Letters to the Editor

Cooper stupor


I was totally shocked, confused and dismayed when I learned that Principal Mike Cooper had been terminated at Encinal High School and will be sent to Wood Middle School as a vice principal; sad for Encinal High and good for Wood.

My husband and I graduated from Encinal in June 1956 and all four of our children are Encinal High graduates. Our grandchild graduated last Friday. I have to say that Encinal High has been a big part of our lives and continues to be through the alumni association. I also have to say that the graduation this past Friday was the nicest and calmest one we have ever attended.

I certainly couldn't say that about the 2008 graduation where parents, family members and students were loud, unruly and totally disrespectful. In contrast, this graduation should be a shining example of what a high school graduation should be. Is it possible that the students, staff and parents all respect Mike Cooper and his firm and fair manner in dealing with everyone he came in contact with?

Test scores are up, discipline problems are down and the staff and students are happy and productive. What more can you ask for? I can't help but think the district calculated the announcement at a time when Superintendent Kirsten Vital thought the majority of voters had already mailed in their school-bond ballots. Would the outcome of that election been different if this had been known prior to voting? We will never know.

Mike Cooper will be missed at Encinal High School, but we are all better for having had him in our lives.

— Barbara Roth

Money, meet mouth


As a local business owner, resident of Alameda for more than 30 years, and active member in my local community, I was shocked and outraged to read that the city of Alameda, which supposedly promotes "buy/shop local," has contracted with design companies outside of our local business community to re-brand Alameda. It was also alarming to learn that local businesses were not even given a chance or an opportunity to bid on the project.

Whether or not the initial bid came in under the $75,000 threshold ($200 less), local businesses still should have been considered to participate in the bidding process. If an out-of-town company, after the bidding process was complete, won the job, fine, at least local companies would have received the common courtesy to compete.

I understand — to a degree —the need to re-brand our city and update the website to attract businesses, but again, local businesses, who know the town of Alameda, were not even considered. It's also disheartening to know that our city government will be using our tax dollars to work with companies outside of our town. What is even more surprising is that our city can spend up to $75,000 without having to go through a formal bidding process.

From my own research, a number of marketing and web design firms in Alameda were never contacted. Heck, these firms didn't even know the city was entertaining the idea of rebranding. The city says they wanted to find a company with experience building city websites and building a green identify. Just because a firm doesn't build city websites doesn't mean they wouldn't do a good job. And who would know more about Alameda than its local businesses? I believe Alameda does have the resources to provide our city with a quality functioning website and brand identity. For instance, Jiva Creative or West Advertising, I'm sure, would have been honored to have been elected to re-brand our city.

I own and operate MJS Web Solutions, a local web development firm, and I am passionate about this town and buying and doing things locally. We are proud to work with many local firms and have helped organizations, including the Alameda Boys and Girls Club and the Alameda Midway Shelter, get online.

I always ask myself before going out of Alameda to do business, is there someone who can help me locally? And usually there is. You can see why I'm frustrated. What kind of example is our city government setting for the local business community and the businesses they are trying to attract?

Alameda may or may not need a new image, but was this the right thing to do?

— Michael Swartz, MJS Web Solutions

Historic virtue scrapped


With regard to the plan to replace the existing city crest with something new ('Brand Name City,' June 10), I wonder why a municipality that makes such a virtue of its long history (i.e. by California standards) would spend a lot of money to get rid of probably the clearest statement of its heritage.

This is doubly puzzling at a time when the city is slashing important services to reduce costs.

— Ewart A. Wetherill

You must be joking


After reading the article ("Brand Name City," June 10) all I can say is, "You've got to be kidding me!"

Who is responsible for such crazy spending of city funds? When the budget is so under-funded and the schools are crying for money, why is the city spending over $100,000 to create a brand name?

Alameda is our name and our brand. Come on, city council, get a grip on reality. You can and will be replaced.

— Rik Peake

I want my free lunch


I noticed a few weeks ago that the banner spanning Webster Street announcing the free lunch program sponsored by the Alameda Unified School District for this summer had been put up as it is every year. Shortly afterwards, the banner was taken down.

Do you suppose that whoever is responsible putting the banner up as they do before every summer, did so automatically and then was told that there would be no lunch program this year because of cuts?

Or, do you think that there is going to be a free lunch program this summer and they were asked to take it down until after the vote on Measure E? This leads me to another observation. Why do we even have a free-lunch program when we are always making cuts in other school programs?

— Denise Reilly

Didn't happen overnight


Here's what I don't understand. If Alameda schools are in such dire financial shape, they've been that way for quite some time. It didn't happen overnight.

So why have people who claim to be so interested in being supportive waited until now to express that interest? They could have been sending money directly to the school district and/or individual schools all along. No "measure" was or is necessary. It seems some people are reluctant to put their checkbooks where they say their passion is. You want to support schools, fine. People who feel differently should not be forced to support something they object to. That's just wrong.

— Ken Hensley


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