Apply Soon for Measure A Exemptions

The deadline to file for an exemption from the Alameda Unified School District’s Measure A parcel tax is June 30, 2014.

Under the terms of the ballot measure, the school district can grant two types of exemptions to Alameda residents:
Senior Citizen Exemption: The applicant must turn 65 years old on or before June 30, 2015, and own and occupy his/her property as a primary residence.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Exemption: The applicant must receive SSI and own and occupy his/her property as a primary residence.

If a resident received the Senior Citizen or SSI Exemption in 2013-2014 and is still the homeowner and currently resides at the same address, he or she does not need to renew your tax exemption. (It will automatically be renewed.)

If a resident sold a home and purchased a new home, however, he or she must re-file for a Senior Citizen or SSI Exemption for the new property.

The Measure A parcel tax rate is $0.32 per building square foot, with a maximum rate of $7,999.

Revenues raised by Measure A help fund the educational programs and activities specified in the ballot text, including small class sizes, neighborhood schools, enrichment classes (such as art, drama, and music), high school athletics and AP classes, technology, and innovative and magnet programs.

There are several ways to access the exemption forms:
– Electronically (senior citizen exemption forms are available online (on the district’s website); SSI exemption forms are online, as well.
– By telephone (call SCI Consulting Group at 800-273-5167 for an application by mail).
– In person at the AUSD offices (2060 Challenger Dr., Alameda) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday (summer hours).

Questions should be directed to the Parcel Tax Administrator: SCI Consulting Group at (800)273-5167.


Teen Mural Unveiling at Library


The Alameda Free Library will unveil a mural at 11 a.m. Sunday,June 22, at the Main Library, 1550 Oak St.

The library was created by students at Alameda High School, in cooperation with teen-services librarian Matt Conciatori.

“The teen artists designed and painted the entire mural themselves, despite having no prior mural experience,” Conciatori said. The library was fortunate to have a mentor, artist, muralist Margaret Morrissey–of Alameda High School–guide the students through the project “and it’s many twists and turns,” he adds.

The artists and their families will be at the library to share their enthusiasm and talents with the community. They have worked on the project for the past few months.



Alameda Superintendent Vital to Depart for SoCal

Superintendent Kirsten Vital, who has come under much scrutiny and criticism over the past few years, is leaving the Alameda Unified School District to become leader of the San Juan Capistrano Unified School District.

The Capistrano school board selected Vital during a closed session on June 14, the Alameda Journal reports today.

Alameda school district trustees are now expected to begin the process to find a replacement for Vital, who took over from Ardella Dailey after she retired in January 2009.

Before coming to Alameda, Vital served as chief of accountability for the Oakland Unified School District. She also worked as director of instruction for the Los Angeles Unified School District and as the health and human services director for the East Los Angles Unified School District.

During Vital’s tenure in Alameda, there were conflicts over the relocation of charter schools, heated issues with the teacher’s union, complaints related to the district’s leasing of pricey offices in Marina Village and other controversies.


Input from Ferry Riders Needed


The Alameda/Oakland and Harbor Bay ferries are seeking community input on how to improve customer access to the Alameda Main Street and Harbor Bay Ferry terminals.

The first public meetings is set for 5:15-7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 23, at Bay Farm Elementary School, 200 Aughinbaugh Way, in the Multi-Purpose Room; a second meeting will take place from 5:15-8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 25, at Maya Lin Elementary (near Main St. Ferry Terminal), 825 Taylor Ave, Multipurpose Room. (The second meeting has been moved to Maya Lin school from the Academy of Alameda.)

The public workshops aim to foster discussion about proposed improvements to the two ferry terminals.

For a look at the proposals, go to the San Francisco Ferry website, click on “News” and “June Workshops-Alameda.”

Those community members who cannot attend are asked to submit comments by July 30 to access_study@watertransit.org.

