Setting record straight on Measure P
As president of the Alameda Association of Realtors (AAOR), I'd like to set the record straight regarding the payment of transfer taxes and the sources of funding for the No on Measure P campaign.
The Alameda Democratic Club acting in its role as proxy for the mayor and incumbent City Council has recently run paid political ads suggesting among other things that the funds for No on Measure P were coming from downstate interests with no stake in the local community.
While it is true that the California Association of Realtors political action committee has its administrative offices in Los Angeles, it is only through annual dues paid by local Realtors that these funds are made available. To suggest that the NO on Measure P campaign is anything but locally organized and funded opposition to an unfair tax on property transfers is false and misleading.
With regard to the suggestion that Realtors get paid less when transfer taxes are higher, the truth is that transfer taxes are paid only by the buyer and seller of a property. Realtors are not affected, and the city provides no services for the tax it collects. There are no compelling financial reasons for AAOR to oppose Measure P. We are involved out of concern for our constituents and because this is an attempt to place an unfair and regressive tax burden on home buyers and sellers.
I am also pleased that the local Realtor associations from Berkeley, Oakland, Southern Alameda and Contra Costa County have joined us in this fight.
Dianne Richmond, President
Alameda Association of Realtors
Vote Yes on Proposition 8
This is not a civil rights issue — domestic partners have all the rights of married spouses. (see Family Code 297.5).
If Prop. 8 fails, homosexual marriage will be taught in public schools as an equal and morally acceptable choice without parental notification. At Franklin School, Principal Rossiter hired LGBT people to instruct the children about gender identity. When parents complained, the district claimed they have no obligation to notify parents because it is not "sex education." Gay marriage will be treated the same way. Administrators may not call it "sex education" but it has everything to do with sex; they are teaching some of the most controversial aspects of sexuality to kindergartners!
If Prop. 8 fails, we will lose our religious liberties. Churches will have to perform gay marriage or be considered discriminatory and lose their tax-exempt status. Churches will fight this in the courts but so far, judges have sided with gays.
Lastly, we believe every child is entitled to a mother and a father. Children learn different things from men and women. Circumstances sometimes prevent children from having both, but studies show children fare best when they have a father and a mother. We as a society should support that model.
We are not motivated by hate or intolerance. We simply believe the institution of marriage should not be redefined. It must exist to strengthen society and support children's development. For more information, visit www.protectmarriage.com.
Brad and Alaina Stewart
Vote no on Proposition 8
Each time we have categorically discriminated against a group of people we have looked back on our conduct with shame. Each time it occurs, the proponents of the discrimination have attempted to explain why, this time, circumstances are different. Often they use fear or invoke religious doctrine to support their cause. People claimed that women did not have the intellectual capacity to vote and passionately argued that the children of interracial marriages would have physical and mental disabilities as a result of their parents' sinful conduct. Yet today we have a female vice presidential nominee and a presidential candidate who is the child of an interracial couple. From genocide to "separate but equal" policies, our history is replete with disgraceful and inhumane choices that the majority of us now realize were absurd and wish we could erase.
I am saddened that some religious groups, many of which have historically suffered discrimination, are funding Proposition 8. In the current economy, the money that is being used to promote the latest round of intolerance would be far better spent helping those who have lost their jobs and cannot afford to feed and care for their families. Please vote no on Proposition 8.
Mooney deserves vote for school board
I am writing to voice my disappointment at the Journal's failure to endorse Ron Mooney for Alameda Unified School Board. While I agree with your endorsement of David Forbes and Niel Tam, I thought your analysis of the candidates fell short. The Journal appeared to criticize Mooney's desire to have a "Master Plan" for our school system saying, "our concern is that enough studies and plans have been done." A Master Plan for our schools is not simply an "open discussion" or "study," it is a road map which will serve as a guide by which our schools can be run in an effective and efficient manner. Mooney understands that a decision which impacts one school in the district will potentially impact all schools. Gone are the days when a school board could get by making ad hoc decisions about the running of our schools. To criticize a candidate for approaching this monumental task armed with a "plan" is absurd.
Mooney has three children who attend elementary, middle and high school in Alameda. He has worked tirelessly as a volunteer on behalf of our public schools. Not only is he a business person with the fiscal knowledge to serve on our school board, but he has a vested interest as a parent in seeing that our schools are run in a manner that affords all children access to the very best education possible.
