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This week’s school board, HARD candidate forums

So I’m off this week. Just got back from a short camping trip — don’t much care for publicly announcing when I won’t be home, so I didn’t. But I’m back in town now yet still not actively at work, although I’ll be attending tomorrow night’s forum to gather more thread for the school board candidate story. But I’m officially off until Monday.

Here’s the info on this week’s candidate forums, which ran as a brief in the Review:

CANDIDATE FORUMS: There will be a forum for Hayward Unified school board candidates from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday in room 804 at Chabot College, 25555 Hesperian Blvd.

The event is sponsored by the college’s political science department and Chabot College Foundation.

Organizers said all candidates are expected to attend.

There will be another forum at 7 p.m. Friday at the Westminster Hills Presbyterian Church, 27287 Patrick Ave. That event, sponsored by the Hayward Demos Democratic Club, the Greater Hayward Democratic Club and GLOBE, will be followed by a forum for candidates running for the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District board.

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So, did you see the meeting?

UPDATE: Here’s the story.

Started like a work of friction. Less than 10 minutes in, Board President Frumkin called a recess because Trustee Reynoso wanted to rebut Frumkin’s statement from district lawyers refuting Reynoso’s legal findings from the last meeting regarding the matter of Trustee Armas’ relatives working for the district. Get all that?

When they returned and Reynoso kept talking, they had HUSD security kinda awkwardly escort Reynoso out of the council chamber. Just outside the doors, neither HUSD security nor a uniformed HPD officer knew what to do about the situation. It was like “So someone’s breaking Roberts Rules of Order? Who, exactly, is supposed to do what about that?” At one point there was some question of whether the security guard who sits at the desk downstairs should be brought into the situation.

In the meantime, Reynoso went back to his seat. Then a sergeant and another officer arrived. During another recess, they met with the board behind closed doors and then the officers left and Reynoso again took his seat, this time for the duration of the meeting. He also was allowed to make his rebuttal statement without interruption.

I hit the officers up on their way out, they said Reynoso simply wasn’t committing an arrestable offense. I asked them if they’d ever had to respond to a call like that before and they said no, tonight was a first. So I guess they won’t be bringing the paddy wagon around for Roberts Rules violations or anything like that.

Public commenter Doug Ligebel struck a chord with the audience and garnered applause when he said, “I don’t want to see three uniformed police officers at a school board meeting when there have been 13 murders in Hayward this year.”

So I will be working on a story on the whole deal, but I figured I’d offer up a HayWord entry to comment on for those of you who saw the meeting. They also reviewed the final budget numbers for the past school year and heard a presentation on how Measure I projects are going, and they’re going very well.

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Burglary update and homes allowed near Costco — a Hayward council roundup

Here’s the gist of things that came out of Tuesday night’s meeting, I’m working on a couple of stories for later this week:

BURGLARY UPDATE: Council heard a report about this summer’s uptick in residential burglaries from Lt. Sheryl Boykins and Lt. Reid Lindblom, who are the community resource officers for the southside and northside, respectively. They had some figures, here are the highlights:

June saw the largest increase, from 78 to 118, a 51 percent increase, while May saw a 28 percent increase and July 13 percent. If you look at the totals for the first seven months of the year, there’s only been a 5 percent spike during that period compared with 2009, so it’s pretty clear the rise began with summer. And it’s not a Hayward thing, there have been increases in surrounding communities and most of those arrested have been from out of town. They’ve arrested 44 burglary suspects in the past three months, what Boykins said is “more than we usually arrest in a year.”

The lieutenants said the most affected neighborhoods are Darwin, Leeward, Bell Harbor, Palma Ceia, Fairway Park, and Silver Maple in S. Hayward, while in N. Hayward it’s Prominence, Bailey Ranch, area around Atherton and the area around Pinewood and Farm Hill.

They said they’ve increased presence in those areas but more importantly have worked with the community to let them know what’s going on and what they can do to prevent it, most notably helping watch over the neighborhood.

“We make way more arrests by networking with the community than we do by being in the right place at the right time,” said Lindblom. Continue Reading

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Something good down in South Hayward

We had a story today about how a Cal State-based foundation scored a grant that’s going to be used to better the South Hayward community. It’s a rare thing — only one of 21 communities across the nation to get a “Promise Neighborhood” grant, which is modeled Harlem Children’s Zone. That program was created to give kids a  chance to beat the surrounding conditions of poverty, with social and educational support. Check out the story for more information.

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Zorba’s deli closing on Friday

Heads up, in case you want to get one of your favorite sandwiches or Greek cuisine over at the popular Zorba’s Mediterranean Deli: You have until 2 p.m. Friday to do so.

zorbasZorba’s hasn’t been doing very well. There’s the economy, of course, and then construction on the interstate near the Hayward-San Mateo Bridge prevents people from coming over from the Peninsula.

