Letters to the Editor

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We urge Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) to work with the community to find ways to save Bay Farm Middle School (BFMS).

Our children deserve excellent schools. As members of the United Democrats of Alameda, we believe in academic rigor, equality of opportunity, and offering enrichment activities that will help students thrive. We stand with Alameda parents, students, and community in opposing the AUSD’s plan to close BFMS.

AUSD’s plans and approach do not serve the interests of Alameda’s students and families. AUSD argues low enrollment at BFMS and “equity” demand its closure. But Bay Farm School is one of the most efficient in the district based on dollars spent per student. It is gloriously diverse with more than a 70 percent minority student body. A California Distinguished School and Alameda’s top-rated middle school, Bay Farm is a gem.

AUSD should support more students to go to BFMS but instead, AUSD has been quietly working behind closed doors to shut it down. To add insult to injury, AUSD surprised the community with its recommendation in January 2023 and told parents if they want to save the school, they had less than a month to get enrollment up. A month!

We are disappointed by the way AUSD has treated students and families. As United Dems, we believe parents and students should be treated with respect. We believe the best student outcomes are achieved when school partners engage the parent community on major decisions.

— Felsha Zuschlag, Rohit Reddy, Joyce Boyd, and Janet Gibson; Board Member of United Democrats of Alameda

At 10:30 a.m. [on Feb. 8], as I was sitting in my car at the 7-11 at 2301 Lincoln Ave., an employee exited the store and began yelling at a mentally disabled man sitting peacefully on the ground drinking his Big Gulp. The man was right in front of my car, not bothering anyone, quietly enjoying his soda.

The 7-11 employee became more hostile with the man and used foul language, saying, “what are you on a fucking vacation here? Get the fuck out of here!” The 7-11 employee then kicked the man, spat on him, shoved him and continued to yell.

The employee then kicked the handicapped man’s Big Gulp that splattered all over the ground and my car. He was irate.

I got out of my car and said, “you cannot do that!” I called the police, but the handicapped man left the scene. I later found him and asked if he was ok and offered him some food and a drink.

This was a disgusting event that should never have occurred or been tolerated. The employee knew the man was an easy target and could not fight back. I will never return to this location again. Alameda should not allow this behavior toward the weakest and most defenseless citizens of Alameda.

— Brian C. Malone

Hunter Cobb’s letter (“https://alamedasun.com/letters/16614,” Feb. 16) that presents the current Oakland election recount as an argument against ranked choice voting omits salient facts.

The Oakland Elections Code, which has been in effect since 2007, at Section 1105 (g) provides “Skipped rankings. In the first or any round, in the event that any ballot reaches a ranking with no candidate indicated, that ballot shall immediately be advanced to the next ranking.” Some voters did exactly what this section guards against by failing to fill in a first choice, but instead starting with the second choice. Had the county’s election software been programmed to apply the ordinance properly and tabulate those second-place votes as first-place votes no recount would have been needed. Unfortunately, that did not happen. Thus, the recount was due to a human programming error, not a glitch in the RCV process.

Admittedly, the fact that some voters failed to indicate a first choice indicates that there is some voter confusion, the cause of which should be examined, but it does not indicate an issue that seriously impacts the integrity of an election.

In my view, any argument for or against RCV should be in the context of how it compares with the other available options, rather than only considering its flaws. The county only offers two options other than RCV, our current plurality voting system where a candidate can win with far less than a majority of the votes cast or a primary system which requires candidates and cities to finance two elections in every election cycle. When I consider the options, I clearly prefer RCV. I respect the contrary views of Cobb and others, but only if they present them in the context of these other options.

— Paul Foreman