Blogging Bayport Alameda

April 30, 2008

Scary, scarier, scariest

Filed under: Alameda, School — Tags: , — Lauren Do @ 6:46 am

So, I had already had something in mind that I was going to write about this morning.   I even had the requisite funny title and everything to discuss something that could be considered pretty boring.   Instead I decide to check out what’s going on at Alameda Daily News this morning.   Usually I wait to do that after I have decided upon what to write, but I just had this feeling, you know? 

Lo and behold, this gem pops up:

Editor of Alameda Journal Refuses to Intervene in Complaint About Alameda Journal Blog


The following is an example of how the Alameda Journal media demonstrated its journalistic integrity. Measure H is mentioned but only incidentally. This example demonstrates how some of the local media perpetuate and exaggerate disinformation. I am sending this example to you in order that your readers benefit from knowing about this incident.

On April 4, the Editor of a web site called “theislandofalameda.blogspot” published an opinion article by me and an opposing opinion by another person regarding Measure H. On April 21, a web site sponsored by the Alameda Journal published an opinion by Eva [sic] Pearlman that stated “Tom Pavletic can blame Alameda’s school funding troubles on a bloated administration…” The article to which Ms. Pearlman referred was the April 4 article published on the “theislandofalameda.blogspot.” My article on “theislandofalameda.blogspot” did not contain the words “bloated” or “administration” and did not suggest the School District had a bloated administration.

Ms. Pearlman reports to Connie Rux, Editor of the Alameda Journal. On April 29, I sent an email to Ms. Rux requesting that “…the offending text written by the [Ms. Pearlman] be immediately removed from [the web site sponsored by the Alameda Journal] and that a correction be published on the website.” On April 29, Ms. Rux responded that “…blog sites are places where opinions, discussions and views are exchanged. If you want to question the piece, respond to Eve’s blog site, as do others when they disagree (or agree) with her comments. It’s an open forum for discussion.”

I do not believe blog sites should be a place where lies are exchanged. I do not plan to respond to Ms. Pearlman on the web site sponsored by the Alameda Journal. I chose to publish an opinion article on “theislandofalameda.blogspot” because the Editor of that site invited me to publish an opinion, and after talking with the Editor, I had a strong sense that she would be fair. In other words, I trusted her journalistic integrity.

Moral of the Story I: To paraphrase Thomas Paine, it is the madness of folly, to expect honesty from those who have refused to be truthful.

Moral of the Story II: Never give up.

Tom Pavletic

[gratuitous pointing out of name misspelling added to point out that Don Roberts who usually points it out did not.]

I haven’t really touched on the many many many letters that have been produced by Tom Pavletic only because, well,  I figured that other people would probably be more offended by the stuff that he writes than I was.  

Boil this all down to “Waahhhh someone paraphrased my underlying opinion from my hundreds of letters about Measure H, FOUL!!”

The scary thing is not that Tom P. simply doesn’t understand what the purpose of a blog is, which was aptly described by Connie Rux, a place to share opinions, offer views, and have dicussions.   The beauty of blogs is that, unlike newspapers or “news-themed internet sites” there is not the reliance on an editor (I use that term loosely for the latter) to publish your opinion on a subject.   I believe that Eve Pearlmanhas taken a rather freeflowing approach to her comments section in which as long as you have proved that you are not a spam bot and you are real person by having one comment approved, all your comments from then on will immediately turn up on her site.   If Tom P. felt as though he was mischaracterized on Eve P.’s site then he has the option to log on, type his comment in the little comment area and hit “Submit Comment.”  

Instead Tom P. chooses the route of least resistence and goes over Eve P.’s head straight to her editor (although if there is an editor editing someone’s blog, it’s not really much of a blog, a hands off approach to blogging from a “higher power” is probably best). 

