The Alamedan

For most of the last seven years I’ve covered Alameda’s news, most recently as the editor of The Alamedan. But this fall, I went back to school to pursue a new career. This means I need to significantly dial back my commitment to the site, which has to date been a full-time, volunteer gig.

We’re opening this week’s (slightly late) Campaign Column with some exciting news: We’re partnering with the Alameda Sun on a pair of candidate debates in September.

Candidates for City Council and mayor will go head to head from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, September 18, while those running for the school board will meet from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, September 20. Admission to these forums is free, and open to the public.

We’re racing to finalize locations for the forums but wanted to let you know right away that we’ve got all the candidates signed up for these dates and that the forums are happening. Stay tuned here for an update next week!

The past week alone brought queries about the apparent return of anchor-outs to the Alameda/Oakland Estuary, the dismantling of a dock that doubles as a home for a family of seals, the grand opening of Alameda’s first affordable housing complex for developmentally disabled people, some upcoming car wash fundraisers that will showcase water-saving efforts in the face of California’s drought and the overhaul of the city’s Mif Albright golf course. All of these stories are worthy of exploration. And with a little help from you, we may be able to cover more of them.

A few weeks ago the head of Digital First Media – the private equity-backed company that owns the Oakland Tribune, San Jose Mercury News and most of the other daily papers in the Bay Area – announced the company was shuttering Project Thunderdome, a 50-person outfit that provided business, technology, health and other news to dozens of the company’s papers across the country.

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Broad Brush, your weekly two-sentence news review. Here’s what happened this week.

In a surprise award ceremony Friday at the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building in Oakland, Benjamin Jenkins was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor in the United States, for his service. In addition to seeing combat during World War II, Jenkins battled segregation as one of the first black Marines in American history.

This is an exciting week for us here at The Alamedan: On Friday, we turn the corner on two years of providing you high-quality local news coverage and a voice in local affairs. I’d like to thank you for reading, and for your story ideas and support of our work.

Two and a half weeks ago I got an e-mail from my colleague Steven Tavares, who runs the East Bay Citizen political website. It contained a link to a 20-year-old Los Angeles Times story about the arrests of seven people accused of participating in an auto insurance fraud ring – one of them an Alameda city councilman.

“Have you ever seen this story about Stewart Chen?” he asked.

I hadn’t – not in 2012 when I was covering the election that saw Chen win a two-year term on the council, nor in 2010 when he ran for and won a seat on the Alameda Health Care District Board, which oversees Alameda Hospital.

And that means I need to work a little harder.

To provide more of the news, explanatory reports and accountability journalism you want, we are going to need your help.

Are you interested in the future of Alameda Point? If so, we’ve scheduled a meetup where you can share your ideas on the Point with other like-minded souls.

The Alamedan’s Alameda Point meetup will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, January 31 at Blue Danube, which is on the corner of Park Street and Alameda Avenue. There’s no charge to come and share your thought on the Point, and Blue Danube has coffee, wine, sandwiches and treats available to purchase and enjoy.

The crew here at The Alamedan is looking forward to providing more of the news that matters to you in 2014, and we could use a little help doing that. We’re looking for a few good folks to help us broaden our coverage of the Island.

Specifically, we’re looking for freelance writers interested in keeping our readers abreast of local business and tech and to help us build our coverage of the 2014 elections. We’re also on the lookout for newshounds who can help us extend or coverage of big issues with local implications and overlooked local stories.