Part of the Bay Area News Group

Water conservation comes with a cost

By Eric Kurhi
Thursday, April 21st, 2011 at 9:58 am in Environment, General, Hayward.

hetchpipeHere’s an interesting story. People have been encouraged to conserve water as much as possible, and have been succeeding. Which is good, but it cuts into funds earned by the water suppliers that charge by gallons used. And in the case of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission – which provides the Hetch Hetchy water that Hayward uses — that means they aren’t getting money needed to pay for seismic improvements to the 100-year-old system that pipes in water from the Sierra Nevada. As seen in the photo of the pipe near the Dumbarton Bridge, the system could use some work, and it’s being done. So the SFPUC is talking about a rate increase of nearly 50 percent, which, as the story mentions, does not mean everyone can expect such a jump on their water bills, but it’s still significant.

Spoke with Hayward Public Works Director Bob Bauman, he said they knew a hike was coming down the pike. It was expected to be significant — at least 20 percent — but not 47 percent.

Bauman said that because of agreements that are in place and the manner water is tranferred through the system, opting to switch to, say, EBMUD water is not an option. He added that even if it were, EBMUD couldn’t handle the extra demand and besides, Hetch Hetchy water is superior.

“We have a great deal,” he said. “One of the things that brings some businesses to Hayward is the fact that we have very good water. It’s always a big point for Hayward.”

There will be a presentation on the matter at a May 3 City Council work session, Bauman said.

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  • http://None Kathi Booth

    This is totally off the subject, but does anyone know what happened at the special meeting of HUSD board. They met yesterday to dicuss the progress of the superintendent search (that hasn’t even begun). I am wondering how many more meetings there will be before the actual request for submission of applications and the screening begins? Do they have to meet again to finalize the brochure that is still being prepared?
    While I am on this subject, if you check out the HUSD website you will find the Highlighted arrow telling people to fill out a questionaire regarding the new superintendent with a submission date of April 19, 2011. That’s two days ago folks and it is still there.
    Just my observations and questions.

  • John W. Kyle

    Booth;

    Perhaps you might phone one of them and get the word in a more directt fashion.

    You do have that sort of relationship with at least one. DO YOU NOT?

  • qodrn

    Grew up with EBMUD and then moved to Hayward. Personally, I perfer the EBMUD water. It seems a little softer and has a better taste to me.

  • http://None Kathi Booth

    A quick check of the board agenda for 4/27 answered my question. The search group will bring for final approval the brochure to be used to recruit applicants for the position of superintendent. I guess it’s better late than never, however I am concerned that there will not be enough time to collect the applications, do a paper screening and then a more serious vetting of the remaining people and still make an appointment by June. I hope I am wrong.

  • qodrn

    I expect anyone who wants to apply pretty much is ready to go. Will open the position for two weeks, give another two weeks to put things together and you still have June left. I think all will be good for at least an offer. The real question is will anyone actually end up taking the job?

  • http://None Kathi Booth

    And will they be the most qualified and suitable to HUSD and all of our needs?

  • Michael Moore

    Someone who meets the needs of parents, teachers, union, non-certificated employees, students, tax payers and the board of trustees? Has such a person ever existed who had the support of all these groups? Certainly not in the past ten years.

  • John W. Kyle

    Moore;

    Had you been around, a tad longer, you would understand that the problems of HUSD extend back in time a bit longer than the ten years you describe. Our educational community problem commenced with the successor to an able Supt, He, the successor an Assistant Supt.’ at HUSD, lasted about a year and a half.

    We then hired Marlin Foxworth, a man whom I thought to be quite able but who was in distress over his relationship with HEA. He resigned ‘under pressure‘, after nearly completing his first four year term.

    Kathy’s husband, a trustee at the time, went to Florida with two other trustees, to vet Dr. Kohl, who promptly drew ire by spending money on carpets and removal of the dais in the ‘old’ board meeting room at the offices on Amador at Elmhurst. That successor Foxworth, Ms. Kohl, did not last the full four year term prior to termination. There had been a fuss over an expenditure involving new carpets and the removal of the old, unused dais in what had been the Board meeting room. Use of the City Council Chambers offered greater seating capacity than what had previously been the case. When that move was about to occur, one Board of Trustee member was outraged at City’s request of re-imbursement for the cost of the VCR tape, the technician’s presence necessary to do the recording and minor janitorial expense was to cost the School district as much as $15,00 per meeting which that particular, loudmouth found objectionable. A local developer chipped in an amount equivalent to a years worth of meetings, probably for the purpose of aiding a ‘saving of face’ for the school district until such time as that particular member faded away. It had nothing to do with Kohl but I bring it back from the recesses of the public’s mind as a reminder of the fairly low level of capabilities of some of those we elect to the Board of Trustees. … a major factor in the last 20 years of low level of toleration for those we hire as Supt.

    Soon after we terminated Kohl, and paid out those large sums of money remaining in her contract, we hired Dr. Vigil, who after taking the job here in Hayward soon disclosed, in what could be described as an act of bravado, ( bragged ?), that Hayward was his ninth job as a superintendent, all of which experience occurred within a four State area….. Of those experiences of the first eight, he was ‘only fired once’! Id course we terminated him, which cost us six months wages or about ‘just’ $125,000.