The scarier thing is that Tom P. appears to not understand what the purpose of quotation marksare.   See, in this case Tom P. is  is saying that Eve P.’s piece was “offending” because it had said that he had said that the AUSD administration was bloated.   Here is the sentence that Eve P. wrote:

Tom Pavletic can blame Alameda’s school funding troubles on a bloated administration…

Now if Tom P.’s allegations were true, Eve P. would have written the sentence like this:

Tom Paveltic can blame Alameda’s school funding troubles on a “bloated administration”…

Which would then imply that phrase was taken from something that Tom P. had written as opposed to being what it actually is: Eve P. paraphrasing what she believes was and is the nut meat of Tom P.’s theses.

But the scariest thing comes as “Moral of the Story II: Never give up.”   Which implies so many things.   The first might be a letter writing rampage which eventually winds its way up the MediaNews food chain all the way to Dean Singleton.   That would actually be relatively benign because when I read it my first thought was, oh no, are we going to be subject to yet another ridiculous defamation lawsuit?   Before Tom P. heads that route, he might want to do some reading prior to filing a claim.

But hey, Eve P. can take heart in the old adage: There’s no such thing as bad press because what Tom P. has ostensibly done is ensure that folks who had not previously read that blog entry of Eve P.’s will go and do just that.   And they will probably take a gander at the rest of her blog as well.  I guess in blogging terms it should be better described as “There is no such thing as bad traffic.”



  1. I’m pretty sure his next piece will be a “counterpoint” article on why the Yes on Measure H folks are wrong wrong wrong… he was at the information meeting last night at Ruby Bridges that my wife, son and I also attended.

    To his credit, he was quiet, took notes, and was respectful to the attendees and didn’t disturb the meeting itself, but it was clear that the speakers were certainly aware of him, acknowledging his presence indirectly with such statements as “I’m not an economist, but…”

    So far Tom has posited on ADN that teachers make too much on their easy 7 hr days (heh – those papers don’t grade themselves) and real estate brokers can’t use their own professional experiences to prove that there is a tie between good schools and real estate values.

    In the past he’s also targeted his financial know-how at the hospitals.

    Basically, it seems that any resource Tom doesn’t use is unnecessary to him.

    Comment by Dave S. — April 30, 2008 @ 7:36 am

  2. Ironic that he is quoting Thomas Paine about being truthful on ADN, which itself lies abut being a news site.

    Comment by notadave — April 30, 2008 @ 7:54 am

  3. So Mr. P is indignant that his position about the administration was somehow mischaracterized. If that’s true, then the logical corollary to Mr. P’s indignation is that he is willing to concede that AUSD’s administration is efficient. So yet another excuse for voting No on Measure H goes out the window.

    Comment by Page — April 30, 2008 @ 8:22 am

  4. ” …a hands off approach to blogging from a “higher power” is probably best).”

    Except, of course, when it may be critical of our precious ones.

    “After that last comment, I’m closing comments for this post. Attacking students that have dedicated their time, intelligence, and passion to a subject is the last straw for me.”

    Comment by Lauren Do — March 14, 2008 @ 8:18 am

    Comment by Jack Richard — April 30, 2008 @ 8:55 am

  5. I said a “hands off approach to blogging,” not a discretionary approach of moderating the comments section by the blog owner.

    There’s a difference.

    Comment by Lauren Do — April 30, 2008 @ 9:09 am

  6. I would say he should wikipedia the term “blog”, but that might confuse/insult him even more.

    Comment by MarkD — April 30, 2008 @ 9:21 am

  7. Lauren, we are splitting hairs here. A truly hands off approach to blogging would mean exactly that … no moderation except to delete spam ads!

    Comment by Roberto — April 30, 2008 @ 10:09 am

  8. Well Roberto, when you have your own blog you can choose not to moderate your comments section. As it is I am more lax about moderation than the average blog owner.

    In Eve P.’s case, there was a false assumption by Tom P. that because Eve P.’s blog is under the masthead of the “Alameda Journal” that the Alameda Journal’s editor Connie R. had final authority over what Eve P. posted as a blogger. That is what I was addressing when I said a “hands off approach to blogging.”

