Casino on Foothill?

What do you think of the idea of a poker club, sports bar and 24-hour American-Italian-Mexican-Asian restaurant on Foothill Boulevard?

Our story today revealed that the owners of the Palace Card Club want to relocate to the site of the Kumbala nightclub and expand their operations there.

Charles Blanchard, one of the card club owners, wasn’t able to be reached for comment earlier this week, but called today and revealed a couple additional details and opinions. He said:

A. His poker club would be a much better-managed venue and cause a “whole lot less problems” than the nightclub there now. He called Kumbala a “real hazard” because of its problems with police and the alcohol board.

B. Contributing to downtown revitilization? “We’re looking to make a big impact on the Foothill strip redevelopment,” he said, mentioning his proposed poker club expansion in the context of the coming Cinema Place complex at Foothill and B. “People who get out of the movie late now have a place to go eat, snack or whatever after the show.”

C. There is demand for 24-hour restaurants, especially because a lot of people work at night now, he said. The closest 24-hour, sit-down venue is a Denny’s near the Union City border. The Palace restaurant and card club would be open 24 hours. “Believe me, people want to eat at 3 a.m.,” he said. The bar, like all bars, would have to close by 1:30 a.m.

D. Expanding from 8 to 16 tables? He said the main reason for expansion is because of heavy demand. The club on Mission is cramped, and parking there is a problem. He said the club would double its security, which he says would be beneficial to neighboring businesses, as well.

E. Interior design: The poker would happen at the spacious north room of the building, overlooking San Lorenzo Creek. There would be a curved wall separating the card club from the sports bar, and drinking wouldn’t be allowed in the card club.

F. The club would bring in more revenue to the city than Kumbala, he professed. Revenue sources: Annual fee per each employee that goes to police department; table fee; annual license fee; quarterly permit fee; plus city gets 1 percent of sales tax, mostly on beverages. So what’s the projected total? We’ll have to check.

So that’s what Blanchard thinks. What do you think?

  • J. W. Kyle

    February 13, 2008

    Enlarging the card club is not a good idea ! Especially under the conditions reported in today’s Review. 24 hors per day?

    Sorry Mr. Dowling, this is not the type of ‘entertain- ment’ that Hayward needs. WILL THE BAR BE KEPT OPEN OR WILL IT CLOSE AT 1:30 AM ?

    That particular location bodes ill for Hayward as outsiders view it. We have sufficient numbers of card clubs in Alameda County, as I recall it, the count is up to two which is two too many given the increases in gambling addiction which will turn around and bite us in the fanny………

    I recall a situation in Castro Valley in the late 1950’s or early 1960’s when a yound ‘youth minister’ came into the Bank of America, where I worked as a junior loan officer. He was behind on his bills, even owing the paper boy for six weeks of daily delivery.

    The credit check procedures revealed that he had lost his job at the church where he had worked etc.. etc.

    It was one of the two then existent card clubs in Hayward which did him in….. anyone who loses constently as that young person did, can expect to be recognized and ‘played’ by professional card sharps !

    What we do not need in the approaching hard times immediately ahead is an increade in crime wrought by losers whose addiction turns them to a life in the shadows of crime.

  • Fernando Hernandez

    Dear Mr. Kyle:

    Please don’t raise your tone at us!, lest you run out of capitals!…

    Had you taken the time to read the story before responding, as you have in the past admonished others to do, you would have noticed that the bar part of this business indeed would close at 1:30 in the morning ( see C above)

    I remember back in the late 80’s when I was a student at CSUH…

    At least once a week a bunch of my friends and I would stay in the ceramics studio working on our projects until 2 or 3 in the morning and then go for “breakfast” at the now defunct Lyons.

    My feelings about this?

    This would be a better location for the card club than the one it currently has, and I would love for there to a at least ONE place in Hayward to get a meal after midnight…

    Going with your logic,

    Should we also close all the liquor stores to keep the alcoholics and nicotine addicts from acquiring booze and cigarettes?

    Maybe some kind of intervention would have been good for the young man in your example, but I would not call TWO card clubs in the county as too many, nor do I feel entitled to dictate to other people who might not have an addiction how far they have to drive to engage in behavior you might abject to.

