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Alameda 2023 in Review – Part 4

Interesting and popular stories from the final quarter of 2023

As 2023 draws to a close, we are looking back at some of the stories we published about Alameda this year. Here is the final wrap up for the last three months of 2023. Read Part 1 – Part 2Part 3.

We wish you and your family a healthy, happy, and joyous new year, and we hope you’ll stay with us for our coverage of Alameda in 2024!

October 2023

Newsweek’s 2024 list of America’s Best Nursing Homes recognized Alameda Hospital Skilled Nursing Facility as one of the best in the nation—33rd overall. The ranking included South Shore Rehabilitation and Wellness, Park Bridge Rehabilitation and Wellness, and Alameda Hospital Sub-Acute Unit.

Alameda Post - Alameda Hospital from the exterior, which houses the skilled nursing facility
Photo courtesy Alameda Hospital.

Meanwhile, AB 722, which protects the cost-effectiveness of healthcare services provided by the Alameda Health System and protects the jobs of unionized physicians, was signed into law. Introduced by Assemblymember Mia Bonta, the legislation takes effect in January 2024.

Family members, friends, and colleagues gathered to honor and celebrate Dr. Ardella Dailey and her extensive contributions to the Alameda community. The ceremony featured the unveiling of a new plaque that officially named the AUSD preschool program after Dr. Dailey.

Kelsey Goeres shared Alamedans’ perspectives about their experiences with the latest Portola Music Festival, including a new mother and a resident with severe PTSD who both found the sound drift into Alameda difficult to ride out. Others were in favor of the 30,000-person festival on Pier 80, even saying, “Turn the volume up!”

Alameda Post - a photo of a page from Residential Architecture in the East Bay including house and family sitting on the steps
Jennifer Joey McCallon features her own home in Alameda on this page of Residential Architecture in the East Bay. Photo Alex Vinson.

Local real estate broker Jennifer Joey McCallon’s new book Residential Architecture in the East Bay dives into Alameda’s rich architectural history. Steve Gorman highlighted the book’s faithful attention to detail, including the history of redlining and race-restrictive covenants which limited who could get a home loan or move into certain areas.

The Oakland Airport’s Modernization and Expansion Program, which is projected to double passenger capacity by 2038, will affect nearby towns. Karin K. Jensen reported that Alameda City Council agreed to submit detailed analysis and testimony from noise and airport planning experts to the Port of Oakland in response to the project.

More than 300 bicyclists of all ages rode in the 2023 Family Fun Ride to support Alameda Parks and celebrate transportation on two wheels. Ken Der followed the Ride from the start to the finish line and chatted with Alamedans about biking around town.

Alameda Post - a bicycle rider goes past a sign for Alameda Bike for the Parks
Alameda Bike for the Parks. Photo Ken Der.

Patricia Williamson followed two tenacious pairs of ospreys in Alameda during nesting season. These beautiful birds of prey must fight incoming attacks and compete for access to resources to give their chicks a chance for survival.

Alameda Unified School District Superintendent Scuderi sat down with 2023 Teacher of the Year Jessica Kerber to discuss topics in modern education including the relationship between student engagement and achievement.

Steve Gorman’s journey back in time came to a conclusion in “Today’s Alameda Treasure—The Bruton Houses, Part 13, the Finale.” Gorman looked back on highlights of the series that uncovered the rich history of 1630 Lincoln Avenue and 1240 St. Charles Street and added some intriguing new connections before closing the chapter.

Alameda Post - portraits of each of the Bruton sisters
Margaret, Esther, and Helen Bruton became known as “the famous Bruton sisters” as a result of their many talents and accomplishments in the various visual arts, as well as their friendships with influential artists such as photographer Imogen Cunningham. The Bruton family lived at both 1630 Lincoln Avenue and 1240 St. Charles Street over the years. Photo Bruton family archive.

Landscaping projects at Alameda Landing featured what Richard Bangert described as “bogus signs” declaring the property was “Irrigated with Recycled Water.” Bangert noted that was a logistical impossibility.

Alameda and Oakland police departments came together with the Coast Guard at a community meeting to discuss plans to address anchor-outs in the Oakland Estuary. Ken Der reported that the proposed 90-day, full-scale engagement and cleanup of the Estuary could potentially remove up to 21 existing anchored-out vessels.

