Voice of the Giants talks Hayward


Voice of the Giants Jon Miller with his wife, Janine. They met in Hayward -- Janine lived across the street and would babysit Jon, who is five years younger.

Jon Miller, the announcer for the champion San Francisco Giants, was honored by the Hayward City Council earlier this month. You can watch the video of the  Dec. 14 meeting, which had Miller talking about the city where he grew up and developed his announcer voice.

Miller said it all started with Strat-O-Matic Baseball, a table-top game that uses dice and charts to replicate ballgames.

“I found it was a lot more fun if I broadcast the games. I would while away the hours in my bedroom, playing Strat-O-Matic Baseball. Everybody I knew was out doing things you did in summertime in California. Friends would say, ‘Let’s go to Half Moon Bay, do a little surfing,’ And I’d say, ‘I’d love to but I got the Cards playing the Cubs, after that it’s the Giants-Dodgers series and I’ve been waiting for that series for weeks.'”

He even offered the Council a demonstration of how he’d run the games, playing the part of the announcer, a cheering crowd, the PA guy, even the ballpark organist.

Miller grew up off Highland Boulevard, and attended Hillcrest Elementary School before graduating from Hayward High. He said it was the first time he’d been to Hayward City Hall since he was 15, when he was on an all-star little league team that won the pennant for the area.

“What a team we had,” he said. “The mayor, a fellow by the name of Jack Smith, invited our team to city hall, the other city hall, down the street, and they took a photo of our team and the mayor on the steps of city hall, and put it  in the Hayward Daily Review. Somewhere, in a box somewhere, deep down inside of a box of things I haven’t looked at in  years,  is that photo.”

It’s a fun presentation, worth a look and a listen. Starts at the 9 minute mark. Also, the Chron had a pretty nice profile on Miller when he was inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame earlier this year.


Meanwhile, in San Leandro

Still waiting for a full-time San Leandro reporter to join us to replace our guy who got called up for a year of service in the National Guard.

There’s a lot going on in that city. New Mayor Stephen Cassidy was sworn in this week at a meeting that also saw two-year contracts approved. Pension reform was a big part of Cassidy’s campaign, and that last action by the old council makes it difficult. Cassidy was on NPR the other night talking about it.

There’s also a new police chief, the city’s first female police chief, who will be sworn in on Jan. 10.

And the City Manager announced his resignation following his performance review Monday although what happened in that closed session is not being talked about.

All this follows a close election that saw incumbent Mayor Tony Santos defeated, a loss that soured the once-ardent supporter of ranked-choice voting on that system, which was used for the first time in San Leandro in November. 

There are a couple of active blogs run by politically minded San Leandro residents, as well as an anonymous insider who tweets and facebooks, all worth keeping an eye on if you are San Leandro minded.


Threat of state takeover subsides, for now, for HUSD

Here’s our story on HUSD’s latest budget report.

Side note: Wednesday night’s special meeting went very smooth.

And in addition to the new board lineup, there’s a new county fiscal adviser,  (oops, fixed this online and ran a correx but didn’t fix it here) Damon Smith, the new assistant superintendent of business services of ALCOE, who seems to be a pretty straight-forward kinda guy. Even dialog about the district having to pay for such an adviser was a very fact-oriented exchange.


New HUSD Board President: Lisa Brunner

UPDATE: Here is today’s story.

The two new incoming boardmembers took the top two officer positions, with Lisa Brunner as the new president backed by Vice President William McGee. The two voted for each other, with Luis Reynoso supporting, who in turn was elected secretary. Maribel Heredia and Jesus Armas supported each other for prez and veep respectively but were outvoted.

Brunner’s first action was to change the seating, moving Superintendent Janis Duran over to the dais where the student board members used to sit. She will have more admin staff at the same dais as well. Student members now on the dais to the other side.

Teachers union President Mercedes Faraj said she had heard rumors of something like that happening, and said the ascension of former VP Heredia to the president position would have been “the natural order of things,” but the new lineup “is indicative of a change.”

Former board President Paul Frumkin said it wasn’t that big a surprise, and added that he supported both McGee and Brunner in their election bids.

