The top three choices for our school board

I have been following school issues in Alameda since we moved here more than seven years ago. I worked as the volunteer chair for the last two parcel tax campaigns, Measures E and A.

As a supporter and strong advocate of Alameda schools, I am reaching out to ask for your help in keeping our schools strong. In these difficult times while many districts are struggling, our schools continue to improve. Parents and students have innovative options and magnet schools, our test scores are climbing and our enrollment is increasing.

This Tuesday, consider voting for the following candidates and propositions to keep our district moving forward:

Mike Robles-Wong, who has served as the Measure A chairman, whose family is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against the state for fair school funding and who has held many leadership roles, including heading the human resources department for Berkeley Unified. He has the knowledge, experience and leadership and collaborative skills to hit the floor running.

Ron Mooney and Niel Tam, who are running for re-election. Their votes have supported educational excellence (i.e.; a five-year master plan, Measures E and A, innovative school choices and a cutting-edge anti-bullying curriculum). They also have shown fiscal responsibility by supporting conservative budgets that allow our district to survive the continued financial attacks from the state. The other candidates running just don't have the credentials these three candidates have.


Advertisement

Keep our schools strong, Vote Robles-Wong, Tam and Mooney on Tuesday.

Sarah Olaes

'Yes' on 37 -- tell us what's in our food

As we wind down the silly season leading up to Election Day, I urge my fellow Californians to create real change by voting "yes" on 37, mandating labeling of genetically modified ingredients.

Mandatory labeling is the law in more than 50 nations, including all of Europe, Austrailia, Japan, India and China. So why are the United States and Canada the odd nations out? I'll give you six big reasons, the "Big Six," to be exact -- pesticide companies Monsanto, BASF, Bayer, Dow, DuPont and Syngenta -- have penetrated our governmental agencies and politicians so much that they literally write the laws. And it's this Big Six that have ponied up the lion's share of funding to blanket our mailboxes, television sets and radio airwaves with propaganda and flexed their advertising muscle to pressure newspapers' editorials throughout the state.

Proposition 37 will simply allow us a choice. If GM ingredients are really no different, then why spend so much money to discourage choice? Their silence will be met with our reply -- "yes" on 37.

Gene Oh

owner, Alameda Bicycle

Tam, Robles-Wong, Mooney for schools

Alameda Unified School District board members Niel Tam and Ron Mooney were strong advocates for the inclusive Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender anti-bullying curriculum that the Education Board adopted.

This curriculum and subsequent inclusive anti-bullying "literature lessons" for all protected classes (e.g. people who differ because of disability, religion, gender, race, nationality or sexual orientation) were publicly endorsed by the teachers union, Girls Inc., Alameda Journal, Alameda Sun, the city's Social Services Human Relation Board, Alameda Family Services, First Congregational Church of Alameda, Temple Israel, Buena Vista Methodist Church, then-AUSD board member Tracy Jensen, then- and current AUSD board member Mike McMahon, former Alameda High School principal and current AUSD board member President Margie Sherratt and Alameda Vice Mayor Rob Bonta -- among a host of other community members.

One must wonder with that kind of support how anyone could have been confused about voting for the program. Upon the complete and final proposal by Superintendent Kirsten Vital, the Board of Education vote was split by four "ayes," Niel Tam, Ron Mooney, Mike McMahon and Tracey Jensen; and one "nay," Trish Spencer.

In light of that, this gay man of two children in the district schools will be voting for individuals lifting all boats, and that is why I will be voting Tam, Mooney and Robles-Wong.

Sean Cahill

Murphy, Spencer, Kahn for our schools

Alameda is in the middle of an important school board race.

When hard times come to a school district, communities rely on their school boards to get things back on track. Alameda is facing hard times, and classroom teachers are under attack.

Classrooms and entire schools are becoming more crowded and teacher salaries are inadequate for health care or even food. We teachers create lessons, tutor students, coach teams, create clubs, collaborate with colleagues and improve the climate and culture of our schools by dedicating countless hours beyond our already-long days.

Despite doing work we love, we are experiencing the lowest teacher morale in Alameda's history. We need you to vote for Trish Spencer, Barbara Kahn and Jon Murphy for school board.

Coalitions of wealthy private interests, political parties and even local individuals who profess support for teachers are hurting us and the students we serve. The current school board (with the exception of Trish Spencer) has painted a picture of Alameda's teachers as greedy, self-serving and antagonistic to the interests of the students we serve.

Can a teacher who pays 25 percent of his/her meager salary out of pocket for health care be called greedy? We have teachers who qualify for food stamps.