Alameda Post - the police chief stands at the front of a room talking
APD Chief Nishant Joshi speaks at the Encinal Yacht Club on Thursday, October 5. The meeting was called to discuss crime and the continued presence of anchored-out vessels on the Oakland Estuary. Photo Ken Der.

The restroom project on Alameda’s beach at Shore Line Drive and Grand Street was turning out to be a real pisser. Irene Dieter investigated why the project on Shore Line Drive was behind schedule and racking up costs.

Karin K. Jensen reported on the contentious City Council meeting debate over Science Corp as an appropriate tenant for Alameda Point due to ethical animal concerns. Despite support from the Mayor and Councilmember Tracy Jensen, the lease was rejected, and Council decided to reevaluate what kinds of businesses the City will lease to in the future.

Alameda Post - Photos from the Alameda Holiday Boutique
The Alameda Holiday Boutique is a beloved local tradition. Photos Rob Schmidt.

The 43rd Annual Alameda Holiday Boutique was set for November 4 and 5. C.J. Hirschfield talked with event coordinator Rob Schmidt about his final year with the beloved local arts and crafts fair and his search for a replacement to continue the tradition.

Meanwhile, the Alameda Point Collaborative Farm2Market Harvest Festival celebrated fall with freshly pressed apple cider, live music, food, and smiles all around. Ken Der talked with farm contributor Sidran, “It changes my life attitude to know I’m working for the community. It means joy!”

Alameda Post - rows of crops at the Alameda Point Collaborative farm
Farm2Market Harvest Festival celebrated the farm, which provides ample space for growing organic vegetables. Photo Ken Der.

Gene Kahane reviewed the opening night performance of Altarena Playhouse’s Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley. The delightful holiday production imagined life with the Bennet sisters two years after the end of Pride and Prejudice.

The establishment of De-Pave Park provides a great opportunity to create more wild intertidal habitat at Alameda Point. Sharol Nelson-Embry of Golden Gate Bird Alliance celebrated plans for restoring the wetland area and urged Alamedans to weigh in on the development of the park.

Alameda Post - two 4th grade podcasters from Little Minds Big Talks sit at a table in their classroom. The mayor sits across from them and smiles
“Little Minds Big Talks” invited Mayor Ashcraft to join in. Photo AEF.

Fourth graders at Love Elementary School created a podcast called “Little Minds Big Talks,” which aims to educate and inspire students nationwide. Thanks to a grant by Alameda Education Foundation, teacher Ryan Brazil was able to purchase necessary equipment, and the podcast has multiple episodes available on most podcast platforms.

Allen Tai was named new permanent Director of the Planning, Building, and Transportation Department of the City of Alameda, succeeding Andrew Thomas.

City Council voted to revise the City’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) policy by barring properties with five or more units from qualifying for a CIP application. Ken Der explained the outcome of the months-long debate, sparked by outrage from tenants of South Shore Apartments as the property owners attempted to recover $24M in construction costs through rent increases.

AC Transit was reexamining its route network to adapt to new travel patterns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Ken Der outlined possible route changes and invited the public to provide feedback in surveys, meetings, and/or workshops.

November 2023

Alameda Post - volunteers pack and transport food in hot bags
Alameda Meals on Wheels volunteers deliver food rain or shine, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Photos Jenn Heflin.

Every day for the past 50 years, volunteers have brought meals to people in our community who are unable to prepare food for themselves. Liz Barrett spoke with Alameda Meals on Wheels as they celebrated five decades of service.

Alameda Point Collaborative began abatement and demolition work for construction of a new medical respite center and supportive housing community at Crab Cove. The facility will serve homeless patients.

Alameda Post - Mia Bonta presents District 18 Community Awards
Mia Bonta presents District 18 Community Awards to Jeramie Andehueson (left) for Alameda Pride and Dawna Dowdell-Dos Santos as a representative for the Kiwanis Club of Alameda. Photos Patricia Bowen.

Community Awards recognized nonprofits and individuals in California Assembly District 18 for exceptional public service. Alameda took home the Social Justice, Local Hero, and Community Peace awards, just to name a few.

