Politically prickly

When it comes to mishaps, AsianWeek may have changed the Year of the Boar into the Year of the Boor (or Bore).

The news journal got into hot water this week with the publication of “Why I Hate Blacks,” by New York contributor Kenneth Eng. The column’s negative feelings towards African Americans infuriated Asian Americans, such as Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker, who fired off a press release denouncing the writer, the topic and the publication.

Stating that she’s “furious at AsianWeek,” Lai-Bitker said the person responsible for running the column should be fired. She also said any county advertising in AsianWeek pull out if the San Francisco-based publication doesn’t take firm action against “hate speech.”

Lai-Bitker doesn’t mention any names, but the politically powerful Fang family owns and edits AsianWeek. Lai-Bitker and the Fangs were linked, albeit distantly, last year when both contributed to the successful election campaign of Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco.


The Review in review

Stormy weather: The elements are throwing a wrench into things at SFO.

Hoop dreams: If you look up “Cinderella season” in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of the St. Felicitas boys basketball team.

DeGenerally speaking: TV writer Susan Young dishes on Ellen (good) and the Oscars (yawn).

Sharks beef up the D: San Jose nets Montreal’s Craig Rivet.

Nuts about food: Diamond is reshaping itself with its Emerald snack line.

Mail bag: Check out today’s Letters to the Editor. You can send us one here.

Today’s boredom buster: All the insider info on Susan Young’s blog always entertains us…


Wärtsilä vs. Wyllie: Battle for Eden Gardens

Hayward resident Diana Wyllie sent an e-mail today to me, Erin Brokovich and the Hayward City Council exclaiming how “THERE IS NOTHING GOOD” about Tierra Energy’s plans for a 115-megawatt, gas-fired peaker plant on Clawiter Road. You can read the letter in full below, and feel free to weigh in on your own.

[For those just catching up, Austin-based Tierra has been eyeing a site on Clawiter to build a simple-cycle plant for PG&E. The company has already bought 14 Finnish-designed Wärtsilä engines, and is well on its way through the review process with the California Energy Commission, which you can keep track of here. The Hayward Planning Commission held a hearing on the project Thursday, but ended up with a split vote.]


It has come to my attention that we have a dangerous power plant proposed for our residential neighborhood. I understand that City regulations stipulate only the notification of neighbors within 1,000 feet of the proposed site. However I feel in this case it was a moral obligation to notify every single resident within WIND range of this potentially hazardous project.

Your 1,000 foot rule should be changed for projects like these that have a far reaching affect on the quality of life for local residents far and beyond the sites location. A flyer on my front porch alerted me to this project and its potential health hazards. We have a delicate interface between residential and industrial zoning in this area. Notifying only local industrial businesses within 1,000 feet of a potentially hazardous project is irresponsible when those managing these businesses don’t even LIVE here or CARE.

Furthermore, it is your duty to locate power plants such as these well Continue Reading


Could there be hope for the Marina after all?

Although the City Council may be thinking about scrapping the San Leandro Marina because of the enormous cost of dredging, it seems as though some in the area aren’t satisfied with that option.

Case in point, this is an e-mail we received from a reader giving his two cents:

There is NO WAY that the East Bay (or Bay Area) could tolerate the closure of the most beautiful marina in the region. I have some suggestions I’d like to present to the City Coucil regarding other ways for the Marina to cover the costs of Marina dredging:

1) Nominal Entrance Fee at Marina Entrance across from the Comcast Building.

Although this would create a traffic backup on Marina Blvd, It sure would beat having an empty Marina Blvd because there is no Marina. Tolls could be $2-$5 for non-resident vehicles with permits issued for marina and/or San Leandro residents.

2) Commercialize the Boating/Yachting section.

All those rusty boats sitting should be removed for public use boats which could be rented by the public for parties, corporate meetings and special events. My wife and I tried to rent a sailboat when we first moved to the marina, only to be told that no one rents any boats or conducted any tours of the Bay. We were, to say the least, astonished.

This makes me wonder if any other San Leandrans have any viable alternatives for the Marina? Share your thoughts with us.


The Review in review

Sharing the love: Valentine’s Day celebrates the power of the heart. A Bay Area 3-year-old is pluckily living life with half of one.

Sound off: Got a complaint about Hayward? The city has a new Web site to handle your beefs.

Message in a bottle: Celebrate V-Day with a sexy Syrah.

