be uploaded to the District website). Both #1 daughter and #2 son were in the talent show this year and it was a lot of fun, if a wee on the longish side. This weekend lots of people were taking advantage of the open gates and there was plenty of use to be had to a big THANKS to the School District, Rec and Park Department, and Ruby Bridges for getting it done.
Also on the agenda is an update about Wood Middle School’s new STEAM program. It looks very promising and very exciting. For those who are interested in the numbers, there are no updated numbers as to projected enrollment so that’s not there for those keeping tabs for the whole ACLC moving discussion.
I’ll be perfectly honest, I don’t read the Alameda Sun that much anymore. Mainly because I forget to visit the website and I don’t think I get a hard copy any more. Generally I only read it when someone indicates that there is something too funny not to be missed. In the case of last week’s Alameda Sun, it was this commentary/op-ed by a one “Paul Ivanovitch Chichikov.” I thought it was going to be a simple Letter to the Editor buried with all the other Letters to the Editor, but it turned out to be a whole section, which is strange because usually that section is reserved for people that have sort of a “known” quality in Alameda. I mean this letter read as full on tin foil hat territory which is always entertaining, but again usually relegated to be part of many letters to the editor. I wondered what it was that made this self proclaimed “Russian immigrant living in Alameda” so special other than the piece being so full of hyperbole as to be a light read on a Friday afternoon.
But then it struck me as, how did this random person have so much information and passion about the subject that he managed to write up an entire screed and submit it by the Tuesday or Wednesday printing deadline in the Sun. Then I thought, that name seems a little…um, how to put it delicately, fake-y. So I googled it. Not being a huge fan of Russian literature I had to rely on Wikipedia to tell me that the name is exactly the same as that of the protagonist in a novel by Nikolai Gogol. Coincidence? Maybe.