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Castro Valley tempest in a coffee pot

CASTRO VALLEY — Some tempers started boiling over when a recent school board agenda listed a proposed purchase of a $14,000 coffee machine.

What seems to have started the brew ha ha was the way the item was listed on the school board agenda: as an espresso machine. That got comments flying on social media in an election year:

“Return the machine, get a Mr. Coffee, and if Jim Negri wants a latte, well he can go to Starbucks and pay for one from his own income, just the way everyone else in town does,” a parent posted, referring to the school superintendent.

The machine in question is not a standard espresso machine, though apparently it can whip up a mean one. It is an industrial coffee maker that also would quickly heat water for tea and hot chocolate, heat apple cider and steam milk.

But after parents raised a ruckus, the district held off on the purchase.

The machine was part of a plan to expand the district’s in-house catering service to reduce the cost of providing food for school events, train culinary students and possibly offer catering for activities outside the district.

Yes, $14,000 is a lot of money, school board member Janice Friesen said. But the machine would get a lot of use.

“We want something that will last and be a good investment,” Friesen said.

Currently, Castro Valley students enrolled in the vocational culinary program travel to the regional occupational center campus near Chabot College in Hayward to take classes. The coffee maker was part of plan that would allow them to get hands-on training in Castro Valley instead.

The machine also would have been used to serve drinks at district functions. Castro Valley Unified said “expanding district catering services” when mentioning meals provided at school workshops, planning sessions, teacher training, etc. For many, catering conjures up an image of waiters with trays of appetizers.

What the district was referring to is breakfasts for staff at the beginning of the year, basic lunches and light breakfasts for all-day training sessions, food at after-school sessions for teachers, etc. While there may be a coffee pot at each site, when staffs from three or four schools gather, that coffee pot cannot fill the demand, Friesen said.

“If it’s after school and you’re asking people to come for development, you cannot not give them something. You have to feed them,” she said.

Castro Valley has paid other local school districts to provide food at staff events, Friesen said. The district also holds a teacher of the year event at the Castro Valley Center for the Performing Arts, which an outside vendor caters.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our school district catered it and our school district got the money?” Friesen asked.

The money to buy the machine would not being diverted away from classrooms. It’s in the food services budget, whose funds are restricted (they can’t be spent elsewhere).

The coffee maker was to be part of a plan to revitalize the district’s food service program proposed by Brenda Lightfoot-Handy, hired earlier this year as head of child nutrition.

The official statement from Superintendent Negri:

“Questions have been raised about a purchase for our Child Nutrition Program, and in an effort to be responsive to our school community, we have made a decision to hold the purchase. Long term, we feel the investment in this commercial grade coffee and beverage machine would expand the capacity of our catering program, as well as benefit our vocational education food and catering program. However, given that we are in the process of developing these programs, for now we believe it is prudent to hold the purchase. Our community hears us when we ask for their support, and, in turn, we must hear them when they raise questions and concerns. I hope the decision to revisit the purchase reflects our commitment to be responsible partners with our community members and staff.”

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Political activist to speak Thursday on importance of voting

From the League of Women Voters:

HAYWARD — Boot Camp for Future Leaders and the importance of voting will be the focus of keynote speaker Christine Pelosi on Sept. 18 from noon to 2 p.m. at Chabot Community College, Performing Arts Center in Hayward.

Pelosi, an attorney, political activist and author, will speak at the college’s fourth annual Law and Democracy Lecture program, said William Hanson, chairman of the college’s Administration of Justice department.

Hanson is spearheading the Vote60by50 campaign to increase campus voting to 60 percent by the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act in 2015.

Pelosi is the author of many books and columns in the Huffington Post on political participation and the development of future leaders.

The program is co-sponsored by the Chabot Law and Democracy Program, League of Women Voters Eden Area, the Chabot Student Senate and the Office of the President of Chabot. For further information, contact mochoa@chabotcollege.edu

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November election filings

Friday was the candidate filing deadline for the November election, and some races have drawn several candidates while others had only one.

The deadline for San Leandro City Council District 5 was extended because incumbent Pauline Cutter is not seeking re-election, instead running for mayor. Three people jumped into the race late: Leah Hall, Corina Lopez and Mia Ousley.

District 1 will have a four-way race: David Anderson Sr., Deborah Cox, Mike Katz-Lacabe and Kenneth Pon.

Allen Schoenfeld, Victor Aguilar and Thomas Lee will square off in San Leandro City Council District 3.