    You are an environmentalist, think about how much fuel will not be burnt to get all those Hayward gamblers out to the far flung casinos elsewhere in the bay area : )

  • monica ruiz

    I’m opposed to the relocation of the Palace card club for a lot of reasons, some of them already mentioned. It doesn’t make sense to get rid of the pot clubs and then to allow a gambling establishment to move in. I’m not in favor of the card club being in Hayward period. We already have enough riff raff occurring in this city. Why encourage more?

  • Fernando Hernandez

    Ho Monica, lighten up!

    Lets be clear, a gambling establishment is NOT moving IN, but relocating, quite different things from my stand point!

    Unlike Pot, which is illegal (at least according to the feds), gambling is not, and is seems a bit out of place for others to try to dictate to the rest of us how to live.

    I’m not a gambler and have never been to the card club, but if they had decent food I might patronize them every once in a while…

    I guess that makes me riff raff in your eyes.
    Goodness!, Fernando is up past midnight!! He must up to no good!!!

    Talk about gross generalizations! No every one attending the club is riff raff…

    Maybe if the club was not as seedy looking as it from the outside…
    If it had a better location with parking, etc, it would attract other kinds of gamblers, as in all those people of means who can afford to fly to Tahoe to waste their money gambling.

    In the current economic situation, it would seem foolish to get rid of a business that is part of the Hayward economy.

    I have been to Tahoe quite a few times, and walked past the casinos…
    There is lot of pretty wealthy riff raff up there!

    Why not try to capture those funds for our city, rather than having people drive 5 hours to get their gambling fix,

    The fact that SOME folks might have trouble not gambling doesn’t mean we have to treat everyone like an addict!

  • cwbyht

    I see no reason that the card club shouldn’t be allowed to move. The patrons have never been a problem to the community. They certainly are not the riff raff being described by some. Those who gamble tend to be middle to upper income, and are in no way a crimanal element. Having an active well lit establisment open in the early hours, just might help to reduce street crimes.

  • monica ruiz

    F & C what planet are you living on?

  • cwbyht

    Well I’ve been living on planet Hayward for the last 24 years. Where the Palace card club has been existing peacefully with the community. Where do you draw your conclusions about it from?

  • Fernando Hernandez

    What planet am I living on?

    Obviously a more tolerant planet than the one you must hail from!

    I have also lived in Planet Hayward for 22 years, a good decade of those downtown, maybe 5 or 6 blocks from the offending business.

    Cwbyht: good question for Monica
    Where do you draw your conclusions from?

    I could be mistaken but…

    If I remember correctly, I saw the chief of police being questioned by the city council about the card club sometime last year, and he didn’t seem to think that the club was a problem business.
    I imagine he would know, wouldn’t he, Monica?

    On the other hand, the now defunct Kumbala was a problem ( I ought to know, as I lived not two blocks from there!) and consequently, their liquor license was revoked.

  • J. W. Kyle

    Mr. Fernandez critizes my “tone” in an earlier submission on this topic. That attitude opens up pandora’s box where Mr. Freenandez is concerned.

    In his 22 years as a resident of Hayward I have yet to see the man present himself at City Council or Plannuing commission meetings although he did make an appearance or two, as I recall at HUSD meetings.

    I do not recall being able to observe his name as a volunteer in service to the City or HUSD nor have I seen him rise to speak at the formal meetings, with the exception of one occasion at HUSD’s meeting of the Board,sometime in early or near mid-year 2007, during the strike problem.

    In the case at hand,( relocation and major expansion of the card club,) what Mr. Fernandes fails to recognize is the matter of perceptions held by real estate investors when considering a particular property as a potential purchase for inclusion in personal portfolio. In this instance, speaking as a retired real appraiser, I’d bet that if he did make an offer to purchase a nearby property that the offer would reflect a negative attitude, i.e. a ‘low ball price’.

    In his 22 years of residency near the center of ‘down’ town Hayward, his intense interest in Hayward’s future should suffice for something a bit more positive at the Kumbala location. Perhaps Fernando can recite an example of where a ‘public nuisance’ prompted absorption of nearby vacant business properties.

    Public nuisance ? Well, the exapansion from present to proposed is such that I suggest the late hour arrivals and departures to a 24 hour operation would be clasifioed as a nusiance given the numbers of new seats, larger and more seats at each table as well as the seating at the bar, would easily be considered as a nuisahnce by CASA Sandoval tenants etc.