    We can debate whether a commenter to someone’s blog could be properly labelled a “blogger,” but that is not the issue I was addressing in my initial post.

    Comment by Lauren Do — April 30, 2008 @ 10:21 am

  9. So what WERE you going to write about before you read this?

    Comment by Delmundo — April 30, 2008 @ 10:35 am

  10. I don’t agree with much of what Tom Pavletic has to say, but I think he hit the nail on the head with his critique of the asserted connection between the parcel tax and property values. The fact is that a whole variety of factors influence property values. I suspect that school quality has very little correlation to property values in San Francisco, which has pretty substandard public schools at the same time that property values are astronomical. In Alameda, the relationship might be more robust, but I still would guess that marginal changes in school funding have little overall effect on property values.

    If someone can direct me to a valid econometric study showing how marginal changes in school funding affect property values in the Bay Area, please do so. Until then, don’t expect me to buy bumper sticker slogans about how the parcel tax will save our property values.

    Comment by Lawrence — April 30, 2008 @ 10:43 am

  11. San Francisco also has high paying jobs,and plenty of other things that make up for their substandard public schools. Alameda has good schools and tree lined streets. We’re not exactly in a position to gamble one of our top draws to the island. With one less reason for people to want to buy homes on the island demand will go down, prices will go down and aside from making Ed happy, Most Alamedans won’t be happy.Families who rent will have no incentive to continue to pay such high rents here either. Ask any family who rents here why they do and I bet Park st. and an abundance of old homes aren’t exactly top reasons why.

    Your analogy is a bit off.

    Comment by J — April 30, 2008 @ 11:15 am

  12. The Alameda Journal needs to make a clearer distinction between its reporting and its editorializing. Eve Pearlman had a front page story on Tuesday regarding the parcel tax that was really a viewpoint article. Personally, I do not like the idea of newspapers mixing with blogs. Is Eve Pearlman a journalist, a blogger, a blogalist or what? It is too early to say what will become of blogs. If reporters become bloggers, who will do the reporting? There is a difference between fact and opinion.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — April 30, 2008 @ 11:20 am

  13. Even within Alameda there is measurable difference in home prices between different elementary school zones. Just because it hard to measure or hasn’t been measured yet does not mean it isn’t real. Absence of evidence in most assuredly not evidence of absence.

    Comment by dave — April 30, 2008 @ 11:22 am

  14. Lauren: I generally agree with your assessment of the situation and of Tom P.’s apparent inability to understand the basic tenants of the blogosphere or basic journalism for that matter. That said, there is a bigger issue here. As a journalist who is now running an independent news oriented political blog, I am more convinced than ever that traditional newspapers and broadcast outlets have no business attempting to organize, devote resources to and/or generally sponsor blogs. The reason these companies have jumped in is simple desperation. Desperation in not wanting to lose market share or audience as the conventional news industry continues to go through what has become a violent economic shakeout. The problem (and this is the only part of Tom P.’s rant that I agree with) is that while blogs can sometimes be written in a format that follows generally accepted journalistic standards and practices, more often than not they are simply just the unsubstantiated opinion of the blogger. Sometimes, however, some blogs (like yours) are well sourced and footnoted, insightful and educated. Sometimes, they’re not. That’s what is cool about the blogosphere – it’s a “true marketplace of ideas.” Most go online knowing that. For traditional news outlets however, the ability to report the news in a fair and balanced manner depends on keeping the “news” sections clearly separate from the “opinion or op-ed” sections. So, when a traditional news outlet decides it wants to get into blogging to attempt shore up its dwindling readership (or to attract a younger, non-newspaper reading audience) it is intentionally and wrongly blurring the lines of separation between news and opinion, which doesn’t serve anyone well. Moreover, no one can logically accept the flawed argument that these blogs are actually in some way separate or independent. When Eve writes something in her blog, she is directly representing the Alameda Journal, the Bay Area News Group, MediaNews and Mr. Singleton all at the same time for good or bad. And, I suspect the true test behind all of this will be quickly resolved in the courts when one of these newspaper “bloggers” gets sued for libel. We’ll just have to see if I’m right. A California Field Poll that was recently released pegged confidence in the traditional media at an all time low. Blogging for the Alameda Journal is a bad idea. I was opposed to it when I worked there and I remain opposed to it now for the reasons I’ve stated above. It’s just a bad idea in general for those newspapers or broadcast outlets that still claim to want to cover the news in a fair, balanced and straightforward manner.