Sticking to it: The Sharks gave the Blues the blues with a 6-5 victory Tuesday night. Can they do it again tonight against the Preds?

Pump it up: Gas prices have stabilized nationally, but continue to climb in California.

We’ve got mail: Check out today’s Letters to the Editor. Want to send one? Click here.

Today’s boredom buster: Try your hand at Ant City.


Joan Kowal can’t rub HUSD off her shoulder

Her controversial tenure as superintendent of the Hayward Unified School District is dogging Joan Kowal again as she seeks school chief jobs elsewhere in the country.

It came up in Seattle a few years ago and most recently in Indiana. A report in today’s Evansville Courier & Press mentions Kowal’s “rocky” experience in Hayward.

As news organizations have made their content more accessible and easily searchable online, it can be harder for public officials, or anyone, to escape the baggage of past controversies — even if they might be dependent on local circumstances. We’re interested to hear if you think that’s a good or a bad thing.


Long-lost soldier looking for descendants

John Minton, a retired U.S. Marine sergeant who lives in Red Bluff, contacted us this week because he is trying to get more information about France Silva, a Hayward native who fought in the Boxer Rebellion and was shot in the leg on July 1, 1900. He was supposedly the first Hispanic-American person to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

But very little is known about him, says Minton, who for three years has been trying to research Silva’s story.

Silva died in 1951 and was buried alone in Corning, which is south of Red Bluff.

“I don’t know his wife’s maiden name. I figure, if I can get the maiden name, I can look for descendants,” Minton said. “Nobody evens knows where that Medal of Honor is at.”

If you think you’re related to Private Silva or know anything about him, you can contact Minton at usmcmike3zero@sbcglobal.net or (530) 840-0345.


Blonde ambition

Attractive, blonde anchors have been de rigeur for decades on San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose televison screens. Current examples are KTVU’s Julie Haener, KNTV’s Diane Dwyer, KGO’s Cheryl Jennings and KRON’s Catherine Heenan.

But Karna Small set the standard for them all. Broadcasts in the 1960s and 1970s wouldn’t have been the same without her stylish presence on KRON and KGO, with frequent flights to Los Angeles for appearances on news programs there.

Small left the Bay Area for a news broadcasting gig in the nation’s capitol, followed by six years in the Ronald Reagan White House and a period working as spokeswoman at the National Security Council.

Now, Small — using her married name, Bodman — has written a political thriller, “Checkmate.” You can check it — and Karna — out on her Web site.


Money, honey

Jesus Armas isn’t the only soon-to-be ex-Hayward city manager in the news.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen, political editor at the Contra Costa Times, the Review’s sister paper, reported Sunday that Don Blubaugh last week landed the Martinez city manager’s job.

Blubaugh signed on in Hayward in 1979 at a salary of $52,000 a year. When he left nine years later, Walnut Creek agreed to pay him the same $93,600 annual salary he had earned in Hayward. Blubaugh said “so long” to Walnut Creek in 2002, when his yearly salary was $218,000. In Martinez, he will earn $260,000 a year, managing a city of about 40,000 population.

Now 64, Blubaugh apparently couldn’t face retirement because he subsequently launched a consulting firm, led a regional government project, and served as interim city manager in Orinda, Oakley and Martinez, Vorderbrueggen noted.

Good government pay doesn’t hurt, either.

Armas is leaving Hayward, with a population of more than 140,000, and his $180,000 yearly salary.


Stonebrae … is that near Sunol?

The cover feature in this Saturday’s edition of Bay HomeSite, the news-like advertising insert that appears in The Daily Review and its sister papers on weekends, invited readers to that day’s “gala grand opening” of the Stonebrae Country Club.


But what was noticeably missing in the 700-word, superlative-heavy ad, which took up the entire front page of the section, was any mention of the fact that Stonebrae is located in the city of Hayward.

You can find out that it’s “the East Bay’s premiere choice for country club living.” Also, that it’s “coming today to the East Bay Hills.” And, sort of helpfully, that it’s “south of 580 atop the East Bay Hills.” You can also deduce that it’s on the west side of the hills, judging by all the 510 numbers you’re invited to call to find out more.

You might even hope to figure things out from the sepia-toned image of a khaki-clad golfer, looking out toward the Bay and “photographed on location at Stonebrae,” but the distinctive Hayward-San Mateo Bridge is smothered by a sidebar.