“Oh yeah, I’d get customers from all over,” said cofounder Berc Maner. “We’re not just a Hayward place. I’d have people coming over the (San Mateo-Hayward) Bridge every day for lunch.”

Maner wanted to work with the property manager to get a break on their rent, but nothing doing.

We’ll have a story, but I wanted to let anyone know, who might be a fan. While I was down there earlier today, I talked to a couple people who were almost in tears over the impending closure. And if you are not a fan, or haven’t been there — I had my first Zorba’s sandwich today, a pastrami reuben, and boy was it tasty — maybe you can suggest an alternative sandwich shop or Greek deli.

There still will be a Zorba’s in Fremont, and the San Ramon location will be open for another year, Maner said.

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Law of the land, in HayWord

computer copHeard back from the online team. We’re going to enforce the HayWord policy regarding personal attacks via a user ban.  If you violate the policy and post a personal attack on another user, you will be barred from participating in the comments on the site, indefinitely. This will be your only warning.

Just don’t do it!

One more time, here’s our Blog policy: While The HayWord welcomes lively discussion and tough criticism, personal attacks on writers or other readers are not allowed. Spam, obscene language, personal attacks or abusive hate speech are not allowed. You may not pose as another person when posting. Violators are subject to a ban. We recommend that posters to The HayWord use their full names when posting, to keep this forum reliable and encourage constructive discussion.

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New reporter at the Review!

Good news! We have some additional hands around here these days: Chris Metinko, who was covering Alameda County issues for the Oakland Tribune, joined us to take over the unincorporated areas beat.

That includes Castro Valley, San Lorenzo, Fairview, Ashland and Cherryland. Like the rest of us, he’ll tackle all aspects of the areas, including schools, crime and planning/land use/neighborhood issues. In addition, he’ll be taking on stories out of Cal State East Bay and Chabot College.

Chris is a very welcome addition. If you have stories out of our neck of unincorporated AlCo, let him know. He’s at 510-293-2479 or cmetinko@bayareanewsgroup.com.

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Enough about that, what about …

me-restaurant1001002… Me? As in the Me Restaurant and Lounge. We had a story about it earlier this week, and how the owners are seeing it become a popular spot with out-of-towners, but no so much with Haywardians.

They also told me that there was a nasty anti-Me campaign being waged on Yelp, the online review site, although it appears some of the comments have been removed. According to Traci Thompkins, negative feedback was posted before the Me was even opened.

The Thompkins, who own and are running the venue, come across as a smart, well spoken family who genuinely want to have a quality establishment that benefits the city. They have invested a lot of money into the venue and stayed the course when licensing costs went way above the estimate they’d been given. They’ve impressed city staff with their vision and police haven’t had any problems with their events.

However, it’s the out-of-town aspect that some residents find worrisome. When an event is promoted on the radio — such as the Me’s Champagne Life event with a KMEL DJ — it can bring people in from everywhere, and the fear is that there could be friction between groups.

There are worries that it could become another Kumbala, the Foothill Boulevard nightspot that drew more than its share of attention from police before being shuttered.

“There are a lot of reasons Kumbala was the way it was,” said Joe Thompkins. “We are no Kumbala.”

Has anyone checked out the Me? I’ve only been in there off-hours, although I may try to catch the Taco n’ Tequila Thursday after work one of these days.

Just throwing it out there in case, you know, someone wants to talk about something other than the school board.

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More HUSD board overpayment info

The story came out in today’s paper. One thing I hated hedging on was an exact amount of total overpayment. It stands to reason that if ADA dropped below 25,000 in 1990, we’re talking 20 years. But I couldn’t assume that the board was making $750 back in 1990 and there wasn’t some kind of raise since then, hence the minimum calculated from Paul Frumkin’s first paystub.

District is looking into how far back the stipend records go; hopefully we can deduce a grand total from those records.

Also, there’s some discrepancy, depending on who you talk to, regarding how this came to light. District and some board members say it was after trustee Jesus Armas proposed a cut to board pay in line with reductions going on elsewhere as an act of good faith, and when staff looked into doing it they discovered the error. Shortly after Armas made his request, board candidate Audie Bock distributed a letter saying his request didn’t go far enough because they have been overpaid in violation of the ed code for some time. Bock and trustee Luis Reynoso say that’s what got it noticed, although Bock added that she finds it hard to believe that nobody on the board or in the district knew how much they were supposed to be paid before all that.

After the jump is more information on the matter that I received from Superintendent Janis Duran Continue Reading