    Comment by Jeff Mitchell — April 30, 2008 @ 11:26 am

  15. General response to #10 & 11. What about Alameda’s beloved “small town/family atmosphere”?. Do schools contribute to this often-held belief about Alameda?

    Comment by TWM — April 30, 2008 @ 11:27 am

  16. To me they do.

    Comment by dave — April 30, 2008 @ 11:30 am

  17. If folks are really interested in economic studies linking school funding to property values — well, they’re out there.

    Try google for starters.

    Validity of any study as well as the application to the local area is in the eye of the beholder and the relative assumptions made in the study.

    Comment by Dave S. — April 30, 2008 @ 11:43 am

  18. Okay, here’s one in a pdf format I found that’s relatively general (i.e. it doesn’t appear to be geographically specific)… the discussion of property values linked to school funding starts on page 21 of the PDF:

    And if memory serves correctly, the gentleman at the Ruby Bridges meeting last night cited a study which I believe is also mentioned in this article. (The [Sandra] Black study…)

    Whether or not it’s applicable to our situation, I’m not sure yet… I need to sit down and read it, but thought I’d put it out there for others to review as well.

    Comment by Dave S. — April 30, 2008 @ 11:52 am

  19. Gah. Didn’t want that smiley on my post in #18.

    what is it with closing parens and smileys? :p

    Comment by Dave S. — April 30, 2008 @ 12:00 pm

  20. I agree with Jeff Mitchell — I like blogs very much, I think they offer access to important information that might not appear in the local newspapers, and in that they tend to offset the consolidation of the traditional media, something we desperately need. However, there are well-established journalistic standards that I think many people take for granted in a newspaper context that have pretty much gone down the tube w/ blogging — the recognition of a clear difference between news and opinion. Right now I suppose it’s not such a big deal, but as papers start to fade out and online news becomes more prominent, I wonder if we’ll lose these traditional distinctions.

    With regard to schools and home value: Look at Albany — a very pretty town but the houses are famously small — yet there’s always demand for homes because of the schools. I think well-staffed, well-managed and safe schools are very important to parents.

    Comment by DL Morrison — April 30, 2008 @ 2:35 pm

  21. # 20

    “However, there are well-established journalistic standards that I think many people take for granted in a newspaper context that have pretty much gone down the tube w/ blogging — the recognition of a clear difference between news and opinion.”

    You really must be kidding. Journalistic standards? You believe the reporting of the “news” by the mainstreet media is not opinion? Aptly, the media couldn’t even get it right when they credited the phrase, “There’s a sucker born every minute” to P. T. Barnum.

    Comment by Jack Richard — April 30, 2008 @ 4:19 pm

  22. # 18

    This is from the Dave S. link.

    “Studying another indicator of school achievement, David N. Figlio and Maurice E. Lucas find a
    strong correlation between Gainesville, Florida’s real estate values and the state’s “report card” school
    ratings system in their study “What’s in a Grade: School Report Cards and House Prices” (2001) for
    the National Bureau of Economic Research. Controlling for other factors such as student test scores,
    Figlio and Lucas gauge the impact of a so-called “A”-scoring school versus a “B”-scoring school. They
    conclude that for median-size homes, an “A” school increases property values by more than seven
    percent over a “B” school. For larger homes and more expensive neighborhoods, the difference can be
    as much as fourteen percent. In Gainseesville, they note, the scores are “readily available” to parents as they make their housing choices.”

