Hayashi tests la alta velocidad

Spain recently expanded its high-speed rail network from Madrid to Barcelona, making a 342-mile trip take just about 2.5 hours. Some California rail advocates are keeping a close eye on such projects as they strive to create a high-speed connection between SF and LA — which is coincidentally, according to distance calculators, and at least as the crow flies, also about 342 miles.

Since we’re not planning to ride the AVE, or Alta Velocidad Española, anytime soon, we just took a virtual trip on YouTube:

But our local state Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi (D-Hayward) is taking it a step further — apparently trying AVE out for herself this week. She’s spending her spring break with some fellow legislators on a trip to Spain sponsored by the California Foundation on the Environment and Economy.


‘Anti-dredging’ movement afoot?


Mayor Tony Santos mentioned something today at his monthly “Coffee with the Mayor” session that I’ve never heard before.

As he was fielding questions from residents at Mission Bay mobile-home park (a retirement community) about dredging at the San Leandro Marina, he said he feels people are now pretty much evenly split on whether the City Council should go forward with dredging the yacht harbor and two-mile federal channel, a process that now costs more than $5 million.

He also said he thinks an “anti-dredging” movement has begun to gain momentum, and that it is being led by Robert Leigh — a former Washington Manor Homeowners Association president who recently suggested in a letter to the editor that the boat harbor should be converted into a recreational lagoon so that the city could spend the money on other projects, such as fixing roads or completing the senior center.

(Note: This idea has been suggested before, and it is being looked at by the City Council Shoreline-Marina Committee as an alternative to dredging if the city decides to no longer pursue that process.)


Questions for the candidates

Wednesday is the last day to file papers for the Hayward City Council election, and so far it looks like those voting on June 3 will have nine choices for five open slots.

Here are the seven people running for four 4-year seats:

Linda Bennett
Barbara Halliday (incumbent)
Olden Henson (incumbent)
Marvin Peixoto
Bill Quirk (incumbent)
Rob Simpson
Francisco Zermeño

Here are the two people running for one 2-year seat:

Steve Bristow
Anna May

Note: We’ll add names and websites if and as they come. And along with regular coverage, we’ll be asking them all to answer some common questions. Got some important questions? Send them to mattobrien@bayareanewsgroup.com or post them as comments below.


Oops! ‘My mistake’

If you file papers to run for an election, make sure you know what papers the public can see.

At least, that was the lesson Charles Gilcrest, who is running for a San Leandro City Council seat, learned this week.

On a ballot designation worksheet, which is available for the public to view at City Hall, Gilcrest wrote that, as an alternative to being designated on the ballot as a local business owner, he would have liked to be designated as “The Best Choice.”

Each candidate is required to write in how he wants to be designated on the ballot, and the form states that the designation

must be your prinicipal profession, vocation or occupation and may be no more than three words.

If the first designation doesn’t make it, then the candidate can put in two alternatives.

So it looks like if “local business owner” wasn’t suitable enough, “The Best Choice” was the next best thing for Gilcrest.

His reason: It was supposed to be an inside joke between he and the city clerk.

“I figured she might tell us that none of us could use commissioner on the ballot,” Gilcrest said in a phone interview Monday. (He also is a Board of Zoning Adjustments commissioner.) “And I figured the (candidate) statement itself was public, but not the worksheet. My mistake.”

The irony in this Freudian slip is that no other candidate who turned in papers for the election made this same mistake. And Gilcrest is a political consultant who has worked on numerous elections, so you would think he knows better.


Yogurt Place


Returning to downtown Hayward after a lengthy absence, I found the latest bout of Cinema Place construction progress more dramatic than usual.

Plus, there will be yogurt there, reveals business reporter George Avalos.


Would you like PFCs with that?

pizza-box.jpgThat french-fry container, pizza box or candy wrapper you use might contain toxic chemicals. Say what?

That’s what San Leandro’s own state Sen. Ellen Corbett thinks, and she is introducing new legislation tomorrow that would ban PFCs in food packaging that are linked in animal tests to cancer or reproductive harm.

According to Corbett, many food products — such as candy wrappers, microwave popcorn and pizza boxes — are coated with perflourinated chemicals (PFCs) that, when heated, leach into the food product and break down into perflourooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perflourooctane sulfate (PFOS), both of which are toxic.

She will hold a press conference tomorrow in Sacramento to introduce the bill, SB 1313, which is sponsored by Environmental Working Group.

“Despite the fact that most consumers believe the packaging surrounding their food is safe, the reality is that certain food packaging contains toxic chemicals that can cause harm to children’s health and the environment,” Corbett said in a press release.