Tax resolution passes, with some reservations

Correction: Oops, the link below isn’t to the final story after all, but this one is.

 Here is the final story on the board’s approval of the parcel tax measure. I had a voice mail from Trustee Luis Reynoso this morning, he wanted people to know that he tried to get a low-income exemption added to the measure but the addendum was not accepted by Trustee Maribel Heredia, who made the motion on the item.

He said at the meeting that when he was a teacher he stockpiled granola bars and snacks because a lot of kids were coming to school unfed because they lived in poverty. He added that includes homeowners, and said to look at the number of foreclosures as evidence.

“So when you tell me it’s only $58, go tell people who lost their homes that it’s only $58,” he said. “Tell them when they can’t feed their kid when they send them to school.”

Also of note: Trustee William McGee said he’s wary of the tax because of the “way the school board conducts business.” He expressed disappointment earlier in the meeting because he has requested a demographics study be taken up by the board, and it has yet to happen. Also said they have yet to address the matter of new schools opening, some of which will be underenrolled.

“I hear the community wanting us to support this, but I’m not hearing the board talking about agenda construction, and the schools opening up,” he said. “I’m not sure staff has direction.”

He wanted to discuss the matter, but Board President Jesus Armas said the matter at hand is the resolution concerning the parcel tax.

“Wow,” McGee said. “This is an issue. I’m asking when are we going to start talking, as a school board, about how to maximize dollars if this gets passed. … I’m looking for an answer and not getting it.”

For the sake of school district comparison, here are stories on what’s going on in Castro ValleySan LorenzoSan Leandro and New Haven.


Councilman Quirk’s campaign message

Councilman Bill Quirk sent out this message today regarding his run for Hayashi’s assembly seat. It includes a link to his campaign website for more information. Not sure who all else is gunning for the seat except for Jennifer Ong. Here’s more information about the district. Here’s Quirk’s statement:

I have decided to run for California State Assembly because I believe that my 7 years on the Hayward City Council give me the experience needed to make a difference in Sacramento. My primary concern is to get Californians back to work. I have been endorsed by Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer, Former Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, Mayors Michael Sweeney of Hayward and Marshall Kamena of Livermore and many others.  You can go to my website http://www.electbillquirk.com/ to get more information on my positions and endorsements. Please let me know by return email if you are willing to give me your endorsement. Continue Reading


Le family looking for staging site for searches

UPDATE: They found a spot. Latest release from family:

Hayward, CA (June 14, 2011) – Almost three weeks into missing student Michelle Le’s disappearance, her family is calling on community supporters and volunteers to help conduct volunteer search parties this upcoming Friday, Saturday and Sunday (June 17-19) from 8am to 5pm. Our family’s goal is to reach out to get public help and support to finally bring Michelle home.

Our family is preparing to make a public statement on Thursday afternoon, June 16, 2011, regarding the search parties. Future details will be easily accessible on Facebook, as well as www.michellelemissing.com

KlaasKids Foundation Search Director Brad Dennis will be collaborating with professional and experienced search and rescue parties to adequately train and prepare volunteers. Details of the search will be provided to the volunteer search parties each morning at the command center.

Volunteers are required to be 18 years or older, must have a valid government ID, and must wear appropriate clothing (long-sleeved shirt, pants, closed-toed shoes). If volunteers do not meet these requirements, or choose to opt out of search parties but are still wanting to help, they are welcome to assist in the command center.

The command center is located at 25350 Cypress Ave, Hayward, CA.

erev0611lecampaign02The family of missing nursing student Michelle Le is hoping to find a business or organization that can offer up a space on the cheap for use as a staging site for search parties this weekend. They are working with Marc Klaas’ foundation, and have some experts coming in to help organize and conduct the searches, which are being done in conjunction with Hayward police. They’re hoping to have a place lined up ASAP, like today. If you want to help, contact the family through their website. Message from the family:

Hi everyone,
We’re planning either search parties or more flyer distribution days. We’re thinking Fri
day, Saturday, and Sunday. We’re in contact with people trained in search and rescue so we’re going to do it big and its going to be organized. So if if you could please free up one or multiple days out of your weekend, that would be amazing.
We are in the process of planning a few search parties very soon and would like to ask the community for help in finding a staging area. The staging area is needed for search personnel to gather and organize the search. We would like the the staging area to be in or around Hayward/Union city and can be something like a community center, church, etc; somewhere large enough for a large group to meet. Preferably, the staging area should be indoors, with a parking lot for search personnel, and electricity for computers/printers.
We would like to ask for a place that can be donated for us to use for a couple days or at a very cheap rate. If anyone has any suggestions or offers, please let us know!
Thank you so much,
Michelle’s Family


Base API scores for schools released

We had a story about the base API scores being released this week. The scores aren’t new — they are rejiggered from the growth API scores that were released in the fall. There are variables that change in the formula for calculating the scores each year, so once those variables are figured out, the previous year’s score is put through the calculations to come up with a base for comparison in the fall.

