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Sound off on school board

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an education blog, so here’s a two-fer.

One of the more interesting things to come out of the Hayward school trustees’ appointment of Sergio Saenz, a higher education student outreach specialist, on Thursday evening was the issue of the board’s physical makeup.

Trustees were torn over two candidates, Saenz and Lisa Glover-Gardin, to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Myrna Truehill. Board president Grant Peterson made it a point that he preferred Glover-Gardin, an African-American woman, because it would balance out a board made up of three white men and one Latin woman.

How important is the physical makeup of a governing board, especially when it comes to representing such a diverse community as Hayward? With four of the five seats up for election next year, will gender/ethnicity play a role in how you will vote? Lastly, for this topic anyway, what are your thoughts on the appointment itself?

During the candidate interviews, trustees asked: What are some of the main issues facing the district today?

Communication/public relations, low morale, declining enrollment and student achievement were a few of the issues repeatedly brought up by candidates. I’m unsure where I’m going with this, but I’d like to know what is the main issue you feel is plaguing Hayward schools (yes, we know about the Web site) and what should be done to alleviate the problem? Maybe we’ll log all your comments and ask school officials and trustees to answer them before the upcoming school year.

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Did someone die here?

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No. It’s just the new San Leandro Adult Summer Reading program in full swing this afternoon.

Every Wednesday, the library staff have been holding drawings to reward adults who read the most.

The theme of the program is “Summer Sleuths,” and in just the third week, 158 people have already signed up, said Senior Librarian Bill Sherwood.

“Adult summer reading programs are sort of a new phenomenon,” Sherwood says, adding that San Leandro’s library program is only one of three in the Bay Area. “So we’re excited about that.”

Today, Audrey Campbell was the lucky winner, and her prize included a $25 Starbucks gift card. Although she wasn’t present, the jolly library staff gathered around their “crime scene” in the lobby — which included “poison gas” green balloons, police tape and an actual chalk line (nobody died during the making of it) — to present the prize.

Apparently, the program is really catching on among San Leandro residents.

“There’s no Catch 22,” says librarian Lori Hitchcock. “This is really to encourage people to come to the library and support the program.”

For more information, call (510) 577-3971.

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Time to turn the heat up

Much like we did during the Hayward teachers strike, we would like to present the California Energy Commission and Tierra Energy with a Q&A regarding Hayward’s proposed Eastshore Energy Plant. What questions would you like asked of these officials? We will take these questions, and a few of our own, and run the officials’ verbatim answers in the paper so you can get answers straight from the horse’s mouth. If there’s anything you want to know about Eastshore, now is the time to put it out there.

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San Leandro Marina lands in second town hall

A town hall meeting today on the San Leandro Marina is expected to be an encore presentation of the last one held in May.

City officials are looking to piggyback on the momentum from the previous town hall meeting, at which more than 150 people showed up to discuss the future of the marina yacht harbor and the possibility of development along the shoreline.

From my observations, the last town hall meeting was pretty successful in getting a variety of input — and not just comments from those closest to the shoreline — on the whole marina issue. But it still didn’t draw as many people from neighborhoods other than the area surrounding the marina.

It will be interesting to see who attends and what gets discussed at 7 p.m. at the Marina Community Center, 15301 Wicks Blvd. — and whether more ideas come out of it.

In the meantime, take a look at what ideas were discussed at the last town hall meeting.

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The rise and fall of the Palmtag Building: 1892-2007?

Owners of downtown’s Palmtag Building have announced that they want to tear down the old building, located at the prominent corner of B Street and Mission Boulevard. And at least one local resident, Julie Machado, is not happy about it. She sent us and city officials a letter and history lesson that we’ve posted below. But before that, The HayWord brings you a little history in photos:

Here’s what the Palmtag, built in 1892, looked like immediately after the 1906 earthquake (click on the photos if you want a bigger version):

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Here’s what it looked like in late 2005:

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Here’s how the owner, Oakland-based Browman Development Company, wanted to restore it (plans unveiled in April 2006):

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And after deciding that the above project would be too expensive and otherwise problematic, here’s what Browman now wants to build in its place (plans unveiled on Monday):

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And here is Julie Machado’s letter:

City Council Members,

Please do not rush toward approval of tearing down the old Palmtag building at Mission and B Street. This building is part of the historic downtown area, and should be rehabilitated rather than destroyed. It is a piece of Hayward history and should be respected. Do not let the deteriorated facade motivate you, as this facade is not the real building, which from old pictures once had Victorian bay windows and curved arches.

The Palmtag Building is the last remaining building built by Leopold Palmtag, who had it built in 1892. Leo Palmtag ran the large brewery in town for 50 years. He was on the Hayward Board of Trustees (i.e. the City Council) for 8 years. He was a big player in Hayward’s history. This Palmtag Building housed the first telephone exchange in Hayward. It was also the Hayward Post Office for a while, according to the Eden writers of “Hayward…the First 100 Years.” To say that this last building is not historic enough to save is, forgive me, hooey.

Hayward is behind every other local community in not having a real Historic Inventory done, which does a preliminary assessment on which buildings and cultural resources are potentially eligible for local, state, or federal registers of historic places. Hayward has no real local list either — 13 buildings is laughable, when there are hundreds of buildings in Hayward that should be considered. My eight years or so on the Alameda County Parks, Recreation and Historic Commission has taught me a lot about how far behind Hayward really is — behind Oakland, San Leandro, Union City, Fremont, Livermore, Alameda, and even behind Continue Reading

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But, wait, there’s more…

Just as news came in yesterday about Wal-Mart’s plans to move in to the old Target building at Hesperian and Lewelling boulevards — making it the second Wal-Mart in San Leandro — the city announced today that In-N-Out Burger will soon become its neighbor, according to a city staff report to City Council members.

The staff report from the Community Development Department states that In-N-Out “is planning to commence construction of their new restaurant in coordination with the Wal-Mart; both stores should be open in late 2007 or early 2008.”

But, wait, there’s even more. Bayfair Center is continuing with its plans to bring in everybody’s favorite juice bar, Jamba Juice, and a Red Brick Pizza. Both are scheduled to open in October.

Also, Jamba Juice has just finished executing its lease to put a second store at Westgate Shopping Center next to Starbucks.

Looks like two is the magic number.

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Another Wal-Mart?

San Leandro City Manager John Jermanis told business leaders at a luncheon today that the former Target lot at Hesperian and Lewelling boulevards will soon get a new tenant — Wal-Mart.

He alluded to the news earlier this week at Monday’s council meeting, but today’s announcement confirms it.

The vacant building has been family-owned for years, Jermanis said, and the family has always chosen big-box stores to inhabit it.

Now that Wal-Mart is moving in, that makes two stores in the city. The other one is at Westgate Shopping Center on Davis Street near Interstate 880.