Alameda’s Measure H…no new votes released today

So it sounds like there’ll be no release of votes today for Measure H, Alameda’s school parcel tax. This just in from the Alameda County Registrar of Voters‘ Spokesperson Guy Ashley:

There will be no update today of results for the June 3 election. Folks spent the day processing provisional ballots. Some work remains remaking damaged ballots as well… We most likely will update our results again on Wednesday.

So the vote stands at very, very close—the ‘yes’ votes have 66.66 percent. Stay tuned.


Paying the price to have good schools in Alameda

Today’s print column, “Paying the price to have good schools,” is up online. If you’ve somehow missed that today is election day, and Measure H, the parcel tax to support our town’s schools in on the ballot, go read it now. You can find all Alameda Journal articles online here.

Past “Life on the Island” columns
May 27, 2008: A civil rights issue in our time
May 20, 2008: What’s cooking in the hot weather?
May 12, 2008: When a man needs a cave
May 5, 2008: Enjoying that small-town feel
April 28, 2008: Support of tax teaches lesson
April 21, 2008: New garage can be a good habit
April 14, 2008: When the earth shakes, duck
April 7, 2008: Snails, ants, lice and light brown apple moths


It’s election day, Alameda

Morning! Today is election day. You can find your polling place here. And you can read the Alameda Journal’s editorial in support of Measure H here. And here’s more of the latest on Measure H. Go vote yes for a modest tax for our town’s schools. Remember, it needs two thirds of the vote to pass, so every vote counts.


Alameda Journal highlights

You can find the Alameda Journal article about the new theatre’s gala opening here. And you can also read Journal Editor Connie Rux’s tribute to the restoration. The schedule for this weekend’s opening events, which includes free showings of classic movies, is here.

And it sounds like, despite all the grumblings of the past, many people are enjoying the idea of having a beautiful place to see movies in town. I even chanced to hear one woman say to her a friend as they walked by me on Park Street the other day, “I was against it, but now that it’s here I’m kind of glad.” I think I’ll be taking my kids to the show this weekend.

It’s also nice to see a letter from nine-year-old Ruby Siltanen running in the Journal this week. The Paden Elementary third grader lists her top ten reasons for supporting Measure H (which, as you know I, too, fully support). Ruby writes, “Kids are worth paying $10 a month for four years.” And, too, “A lot of kids in elementary would like to play sports when they get into middle and high school.”

Ian Merrifield, Encinal’s student body president who was active in the school protests in March, has an editorial in support of Measure H . He writes, “There is no Alamedan who can claim that she is independent from the success of AUSD. Quality schools boost property values, reduce crime rates and enrich the local economy…”

Jeffrey Smith, an Encinal High School math teacher, has a “con” piece running in today’s paper, which concludes with a somewhat befuddling series of questions, “Should this extortion be titled Measure H, Proposition H or Preparation H?”


Housekeeping: Alameda, Alameda, our Alameda

Morning, Alameda.

It has come to my attention that many of you don’t know that you can find Alameda Journal articles online here. They usually post live some time the day before the print paper comes out. So, if you’ve written a letter to the editor and want to know if it’s going to run or you want to browse the latest headlines, check there.

Today’s Journal includes a very nicely-reasoned, pro-Measure H (which, as many of you know, I support) “My Word” piece by Michael Schmitz: “Voting for Measure H can protect our assets.” As well as an editorial, “Local schools can’t wait for Sacramento,” which puts in very plain language the state of school financing.

Keep Alameda Schools Excellent, the group formed to support Measure H, also has some good info about the “May revise” of the state budget. Which, as best a I can discern (though no one seems to have a handle just yet on what exactly the budget will mean) shifts how the money is going to be cut, but still cuts a significant chuck from schools. Instead of suspending Prop. 98, it cuts the cost of living adjustments. Instead of cutting special education, it reduces monies for rising utility costs. “The revised budget is a shell game,” School Trustee Bill Schaff told the Journal yesterday, “leaving our schools the biggest loser…we still must anticipate a $4 million hit to Alameda schools.”


Alameda “Save our Music” concert this Friday

This Friday, May 2, at 7 p.m. in Kofman Auditorium (in Alameda High) there will be a benefit concert to try to keep music in grades one, two and three in our district’s schools. The concert is brought to you by Bay Farm parent Lorri Garrett and a host of other hardworking volunteers in the Save our Music crew. You can buy tickets to the hip-happening event online here and also learn more about the class acts, including on- and off-island talent as well as many of our district’s bright-eyed third graders. If you can’t make the show, there’s also an online auction, with items including tickets to the San Francisco Opera, a $100 gift certificate to Scott’s Shoes and a drum head signed by Metallica.

Measure H
As always, Continue Reading


Charter schools in Oakland, charter schools in Alameda

The Education Report‘s Katy Murphy has a new post (with some interesting discussion) on the bill written by Assemblyman SandrĂ© Swanson to halt the creation of charter schools in Oakland. Assembly bill 2008 is relevant to Alameda because, as a district like Oakland with declining enrollment, our town is poised to face, on a lesser scale of course, some of the financial challenges brought by the creation of charters.


Video: Today’s school budget protests in Alameda

New at 11:10 p.m: Below is Oakland Tribune video of today’s protest and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. If you watch until the end—it’s only two and a half minutes so probably you can hang in there—you get to see the governor say one of the most amusing/perplexing things that’s been coming out of his office lately. He talks about how education in California is currently ‘overfunded.’


Thanks to school board member Mike McMahon for the link to this KPIX story on today’s protests. Enjoy the video of parents and students talking about why public schools matter. Hopefully more links to come.

New at 4:46 p.m: Here’s the KCBS story.

New at 4:48 p.m: Here’s an ABC 7 story from today on the long-term impact of cuts to education in our state: Higher Education cuts could be devastating to California.

New at 9:45: The Oakland Tribune’s Josh Richman also filed a story on Schwarzenegger’s visit. He writes about the governor’s softening rhetoric on taxes and the state’s decaying infrastructure.


Protest planned for Governor Schwarzenegger’s visit Wednesday morning

Every protest needs friendly, happy kids, no? Below is video of two startlingly cute first graders standing in a trash can during the Alameda Education Foundation’s Step Up and Donate/Public Education is too Valuable to Throw Away awareness campaign last month.

As you may or may not have heard—it’s hard to know, isn’t it? Just who’s heard what?—Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will be Continue Reading