Pearl Harbor column is much appreciated

Thanks for Joe King's column detailing his memories of Dec. 7, 1941. Despite having access to more so-called information than ever, I'm betting half the kids in our schools could not tell you why this date is significant.

My dad was Joe Thomson, who came to Alameda in 1921 from Japan. His sister was a valedictorian at Alameda High School, and almost all of his brothers earned PhDs, himself included, despite speaking no English when they arrived.

My dad's memory of Dec. 7, 1941, was that he was walking on the Santa Monica pier, and a policeman advised him it wasn't a safe place for him to be.

He served in World War II with the 322nd Infantry "Wildcat" Division in the Pacific, and then was denied purchasing a house in Alameda's Fernside subdivision because of his ethnicity. As I read the column, the words of George Santayana came to mind: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Thanks for your memories, Mr. King.

Lynn T. Wilton

Ferry building needs more parking spaces

There is not enough parking at the Alameda ferry parking lot for the ridership, and it is brought to the attention of management daily by the ferry crew.


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On Nov. 27, about 30 of us could not find parking and parked across the street on Adelphian Way. We received tickets from the City of Alameda for $38. I contacted the Blue & Gold Ferry Service and was informed there is nothing that can be done to waive the fee.

Wouldn't you think the ferry service and police department could work together to provide assistance to their riders and taxpayers?

Or perhaps they are under the impression they are our legislators in D.C., who also do not know that they work for the people either?

Jane Pennington

Midway shelter grateful for support

Readers may know that Midway shelters and supports women and children regaining their lives after homelessness and family violence. Since 2001, Building Futures with Women and Children has operated the shelter with the financial support of Alameda Homeless Network.

But readers may not know about the families, faith communities, community organizations and individuals who provide warm nutritious meals for the shelter residents every night of the month. The time, energy, resources and love these generous neighbors give so freely demonstrates their care for their community. We rarely have the opportunity to recognize them publicly.

Our most sincere thanks and appreciation to these unsung heroes: Bay Farm Christian Fellowship, St. Joseph Basilica, Twin Towers United Methodist Church, St. Philip Neri Church, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Temple Israel, Trinity Lutheran Church, First Congregational Church of Alameda, First Presbyterian Church, Alameda Democratic Club, Amy Silverman and group, the Susan Campbell Family, Bruce Johnson, Barbara Curtis, and Margaret Dos Santos.

Midway has been the site of hundreds of success stories over the years. None would be possible without our loving community. You can learn more about Midway by visiting www.midwayshelter.org.

Wishing our many supporters a blessed holiday season.

Liz Varela

Building Futures with Women and Children

Ginny Krutilek

Alameda Homeless Network

Anti-smoking laws are just fine with us

We are Alameda Girl Scouts in Troops 30121 and 32143, and because of our new local laws regarding smoking, we have been looking into cigarettes.

We have come up with some very unfortunate results. We would like to make people aware of the consequences of smoking.

The harmful chemicals found in battery acid, nail polish remover, rat poison and rocket fuel are also found in cigarette smoke. Also, every time someone drops a cigarette and it rains, that stuff enters our water supply. Smoking is harmful to the smoker and the people around them. This is called secondhand smoke. Sadly, secondhand smoke affects people who can't get away from it -- like children and babies.

In fact, 60 percent of people who get lung cancer have never smoked a day in their life. Smoking and secondhand smoke kills more than 400,000 Americans every year.

We are proud and glad our government has addressed this issue by imposing laws restricting smoking in public places.

And, by the way, while smoke hurts people, the smoker's wallet starts to hurt, too. A person who smokes half a pack a day spends approximately $947.19 per year just on cigarettes.

Emily Dougherty, Susan Hong and Elizabeth Legg