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BART shooting demonstrators in Hayward on Friday

UPDATE: The march was a peaceful event, as reported on Saturday. The family of Oscar Grant sent this note to city and police officials to thank them for their professionalism:

“We the family of Oscar Grant would like to thank the mayor of Hayward for allowing the peaceful march and celebration of Oscar Grant’s birthday.

His death has awakened this community to the needs of all the citizens. Through injustice and tragedy our great nation was founded. We can now see that there is a problem in the BART system. Working together, we, the people (the Legislature, BART and the citizens) can change what is needed to change.

We would also like to thank the businesses of Hayward and the patrons of those businesses who were affected by the march. We are sorry for any inconvenience it may have caused.

To all the police officers that were there: Thank you. Your professionalism in the march and at the rally was greatly appreciated.

Saying ‘thank you’ is such a small thing but that is all we the family of Oscar Grant have to give.”

 

There will be a rally and march by friends, family and supporters of Oscar Grant beginning at 4:30 p.m. Friday at the Hayward BART station. The demonstrators reiterated a list of demands on Thursday, among them calling for BART officer Johannes Mehserle – who shot and killed Grant at the Fruitvale BART station just after New Year’s — to return to jail. Police say they’ve been talking with Grant’s family, and everyone is hopeful that the protest goes off without any ugliness. They did, however, send an officer around the downtown area to alert merchants about what’s going on, and will have extra officers in the area during the march. Press release from organizers of the march is after the jump.

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Block knocked, CSR eliminated at HUSD

We’re still collecting information after last night’s Hayward Unified School District budget meeting, which saw class-size reduction programs eliminated to save $2.7 million, and the high school block schedule axed to save $1 million. Here’s our early report on the meeting, expect more details in tomorrow’s paper. Crowd grew very contentious after the vote on the block – “For shame! For shame!” hollered one teacher. Many parents, students and teachers thought the block was saved after the Jan. 28 meeting, only to find it back before the board on Wednesday.

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Hayward utility tax — what do you think?

We’ve received some phone calls regarding Thursday’s story about a possible utility tax to help the city maintain services. One caller who didn’t leave his name was absolutely outraged at the idea. Others just wanted additional information. Since it would ultimately be up to voters to pass such a tax, we’d like to hear your thoughts on it. More information from the city’s Web site:

Here’s the mailer that was sent out.

Here’s what’s been done so far to cut costs.

Here’s a fact sheet about the fiscal crisis.

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State superintendent: Look at HUSD

Jack O’Connell, state superintendent of schools, brought up the Hayward Unified School District in his annual State of Education address yesterday. He used the district as an example of how bad things are, financially speaking. Specifically, O’Connell pointed out that the district is considering eliminating the class-size reduction program and cutting 170 positions.

A dubious honor to be singled out, but at least we know he’s paying attention to HUSD. But lest we think we’re special:

“I hear these kind of stories all over the state,” he said. “As painful as these mid-year cuts are, we can expect worse over the next two years.”

The Hayward school board will vote on cuts at its next meeting, Feb. 11.

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And it’s tasty, too

San Leandro’s Ghirardellli Chocolate has won a Libby Award (for liberation) for the best vegan chocolate from PETA2, the world’s largest youth animal rights organization. The group is an offshoot of PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Teenagers and young adults voted the company’s semi-sweet chocolate chips the winner in Web balloting last year.