Downtown San Leandro’s ‘new frontier’

(San Leandro Boulevard between Davis Street and Williams Street)

Back in February, San Leandro’s City Council approved a far-reaching project near the San Leandro BART station that, when completed, is expected to become the city’s first transit-oriented development.

The project is supposed to bring in 200,000 square feet of commercial space and 700 residential units, 100 of which are slated for affordable housing.

But, so far, few other details have been revealed because the project (now being called San Leandro Crossings) is still in its infant stages — although Luke Sims, the city’s community development director, is already calling the project the “new frontier of downtown San Leandro.”

The developer, Westlake Development Partners, however, decided to pay a visit to the City Council last night. So that means a few more — but still scant — details have been revealed.

Right now, we know that the first phase of the project is expected to entail building a 200-unit, four-story market-rate, mixed-use housing complex where the current east BART parking lot is located. Similarly, a 100-unit, four-story affordable housing complex is expected to be constructed on the west side of the BART station, along with a 325-space parking structure.

We also know the project received a hefty boost from the state (to the tune of $24.7 million in California Proposition 1C funding) to take care of some key infrastructure improvements. (The developer will be looking for more state funding for the affordable housing part of the project as well.)

Of course, council members had their opinions about what could help the project reach its highest potential.

Councilman Michael Gregory suggested the developer look to create an aesthetic vibe on the exterior of the housing units that reflects the “Mayberry” atmosphere of San Leandro. Councilwoman Joyce Starosciak echoed that idea, saying she doesn’t want to see any flat roofs (traditional architecture only). Councilman Bill Stephens said he would like to see both the market-rate and affordable housing portions of the project designed similarly. And Councilman Jim Prola kindly requested the developer build more affordable housing units, if possible.

The next step? The developer will be holding several community workshops between now and Sept. 22. So get ready, because here it comes.


Celebration officially begins for Casa Verde

Tomorrow (Tuesday, July 29), from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Casa Verde — San Leandro’s new affordable housing complex that replaced the former Islander Motel — will officially be kicking off its grand opening.

Housing officials and city dignitaries will be on hand — the address is 2398 E. 14th St. — to cut the ceremonial ribbon. Tours also will be held during the celebration.

And just in case you were wondering, the 67-unit Casa Verde has received more than 700 applications. I’ve also been told there are 250 people on the waiting list.


Hayward planning for big-screen party

The Hayward Council Downtown Committee is going into party planner mode for its Monday night meeting, mulling over what kind of fuss should be made when the new downtown movie theater opens this fall.

Cinemark has some ideas for opening night, tentatively scheduled for Friday, Oct. 24.

Idea No. 1: James Bond Night, to tie in with 007’s upcoming “Quantum of Solace,” due in theaters Nov. 7. “The theater could be decorated with Bond posters and props, and ‘look-alike’ James bond impersonators could be used,” says the staff report. Sounds alright, if they all look like this guy…

Idea No. 2: A family-friendly Animation Night, because there’s always something animated on screens these days, and that big something come November will be “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.”

Idea No. 3: A “Hollywood Comes to Hayward” event, focusing on past and present stars with a red carpet entrance and everything but the paparazzi. Well, the Review will probably be there. This would be the “easiest to plan ahead for,” according to Cinemark, because a delay in the opening night would wreak havoc on an attempt to tie in with a movie that’s at second-run screens.

The Grand Opening to the public will be on a Friday. The day after, Cinemark will have a children’s event, with face-painting, balloon artists and that sort of stuff.

Any other ideas for an opening theme out there? We wouldn’t mind seeing “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” in Hayward again, just for old times’ sake. And you can thank us for not posting a pic of Tim Curry in fishnets.



Citizens unite — for the marina

Residents of San Leandro: Here’s your big chance to have your say on what really goes on with the marina.

Applications for the citizens advisory committee, which will provide input to the master developer who will be revamping the 40-acre shoreline area at the San Leandro Marina, are now available on the city’s Web site.

So you’d better act fast if you want to be considered. The deadline to submit an application is Aug. 29.


Impeachy keen

Weigh in with your thoughts…

I was looking at the HayWord blog today, and I didn’t see a way to post a new topic. Councilman Bill Quirk suggested that I post the following letter to your blog. He brought it up in City Council but couldn’t get enough votes to take action. I think you will agree that I point out the biggest problem facing Hayward today. And what’s amazing is that this problem is just about invisible to most Hayward residents.

Thanks for any assistance you can provide.

Jeff Syrop

From: Jeff Syrop
Sent: Sunday, May 25, 2008 4:37 PM
To: Mayor Michael Sweeney; Councilman Bill Quirk
Cc: Congressman Pete Stark
Subject: model resolution for Mayor Michael Sweeny and Councilman Bill Quirk

Hello Michael and Bill,

I ask you, would it have been worth it, in 1939 in Nazi Germany, for a local politician to spend all of his political energy fixing roads, improving libraries, and building new schools? Of course not. With foresight, a local politician living under that regime could have seen that within a few years, almost all of Germany would be pulverized by British and American bombs. When the kitchen is on fire, you don’t wash the dishes.

Bill Quirk, you talk down to me as if I were younger than you and as if you were the more knowledgeable man. You, like Pete Stark, claim to be “practical,” and you state that for a locality such as Hayward to deal with national and international concerns is a waste of time. Well, I’m here to tell you you’re wrong.

Nancy Pelosi, when she says “impeachment is off the table,” is not only wrong, but she’s breaking Constitutional law and breaking the oath to protect the Constitution that she swore when she took office. Honestly, when is the last time you read the whole Constitution, including our Bill of Rights? And when did you last read the whole Declaration of Independence? IF we are a nation of laws, then Bush should be arrested today. By the simple letter of the law, he is not only a criminal but THE most dangerous enemy of America. Please keep an open mind about impeaching Bush and Cheney. Even if unsuccessful, impeachment proceedings might tie their hands politically and make it impossible for them to attack Iran.

