Look out, San Leandro: There’s a new blogger in town

There’s a new blogger in town and his name is Frank Lynn.

Lynn describes himself as “a 30-something high-tech marketer with a passion for making San Leandro a better place to live.” His blog is dedicated to “local San Leandro politics, culture and happenings around the town,” quite similar to the mission of San Leandro’s other blog, San Leandro Bytes, run by San Leandro schools trustee and parent Mike Katz.

I don’t know what the connection is between these two blogs — or if there even is one. All I know is it makes the San Leandro blogosphere a whole lot more interesting.


Immigration: A big deal

With today’s big news that President Bush and top senators have reached a deal on overhauling U.S. immigration policy, we’d like to hear from you all about the impact you think this new direction — if it gets through Congress — will have on yourselves, your families and your jobs and livelihood.

You can reach me at (510) 293-2473.



More than two years after Cal State University, Hayward (CSUH) changed its name to Cal State University, East Bay (CSUEB), causing great controversy here, some still feel slighted.

Take the latest newsletter from the Hayward Area Planning Association, which advocates sticking Hayward back in the school name:

What is a CSUEBH? California State University, East Bay Hayward. This name is necessary to distinguish our campus from Oakland and Concord, and I urge all to use it to avoid confusion and to protest the abuse of authority that changed the original name of CSU Hayward.

Sure to make an attractive sweatshirt.


Evaluating Vigil

Not even a full month after Hayward teachers and the district negotiated salary increases, the teachers union threw a jab at Superintedent Dale Vigil, releasing a “No Confidence” vote to the district chief on Tuesday.

So much for a healing process that was anticipated by the community.

The “No Confidence” vote was spurred by a 10-day strike and 83 grievances filed by educators during Vigil’s tenure, which began in July 2005, according to the Hayward Education Association.

It’s obvious what the union thinks of Vigil. They are demanding trustees to not renew his contract when it expires next year.

School board President Grant Peterson has publicly said Vigil has done a good job.

But what about the community?

The superintendent is scheduled to be evaluated by the board soon.

What are your thoughts on how the district’s top dog has performed during his nearly two years in Hayward? Where does Vigil rank among past superintendents such as Joan Kowal and Marlin Foxworth?

Keep in mind comments may be used for a future story.

Here is HEA’s resolution:

Hayward Education Association
Faculty Representative Assembly
Resolution Expressing “NO CONFIDENCE” in Superintendent Dale Vigil

WHEREAS, Superintendent Dale Vigil has created conditions requiring members to file a record number of grievances, 83 thus far; and

WHEREAS, Superintendent Dale Vigil does not resolve grievances, and his failed leadership has resulted in costly arbitrations; and

WHEREAS, Superintendent Dale Vigil’s management style resulted in Hayward Educators striking for ten days before an agreement could be reached; and

WHEREAS, Superintendent Dale Vigil’s management style has resulted in morale among employees being at an all-time low; and

WHEREAS, Superintendent Dale Vigil’s management style has adversely affected relations between the community and the District; and

WHEREAS, Superintendent Dale Vigil has failed to garner community support in order to pass a facilities bond yet continues to close schools and change boundaries beyond what is necessary; and

WHEREAS, Superintendent Dale Vigil has spent over two million dollars in administrative salaries at the District level producing little or no educational benefit for our students; and

WHEREAS, Superintendent Dale Vigil has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultants and management attorneys who have provided little positive impact on our students;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Hayward Education Association Faculty Representative Assembly expresses a vote of “NO CONFIDENCE” in Superintendent Dale Vigil and urges the Board of Education to not extend his contract beyond June 30, 2008.

AND FURTHER, in the event that Superintendent Dale Vigil resigns from the Hayward Unified School District prior to June 2008, that the Board of Education accepts his unconditional resignation immediately.

May 14, 2007


Gray Lady on the 580

The late City Councilman Mateo Jimenez would always interject whenever someone uttered the words “San Mateo Bridge” in a sentence. “It’s the Hayward-San Mateo Bridge!!,” he would exclaim.

We imagined him this morning while reading a front page article (registration may be required) in today’s New York Times, which prominently features the bridge and other favorite East Bay roadways.


