It sure is warm these days in our own Hayward area…

… but for a bit of a polar opposite, a somnambulist died of exposure in another Hayward, where wind chills are expected to bring the temp down to 50 below zero. According to the story, “Flesh can freeze in 10 minutes when the wind chill is 40 below or colder, the weather service noted.”

Around these parts, it’s expected to remain more than 100 degrees warmer than that, for the time being.


If you can’t go to one Capital…

Can’t make it to the nation’s capital for the Obama-Biden inauguration? Then turn on the television to next Tuesday’s ceremony while tapping out an application on your laptop or computer for fellowships in California’s state capital of Sacramento.

State Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, is publicizing two programs that have application deadlines of Feb. 25.

The Senate Fellows program offers 18 college graduates the chance to become Senate staff members for 11 months, starting next October. The program is open to anyone who is at least 20 years old and will have graduated from a university or four-year college by next Sept. 1. For an application form and information, visit www.sen.ca.gov/ftp/sen/fellows_home.

The California Judicial Administration Fellowship program is open to 10 people who will be assigned to various courts in Sacramento, San Francisco and Los Angeles, while simultaneously enrolled as graduate students at California State University, Sacramento. Applicants must be at least 20 years old and have earned a bachelor’s degree by next Sept. 1. Graduate, post-graduate and mid-career applicants are welcome, Corbett said. For information, visit www.csus.edu/calst/judicial.


For those dreaming of a green Christmas

Hayward power plant foe and recent City Council candidate “Redwood” Rob Simpson has a 1,000-strong forest of 2-foot-tall redwood trees on his Grandview Avenue lot that he’s willing to give away to anyone who wants to plant one.

Simpson’s been doing this for years, he said, and started because he felt “environmentally responsible” for driving a large car. He didn’t want to downsize his transportation — Simpson is a pretty tall guy — so he started giving away the trees as a mitigation measure. This batch will bring his grand total up to 31,000.

“I’m just spreading my seed,” Simpson said.

Anyone who wants a tree should contact Simpson at www.redwoodrob.com or 510-909-1800.


Hayward downtown library move: What do you think?

As reported in today’s Daily Review, architects have come up with two different ideas for a new main Library. One of the ideas — for a taller, three-story building next to the downtown Post Office — seems to be the preferred model, but so far the public has not weighed in on the idea of moving their library away from the park where it currently resides. Previous polls have held that people like the location, but this new idea of moving the new facility across the street and creating one big central park has not been floated before.

So, what do you think? Pros, cons?


Bye, bye Taj Mahal; hello, Sacramento

If it weren’t for the California budget crisis, perhaps few would know or care that
state Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, is out of the country, experiencing the wonders that are India on a two-week trip with seven other state senators.

But, having missed much of the special legislative session on the state’s money meltdown, Corbett is cutting the overseas visit short, her chief of staff, Peggy Collins, said today, in order to rush home for Sunday’s planned floor sessions of the Senate and Assembly in Sacramento.

The trip, which started on Nov. 12 and was scheduled to end the day before Thanksgiving (Nov. 26), is sponsored by the California International Relations Foundation, a Senate program that organizes programs and trips to promote “economic and cultural relations” throughout the world, according to its Web site.

“It is a significant and important trip for California and the district,” Collins said, carefully avoiding any hint that the trip might be considered a vacation. High-tech businesses and educational institutions were on the senators’ tour itinerary. The trip originally was planned to coincide with a Legislative recess.

The foundation does raise money for overseas trips, and hosts visits here by international government representatives. Foundation directors include employees of major California law firms and corporations that lobby the state on behalf of their business interests.

The cost of the trip, and the breakdown of who paid for what, wasn’t available today. However, in trips of this type, sponsoring organizations and the legislators themselves usually pay the travel expenses.


Hayward home values hurting

It’s true that they’re down just about everywhere, but Hayward is being hit especially hard, according to a real estate report released Wednesday by zillow.com. Hayward neighborhoods make up three of the five biggest value losers in the East Bay, with Longwood-Winton Grove leading the pack.

Homes there lost, on average, 44.7 percent of their value compared with this time last year. Jackson Triangle didn’t fare much better, with a 44.5 percent loss, and Whitman-Mocine values down 43.7 percent.

Citywide, the average loss was 37.2 percent, and the current median value is about $335,000. That’s about the same as the San Lorenzo average of a 35.2 percent dip to $334,000. San Leandro homes fell 27.9 percent to $373,000.

The Alameda County average is down 18.9 percent, to $479,000.


Web the vote

We’re trying a new feature for Election Day that lets readers call in and leave a voice message with their thoughts. We’re presenting the audio mp3s on our Web site and asking “How has this election changed the country? How has it affected you?”

You can call 510-495-1442 to comment. Our Interactive Department will listen to the recording and then post it live on the site. We ask that comments be kept to about 30 seconds or less.

We also have a live chat going…join the conversation with George Kelly as he checks with our reporters in the field and brings you coverage from additional sources.


Democrats increase lead in state, county, Hayward area

The Democratic surge in state voter registration, reported today by the California Secretary of State’s office, is spurred in part by efforts in the Eden Area United Democratic Campaign.

Volunteers working out of the Democrats’ local office on A Street in Hayward registered 700 new voters last weekend, reports office manager Edith Looney. Now, the volunteers will spend between now and Election Day walking 300 precincts in Castro Valley, Hayward, San Leandro, San Lorenzo and other unincorporated areas on behalf of local and national candidates.

Personal cell phones in hand, they’ll also be calling voters in other states the next two Saturdays on behalf of the Obama-Biden ticket.

The Alameda County Registrar of Voters reported Wednesday that the county had 787,971 registered voters. Overall, that’s up from 734,171 — nearly 54,000 voters — from Sept. 9, the last voter registration listing.

The latest party registrations weren’t available from the county Wednesday. However, in September, registrations in Assembly and state Senate districts covering the greater Hayward area tell the story. In the 18th Assembly District, represented by Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Hayward, Democrats outnumbered Republicans by a margin of 56 percent to 19 percent. In the larger 10th state Senate District, represented by Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, the margin is 51 percent Democrat, 20 percent Republican.

In both the Assembly and Senate districts, “declined-to-state” voters in September also outnumbered Republicans.


BYOB please

No, not that kind.

The Castro Valley Sanitary District is offering free reusable tote bags in support of the countywide Bring Your Own Bag campaign.

The bags are made of 80 percent post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, and officials estimate the average person will save 250 plastic bags a year when bringing their own reusable bag to go shopping.

BYOB give-away schedule (for residents of the Castro Valley Sanitary District only):

Rite Aid Pharmacy
9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 11
3848 Castro Valley Blvd.

Longs Drug Store
12:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25
3667 Castro Valley Blvd.

Each event will last about three hours and supplies are limited.