    Theoretically, in a given school district having level per-student funding, there should not be a difference in school scores since all the kids should learn equally. The fact that Gainesville has different school scoring (yet presumably funds each school evenly) negates the concept that spending more or less has much to do with how good the schools are. Wealthy people demand better schools therefore they drive the demand for dwellings near an “A” school. Consequently, the price of property near an “A” scoring school follows the demand.

    In Alameda, it’s a fact that certain schools are perceived to be inferior to others. It shouldn’t be a mystery that property values are higher near these schools. You could tax the populace at any level there would still be the “A” schools and the other schools.

    Comment by Jack Richard — April 30, 2008 @ 4:35 pm

  23. Yes, there are standards:

    The news media is undermining itself. By placing blog entries on its front page, the Alameda Journal further diminishes its value as a newspaper. Perhaps it should simply drop the word “Journal” from its title.

    The news media is in sharp decline. Katie Couric as the CBS news anchor? Opinions are fine, but who is going to do all the hard work of reporting?

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — April 30, 2008 @ 4:37 pm

  24. Speaking of media consolidation and scary things, someone might have noted that the new recently launched “blog aggregator,”,
    was exactly such event. From Michele Ellson’s blog: “Wanna get all your
    Alameda news at once? Check out It’s got Blogging Bayport
    Alameda, Stop, Drop and Roll, School 94501/94502, Alameda Journal
    blogger Eve Pearlman and yours truly, all in one convenient place.” (She
    omitted biggscity and progressive alamedan, for reasons

    Obviously, these bloggers offer SOME news and CERTAIN opinions, but they
    do not offer ALL Alameda news and they do not represent a VARIETY of
    Alamedans’ views even by a long shot. A quick perusal makes it clear
    they generally cover the same issues from the same point of view (yes on
    H, no on NEA, no on moth spraying, yes on Point report,etc.).
    Needless to say, there are differing opinions on all of these issues,
    not to mention other issues altogether, but they will not be found among
    these “independent” bloggers who, innocently or not, claim to offer the
    entire buffet on one convenient platter. Not exactly “offsetting media consolidaion.”

    And while this is just a fact to make a note of, what is scary is
    that half of these bloggers have a link to the Alameda Daily Noose.
    Dense as it is, the “noose” site clearly exist to ridicule the Alameda
    Daily News–the one popular site generally known for taking editorial
    positions different from those the “aggregated bloggers” take–and to
    deter letter writers unwilling to become a target for the noose. So much
    for diversity of opinion, or tolerance thereof. And now the Alameda
    Journal is officially tangled in this (the Journal blog links to the
    noose; my questioning this was answered not by Eve Pearlman or Connie
    Rux, but by Lauren Do–another note to take).

    Comment by AD — April 30, 2008 @ 4:41 pm

  25. The Alameda Daily Noose is a parody site much like this one:

    It is called free speech and one does risk criticism for taking a position on an issue.

    Just because someone links to a website that does not mean an endorsement of its contents. Lauren links to Don Roberts, but that does not mean that she endorses what Don Roberts has to say. I think that most people are smart enough to figure this out.

    Whoever does the Noose is a good writer. I don’t always agree with the parody, and sometimes the humor falls flat, but it is usually good for a chuckle.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — April 30, 2008 @ 5:03 pm

  26. I hope the enlightened, aware, and neutral position posted by “AD” is that of our school superintendant. It is important to be aware that the association of these blogs is not to present the spectrum of Alameda opinion, but rather to unify the force of few.

    To answer the question posted on a different thread about why the authorship of Measure “H” is important, I will take a few days to double check facts, but I will explain the importance. (And I will not disappear after promising to answer important questions as Barbara Mooney has apparently done.)

    Comment by David Kirwin — April 30, 2008 @ 5:17 pm

  27. #14 Jeff – I agree with you 100%. Eve is also speaking for AEF when she is ‘Blogging’, after all she is listed as one of their directors.

