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Archive for May, 2008

Last question: What the Hayward candidates have done already

And finally, giving them 80 words instead of just 60, we ask the candidates for 4-year seats on the Hayward City Council:

What were your top three community accomplishments in the past four years?

LINDA BENNETT: 1.) As chairperson for the Library Commission I have worked on beginning plans for a new downtown library. 2.) Going with a neighbor and speaking with a business owner that wasn’t keeping up his building and business area. He has since been very good about keeping the building free of graffiti and nuisances. 3.) The third is a tie between being on the Alameda County San Lorenzo Creek Watershed Task Force and collecting signatures on a petition to avoid overdevelopment of Caltrans property.

BARBARA HALLIDAY: 1) Strengthening the ties between the city and neighborhoods by promoting partnerships between staff and neighborhood residents to focus on reducing crime and eliminating blight; 2) promoting new shopping and dining opportunities throughout the city, including new restaurants at Southland, renovation of Bedford Plaza and other centers, and Cinema Place theater and shops that will open soon downtown; 3) completing land acquisition and financing for the new Burbank Elementary School and expanded Cannery Park that will open this fall.

OLDEN HENSON: 1.) Going into the South Garden area, organizing the church and community to the point where a grant was received to provide community services including health services. 2.) Championed the dire need of police personnel in the 2005 budget, which led to full-blown discussion and commitment to provide more police. 3.) Worked to get a hotel and other economic development by way of biotech, retail, and others into Hayward. The hotel, regional retail and other opportunities are in the pipeline.

MARVIN PEIXOTO: As a planning commissioner I voted to shut down a bar located on Grand Street for its numerous violations. I opposed the use permit for the crematorium in the downtown because I thought it was an inappropriate land use and would change the character of adjacent neighborhoods. I voted in favor of the ordinance eliminating further conditional use permits for tattoo parlors downtown.

BILL QUIRK: 1.) Making Citizen input a cornerstone of my public service efforts—responding to calls within 24 hours and solving many problems for residents. My home phone number and email are 581-5498, BillQuirkForHayward@Comcast.net 2.) Actively supporting Michael Sweeney for Mayor—the Council and City are far more responsive to Hayward residents under Mayor Sweeney’s leadership. 3.) Supporting meetings between the City Council and staff with citizens in Fairway Park, Schafer Park, and other neighborhoods—and successfully resolving many of their problems.

ROB SIMPSON: We all share in community accomplishments, particularly those financed by our tax dollars. I’ve taken significant action, dedicating extensive personal resources, demonstrating unrelenting determination and commitment to the community in the following: Stopping the polluting power plants, investing nearly 1000 hours of my personal time and resources. I’ve given away 30,000 trees. 6,000 in the last four years. I’ve planned and sold the most environmentally sensitive, green development in Hayward. Vote Simpson for logic and action to move Hayward forward. Rob@redwoodrob.com

FRANCISCO ZERMEÑO: 1.) Founding and leading the Latino Business Roundtable. I saw a need to reach out to small business owners, seeing them as being the backbone of a strong local economy. 2.) Founding and leading the Chabot Green Team to begin educating our local community about an eco-friendly living style. 3.) Continuing our Cinco de Mayo Festival in City Hall Plaza. People who had never been Downtown were glad to have visited, with their children performing ballet folklorico or playing mariachi music.

Posted on Saturday, May 31st, 2008
Under: General, Hayward, Politics | 2 Comments »

Question 7: “WORST” Hayward decision!

What was the worst decision the Hayward City Council made in the last four years and how would you do things differently?

LINDA BENNETT: This is a difficult question to answer. The city council has had to make a number of difficult decisions in the past four years. I believe my least favorite decision was the Loop in the downtown area. Traffic is a city/regional issue and this does nothing to remedy traffic problems in any affected areas in the rest of the city.

BARBARA HALLIDAY: I opposed the Council decision to approve the Garin Vista housing project on steep slopes above an old quarry in the Hayward Hills. Grading operations, begun last year, resulted in slope failure during the winter rains, and costly repairs are now needed to protect homes downhill from potential damage. I would prohibit housing on unstable land.

OLDEN HENSON: The approval of the mini loop and disallowing the name change of fire station one to the Matt Jimenez Station one while he was alive to enjoy the honor as he wished.

MARVIN PEIXOTO: The loop. This crazy scheme will absolutely destroy the downtown and everything we’ve tried to do to bring new business to our city. The fact that we are using someone else’s money to do it is hardly comforting. Our through traffic problem should be addressed at the 238 connector so that the freeways can be used the way they were intended. Don’t get me started.

BILL QUIRK: Rushing to approve a plan for the South Hayward BART corridor before it was ready. The result was such a bad plan that even City Council members who supported the plan voted against the first proposed project. I wish the other Council members had like me voted to wait until the problems I refer to above were addressed.

ROB SIMPSON: 10/11/2005 unanimously approving the fifth biggest polluter in the Bay Area on city property in 42 minutes without environmental review. Presently claiming irresponsibility for their own actions and impotence. Declaring championship by timidly fighting Eastshore, the direct result of inadvertently opening our zoning and 1/5 the size of the one they approved. Please Elect me and We’ll stop both. www.redwoodrob.com

FRANCISCO ZERMEÑO: Our City Council’s worst decision has been not acting to dispel the perception that we are a city unfriendly to businesses. I keep hearing ‘they haven’t visited our business,’ ‘they took too long,’ and ‘they make it too hard to do business here.’ How much is true? I don’t know. However, we must do our utmost to rid ourselves of this perception.

Posted on Saturday, May 31st, 2008
Under: Hayward | 2 Comments »

Question 6: What about that South Hayward thing?

Here we go:

What is your position on the stalled redevelopment plans for the South Hayward BART / Mission Boulevard corridor? What would you do about those plans and proposed development projects there?

LINDA BENNETT: I like the idea of a transit-oriented development but the one that was proposed was entirely too massive for the location. It is my understanding that the city is working on reevaluating these plans to make them more suitable for the area. Many people below the Mission Boulevard area have over the years expressed wanting a view of the hills preserved.

BARBARA HALLIDAY: Plans for development around South Hayward BART have been approved, and several developers have submitted applications or expressed interest. I will look carefully at each project to make sure it protects surrounding uses and makes a positive contribution to the area. I would like to see much-needed retail development built before more housing is approved.

OLDEN HENSON: I support the South Hayward BART Village Plan. It can be revised to include more open space. The plan calls for high-density residential in close proximity to BART station. It would allow transformation of Dixon Street into residential and shops. This plan is the principal reason Joe Montana invested in the old Perry and Key site. With appropriate site review, I would likely support forthcoming projects.

MARVIN PEIXOTO: The South Hayward BART plan is incomplete and neglects many important considerations that were voiced during the public hearings such as the lack of adequate open space and parks. But perhaps more important, there has never been a long term fiscal analysis to determine the huge increase in service demand for the project. Property tax alone won’t do it.

BILL QUIRK: We need to reexamine the corridor plan. I voted against the plan, because of faults in the plan and the failure to include much of the community in the planning. We need to determine what density will allow for walkable neighborhoods and then zone at that density. We also need more park space, and a plan to fund public services.

ROB SIMPSON: There’s great opportunity. Present plans lack imagination emphasizing housing not community. The area needs variety of services and amenities like the Bowling alley, Security and Green development. Politicians listen but they need to actually take some action on what they’re told from the community, not just developers/contributors. I’ll strive to revitalize Hayward for Hayward. Let’s do it together. www.redwoodrob.com

FRANCISCO ZERMEÑO: The Redevelopment of South Hayward BART/Mission needs to be revisited, tweaked, implemented. The idea of transit and pedestrian-oriented housing and retail is excellent. Needed are a grocery store, community center, restaurants. I would like to see a Senior Center, bowling alley, baseball batting cages, skating rink, adequate green space. We shouldn’t create a Mission Boulevard Canyon of tall buildings.

Posted on Saturday, May 31st, 2008
Under: Development, Environment, Hayward, Politics | No Comments »

Question 5: Hayward schools

Here’s a bonus question — a blog exclusive!

Will you vote for or against Measure I (the School Safety and Construction Bond Measure) on June 3? Also, describe what role city council members could or should have in improving Hayward schools.

LINDA BENNETT: I will be voting for Measure I. I believe it is the responsibility of our entire community to do what we can to encourage our young people to be responsible members of our community. The city council doesn’t have authority over the schools but must work with the school board, businesses, HARD, Hayward teachers, and agencies to determine what needs to be done in order to improve the Hayward Schools.

BARBARA HALLIDAY: I support Measure I, but other efforts are needed as well. Council members should work collaboratively with the schools, recreation district, and non-profit groups to support Hayward youth and give them high quality educational and recreational opportunities. We should also promote volunteerism among recent retirees to mentor youth and get them involved in volunteering and helping the community.

OLDEN HENSON: I strongly support Measure I and urge others to do so. The council can support a public/private partnership between business, the city and school district. The model is used in the Silicon Valley. Business employees should be a part of school projects and work with students. The council can budget a small amount of funding to reestablish the Schools to Career Program.

MARVIN PEIXOTO: I have endorsed Measure I and fully support it. While the city council does not exercise direct authority over the school district, it is in the best interest of the city to ensure that our children receive the best possible education in a safe environment. The council needs to work collaboratively and constructively with the school board to ensure that this happens.

BILL QUIRK: I have voted for I. I have included support for Measure I in two of my mailers. The main role the City has had in Hayward schools is in providing the funding for two new schools, Stonebrae and Burbank, and providing 6 officers to patrol the High Schools and Middle Schools. The City is looking at funding after school programs

ROB SIMPSON: I’m an advocate for the Bond. I have 3 school age children in public schools, one was adopted in Africa as a baby. Hayward schools demonstrate great diversity and acceptance. Even People without children will benefit by the social and economic advantages of a community with better schools. Our City Council should actualize its potential to improve education. See www.redwoodrob.com

FRANCISCO ZERMEÑO: I fully support Measure I, as an endorser and contributor. As HUSD and the City Council are two different entities, they need to work in partnership, collaboratively figuring out how to best serve our residents with top-notch educational systems. As Hayward grows, so will our schools. As schools improve, so will our city. Quality of life is encompassing, education included.

Posted on Friday, May 30th, 2008
Under: Hayward, Politics, Schools | 2 Comments »

Question 4: Hayward power plants?

Please note that most of these questions and answers will also appear in the newspaper on Saturday. Next …

What is your position on the two different power plants proposed for Hayward? What would you do about each of them?

LINDA BENNETT: I oppose the first power plant because Hayward should not bear the burden for the Peninsula. I am concerned about the information citizens were not privy to about the negative effects of the plant. I see the need for energy but believe there are newer technologies less detrimental to our community. I oppose the second power plant because enough is enough.

BARBARA HALLIDAY: I strongly opposed the Eastshore Energy Center and testified against it at hearings in Hayward and Sacramento. With my support, the city has taken legal action to stop the plant. Regarding Calpine, which has been approved by the state, I believe Council should have a full opportunity to review and comment on the environmental impacts that have been identified.

OLDEN HENSON: I returned early from a lobby trip to vote against the Eastshore plant land use plan due to its lack of emissions control, proximity to schools and residential areas and the fact that it is not needed. I supported only the consistency of land use and the eventual contract with Calpine on the Russell City plant. The California Energy Commission has the authority to approve or disapprove, not the city.

MARVIN PEIXOTO: I oppose the building of both plants and support Assemblymember Mary Hayashi’s bill AB 1909 to prevent the building of a second power plant in Hayward. Regarding the Calpine plant, I would support exploring all legal remedies available, both public and private, to ensure that this plant never gets built.

BILL QUIRK: The City Council, myself included unanimously opposes the East Shore Energy Plant because it can be seen from homes and schools. Unfortunately, the final decision will be made by the California Energy Commission and not the City. The Russell City Plant has already been approved by the California Energy Commission and that decision cannot be changed.