Running against Cutter for mayor will be fellow Councilwoman Diana Souza and businessman Dan Dillman. Incumbent Mayor Stephen Cassidy is not seeking re-election.

Several races have already been decided when no opponents filed against the incumbents or only one person filed for each open seat; these will not appear on the ballot: Hayward Area Recreation and Park District Paul Hodges and Carol Pereira; Washington Township Healthcare District Jacob Eapen, Bernard Stewart and Michael Wallace; East Bay Municipal Utility District Ward 7 (Castro Valley, Cherryland, Fairview, portions of San Leandro and Hayward) Frank Mellon; Chabot-Las Positas Community College District Area 4 (Castro Valley) Donald “Dobie” Gelles and Area 6 (Hayward and San Lorenzo) Hal Gin; San Leandro Unified School District Area 2 Lance James; San Leandro Unified Area 6, Ronald Carey; Fairview Fire Protection District Sven Andersen and Leslie West; East Bay Regional Park District Ward 3 Dennis Waespi; Eden Township Healthcare District Lester Friedman, Roxann Lewis and Thomas Lorentzen.

Hayward Unified incumbents Lisa Brunner and William McGee are being challenged by Marita Cheng. Chabot-Las Positas Community College District Area 2 (San Leandro) incumbent Isobel Dvorsky is being challenged by Gene Judson.

In Castro Valley Unified, incumbents Janice Friesen and Gary Howard will be running against Dorothy “Dot” Theodore.

Six candidates are running for two seats in San Lorenzo Unified: Incumbents Helen Randall and Isabel Polvorosa, plus Steven Kirk, Guillermo Nevarez, Ronald Pereira II and Janet Zamudio.

A sanitary district race in Castro Valley has generated interest: Incumbents Melody Appleton and Ralph Johnson are being challenged by Marc Crawford, John Maher and Kunio Okui.

Five candidates are seeking three spots on the Oro Loma Sanitary District board: Timothy Becker, Howard Kerr, Chike Udemezue, Dan Walters and Sheila Young.

Other races include:

San Leandro Unified at large: Evelyn Gonzales, Elsie “Jeanne” Kinkella, Peter Oshinski and Monique Tate.

San Leandro Unified Area 4: Latrina Dumas, Leo Sheridan and Chike Udemezue.

AC Transit District at large: Incumbent Joel Young, Adrienne Andrews, Joel Dewitt, Clarence Fischer, Dollene Jones, Tyron Jordan, Igor Tregub.

AC Transit District Ward 4 (West unincorporated Alameda County, part of San Leandro, part of Hayward): Incumbent Mark Williams, Murphy McCalley and Timothy McGowan.

AC Transit District Ward 5 (South Hayward, : Incumbent Jeff Davis and Kewal Singh.

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Castro Valley school administrators honored

CASTRO VALLEY — Four school administrators have been recognized by a professional organization.

The awards were given at the Association of California School Administrators Region 6 dinner June 19.

Stanton Elementary School Principal Jennifer Tomita was named the association’s Region 6 elementary principal of the year.

Dustin Gacherieu, assistant principal at Castro Valley Adult and Career
Education, was chosen adult education
administrator of the year.

The school district’s technology director, John Perry, was named technology administrator of the year.

Castro Valley High Assistant Principal J.C. Farr was a nominee for secondary co-administrator of the year.

Region 6 includes Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

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New Jensen Ranch principal

CASTRO VALLEY — Dustin Gacherieu was named principal of Jensen Ranch Elementary School on Thursday.

Gacherieu has been assistant principal at Castro Valley Adult
and Career Education for the past two years. Before that, he taught at Chabot Elementary School, including  kindergarten and fifth grade.

He graduated from Castro Valley High School and served as a student school board member his junior and senior years. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from St. Mary’s College.

The school board made the appointment at its May 8 meeting.

 

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All Saints school to stage play showcasing new theater arts program

HAYWARD — All Saints school will debut its theater arts program with “The Dastardly Dr. Devereaux” on May 9-10.

“This is a very special moment in the history of All Saints Catholic School,” Principal Jennifer Diaz said in a release. “I have always wanted to bring a theater program to All Saints.  I have a background in musical theater and dance and have taught both to students for many years.  I have seen first-hand how the arts influence students in positive ways.”

“The Dastardly Dr. Devereaux” is a comedy drama about a wealthy widow, Lotta Cash, who must keep on the lookout from the evil Dr. Dogsbreath Devereaux. He plans to woo and marry Cash for her money and her late husband’s clinic.