    It was the mere public nuisance of fines for overstaying time at parking meters, (as encouragement to run not walk to a single retail outlet) located well away from the closest available meter,which aided early success of Southland Mall. That success involved relocation of a great many long term (successful) retail outlets along Foothill as well as B Street.

    Now, if you have not noticed, Southland Mall is struggling due to access problems created by vehicular congestion as well as competition from ‘Union Landing’, Re-confifured, expanded and highly competitive ‘BayFair Mall’ as well as the huge mall at Pleasantion where our tax dollars are being used to create greater access for BART commuters as well as the attraction of retail customers to Southern Alameda County’s greatest Mall.

    Try locating a card club in the now failed Levitz store at Southland Mall, where the original furniture store also failed just a few short years ago. The howl from existing tenants is something that no one on City Council, present or future, will ever test with a motion for a card club at the mall.

    In the past year I criticized the blog submissions where the content of some items were vicious and unfounded especially when the authors were hiding behind ‘nom de plume’ (or, for you college graduates, ‘pen names’)

    I wrote a lengthy submuission on that idea and as I recall you challenged me on the subject. At that time I suggested that you send me your E-mail address so that I could send you a full version of my criticism; you thanked me and stated that you would communicate a response as soon as you returned from a long planned trip. That was a year ago…. apprently you did not like what you read…. now you are reduced to criticizing my poor typing skills which are often employed, laboriously at the very late or early morning hours when they are prepared. Given your propensity for such trite criticism, In all honesty I wonder if you really benefited fron attendance at Cal State University, East Bay. When you left, did you take away a degree? In what discipline?

  • Fernando Hernandez

    Hi Mr. Kyle et all:

    Lets be clear I did not critisize your typing skills, as you state in your last paragraph. If I recall correctly, nobody has brought up typos or misspellings since the strike.

    I critized your use of all caps. (in e-mails this generally means you are yelling at someone) in a question whose answer was plainly and clearly stated in the text you were addressing. Mind you the caps. in questions were confined to one sentence specifically, which somehow doesn’t seem like a typo to me.

    You also question my education and my involvement and volunteering with the city and HUSD. All I can say is that you are way off the mark on that. Being as it is that my education or volunteer efforts have nothing to do with the topic at hand, I will save my reply to those questions for the end of this message, so that those who want to skip that part of the message can simply do so. It’s bound to be rather lengthy.

    So, on to the topic at hand:

    I can see how some real state investors might not want to buy nearby properties if the club moves in. On the other hand, it seems to me that the homeless who live near by under the bridge might seem like more of a detriment to local prospective investors.

    Also, wouldn’t the club’s absence from it’s current location then cause those properties near by to increase in value? (except for that mini-loop thing!)

    Somehow it seems unfair to deny the current building owner a chance to profit by renting his building to whomever he can, so long it is for legal enterprises sanctioned by the city. But to deny him his profits because some future real state speculator might not want to move next door?

    If I understand your writing correctly, you also imply that the move would prompt “absorption of nearby vacant business properties”

    Would you please explain (briefly if possible) what you are talking about? I had not heard about this. Are you talking about the club expanding into nearby vacant businesses (I presume with the sanction of the building owners!) or are you talking about the use of eminent domain to expand the club?

    I will not address your long text regarding Southland other than to say that I stopped going there not because I couldn’t find parking or because of traffic in the area, but because as you stated…
    There are other near by malls that are not as run down as Southland, and their stores don’t insist on checking everyone’s receipt before exiting the store, making the customers feels like criminals not to be trusted.

    Now on to your questions off topic, regarding my education and volunteering for the community and HUSD. Waring to anyone else reading this posting, we are now off topic and I only answer these questions on this forum because Mr. Kyle asked them on this forum, even though they have no relevance to the club’s relocation.

    About my Education:

    Yes, I did walk away from CSU Hayward with a degree. I earned a BA in art, with a concentration in ceramics.

    This degree served me quite well, as I was invited to attend Washington State University Pullman with a part time teaching assistantship. I attended their graduate program, taught at their undergraduate school and received my MFA two years latter.

