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Business owner shares concerns about Winton Avenue widening project

The owner of the Valero gas station at the corner of Winton and Hesperian Boulevard checked in to say he doesn’t think the roadway widening project is a good idea. The I-880/SR 92 Reliever Route Project “will provide for better access in and out of the industrial area located north of SR92 and west of I-880,” according to the staff report. Staff is recommending the City Council approve the project at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Owner of the gas station wrote a letter to the mayor, and included a graphic, laying out his concerns:

valeroDear Mayor Sweeney,

We are the owners, employees and customers of the Valero gas station, and residents living around the corner of West Winton Avenue and Hesperian Boulevard collectively organizing ourselves as the ‘People Power’ vs. Winton Mouth Widening. The City intends to appropriate a portion of the Valero lot to accommodate an additional lane to widen the mouth of West Winton Avenue by 400 ft. on the north side. Continue Reading

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Hayward nightclub incident report/story update

Here’s that report from the city manager that was requested by Mayor Mike Sweeney following some incidents at Hayward nightclubs the last weekend in February. And to kill more topics in one post (been busy this week and haven’t had much of a chance to blog), we had a story on the noise ordinance moving forward and another on Caltrans’ preliminary finding regarding the Bunker Hill property it owns. Going back further, had some stuff on HUSD moving toward a qualified status, and here’s a related Katy Murphy overview of what schools are facing.

Back on the topic of nightclubs and downtown, I was talking to Councilman Mark Salinas the other day on unrelated matters, and he mentioned that restaurants down there have been booming on weekends. Said he tried to go to the Kokyo Sushi Buffet, found it packed, went to Buon Appetito, same story, and ended up waiting in a sizable line over at Chef’s Experience. Anyone else been out to eat on a prime night lately and seen an uptick?

Oh, and a final bite on the topic of Hayward eats, the Merc had a nice piece recently on the glorious milkshakes served by Val’s Burgers.

Without further adieu, find the nightclub info after the jump… The Discussion section cuts to the chase about what’s going on. Continue Reading

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Concerns voiced after last weekend’s club violence

There were three nightclub related incidents last weekend: a shooting at a Mission Boulevard karaoke joint, shots fired and fights in the downtown area. There have been a couple other incidents on B Street in the past month, including a Pizza House employee being punched in the face and shots fired in the alley next to the building.

At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Mayor Mike Sweeney asked the city manager to prepare a report on what’s going on. Fran David said she’s already talked with police as well as nightclub owners and will have that report for them by the end of the week, I’ll watch for it. Continue Reading

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No medical marijuana outlets for San Leandro

no-marijuanaThe City Council voted to have staff write up an ordinance that will ban any medical marijuana dispensaries from moving into town. That will make them the seventh Alameda County city to do so — Alameda, Dublin, Emeryville, Fremont, Livermore and Pleasanton have such bans in place, according to a staff report. Dispensaries are allowed in Albany, Berkeley, Oakland and unincorporated Alameda County. There are two nearby AlCo dispensaries, in San Lorenzo and Cherryland.

Hayward remains the biggest AlCo city that doesn’t have a policy one way or the other.  The city was considering prioritizing the matter last year, but did not do it. There was no mention of medical marijuana during the priority setting process this year.

Cities such as Oakland are looking at the industry as a potential boost to city coffers. Oakland has a business license tax on marijuana dispensaries, and it was estimated at San Leandro’s meeting that it brings in about $1.4 million each year, based on gross sales of $28 million.

Find Hayward’s story from last February after the jump. Continue Reading

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Calendar for week of Feb. 28

 Here’s this week’s calendar. Just about to head to San Leandro to see what they say about options for a medical marijuana ordinance. Tomorrow, the Hayward City Council is poised to take steps to save redevelopment assets from a possible state take. And Wednesday’s Sustainability Committee meeting could be a big one, as they will be looking at the draft Residential Energy Conservation Ordinance. They moved that meeting into the main Council Chambers instead of the work session room, in case people turn out. Continue Reading

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Cinema Place Gallery opening downtown

artgallery02Also on the list of things to do, check out the Cinema Place Gallery, opening Saturday after a Friday night reception. I was told they weren’t prepared to host “Hayward at large” for the Friday event, but I’m betting if you walk by and poke your head in, nobody’s going to bite it off.

Hayward Arts Council organizers were very happy to score works by William “Bill” Sala, and they have a slew of other Hayward area artists: Simone Archer, M. Barta Atkins, Larry Bendoski, Jean Bidwell (who is painting that huge mural over behind the Grand Terrace Townhomes), Carol Jones Brown, Nick Calarco, Beverly Carlson, Philip Denst, Cecil Gertz, Susan Helmer, Molly McKenzie, Walter Levy, Mark Mertens, Denise Oyama Miller, Kathy Ries, Kimberly Rowe, Susan Sarti, Cindy Sullivan, John Warner and Robert Wolff.

They have the space for at least six months; after that it’s not certain how long they’ll stay. Developer is always courting potential tenants for the spot, which, along with other Cinema Place storefronts, has gone unused since the project was finished in 2008.

“We continue to aggressively try to lease the space,” said Bradley Blake of Blake-Hunt Ventures. “The market is soft overall, and we’re experiencing that in Hayward as well. We have prospects that come along every week or so but in this environment, retailers are looking for a really, really good deal. They tend to be focused on the reuse of older space, or going into markets safe and proven. … (Cinema Place) is a pioneering space.”

Speaking of Cinema Place, anyone been to Kokyo Sushi Buffet? They seem to be doing really well and get good online reviews. I tried to do a story about them when they first opened, but they regarded me with suspicion, asking me how much money I wanted for the story. “I find it interesting that a newspaper would want to do a story on us for free,” said one of the Kokyo staffers.

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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

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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!

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Spanish-language films for cheap!

FRANCISCO ZERMENO VIDEO STORECity Councilman Francisco Zermeno’s loss could be your gain. His Z Video rental store is about to close at the end of the month, and he’s selling off all his inventory. He specialized in Spanish-language films, and was proud to have a pretty extensive collection of movies from what he called “Mexiwood” era of the ’40s ’50s and ’60s.

There aren’t many mom-and-pop video stores around anymore. About a year ago when Hayward Video was robbed, the lady there told me they get by on account of the porn. In fact, she said the previous time they were robbed, the man demanded a bag full of porn.

Since Hayward Video is right by the Daily Review, I got a membership — not for porn, there’s nothing but RedBoxes near my home and I like to browse. But when I rented a movie one night — I think it was District 9 or Cloverfield or something involving aliens — it came in a DVD box with a label that boasted a XXX type of title, crossed out. Found it sort of disconcerting that they were mixing porn cases with mainstream titles, only on account of what porn aficionados are up to before putting the CD back in the case.

Zermeno said he had a “very limited” porn collection, and lasted longer than other video stores because of the Spanish language niche. I didn’t ask if he has any Spanish-language porn. Anyway, find his email after the jump. Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Continue Reading

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Calpine says Russell City Energy Center is a go

Calpine_Vertical2_tmb

UPDATE: Here is the story.

The EPA rejected all appeals regarding the federal air permit issued in February by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Calpine representatives say that was the final hurdle for the 600-megawatt facility near the Hayward shoreline; spoke briefly with opponents, who said there may be other ways to block it.

Working on a story for tomorrow, but find the Calpine release after the jump. Curious quote from Kim Huggett, the new president and CEO of Hayward’s Chamber of Commerce about how the power plant will “be a magnet for bringing new business to Hayward.” Continue Reading