Letters to the Editor

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I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) board for proclaiming May 28 Alameda Family Services Appreciation Day. We are honored to receive this recognition and grateful to AUSD for our ongoing partnership.

For more than three decades Alameda Family Services has been committed to serving youth when they are in need of support and where they are most likely to engage in services. We strive to deliver the right care for the right student at the right time — every time. Because we are local, we understand the behavioral health and early educational needs of the greater Alameda community. Our relationship with AUSD and their recognition of this is an example of why locally-based support structures are so important.

As committed members of this community, we will remain actively engaged in finding the most effective methods possible to serve our youth and families and believe that our enduring partnership with AUSD is the key to success. More importantly, the objective social outcome data supports the importance of this enduring and long-term relationship.

We are deeply grateful for being recognized by the school district in this way.


Katherine R. Schwartz Executive Director, Alameda Family Services

When I came to San Francisco in 1948, there were fewer high rises and homeless, jobs were plentiful, rents were affordable and there were guest houses for those new to the city. I felt safe on the streets at night. The police didn’t shoot anyone, they were here to keep us safe. 

Back in Minneapolis, when I went to University of Minnesota, the tuition was $30 a quarter, and if you were a tax-paying resident of the State of Minnesota, you were admitted, no questions asked. 

In the past, when you picked up the phone, it was someone you knew, not someone wanting to fix your computer (I don’t have one), solicitors asking for money or vendors wanting to upgrade your kitchen (I’ve already done that). 

Life was easy, let’s say, normal. You’d think things would be getting better, not worse. 

Today landlords evict you so they can raise the rent. People work two jobs to survive. The cost of college is prohibitive and even if you get in, you have a bill that takes a lifetime to pay. 

Millions of people, including veterans, are homeless. Some are employed but can’t afford the rent, so live in their cars. Many people cannot go to the doctor since we do not have free medical care as do many other civilized countries. 

America has deteriorated and I’m not sure we don’t have the president we deserve. I notice we gave money to bail out the banks and money to help the rich pay their taxes, which they don’t pay anyway. I believe this country is backwards and upside down. Need I say more? 


Elizabeth Prosser

I would like to give a “shout out” to the Alameda County Ombudsman’s Office and the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR)! Both groups have been a tremendous help to my former neighbor who now lives in an Oakland Skilled Nursing Facility (“If only there was a wellness center now,” April 4).  

Last week my neighbor was threatened with discharge from the nursing facility without a discharge plan. The nursing home was ready to send her packing on a Friday night. It was clear to me that financial decisions were driving the pressure for her to move out “tomorrow.” The social worker even suggested that a low-priced room in the facility housekeeper’s home might be the best option. 

Never mind that the housekeeper and my neighbor do not share a common language. Never mind that the housekeeper was offering her living room for rent and no information about accessibility, let alone licensing. 

The story could have gotten much worse, but for the assistance of CANHR and the Ombudsman’s office. Next business day — just as soon as the social worker realized that my neighbor had an advocate that was aware of patient rights — the story changed, the pressure to discharge stopped, and the conversation turned to making an appropriate and thoughtful plan for discharge. We shall see if the social worker takes real action to implement a suitable plan.

After seeing this boldfaced attempt to pressure a frail, elderly resident to leave the nursing facility, I cannot help but wonder how many of the homeless men and women on our streets may have also been victims of similar unsuitable discharge from a skilled nursing facility or other care. 

This experience makes me all the more grateful that Alameda voted to support Measure A, allowing us to move forward with the wellness center and permanent, supportive housing on McKay Avenue. 

I close with another huge thank you to the Ombudsman’s Office and the CANHR.


Paula Rainey