Cherryland area reader Diane Eberhardt e-mailed us, Mayor Mike Sweeney and schools superintendent Dale Vigil about problems neighbors have been having at and around the Hayward Adult School. Sweeney responded today with a return e-mail, telling Eberhardt that he is “sorry to read about what you and your neighbors are experiencing. What you describe is unacceptable behavior. I have asked the City Staff to work with the school district, the county, and the sheriff, to clean things up. Please let me know when you see some improvement.”
Here is Eberhardt’s letter:
Those of us who live closest to Hayward Adult School are being pushed beyond the limits of our patience by the environment that the school creates; constant noise in residential areas, open drug dealing and drug use on school property and in residential areas, trash left by “students” in residential areas, threats of violence against residents, reckless driving by students and their non-student associates, loitering in residential areas and on school property by students and non-students, and overall disrespect for the residents. These “students” feel it is their right to confront, harass and intimidate residents who would like some peace and respect in their own neighborhood. This has been a continuously escalating situation for years now, with little apparent interest shown by the administration, law enforcement or anyone else responsible for any aspect of this neighborhood; City government, County Government etc.
The “Adult” school is in operation on most days from 8AM to 10PM. Despite an abundance of parking on school property students, teachers, and administrators constantly park in the residential areas of Poplar Ave and Princeton Ave. Along with the parking comes trash, loud music, loud “discussions”, driveways being blocked, drug use, drug dealing and the loss of parking spaces which residents need. This occurs at all hours of the day and night. At night, parents and whoever else come to pick up students from the front steps on Princeton; they park on Poplar Ave; in order to get someone’s attention, the drivers honk their horns or yell across the street.This happens as late as 10:30 PM. When residents politely and quietly ask the drivers to not park in the area, or not honk, or to turn down their music; the response is usually rude and abusive. There have also been numerous threats of violence and attempts at intimidation by students and their family members against residents who request any kind of respectful behavior. Recently, the Principal of the school witnessed a student pull a crowbar from her car and begin to approach a resident who had asked the student not to park in front of her house while blasting her music. The Principal did nothing other than tell the student to stop; the Police were not called, the student was not disciplined and the Principal stated that she had no way of identifying the student, since the student’s name was not noted by the Principal. The school can only identify a student by their driver’s license or ID card; they do not keep record of license plates.
Granted, Poplar Ave is a public street, and the students are eager to argue that it is public parking.The problem is that the”students” and their associates who are often gang members or drug dealers, treat Poplar Ave as their private parking lot. They believe it is their right to party, have arguments, sell drugs and listen to music as loudly as they want. When the “students” are in class, their non-student friends often continue this behavior. Even when the “students” stay on the front steps of the school, their noise is so loud that residents cannot ignore it.
The school administration does nothing about the behavior on the front steps. Non-students are constantly “hanging out” on the front steps at all hours; this is apparently allowed or ignored by school administrators. Also allowed or ignored is open drug use and drug dealing on the front steps. When residents call the school to report these situations, the adminstration asks ” have you called the police?”; as though they are completely unaware as well as not responsible for the behavior of their “students” When we call the Hayward Police we’re asked ” have you called the school?” These”students” feel it is their right to confront, harass and intimidate residents who would like some peace and respect in their own neighborhood.
The recent “redevelopment” efforts have not improved the situation one bit. Tree planters were added along Princeton Ave,rather than speedbumps with the idea that they would force drivers to reduce their speed. This has not worked; drivers still drive too fast, but now they are forced to crowd closer to thecenter line of the street. These planters also have reduced the number of parking spaces and create situations requiring above average parallel parking skills. Many of these drivers would rather park somewhere else ( like Poplar Ave) than attempt to park between the planters. Another result of the “redevelopment” effort is the bulb-outs added at the corner of Poplar and Princeton.
These force drivers to make wider turns into traffic as well as creating situations where “students” end up parking on the bulb outs or in residents’ driveways. The bulb outs have not been painted red as no parking zones. For some reason, the sidewalk directly in front of the school’s front steps is a red zone, rather than a yellow ( passenger loading) zone. So the drivers are forced to park elsewhere ( usually Poplar Ave)
The residents of Poplar Ave are also caught in a jurisdictional run-around. The school is City of Hayward jusrisdiction, Poplar Ave is Alameda County jurisdiction because it is unincorporated. If residents want to report a speeding vehicle, an illegally parked vehicle or anything related to vehicles, they are referred to the Highway Patrol. This jurisdictional snafu creates situations where law enforcement rarely arrives in time to do anything about the problems in the neighborhood. If a “student” or their parent confronts or threatens you in front of your residence on Poplar Ave., and then walks back across the street to the school, you will be told when you call the Sheriff it is a Hayward PD issue because the “student” went across the street. In the aforementioned crowbar incident, the Sheriff was called. Deputies arrived seven hours later ; the resident who had been threatened was told that Hayward PD would have to be called to interview the school’s Principal who had witnessed the incident. Apparently the Sheriff’s investigators would not or could not speak directly to the Principal.
The residents of this neighborhood are being treated as less than second class citizens, all at the expense of a so called school that allows its students to run amok without regard to rules, regulations or laws. It is clearly posted that it is a misdemeanor for non-students to be on school property yet non-students are allowed to congregate on the school steps all day and night, apparently without any intervention by school staff. Recently a resident of Poplar Ave was involved in a confrontation with a student and her mother because they had parked in the resident’s driveway. As the student and her mother swore at the resident, several “students” on the front steps joined in, yelling racial epithets across the street at the resident. It appeared to be turning into a mob mentality situation. This went on for several minutes without any intervention by school staff. What needs to happen for anyone to take this situation seriously? Does a resident have to be beaten to death, or suffer other retaliation against property or pets?