For the Main Street Ferry Terminal, specific improvements under consideration include steps to:
-Convert Dog Park to Ferry Parking, Relocate Dog Park to another City-owned site
-Open Officer’s Club Parking Lot to Ferry Commuter Parking
-Close Bike Lane Gap between Ferry Terminal and Singleton Avenue on Main Street
-Add Bicycle Racks and E-lockers
-Add Pedestrian Crossing to Main Street west of the Terminal entrance
-Reroute Existing AC Transit Local 31 bus to serve Main Street terminal
-Reroute AC Transit Transbay buses to serve Main Street terminal
-Implement New Shuttle Service linking nearby residential areas and Ferry Terminal

For the Harbor Bay Ferry Terminal, specific improvements under consideration include measures that would:
-Convert Undeveloped Lot Adjacent to Ferry Terminal to Ferry Parking
-Eliminate or Modify Parking Restrictions on the North Side of Adelphian Way
-Eliminate or Modify Parking Restrictions on the Sorth Side of Adelphian Way
-Add Bicycle Racks and E-lockers
-Reroute Existing AC Transit Local 21 bus to better serve residential areas near Ferry Terminal
-Reroute Transbay buses to serve Harbor Bay Ferry Terminal
-Expand Existing Shuttle Service to better link nearby residential areas and/or satellite parking lots with Ferry Terminal


Movies in the Park Start Friday Night


The Alameda Recreation and Park Department, Friends of the Parks and City of Alameda Public Works Department will present three movies in the city’s outdoor parks this summer as part of its annual Starlight Movies in the Park program.

This Friday, June 20, residents are invited to come see “DESPICABLE ME 2″ at the Alameda Point Multi-Purpose Field, 1101 West Redline Ave. (The film is rated PG.)

On Friday, July 25, the featured film will be “CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2,” also at the Alameda Point Multi-Purpose Field

About six weeks later on Friday, Sept. 12, “BACK TO THE FUTURE” will be screened at Leydecker Field on Bay Farm.

This free events start at 6:30 p.m. with pre-show festivities of games and crafts for the kids.

The feature film begins at dusk, approximately 8:15 p.m.

Snacks and food will be available for purchase, and proceeds support the city’s Teen Program.

Guests are asked to bring their own chairs and blankets to better enjoy a film under the stars. (No barbecue grills, alcoholic beverages or pets are permitted.)


Party Store on Park to Close

party warehouse

The Party Warehouse at 1125 Park Street says it is set to close its doors on the Island on Saturday, June 28. The party-supply retailer has operated at this location for 16 years.

Customers are invited to come by the store soon to take advantage of the closing sale through June 28.

The store is advertising that is has plenty of July Fourth goodies for those hosting barbecue parties, parade-related events and more in town.

The store is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.


Summer Movies Coming to Library

Two popular films will be shown for free at the Alameda Main Library this summer.

The first film, “Gloria,” is about a divorcee in Chile. The woman, in her 50s, feels young and heart and looks for a new life partner.

The 2013 film shares her dating ups and downs, as well as the changing relationships she has with family members and neighbors.

The star of the Spanish-language film is Paulina Garcia; it includes subtitles and has been received many awards.

It will be shown at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, June 23, and lasts 110 minutes.

At 5:30 p.m. on Monday, July 21, the library will present “Legend,” a science-fiction film made in 1985 by Ridley Scott.

It starts Tom Cruise as a young man who must stop a lord of darkness from destroying daylight and marrying the woman he loves.

It lasts 115 minutes.


Info Night on Del Monte Project Set


Tim Lewis Communities will discuss its proposed development of housing units and related work set for the Del Monte Warehouse at 7:30 p.m. this Thursday, June 19, at Mastick Senior Center. The Mastick Senior Center is located at 1155 Santa Clara Ave.

Plans for the city’s landmark Del Monte building on Buena Vista Avenue to be converted into some 300 lofts, townhouses and other housing units, as well as roughly 10,000 square feet of commercial space under a proposal that city officials are now considering.

