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Archive for the 'Island Life' Category

TV channel goes house haunting

This home at 1813 San Jose Ave. has been bugged. Why the haunting look in the midst of summer? Because HGTV will feature this home in an upcoming Halloween special. Staffers were working during the weekend to get the house properly outfitted for the big show.

Posted on Monday, August 10th, 2009
Under: Island Life | No Comments »

Alameda – love it or (want to) leave it?

People have pretty strong feelings, in both positive and negative directions, about life in Alameda. Here is a link http://www.yelp.com/biz/city-of-alameda-alameda to a few of those opinions. But there are plenty more points of view that haven’t been posted. Hit the comment button and offer your opinion of what it’s like to live here. Is the town too quiet, or is it great to be in a quiet town? What do we need more of and what could we use less of? (Did someone think nail salons? Did someone else think appliance/furniture store?) What’s great and not so great?

Posted on Thursday, July 9th, 2009
Under: Island Life | 2 Comments »

1,2,3,4 … 8 O’Clock rock

A good old-fashioned bit of initiative, that’s what this is. While the recession drops the Dow like a rock, Jim’s Diner on Lincoln Avenue is rolling back to better days with live rock ‘n roll from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. Grab your guy or gal or broom and check it out this Saturday. It’ll be like the old days — a burger and a shake with two straws and the tables and chairs moved for the dance floor. It doesn’t say so on the sign, but it’d probably  be fun to go in retro clothes, too. The gig starts at 8 p.m. and goes until 11 p.m.  (2333 Lincoln Ave.)

There's a Jimboree planned at Jim's Diner Saturday night (June 20).

There

Posted on Thursday, June 18th, 2009
Under: Island Life | No Comments »

Band Aid

School’s ending and with it goes the music on San Jose Avenue. Residents who live on the tail end of the street near Lincoln Middle School get treated to tunes al dente on a regular basis.

The school’s marching band leaves the campus and hits the road with their saxophones and trombones and drums and all the other bassy and trilly things that make songs sound patriotic and holiday-ish.

For a first-timer hearing a live band outside the house you’re visiting, it’s a surreal treat. At first, when it’s not up close, you wonder if a caravan of ice cream wagons have converged. As the notes come closer, it’s clear this is real music. It stops and starts as the instructor calls the shots. Then you go to the front door and there, right in the street, not on the sidewalk, is your band.

Every street should have one. Every school should have one. And every school budget should be able to afford one. But that’s a subject for another day. Let’s just leave this on a light note.

Posted on Friday, June 12th, 2009
Under: Bands, Island Life, Schools, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Only a few fleas at new market

The launch Saturday of a flea market in the parking lot at College of Alameda wasn’t exactly spectacular. Perhaps it was the holiday weekend, perhaps the fog and chill, or the maybe it’s simply too soon for word to have spread, but the sparse number of vendors we’re packing up to leave by 1:30 p.m.

Can’t blame them. As business people, they need customers. In the early afternoon there were very few. As in, maybe six or eight people. Maybe a crowd came in the morning, but if it did, something must have changed significantly in the afternoon.

But, hope springs eternal. A man, who seemed to be a customer, was telling his friend, who seemed to be a vendor (it was so quiet that some vendors were taking breaks away from their booths) that it just needs time.

“It’ll grow,” he said. “More people will hear about it and it’ll catch on.”

It certainly caught on at Laney College, where the same operator runs a swap meet. But there is more competition in Alameda, with yard sales, the monthly antique fair, and thrift and antique shops. While it’s tempting to hark back to the days when hundreds of people roamed around the former drive-in parking lot (now a housing development near Marina Village) bargaining and buying everything from dishes to furniture, our market may just be glutted.

We’ll hope for the best. Interested consumers need to bring a buck to get into the weekly Saturday sale. Maybe next week there will be more interesting items; the opening day mainly offered belts, wallets, purses, food and a sprinkling of used electronic items. If we are to hark back to the thriving flea market of our past, we’ll need more in the way of furniture and other household items.

Posted on Wednesday, May 27th, 2009
Under: Events, Island Life | 1 Comment »

Alameda push poll on gay and lesbian school curriculum

A neighbor reports that she just got a phone call in which she was asked to answer a series of automated survey questions. Below is her best recollection of what she was asked:

Do you care about education in Alameda schools?

Do you believe that a curriculum explaining lesbian, gay and transgender issues should be allowed in the Alameda school district?

Do you think gay, lesbian and transgender are appropriate vocabulary to be teaching at the elementary school level?

Do you that marriage only between one man and one woman should be allowed in California?

(This last one is really confusing.)

She says she thinks there was one more substantive question and then the recorded voice asked two bits of demographic info. One, if she was 50 or older and, two, if she was male. The call came from a Washington, D.C. area code and was conducted by a survey company (she didn’t catch the name). Perhaps you too have received such a call? Perhaps you too will receive such a call?

