Alameda’s Encinal High to Perform Soon…

The Encinal High School Orchestra and Jazz Band was set to perform at the Bridgeside Center from 11: 30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on  Saturday, February 27. But the concert got postponed due to poor weather, according to some school supporters.

The Bridgeside Center is the shopping area on Blanding Avenue, between Broadway and Versailles, that includes a public park on the estuary.

Merchants  that do business at center, such as Nob Hill Foods, plan to contribute to Encinal’s music department as part of the event. 

When the event is rescheduled, we will post the news here.


Alameda’s New Zealander to Reopen

The new owners of the New Zealander Restaurant & Pub on Webster Street say they hope to open in March.

But they also note that due to the time it takes to get a liquor license, new furniture and other issues straightened out, this reopening could get pushed back.

Judging from the online conversation (at yelp.com), lots of people have been wanting to know about plans for this popular Webster Street place.

Now, we are getting some answers as the new owners share news via  a blog. Still, it will be a few weeks until the first beers and pies are served there.

Meanwhile, the new owners are asking fans in and around Alameda to share their views on what pub food and drink should be offered. 

Just go to the pub’s blogsite and click on your responses — on the right-hand side.


Alameda’s Boat Fest to Open Feb. 18

The second annual Northern California Boat Fest opens tomorrow, February 18, at the Marina Village Yacht Harbor.

It’s a great opportunity for Alamedans to learn more about the sailing programs and boating organizations in and around the Island — for free!

The event is open from 12 to 5 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
In addition to enjoying music and food, visitors can check out used boats from Bay Area dealers and brokers, and new boats from Beneteau, Sabre, Hunter, Ocean Alexander, Catalina, Grand Banks, Island Packet, Riviera, Jeanneau, J-Boats, Alerion Express, SeaRay, Meridian, Mainship and other boatmakers.

On Saturday, Scott Koehler of Swendson’s Boatyard will discuss prevention and maintenance issues at noon.

These groups will have booths at the show:

American Battery
Ballena Bay Yachts
Boat Guys
Chris Cox Boat Lettering
Club Nautique
Cruising Yachts, Inc.
D’Anna Yacht Center
Dimen Marine
Encinal Yacht Club
Farallone Yachts
Latitude 38
Marina Village Yacht Harbor
Mariner’s Choice
McGinnis Insurance Services, Inc.
Michael Wiest Yacht Sales
Newcoast Financial
NorCal Mastercraft
Oakland Yacht Club
Orange Coast Yachts
Passage Yachts, Inc.
Phelay Agency – Allstate Insurance
Richard Boland Yachts
Sail California
Seacoast Marine Finance
Swedish Marine
Tradewinds Sailing School and Club
Trident Funding Corp. and
West Marine Rigging.


Alamedans Rock at Valentine’s Eve Event

Valentine’s Rock was just what the sweethearts around town were hoping for.

The event, which took place on February 13 in the lobby and main theater of the Alameda Theatre & Cineplex, aimed to raise money for several local charities while treating guests to a great (and romantic) time.

Judging from the photo above and the buzz around town, the event seemed to be quite a success.

The Valentine’s event was held for fun and as way to support Haiti Relief, the Alameda Hospital Foundation and the Boys & Girls Club of Alameda.  It featured the Beatles-themed band “The Sun Kings.”

Just a few days before this fiesta, the Alameda Theatre & Cineplex delivered a handsome check for $14,000 to several local charities thanks to the success of its New Year’s Eve gala benefit.


Alamedans, Let’s Say ‘Thanks’ to Perforce

Just days after writing that UTStarcom’s move from Alameda to China probably won’t be copied by other successful firms like Perforce Software,   there’s news that Perforce has made a huge contribution to the Boys & Girls Club of Alameda and an important donation to the Alameda Junior Golf Club.

Perforce President and Chief Technology Officer Christopher Seiwald recently gave a check for $250,000 to Bill Dal Porto for the Boys & Girls Club’s new technology center.

And the software maker’s foundation is also offering $20,000 in the form of a matching or challenge grant to the Alameda Junior Golf Club as part of its move to get more involved in the Mif Albright nine-hole golf course.

The company says it began a tithing program in May 1999. From that time through early 2005, it gave $215,000 to Alameda non-profits, $175,000 to other Bay Area agencies and $17,250 to  California charities.

Perforce is based on Blanding Avenue. Its makes tools for software developers to use when creating and maintaining computer programs. For instance, Web, software, hardware and game developers use the Perforce Software Configuration Management System to track the changes they make to their projects.


Alameda Says RIP to Newstand’s Larry Trippy

The outpouring of appreciation for Larry Trippy of Paul’s Newstand on Park Street continues.

The 60-year-old died February 9 of a heart attack, according to an online story by the Alameda Journal.

The newstand where he used to be found daily is covered with notes, flowers, candles and thoughts. There’s also a notepad for members of the community to express their condolences.

And those passing by on Wednesday shared shock and sadness at the news of his death. A group of Alameda High School students at the newstand said Trippy “was really nice.” Even if he didn’t really know you, he always wave and share a greeting.

To understand how Trippy affected those in the community, just check out what’s written in one small area of the newstand:


Alameda’s Perforce Software: Successful Enough to Stay Put?

With UTStarcom’s news and likely move to China over the next few weeks, it’s worth asking: what companies can be expected to stay around the Island for a while?

Perforce Software — with its bright yellow and purple buildings on Blanding (off Park) — could be one such company.

