Support for pay to play
I'm writing this as an individual not sanctioned by the Alameda Museum.
Mayor Johnson says she would like all the tennis courts lighted at night. What ever happened to pay to play? The City Council in its budget cuts voted to decrease the museum's rent subsidy by $3,652 to pay for Leydecker tennis courts' lights, $304 a month, occupied or not.
The museum must raise $50,000 a year to keep its doors open to provide all of its services, free of charge, to the community. Now, your all-volunteer museum must work harder to raise $3,652 more, and no one can take a pay cut to make ends meet. I consider the mayor's priorities insulting.
There is no such thing as an unsubsidized local historical museum. One day the city needs to decide if it values the services the museum provides.
Come in and visit your museum's displays. There is also a rotating gallery for artists. Do you have a classroom that needs a guided tour, or do you want information on your property in Alameda? It's all here. The address is 2324 Alameda Ave. Consider mailing a donation to your museum—It really needs your support now.
Official civil ceremony
Shortly after the California Supreme Court struck down the ban on same-sex marriage, I contacted Mayor Beverly Johnson's office and asked if and when the mayor would be performing same-sex marriages. No one knew the answer, but I was told to call back in a few weeks.
In the middle of June, same-sex marriages became legal and were being performed, quite publicly, in the Bay Area. I went down to the mayor's office Monday and was told that there was still no information available and that the mayor was waiting for procedural issues to be settled. I left a note asking for a 10-minute meeting with the mayor to find out what the problem might be. About an hour later, I got a call from the mayor's office letting me know that I needed to call one of the mayor's assistants in a few weeks to get a status update.
My partner and I have been together for 28 years; we have lived here for 18 years. This is our home. We were married on Valentine's Day four years ago in San Francisco, and everyone knows what happened shortly after that. We would like to have a civil ceremony in Alameda by one of our elected officials.
I cannot imagine what procedural issues need to be settled here, but I can suggest that someone in City Hall call the office of Ron Dellums (510-238-3141) or Gavin Newsom (415-554-6141) and find out how they have managed to perform these ceremonies.
Finally, I would suggest that if Mayor Johnson has a personal problem with the issue she should just come out and say so. Steve and I can then move on with other marriage plans.
Don't ban bikes wrong
I have been a resident and property owner in Alameda for some 21 years now. During the past 21 years I have enjoyed biking and rollerblading through city streets and parks. I might have even ridden a skateboard a few times. Now I have a young daughter, and we enjoy biking around Alameda and we take trips with the bike and bike trailer to the various parks and events in Alameda.
Alameda has been slowly improving its bike and recreational access during the years. We appreciate the increased availability and look forward to even more access in the future. In a time when gas is approaching $5 per gallon, the option for us to bike (or rollerblade or skateboard) on our local errands really makes sense. In addition, these modes of transportation are really the only ones available to our youths.
The proposed change to Alameda's Municipal Code is a HUGE step in the wrong direction. Banning bikes from city parks (including the bike paths) is just wrong.
The change in the Municipal Code was prompted by skateboarders in the parking structure and skateboarders damaging public property (by sliding on benches, walls, etc). Why not just create the restrictions there?
The riding of bikes, skateboards, rollerblades and other human-powered devices (physically impaired persons exempted) could be expressly prohibited above the first floor and on all ramps of the new parking structure.
Intentionally jumping, riding or sliding a skateboard, rollerblades, bicycles and other human-powered devices onto benches, walls, curbs or other public property not meant for vehicle or pedestrian traffic could be expressly prohibited.
Why mete out collective punishment and design a system that would be expensive to create and maintain? Sure, we could print hundreds of signs to tell us where we are allowed to ride. But wouldn't it be easier to just print a couple of signs to tell the few fools where not to ride?
Breaking the law daily
I guess that I need to plan on breaking the law on a daily basis, because I ride through at least one park every day of the week. Or maybe I should move to San Leandro, or maybe we should recall our numb City Council!