    If a newspaper wants to stimulate interactivity of opinion with readership is better done via the web as the Chron does it. It seems for most articles at SFgate you can read opinions of others on the article or post your own; when making that link the reader is clearly leaving the journalistic news and heading to the world of opinion, which may or may not be laced with fact.

    Comment by David Kirwin — April 30, 2008 @ 5:27 pm

  28. #25. Wrong analogy. The Onion does not consistently target a specific website, newspaper or person; the noose does. If the noose was like the Onion, it would have some insightful parody about city departments, street sweepers, Lauren Do, lunch ladies, AP&T, reckless buses, Alameda Journal, SUV-driving soccer moms, and avid dog walkers, to pick a few completely at random. As it is, the noose is not such parody site at all; it aims to discredit and silence one and only specific source of opinion—the Alameda Daily News.

    Comment by AD — April 30, 2008 @ 6:04 pm

  29. #28

    I haven’t noticed that Don Roberts has been silenced because of the parody…and why would the parody writer(s) want to silence the source of their best material? Sometimes it is hard to tell which site is parodying which.

    Start your own parody site. You could get at least a month’s worth of material just out of Beverly Johnson!

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — April 30, 2008 @ 6:25 pm

  30. AD,

    Lighten up. If the Noose so upsets you, start your own website. Parody Lauren exclusively. She’s a big girl. I’ll bet she can take it. And I disagree with you that the Noose exclusively targets ADN. The net is much wider than that. In fact, I’ve seen some hysterical parodies of posts on this site. Check out the “”Birthday Gift” one from yesterday for example. It’s a direct response to some posts on this site.

    And I don’t think that the alleged forces of evil behind “Alamedans” would purport to represent that their opinions represent the full spectrum of opinion in Alameda. Again, if you don’t like it, start your own blog. Consolidate with ADN. And remember — no one is making you or anyone else read anything.

    Comment by Anonymous — April 30, 2008 @ 6:28 pm

  31. For AD:

    Caption Contest!

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — April 30, 2008 @ 6:50 pm

  32. I have to say schools with funding and I high rating increase property values…look at Piedmont or Castro Valley. My friends house went up drastically because people wanted to send their children to Castro Valley schools. If you buy a house in Oakland/Piedmont city line…a similar house on the same street is worth a lot more if it is on the Piedmont side…we found this out when we were looking…the Realtor said it all had to do with the schools. You can dispute it but go look.

    Comment by Joel — April 30, 2008 @ 7:17 pm

  33. I think the noose is a one-trick pony. It was screamingly funny for about 3 weeks. The author obviously has talent… perhaps the underlying inspiration is what has gotten so tired.

    Comment by Jack B. — April 30, 2008 @ 7:55 pm

  34. The Noose can be very funny. –Increasingly, though, I read it and think the author is in danger of becoming the very thing that he/she originally despised.

    Comment by Susan — April 30, 2008 @ 8:07 pm

  35. #33

    I agree. Though AD’s advice may not be friendly, it could still be good. No shortage of parody targets on the island.

    Comment by AlamedaNayTiff — April 30, 2008 @ 8:33 pm

  36. ANT – What is unfriendly about the advice AD gave?

    Is any comment on this blog, other than lock-step agreement, an ‘unfriendly target’?

    Comment by Dave Kirwin — April 30, 2008 @ 9:43 pm

  37. I think AD and Kirwin are right that the bloggers on are lockstep, but I don’t agree that the commenters on Lauren’s blog are in lockstep. If it wasn’t for lively discussion, I don’t think we’d be here, right?