Creator and Director Pamm Drake looked back on 33 years, as her Tap Dancing Christmas Trees were headed to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Alameda Post - the Trees at the Macy's parade
The Trees at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Photo Pamm Drake.

Max Millot covered the Shoreline Tennis Tournament, where Encinal senior Sofia Layzer took first place. “I’ve been trying to win for the last three years, and I finally did it,” Layzer said.

The second annual Fiesta Alameda was a real party this year! Ken Der talked with participants at the multicultural festival, which featured a variety of Latin traditions, foods, music, and customs. Maurice Ramirez provided photos.

Alameda Post - two dancers at Fiesta Alameda 2023, November 4, 2023 at Radium Runway, produced by West End Arts District. Photo ©2023 Maurice Ramirez
Two dancers at Fiesta Alameda 2023, held November 4, 2023 at RADIUM Runway, and produced by West End Arts District. Photo Maurice Ramirez

UPLIFT premiered at St. George Spirits at Alameda Point. The intimate series of short dance films celebrating the talent and diversity of the Alameda arts scene was created by Tara Pilbrow Dance, Maurice Ramirez, and Pons Maar.

The REAP Climate Center, in partnership with Bay Beehives, hosted a Honey Harvest Festival at their campus near the Webster Tube. Kelsey Goeres attended the hands-on event, which included creating native bee homes and—of course—a sweet taste of fresh honey.

Alameda singer-songwriter Deborah Crooks presented her folk opera Flight Lessons, which featured the Fruitvale Bridge peregrine falcons. Crooks said the opera “explores the nature of place, love, and change at the intersection of the urban and wild environment.”

Alameda Post - a young red-tailed hawk with stripes on its feathers
A young red-tail shows its banded tail. It takes about two years for juveniles to develop the classic red tail. Photo Rick Lewis.

The red-tailed hawk is easy to identify by either sight or sound, and there’s probably at least one living near your home. Rick Lewis shared photos and facts about this iconic bird of prey.

City Council voted to remove Alameda Point Buildings 25 and 29 to maximize ecological park space for De-Pave Park. Council also voted to keep parklets along Webster and Park Streets. Karin K. Jensen covered the meeting.

Alameda artists John Cartan and Jennifer Hoffecker were among the juried artists in the 2023 de Young Open in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Betsy Brazy talked with the artists about their pieces and life as creatives.

Alameda Post - several people onstage aboard the USS Hornet
Congresswoman Barbara Lee presents two resolutions commemorating the USS Hornet’s dual anniversaries. Photo Ken Der.

The USS Hornet buzzed with activity on Veterans Day as visitors observed the holiday with a full slate of events. Ken Der shared highlights from the day and an exclusive interview with US Navy Vice Admiral Daniel Dwyer.

Elegant terns graced Alameda shorelines in search of a fish buffet. Cindy Margulis offered tips on spotting the distinctive birds and urged Alamedans to admire them from a respectful distance.

Thanks to the hardworking Alameda Scouts and generous donations by local households, the Scouting for Food program donated almost 6.5 tons of food to the Alameda Food Bank this year.

Alameda Post - Alameda scouts sort food on folding tables inside for the Scouting For Food 2023 drive
Scouting for Food was a resounding success. Photo courtesy Alameda Scouts.

City officials and police officers shared updates and answered questions at a community meeting about Dignity Village. Kelsey Goeres reported that there has not been an increase in crime in the area since the supportive housing project opened in May.

Steve Gorman sprang into action for two backyard animal rescues just two weeks. He reported that human-made structures, foreign objects, and pets can pose a huge hazard to wildlife, and asked Alamedans to keep an eye out for the creatures who live here.

Alameda Post - a possible design for the new Alameda Food Bank Island Community Market at Alameda Point. It looks like a relatively large single or double story building
Concept design for Island Community Market at Alameda Point. Image presented at Planning Board Meeting November 13, 2023. Agenda Item 5-A, Exhibit 2.

The Planning Board gave a green light to the Alameda Food Bank to develop a permanent community food market at Alameda Point, which serves the city’s most vulnerable households. Karin K. Jensen covered the steps to be taken in order to open the new facility.

Lori Cassels and Shaun Daniels teamed up to make a documentary about Alameda’s famous Tap Dancing Christmas Trees. Kelsey Goeres talked with Cassels and producer Daniels, whose nonprofit organization Students on the Set were helping to capture the magic.

