Prop. 8 would ban marriage for Alamedans who are gay

In addition to local races—City Council, Measure P, School Board—Alamedans, along with the rest of California, will be voting on Proposition 8, the anti-gay marriage initiative. It’s a serious civil rights issue (I don’t see how we can, in good conscience, deny people who are gay all the rights that come with marriage). I’ve posted below a clip from a very funny woman, Ellen DeGeneres. She’s not talking specifically about Prop. 8, but she says, among other things, “Maybe it’s because I’m gay that I feel that I think we should all be equal but I feel that we’re all equal.” And, “People are going to be who they are going to be and we need to love them for who they are and let them love who they want to love.”


Alameda nonprofits are exempt from Measure H

There’s been a bit of blog buzz about nonprofits being hit hard by Measure H (not to mention an assertion by an Elks trustee that the club will need to pay $5,800 annually for the tax). But, the actual fact is that charities and churches are exempt from Measure H.

As Andy Currid, who is heading up the Measure H effort, wrote in a recent email: “Please note that Measure H will not tax the Elks or similar not-for-profit institutions in Alameda. This is because the parcels of land owned by those institutions (many of whom are churches) have Use Codes that are not commercial or industrial. Measure H also exempts any property that is already exempt from property tax under state law.”

If you want to dig more into the legalities, here’s a link to the county tax code. And here’s the actual Measure H text, which reads, in part, “Real property otherwise exempted from taxation under the constitution and laws of the State of California shall also be exempted from any liability for the special tax imposed by this measure.” And here’s a link to the state board of equalization detailing non profits (as well as other churches and charitable entities) property tax exemption.


Alamedan appointed to head NAACP

Ben Jealous—a Rhodes scholar, newspaper editor and political activist—was appointed Saturday to head up the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, one of the oldest civil rights groups in the nation. From the AP article about him, it sounds like he’ll be leaving Alameda for Baltimore, where the NAACP is headquartered.

[Ed. note: Angela Woodall’s Oakland Tribune article about Jealous is here.]


Next Wednesday’s Alameda theatre grand opening SOLD OUT

I heard it first on the playground dropping the kids off at school—you learn so much on the school yard!—but I confirmed it just now with a call to Sue Russell in the city’s development services department: tickets are all gone to next week’s gala theatre opening. So, if you, like me, have been hemming and hawing about springing for the $100 tickets (that’s $200, plus babysitting), haw and hem no longer. The choice has already been made.

“It’s going to be an unbelievable night,” said Russell, who says there’ll be close to 700 guests at the black tie event. “It’s going to be a grand, grand thing. A lot of people have worked really hard on this.”

For the rest of us, there will be a free community opening on Saturday, May 24 from 10 am to 1 pm, with balloon animals, face painting, clowns, jugglers and more! And, as best as I can figure from the web site, there will also be screenings of movies.

I, for one, am pleased to welcome on-island movies to the new restored theatre.


Over there across the Alameda estuary: Jingletown art show

There’s only a few more days to catch Alameda photographer Jan Watten’s work, which is up now through April 25 at the Pro Arts Gallery at 550 2nd Street in Oakland. The 10-person show, called Jingletown Junction, is a celebration of the art and artists who’ve made their home in the area of East Oakland between the High Street and Fruitvale bridges.


Watten, who also participated in the recent Alameda on Camera project now up at the Frank Bette Center, says her work for the Jingletown show includes portraits of neighborhood artists, many of whom she’s worked around for years. “I lived in Jingletown from 1984 to 1997,” says Watten. “Then then I got married and moved to Alameda—but I kept my studio because I loved it so much.”

Watten has two pieces in the show:

One piece is called An Aspect of my Jingletown [pictured left]. In the late ’80s, I started photographing people with objects—with something they felt revealed something about their identity. I’m going back to those people and photographing them again. The work is a grid of faces.

I also have some photographs I took with a plastic camera, a Holga. I photograph the neighborhood. I’m in love with my Holga—it’s freeing. You go out and you never know what you’re going to get. It’s sort of like zen photography.

The East Bay Express has a nice little write up of the show and more on the history of the Jingletown neighborhood.


