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Volunteers honored, and shrinking CDGB funds at Hayward council

By Eric Kurhi
Thursday, April 7th, 2011 at 4:11 pm in Charity, General, Hayward, Politics.

volunteersHayward had its annual proclamation ceremony honoring the various city volunteers on Tuesday. It also happens that National Volunteer Week is coming up, April 10-16. There’s been a “surge of volunteers,” said staff, with 630 names submitted for the honor this year compared with 520 last year. By the end of the ceremony, the front of the council chamber was packed with those receiving certificates for their good deeds.

 The council also received recommendations about how to divvy up federal Community Development Block Grant funds, which are given out by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department. Hayward received 29 applications this year, eight of them new, asking for a total of $2.4 million. Staff projects a decline in fed funding of 10 percent, which would bring available funds down to about $1.6 million. According to the staff report, “This projection is based on the information that is available at this time. It is unlikely the allocation will be increased; however, it is possible that the allocation could be reduced by an even greater percentage.”

Hayward’s Citizen’s Advisory Commission and staff made the recommendations to the City Council, which will come up for approval at a public hearing later this month.

Three of the applying organizations were considered ineligible for the CDBG funds because they didn’t meet certain criteria. For example, to get a federal Public Services grant, the city requires the service to be related to providing housing. While programs such as immigrant case management assistance, or a request for palette racks at a warehouse that distributes food to the needy, or an established child-care program may support residents find and keep housing, staff ruled the links were not clear and direct enough to qualify.

Three others were not recommended for various reasons, and the rest were recommended funding for the amount requested. The city’s Minor Home Repair Program, Animal Shelter and Small Business Revolving Loan Program were recommended to receive the most funding, the three accounting for over 40 percent of the total funds.

You can read the full staff report and see the recommendations here.

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  • Sherry Blair

    Thanks for the article. I had to miss the meeting.

    Eric, you missed a very interesting meeting last night yourself. It was the little publicised Hayward Local Agencies meeting (HARD, HUSD & CITY) at the HARD office. Although the meetings are public, no minutes are taken. Word got out that there was to be a discussion about the Hayward Community Gardens on the agenda but without any further explanation.

    Sean Reinhart, Library and Community Services Director, gave the presentation. He first gave a slide show about the urban farm and community garden movement, showing state of the art farms in other localities. He followed that by an indictment of the present HCG, offering details about every possible problem they ever had in the past and predicting that those problems would continue into the future without city intervention. He said the city’s intent was to “sunset” the present HCG and create a new one.

    No consideration was made for the gains the HCG has made since the city left them without any supplemental funds last year. No excuses for these people in spite of the difficulties inherent in working together in a community of many languages, cultures and little capital. No recognition was given for the fact that they are surviving without government subsidies and creating low cost, creative and sustainable, state of the art farming practices and have opened their doors to educate the public on multiple levels. No mention that the city has put up a wall between it and the HCG that is impossible for a low income group to surmount.

    Fortunately, people from the HCG showed up and spoke up, more than adequately, setting the record straight and they were heard, certainly by HARD and HUSD. By the way, Jesus Armas asked really good question and helped to clarify the issue.

    The issue isn’t over yet though. It is scheduled to be on the agenda for next month’s LOA meeting. I hope you and Michael Moore and other farmers and gardeners will attend. I hope the city wakes up long before it becomes necessary to use taxpayer money to defend an unpopular position in court.

    Farmers are growers, not developers. They don’t need redevelopment money. They just need the city to take down its walls so they can create a sustainable future for all of us.

  • Michael Moore

    Sherry, you did not email me. I know you are all tied up in this but I really think I can help you and your group out.

  • Monica Ruiz

    Sherry thanks for the info. I definetly want to attend the next LOA meeting. Do you have a date?

  • Sherry Blair

    Yes, the date for the next LOA meeting is May 5th. 5:30pm. I am not sure where. That committee does not keep minutes, but the agenda should be posted on the City website. (Is it legal to have no minutes? How can people who weren’t there, like Eric and Monica know what happened? We must have more transparency. People cannot attend everything just to keep informed!)

    I would also like to comment about awards for volunteerism. I think it is a good idea for the City to honor its volunteers. But, there is a related issue that we need to think about. Honoring volunteers who help you do what you want is one thing, but what about volunteers who want you to change? Can you also recognize their value?

    I believe there are many unnamed, unrecognized volunteers floating around Hayward who are in that boat. It is their passion for change that energizes their journey. It’s what makes them carry on without recognition and in the face of opposition and abuse. Without them life would remain the same and stagnate.

    I would like to see an award night for people who want to bring about change rather than the ones who simply follow the status quo. I can think of a whole bunch of rabble rousers, non-conformists and youth with creative, innovative, unfulfilled ideas who are never honored by the city fathers because they are asking them to change their ways.

    Leadership in bringing about change in Hayward meets with the strongest opposition from those who are most comfortable with things the way they are. Louis Reynoso is the best public example of this.

    The leadership we must nurture now is coming from those who are not comfortable, those who see a better, more inclusive, more transparent vision. That is the leadership we must nurture most of all if we are to survive.

  • John W. Kyle

    Ms. Blair,

    At the great risk of again being described as ‘pompous’ ( as Lucy’s Mom describes me..”) let me offer the following as an aid to understanding the rationale behind the LOA meetings.

