Hayward council to consider ways to clean up downtown

HAYWARD — The City Council’s meeting Tuesday should be a lively one, with proposed ordinances dealing with some of the problems downtown on the agenda.

A social nuisance ordinance would go after property owners who allow criminal activity, such as drug use, drug dealing, prostitution and gang activity.The staff report also mentions noisy activity during late hours and chronic unruly gatherings.

Property owners would be sent a warning letter. If the problem isn’t take care of, that’s when possible fines kick in, up to $5,000.

The ordinance is based on similar regulations in Vallejo and Stockton, where 90 percent of the problems were taken care of after a warning letter was sent.

I wonder if this would help curb the problems at the old vacant City Hall behind Safeway on Foothill Boulevard, which seems to be a magnet for people looking for a place to sleep, drug use and littering.

City staff members also are proposing regulating free outdoor food handouts on city property, which regularly draw 50 to 100 people. One of the changes would require that those serving food have a permit. I’m not sure how much the permits would cost; the staff report won’t be released until sometime Monday.

At a City Council work session in March, representatives of several groups who work with the homeless and poor objected to the permit process, including Sara Lamnin of Hayward Community Action Network. The South Hayward Parish program works to find housing for the homeless and help them become self-sufficient.

What is needed is a centralized indoor center where the poor and homeless can get not only food, but also other services to actually address the problems, Lamnin has said.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in Hayward City Hall Council Chambers, 777 B St.

The agenda also mentions park hours, but again, no details until the report comes out.