I would urge Alameda voters to consider the candidate who will not only come to this job with a plan but also with the skills and ability to take action and make tough decisions.
Nancy Coan Torres
Alameda teachers support Mooney
As long time teachers in the Alameda Unified School District, we ask you to vote for Ron Mooney for school board. We have been teaching the children of Alameda with great pride and commitment resisting the pull of the financial benefits of teaching elsewhere. We are committed to AUSD, but know we need new leadership.
Recently, a small group of teachers from our district voted for our teachers' union to endorse school board candidates. This vote does not represent our views. We are 21 teachers who ask Alamedans to consider what we know about Mooney.
His commitment to our schools and community is inspiring; he works tirelessly for schools all over the island and supports them behind the scenes. He is an advocate for teachers because he knows they are the experts. He is responsive to issues, never assuming that what is presented at a board meeting is the entire picture. He asks tough questions and will not make closed session agreements that take care of administrators over the needs of children.
Mooney continues to focus on the need for a plan based on education versus the emergency response system used so far to make draconian cuts to programs. We must have a district plan based on the values of our community and focused always on the kids.
He understands what we are facing. His commitment to the children and to those who teach is unyielding. He has served on a school board in another community, been active in all levels of PTA and financially supports all schools in Alameda. He does not represent a group, a profession or an interest; he represents the community and its children.
Mooney gives us a chance, in spite of our terrible financial situation, to move in a direction that is doing exactly what we are supposed to be doing — educating children!
Sylvia Kahn and Diana Kenney, on behalf of 21 teachers
SunCal should consider rooftop solar units
SunCal has been looking at ways to reduce the carbon footprint of its new development at Alameda Point. One option they propose is to study the feasibility of building a "concentrated solar plant." But they have sidelined the use of rooftop solar photovoltaic units. Why? Rooftop solar is an easily achievable way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And it doesn't require any extra land.
Photovoltaic technology is rapidly changing. BP Solar offers roof tiles and shingles with built-in photovoltaic apparatus. Although the payback period can be decades, many property owners are willing to pay a premium to do their part for the environment. And if the entire development were to have solar roofs, the installation savings per building would be considerable. By the time building plans are ready to review, even better or cheaper systems may be available. While a household's peak electricity use is usually late in the day when the solar system is cycling down, the system could be running the meter backward when no one is home, sending clean energy back into the grid. Most businesses would use theirs as it is produced.
On Wednesday, the City Council hears the final presentation of SunCal's concept for development at Alameda Point. Rooftop solar should be on the agenda.
City workers' salaries cost too much
Our city government as we all know is crying wolf because they need to make cuts. They once again want more of our money in Measure P. I got curious and looked up their city budget. The budget is $78,642,000. Of that amount, they are giving themselves $26,975,000 in benefits. This includes life time benefits for you and your spouse after five years of service, healthy pension guarantees for life, six weeks vacation, 16 sick days, 14 holidays, and on and on. This has simply come down to taxpayers against greedy government employees. They only want our money and nothing else for themselves. They cut our services but don't cut the outrageous salaries and benefits they have given themselves. The median salary and benefit package for a police department employee is $149,876. The median salary for a fire department employee is $176,516. I got this number by dividing the total employees stated in the budget by the salaries stated. These are great jobs for these people and mostly only high school educated. The city of Alameda also has $57,000,000 in unfunded pension liability. They don't tell us that! Who is going to pay that? The city of Alameda will soon be a city of Vallejo, along with many cities and counties going bankrupt. At some point the taxpayers need to revolt against what government employees have done to us. In the next few years our city services will mostly vanish. There will be no money left but to pay for salaries and benefits. Why should they care, it's not there money. Hopefully one day we can get government employees to understand that they are here to serve us and provide the services we pay for. It is our money we give them!
Don't change marriage `rite'
To the Gay Community: You want a right. Be my guest.
A right is a choice. Marriage is not a right. You have the wrong spelling.
Marriage is a rite. This is a ceremony uniting a man and a woman in marriage.
If you want a right, then find a new name for what you want and work toward what you want to go with it..."Partnered," "United," etc.
Leave our rite as it is.