Stop July 4's illegal fireworks this year
For the past several years, like countless other Alamedans, we have been subjected to a barrage of fireworks on the evening of July Fourth. Media accounts of the illegal displays document widespread activities largely unmonitored by the police and fire departments, though hundreds of calls inundate both. From 9 to nearly 11 p.m., the noise and lights generate an onslaught of unabated explosions. Our nearly 12-year-old dog trembles the entire time. We think of other pets that are affected in a similar manner.
We also muse about very young children who are probably affected or older adults trying to sleep. And we wonder aloud how many troubled veterans from the Middle East wars are startled (and worse) with the familiar nightmarish sounds of detonations in their neighborhoods.
Many of these activities are deemed illegal in the city of Alameda yet simply ignored. We suspect the powers-that-be will not improve enforcement of the law until a child is maimed, a home goes down in flames or an angry citizen tries to quell the disturbance in lieu of the police.
There is nothing patriotic about setting off loud explosions for the thrill of colors and noise. We call upon concerned citizens to email and/or call the offices of the mayor, City Council, city manager and chiefs of the fire and police departments to demand an end to this activity.
Roughly a month out, the city should make a concerted public relations' effort to remind citizens of the dangers and illegality of fireworks. There should be an articulated zero-tolerance policy announced and enforced. We seem to find additional overtime monies for a number of city functions during the course of the year. Surely we can find the funds to have a significant police and fire presence in the troubled spots of Alameda on July 4, 2014.
Now is the time for elected officials and city staff to speak out and take a stand of concern. If it takes new legislation, do it. If takes concerted enforcement, do it. Please act before a tragedy, not following one.
Chris and Don Arnold
City Council created the Crab Cove mess
Before putting the Friends of Crown Beach initiative to rezone the surplus federal parcel next to Crab Cove "open space" on the November ballot, the City Council wants to know what the financial impact will be after the measure passes.
I would like to remind the council that in November 2008, Alameda and Contra Costa counties' voters passed Measure WW and authorized the East Bay Regional Park District to acquire this parcel and approved funding for it. These funds are still held by the parks district. The parks district will also maintain the Crab Cove expansion. In fact, in September 2008, the Alameda City Council approved the park expansion plans with the understanding that there would be no cost to the city.
This changed July 3, 2012, when the City Council zoned the surplus parcel for residential use in order to accommodate a private developer of luxury housing. The date for the hearing before the City Council was carefully chosen by city staff to minimize public objections.
Since the July 2012 residential zoning was approved by the council, three lawsuits have been initiated. One, by the East Bay Regional Park District because, among other reasons, the zoning occurred without proper notices and without an up-to-date environmental impact report. The second lawsuit is by the federal government against the state of California, which owns McKay Avenue, the access road to Crab Cove. The federal government wants to provide the private housing developer with the right to place sewers and other utility lines on McKay Avenue. The third lawsuit is being filed by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development District because the federal government has failed to comply with Coastal Zone Management Act requirements in its attempt to take over McKay Avenue.
We, the taxpayers are paying the legal bills in all three lawsuits. Neither the lawsuits nor the Friends of Crown Beach initiative would have been necessary if the Alameda City Council and city staff had only remembered Measure WW and not passed the residential zoning in July 2012. Any chance they will pay for the mess they created?
former Alameda City Council member
Thank us residents at band event, too
The residents who live within the blocked-off area during Encinal High School's Extravaganza of Bands also deserve thanks for the success of the recent event.
Those of us who live in the cordoned area often feel trapped by the restricted entry and exit points. Happily, this year's escape and re-entry was easier than in years past, and officials appeared to have a plan in place that monitors were familiar with.
Not only that, the monitor who eased my exit at Haight and Third was very pleasant. Such has not always been the case. Congratulations to the organizers for keeping the needs of the residents in mind.