This Week’s Alamedan: Shipra Pathak

shipra sLived in Alameda: Since 2004
Age: 24
Originally from: Punjab, India
Family: Lives with mother, father and brother, Gaurav, 18
Current occupation: Full-time clerk at Walgreens; student at Laney College taking prerequisites for nursing school
Accomplishments: Earned associate’s degree from College of Alameda in 2007; won district-wide Chancellor’s Trophy Award
Career goal: Earn a master’s in nursing
Activities: Going to Hindu temple, community service

Why Alameda?
My father came first in 2001. He was looking for an apartment in a safe area. When the rest of the family came in 2004, he moved to Alameda.

Like best about Alameda?
Being new here, you get to meet new challenges every day and you and your family feel very proud when you achieve them.

Would like to change about Alameda?
Mostly I’m concerned about crime, even though we have less crime than other cities. I’m concerned about hate crime—or even saying bad words to a person of another race. Once I was working and a customer came in and said quite rude things. I was very quiet, and so surprised how anyone could talk that way to a person they don’t know anything about. I was very shocked by how people can treat others and what kind of feelings they have inside.

Word to the wise I would like everyone to be more aware of people with different cultural backgrounds and their beliefs so we could respect each other and have safe neighborhoods for everyone.


Rumor chasing: the things I do for you

Today I was just getting ready to go to yoga—a class I must go to in order to forestall great grouchiness (my kind daughter says I am not grouchy, but still)—when I heard that Lieutenant Governor Garamendi was coming to town for an event at the Bay Farm Safeway. (At first, my source said, she’d heard it was going to be Schwarzenegger himself.)

Intrepid reporter that I am, I called a very-in-the-know friend to get the scoop. As I was talking to her, she got word that it was not Garamendi but Continue Reading


“Alameda on Camera” opens tonight

Man_In_BuoyTonight is the opening of the second annual Alameda on Camera show at the Frank Bette Center for the Arts. The exhibit collects the works of 48 photographers all of whom, over a rainy, cold 48 hours in late February, photographed their 1/48th assigned area of the city. (Last year, I went to the launch party for the event and watched as the photographers drew cut-up pieces of map from a brown paper bag.) Pictured left is an imaginative photophgraph, “Man in the Bouy,” taken by one of the show’s contributors, Jeffrey Heyman, who was sent to an unpromising area near the water off Ballena Boulevard. Here’s his description:

It was raining nearly horizontally in Area 43, and I had to keep wiping away rainwater from the lens of my camera…Besides photos of the surf and the Army Corps of Engineers-lain rocks that made up the shoreline, I took a number of pictures of this large steel object, a ball-shaped thing that I later learned was a docking buoy.

Later, when I was looking over my take for the day (after I dried off), nothing else seemed nearly as interesting as the 4-foot weathered ball.

You can see all the works in the show at the Frank Bette Center through April 26.


This Week’s Alamedan: Dawna Dowdell

dawnaLived in Alameda: Since 1993
Age: 45
Occupation: Personal Banking Officer, Bank of Alameda
Pets: Two cats, Scooter and Fatters
Activities: Volunteer for the Alameda Police Department’s VIP program; Avon Walk for Breast Cancer volunteer crew; American Cancer Society Relay for Life volunteer crew; member, Bayview Women’s Club; President-elect Alameda Kiwanis Club

Like best about Alameda?

I like the small-town community feel. I love all the restaurants in the downtown area and on Webster Street, too. I love eating! I love that you can walk to anything in Alameda, and that people are really involved in the community here.

Would like to change about Alameda?
Some of the small-minded mentality—that Alameda should always stay a certain way. We all need to grow; everything needs to grow and change. For a city to succeed, it needs to change. I’m glad that the parking structure is there. I think it’s a good thing for downtown and a good thing for Alameda.

Word to the wise
Alameda isn’t as racist as everyone thinks it is. It’s not. It’s what you make of it. I’m comfortable wherever I go, and I want people to be comfortable wherever they go. I want people to know it’s OK to talk about things—whether it’s the war or cancer or race. It’s OK to have an opinion and for people to have different opinions.