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What do YOU think?

Here’s your chance to have a say in our content. The Daily Review is contemplating whether to add weekly columnist Jaime Richards to its lineup. Richards is a Castro Valley resident and a teacher in Fremont. His column already runs in our sister paper, The Argus. Please read these two pieces that recently ran in the Argus and weigh in on whether you would like to see this column appear in our paper.

Change of life

The otherworldly

 (You can leave a comment here on the blog, or if you’re not comfortable doing that, e-mail me at ksantos@bayareanewsgroup.com.)

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New Adventures of Old Library

If the current debate over the Hayward library’s needs and how to pay for its expansion sounds familiar, maybe you’ve been here for a while. Here’s an article my co-blogger Karen wrote in 1998:

Utility tax would fund libraries
By Karen Holzmeister
STAFF WRITER

HAYWARD – Since facts are a library’s stock in trade, here are some facts about the Hayward Library system:

Compared to prevailing standards set by the California State Library, Hayward is near the bottom in comparison with 14 other Bay Area cities which also have populations of 100,000 or more.

That’s less space, fewer operating hours, limited materials, smaller expenditures and decreased staffing.

In a nutshell, that’s also why a cross-section of Hayward residents, business operators and organizations have formed “Parents and Neighbors United for Our Libraries” to campaign for the 2 percent utility tax on the Nov. 4 ballot. (Note from the future: Ballot measure was defeated.)

If approved by two-thirds of the voters who visit the polls, the tax would raise millions of dollars over 32 years. The money could be used to build new libraries, upgrade technology, buy more books and other materials, expand operating hours and staffing, and start school and senior citizen outreach programs.

“It’s important we spend to expand the library,” said John Cavolowsky, who co-chairs the group. “This (library) facility has reached its limit. Continue Reading

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Hayward literacy

Hayward Councilman Bill Quirk e-mails:

Since 1986, the Literacy Plus program has helped over 2,500 adults to read. As a result, they became citizens, earned driver’s licenses and G.E.D. degrees, and voted for the first time. Their increased skills resulted in higher self-esteem, better jobs and the ability to help their children succeed. The Literacy Plus program is run by the Hayward Public Library and governed by the Hayward Literacy Plus Council.

Once a year, the Council sponsors the BE OUR VALENTINE FUNDRAISER. The event will be held this year on Friday, February 8, 2008 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Hayward City Hall Rotunda at 777 B Street. The event will include live music, a live and silent auction, a raffle, food and wine. All proceeds will benefit the Literacy Plus program, to help make Hayward a more literate community. Literacy Plus website here.

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Fresh & Easy & Fresh & Easy

We reported recently that the food chain Fresh & Easy was looking at opening a grocery store in the Fairway Park neighborhood of Hayward, where residents have been waiting for a new grocery since the Albertsons closed in 2006.

An announcement today confirms that the F&E is going ahead with the plan.

It also says that the company will open a second Hayward store near A Street and Hesperian Boulevard.

The new Fairway Park store is likely to come up at a neighborhood meeting at 6:30 p.m. today, which was scheduled as a follow-up to meetings held there last year on public safety issues.

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All together now

It’s not often that the city and the school district actually want to get in each other’s business.

But in the case of the new ninth-grade academy slated to be built for San Leandro High School between Bancroft Avenue and East 14th Street, that’s what has been happening.

9thgradeacademyslhs.png

And city and school officials seem to be welcoming the prodding. That’s because the design for the new campus is the product of a joint effort between city and the school officials – -a true collaborative effort that will benefit the entire community, they say.

The main benefit here is that because the city wants to invest in designing and building the ninth-grade academy, city officials are asking that facilities such as the gym be made available to the public. That seems like a fair trade, most would agree.

But it also brings up the question: On what else might the city and school district be able to collaborate?

Talks have already begun about the city working with the school district to address the San Leandro High swimming pool, which has fallen into disrepair.

The renovation of Burrell Field also is being discussed as a possible joint-venture.

What are your suggestions?

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Does race still matter in Hayward?

Two stories that ran on MLK Day about the Fairview neighborhood and Hayward housing discrimination fielded a lot of comments this week.

One person listed a whole slew of other Fairview families we should talk with, which goes to show you could write a whole book about Kelly Hill. Another pointed out that the Eden Council of Hope and Opportunity, or ECHO Housing, was formed in Hayward around that time (in 1964) to combat housing discrimination and is still going strong. And one local resident passed on a personal story about a former teacher, John Kriege, who was featured in one of the stories:

I want to thank you for the heartwarming story of Mr. Kriege and his drive to address racial injustice in Hayward in the 60′s. Mr. Kriege taught me Social Studies at John F. Kennedy High School in Fremont during my junior (senior) year of high school in 1980-81. He may or may not remember me but I always knew there was something special about him.