Teachers stay in this district because we love the students, and we feel loyalty to this community. People so dedicated to their students and their craft do not waste time needlessly hounding the board; however, we also will not allow ourselves to be abused and bullied.

In ordinary circumstances, a district's school board would take up the cause of improving conditions within a district. The current board has not done so; instead they have repeatedly exhibited contempt for our teachers. We, and other working families, support school candidates Trish Spencer, Barbara Kahn and Jon Murphy. This slate of candidates is the best chance we have to create a responsible school board who will end this thoughtless obedience to the superintendent and return attentive concern for our students and community.

Please show your support for our kids, your appreciation for our working families and your optimism for our future by voting for Murphy, Kahn and Spencer on Tuesday.

Gray Harris

president, Alameda Education Association

Island's best picks for Election Day

Alameda is facing significant choices for Assembly, the City Council, the Board of Education, and the Health Care District.

Rob Bonta is best qualified to find legislative solutions for Alameda's school funding deficit and California's governmental quagmires.

Stewart Chen and Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft are the most experienced City Council choices for Alameda's transportation, land use, and environmental future. The Sierra Club liked their records.

Ron Mooney, Niel Tam, and Mike Robles-Wong will bring reason and intelligent analysis to solving AUSD's complex problems. Mooney and Tam steadfastly supported expanding AUSD's anti-bullying efforts in our schools. As a Franklin volunteer for three years I saw firsthand the need for Lesson 9 -- which helps all students. Mike Robles-Wong always brings an intelligent, independent, and logical perspective to the table. Taking on the state of California shows this former police officer's courage and determination.

Incumbents Jordan Battani and J. Michael McCormick have worked hard to take Alameda Hospital in the right directions amid a fast-changing health care environment. They deserve your vote.

Alameda needs more reasoned solutions -- not inconsistency or partisanship -- in this often emotional and overheated atmosphere. Please vote for Bonta, Chen, Ashcraft, Mooney, Tam, Robles-Wong, Battani and McCormick to bring reasoned and intelligent analysis to bear on Alameda's many complex problems.

Jon Spangler

Thanks to AEF, their supporters

Many consider the island of Alameda a special place to live and work. In these tough economic times, many lose sight of the little things that we should be thankful for. Recently, our band was blessed with one of those moments.

The Alameda Education Foundation recently held an Equipped 4 Success school supply drive. Through this drive, many backpacks, supplies, and instruments were donated by Alameda's generous residents, as they have in the past, to benefit the islands students in need.

This community's kindness and thoughtfulness through their donation of time, supplies, and instruments helps so many schools and students. Our guitar class received two new guitars as well as the band received several instruments from AEF.

I would like to thank each person who donated to the AEF drive, as well as AEF for the amazing work they do on behalf of the students; you all are valued deeply. This truly is a special place to live and work, for which we are thankful.

Anselmo Reis

Wood Middle School music director

Don't vote for Tam, Mooney for schools

On July 27, the Alameda Unified School District school board met in a special meeting to approve a $3.3 million/six-year lease for their new district administrative office.

This meeting took place on a Friday night in the middle of summer, when the board is generally at recess and people are on vacation. The meeting also took place at the Alameda High School cafeteria, where it couldn't be televised via cable channel 15.

At this meeting, the superintendent said that her staff had carefully evaluated all location options for the new offices. The three options evaluated by the district's staff were 1) various school district properties, 2) Alameda Point property and 3) private commercial properties. It is the Alameda Point evaluation that I want to discuss in more detail.

The City of Alameda had been given the right by the Navy to lease properties that they consider to be safe before the complete transfer of the former base to the city. The 'so-called' careful evaluation of Alameda Point consisted of a phone call to the Alameda Point Leasing Agent and a tour of the City Hall West building (recently remodeled by the city and currently housing City employees). On the tour were three AUSD representatives, including a local realtor, who never revealed that the school district was their client.

Apparently, a discussion took place, but there is no documentation indicating the nature of what was covered on the tour. Nothing in writing was ever done, and no follow-up was ever made by the district. In other words, no real negotiation with the city was ever made.

Besides having a majority of school board members that didn't fully analyze and question the lease proposal, we may also have an ethical concern with this matter. The person handling this search for a new district office was not a district employee, but a private realtor who possibly stood to benefit financially by steering the district toward leasing private commercial property. It appears that is what happened.

At the lease approval meeting, school board members Sherratt and Spencer voted no, based on their beliefs that inadequate research had been done. Members McMahon, Mooney and Tam voted to approve the lease as presented by the district staff. It is time for Mooney and Tam to leave.

Virginia Bergstrom

retired Alameda teacher