I’ve written about all things local, including emergency preparedness, open space opportunities, Alameda Point, economic challenges, mental health, media, education, democracy, points of interest, and the city’s tree policy. My piece on the Sea Scout Regatta at Alameda Point is still a big hit on my blog.
I’ve learned a lot in the process. I now keep a record of my research because it can disappear overnight. For instance, Harbor Bay Landing removed their online rent prices after I pointed out they were charging higher shopping center rents than anywhere else on the island. Communicating complex issues in a few words has taught me to stay focused. And, most importantly, I’ve learned that having an informed opinion requires hours of work.
While some issues draw lots of attention or are well advertised, by exploring around the island myself, I’ve discovered that many other things are going on as well. Feedback has shown me that people really appreciate being recognized for their work and efforts, that popular stories aren’t necessarily the controversial ones, and that visuals such as the photos and videos on my blog capture what words cannot.
As I look back at the topics I covered during the past year, I see there were strides and stalls in the city. Alameda Point took the prize for positive leaps. Through the Going Forward process, the city took stock of current attitudes and sought feedback on new proposals. We secured being short-listed for the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s second campus and got the Navy to finally agree to a no-cost conveyance agreement for the former Navy Base. The Flight Park concept was released, and many naturalists are excited. Elsewhere, the easiest and most gratifying change was seeing our shopping mall at the south end of town return to its original South Shore Center name.
As for stalls, I’ve yet to see any city council referral or formal discussion on changing our voting from the current plurality system (the most regressive) to ranked-choice voting (the most progressive). My suggestion for tackling our city’s budget woes by starting at the top fell flat. And the Alameda Theater did not show independent (Indie) films during the year, as I was led to believe it would.
At the end of last year I encouraged everyone to make his or her New Years’ resolution local. I’m hoping many of you did. If not, consider it again this year. You never know what discoveries you’ll find in your own backyard unless you go out and curiously wander. Isle Say it’s worked out well for me.
Originally published in Alameda Sun