Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for the 'General' Category

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. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
Under: Alameda County, Castro Valley, General, Hayward, Health | 5 Comments »

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

Posted on Wednesday, February 1st, 2012
Under: Crime, Environment, General, Hayward, Real Estate | 13 Comments »

Share your ideas for downtown Hayward at meeting tomorrow

The public’s input is being sought at a meeting tomorrow as the city aims to update its plan for downtown Hayward. Here’s today’s story, here’s the flier for the event and here’s the staff report from the Oct. 25 meeting when the idea was brought up to council.

One point that was omitted from the story because of space constraints is the downtown’s absentee landlords. Both the mayor and Councilman Marvin Peixoto said the city needs to do something to address the owners of buildings who seem to be uninterested in finding tenants.

“The worst gateway is the west side of Foothill, from Hazel on up,” Peixoto said. “Those people need to be contacted. They live outside the city and are not looking to put capital improvements into their projects.”

Mayor Mike Sweeney said some property owners “seem clueless about their business.”

“I don’t understand the strategy of why keeping buildings vacant for years on end, asking unreasonable rates from tenants, how that’s good for business,” he said. “Maybe we need to do mental health clinics for the owners there to bring them into the real financial world.”

Sweeney also cautioned that the loop of one way streets currently under construction in the area could prove to be a pitfall for some downtown ideas.

“If part of the vision for downtown is to make it walkable, I don’t see how it will help,” he said. “Especially Mission Boulevard, how is having five lanes of traffic going to help make downtown more walkable?”

Sweeney,  Olden Henson and then-councilwoman Anna May opposed the loop the last time it came up, in early 2009, when they wanted to revisit the idea. They were outvoted by the rest of the council.

The man and his magical musical machine

Final note: While lauding Buffalo Bill’s, Peixoto talked about how such family-friendly venues make great tenants and pointed at the late great Ye Olde Pizza Joynt (which technically sat on county property) as another example of such a venue. Brought back fond memories — I loved that place when I was a kid, especially when organist Don Thompson would bring the house down with the theme from Star Wars. Good pizza, too.  Place closed years ago after a fire, but there appears to be something in the works there these days and a source who inquired a crew there told me they’re putting in some kind of chicken restaurant.

Anyway, if you have some thoughts on downtown, would love to read them in the comments.


Posted on Friday, November 4th, 2011
Under: Alameda County, Business, Development, General, Hayward, Real Estate | 33 Comments »

It’s a Big Mike mystery!

Only Big Mike's big dirty footprints remain.

UPDATE: Story on Big Mike being found in Castro Valley.

Here’s our story on Hayward’s own Muffler Man disappearing from the Mission Boulevard spot where he’s stood for decades. I was first alerted to his absence by a keen-eyed reader last Thursday, and after talking with nearby merchants it sounds like that’s the same day he was chopped up and trucked off. They say it took about four hours to do the deed. For more on Mike and his brethren, this site is always worth revisiting for fascinating lore on Muffler Men and photos of all the variants.

So I’m hoping now that the story is out, someone will contact me and let me know what’s going on with Mike. Will let you all know if they do.

And yes, I am still here.

Posted on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011
Under: Business, General, Hayward, History, Layoffs, Odds & Ends | 18 Comments »

Today’s story on HUSD supt. appointment

If you are lucky enough to have picked up a newspaper today, consider it a collector’s edition, similar to that stamp with the biplane flying upside down. Ok, so maybe it’s not so rare and certainly will never be valuable, but the page 3 stories unfortunately end at the jump because of a production error. So here’s the story about the board being divided on the matter of soon-to-be-Supt. Donald Evans’ contract.

Posted on Friday, October 28th, 2011
Under: General, Hayward, Schools | 5 Comments »

Hayward Daily Review will stay!

The Bay Area News Group announced that they are not eliminating all those local mastheads as previously planned, including the Hayward Daily Review. They’re also seeking community bloggers, so now’s your chance to step up to the plate. Find email to send inquiries to at end of story.

Now back to story on last night’s school board meeting, at which the new superintendent’s $229,500/yr three-year contract was approved in a 3-2 split vote amid accusations of racism. More on that soon.

Posted on Thursday, October 27th, 2011
Under: General, Hayward, Odds & Ends | 30 Comments »

Great ShakeOut comes to Hayward

Tomorrow is the annual statewide Great ShakeOut event, something Hayward takes very seriously because of the city’s proximity to the most dangerous fault in the region.

City Hall sits just 500 feet from Hayward’s namesake fault, and as part of the Bay Area’s main media event related to the ShakeOut, officials are offering news agencies a tour of the base-isolation system in the building’s underground parking garage, which is designed to keep it in one piece when the next big one hits.

“We want to let residents know that there was a lot of forethought, so that after an earthquake City Hall will be intact and functional,” said Hayward fire Capt. Thor Poulsen. “We want citizens to know that to be resilient when — not if — it happens, they also have to be prepared ahead of time.”