A park by any other name
A recent Alameda Journal article describing the establishment of a Youth Advisory Commission quoted the recreation supervisor for the "Alameda Recreation and Parks Department." This reminded me that I've noticed the signs leading into our many parks read differently—"Alameda Recreation and Park Department." What became of the plural which is obviously needed since we have so many fine parks in town? So I then went onto the Alameda website to see how this department is listed. Actually, it is listed three different ways: 1) Home Page- "Alameda Recreation and Park Department" (as on the signs) 2) Department Directory- " Recreation and Parks" and 3) City Services- "Park and Recreation." I suggest we choose one, my preference being "Recreation and Parks Department."
Also, the need for a plural in public places does not stop with our parks. The new parking garage has a large green sign on the first floor with an arrow pointing to "stair." I've not made use of this area as of yet, but I'm sure when I do I'm likely to find more than one stair there.
Train theatre staff
I went with friends Saturday to the noon matinee of "Wall-E" at the Alameda Theatre. When we arrived, the box office was supposed to be open, but was unstaffed. The lines for tickets and entry were crossed, so that no one could access the automatic credit card ticket machine either.
Eventually, that was all sorted out and we were let inside. After paying nearly $40 for tickets, a bottle of water and two boxes of candy, we and several other families asked and were told we could go and watch the movie from the balcony. Who wouldn't want to see it from there?
Once we were settled, another employee told us we had to move. When I asked why, I was informed "It is too much hassle for us to allow people to sit in the balcony."
When the previews and the short began, the projector was out of focus. Someone attempted to fix it, but never quite got it right. Nevertheless, the movie started and was quite enjoyable for everyone in attendance, despite the soft focus.
At one of the most crucial moments of the film, during the last reel, the projector stopped dead. For 20 minutes, the lights came up. No one from the staff said anything or acknowledged the problem. Many people got frustrated and left.
Eventually, without notice, the movie restarted. And promptly stopped again. Finally, whomever was running the projector fixed the problem (and the focus, as well), And the last reel played out, and then stopped again, during the credits.
At this point it was too much. We left. I attended a showing of "Indiana Jones" when the theater first opened, and was disappointed then at the mismanagement of the crowds, concession and audio, but just chalked it up to first week jitters. However, at this point of operation, this sort of circus is inexcusable. Shame on the people running this joke of a cinema. You all need some management training and a competent staff. The theater itself may be beautiful, but everything else about it stinks.
We will not patronize the Alameda Theatre again. As island homeowners and taxpayers, we are deeply disappointed that this white elephant was such a waste of our taxes. We will be watching our movies at home, at the Central or other non-Alameda theaters.
Spread movie start times
I have been to the new Alameda Cineplex three times since it opened and for the most part enjoyed the experience. I will allow for a few mishaps because of new employees, a brand new theater and inexperienced management. However one glaring fault that I have noticed became unbearable on Friday (6/20) when we went to see "Get Smart" at the 2:25 showing. The line to get into the theater stretched almost to the corner because management scheduled three major movies within five minutes of each other. "The Incredible Hulk" and "Kung Fu Panda" both started at 2:30, and "Get Smart" was at 2:25. Was this done to make the theater look more popular, or was it just very poor planning on an extremely hot afternoon? We noticed that some people were leaving when they saw the line. To make matters worse and tempers shorter, the computer system had broken down that day (haven't we all been there?)
My advice to management would be to do a much better job of scheduling to avoid such lines, or else people will go to other theaters where they don't have to put up with such blatant disregard for customers.
Many thanks to those individuals and groups who have contributed to the Midway Shelter for abused women and their children. A number of the listed donors have contributed several times during this period, from June 1 to 30. They include: Anonymous I, Susan L. Jeffries, Beatrice Rowney, Cathy & Richard Hagen, K.M. Canalia, L.E. & Janet Toepfer, Ina MacDowell, Betty & Mel Sanderson, First Christian Church of Alameda, Virginia Krutilek, Janice Ortner, Isle City No. 51; YLI, K.M. Canalia, Carolyn Queener & John Platt, First Congregational Church (United Church of Christ), Diane Runyan, Inner Wheel Club of Alameda.
Donations may be sent to P.O. Box 951, Alameda 94501, or for further information call 523-2377.