ABAG behind push for higher density

Regarding the My Word, "Adverse impact of planned developments to be massive" on June 14: It won't be easy to forget that Alameda is an island when it tips over from bearing the weight of massive development.

The name of the people making these decisions? ABAG, and their agenda is the One Bay Area Plan. A surreptitious one, it would have us snugly tucked into dwellings concentrated around transit terminals for our convenience -- and big government bucks for them if we comply. Ultimately, it's an assault on private property rights.

ABAG welcomes our input at their meetings where full disclosure of their plan isn't disclosed, and at a time of day when low attendance is anticipated.

Jane Jackson

Thanks for backing high school musical

On behalf of the parents of Alameda High School Drama Department students, we would like to thank the many Alameda businesses who donated food for the weeklong dress rehearsals of Alameda High School's spring musical, "All Shook Up." The students worked long hours to put together one of the best musicals at Alameda High School.

Thank you to Angel Fish, Angkor Grill, ARK Chinese, China Gourmet, China House, Dimitra's, Dragon Rouge, Hawaiian Barbeque, High Street Station, Hong Kong City Seafood, Island City Café, Juanita's, Kobe Ya, La Penca Azul, Nob Hill, Pho Sinh, Spice I Am, Sushi House, Taqueria Ramiro & Sons, Toomie's, and Viva Mexico Taqueria for contributing food for lunch and dinner for the cast, musicians, and stage tech members.


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We would also like to thank Yellowtail Japanese Bistro for accommodating the students at a late night cast party for "All Shook Up," Red Onion for an after hours cast party for our "Curtain Call Cabaret" show with a scrumptious buffet at that show's cast party, and Dimitra's Sandwiches for our on-the-go dinner for our awards show field trip.

Please support these local businesses who have supported our students and the arts.

A huge thank you to Fred Chacon and his talented staff for the many hours they spent with our children to give them the experience of a lifetime. And thank you to all who attended the performances. We appreciate everything everyone has done for our children during the all of the 2013 productions.

Please join us in congratulating Mr. Chacon in winning Best Director in the 2013 Stage Top Honors for "All Shook Up" at the San Jose awards show on June 3. Happy Retirement.

Donna Cala, Lisa Fasano, Hilary Menendez, Beth Motley, Robyn Kondo, Gail VanWinkle, Mitzi Wong-Nguyen

Don't allow takeover by acres of asphalt

Something really great is happening in Alameda. A place that will provide jobs, taxes and develop a long vacant land is at long last under construction. I am referring to the development swiftly occurring of the long delayed Alameda Landing. I urge that we all take a look at the amazing completion of the Target store.

However, it is critical that decision makers and all of us consider what the entire development will feel like when the rest of the site is built out. One will forget the jobs and the extra tax dollars over the years as we drive by this area and possibly look at huge box stores surrounded by acres of asphalt -- which will resemble the box store complexes from Anchorage to Atlanta. The box complexes need not be something that look totally alien to Alameda. We deserve something with the boxes arranged imaginatively, designed with creativity and construction materials that are distinctive.

The acres of asphalt are off-putting for starters, I know we have a high water table here but if one half level of parking could be tucked under some (all?) of the boxes it'd be a huge improvement in the monotony of asphalt. And it'd give the developer more land to build on versus this potential wasteland of six or seven big boxes separated by parking. Heaven forbid, maybe even a centrally located parking garage would be feasible?

Access to the site appears to be quite limited and for pedestrians, cyclists, and community, connections would be improved if more connectivity to adjacent uses were provided. Planted walls are being used in many places to disguise functional uses (like loading docks). Additional plans for transit stops, landscaping, street furniture, loading areas, etc. can also provide additional opportunities for creativity.

I know the cry is: We are too far down the road to change. This is the problem with incremental designs. It is hard to appreciate the finished picture when one is offered only opportunities to look at different aspects, and when the entire design is presented it can be a result that no one really understood or appreciated from looking at the pieces. The design does not appear to be final. I appeal to the decision makers -- Alameda deserves better than a suburban anywhere box store complex.

It will behoove our community to review the draft plans at the Planning Department and let decision makers know your reaction. Remember this center will provide great positive outcomes for our city through the economic benefits but we'll be looking at this for many years and want to be able to say "yea," not "yuck."

Helen Sause

President Housing Opportunities Make Economic Sense