Frank Lynn has left the building

For those who remember when we did a story several months ago about the two San Leandro bloggers — and introduced our readers to Frank Lynn, one of the newer bloggers in town — you might be surprised to find out some disconcerting news we learned this week about one of the bloggers.

Frank Lynn, who launched his blog just three months ago, has decided to shut down his forum for good, according to a post on his blog today.

He has been alluding to the idea in his blog in recent weeks, but according to the post today, he has been fed up with city leadership in San Leandro (and just the general direction of the city) and said that his frustration has led he and his wife to leave the city and move out to Pleasanton.

These are his departing words:

Dear Readers,

Thank you so much for participating in this thriving online forum these past few months. Truly great blogs are interactive and I’ve received lots of great comments on here.

I started this blog because I’ve been frustrated with San Leandro’s “leadership”; and the San Leandro Times’ liberal bias. I wanted to see if there were other “closet conservatives” who felt the same way I do. And also, I have a blogging addiction. I used to blog heavily about non-San Leandro-related stuff on another forum. I thought that delineating my writings to only San Leandro issues would be a step in overcoming my addiction and would take less time out of my life. Turns out, it wasn’t, and it didn’t. Due to the neverending stream of city wrongheadedness to write about and interaction with others who comment, this blog ended up taking even more of my time than anticipated.

Frank’s blog — which at times could be brash, other times enlightening — seemed to create quite a buzz over the past several months. It had its own little group of “closet conservatives” who followed it, and like it or not, it offered a persepective on San Leandro politics not seen in quite a long time (or, at least, on the Web).

I guess that now leaves only one blogger, Mike Katz, sounding off on San Leandro politics on the Web.

But who knows what will happen next?

Can anybody say LouFilipovichSpeaks.com? Probably not, but the thought just sounds interesting.


Last-minute jitters

With a crowd of power plant opponents before them, the Hayward City Council last night considered an unprecedented “emergency” move to revert its 2005 land-use approval of the Russell City Energy Center. After discussion, it backed off on the idea because of clear lack of consensus and concern it might violate open meeting law.

Now the decision goes to these five people at a 10:30 a.m. hearing in Sacramento:


The California Energy Commission is governed by a board of five appointed commissioners. By law, each member is supposed to represent a specific area: engineering or physics; environmental protection; economics; law; and Continue Reading


Letter from a Demo

The most recent past president of the Hayward Demos Democratic Club wrote to us today in response to my Monday article about the upcoming council election:

I have to take issue with Matt O’Brien’s recent article about the Hayward Democrats. The organization is hardly a king maker.

A more accurate description of the current political reality in our area and the country is that we live under a ‘candidate centered no party system’ where interest groups have much more of an influence over politics than do the two parties. This is especially true for local party organizations.

In Alameda County for example a supposed Democrat stronghold, way less than one percent of Democrats are members of local party organizations. We have over 400,000 registered Democrats in the county and probably less than 2000 people who are members of local clubs. Local organizations also have budgets which are less than one percent of what is Continue Reading


Bond…Hayward Bond (cue music)

Hayward Unified officials are scheduled to discuss the possibility of a June 2008 ballot initiative to the public at Wednesday’s school board meeting.

Ideally, the district would like a public windfall of about $750 million to renovate and rebuild all district schools spread over 20 years, as outlined in HUSD’s Facilities Master Plan.

School officials refused to put up a measure last year after two feasibility studies showed the community was unwilling to support a bond.

The district last year opened Stonebrae Elementary after receiving help from developers. In August 2008, Hayward Unified will also welcome a revamped Burbank Elementary with help from the City and HARD.

With the exception of those two schools, the district in the past 40 years hasn’t made any major revisions to its other campuses. Age is beginning to show.

So, my fellow residents of Hayward, what will it take for the district to get community approval and raise tax dollars for the betterment of school facilities?


She works hard for the money

Publicist Karen Stevenson left her job as Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums’s press secretary last month to devote more time to her business, Oakland-based KYS Communications, aka Core Communications.

She’s not wasting time.

On Tuesday, .Alameda County supervisors are scheduled to increase her company’s consulting contract with the county library. Stevenson’s firm provides public relations services for the library, says county Librarian Jean Hofacket, by creating branch library calendars and annual reports. The agreed-upon contract was $29,500 from Sept. 1, 2006- June 30, 2007.

It turns out that it took more time for Stevenson’s company to prepare the annual reports, due to a design change. So supervisors will vote to add another $4,695 to the contract, for a total of $34,195.


Raise your hand if you’re running for City Council …

Maybe this will be the first year someone announces candidacy via blog comment. Just don’t raise money that way.

As revealed this weekend, at least two nonincumbents are already setting their sights on some of the five open seats.