The Rotary Club of Alameda announced that it would award $20,000 to 19 Alameda charities and nonprofits as part of its annual community grants program.

Alameda Post - a sketch of the proposed Estuary Bridge
A conceptual design for the potential “Broadway-Fifth” bridge alignment. Photo City of Alameda.

Ken Der covered the City of Alameda Transportation Commission meeting and provided the latest updates on the Oakland Alameda Estuary Bridge Project as well as proposed changes under the AC Transit Realign effort to optimize local bus routes.

After several online speakers made anti-Semitic remarks at a City Council meeting, the City announced that public comment would only be accepted from in-person attendees for non-agenda oral communications. Remote public comment would continue to be permitted for all other agenda items.

Alameda Post - multiple generations of Hālau Makana
The celebration at Mastick Senior Center. Photo courtesy Jan Schlesinger.

A sell-out crowd of over 250 gathered at Mastick Senior Center to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Hālau Makana, Alameda’s only Polynesian Cultural Center.

Alameda High School graduate Anika Jensen’s short film, Missing You, took second prize in the Young Directors category at the Inner City Short Film Festival. The film captures childhood nostalgia and the struggle to find one’s way in the world.

Alameda Post - the Alameda Friends and Families for a Ceasefire vigil at City Hall's steps
Vigil attendees held candles. Photo Kelsey Goeres.

More than 100 people gathered for a vigil at City Hall organized by Alameda Friends and Families for a Ceasefire. Kelsey Goeres reported that Mayor Ashcraft spoke as a citizen, as City Council had not yet taken an official stance.

The AUSD Board of Education voted unanimously to place a renewal parcel tax measure on the March 5, 2024 primary ballot, elected a new Vice President, and continued a 30-day public comment period for the Wood construction.

Alameda Post - Barnhill Marina homes
Barnhill Marina homes, now with confirmed rent protections. Photo Adam Gillitt.

In a landmark ruling, the U.S. District Court confirmed the City of Alameda’s Rent Control protections for houseboats and liveaboard vessels at floating home marinas.

Health and fitness columnist Coach Denise Lum encouraged readers not to wait until January to make resolutions—and to make them sustainable, realistic, and goal-oriented rather than all-or-nothing pledges.

The Alameda Sun published their final edition and ended operations, leaving the Alameda Post as the only local news organization left reporting and publishing news in Alameda.

December 2023

Alameda Post - Adam Gillitt during proceedings
Still image from the California Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, December 5, at the UCLA School of Law.

Alameda Post Publisher Adam Gillitt testified on behalf of the Alameda Post in front of a California Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on “The Importance of Journalism in the Digital Age” on December 5. He described the challenges that face a small-town newspaper and encouraged greater investment in local news outlets. Kelsey Goeres reported on the hearing, which was streamed live (video is available online – Gillitt’s remarks begin at approximately 2:09:30).

Meanwhile, the male bald eagle from the Corica Park Golf Course nesting pair returned to Alameda. Sharol Nelson-Embry shared the good news after months of waiting to see if the pair would return following the loss of their nest in the spring. With the return of the male, Cory, the hope is that the female, Big Junior, won’t be far behind.

Alameda Post - people gathered around a map of Fernside Boulevard write notes on the trouble areas with sticky notes
Neighbors write comments highlighting issues and opportunities on Fernside. Photo Ken Der.

More than 85 residents gathered to discuss the future of Fernside Boulevard at a community workshop at Edison School. Ken Der reported on the event. “It’s like a raceway,” residents said.

Karin K. Jensen reported that City Council reviewed the Oakland Harbor Turning Basin Widening Project to allow larger cargo ships into the Port of Oakland. They also brought back the Rent Control Program’s Capital Improvement Plan for further discussion and another vote.

Alameda Chamber and Economic Alliance hosted a surprise luncheon to honor outgoing Board Chair Kelly Lux. Adam Gillitt shared some her accomplishments for the community.

Alameda Post - children in Washington Park gather around a performer wearing a colorful costume and holding a prop
Entertainment for the kids at the Menorah Lighting put on by Chabad of Alameda. Photo Kelsey Goeres.