    My MFA served me well enough to be invited back to CSUH to teach Ceramics, which I did for a few years before I quite to raise my two daughters and work with the students of the HUSD through grants from The California Arts Council, and the East Bay Community Foundation, among others. In all my time working with the kids of HUSD, I don’t recall any other college instructors being willing to work with HS students.

    Aside from my teaching activities, I have continued to produce art works. My sculptures and installations have been exhibited at many venues on the west coast. You might have heard of a few: Yerba Buena gardens, South of Market Art Center (SOMART) and the Oakland Museum of California. I’m in fact curating an exhibit for Oakland Museum as we stand. Not bad for someone not yet 40!

    If you like to see some of my work, all you have to do is go to the Main Library in Hayward: The bronze plaque to Chavez on the wall that faces the old city hall was designed by me, and was sculpted by me and my friend Incoronata Molino.

    Community service:

    Just like you, Mr.Kyle I have volunteered many many hours of service both to the city and HUSD.

    The reason you have not heard of me was the same reason I had not heard of you before the strike. I too chose to volunteer my time to help in areas where my expertize could be put to use.

    I served on the Board of Directors of the Hayward Arts Council,
    I have served on the Board of Directors of the Sun Gallery,

    I have served on the Board of Directors of the Prospect Hill Neighborhood Association, where we advocated for the creation of a community garden near the Hazel Street bridge,

    I currently sit on a community advisory comm. for the Hayward Area Historical Society.

    You also raise the issue of my absence during Planning Commission and City Council meetings. I do watch all the meetings, and when appropriate, contact the concerned individuals via e-mail to express my opinion.

    Regarding HUSD: I have stopped speaking at the meetings because, as you can confirm, the mostly lame duck board can’t answer to your questions anyway.
    Even when the Super. does answer you, as he did when you demanded to be answered two or three weeks ago, the answer is usually short and unsatisfying.

    However, I have met and will meet again with Mr. Vigil in an informal setting where we can discuss issues at length. I also volunteered to serve in his budget advisory comm.

    I have volunteered at my daughter’s school to build a 20″ in diameter redwood trellis to be used as an outdoor classroom in their school vegetable garden, and I donated a few hundred dollars of the lumber used for the construction.

    In my intense lack of interest for the future of the city, I have attended some of the meetings regarding the Power plant (asides from watching endless hours of testimony on that issue), and volunteered some time to attend the meeting regarding the Cal trans properties and their eventual return to private ownership. (By the way, I was surprised by your absence during their first meeting)
    I have also scheduled a meeting to meet the new City Manager and discuss the state of the arts in Hayward.

    Finally, you asked how come I never did answer to a very long text you sent me, which if I recall correctly had nothing to do with Nom de plume issues, but with something else that escapes my mind at this point (I want to say land use issues, but can’t honestly recall, it’s been a year after all).

    The only reason I did not answer is because you tend to bring up so many things that are very thinly connected to or just plain off the topic at hand, that it makes it very hard to write a concise reply to your statements without spending a huge amount of time combing out the truly pertinent information.

    Case in point: my education, volunteering and southland in your last post!
    After all, the club is not looking to relocate there!

  • J. W. Kyle

    February 27, 2008

    In his response to mine of 2/18, Mr Hernandez, on Feb 21st stated that use of “caps” in mail commumication generally means you are ‘yelling’ at someone.===== news to me! I always thought it meant emphasis or the need to meeting demands of language.

    He went on to at least infer that, in this instance, the hours of the bar busioness permissableat at the relocated Card Club might not extend to 2:00 AM as at other watering holes about town.

    Your education though appreciated by me has not much within it to support your contentious involement with the subject of Card Clubs. But I do appreciate your interest and expression of concern. There ought be more such as you in Hayward. Some of your expressions are easily dismissed by thoase members of Council whose oars seem to skim water surfaces without much bite into the water.

    In your case you lack understanding of synergism which in effect is the ability to attract retail customers who like comparative shopping opportunity, thus increasing the actual experience of the two beyond their separate capacities to attract customers.

    Now, with your revelation of your educational background I believe there is hope that you will come around to my own view point on the subject of Card Club.

    The card club does not induce synergism with any other business in Hayward nor would it, as a stand alone, induce a 24 hour restaurant operation in a near by location.

