52

The Armas Theorem: A proof to a parcel tax

While the Hayward Unified school board didn’t actually vote on whether to place a $58 parcel tax before voters come June, they indicated at Wednesday night’s public hearing that a majority of trustees support it.

Board President Jesus Armas laid it out in a manner reminiscent of a geometric proof, asking questions to hear givens from Asst. Supt. of Business Services Stanley “Data” Dobbs that led to his conclusion that yes, a parcel tax should be placed before voters.

Did state triggers recently mean another $900,000 hit to the district? Yes.

Has the district seen a loss of funding to the tune of $26 million over the past three years? Yes.

Has the district taken steps that could be considered Draconian to deal with those cuts? Yes.

Is an increase in classroom size one of the ways that the cuts have been reflected? Yes.

Have employees already made concessions? Yes.

“We’ve already grabbed all the low-hanging fruit,” Dobbs said.

“I have no reservations,” Armas said, adding that as leaders, they need to go forward with whatever measures possible within the district because the state has trashed public education funding to the point where it “is not acceptable.”

The tax would collect $58 annually from about 35,000 parcels in Hayward, with an estimated 5,000 opting for the senior exemption, according to Dobbs. That adds up to $2 million a year for the district, or $10 million over the life of the parcel tax.

While that’s not going to cover an ongoing $7.4 million deficit  cited in the staff report for this fiscal year, Supt. Donald Evans called it a “beneficially small yet significant first step to bringing the community together to support local schools.”

Trustee Maribel Heredia agreed with Armas, saying they “can’t wait for the state to do the right thing, we have to take matters in our own hands.”

Trustees William McGee and Lisa Brunner were also supportive, albeit with more reservations. Brunner said the tax must be coupled with an audit of programs so they can make sure the money is being spent wisely and not on things that haven’t been working. She compared it to a house that needs a new roof.

“You can add three roofs before you get rid of the old one, but sooner or later you’ll have to get rid of it,” she said.

Trustee Luis Reynoso said the district is wasteful and that the $2 million that would be reaped annually is about the same as what is “squandered.” He pointed to the hire of Asst. Supt. Francesca Sanchez in the fall as money that wasn’t budgeted but spent without due process, and said the district’s project bidding process is faulty. He also said that homeowners are in trouble, with many foreclosures and vacancies, and that it is also a period of underemployment.  He concluded that the tax “might be necessary, it might not be but the way it was put together was very fast and sloppy.” He said they should go to the community first, “find out their needs, not just look at bullet points on a poll.”

About a half dozen teachers and the head of the HEA spoke in favor of the tax. Opposition included John Kyle, who vowed to fight it and said trustees need to go after the parents of truant students.

The tax would need two-thirds approval. Draft text of what would appear on the ballot:

To protect critical education programs, with funds that cannot be taken by the State, including:

  • math, reading, writing and hands-on science classes/lab;
  • enhancing library services, technology and college preparation programs;
  • providing programs for all students to meet State academic standards; and
  • attracting and retaining qualified teachers;

shall Hayward Unified School District be authorized to levy $58 per parcel annually, for five years, with an exemption for senior citizens, mandatory citizens’ oversight and all money used for classrooms in the Hayward schools?

Story to come, vote is expected at the next meeting in March. The New Haven district decided this week to go ahead with a much larger parcel tax. Castro Valley trustees said earlier this year that they would not.

 

26

Antiques appraiser comes to town

Guitars! Bayonets! Bling!

One of those gold/silver/antique and collectibles appraisers is in town through Saturday. If you end up going and get something appraised, let us know what it was and what they said. Here’s the press release and a photo of some of the stuff they’ve acquired so far from the Hayward stop.

ROADSHOW COMES TO HAYWARD!

February 14- February 18

Tuesday – Friday 9am – 6pm, Saturday 9am – 4pm

Hampton Inn

24137 Mission Blvd.

Hayward,CA94544

If you have gold, silver, antiques or other rare collectibles lying around your house, the Ohio Valley Refinery & Roadshow wants to see them!

The Ohio Valley Refinery & Roadshow is making a stop in Hayward this week in search of rare and unique collectibles. The refinery has the resources to pay top dollar for your gold, silver, and collectible items.  “Gold and silver markets have not been this strong for over 30 years,” states company spokesperson, Dennis Kouts. Continue Reading

5

HARD honors volunteer of the year

Volunteer Joel Ellioff and HARD trustee Louis Andrade at the honarary brunch on Jan. 28.

Joel Ellioff was honored with Hayward Area Recreation and Park District’s volunteer of the year award. He works at the senior centers, and is a volunteer driver for day trips, bringing seniors co museums and other cultural attractions. He also volunteers in the woodshop program and spends his lunch  break in the kitchen, serving up hot meals.

HARD has a honors a volunteer each month and then picks one from the 12 for this honor. Find a list of all volunteers of the month and more on Joel in the press release after the jump. Continue Reading

13

Greg Jones: Keep gang injunctions as priority

Former City Manager Greg Jones checked in with a letter to the editor, related to the City Council setting priorities for the coming year. Jones is concerned about diluting the core goals with the addition of “Green,” which was done last year, and a lack of interest in pursuing gang injunctions,  a hot topic at the Council priority-setting meeting in January. Here’s his letter:

To The Editor:

The Hayward City Council has been reviewing their priorities for 2012. I applaud their continuing efforts to ensure the focus remains on the right things, a process I began back in late 2007 when I arrived at the City. We built a strong, clear framework for how the resources of the City are allocated to service delivery.

Unfortunately, two things (among others) have occurred to weaken that clarity first established almost five years ago:

1. The two overriding priorities of Public Safety and Cleaning Up Hayward have been diluted by the addition of a third overriding priority of “greening” Hayward. This has distracted the organization from the core services that first have to be delivered above all others. Conservation efforts have always been emphasized at the City through a number of actions and policies, but serve as a support of the other two priorities. Each of us has a personal responsibility to assist in meeting environmental challenges to be sure, and local policies enhancing that ability should be carefully considered. I want my elected Council to stay focused on the most concerning and immediate of issues: Safety and Cleanliness!

2. The Gang Injunction Program, a priority articulated when I arrived that has languished for the past four years, has lost Council support. Interestingly, it is members of Council running for reelection that shrank from their commitment to continue to strengthen our public safety efforts. Olden Henson is the lone supporter of the Gang Injunction Program running for reelection. Mayor Sweeney and Council member Marvin Peixoto also support forging ahead with the effort. The others have gone eerily silent in supporting this important policy decision. A number of very effective initiatives have been implemented, but the Gang Injunction Program is a crucial element of a comprehensive strategy for curbing crime.

The community supported Measure A, the Utility User’s Tax, to maintain public safety and to clean up Hayward. We need a Council that will stay true to that commitment. We certainly have NOT reached our goal of a “safer” Hayward nor have we “cleaned up” Hayward to the point we can move on to other issues that could be considered as important.

Let your City Council know you want them to stay the course. Let’s getHayward safe and clean before we start distracting ourselves with other less specific and measurable endeavors.

Greg Jones

Former City Manager, City ofHayward

City of Hayward Resident