The theater arts program for seventh- and eighth-grade students has focused on drama training, singing and dancing. The cast includes all students who attended drama training and auditions; no one was rejected.

All Saints is a private Catholic school for grades kindergarten through eighth.

Tickets are $5-$7, plus a service charge if ordered online at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/620251

 

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Election season is already here

Hi. Sorry to be away for so long. Illness plus technical difficulties were not a good combination.

A few updates: Two candidates in the Hayward mayor’s race — Mark Salinas and Francisco Zermeno — both have been busy, hosting community events, raising money, attending just about every local gathering. I haven’t seen as much from Barbara Halliday, but that doesn’t mean she’s not connecting with voters; she doesn’t seem to use social media as much as the other two. All three have a lot of connections in the community.

I have been hearing rumors that two others will enter the race to replace longtime Mayor Michael Sweeney, who has announced his retirement at the end of June. But no names have been attached.

One guy did stop  by the Daily Review office and said he was running for mayor. I won’t give his name, because he didn’t speak to me; I only overheard him as he was flirting with our office manager. We do get some interesting characters wandering in off Foothill.

Salinas’ council seat will be up for grabs. Councilman Marvin Peixoto has announced he plans to run for re-election.

Meanwhile, Hayward Unified Trustee William McGee has set up a website for his re-election and to keep the community informed. His and Trustee Lisa Brunner’s terms expire next year; Brunner has not announced whether she will seek re-election.

The city of Hayward also is looking at a ballot measure to pay for a new main library and two fire stations, and possibly more upgrades and services. A series of meetings and outreach are planned, beginning next month.

The Hayward school district is talking about another bond measure to replace more of the district’s aging schools, but no date has been set.

Alameda County is looking at asking voters to extend Measure A, a half-cent sales tax set to expire in 2019. It helps fund medical services to the county’s low-income residents, but some have complained that too much of the money currently goes to Highland Hospital or is at the discretion of the county Board of Supervisors and subject to political maneuverings. Without it, services will be drastically cut, advocates say. But it was approved in much better economic times, 2004.

Oh, and remember Measure B-1, the proposal that would double the county sales tax for transportation from a half-cent to a full cent that was narrowly defeated in 2012? It will be back on the ballot in November, though with a 30-year time limit (the previous proposal had no time limit).

These are just a few local measures being considered; statewide ones could also be on the ballot. With all the competing interests asking voters to open their wallets, there is concern it will be overwhelming and voters will just say no to all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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‘Stuff the Bus’ to collect school supplies for Hayward students

WalMart is sponsoring a “Stuff the Bus” to collect school supplies for Hayward students this weekend, Aug. 17 and 18.

Residents may donate items bought at WalMart in Union Landing from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day.

Volunteers from Lorin Eden Elementary PTA and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority will be present to encourage donations and distribute items to schools. Anyone interested is invited to stop by and help collect and sort donations.

Walmart is at 30600 Dyer St. in Union City.

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Hayward High band director steps down

HAYWARD — Bryan Holbrook, who has led the instrumental program at Hayward High School for several years, is stepping down and will instead teach elementary school music

Whoever takes over will have the proverbial big shoes to fill. Holbrook has built up the Hayward High music program and worked hard at community outreach, both within the district and the larger community. He has been tireless, working long hours and many weekends. The Hayward marching band has performed every summer at downtown’s last street fair of the season and at Light Up the Season. Holbrook has been recognized as Teacher of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce and has also received district honors.

In a Facebook post, Holbrook said he wanted to be able to spend more time with his family.

The Hayward school board restored funding for the elementary school music program earlier this year. For the past two years, Holbrook had run an after-school elementary music program at the high school. The first year, the instructors volunteered their time, but this past year, the district compensated them.

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Early campaigning

Hayward city and school candidates are starting to gear up for the 2014 elections.

Hayward school board President William McGee has had a website, www.williammcdgnee.com, set up for quite awhile. McGee has mostly used it to inform the community about school issues, but there has been some mention of fundraising events.

Hayward Councilman Mark Salinas has started hosting fundraisers, and Councilman Francisco Zermeno has announced his intent to run for mayor. The two councilmen mostly have been using Facebook to advance their campaigns.

Hayward Mayor Michael Sweeney said he would wait until the council’s summer recess before deciding if he will seek re-election. Zermeno has a “safe seat”: If he loses the mayoral race, he still would retain his council post, which is not up for re-election until 2016.

Still unannounced (at least to us): Hayward Councilman Marvin Peixoto and Hayward school Trustee Lisa Brunner. Both are up for re-election in 2014.