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Rodriquez’s resolution

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The Hayward City Council is dipping its toe into the teachers vs. HUSD fray with news that City Councilwoman Doris Rodriquez is proposing a resolution “of support” for the teachers.

The teachers union, Hayward Education Association, issued a press release today saying the council “tonight will vote on a resolution of support for striking Hayward Unified School District teachers.” That’s not correct — at least, not the voting part.

Because it’s not on the agenda and the public has not been officially notified, the council would very likely be breaking state open meetings law if it voted on the resolution tonight.

Rodriquez and co-sponsor Councilman Bill Quirk confirmed that they don’t intend to vote tonight and that the HEA release is wrong. Rodriquez, who is the mother of HEA vice president Mercedes Faraj, said she plans to present the resolution tonight and ask the council to vote on it April 17 with proper public notification.

But you can still expect plenty of teachers to be weighing in on the issue during tonight’s public comments section of the City Council meeting. The meeting begins at 8 p.m. at City Hall, Council Chambers, 777 B St.

Armchair warriors can watch the live Webcast on the city’s Web site.

TUESDAY NIGHT UPDATE, 9:25 P.M.: At tonight’s 8 p.m. meeting, Rodriquez did indeed announce the resolution and the council did decide to wait until April 17 to vote on it, despite several audience members who wanted them to take action ASAP. Citing the Brown Act, the city attorney said he didn’t think the proceedings qualified as an emergency, which is the only legal justification for the council voting on something that was not listed on the agenda. A couple council members nevertheless said they would deliver the message individually beforehand, and Mayor Mike Sweeney said he would write a letter to the school district. Rodriquez’s proposed resolution is as follows:

WHEREAS, the Hayward City Council has historically supported efforts at providing quality education for young people; and

WHEREAS, disharmony between labor and management impairs the ability to provide such education; and

WHEREAS, the City Council strongly encourages and supports harmonious relations between management and teachers; and

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Hayward City Council hereby urges the representatives of the Hayward Education Association and the Hayward Unified School District to take all steps necessary to reach a fair and equitable settlement to avoid any further disruption in services to the students of the District.

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More HUSD strike letters

From Oakland’s Carla Schick:

The other day I saw an ad for entry-level diesel mechanics for Golden Gate Busses _ the starting salary is $71,000 with benefits. An entry-level teacher in Hayward earns about $48,000 a year, with benefits paid for out of that salary. No one wants to get on a bus that is poorly serviced. Yet we allow our teachers to be undervalued and underpaid, although the safety of our future is in their hands.

We must be willing to pay salaries that will attract and retain the best teachers, counselors, nurses and speech therapists. In Hayward, the money has been given to the district by the state, but the school board and the district administration have chosen to pass it on to high-level administrators rather than those people who work directly with students. Communities need to reclaim their public school system and take a stand in support of teachers.

From Hayward resident Lisa Brunner:

When the HUSD teachers announced a strike, I fully supprted them; I consider the 3 percent increase offer from the HUSD an insult for how hard our teachers work. The teachers are the stabilizing force within our school district. With barely 52 percent homeownership districtwide, we have a very unstable student base in some of our neighborhoods, causing a high turnover of students. Our teachers are dedicated. Over the past seven years, our teachers have worked with the district to keep it out of bankruptcy; in seven years they’ve received only a 7 percent raise against a 22 percent COLA increase from the state. The worst of it is our teachers have no health care benefits — they pay out-of-pocket. The cost of health insurance alone more than negates the 7 percent over seven years.

When the HUSD said they were offering 8.6 percent, it sounded like a good offer, and it would have been if it was offered under the same conditions as the 3 percent.

The HUSD has not shown that they value or respect the teachers who have made teaching a long-term career within this district. Like most parents, I would like to see the strike end, but until it does the teachers have my support. Please make an offer that shows our teachers are valued and quit playing numbers games.

From Hayward resident Eileen Samuelu:

I have three children, one in each level (elementary, middle and high school) who are now being affected by this strike. Due to this event, I have had to make last-minute arrangements with family and friends to care for my children.

As a parent, I have elected to keep my children at home during the strike because I don’t believe that, due to the strike, the schools are able to provide a safe and nurturing educational environment for my children. They are moving children into cafeterias, lunchrooms, libraries, or doubling up in small classrooms due to the shortage of substitutes who are acting more as babysitters than educators; they have lesson plans outside of the already in-place programs set by the qualified teachers and educators who now line the outside of the schools with picket signs. These teachers/educators for the past eight months have been preparing my children for college, for their future, guiding their education, but now they are not and my children are paying the price. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!

