I saw Santa at Club Velvet

If you’ve ever wanted to set foot in that seemingly forever-vacant old bank building at 1004 B St., once upon a time almost but not quite known as Club Velvet, then tonight’s your chance because it will be the official “Santa Station” for Light Up the Season in Hayward.


Light it up!

Hi ho, bloggers! Got a cool holiday light display, or know someone else who does? Post the location on our new interactive holiday lights map. You can put anything on there, from local houses to big commercial or public displays.

The site also contains listings of holiday events around the Bay Area, and other fun holiday-related things. Have I used the word holiday enough yet?

Holiday. Holiday. There, that should do it.


Looporama: The B-sides

Some quotes from Tuesday night’s marathon “mini-loop” battle at Hayward City Hall that didn’t make the paper:

“They’re waiting for two weeks, the night the crematorium will be before you.”
Frank Goulart, on why more of his Prospect Hill neighbors aren’t out in force to protest the loop

“I brought a midnight snack, thinking this would be a long meeting.”
Jerry Feiger, who also earned the night’s first round of applause (9:46 p.m.) for bringing a prop showing the loop as two funnels attached together at the wide ends. In another words, a bad idea.

“I’m getting a little punchy. It’s getting late.”
Councilman Bill Quirk, about 11:08 p.m.

“It was very quiet. It had jack rabbits.”
Councilwoman Doris Rodriquez, describing the Hesperian Boulevard of years past

“It would be hard to change California.”
Councilwoman Barbara Halliday, because California has so many cars

“This doesn’t create any more pavement. We’re not going to be widening any roads.”
Councilman Kevin Dowling. (except for where they’re widening roads and laying down pavement?)

“It seems to me that Hayward has a problem making decisions. We need to make decisions.”
Myrna Truehill, former school board trustee

“Let’s stop talking about traffic in Hayward if we’re never going to do anything about it. Another 40 years is a long time, people.”
Betty DeForest, who some decades ago joined the first class-action suit to stop the Foothill Freeway

“This is one of the positive aspects of the project.”
Public Works Director Bob Bauman, showing landscaped gateways. Wait: There are negative aspects?

“I don’t understand why you want to barrel traffic through Hayward.”
Elie Goldstein, owner of Kraski Nutrition store

“I will survive longer than Bob will, or Jesus.”
Rudy “the Cobbler” Grasseschi, on how the loop is a terrible idea but not because it will ruin his 75-year-old shoe business. He is referring to loop architects Bauman and Jesus Armas (former city manager)

“I will survive.”
Jesus Armas, responding (in speech, not song). Later, he placed a cup of Gatorade on the photo-projector to make a half full-half empty argument. While artful, he and Feiger both appear to have violated the “No food or drink” rule in council chambers. Full disclosure: I once ate a cookie there

“I probably should have stayed at home.”
Sherman Lewis, who successfully sued to stop the Foothill Freeway

Mayor vs. Mayor:

Former Mayor Roberta Cooper: Says council must be “bold,” show leadership, support “dynamic” project, and if they don’t, “you may not be on the council” after the next election.

Current Mayor Mike Sweeney: Voting against the project Tuesday, he said on Wednesday that he rejected advice of “one of the least popular former officials” in Hayward. Says: “I think her threatening council members really didn’t go very far … I think most people feel better off without her support than with it.”

Politeness award goes to:

“I know you all have the best interests of the city in your heart.”
Marlene Herndon, of Herndon Chiropractic (she’s just not too thrilled about that loop, she says)


The mini-loop debate in real time

We’re going to try something new.

Tonight the Hayward City Council will make its crucial vote approving or denying the Route 238 Corridor Improvement Project, the controversial $111 million road plan that will include a “mini-loop” of one-way streets through downtown. The meeting starts at 8 p.m. (right about now).

And because of great public interest and the other things the city has stuck on the agenda (i.e. a new city attorney), the meeting has the potential of lasting until next year (or at least until the early morning). So I’m going to try to blog it as it comes.

And I know this is late notice, but if you’re watching this on TV, contribute to the comment section and we’ll have a real time conversation!

