This comment is in response to a letter written by Allan Maris in Albany.Patch.com.
Thank you Allan for your thoughts on this matter. While I disagree with your opinion, I think you presented your ideas with authenticity and respect. I learned a lot from your comments and would like to counter with my own experience in this matter.
My family has lived in Albany since 1964 when my mother moved with my brother and I to Albany Village. I remember well my mother lamenting the conservative politics of the day as she saw one failed idea after another forwarded by those who claimed to know what was best for Albany residents but always seemed to think in terms of dollars instead of our greater welfare.
I remember riding BART on the first day it opened and coming out of the Berkeley tube on our way to Richmond. My mother, literally, broke down in tears as she explained that Albany did not want to raise taxes by $15/year/household in order to continue BART underground. She begged us to “never let people sell your well-being for profits.” I often think about how much better life in Albany would be if BART continued underground all the way to El Cerrito.
I see the waterfront as a similar issue.
I moved back, got married, started a family and recently purchased a house in Albany specifically because we have a great town where people can talk with one another and create community. Yes, we have some of the best schools and safest neighborhoods. This would mean little to many of us if we could not feel good about the town we live in. Simply put, we ‘like’ living here.
I think it was a brilliant decision to “hire a firm that specialized in public engagement work.” I think Fern Tiger Associates did an excellent job. Albany will reap the benefits for years to come. Thank you to all who participated and especially to those who voted to fund this worthy project in community participation.