The early morning helicopters above Alameda were not, it turns out, because students were protesting budget cuts and not because of an accident on 880, but, rather, they were the news copters chasing down shots of a car in the estuary. A woman apparently drove off the road in Oakland near the Fruitvale Bridge around five this morning.
I went over to take some pictures (see below), and one of the camera guys—several networks were there—showed me Continue Reading
Wait! What is it, parked outside Alameda’s Edison Elementary School.
Let’s get closer.
Ahh, it’s an official Alameda Unified School District truck. A quick chat with the district employee driving it reveals that it’s of vintage 1978. It’s well older, one can be quite certain, than the oldest student in the district. And, not to give away my age–I’m told ladies of a certain age should not–but I was eight when that truck was new. One hopes I’m holding up better. Said the driver of the truck:
Our trucks are all old and they all waste too much gas and require a lot of maintenance. They’re not even cost efficient.
It requires an investment in schools and the people and supplies that support them to have it all coming out well in the end. You can starve public institutions but, eventually, as we’re seeing here in Alameda, stuff starts to hit the fan.
Word is that, in response to the student protests in Alameda this week, the state’s superintendent of instruction, Jack O’Connell, is coming to our island tomorrow to meet with Alameda and Encinal High student leaders. Encinal Senior Class President Mebrak Kahsai, who helped launch Tuesday’s protest, is one of the students who will meet with O’Connell Friday afternoon. She says the feeling of being heard by the powers that be is has been inspiring:
We’re actually–even though what the governor said was kind of negative—we’re actually happy that they heard us; we’re glad that he heard. People at school have been saying, “I never felt so powerful before.” …The governor responding made us feel good.
According to an article by Alan Lopez in today’s Alameda Journal, the city is facing a $4 million dollar budget deficit for next fiscal year. The cause? A overall downturn in the economy, including a decline in the city’s property transfer tax revenues. We can’t control a whole lot, but we can make sure to buy our goods, as much as possible, right here on the island. It makes sense environmentally—no need to drive to Walnut Creek for a pair of shoes—and economically—much of our sales tax dollars stay at home, and sales tax is the fourth highest source of revenue to our city coffers, contributing about $1.2 million to our city budget. So shop on the island, for a double win.