I was one of a small minority of African-American students at Kennedy High School and in Fremont at that time. My parents moved to Fremont in 1964 when I was a year old and thanks to neighbors and teachers like Mr. Kriege, we survived.

I count my experience of growing up in a predominantly White Fremont during the 60′s/70′s as the key to my openness to all people and my ability to see the positive in all situations. While it wasn’t easy, I learned to be comfortable with all races of people in spite of bigotry and racism and have used the experience to my benefit.

The writer allowed us to publish her note on the blog, but asked that we not include her name.

We all know that Hayward is a lot more diverse in the 21st century than it was 40 years ago. We’d be interested to hear how you think people in this area today deal with issues of race, and diversity, compared to other places you’ve been.

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Should Hayward have a storefront library system?

Responding to today’s Review story on the Hayward library system, Fairway Park resident and activist Mimi Bauer proposes installing no-frills storefront libraries instead of building one big new one. Here’s her e-mail:

I read the article in the Daily Review today regarding the inadequacy of Hayward’s two-branch library system. I agree.

Both branches are inconvenient for the Fairway Park community. I spoke to Bill Quirk a little while ago about Fairway Park’s desire for a satellite branch in our shopping center. I have seen this idea up in the Grass Valley area. It works real well. A store front space in a shopping center can accommodate a couple of computers, some newspapers, magazines, some current reading material and a few tables and chairs for work and reading. At the satellite branch you can Continue Reading

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Perfect timing

Music, athletics, politics…

Would you guess a Castro Valley summer opera production would be the coincidental lead-in — and link — to the Aug. 8-24 Olympics in China, the Aug. 25-28 Democratic nominating convention in Denver, and the Sept. 1-4 Republican convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul?

It’s true.

Trinity Lyric Opera is presenting “Nixon in China” on July 18, 20, 25 and 27 at the Castro Valley Center for the Arts.

The opera chronicles the 1972, first-ever visit to mainland China by a sitting American president — Richard Nixon.

Nixon, by-the-way, won the Republican nomination for president 40 years ago.

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What do you want in the Hayward library?

libraryhayward.jpg

In a consultant’s survey of more than 1,800 local residents about the Hayward library system, patrons had a lot of different ideas about what they want in their library, from car repair manuals to more yoga sessions to anime and “weekend hot dogs.”

Here’s a selection of the more colorful things you all said:

    I wish you had more Garfield books
    More education DVDs like: “Standard Deviants DVD”
    Get some music CDs!!!!!!
    Farsi novels
    Hayward Public Library rocks!!
    I love you!
    After 3:00 pm this place is a zoo!
    Get rid of “garbage” fiction
    Please do something about these darn teenagers. They are rude and get in your space. No privacy. Otherwise everything ok.
    The library is a wonderful place
    Kids like to steal my bike.
    I wish someone would form a weekly or monthly group devoted to astrology. I also hope the library would have more books on the subject, and also some astrological references like an EPHEMERIS, PLACIDUS TABLE OF HOUSES, etc.
    Manga books, especially “Bleach”
    I feel very insecure or unsafe outside the library because the teenagers who are in the park fight a lot or kiss and hug and I have two young daughters and don’t like to have them see teenagers behaving like that.
    Couches and loveseats.
    It is the first time I have come to the library and I especially like the girls.
    I hate the new library. I loved the old musty smelly ones. Reminds me of a “den” and my imagination soared as a youngster.
    We’re new to the area and the world, one year old. Just starting to use the library.
    Getting too old for all this now. When I was younger they did not have this for me. So I stopped reading books, etc. Sorry!
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Ah, sweet charity

An order is an order, especially when it comes from state legislators such as Democrats Mary Hayashi, D-Hayward, and Alberto Torrico, D-Fremont. Check out the “behested payments” page on the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission Web site.

It reports contributions solicited by members of the Assembly, Senate and statewide elected officers. These payments are not considered campaign contributions or gifts, but payments made at the “behest” of elected officials for legislative, governmental or charitable purposes. According to the dictionary, the noun “behest” means an authoritative command, order or urgent request.

Stepping right up, donors in 2007 contributed $71,200 to various groups at Hayashi’s “behest,” including $11,200 to a San Francisco-based mental health organization that she founded and $10,000 to Girls Inc. of San Leandro. Contributors included major health organizations, PG&E, and international investment firms.

At the behest of Torrico, whose district includes a portion of Castro Valley, donors such as AT&T, Verizon, a brewery and a winery contributed $55,000 to five organizations. Beneficiaries included Raquel’s Kids of Fremont, founded by Torrico’s wife to provide health insurance to underprivileged children in Fremont, Newark and Union City ($10,000); and $15,000 to an institute backed by the six members (Torrico included) of the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus.

State Sen. Don Perata, D-Oakland, whose district includes Castro Valley, raised $840,000 for a variety of causes, including $25,000 for the Senate’s Democratic Caucus retreat at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn.