Making history hip: Rock out, Abe!

Thanks to Hayward-based Big Toe Audio, the 1860 presidential election is hip. Very, very hip.
As in, hip-hop, rock and pop — music included in a daily multimedia podcast on presidential election history.

With 4 1/2 months to go in the current presidential campaign, Big Toe owner Shane Sharkey has teamed up with KGO talk show host John Rothmann on “Fight for the White House.” The free two- to three-minute podcast combines audio clips, campaign theme songs, radio news reports, music and Rothmann’s explanations of each election.

To add a local political angle, historian Rothmann is Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele’s cousin.

“Our main goal is to give listeners, epecially young voters, a better context on the coming election,” said Sharkey, whose audio production company has been in business since 1999. “We try to do that by combining campaign trail audio clips with an eclectic mix of hip-hop, rock and pop music that helps illustrate and punctuate the subject being covered.”

Each election is broken down into five podcasts. A new podcast is posted daily Mondays through Fridays. So far, they have covered the 1860 (won by Abraham Lincoln), 1920 (won by Warren G. Harding) and 1960 (won by John F. Kennedy) elections.


Sweet charity, redux

The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) on Thursday reported that Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Hayward, is the latest Assembly member this year to have a contribution made, at her request, by the Barona Band of Mission Indians.

Check out the ”behested payments” page on the state’s FPPC Web site.

So far this year, the Lakeside, Calif.-based band has made 17 payments of $5,000 each to charities, government or legislative programs at the “behest” of Assembly members. The payments are not considered campaign contributions or gifts.

The Barona tribe operates the Barona Valley Resort and Casino near San Diego.
The May 12 donation is going to Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in San Leandro, and will be used for reading improvement books.

Behested payments made at the request of state Sen. Don Perata, whose district includes Castro Valley, total $261,495 for the first six months of 2008, according to the FPPC.
But, the year still is young.

In 2007, the FPPC said, donors contributed $71,200 to various groups at Hayashi’s behest. Perata raised $840,000 for a variety of causes.


Residents tell school district: Stay out of our pocketbooks and, oh yeah, keep the city out of them, too

San Leandro school officials are not surprisingly disappointed after it was reported today that a survey concluded not enough residents would support a school parcel tax in the November.

What’s more disappointing about this survey, however, is that it also gauged voters’ support of a public safety parcel tax for the city, and only 53 percent of residents said they would vote for that in November (like the school district, the city’s parcel tax would need two-thirds support).

So what does all this mean? It’s too soon to tell, but I’m sure school officials now aren’t going to be the only ones left scrambling to find some more dough.

(On a side note, it has been widely discussed over the last few months how difficult it would be for both the city and school district to pursue a parcel tax during the same election this year. I guess this is confirmation. Tough break.)


San Leandrans urged to ‘dump the pump’

If you live in San Leandro, today and tomorrow you are supposed to be leaving your car (or SUV) at home and opting to take public transportation — or, at least, forgoing filling up the tank (you know you don’t want to pay anyway, with gas prices so high).

This is at the urging of the City Council, which has declared June 18 and 19 “Dump the Pump” days.

The declaration falls in line with the city’s (especially the mayor’s) goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and play its part in making the world a better place.

According to the American Public Transportation Association, more than 125 public transportation agencies participate in this event nationwide.

So put a smile on your faces (like the folks in the photo), San Leandro says, and play your part in not supporting the big oil companies (for one day, that is). If not, well, I guess that makes you a chump (only kidding).


Green team wins

Forget the red and blue states.
How about the red and green precincts?
Lakes of red in seas of green — that just about sums up the precinct picture for Measure F, the unincorporated areas’ utility tax, in the June 3 primary election.
The Alameda County Registrar of Voters’ Web site maps precinct votes for the measure. Voters throughout the county cast ballots to extend and increase the tax, which is paid only in unincorporated areas such as Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Fairview, San Lorenzo and Sunol.
The results: widespread approval, with more than 65 percent of the voters countywide approving Measure F. Support was heavy in the cities, indicated in green on the registrar’s map.
Where did it fail? Check out the red zones: Castro Valley, Ashland, San Lorenzo and eastern Alameda County predominate.
Opponents of Measure F, mostly from unincorporated areas, said voting should be limited to communities where residents, property owners and business operators pay the tax.


Skatin’ towards San Leandro

Hayward City Councilman Kevin Dowling is going to San Leandro.
Relax, San Leandro politicians, he’s not after your jobs. He’s going to work in July as development director of the San Leandro Boys & Girls Club.
June 27 is Dowling’s last day as an aide to Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker. For seven years, he’s worked in Lai-Bitker’s San Lorenzo district office, tackling such youth-related projects as the San Lorenzo skate park, Youth Collaborative, and Team Up For Youth.


Taking the marina in a new direction

marinadevopport.jpgThe San Leandro City Council Shoreline-Marina committee’s decision yesterday recommending the selection of a master developer shows that the council might finally be willing to start a new chapter in the whole marina saga.

This means the marina shoreline area now seems to have some hope of being revamped after several failed attempts in the past.

Already, several groups have made suggestions to the council about what to consider when negotiating with the developer, including ensuring labor peace agreements and creating a citizens advisory committee.

But now that this is finally moving forward, I want to pose another question:

What further steps should the council take to ensure the marina shoreline area gets properly developed so that the city’s “crown jewel” is preserved and able to sustain itself for years to come?


Make the grade

With the school year coming to an end, here’s one last final assignment.

Please take some time to evaluate your school district superintendent’s performance over this past year. To keep it simple, let’s limit the grading scale to satisfactory and unsatisfactory, and explain why.

Also include some highlights, lowlights, and some suggestions for improvement. Be sure to identify yourself as a student, teacher, parent, resident, etc.

Here are the list of area superintendents covered by the Review:

Jim Fitzpatrick, Castro Valley Unified School District
Dale Vigil, Hayward Unified School District
Dennis Byas, San Lorenzo Unified School District
Christine Lim, San Leandro Unified School District


Zermeño 14 points ahead of Henson

This is starting to look like a sports blog. The latest results don’t change the outcome, but Zermeño has climbed a step up on the totem pole since this morning.

Barbara Halliday: 7,705 votes (18.62)
Bill Quirk: 6,598 (15.94)
Francisco Zermeño: 6,216 (15.02)
Olden Henson: 6,202 (14.99)
Marvin Peixoto: 6,007 (14.51)
Linda Bennett: 5,564 (13.44)
Rob Simpson: 2,956 (7.14)
Write-in: 138 (0.33)


Someone say parcel tax?

With the state budget crisis likely to drain an already depleted source of revenue for public schools, what are your thoughts on a parcel tax to support the local school district?

Would you support one? If so, why? What are some areas you would want supported in a parcel tax (i.e. additional program offerings, teacher compensation, etc.) if it were to go before voters?

Also, what are reasons you would not support a parcel?