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Hit ‘n’ for nothing

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Ever had it up to here with telephone voice prompts that don’t take you where you need to go?

Banks often close on federal holidays, which included today (Jan. 2) due to funeral services for former President Gerald Ford. I called two numbers, listed in the telephone book, to find out whether Bank of America‘s Hayward main branch was open.

The first voice prompt asked for a 10-digit account number to access account information. The next prompt told me to hit 1 for products and services. Then there were eight options for banking activity; lost, stolen or damaged cards; new accounts or loans; ATM or banking center locations; online banking; brokerage account information; wire transfers to Mexico; and check verification.
I hit “0,” for an operator, in the hopes of hearing a human voice and ask a simple question. “Zero is an invalid option,” the recorded spiel responded.

Instead of letting my fingers do the walking, I took a walk and found the bank open.

Anyone else had problems with automated responses?

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What’s next, Joe?

Joe DeVries has been on the local political scene for years, first as an aide to former Oakland City Councilman Nate Miley and later as Miley’s chief of staff when the councilman was elected to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. DeVries frequently worked on projects in Miley’s supervisorial district, which includes Castro Valley, Fairview, Cherryland and part of Ashland. DeVries, after a sabbatical, returned to work as a consultant on the Miley-backed Measure Q election on the November ballot in Castro Valley. Q, a $30 million park bond, failed, and during December DeVries was busy in Oakland, running a tax-funded, violence-prevention program that included gun exchanges.

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Takin’ care of business

Johan Klehs

Former Assemblyman Johan Klehs, D-San Leandro, said after cleaning out his Sacramento office in November that he plans to teach a class at the University of California, Berkeley; look at “offers and opportunities” to work in Sacramento; and may go back into government relations consulting.

Klehs also made sure his staff, both at the Hayward district office and in the Capitol, are earning a paycheck now that they no longer work for him.

Among others, Klehs’ aide Chris Parman is district director for Klehs’ successor, Mary Hayashi. Anne Taylor, Klehs’ district districtor, went to work for California State University East Bay as director of government and university relations.

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Looking for legislators?

Tomorrow is Jan. 3, the start of California’s Legislative session, and where are your politicians? Mary Hayashi, D-18th Assembly, and Ellen Corbett, D-10th state Senate, are in Sacramento, but constituents who don’t want to head north can check out their district offices.

Both have moved into the local digs of their predecessors.

Mary Hayashi

Hayashi’s office, 22320 Foothill Blvd., suite 540, in Hayward, formerly was occupied by Johan Klehs. Even though his office was in Hayward, Klehs — a former San Leandro City Council member — always identified himself as Klehs, D-San Leandro. His successor, a Castro Valley resident, is identifying herself as D-Hayward.

Ellen Corbett

Corbett, herself a former San Leandro mayor and assemblywoman, also always has identified herself with San Leandro. Now, since her Senate district spans both Alameda and Santa Clara counties, Corbett is serving constituents out of former senator Liz Figueroa’s office, 43801 Mission Blvd., No. 103, in Fremont. However, on her Web site, Corbett still identifies herself as D-San Leandro.