    To the best of my present knowledge the meetings are always held at the HARD offices on ‘E’ street The rationale seems to be that it has easy access and plenty parking available at an hour in which the parking problem remains acute around, 5:30 PM. at both City Hall and HUSD Hq. The meeting room is spacious but you do not need a sound system in order to be heard.

    The basic purpose of the meeting is to provide a discussion period on topics which individual members of each group may think to have an interest. For example: Prior to reconstruction of the Burbank School it became obvious that the interests of HARD, the City and the Trustees of HUSD were confronted with a task of replacing the Burbank school buildings which were a pile of crap constructed on the cheap in late 1940‘s or early 1950‘s. There was the additional problem of opening up better road access to the Train Stop created at the west end of C. Street for those who commute from the East and South Bay Areas to Sacramento, every day. That had a negative affect upon HARD. City saw a need to reconstruct the Roads, relocate the underground utilities and repair the underground, tunneled creek bed, known as sulpher creek and expand parking for the train station.

    The solution to the problems faced by the School District was beyond their management skills as well as it’s budget. What to do?
    Well, that is where the informal meetings between the three different entities probably saw it’s greatest success. Despite Kathy Booth’s opinion of the man, the solution to that particular problem was solved by Jesus Armas who, as City Manager, brought the City’s separate ;planning‘, ‘redevelopment’ and ‘public works’ departments into the act and coordinated that involvement with the School District and Hayward Area Recreation District as well as then existent owners of the HUNT’s property, where warehouses had been leased out on relatively long leases to several separate businesses and of course the developers of the new housing presently seen being brought to completion.

    The separate governing boards of HUSD, HARD and the City were enthusiastic about the thought of the new school, parks, roads and housing, none of which would have come to fruition without the opportunity to informally discuss the basic ideas involving legal counsel at each group so that the final plan and authority to act was placed before the ‘formal meetings’ of each. The agenda was placed before each at the time of need for action after all that investigation planning and financial arrangements.

    Be aware that a great amount of money came from City’s redevelopment funds and tha fees extracted from home developers aided School District.

    Each had a separate opportunity for input on the occasion when the project as a whole was brought publicly before their separate electorate bodies for input and approval.

    Minutes? Agenda? No need ! Until it was agonized at their separate meetings. Each had opportunity to protect it’s own interest as well as take advanage of the benefits of the housing project. No point in taking the matter to formal meetings until all had agreed on the plan and their costs as well as benefits of ‘doing’ this major project, a huge benefit to the general welfare of the entire area covered under the responsibility of each.

    Without the opportunity for open informal conversation with input from the public allowed and with separate research covering their own interests, nothing would have been done!. Then too, given K.B‘s disdain for Armas, it is a wonder the thing got done had she known and understood how the new Burbank school project was put together. We have grown to expect that from individuals who graduate from law school but who disdain presenting themselves before the Ca. State Bar Association examination entitlement to licensed authority to act as a real lawyer.

    Those interested in attending the joint informal meetings of HARD, HUSD and City ought phone HARD’s office for the dates.
    I recommend attending them as well as a HARD meeting or two. Just as City or HUSD MEETUINGS, can be quite informative JUST BY LISTENING CLOSE TO WHAT IS BEING SAID. Sometimes it may occur that there are no burning issues which need to be reported in the Review, thus, some meetings can be as dull as some of our most grumpy citizens..

  • http://None Kathi Booth

    Kyle you are such a fool and so prone to making unfounded assumptions. Perhaps you should look at the dates that the discussions of Burbank took place.

  • http://None Kathi Booth

    Let’s get this clear once and for all. I never stated or posted that Mr. Armas was not an effective and positive force as a City Manager. In fact, I felt that his expertise in management of personnel and his other areas of expertise may serve him well as a superintendent, and suggested that he consider applying for that position prior to the appointment of Janis.

    My criticisms of Mr. Armas revolve around his ability to be an effective BOE member. I am concerned with his attitude towards members of the community that choose to publicly disagree with him; his ability to work in a collegeial manner with his fellow board members; his ability to control his anger and sarcasm when he speaks; his more than sketchy understanding of Ed. Codes;and various and sundry other aspects of his performance as a member of the BOE.

    Speak not for me Mr. Kyle, for you know nothing.

  • John W. Kyle

    Booth;

    You are judged by your open suppoprt of Obama new age.

    Live with it!

  • http://None Kathi Booth

    I will happily live with my decisions, knowing that what I have stated and posted is the truth as I know it and not as John Kyle perceives it. It is clear that when faced with real facts, Mr. Kyle cannot respond in a cogent way. He must rely upon references to issues that have not been discussed in almost a year; and even then he cannot face facts or reality. As all can see, this has been a slow week in items of concern for those of us who truly care about children and families in Hayward.

  • John W. Kyle

    Booth;

    Have it your way; it is a matter not worth my time or furher interest.

  • http://Ruiz Monica Ruiz

    OMG, I cannot believe that the both of you are still going at it. You both need to give it a rest.

  • http://None Kathi Booth

    Monica I did give it a rest, but there are just times when I feel the need to clarify the garbage that he spews out. Sorry that it offends you, however, I hope that you never become the target of a cyber bully..spewing out lies about you and yours.