The seventh annual Menorah Lighting at Washington Park, hosted by Chabad of Alameda, featured lots of exciting activities for the children. During the festive event, Kelsey Goeres talked with Rabbi Meir Shmotkin about the significance of the celebration. Temple Israel also hosted its seventh annual Menorah Lighting Celebration, which drew a crowd at South Shore. Goeres attended the festive event, which took place just days after a large menorah at Lake Merritt was vandalized.

Alameda Food Bank Executive Director Teale Harden announced plans to relocate to an approximately 18,000-square-foot permanent home in Alameda Point in 2024. The new facility will include a new warehouse, a renovated building that will house the Island Community Market and administrative offices, and flex space where community partners can assist clients with other services.

The Alameda Post celebrated the second anniversary of the first post to our site: Two New Pieces of Public Art Introduced. We have come a long way in two short years!

Alameda Friends and Families for Ceasefire held another peaceful vigil outside of City Hall on International Human Rights Day. Kelsey Goeres attended the one-hour event, which featured speakers, caroling, and a menorah-lighting.

Alameda Post - a memorial for Mario Gonzalez set up with flowers and mementos in a park
The memorial for Mario Gonzalez. Photo Adam Gillitt.

The City of Alameda released a statement asserting that Mario Gonzalez’s family will receive two settlements, one for $11 million to the estate of Mario Gonzales and another for $350,000 to Gonzalez’s mother, Adam Gillitt reported. The settlements follow Gonzalez’s 2021 death while in Alameda Police custody, according to a statement released by the City of Alameda.

The Warming Shelter opened for the season at Christ Episcopal Church. The shelter, which provides meals and showers as well, will rotate locations with St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and Twin Towers United Methodist Church.

Alameda Post - Alameda Warming Center at 1700 Buena Vista Ave.
One of the locations of the Alameda Warming Shelter at Christ Episcopal Church, 1700 Buena Vista Avenue.

The Planning Board approved a conditional use permit for seven new outdoor pickleball courts at The HUB Sports Club. Karin K. Jensen also reported that the Planning Board approved at least 23 more units at RESHAP to help increase the amount of very low and low-income housing at Alameda Point.

After being closed for refurbishment since late October, Alameda’s Main Street Ferry Terminal was set to reopen on January 2, 2024. Weekend service to San Francisco from Seaplane Lagoon will not continue after that date.

Construction at the new North Housing site for affordable homes points back in time to Alameda’s past. Richard Bangert digs into the soil samples, land deals, and the storied history that has brought us to where we are today.

Alameda Post - the North Housing block under construction
North Housing Block A with excavated soil piles and construction site. Looking north toward Estuary Park and Oakland Estuary. Photo Richard Bangert.

The Housing Authority of the City of Alameda has announced a goal of building more than 600 new affordable homes by 2030. Community Relations Manager Joshua Altieri highlights a few examples of the Housing Authority’s positive community impact.

About 60 people from Alameda Friends and Families for Ceasefire (AFFC) attended a City Council meeting, calling for a ceasefire resolution from the City of Alameda. Kelsey Goeres reported some of AFFC’s main points, as well as an alternate viewpoint from Rabbi Cynthia Minster, who said, “Citizens should advocate at the federal level on foreign policy.”

Alameda Post - a render of what the performing arts center at Alameda Point could look like
Concept image for Alameda Point performing arts center. Image from Request for Proposal, discussed at City Council meeting December 19, 2023.

At that City Council meeting, Karin K. Jensen covered the Exclusive Negotiation Agreement that was reached to allow RADIUM another season of performances at Alameda Point, and to explore the construction of a performing arts center. The Public Art Master Plan was also approved by the Council.

The Post was thrilled to garner national recognition when the New York Times chose Liz Barrett’s story, “Bridgetender Shares the Ups and Downs of Alameda’s Bridges,” to feature among “Local Journalism Worth Reading From 2023.”

Alameda Post - Vivee Young in the driver's seat of a truck smiles out the window. The old red and white truck says "Westside Joe's Bike Shop"
Vivee Young of Westside Joe’s Bike Shop at Caroline Station. Photo Jenn Heflin.

Thushan Amarasiriwardena and Jenn Heflin talked with local business owners about Caroline Station’s revitalization. Community members and business owners alike celebrated the new “third spaces” on the small section of Central Avenue.

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