UPDATE at Tuesday 2:45 p.m.: And they’re off … Incumbent city council members Barbara Halliday, Olden Henson and Bill Quirk have all confirmed this week that they are indeed running for re-election in June. That leaves just Bill Ward who said on Sunday that it’s too early to say if he’s running or not.


Merchants say Palmtag should go

The Hayward Planning Commission is scheduled to vote tonight on whether downtown’s historic Palmtag Building can be razed to make way for a Peet’s Coffee and Tea shop.


Commissioners will probably be reading through a number of letters sent to them by local merchants, some of which we excerpt here:

From Rudy Grasseschi, owner of The Cobbler store:

As a downtown business owner of 50 years I support the Browman Development Co. to demolish the building at B Street and Mission Boulevard. Agreement with Browman should be that once the building is demolished, new construction must start at once … don’ t leave a empty lot for years, like other projects in downtown Hayward.

From Erika and Dave Knolmayer of Wags & Whiskers Pet Boutique:

We just wanted to voice our support of the deconstruction of the Palmtag Building. We are very excited for the reconstruction and the arrival of Peet’s Coffee next year.

From David “Jim” Wieder, owner of Hayward Ace Hardware:

In our view it will improve the overall look of B Street, and help reduce the number of vagrants that congregate in this area.

From the Hayward Chamber of Commerce:

While the Browman Company’s original intent was to rehabilitate the Palmtag structures, it is neither feasible nor practical to do so. Further, these buildings hold no historical significance.

Not everyone is looking forward to a Palmtag teardown. Downtown area resident Julie Machado wrote a letter about the building’s history that The HayWord published earlier this summer.

The commission meeting happens at 7:30 p.m. today at Hayward City Hall, Council Chambers, 777 B St., in Hayward. You can also read a PDF version of the city planning staff’s recommendation for the site.

(Post-meeting update: Commissioners voted in favor of the teardown but put some conditions on the developer. More on this in Friday’s paper.)


Tony, are you lookin’?

It’s easy to take the statue of Big Mike the lumberjack for granted.

After all, he’s smiling benevolently at you right now from atop The HayWord.

He’s also grinning at passers-by on Mission Boulevard, near Grace Street, from alongside Tyre Treds. And Mike’s nearly identical twin even has a happy expression when he sees Tony Soprano.

Yes, check out the opening credits for “The Sopranos” reruns — now on the A&E channel Monday and Wednesday nights — and there’s a split-second shot of a Big Mike lookalike as Tony cruises through Joisey towards home.

In the early 1960s, dozens of 20-foot-high, Paul Bunyanesque fiberglass statues were made for an automotive company. Each was known as the “Muffler Man,” and they dotted commercial throughfares throughout the country.

Many have survived over the decades, with some getting new names and makeovers. Check out this site for a look at Big Mike and his brothers.

Even with big smiles, they’re real tough guys.

Take that, Tony, Christopher, Paulie Walnuts and Sil.


Chimney sweepstakes

Would you take a rebate to shut off your home fireplace or wood stove?

A fireplace retrofit program is one of a host of topics being deliberated at 6 p.m. today as the California Energy Commission hosts the latest and possibly one of the last Hayward meetings on the proposed Russell City Energy Center, a 600-megawatt gas-fired power plant. See the story on how this program would work.

Is fireplace smoke a big problem in the East Bay? Maybe, but nothing makes the sky hazy like a big forest fire.


Alas, no matter how much money energy companies put into a retrofit program, you can be sure that no Hayward homeowners will be getting any placard-sized $220,000 rebate checks. That is, however, what Hayward-based Injex Industries Inc. earned from PG&E today for retrofits and lighting/machinery upgrades that the San Antonio Road automotive molding company implemented to improve its energy efficiency, according to a press release.

Injex, according to a letter the company sent to the energy commission in June, is also a supporter of the Eastshore Energy Center, the other gas-fired power plant PG&E wants built in Hayward. But it’s all about balance, says PG&E. The utility company says its energy efficiency efforts have helped 2,000 Hayward businesses reduce “energy consumption by 850 kilowatt hours a year, preventing 390 tons of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere, the equivalent of removing 54 cars from the road every year.”


A note to our blog readers

UPDATE: I have spoken with the company lawyer, and we are OK keeping the “Letter from a parent” post up with all its current comments.

You should note two things:

1. The HayWord now has a posted blog policy. You will find it on the right-hand side of the blog, under “About” (near the top). Please heed it.
2. You must register in order to leave comments on the blog. This process is easy. When you go to leave a comment, it will tell you that you need to be logged in. Click on the link. You will get a screen with a blue square asking for a name and password. Beneath the square there are three links. Click on “Register.” Enter a desired username and an e-mail address where you would like your password sent. Once you receive the password in your e-mail, you’ll be able to use it every time to log in and leave comments. Hopefully this will help cut down on multiple-personality posters.

Questions? E-mail me. Thanks for your patience.