ROB SIMPSON: They’d kill people polluting 2,000,000,000 tons annually. I’m helping to stop them. With comprehensive understanding of the health threat, environmental degradation and loss of property value, I’m an active litigant fighting both plants. I personally filed an EPA appeal that has stopped Calpine and the City Council for six months now. I filed an injunction regarding Eastshore. www.redwoodrob.com volunteer 510-909-1800

FRANCISCO ZERMEÑO: Calpine was born out of feared and unwanted blackouts. The peninsula receives the energy, we the dust particles, and the possible airplane problems. The other plant presents the same situation, but on smaller scale. Actually, I believe that they will never be built, at least here in Hayward. I don’t favor either one of them and signed petition against them.

Posted on Friday, May 30th, 2008
Under: Environment, Hayward, Politics | 2 Comments »

San Leandro fails anti-smoking report card; Hayward gets high marks

no-smoking-sign1.jpgLooks like Hayward’s move to ban smoking on sidewalks, streets and other public places just improved its profile among anti-smoking advocates around the county.

The Alameda County Tobacco Control Coalition released a report card on Thursday for all the cities in the county, rating each one on their efforts to provide smoke-free environments.

Obviously, with the Hayward City Council’s new ordinance, the city got high marks — a B overall.

But shame on San Leandro, the report says. The Cherry City got a big fat F, across the board, because the City Council hasn’t done anything to control smoking, the coalition said.

San Leandro joined only two other cities that received F’s: Alameda and Piedmont.

Almost every city got an F for not doing enough to prevent stores from selling tobacco products to youths. Only Berkeley and Oakland got A’s in that category.

Posted on Friday, May 30th, 2008
Under: Alameda County, Environment, Hayward, Odds & Ends, San Leandro | No Comments »

Question 3: Candidates on Hayward loop

Next question:

What is your position on the downtown loop of one-way streets? What would you do about it?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, May 30th, 2008
Under: Hayward, Politics, Transportation | 1 Comment »

Question 2: Candidates on crime and blight

Here is our second question for the seven candidates running for 4-year seats on the Hayward City Council

What would you do to improve police services and reduce crime and blight in Hayward? Be specific.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, May 29th, 2008
Under: Crime, Hayward, Politics | 1 Comment »

Hayward candidates answer questions: Part 1 of 8

It’s crunch time for the June 3 election. We asked the seven candidates running for 4-year seats on the Hayward City Council to answer a series of eight questions. We’ll post all the answers on this blog.

The candidates all were asked to limit their responses to 60 words, and we used our discretion to edit down the entries that did not comply with those directions.

If blog readers feel they have a better answer to the questions, let’s hear them. And if the candidates want to join in, be our guest.

FIRST QUESTION: The city says it faces a deficit of more than $10 million. What steps would you take in the short and long term to protect the city services you think are most important? What would you cut, what would you save?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, May 29th, 2008
Under: Hayward | 2 Comments »

Scare tactics or smart move?

cgilcrest.jpgIn today’s San Leandro Times, City Council candidate Charles Gilcrest ran a half-page ad calling for the city to get tougher on crime.

The ad apparently dovetails with a recent announcement by the police chief that crime is up in San Leandro by 18 percent for the first quarter of this year.

This is in stark contrast to the police chief’s report to the City Council late last year that touted a 5 percent decrease last year in overall crime in the city. Everyone knows, however, what happened when the mayor praised these figures, while hundreds of folks felt he was ignoring the city’s uptick in car thefts, brazen robberies and other mischief.

So it seems Gilcrest, a strong ally of Mayor Tony Santos, is attempting to take the discussion in a different direction here. In the ad, he calls for the city to invest in more recruitment of police officers, accelerate the Redevelopment Agency’s debts to the general fund to pay for increased staffing, and have the department release real-time crime alerts when something is happening in a neighborhood.

It’s not really clear why Gilcrest has taken out an ad in the Times speaking to people’s fears just a few days before the election. The ad touts his endorsements from both the police officers’ and firefighters’ unions, from which he received $300 and $650 in contributions, according to the latest campaign finance disclosures.

But then again, maybe he’s just doing what many people do when they’re running for office, and making one last push before the election to get more votes?

Posted on Thursday, May 29th, 2008
Under: General, Politics, San Leandro | No Comments »