    Comment by Jack B. — April 30, 2008 @ 10:40 pm

  38. #36 – true ’nuff; but only cause some of us stubbornly stood our ground and let the truth be our shield until the likes of story tellers such as jkw, Michael K, HOMES, and Barbara M, to name a few went away. With the departure of the “Wannabe Power Crowd” there is far less scornful, rude and contemptuous response to the other than ‘lockstep’ opinions expressed here. Of course that WPC, didn’t go far, they are just writing new rules to their game. Like Arnold the “T-Man” they’ll be bock.

    Comment by Dave Kirwin — April 30, 2008 @ 11:05 pm

  39. well give lauren credit for facilitating too.

    Comment by jack b — April 30, 2008 @ 11:14 pm

  40. #38 What do you mean? Lauren is (sort of)explaining her “hands-off” practice at the beginning of this thread(with the one noted exception).

    Comment by dk — May 1, 2008 @ 12:26 am

  41. Her “hands-off” approach is cool. Now, if she could apply that to development….

    Comment by Jack B. — May 1, 2008 @ 6:54 am

  42. #39 Let me explain a little more. A few years ago I tried to fire up a web 2.0 site for Alameda. Might have been a little early, but it was very hard to get discussions going. Lauren has been very successful at getting the discussions going. I don’t often agree w/ her views — ok, almost never — but still this site has become the most useful and entertaining of the Alameda sites. There’s more to learn here than the local newspapers and other blogs put together, thanks to her work and the variety of people who take the time to comment.

    Comment by Jack B. — May 1, 2008 @ 7:04 am

  43. […] the show. After reading a “news item” which was essentially just a slight rewording of a letter from Tom Pavletic in which Don then dropped some science on all of us (don’t you sometimes wish we could all […]

    Pingback by Stop, Drop and Roll » Quick, find the man a kettle — May 2, 2008 @ 7:15 am

  44. Regarding the property values-school funding connection: The important point is not that property values go up as school funding goes up, but that property values are affected by the *perception of school quality*. That is why homes near a “good school” cost more than similar homes elsewhere even if the schools are funded at the same level. The reason Measure H will affect property values is if it fails and AUSD cuts music and sports and AP classes, etc. then the district may be perceived as not having “good schools” and home buyers will look to buy in other cities that do support their schools.

    Comment by Frances — May 4, 2008 @ 12:11 pm

  45. Ani and Jack,

    In the interest of keeping this post way off topic, what alameda specific blogs are missing from that would round it out in your eyes?

    Links would be much appreciated.

    Comment by John Knox White — May 4, 2008 @ 6:35 pm

  46. # 44

    Good try, Frances.

    Setting aside, for the sake of discussion, the reality of the privileged souls already living in our fair city, that being we have enough people given the laws of egress and MA, you lead us into a perception which will increase demand for housing in our city. You deem this demand increase important because property values “go up” and will lead people seeking what is perceived as the best education for their musically and athleticism inclined kids and who will be more than willingly to pay not only H but I, J and K to realize their perception.

    What does your perception gain the privileged souls who already reside here? Higher property value, you say. What of we who care not a whit what property values are but live here because we like it here and wouldn’t sell regardless how much the precious value of the property is? Your perceptions do nothing but pressure those politicians, who thrive on pressure, seek methods which in the long run will make this island unlivable.

    Comment by Jack Richard — May 4, 2008 @ 8:10 pm

  47. #46, are you saying that property values don’t matter in Alameda because the people who already live here probably won’t ever move away from this special spot? And we don’t want to attract MORE people to our fair city?


    Sad is it may be, people do sometimes have to move from Alameda. Sometimes they get new jobs. Sometimes they decide to move out of the Bay Area (or the state)because they can’t afford the cost of living here. Sometimes they die (and move on to Even Nicer Places). And sometimes, as they grow elderly, they have to sell their homes and move into assisted living facilities.

    And when that happens, younger people who are seeking a good education for their children, often move in — right into those homes that were vacated. The population doesn’t rise, that is, as much as it turns over.

    So yes, keeping property values up is important to many people in your community.

    I would argue (strongly) that providing a good education to our children is important regardless of the property value issue, as well. But I don’t want to stray too far off topic.


