Big chain restaurants not needed on Island

In response to the Aug. 9 letter, "Getting more family eateries on the Island," in which the writer names Olive Garden, Red Lobster and International House of Pancakes as three "family eateries" which she suggests would be appropriate establishments she would like to see come to Alameda.

I could not disagree with her suggestion more vehemently. The restaurants she named are all examples of corporate chains with poor quality, high-fat food and would not enhance the restaurant scene in Alameda in the least.

These are exactly the types of restaurants we need to keep out of Alameda. We already have far too many fast food chain restaurants with unhealthy, unimaginative food. South Shore Center has several of these so-called, family-friendly chain eateries already. What is needed are more locally-owned, high-quality, family-friendly eateries that serve interesting and nutritious foods.

Other benefits of locally owned restaurants are that they are more likely to purchase from local farms and markets, which means that ingredients are fresher and have less of an environmental impact from transportation. They would add to the economy of the city as a whole.

One of the things that makes Alameda a great place to live is that we still have locally owned restaurants and businesses that help make our community unique. If one is more interested in the uniform style eateries of the corporate chains they are certainly not difficult to find. I vote for more locally owned restaurants not corporate chains.

Sue McIntire

From view in U.K., NRA a sinister group

Having spent the last four weeks living in Alameda, I have been greatly interested in the letters appearing in the Alameda Journal on the subject of booing the National Rifle Association during the Alameda parade.

I am now back home in the United Kingdom and would like to add my support to those who argue that their hard-won free speech allows, even puts pressure on them, to voice their protest at the appearance of this organization.

I can say that, coming from a country with strong firearms legislation, few, if any, here feels as if their rights are affected by the bans and controls that exist for all types of guns. Indeed, most people here would join the booers at the parade as they see the NRA as a sinister and dangerous organization.

Keep booing. Alameda is a great town in a great country, but many people from outside the United States are bemused by the arguments put forward by the NRA regarding gun ownership. I understand that, on average, 85 people are killed with guns every day in the USA. Isn't it time the NRA woke up and smelt the coffee?

Mark Glover

Nottingham, England

Moniker of proposed development is awful

I had a coffee spit-take just reading the Alameda Journal's headline, "Planning Board to consider 'Town Center.' "

The details just made it worse. This Town Center, as proposed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, is described as an "iconic place-making destination" (don't even get me started on that phrase). While I am happy the city is progressing with the old Navy base, why on earth name the development Town Center? That's almost rude, since the name spits in the face of Alameda's proud naval heritage. I hope my logic makes sense to the planning board:

1) Alameda's not a town. It's a city.

2) The proposed development is literally miles away from the city's geographic center.

3) Alameda already had a Town(e) Cent(r)e, eventually rebranded as South Shore for the reasons stated above.

4) There are still maps and directories that don't reflect the above change.

5) Lost, frustrated visitors will circle around at more than 26 miles per hour, looking for an 'iconic place-making destination' that just isn't in the Center of Town.

6) If Alameda is fortunate enough to have a veterans' hospital built on the old base, wouldn't it be gracious to make the area navigable for patients and their visitors?

7) The inevitable upgrade to a more appropriate name will cost thousands of dollars, hundreds of man-hours and endless inconvenience to everyone associated with the development, including the city.

The difference between a good voyage and a shipwreck? Accurate navigation. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill could give the complex an equally ludicrous name, such as Snowy Crest, Volcano View or Skidmore's Folly. I beg the Planning Board to insist the developers create a more appropriate name, based on geography or Alameda's proud history. Perhaps Laguna Vista, West Shore, West Landing, Seaplane Station, Maritime Plaza, Doolittle Memorial Center, Sailor's Rest, Splashdown or Jim Morrison Passed Out Here.

The Planning Board can use one of my suggestions, hold a contest, or hire a local branding expert who actually understands this lovely city, her history and her neighborhoods. Whatever they choose, please make it appropriate to the spirit of the place.

Alana Dill

Thanks for helping Girls Inc. program

I would like to thank the many community businesses and agencies that provided hands-on support to teens this summer in Girls Inc. of the Island City's 2013 Eureka! Teen Achievement Program.

Eureka! is a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) approach to engaging and empowering teen girls to see themselves as an important part of the future workforce. The success of the program is dependent on partnerships and interaction with schools, community-based organizations and local businesses. Through this communitywide effort, participants get exposure to real career opportunities and great role models and mentors.

On behalf of Girls Inc., I am so grateful to Alameda Hospital, Alameda Municipal Power, Alameda Orthopedic & Sports Therapy, Alameda Pediatric Dentistry, the Alameda Police Department, Harbor Bay Club, HKIT Architects, licensed acupuncturist and herbalist Tracy Zollinger, L.Ac., Lilac Dress Boutique, Old Navy, Park Centre Animal Hospital, Rock Wall Wine Company and the office of District Attorney Nancy O'Malley for being summer job shadow sponsors to our graduating class of Eureka! participants.

These community partners allowed each Eureka! participant to shadow their work, be introduced to strong females working in many nontraditional and STEM-related fields and get exposure to a viable career option for her future.

Christine Chilcott

director of program services, Girls Inc. of the Island City