“Given the last year and a half, it’s natural that it happened this way,” he said.

I’ll be working on a story tomorrow, but I figured HayWord readers might want to discuss.


Hayward noise ordinance debate, and how some council members like it loud

carspeakersHayward is holding a community meeting Thursday to discuss amending the city’s noise ordinance to bring it into the modern age. The current ordinance was drafted in the 1950s, and is vague. The city hopes to include language that will give it more teeth.

There’s concern over enforcement — it’s one thing to have an ordinance on the books, another to have the resources to go after what many consider a low-level concern.

“It’s probably going to be a work in progress,” said Assistant City Attorney Maureen Conneely, who prepared the draft ordinance brought before a council work session in October . “We’re going to have to see how to implement it, and it may need some adjustments depending on whether it is easy or difficult to enforce.”

At the Oct. 26 work session, the noise ordinance drew support from the council, although members spoke about how they or family members could well be current or past violators. Read about it after the jump. Continue Reading


Light Up the Season, Santa Paws Parade pics

erev1205petparade03Here’s what we saw at Hayward’s holiday events this year. The good-looking shots are by staff photographers Aric Crabb and Anda Chu, while the ones that look like they were taken with a phone cam were indeed taken with a phone cam by yours truly.

In other news, the vet bill for guest of honor Diamond the Hayward Hero Hound has been paid by a generous community that stepped up after hearing the story.

Click “read the rest…” to see the photos. Continue Reading


Last night’s rally at Hayward City Hall

dreamactIt was organized by Congregations Organizing for Renewal as part of an ongoing show of support for the Dream Act, a bill that would offer a means to get citizenship to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who came to the country when they were children.

According to Matt O’Brien’s story, “The Dream Act would give conditional green cards to undocumented immigrants if they graduate from high school and pursue a college education or military service. After a 10-year waiting period, they could obtain permanent residency if they met all the requirements, and they could eventually apply for citizenship.

They would have to be under 30 years old to qualify and must have arrived in the country before their 16th birthday. According to the latest version of the bill, they will also pay $2,525 in fees for the privilege of legal residency — $525 to apply, and $2,000 five years later to extend the conditional visa.

California is estimated to have about a quarter of the more than 800,000 people who could benefit from the act.”

Read on for the COR press release on last night’s rally. Continue Reading


Lighting Up the Pet Parade in downtown Hayward

citytreeCouple of holiday events coming up in the next few days, what with the Light Up the Season street party Thursday followed by the Santa Paws pet parade on Saturday.

We had a story on the events; organizers are excited to have Deuce the Alameda Dognap Victim as a guest of honor in the pet parade, which was 100 dogs strong as of Wednesday afternoon.

Also got a call from Jim Wieder, owner of the downtown Ace Hardware and former president of the Chamber of Commerce. He said there’s a sense of disappointment among some merchants because of the lack of promotion of the Light Up the Season event.

“The city gives $10,000 to light up B Street, but it hasn’t been advertised,” he said. “Why light it up if it hasn’t been advertised? The lights aren’t up, the posters aren’t up, the skating rink isn’t there. It all makes the area more festive and shoppers kind of enjoy that feeling.”

Wieder, who was dismissed as Chamber president earlier this year, said it’s “not a case of sour grapes” on his part.

“All kinds of things are supposed to be happening. There’s concern among merchants about where that (city) money is going.”

A quick stroll down B Street revealed that there didn’t appear to be nearly as many lights strung up as in previous  years. Current chamber President Kim Huggett said they didn’t light all the trees because it’s more difficult than the streetlights, which have an outlet at the top and the lights can be wrapped downward. Trees need to be wrapped upward and there’s more breakage involved and the lights don’t last as long, he said.

But he said they’ve done plenty of promoting, including sending 20,000 postcards out to elementary school students, and there has been considerable interest in the events.

“A lot of businesses will be open later, and a number will be serving refreshments and Christmas treats,” Huggett said. “It’s hard to say how many people will be coming out, but it was well advertised. … We’ll know tomorrow.”

Let’s all find out tomorrow! See you there!