Posted on Wednesday, May 20th, 2009
Under: gay rights., Island Life, school board, Schools | 15 Comments »

AUSD master planning meeting tonight at Haight School

Tonight is the first of three Alameda Unified School District community meetings about the future of Alameda schools. The idea, as I understand it, is to create a master plan for the public school system in Alameda. The meeting starts at 6:30 and Superintendent Kirsten Vital as well as members of the school board will be discussing three possible scenarios for addressing the long term fiscal sustainability of public education in Alameda. They’ll be discussing how dwindling state funding impacts the district, the possibility of chartering the district as on whole, as well as the possibility of generating more funds for Alameda schools at the local level. The meeting is at Haight Elementary.

Posted on Wednesday, May 20th, 2009
Under: California, charter schools, Island Life, Parcel tax, Prop. 13, Real Estate, school board, Schools, the economy | 1 Comment »

School board meeting tonight: Alameda’s anti-bullying curriculum tonight

So, once again, an Alameda debate has hit the regional news. And the Christian right has picked up the story and run with it. There’s also a lot of heated rhetoric swirling around (check out the comments on this Blogging Bayport post).

I have to confess that the whole debate about this tiny piece of AUSD curriculum makes me sad and weary. It surprises me that in this day and age, in the Bay Area, that we are still so hostile to difference, so obsessed with other people’s sex lives, so afraid of ourselves and the world and others. What the AUSD curriculum aims to do is teach reality: that all families (the majority of families, in fact) don’t look like the Cleavers. Families have all sorts of configurations, incorporating grandparents and cousins, step-siblings and stepfathers, same gender couples and opposite gender couples. That is reality. We can not like it, but, in reality, families have great variety.

The curriculum also aims to address another reality: that kids can be cruel, and they can torment and tease and poke and prod so severely as to destroy lives (just look at suicide rates for gay and lesbian youth). And it is incumbent on us as a society to protect our children, all our children. Pretending that acceptance and cruelty are not serious school issues helps no one.

With all the fervor, tonight’s school board meeting is sure to be a heated one. But if we can remember the basics, live and let live, do onto others, love thy neighbor, I think we can put this in its proper place and move on, continuing on with our work and household chores and other duties and obligations…We can continue on with the life basics shared by and important to all families regardless of their configuration. Because, despite everything, we are all a whole lot more alike than we are different.

Posted on Tuesday, May 12th, 2009
Under: California, gay rights., Island Life, school board, Schools | 5 Comments »

In Alameda: Cleaning up after your dog

It is two or three times a week at least that I clean up dog poop from my yard, or my driveway, or the sidewalk in front of my house.

And I don’t have a dog.

At the school near where I live, there are very often piles of poop left there. I don’t blame the dog. You can’t blame the dog. I blame the dog owners who, through whatever trick of mental justification, leave their dog’s poop there.

As my neighbor H. Atkisson wrote in a recent letter to the editor:

I find myself wondering what is going on in Alameda that so many people find it socially acceptable to allow their dogs to poop on a lawn and walk away. Do the dog owners think that nobody will notice? That it will somehow be absorbed into the ground?

Atkisson ended with this plea:

It is illegal to let your dog roam without a leash, and it is illegal to leave your dog poop on public or private property. Please respect your neighbors and the law. Clean up your poop.

You can read the whole letter (though you must scroll down) here.

Posted on Tuesday, May 5th, 2009
Under: Crime, gardening, Island Life, Nuisances | 3 Comments »

Alameda schools, the anti-bullying curriculum

It would have been hard not to notice that there’s been a lot of heated discussion in Alameda about a proposed addition to the Alameda Unified School District’s anti-bullying curriculum. The Alameda Journal last week ran comments in support and against it.

Local Blogger Lauren Do has been tracing what specifically the curriculum will look like. And, for those of you interested, you can always find heated discussion in the comments on Do’s blog. Sometimes commentors make sense, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they’re nasty and contradictory, sometimes they’re not.

Opposition to the proposed curriculum runs the gamut. From those who believe that homosexuality is a sin, to those who fear that sexual terms will be introduced at too young an age. You can see all the lessons here. The Rev. Laura Rose, pastor of Alameda’s First Congregational Church, wrote this in a letter to the editor:

For those who object to this sort of curriculum on the basis that it is against a specific set of religious or moral beliefs, I would simply say that respect and tolerance for all people as children of God is the unifying and core principle of every world religion.

But more importantly, equality is the core principle of our Constitution and I believe a curriculum that enables children to see all people (and themselves) in a positive light is critical to AUSD’s mission of making Alameda a safe and welcoming place for all children and all families.

You can read Rose’s whole letter here (though you must scroll down). Happy Monday.

Posted on Monday, May 4th, 2009
Under: California, gay rights., Island Life, Race and racism, school board, Schools | 7 Comments »