No grocery moratorium for Hayward

walmartletterUPDATE 5/9: Here’s the story, which came out over the weekend. Also, on Friday the city provided me the requested original Feb. 1 email from the union to Quirk regarding the matter, you can read it at right. The jist of it is that the union believes Wal-Mart is making a push to set up grocery stores in Hayward and the greater Bay Area. Here’s the union’s page on WalMart.

Just received word  that the proposed moratorium on Hayward supermarkets was shot down by the City Council at last night’s meeting, with Councilman Bill Quirk making the motion to oppose. I did not attend — had some furlough days lately, in case anyone was wondering about the lack of HayWord posts and diminished number of stories in recent weeks.

The video of the meeting has not been posted yet, but according to the City Clerk’s Office, staff was directed to go ahead with the study analyzing the effects of new groceries without imposing a moratorium. Here’s the staff report as well as letters from property owner, neighboring business, a union representative, the union’s lawyers, and lawyers for the property owner.


Those potential arts, culture and downtown business cuts

The potential dissolution of redevelopment agencies isn’t just a problem for large-scale projects such as the development surrounding the South Hayward BART station or Mission Boulevard improvements. We had a story on Monday about how many of the city’s art and cultural programs are in jeopardy.

2012CommProHere’s a breakdown of what programs receive how much money through redevelopment, as seen on page 10 of this report. Click on it for a larger view.

The staff recommendation was largely based on an across-the-board slash to funding. There will be further talks on the matter at the May 2 Council Economic Development Committee meeting before a recommendation is made to the City Council.

And as mentioned in the story, the Downtown Business Improvement Area also received half its budget via redevelopment funds. According to a report from the last meeting, the total budget was $112,140 last year, with $55,000 coming from business owners, $55,000 from redevelopment funds and $2,140 from reserves.

DBIA2011That was allocated for 2010-2011 in the manner illustrated at right. The events, which make up the largest category, include the Summer Street Parties and Light Up the Season. According to Chamber of Commerce President Kim Huggett, the advisory board will meet again next month to discuss how to divvy up the remaining funds.

Any thoughts on how limited remaining funds should be allocated, in regards to arts and culture programs as well as downtown business improvements? As was said in the story in regards to arts/culture, while trimming across the board may be equitable, it could prove to be a death knell for more programs than if some kind of triage system were utilized.


Fresh and Easy supermarket coming to Fairway Park

fresheasyThe grocery chain announced that it will open the doors of a new market at the Fairway Park Shopping Center, on Mission Boulevard at Rousseau Street on April 27. Fairway Park residents have long said that their neighborhood needs just such an addition, and everyone’s invited to a five-day grand opening celebration. According to the Fresh & Easy map of East Bay locations, there’s also another one slated to pop up at A Street and Hesperian Boulevard. Find the press release after the jump.

Coincidentally, the Bay Area Newsgroup business editor was talking about Fresh & Easy in his column today, mainly about those self-service checkout counters that are popping up everywhere. Continue Reading


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


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


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


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


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


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.


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