Land deal a win-win for Island, students

As many of you have heard, two weeks ago, three public agencies in Alameda announced a proposed agreement to exchange land and money. The deal is complicated, as it involves five parcels of land and about $6.5 million. But its intention is simple: to get money and land into the hands of the agencies that can make the best use of them today.

Many community members are excited about this proposal, as it will allow us to renovate the EHS Swim Center, thereby creating a spacious and modern facility that all members of our community -- young and old, recreational swimmers and student athletes -- can enjoy. The proposal also allows us to obtain property on Alameda Point on which we can construct a school when residences are built there and our enrollment increases. As a superintendent, being able to take care of today's urgent needs (i.e. our dilapidated pools) and tomorrow's potential needs (i.e. another school site) fills me with optimism.

Some community members have questions about the proposed agreement, so late last week we posted an FAQ response about the proposal on our website, www.alameda.k12.ca.us. My hope is that this posting will answer those questions and give all our community members a better sense of what this agreement, taken in its entirety, offers to our community as a whole.


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I cannot emphasize enough how important this partnership with the city is to us and how beneficial this agreement will be to the three agencies and the communities they serve. It is not always easy for public agencies to work together. In this case, all of us worked long and hard to come up with an agreement to solve some long-standing problems (including the deterioration of our pools and potential needs for another facility). I look forward to continued collaborations with our partners in city government. As the saying goes, "it takes a village to raise a child," and in this case, our village came together not only to provide for our children but for our entire community.

If you have questions about the proposed agreement -- or anything happening in our district -- please feel free to contact me at 510-337-7060 or kvital@alameda.k12.ca.us. I am always happy to hear from community members.

Kirsten M. Vital

Superintendent Alameda Unified School District

Don't allow Ukraine to devolve into war

Economist Paul Romer, speaking of economic matters, is credited with coining the phrase, "A crisis is a terrible thing to waste," meaning there is profit to be made in crisis solutions.

A crisis is in the making in the Ukraine; the profit potential comes from military hardware provided to the combatants. So we are now hearing saber-rattling from John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Rudy Giuliani.

They will probably receive support from others because the clever military complex has tactically installed production in almost every state. How do legislators vote against such jobs in their states? And if providing arms fails to resolve the Ukrainian dispute, what is the next step?

Another crisis strategy available for the Republicans is to label President Barack Obama weak in defending the country. That tactic had been in play even before the Ukraine situation. Should Obama be swayed by that Republican strategy? Are you ready for another military adventure with a questionable outcome?

Might there be another type of crisis: when the populace is ignored in opposition to perpetual war?

Marv Tripp

Oakland

Net neutrality key to consumer benefit

Net neutrality is an important issue that affects us all. It stops Internet companies from effectively blackmailing companies into paying to keep up proper services to their site. Already we have seen this when a company is forcing Netflix to pay to prevent a loss of service on their network.

Furthermore, without net neutrality, it would drastically limit our commerce online. We would never have had companies like YouTube, E-Bay and more without net neutrality to not allow companies like Comcast or Verizon to choke their service speeds of these companies to their consumers.

Jonathan Trautman

Local businesses do right by schools

On behalf of the Encinal band boosters, I want to thank these wonderful local businesses who generously donated to our spaghetti feed fundraiser for the Encinal High music program on March 6. Donations of coffee from Wes Café, and delicious bread from Semifreddi's and Feel Good Bakery were a huge support to our event and greatly appreciated by the student performers, parents, school staff and community members who attended. It's businesses like these that help keep school programs like ours thriving in Alameda. I am happy to patronize these businesses regularly and invite others to, as well.

Jeanne Nader