    Comment by Susan Davis — May 6, 2008 @ 10:28 am

  48. # 47

    Susan, my # 46 was in response to the # 44 post by Frances. I think this sentence in the Frances post sums up the education/real estate price nexus: “The important point is not that property values go up as school funding goes up, but that property values are affected by the *perception of school quality*.” I agree with Frances on this point. It seems to me that the reality of the quality of education in this city runs secondary to the “perception” of its quality. The argument we hear for increasing school funding through parcel taxes is a good marketing tool for the real estate industry in that it makes homeowners think their property will be of more value because it’s taxed higher. A really convoluted argument, in my view.

    I suspect younger people who seek a good education for their kids by buying here would appreciate property prices in tune with the reality of the quality of the actual education level not the perception. In the Alameda district (and most other bay area public schools) that would make the real education quality low to middling with a few exceptions. Yet prices here remain high.

    Comment by Jack Richard — May 6, 2008 @ 4:59 pm

  49. Jack
    Compare the student population #’s of the school districts listed here:
    There is a valid reason why for the perception of quality public school education availability in Alameda.

    Comment by David Kirwin — May 6, 2008 @ 5:50 pm

  50. DK,

    The URL you posted in #49 is for Ca. D.O.E. site, specifically a chart of achievement awards. I poked around and didn’t find quick access to district populations for comparison.

    Can you perhaps save us wading through the web site and direct us to information on populations to which you refer, so that we could easily see the validation you allude to?

    Comment by Mark I — May 6, 2008 @ 6:18 pm

  51. No but after you do would you share?

    Comment by Dave Kirwin — May 6, 2008 @ 6:32 pm

  52. for christ sakes DK, what kind of response is that? The URL did not bring up population numbers but a chart which was meaningless with regard to the population comparison to which you request we pay heed.
    So why is it again we should pay attention to you again? If Jack finds it maybe he’ll share. I’m cooking diner.

    Comment by Mark I — May 6, 2008 @ 6:38 pm

  53. DK, the chart of achievement you linked to is indeed a perception. What’s the reality?

    Comment by Jack Richard — May 6, 2008 @ 7:51 pm

  54. Jack – to be honestly philosophical, perception IS reality, isn’t it? What are accountability standards all about? How can you ever tell how “good” any school district is?
    A past HS teacher & PTA president I know feels the only way to judge how good an education a student receives is to sit down individually with each student and talk to them. That’s pretty subjective isn’t it? If you look at the achievements of students, there is the argument that those students were benefitted by home environment, genetics, or mutant luck, and schools only played a minor role. (That’s the argument on why Alameda’s charter school students get high scores, as provided by some Encinal students on this blog.)

    So what is the reality of Alameda’s quality school district?

    Perhaps you could argue that this reality is the shared perception by the fast majority of local citizens – that even though AUSD has significantly less revenue per student than other school districts that are perceived as providing a high quality public school education, AUSD is also perceived as offering the same high quality education, and has a proven record of success with such markers as high test scores and a high number of regional, state, and national awards for its achievements.

    How do you judge our school district?

    Comment by Dave Kirwin — May 6, 2008 @ 10:09 pm

  55. I agree with Jeff Mitchell — I like blogs very much, I think they offer access to important information that might not appear in the local newspapers, and in that they tend to offset the consolidation of the traditional media, something we desperately need. However, there are well-established journalistic standards that I think many people take for granted in a newspaper context that have pretty much gone down the tube w/ blogging — the recognition of a clear difference between news and opinion. Right now I suppose it’s not such a big deal, but as papers start to fade out and online news becomes more prominent, I wonder if we’ll lose these traditional distinctions.

    With regard to schools and home value: Look at Albany — a very pretty town but the houses are famously small — yet there’s always demand for homes because of the schools. I think well-staffed, well-managed and safe schools are very important to parents.


    Comment by property bulgaria — May 8, 2008 @ 5:52 am

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