So I do realize that impeachment is probably impossible, since our Democrats in Congress are complicit in Bush/Cheney’s crimes. However, I think it is insane (literally, like washing the dishes when the kitchen is on fire) to ignore the problem of the Bush/Cheney government. For some reason–brainwashing? denial? mass psychosis–you and all the members of Hayward city government seem unaware that HAYWARD’S BIGGEST PROBLEM IS THE BUSH/CHENEY GOVERNMENT.

What I am asking is that you, as representatives of me and of every sane, patriotic person in Hayward, let Hayward stand up and be counted among the hundreds of towns and cities that have passed impeachment resolutions. Further, I ask that Hayward join the few brave towns, such as Brattleboro, Vermont, that have actually made Bush and Cheney subject to arrest should they set foot in the town! Do you have the guts? Did you read JFK’s “Profiles in Courage” when you were young? (If not, I trust you will buy it and read it now–I consider it required reading in order for you or any political representative to do their job.)

Below are two good links to materials you can use to get started. It’s easy!
How to Get Your Town or City to Indict Bush and Cheney
A Guide to the Impeachment of George W Bush and Richard Cheney

Thanks to both of you. Please share this e-mail with your associates, and from now on, whenever you meet for City Council business or any other public meetings, please don’t fail to discuss the most important problem facing Hayward. Three billion dollars a week of borrowed money being squandered to destroy and subjugate people in Iraq is exactly equivalent to America bleeding to death right before your eyes. Crime, roads, and infrastructure can only get worse in Hayward if a huge piece of the tax taken out of my paycheck continues to go to the Pentagon. Germany was doomed by its people following Hitler. America will be doomed if we continue to follow Bush/Cheney and McCain. This is not some farfetched possibility, it is a fact.

Jeff Syrop


Close call at downtown Hayward bar

The tip came in right off the street. A man wanted to report a tragic incident that happened July 13 down on B Street at the Fernandes Stein Lounge.

“Bartender Bonnie ate piece of meat and choked,” wrote Antoino Pulidio-Fryer, who is deaf and cannot speak. “She ran to me continue choked. Four people did not know to how choked, ignoring and not help her. They drunk. One person put her down on the floor and push her back, few minutes and ran to yell at the Pizza House. The pizza man ran to help her and witness 4 people still ignoring to her. I tried to save her life. The firefighters arrived.”

Pulidio-Fryer thought Bonnie died right there on the floor of the bar, but a recent trip to the Stein Lounge found Bonnie alive and well, and in good spirits.

Bonnie said she was eating an hors d’ouevre at the bar about 7 p.m. July 13 when it got stuck in her throat.

“They tried to pop it, but couldn’t,” she said. “I (passed) out and the next thing I knew I was sitting up, looking at a fireman.”

She credited Pulidio-Fryer with taking fast action.

“I’m fine, now,” she said with a smile. “My little deaf friend saved my life.”


Golf tourney to honor Jermanis

If you like golfing and helping needy families — and San Leandro City Manager John Jermanis — then the upcoming Davis Street Family Resource Center golf tournament to be held Aug. 8 at Stonebrae Country Club will probably interest you.

The folks at Davis Street are launching the inaugural event to help fund the organization’s basic needs program. But since Jermanis will be retiring Sept. 6 after serving the city for more than three decades — and he has been the city’s top administrator since 1997 — Davis Street decided to send him out with a bang (or, rather, a putt) as well.

According to a brochure, the tournament includes sponsorships ranging from $250 to $20,000 (this last one will get you a private champagne reception with the man himself).


One of 12 Hayward Starbucks to close

Starbucks is about to get slightly less ubiquitous in Hayward, with yesterday’s announcement that the 26953 Mission Blvd. location, across from Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, is on the list of 600 stores to be closed nationwide.

It joins the East Bay Starbucks 7, with Benicia, Berkeley, Brentwood, Concord, Emeryville and Walnut Creek taking a similar hit.

The stores are expected to close by early next year, but fear not — for those who choose to eschew the little guy in favor of Big Coffee, there will still be a Starbucks at 245 W. Jackson St., 799 A St., 19661 Hesperian Blvd., 20499 Hesperian Blvd., 23948 Hesperian Blvd., 1695 Industrial Parkway, 2472 Whipple Road, 22555 Mission Blvd, 25151 Santa Clara St, and the nearing-critical-mass Starbucks and Starbucks-in-a-Safeway, at 22288 Foothill Blvd. and 22280 Foothill Blvd..


New planner picked for Hayward

Out of what Councilman Bill Quirk called “a field of very qualified candidates,” Elisa Marquez has been chosen to replace Barbara Sacks, who completed her maximum of two full terms on the Planning Commission.

Marquez has a history of public service, serving as chair of the city’s Human Services Commission, as well as the Citizen’s Advisory Council for the Hayward Area Historical Society. She earns her bread money over in Oakland, working for that city as a case manager in their senior services department.

She’s a lifelong south Hayward resident, attended schools here up through the Cal State system, and is also the granddaughter of Ignacio Ramirez, the founder of downtown’s Los Compadres restaurant.

Other appointees include:

Roberto Banke — Keep Hayward Clean and Green Task Force

Steve Worley — Downtown Business Improvement Area Advisory Board

Liz Morales-Contreras, Sheila Burks, Gary Steinberger, Tom Kersten — Citizen’s Advisory Commission

Julie Lind, Joyce Dobro, Elisa Alarcon, Jossda Yip — Human Services Commission

Monica Shultz — Library Commission

Crystal Porter — Personnel and Affirmative Action Commission