    Frankly, given the idea that what I observe to be a spread of crime emanating from Oakland, I think that there is less willingmess to be out on the street late at in night here in Hayward, under any comdition including the ‘new’ expanded capacity of the proposed re-location of the card club.

    The theater when opened later this year will attract early restaurant businees but will not induce late night reataurant business. After theater activity might occur in New York but not in Hayward.

    You confuse the issues when you state that retail stores would not want to locate near a creek full of the homeless folk.

    Curiously, that attitude was expressed in different form by President Ronald Reagan and has popped up in a survey questionaire mailed to a large sampling of reisterd Republicans across the country. On social ossues, there were but three questions the most interesting of which was: ” Do you support President Bush’s initiatives to allow privatr religious and charitable groups to do more to help those in need?

    As governor of Califormnia and later,President Ronald Reagan made the same statement when he closed State Mental Hospitals and propposed similar actions as President. “Churched’ folks represent less than half of the US population and the unchurched folks caught the message quite willingly. Is That why the attitude seems to be that the Church people here in Hayward or Castro Vally ought to stop feeding the poor at Portugese Park or Library Park…… geez, have we sunk that low in our dealing with the unfortunate ?

    How did we survive the depression era?

    The Hayward Chamber of Commerce joined the cacophony when it issued ‘a paper’ on the sunject of the condition of our ‘down’ town. Oddly, the C of C president is directly involved in a blighted appearance property on the west side of Main Street about 150 north of ‘A” Street. The gentleman lives in Oakland.

    Property in close location to the card club’s present situation will not increaase in value largely due to the eminent domaion ‘takes’ near that present site. The loop, when completed will inctrease those immediate traffic problems at that location with the result that locals will avoid trips to the site and immedaite environs. That intensed traffic location will discourage new start up busineess !

    You express concern for the owner of the property facing Footill between Russell way and the Creek. That individual, a resident of Union City, ‘blew it’ when he failed to investigate the operational History of the Kumbala tenant whose Fremont operation was a police problem even before he came to Hayward. Either fire the Real Estate Agent or learn the business the Hard way! I do not feel sorry for him !

    I did not state that Southland Mall was run down although I think last summer’s near riot when 300 or more teens ran through knocking things over was a sad scene, as much the fault of Management as the uncontrolled teens who arrived here from far and wide for an unfortante entertainment.

    What I believe is happening to South Land Mall is the testrictive access resulting from auto traffic with I-880 and Ste Rte 92 reconstruction, as well as the cancellation of the RTE 238 By-pass.

    Besides the loss of your own refusal to assure retail taxes accruing to Hayward, be sure to thank Kevin Dowling for his role in defeating Rte 238 By-pass.

    The loss of the Ford Dealership as well as that of the pending closure of Chevrolet and Dodge Dealership will hurt Hayward for many years to come…. perhaps another parcel tax upon housing as well as the school bond will do us in and we will join the ranks of cities such as Vallejo which recently went bankrupt.

    I was criticized by M. O’brien for suggesting that the new theater show some “Bollywood” Films. In the old Centerville area which was a major businesses area prior to incorporation of the City of Fremont, a small 500 seat theater existed which eventuated to showing “Bollywood” Films to attract folks from the Asian Sub-continent. Soon, tickets were being sold to 550 folks who packed into the theateron on an SRO basis much to the annoyance and eventual order to desist by the local fire marshall. The result was a boom in busioness of all types in old stores along Fremont Blvd in ‘old Centerville’area.

    Visit Kaiser Hopspital and observe the medical personnel and marvel at the diversity of the population working there, then ask your self why we are not taking the steps needed to encourage business catering to that segment of the population who eat and shop anywhere but in Hayward. Ask your self why the teachers of Emglish as a second language at HUSD are not shoppimng in ‘down’ town Hayward.

    Where is the diversity about which we brag so much. Do you not realizr that the folks from the Asian sub-continent are wealthy, own some major industrial busineeses in Silicon Valley, are wealthy, well behaved, educated and in possession of leadership qualities that we hneed in Hayward?

    A few ‘bolltwood’ films at our new theater might eventuate into a truly diverse community rather than one divided by Latinos, African Americans, and a few white folks scattered hither and thither.

    Expand your thought processes Mr.Feranadez !