Hayward’s has two previous city hall buildings, both of which are still standing, but both of which are not considered seismically sound. The first one was built directly on top of the fault while the second was damaged by the Loma Prieta quake in 1989.

The current building, opened in 1998, sits on 53 seismic isolation bearings and 15 shock absorbers. It can move nearly two feet in any direction, and was designed to withstand a 7.5-magnitude quake with no loss of life, Poulsen said.

Poulsen said he’d like to see more people taking the free CERT classes offered by the city. “There’s always room,” he said, adding that interest spikes after a major earthquake occurs somewhere in the world but doesn’t take long to wane.

“It’s like any disaster,” he said. “After a big fire, people will take care to trim their bushes, but after a little while they will stop thinking about it.”

Posted on Wednesday, October 19th, 2011
Under: General, Hayward | 19 Comments »

Red light cams: If you’re not in the pic, it’s not legit

Hayward’s police chief is working to fix a hole in the system regarding red-light cameras, one that allows some violators to get away without paying a $300  ticket (that’s what they cost these days, right?) simply by doing nothing.

It comes down to the difference between a Notice to Appear and a Notice of Violation. The former is what a driver gets when they sail through a red light, the camera flashes and upon review it’s clear as day that the registered owner of the vehicle is indeed behind the wheel. Out of 1,560 drivers caught on camera each month, about 500 get one of these notices.

"I sense something, a presence I've not felt since......." (FLASH!) “…. NOOOOO!!!”

A Notice of Violation, on the other hand, is asking the owner for a little help in identifying the driver. Maybe it’s a friend or relative, or the photo was snapped while  the driver was headed to a Star Wars-themed Halloween party, or maybe it was a rental or company car and only a search of records would reveal who did the deed. About 730 violators get one of these. And of these, 250 just ignore the notice.

It’s fairly labor intensive to investigate each case where the notice isn’t returned — it involves pulling DMV photos of relatives and people living at the vehicle owner’s address, comparing them with the RedFlex photo, that sort of stuff. About 62 hours of staff time per month, it’s estimated. And that’s staff time that can be spent elsewhere, on other police work, and that’s exactly what’s happening right now. “Due to limited staffing, non-responses are not being processed,” according to the PowerPoint presentation given to the City Council on Tuesday.

But Chief Diane Urban is working to change that.

Urban suggests a restructuring of the staff that reviews the violations, using two community service officers and a per diem officer to do more work for less money than the current setup, which includes one full-time sworn officer and a CSO. That would allow better pursuit of those scofflaws who don’t return tickets, for a gain — between saved staff salary and additional fines collected — of about $14,700 a month. Right now the program brings the city about $10,700 per month – the real money maker is RedFlex, the company the city rents the cameras from. The city pays them about $59,000 monthly.

And a sworn officer would then be put back on the streets, which Urban says is the best use for someone with a badge anyway.

As a side note, the chief said they are in the process of changing the way they deploy traffic officers, with an emphasis on the areas around the 10 intersections in the city most prone to crashes. She said a similar effort she spearheaded in San Jose yielded a 22 percent reduction in crashes overall. Some of those notable intersections: Foothill at Grove. Hesperian at A. Tennyson between Patrick and Tampa. Santa Clara and Jackson.

Posted on Thursday, October 13th, 2011
Under: Crime, General, Hayward, Transportation | 9 Comments »

Occupy protest coming to San Leandro on Friday

By now you’ve probably heard about the various “Occupy Wall Street” protests that started on the East Coast and are now taking root in cities across the nation. They’ve garnered support from a lot of our local U.S. reps, saw an Oakland councilwoman join them in their tent city and are starting to pop up in places that usually don’t see very many demonstrations: San Ramon on Tuesday, Walnut Creek on Wednesday and on Friday, will bring it to the Bank of America near Bayfair Mall in San Leandro. Find the press release after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, October 11th, 2011
Under: Alameda County, General, Politics, San Leandro | 2 Comments »

Nominees sought for history honors. Winners get an obelisk!

Here’s some news from the Hayward Area Historical Society. Each year, they honor local residents, organizations and businesses that are history minded, and for 2011 they’re seeking the public’s help in coming up with some candidates. They’d like to hear from you by the end of the mo nth.

Click on the link at left to cue the theme from "2001: A Space Odyssey."

The Daily Review received one in 2006, a few years before I landed at the paper. I took a photo of the black obelisk award, attempting for some kind of dramatic perspective.

Submissions can be made by mail:

ATTN: History Award Nominees

Hayward Area Historical Society

22392 Foothill Blvd.

Hayward, CA 94541-2710

By phone: (510) 581-0223 ask for Alison

By email:

Find press release after the jump, but feel free to also bounce some ideas around in the HayWord comments, too, it could be fun!  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, October 11th, 2011
Under: Alameda County, Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Fairview, General, Hayward, History, Other unincorporated areas, San Lorenzo | No Comments »