Peet’s on slow roast to nowhere

Downtown’s downtrodden Palmtag Building came up at the Hayward City Council’s “work session” meeting this evening.

“That thing’s about to crumble down. What’s going on with that?” Councilman Kevin Dowling asked his colleagues.

“Not much,” replied City Manager Jesus Armas.

It was more than a year ago that we wrote about the city’s great hopes for the 19th-century building.

The building owner, Oakland-based Browman Development Co., which also developed and owns the neighboring Albertsons/Starbucks/Jamba Juice/etc. shopping center and the new Target center on Hesperian, announced in March 2006 that it was going to restore the Palmtag and put a Peet’s Coffee and Tea Shop there. Their schedule was as follows: Start remodeling in June 2006, complete it by Thanksgiving 2006 and have the coffee shop open by spring 2007. Browman was going to use a $500,000 city subsidy to help restore the structure to its turn-of-the-century splendor, making it look like this:


And although Browman secured a lease agreement with Peet’s, the project never got off the ground. Armas said one of the problems is that the transformer that serves the area is “oversubscribed” and apparently can’t handle the additional load. PG&E could supply it, but the developer would have to bear the costs of expanding the system.


Breaking news

Does anyone out there know Jonquel Brooks? He’s a Hayward High graduate who was on the track and basketball teams. If you have any information, please contact me at (510) 293-2468 or ksantos@dailyreviewonline.com.

Police search for Hayward man suspected in Fresno State shooting


Police today arrested a college student suspected of opening fire at an apartment complex near California State University, Fresno, killing one man and wounding two others in a dispute over a video game console.

Jonquel Brooks, 19, of Hayward was taken into custody after a morning of intense phone negotiations with police, his parents and an attorney, said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.

“The suspect had altered his appearance significantly,” Dyer said. “He shaved his head and also changed his clothing apparently in an attempt to avoid being recognized.”

Brooks, who was majoring in criminology at Fresno State, was arrested after police and federal agents launched a manhunt for him. Investigators initially believed he was still inside the apartment complex where the shooting occurred, but expanded the search to other parts of Fresno after they determined he had fled.

The incident began when Brooks got into a confrontation with four men over a Sony PlayStation console shortly after 11 p.m. Monday, Dyer said.


Hayward = Biotech?


Despite the demonstrated struggle of trying to attract high-tech business to Hayward or anywhere else right now, people up in Oakland are apparently envious of the Heart of the Bay’s biotech-magnet abilities.

A well-publicized report released this week by the Oakland Chamber of Commerce declares that Hayward is the top seventh biotech city in all of California, if measured by how many biotech companies are located in town. The report, based on 2002 data, shows 11 companies total. We reported last year that there are now more than 30 “life sciences” companies in Hayward, ranging from pharmaceutical makers to medical device inventors. Of course, since that time, lots of other places — such as Emeryville — have attracted more biotech companies to their shores, as well.

(Review photo of Mendel Biotechnology in Hayward taken in March 2006.)


Q&A with HUSD school board President Grant Peterson

Hayward school board President Grant Peterson was excluded from the Q&A session with Superintendent Dr. Dale Vigil and Hayward Education Association President Kathy Crummey that we published last Friday because some answers required more time for research purposes. He was initally interviewed last week, while the strike was still going on.

Here are his answers, in his own words, to strike-related questions from parents, teachers, students, readers and The Daily Review.

Why did you feel it was necessary to give such a large raise to the top four administrators when teachers had not yet received a raise and negotiations had not been settled?

We had just settled a three-year contract with Hayward Education Association in December of 2005. The district was just coming out of financial difficulties, and at the same time, we finally had a strong administrative team in place.

Three months later, in March of 2006, we began looking at the three (not four) administrative contracts that were coming to an end in June of 2006. These three individuals were committed to our district, but we also knew the reality, that March is the time other districts recruit top talent, and we knew that we could lose any or all of them.

We wanted to stop the “revolving door” syndrome that has plagued HUSD administration over the years, and the only way to do that was to keep their salaries competitive. Our board felt that the district could afford the $57,000 it cost to retain these administrators. We also knew that replacing any of these administrators would cost more than the raise we gave them.

