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Gov. Wilson’s almost-visit to San Leandro

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Former California Gov. Pete Wilson almost visited San Leandro today to stump for the Rudy Giuliani campaign. (Rudy, like most of the GOP candidates, is busy working Florida in advance of the Jan. 29 primary there)

Wilson, with fellow Giuliani backer Bill Simon, scheduled a 2 p.m. visit to Cleaire Advanced Emission Controls, on Wicks Boulevard in San Leandro, to “tour local small business and discuss Mayor Giuliani‚Äôs tax plan.”

Later, though, the campaign announced it was instead visiting a different small business: The Montclair Bistro in the Montclair district of Oakland. (Photo above by Jay Solmonson … must click on it for maximum impact)

No offense to diesel engine retrofits, but nothing beats salmon croquettes with beurre rouge on a cold, rainy day.

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Who’s who in politics

With Feb. 5 fast approaching, residential telephones are ringing with taped messages on behalf of state propositions on the primary ballot. Last week, Bill McCammon, who identified himself as a “fire chief,” left a recorded message backing Proposition 93, which changes existing state legislative term limits. Pleasanton resident McCammon, however, hasn’t been Alameda County’s fire chief since he retired at the end of 2006.

In a related, political helpmate note: McCammon, identified as past president of the California Fire Chiefs Association in a pro-Proposition 93 mailer, was backed by state Sen. Don Perata, D-Oakland, in the 2006 18th Assembly District Democratic primary. McCammon lost to Mary Hayashi, who won the general election and will be up for re-election this year. Perata also wants to run again, but existing term limits will force him out of his state Senate seat — unless Proposition 93 passes.

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Pioneering efforts

There’s a local angle to the story of Sir Edmund Hillary, the New Zealander who died Jan. 11, and who — with mountain guide Tenzing Norgay — reached the summit of Mt. Everest on May 29, 1953.

When then-California State University, Hayward, was planning its hilltop campus in the late 1950s and 1960s, the “pioneer” was selected as the college’s mascot. Astronauts in the U.S. space program were one inspiration. Hillary was, too. The main road leading into the campus, from Mission Boulevard, was named “Hillary Street.”

Hayward Assemblyman Carlos Bee was a major force behind Cal State’s location in his home community. Bee died in 1974. The next year, the Hayward City Council voted to change the name of Hillary Street in memory of the legislator. The name change to Carlos Bee Boulevard took effect in 1976.

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The numbers don’t lie…or do they?

Finally, the numbers on crime in San Leandro are out.

attarian.jpgPolice Chief Dale Attarian and Capt. Ian Willis spent much of Monday night reporting to the City Council how much crime is really going on in the city.

This is after Councilman Bill Stephens last month called for the Police Department to report back to the council on what crime trends have been occuring in San Leandro, after several brazen robberies and a number of other crimes made some residents very concerned about public safety.

councilstephens125.jpgStephens (who showed up late to the meeting because of other obligations at his job, he said) still wasn’t satisfied. He said he wants to see more data on whether crime has been on the rise or decline over the past several years.

If you ask residents in certain neighborhoods around town, they will also tell you that those figures aren’t totally accurate and that there has been an increase in crime recently.

You can see for yourself on the city’s Web site by checking out the police report.

And check out Sunday’s Daily Review for a more in-depth look at this topic.

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Edwards wins local straw poll

For what it’s worth, 56 members of the Hayward Demos Democratic Club gathered in South Hayward last Friday night and cast their top three picks for the next president.

Demos member Harry Scott e-mails:

Candidates were given 3 points for 1st, 2 points for 2nd, & 1 point for 3rd. The results for the six candidates still in the race were as follows:

1st – John Edwards
2nd – Dennis Kucinich
3rd – Barack Obama
4th – Hilary(sic) Clinton
5th – Bill Richardson
6th – Mike Gravel

So why all the Edwards love in Hayward?

Scott says: “There’s a strong Edwards contingent in this area, Hayward and San Leandro. … We consider him very strongly supportive of labor … We had a strong labor contingent at the meeting.”

Scott also points out that if only the first-place votes were counted, Kucinich would have won in this crowd. “The members are a very progressive group, and they consider Kucinich to be the most progressive,” Scott said.

We’re not sure if this means that Edwards and Kucinich owe the Demos a visit before Feb. 5. So far, the only local presidential campaign appearance has been from Elizabeth Edwards, the candidate’s wife, who spoke at a children’s hospice center in San Leandro in September.

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Where’s the democracy?

It seems as though some folks in San Leandro were upset Monday night that their freedom of speech may not have been allowed to be fully exercised.

With 16 residents wanting to speak during the public comments period at the City Council meeting, Mayor Tony Santos decided to limit the residents’ comments to two minutes each (rather than the three minutes normally allotted) because so many people wanted to speak.

Some said this was a violation of the Brown Act, the law that governs open meetings. But Santos and the city attorney maintained that the mayor was well within his power to limit public comment at meetings.

As a matter of fact, they are right. According to the Brown Act, the City Council does have the power to:

“adopt ‘reasonable’ regulations governing citizens addressing the body, including, but not limited to, ‘regulations limiting the total amount of time allocated for public testimony on particular issues and for each individual speaker.’”

But that still doesn’t sit right with people, especially when they feel they have something to say. And that doesn’t mean the mayor is obligated to cut short people’s time to speak. It’s purely up to discretion.

What do you think? Should a city council limit public speech at a meeting, even if there are a lot of people who have something to say?

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Want to be on the Hayward City Council?

Tomorrow, the council will officially call for a municipal election on June 3 for five of its seven seats. Of those five seats, four are for 4-year terms and one is for a 2-year term.

Here’s the election calendar:

The first day for issuing nomination papers begins on Monday, February 11, and will end at 5 p.m., Friday, March 7. If an incumbent decides not to seek re-election, the period extends to Wednesday, March 12. The ballot placement listing will be determined by the Secretary of State on March 13.

This year, it will cost candidates about $1,300 if they want to submit a 200-word candidate statement to appear in a voter pamphlet in English, Spanish and Chinese. The voluntary expenditure limit for each Hayward council candidate will be about $54,000 — the exact amount will be decided by February 11. And the amount that each person or organization can contribute to a council candidate will be $1,061.

Whoever is elected on June 3 will take office on July 8.

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HayWord 2008

Happy New Year!

Several Hayward and Cherryland residents opened the first morning of 2008 by getting robbed at BB gunpoint, but fortunately nobody was hurt and two suspects were arrested.

On a lighter note, what are your most anticipated happenings this year for Hayward, San Leandro, Castro Valley or San Lorenzo?

Some of what’s coming in Hayward:

    Uncertainty over how Hayward city and school officials will handle finances. Ballot measures? Cutbacks?
    Is this the year when the ball finally gets rolling at the old City Center complex off of Foothill Boulevard?