    The above saga carried on for a tad over 20 years. The problem remains now just the same, but is growing worse as the ’word’ is passed about how ‘we’ have treated Ms. Duran who has twice bailed us out of our immediate difficulty, since it was she who intervened between Kohl and Vigil then came back to our rescue after Vigil’s sudden departure. You do know how we have ‘heaped stuff on her”. do you not? Is it any wonder that she wishes to rejoin her husband?

    So the saga has continued a bit more than 20 years and we still have not vet solved the budget problem, truancy problem, or Superintendent problem, low test score problem nor the HEA problems.

    My bet? The process will fail again without a Town Hall meeting, conducted along the thought that, after listening to constructive, pro-active suggestions, presented by attendees, culled from the many who would present themselves as volunteers, from within t pro-active entrepreneurial types in successful businesses, professional types, who would see creation of activities employing volunteers, screened by Trustees for aptitude and personal; history of voluntary community service. As well as the Trustees own reputation and demonstrated personal success.

    When will we learn that when qualified, civic minded volunteers are formed into committees which pursue, review and formalize potential solutions involving a single aspect of the wide concerns faced by trustees.

    An example is found in the many volunteers who present themselves as seen presently occurring in aid of City Council’s ability to oversee City Hall Staff, including City Manager. Those groups, which City describes as ’commissions’ possess respected volunteers, residents of the community who meet on a scheduled basis to consider ideas brought forward for examination and either acceptance or decline, so that City Council does not have to deal with a lot of rant from no nothings who fail to understand the words, considerations. desires brought to those commissions prior to advancing them to Council…..

    Go to City of Hayward’s Website, scroll through the links dealing with Planning commission, Library Commission etc…. there are at least 10 such groups of volunteers who pursue reasoned rationale of issues and render suggested solutions, forward those many subjects to Council for formal approval and or denial by City Council.

    Creation of similar groups of people would aid HUSD immensely by drawing in volunteers with sufficient education to enable efficiencies directed to an improved HUSD. Exploratory conversations within those groups would eliminate the bitter disappointments occurring within the past 20 + years of failure. A turn around will not occur without creation of the needed establishment of ‘advisory’ groups at which each is directed to a specific area of administrative concern.

    In such actions, you would see a greatly improved public comment period at HUSD meetings without all the rancor brought forward, on many occasions by some pretty intelligent but highly frustrated folk who have no place to turn to offer courses of action save that found in use of rancor at Public Comment period….

    The ‘Public Comment’ problem is heightened by the Board’s ‘by-law‘; which says that after an initial, single hour of input, often seen and heard as ‘rant’ at public comments, the Trustees call a halt and defer any additional public comment period until item J arrives, near the end of the proceedings. I’ve witnessed the arrival of item J occurring as late as 11:30 pm when 10 or a dozen yellow cards have their names called out, to an entirely empty Chamber, saving only the presence of Trustees and some staff. That was a stunt personally observed occurring at a union meeting in 1948 when that Union had endorsed George Wallace a former Vice President of the US thought to have communist leanings. The purpose of splitting public comment time is impious. at best!

    Public opinion about the racial content, caused condemnation and removal from public libraries, school classrooms etc., but I remember a book directed to kindergarten youngsters and first graders, which was entitled ‘Little Black Sambo’. It had a conclusionary tale where a tiger chased it’s tail with such increasing speed and intent of purpose, that it melted into butter… It was a childish tale, demeaning to African American folks. However, I remain mindful of the tale when viewing ineffectiveness of the public comment period at HUSD meetings. We run around in circles until we tire and then, just fade away’ with nothing accomplished in areas of budget, truancy and test scores.

    Now, if you were a candidate for the job in Hayward, successful in another location, why would you come to Hayward seeking the Superintendent’s job?

    Assume that potential applicants have ‘the street smarts’ to visit Hayward, prior to applying for the job and as a result of the visit, are tipped off to the problems occurring with parents, HEA, truancy AND THE GENERAL INDIFFERENCE OF THE OVERALL COMMUNITY, as it continues to exist, even after at least a twenty year period, not ten as you state.

  • Michael Moore

    The Superintendent who meets the needs of parents, teachers, union, non-certificated employees, students, tax payers and the board of trustees simply does not and has not existed at any time since Brown versus Board of Education. Before that time segregation and the complete lack of civil rights for all made for a pleasant school system. The past is gone and will not return in our lifetimes.

    The disparate parts will never be reconciled. The trustees should pick their best choice and live with it until they succumb to pressure to change their choice. That is how it has been and how it will be.

  • John W. Kyle

    Moore’

    So, in your wisdom, you reject the idea employed by Cities including that of hayward City Council. Perhaps you are a teacher? Those folk seem to have all the answers but are unable to propose a solution to HUSD’s problem.

  • http://None Kathi Booth

    Thanks Mr. Kyle for recongnizing my educated and dedicated service to the City of Hayward as the Chairperson of the Personnell Commission for 5 of the 8 years that I held the appointment.

  • John W. Kyle

    Booth;

    I did not single you out; you were just one of the hunxdreds who have served the City and from what I heasr, you were not missed after your departrure…. but thanks for at least trying!