After calling each school to inform them that each child would not be attending due to the strike, the attendance person at my son’s high school (Mt.Eden) told me she would put down that he is taking a personal day. This, by definition of the school’s manual, is considered an unexcused leave, which is counted against him. She went on to say that because the school is still “open,” it is “his personal choice” not to attend. Yet in an earlier article, a student who did attend was told by the same administrators to go home. How is a teacher strike my son’s personal choice? Please tell me how she can have the nerve to say that it’s my son’s “choice” to remain at home because the conditions at school have changed and are currently unsafe and noneducational? Please explain to me how it is any parent’s choice to have their child stay home due to a strike we had no say in or control over, a strike that we had no part in negotiations for, a strike that now costs parents extra money that we don’t have to pay for day care because our priority is to keep our children safe?

These elected officials are there to prevent these situations from escalating to these levels, yet here we are placed in a position not of our choosing. Now my children have to pay the cost and I have to pay the cost. I do not appreciate these administrators who tell me that this strike is my personal choice because if it was up to me, if it actually was my choice, there would not be a strike on right now because I would have negotiated high enough that the teachers would have gotten an actual FAIR contract and not some ridiculous low percentage like 7 or 8 percent that the district has been offering after giving themselves a more than 16 percent raise. I’d throw in a supply expense program that would refund teachers for supplies they paid for out-of-pocket, which they do constantly to help stimulate the minds of our children.

These officials say our children are the future, they claim “no child left behind”, they say that education is top priority, but did they mean that “their” children are the future, that “their” children’s education is top priority and that the children, parents, and families of Hayward, outside of their own, aren’t so important? If they really do care about the communities in Hayward, then PROVE IT! Prove it by settling the teachers contract negotiations so that teachers can get back to what they love doing: teaching. Prove it by settling the teachers contract negotiations so that my children’s education and future are not jeopardized and can get back on track. Prove it by settling the teachers contract negotiations so that our children and our families are not penalized fir a situation we have no control over but have to pay for. DO IT because that’s what you are paid and elected to do.

My faith in California’s education system is diminishing quickly. We as parents and as voters tend to remember these things, especially around election time. I encourage them to settle this quickly as they may not be around next term to get the chance.

From Nicholas Halatsis of Hayward:

I have four children. Two have graduated from Hayward schools and gone on to college

This is a tribute to Hayward teachers. I will stand next to myteachers in the picket line.

Teachers deserve our respect and support.

Teachers deserve fair pay.

Schools … less jails.

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Vigilant Vigil

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Hayward teachers are riled up over the prospect of Superintendent Dale Vigil leaving town during a work stoppage. A rumor has spread that the superintendent will spend next week’s spring break vacation basking in the sun of Mazatlan, Mexico.

The two sides have entertained the possibility of meeting during the break to resolve their differences over compensation, and teachers question how a settlement can be reached if the superintendent is out of town.

Vigil, who shot down rumors of crossing the border but indicated he will be spending time with family, said a deal can be reached without him.

“I am not part of the bargaining team,” he said. “Our team will be here and is ready to go back to the table whenever the union is.”

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A light at the end of the “airborne love canal”?

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In a guest column in today’s paper, Union City Mayor Mark Green and AC Transit board member Greg Harper ask political leaders to at least consider an end to the 40-year ban on truck traffic along Interstate 580.

Why? Because while 580 through the Oakland and San Leandro foothills is a decent drive, the adjacent 238-880 corridor is a dastardly “airborne love canal” that might not be so bad if 580 shared some of the corridor’s heavy truck burden, Green and Harper argue. One consequence, they believe, is an unfair pollution impact on flatland residents and commuters.

So how about that 580 truck ban, which has confounded generations of Caltrans officials and even Ronald Reagan? Should it stay or should it go?

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Teachers: Donut cross the line

Doughnuts

About 1,200 doughnuts will fuel educators today during the first teacher strike in Hayward since 1994. The California Teachers Association is footing the bill for the sweet treats from Tommy’s Donuts in downtown Hayward. Meanwhile, a community support rally is scheduled for noon today at Birchfield Park. The park is located at the corner of Winton Avenue and Santa Clara Street.

Check back here and pick up Thursday’s edition of The Daily Review for the latest developments.

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Seeing green

The San Leandro City Council’s vision for the Bayside Business Park may have turned out to be not so green after all. But check out this link listing other existing and developing eco-industrial parks throughout the country, including one in Oakland. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you’ll see several case studies that address the lessons learned in undertaking such an ambitious mission.

Are there any lessons learned from the City Council’s attempt to develop an eco-industrial park near Davis Street? Chime in.

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A long way from Viti Levu

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According to an online city distance calculator, it’s 5,460 miles from Hayward to Suva, the capital of Fiji.

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As reported today, Fiji’s national soccer team landed in the Bay Area on Saturday, took a quick rest and was practicing in Hayward soon after. The team plays Santa Clara tonight, which makes us wonder if Fijian cinemas featured “Bend It Like Beckham.” The team returns to Hayward for a match against locally based Fiji U.S. Soccer on Sunday and again to play the SF Seals on April 11.