8:15 p.m.: The council votes unanimously to adopt a resolution in support of Southland Mall workers, some of whom recently got pepper-sprayed. Ida Perez, speaking on behalf of her mom, Blanca, who has worked at the mall for 11 years, says: “They clean floors. They’re not the floors.” She also says: “City Hall is beautiful. I like this one the best.”

8:23 p.m.: The Route 238 part of the meeting has begun. City Manager Greg Jones warns: “You’re going to hear a lot of technical aspects.” But points out some general aspects: It will be a significant public investment, he says, and he says a $111 million infrastructure investment could also prompt the private sector to invest in the area.

8:26 p.m.: Public Works Director Bob Bauman reminds everyone that they are no longer considering one big part of the project: The expensive grade separation at Five Flags intersection. And he summarizes what’s in the final environmental impact report, that 338-page monster.

8:39 p.m. After lots of promised technical details, Bob Bauman shows the colorful pictures! And also a map, where the red colors signify “full takes.” (Which means the buildings on them would be torn down).

8:42: City Hall might be beautiful, but council chambers have no available electrical sockets. Which means, unfortunately, this “blogging the loop” might soon come to an untimely halt.

8:48: Not including those on the dais, there are about 70 people here, and a bunch of them have bright red “No loop” signs.


Show us the money

It seems as though more and more megachurches — those churches, usually Protestant, with congregations of 1,500 or more — are becoming business-minded these days.

This is according to a recent New York Times article that reported how an increasing number of large churches across America have become catalysts for economic development in their local cities, defying the age-old notion that churches don’t contribute financially to cities because they don’t pay taxes.

This got me thinking about Faith Fellowship Church, a megachurch here in San Leandro that has been locked in a battle with the city to move into an industrial-zoned building. The city blocked the church from moving into the building for several reasons — the main reason being that city officials want to preserve San Leandro’s future tax base.

The church contends that it fully Continue Reading


Should you get paid to read this blog?

Yes, more volunteer work up for grabs this week.

The Keep Hayward Clean and Green Task Force is teaming up with the Hayward Day Labor Center at 9 a.m. tomorrow (Tuesday) to clean up downtown litter and graffiti before Thursday’s “Light up the season” event.

Registration is at 9 a.m. at City Hall, 1st floor, in the small rotunda nearest the BART station.

To participate, you can contact Carla Dardon at 510-782-WORK or daylaborcenter@sbcglobal.net.

A press release asks:

Why should you participate? To help revitalize your downtown, and because it is a great way to meet your neighbors, get some exercise, and give back to your community!


Creature double feature

Those who do not like animals: Be sure to stay away from downtown Hayward on Saturday, Dec. 8, when downtown promoters hope to revive the city’s long-lost pet parade:


For everybody else, here’s that and a few other events (to be updated as we get more in) coming up in the next few weeks:

Nov. 29: Hayward Light Up the Season info and full entertainment schedule.

Dec. 8: The Santa Paws Parade. Resurrecting downtown Hayward’s old Children’s Pet Parade, which was big from the 1920s to the 1950s, and turning it into a holiday celebration. More info and a registration form.

(Above image courtesy of the Hayward Area Historical Society)


Happy Thanksgiving

Local public events tomorrow include:

Thanksgiving Day: Annual Thanksgiving Day “Turkey” Swim at the Hayward Plunge, 24176 Mission Blvd, 8 to 11 a.m.. Donations accepted. Light breakfast served. For more information, call 510-881-6703.

Annual Thanksgiving Day dinner at Centennial Hall, 22292 Foothill Blvd., Hayward. Free event from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and includes a meal, family photos and groceries to take home. Event is sponsored by the Salvation Army’s Hayward corps and Resurrection Greek Orthodox Church of Castro Valley. Call 510-581-6444 for information.


Picket signs and YouTube

If you haven’t heard by now, the union that represents heavy-duty repair workers at Valley Power Systems North in San Leandro has been on strike since — get this — July 10.

The workers have been out in front of the company’s Adams Avenue plant every day now, picketing what they call Valley Power’s unfair labor practices.

Nothing has been resolved yet.

But check out this YouTube video the union put together. Pretty snazzy. It even has a little scratching in it (for all you hip hop-challenged folks, that means some parts of the video are repeated in a rhythmic fashion).