For those dreaming of a green Christmas

Hayward power plant foe and recent City Council candidate “Redwood” Rob Simpson has a 1,000-strong forest of 2-foot-tall redwood trees on his Grandview Avenue lot that he’s willing to give away to anyone who wants to plant one.

Simpson’s been doing this for years, he said, and started because he felt “environmentally responsible” for driving a large car. He didn’t want to downsize his transportation — Simpson is a pretty tall guy — so he started giving away the trees as a mitigation measure. This batch will bring his grand total up to 31,000.

“I’m just spreading my seed,” Simpson said.

Anyone who wants a tree should contact Simpson at www.redwoodrob.com or 510-909-1800.


‘Cougar!’ cried the Hayward neighborhood alerter

“Hello. This is the Hayward Police Department with an important safety message. We are currently working with the California Department of Fish and Game and the Union City Police Department to contain a mountain lion in the Chapel of the Chimes Cemetery. … The mountain lion has not been aggressive; however, we are taking precautions to help ensure the safety of residents in the surrounding areas. If you see a mountain lion, do not attempt to approach it. Get everyone indoors and call 9-1-1.”

So went an autodialer message to residents in southeast Hayward on Thursday, after a resident spotted — and an officer confirmed — a cougar walking the tree line adjacent to the cemetery.

Such sightings are not uncommon.  Police opted to take the precaution of letting residents know about the animal, which turned out to be a scaredy cat and ran off into the hills when given a bit of attention.

Thus, this, a couple hours after the first message:

“Hello. This is the Hayward Police Department with an important update. The mountain lion has been safely returned to his natural habitat in the hills. You may resume normal activities.”

Police advise residents who spot a mountain lion to get indoors and call 9-1-1. If you are the type who ventures into neighboring lion country (a.k.a. our regional parks and all that hilly open space to the east) here’s a Fish and Game brochure on the subject.


Cities ready to boogie, if feds download funds

San Leandro and Hayward are early birds in the hunt for federal economic stimulus funds.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors went to Capitol Hill on Monday with 11,391 “ready to go” projects from 427 cities, including ones from the Cherry City (San Leandro) and the Zucchini City (Hayward). The projects total $73 billion, and would jumpstart 847,641 construction and project support jobs nationally in 2009 and 2010.

San Leandro’s $20.5 million proposal would create 155 jobs. The projects, their cost and the numbers of jobs include: citywide handicapped ramp improvements, $600,000, 10; senior center construction, $10 million, 60; water pollution control plan co-generation project construction, $4.6 million, 32; streets reconstruction, $2.5 million, 30; and improvements to the city’s sewer system, $2.8 million, 23.

Hayward, a bigger city, isn’t hesitating to ask for more money. Its $135 million list of projects would create 1,730 jobs. Projects, their cost, and number of jobs are: Hayward Executive Airport hangar construction, $6.5 million, 120; airport underpass roadway, $22 million, 250; pedestrian bridge over Union Pacific Railroad to link homes and Centennial Park in the Burbank cannery area, $2.5 million, 80; new main library, $30 million, 300; replacement of 150 traffic controllers, $1.5 million, 40; street light replacement program, $8 million, 150; improvements to waste-water treatment plant, $8 million, 200; new dispatch and records management system for police and fire departments, $3.5 million, 40; new Fire Station 7, $10 million, 100; street and drainage system improvements, $10 milllion, 100; and citywide road pavement replacement, including reconstruction of some streets, $33 million, 350.


Does Fido need place to frolic at San Leandro Marina?

A San Leandro shoreline dog park hasn’t been on the fast track. But the concept has made slow and steady progress during the past 18 months as the Four Paws Society worked with the city’s Recreation and Park Commission on a $491,000 plan that seemed likely to go to the City Council for approval early next year.

Now, the 1.3-acre park plan seems likely to go on the back burner, as the result of other ideas and projects pitched Tuesday by a San Leandro City Council committee.

Do you think San Leandro needs a dog park? Why? And, if not at the marina, where?