Alameda’s new school board’s first night in action

I watched only the smallest snippets of last night’s school board meeting from the comfort of my own home, but Michele Ellson of The Island was there and issued a full report. One highlight: newly-elected board member Trish Spencer nominated Ron Mooney for board president and then, after Mooney withdrew his name from consideration, Spencer nominated Mooney a second time, that time for board vice president. In response to which, second term board member Tracy Jensen withdrew her name for consideration for the position.

So, Alameda, your new school board president is Mike McMahon and your vice president is Ron Mooney. Retired principal Niel Tam, rounds out the group of five. You will likely be hearing more about them as the state budget continues to collapse and board members are faced with ever-more-difficult choices about how to run AUSD schools with less.

In a sign of the miserable economic times, the Alameda Education Association, which represents district teachers, has asked simply to extend their current contract for another year. Hopefully, turning their energy toward fighting state-level mid-year budget cuts to education funding.

Ellson’s whole report is here.


Alameda featured in Chronicle article

Hey! Our little island in the San Francisco Bay is the subject of an article in the San Francisco Chronicle. In it, feelancer Dana Perrigan interviews such local notables as Woody Minor, Doug deHaan, Marie Gilmore and Pat Bail. I like this quote about development, from Bail:

“You can’t squeeze a size 16 woman in a size 4 dress,” says Bail, “and you can’t squeeze thousands of more people on this island.”

I like that Bail has such a vivid way of speaking.

And, too, I enjoyed this observation from real estate agent Jerry Nussbaum.

“At the Fourth of July Parade, half the town is watching the parade and the other half is in it.”

Which is something I myself have found myself to be true. The whole article is here.


New president for College of Alameda

College of Alameda President Cecilia Cervantes, who served as president of the school for six years, has taken a job as president of Hennepin Technical College in Minnesota. She is replaced by interim president George Herring, who served as COA president from 1995-2000, as well as in many other capacities for the Peralta Community College District. Herring, 74, has a long history with the district, and will serve until at least June 2010. More details here.


Southern California teacher sells ad space on student tests

Crazy world, yes indeed. But one Southern California high school teacher has found a new way to pay for the copying services his school no longer pays for.

Math teacher Tom Farber began selling ads on tests and quizzes this fall when the district cut its per teacher copy budget from $500 to $316. Local businesses can insert ads for services, and some parents have paid for inspirational quotes.

The State of California cut more than $4 billion in education funding for this year school year and is poised to make even deeper mid-year cuts, to the tune of $2.5 billion.


Arson on Alameda’s Willow Street

[Updated, Dec. 4: The Alameda Journal has this story on the fire.]

Alameda police are reporting that a fire in a Willow Street apartment building Tuesday night was caused by arson. Witnesses apparently saw three men throw an “incendiary device” through the building’s front window around 10:25 p.m. Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call the Alameda police at 510-337-8340. More details on the incident here. CBS has the story, too.


Bay Area companies making layoffs

Delivery giant DHL Monday announced it would be cutting more than 800 Bay Area jobs. The company will no longer offer express delivery within the United States, but will continue their international delivery service. The last day of work for the affected DHL workers is scheduled to be sometime in late January.

The Alameda-based Avigen has cut 70 percent of its workforce—following last month’s clinical failure of its multiple sclerosis drug. The company is considering shuttering its Alameda office entirely.

More on biotech cutbacks here and here.

[Edited 12/3: Emeryville-based LeapFrog is cutting 10 percent (or 70) of its workers. The story’s here.]


Alameda doctor dead in San Francisco

[Dec. 4: Updated info about Dr. Kliman’s local presence here, from Stop, Drop and Roll.]

Daniel J. Kliman, 39, an Oakland resident who had a medical practice in Alameda, was found dead in San Francisco on Monday. Kliman’s body was found by inspectors at the bottom of an elevator shaft in the nine-story Sharon Building on New Montgomery.

Kliman, who apparently plunged to his death on Nov. 25, was a co-founder of a group called S.F. Voice for Israel, which demonstrates regularly on behalf of Israeli causes. He was a member of the Orthodox Beth Jacob Congregation in Oakland.

[Edited 12/3: More details here.]


Little boxes: Alameda real estate update

If you’re a house-or-condo-owing Zillow watcher, you have seen the value of your house tumble over the last year, more quickly in the last six months. Nonetheless, Alameda has been so far relatively insulated from the larger drops in value, foreclosures and short sales that have plagued many Bay Area cities and towns as well as the nation.

A recent report looking at real estate sales based on price per square foot, found prices down 8.5 percent in the last year in 94502 and 4.9 percent in 94501. (By way of extreme contrast, in the last year, Richmond’s 94801 zip code had the steepest price plunge in the Bay Area, a 68.8 percent drop from $311 per square foot to $97.)

Alameda real estate agent Pacita Dimacali has this summary of recent real estate activity. She writes, “Some positive things are happening in our local real estate market.” John Oldham’s new blog, 94501 Real Estate, is tracking local market conditions in national context. Oldham reports 13 foreclosures in Alameda in his November 30 report. And for an almost-always-snarky view of local homes for sale check out Knife Catchers.