The goal is to have Tim Lewis Communities’ plans go before the City Council for final approval in June, Thomas said.

(Tim Lewis Communities is also behind Neptune Pointe, the proposal to build single-family homes on former federal property near the Crab Cove Visitor Center at Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach. The East Bay Regional Park District is suing the city over the decision to rezone the neighborhood for housing, and a citizen’s group is campaigning to place a measure on the November ballot that would designate the area as open space so that the park could expand.)

The latest plans call for maintaining Del Monte’s red-brick exterior of the 240,000-square-foot warehouse. The inside, though, would be opened up so two four-story structures could be built behind the walls.

A passage would be added that would go through the building’s center to allow public access to the Oakland-Alameda Estuary and to the proposed shops and restaurants.

The structure was built in 1927 for the California Packing Corp., which was later acquired by Del Monte. The warehouse is one of 30 designated landmarks in the city.

The current designs, put together by San Francisco’s BAR Architects, outline use of loading docks as patios and having shops and restaurants face the Estuary’s Alaska Basin.

Part of the warehouse now serves as a distribution facility.

Along with apartments and townhouses inside the historic building, about an additional 100 housing units and another 15,000 square feet of retail could be built in other areas of the 11.5-acre site, which is bordered by Sherman and Clement streets.

At least 15 percent of any homes built would be designated as affordable for people with low or moderate income, Thomas said.

(Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)


Artists Open Studios in Full Swing

AJ Blog Col Randall Boller

This Sunday, June 8, and next weekend (June 14 and 15), a number of Alameda artists are participating in the annual Pro Arts Open Studios tour.

From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., residents can visit the studios and work spaces of 26 Island artists who create watercolor paintings, glass mosaics, textiles, digital art, clay prints, abstracts pieces, ceramics and other media.

Artists Richard Kane, Mi’Chelle Fredrick, Marcia Alpert and Deborah Griffin are showing their creations at Autobody Fine Art, 1517 Park St., while Bill Jarvis, Dorthy Rozman, and Frank D’Amico will be at Frank Bette Center, 1601 Paru St.

Other artists include Larry Wilson at Studio C, 1166 Park Avenue #A; Wanda Fudge at 1610 Minturn St.; Susan Laing and Margot White at 728 Santa Clara Ave.; Bonnie Randall Boller at 3239 Briggs Ave.; JaYing Wang at Artistic Home Studio, 1419 Park St.; Vicki Newcomer at 2990 Johnson Ave.; and Maureen Green at 1406 High St.

Earlier this month, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., selected one of Randall Boller’s clay monotypes, “Evolving,” for its permanent collection. The piece was one of 117 original prints chosen by the prints and photographs division of the library.


Time to Celebrate Philippine Independence Day in Alameda

AJ Blog Col May 30

Alameda’s second-annual flag-raising and Philippine Independence Day Celebration will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 7, in front of City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Ave.

As with last year’s trailblazing event, this year’s free activities will include tributes, entertainment, food and more.

Event organizers say that there will be cultural performances by several youth groups. The national anthem of the Philippines, “Lupang Hinirang” or “Chosen Land,” will be sung by a chorus of three organizations.

Guest speakers include Hon. Marciano A. Paynor, Jr., who is the Philippine Consul General of San Francisco, as well as State Assemblyman Rob Bonta and Mayor Marie Gilmore.

Later on Saturday, Rhythmix Cultural Works will present “Lumago Lampas” starting at 7 p.m. The show will include performances by the American Center of Philippine Arts, Parangal Dance Company, Kulintronica and Kristian Kabuay.

This event will be live-streamed via Skype between Alameda and its Sister City of Dumaguete, with support from Alameda Councilmember Dr. Stewart Chen and Dumaguete Mayor Manuel Sagarbarria in the Philippines.

At last year’s Philippine Independence Day Celebration, Ellona Santiago (a former-“X Factor” finalist) sang “Lupang Hinirang” (“Chosen Land”), the national anthem of the Philippines, at City Hall.