We also wanted to align these contracts to Dr. Vigil’s, which ends in June of 2008, so we would be able to have all four of our contracted employees on the same schedule. We felt that having all contracts aligned would again provide for stability and continuity that HUSD had previously lacked.

Why does HUSD need the highest paid superintendent in the area?

Actually, HUSD does not have the highest paid superintendent in the area.

Many superintendents’ salaries include a car allowance, expense account, payment of professional dues, reimbursement for training and professional development, an annuity and health insurance. Dr. Vigil receives two things: his salary and reimbursement for his professional dues. Nothing else.

The bottom line: If you compare the salary and benefits Dr. Vigil receives to other superintendents, both locally and in similar school districts across California, you will find his salary to be competitive but by no means at the top. In Alameda County alone, the total salary and benefits package of two superintendents exceeds that of Dr. Vigil’s, and an additional two are within a few thousand dollars of the total compensation offered by HUSD.

A major factor in setting a superintendent’s salary is the history and marketability of a district. HUSD has faced many tough challenges for a number of years, with stability at the top level being absent. When our board began its search for a superintendent, the first “round” met with failure. We did not find any candidates that we felt fit our needs, so we began a new search. This second search brought Dr. Vigil into the candidate pool, and the board determined that he was an excellent match for helping us fine-tune and implement our goals. He has done just that.

Part of the agreement with Dr. Vigil was that he would bring in additional resources to the district, and he has done just that. In under two years Dr. Vigil has brought over $4.2 million into HUSD in the form of grants from foundations. He has moved here, registered to vote here, and has quickly become part of the Hayward community.

To answer your question again, while Dr. Vigil is not the highest paid superintendent in the area, he has brought so much to this district and is worth every penny he has been paid, and then some.

How much money has been spent on outside consultants, including the demographer, the lawyers filing injunctions, curriculum consultants, professional development and other consultants hired from outside the district? How much this year? How much in past years?

(This information is provided by Jan Combes, Business Services)

General purpose (unrestricted) funds are not spent on curriculum consultants or professional development; these are paid for out of state and federal grant money specified for these purposes only.

HUSD does not have a Facilities Department, therefore it was necessary to use the services of an outside firm when HUSD developed its Facilities Master Plan. Funding for these services were provided from a combination of developer fees, state grant funds (Williams Emergency Repair Act) and residual money left from prior district construction. The Building Fund is separate from the General Fund money and cannot legally be used for employee salaries. This included demographic projections, help with realigning boundaries, prioritizing construction projects, and assessing the needs for safety and structural improvements under the “Williams Act.”

Administrative services primarily represent the cost of doing business and include advertising and fingerprinting expenses, legal expenses, election costs, audit expenses, and some mailing and printing services. We do not have the most recent legal fee figures; however, the services of an attorney are part of the HUSD negotiations process. Our legal fees also include fees relating to all district services, including special education.

Please see attached chart, which shows that Educational and Operations expenses are the largest percent of outside services utilized by HUSD.


Why has the board been seemingly absent during the strike? Why does it seem like the board defers all authority to Dr. Vigil? Doesn’t the board have more authority than him?

It may seem to the public that the board is not involved –- or absent –- during the strike. Our board is not part of the negotiations team. We have, however, met almost daily to remain updated on the status of negotiations and the strike. We are in constant contact, sometimes several times an hour, with Dr. Vigil and district staff. Each of us has spent a great deal of time responding to e-mails, phone calls and faxes, as well.

Prior to the strike, the board determined we needed to have a single spokesperson for HUSD, and that person would be Dr. Vigil. A school board has one employee, the superintendent, and he has followed the direction of the board meticulously. What authority Dr. Vigil has he receives from the board and the California Education Code.

Is the district paying to fly subs up or transport them in from other districts?

HUSD is not flying subs up. We have had several retired superintendents (all certificated) who have come from other areas on their own time and paying their own way. We have not reimbursed them for any expenses, nor did we pay them for working. Each administrator either assisted the site principal or taught in a classroom on a volunteer basis.

Is the district budget available for public viewing? If so, where?

The district budget is a public document. Anyone can review the budget. A copy is available in the superintendent’s office, and if more specific information is needed, arrangements need to be made through Dr. Barry Schimmel’s office: (510) 784-2680.