The company does not have publicly traded stock, so its plans and financial condition are not public news, which makes it hard to follow. And it could be bought up by another larger firm, especially if its current success continues.

However, it doesn’t do most of its business in Asia, as UTStarcom does, though its international operations include Europe, Japan and Australia.

In 2009, it was ranked as the tenth best place to work by the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal and the San Francisco Business Times — for companies with 50-100 employees. (Half of its executives are women.)

Its software is used by game developers and software developers in industries like electonics and pharmaceuticals. It has 320,000 users at 5,000 client organizations.

Perhaps best of all, it set up and supports Little House Cafe, right next to the company’s headquarters. The cafe is a nice place for software types and residents alike to enjoy a break and appreciate Alameda.

Let’s hope this restaurant and the operations that brought it to life hang around.


Alameda’s New Zealander Pub: Could Have Second Life

Although calls to the New Zealander Restaurant and Pub on Webster Street have not been returned, there seems to be some effort to resurrect the establishment.

Conversations on the restaurant review site Yelp include a discussion about its possible return.

Mike T. of San Ramon says, “I’m currently in the process of working with the new owner on getting this place open.  We are currently looking to refresh the restaurant, while keeping the same concept and same chef.”

He notes that this effort could take a while:  “We ask that you be patient with this change over as there have been paperwork bottlenecks, (especially with the liquor license), that need to get cleared up.  Please visit the [restuarant’s]website, which will be updated with further information, and we look forward to seeing all of you back when we reopen.”

Well OK, mates, there’s the latest. We’ll hope to see the doors open sooner rather than later.

It’s a pity the pub’s had troubles. It had the privilege of being visited by some members of the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team just late last year.


Alameda’s UTStarcom Sets Moving Target as Its Leadership, Operations Go to China

In one of its latest announcement, UTStarcom — now based on Harbor Bay Parkway — says the company’s headquarters could be relocated to Beijing, China, by March 31.

As goes the global economy and flow of capital, so goes this business — which sells the vast majority of its Internet Protocal and other high-tech products to telecommunications firms and television/entertainment entities in  Asia.

Earlier this week, UTStarcom said it entered into agreements with Beijing E-town International Investment and Development Co., Ltd., an investment company established by the Beijing Municipality. The deal  includes an investment of $48.5 million by BEIID and two unrelated investment funds, Ram Max Group Limited and Shah Capital Management.

As part of the investment, UTStarcom will issue some 22 million shares of common stock at a price of $2.20 per share, with BEIID investing $25 million, Ram Max Group Limited investing $12.5 million and Shah Capital investing $11 million.

When the transaction closes, Baichuan Du, a former deputy chief engineer of China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, will join the company’s board of directors, along with Xiaoping Li, executive deputy general manager of BEIID, and William Wong, a managing director at Yellowstone Capital.

Li and Wong will replace Allen Lenzmeier and Jeff Clarke, who will resign from UTStarcom’s board of directors at that time. The total number of directors on the board will be increased from six to seven in connection with the transaction.

“We are very pleased to announce this relationship with and commitment from the Beijing Development Area and the investment from Ram Max and Shah Capital,” said UTStarcom CEO and President Peter Blackmore.

“UTStarcom’s growth strategy is in good alignment with the series of guidelines recently issued by China’s State Council to push forward network convergence among telecom, cable television, and internet companies,” Blackmore explained.

In connection with the transaction and UTStarcom’s strategic goals in China, Jack Lu has been appointed the new CEO and president of the company — and he will assume this post either three months after the closing of the investment or on June 30, 2010. Before then, he will be the company’s chief operations officer.

Consistent with its previously announced plans, UTStarcom says it move its headquarters to Beijing, China, as part of an agreement with Beijing Development Area. This shift will take place upon the closing of the investment, which should be by March 31, 2010, according to UTStarcom.


Alameda’s Measure B: Election Day

The Alameda County Registrar of Voters has released preliminary, mail-in results on Measure B, the Alameda Point Initiative.

The No votes are ahead, with 80-percent plus of the roughly 8,000 votes tallied so far.

This blog hasn’t weighed in on the issues. Instead, we’ve let the Alameda Journal take a stand (against B) for the full media organization that includes/runs this blog — MediaNews/Bay Area News Group.

While all Alameda residents want to see Alameda Point redeveloped, they want a plan that is fiscally sound, environmentally sensitive and historically in sync with other parts of the Island — as well as with its own past; Measure B/SunCal’s plans didn’t cut it.

And, to be sure, for SunCal and for the city, coming up with such a plan is proving  to be incredibly difficult.

So, as we put the Measure B election behind us, let’s start looking for ways to redevelop the point that start with Alameda’s needs and work to build a plan based on that foundation.

Outsiders will be sure to offer suggestions. But it’s up to us, not them, to develop the ideas behind what we really want. They can come in later and fill in the details, if needed. 

If we can come up with preliminary plans and concepts for the former naval base, then maybe we won’t have to waste so much time, energy and money on reviewing what SunCal or other developers propose.  And we’ll probably get a project that won’t be as contentious as SunCal’s plans have been — and that will be clearly advantageous for this community and its future.

And just one more thing: If we want a project for Alameda Point that goes beyond the typical developer “box-like” planning, we will have to be willing to think and work outside the box. Otherwise, we’ll get boxed into another lengthy debate over another cookie-cutter project that’s neither sweet nor yummy enough for this blogger to support.