If you need a recap, here’s a guide to the state’s Accountability Progress Reporting system.

There are links in the story, but click here if you’d like to jump directly to scores for Alameda County’s schools. As you can read in the story, none of Hayward Unified’s schools make it into the statewide top 50 percent. But some fare better when compared with schools similar in terms of student’s socioeconomic status, number of English language learners and other factors, which the district pointed out in a press release you can find after the jump. Continue Reading


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.


Burglary update and homes allowed near Costco — a Hayward council roundup

Here’s the gist of things that came out of Tuesday night’s meeting, I’m working on a couple of stories for later this week:

BURGLARY UPDATE: Council heard a report about this summer’s uptick in residential burglaries from Lt. Sheryl Boykins and Lt. Reid Lindblom, who are the community resource officers for the southside and northside, respectively. They had some figures, here are the highlights:

June saw the largest increase, from 78 to 118, a 51 percent increase, while May saw a 28 percent increase and July 13 percent. If you look at the totals for the first seven months of the year, there’s only been a 5 percent spike during that period compared with 2009, so it’s pretty clear the rise began with summer. And it’s not a Hayward thing, there have been increases in surrounding communities and most of those arrested have been from out of town. They’ve arrested 44 burglary suspects in the past three months, what Boykins said is “more than we usually arrest in a year.”

The lieutenants said the most affected neighborhoods are Darwin, Leeward, Bell Harbor, Palma Ceia, Fairway Park, and Silver Maple in S. Hayward, while in N. Hayward it’s Prominence, Bailey Ranch, area around Atherton and the area around Pinewood and Farm Hill.

They said they’ve increased presence in those areas but more importantly have worked with the community to let them know what’s going on and what they can do to prevent it, most notably helping watch over the neighborhood.

“We make way more arrests by networking with the community than we do by being in the right place at the right time,” said Lindblom. Continue Reading


Zorba’s deli closing on Friday

Heads up, in case you want to get one of your favorite sandwiches or Greek cuisine over at the popular Zorba’s Mediterranean Deli: You have until 2 p.m. Friday to do so.

zorbasZorba’s hasn’t been doing very well. There’s the economy, of course, and then construction on the interstate near the Hayward-San Mateo Bridge prevents people from coming over from the Peninsula.

“Oh yeah, I’d get customers from all over,” said cofounder Berc Maner. “We’re not just a Hayward place. I’d have people coming over the (San Mateo-Hayward) Bridge every day for lunch.”

Maner wanted to work with the property manager to get a break on their rent, but nothing doing.

We’ll have a story, but I wanted to let anyone know, who might be a fan. While I was down there earlier today, I talked to a couple people who were almost in tears over the impending closure. And if you are not a fan, or haven’t been there — I had my first Zorba’s sandwich today, a pastrami reuben, and boy was it tasty — maybe you can suggest an alternative sandwich shop or Greek deli.

There still will be a Zorba’s in Fremont, and the San Ramon location will be open for another year, Maner said.


Meanwhile, in the supervisor’s race

Here’s an interesting item , from the Inside Bay Area political blog. To those who need more incentive to click, the gist of it is that Nadia Lockyer has a sizable head start in money raised for the upcoming Alameda County District 2 supervisor race. Hayward Councilman Kevin Dowling has considerably less cash available, but he’s maintaining that most of his donations come from within the district, while nearly all of Lockyer’s war chest comes from outside the area.


Sonic boom on the horizon?

Jan. 5 UPDATE: The Sonic is set to open. They’ve already served some food on a limited basis, as part of employee training. I’m getting a tour of the place tomorrow for a weekend story, and the official grand opening will be either Monday or Tuesday.

Have you heard? After years of being subjected to its arguably clever commercials, Hayward residents will soon get to sample the Hot Fudge Shakes, Coney Dog & Tots, and Xtra-long Bacon Cheddar Cheese Steaks that come along with a Sonic Burger Drive-In.

The sign is up at the Fairway Park shopping center, and a wooden frame is rising at the former Arby’s site, 31187 Mission Blvd. While the official Bay Area Sonic Web site states a December opening, we contacted Rashid Cinos, the man behind the new Sonic.

“It’s a bit too early to touch bases,” Cinos said. “Give me two weeks. By then we should have some immediate milestones, a better idea of when we will be opening.”

Will do, Mr. Cinos. Last we heard, there was some design modification that had to be completed to make the site appropriate for the Sonic business model, which is carhop-style fast-food, with no indoor sit-down restaurant.

Jon Fong shot us an e-mail seeking more information about what he says is “quite some news” for a lot of people, at least his peers, who have been tantalized by the commercials but denied easy Sonic access.

Read Jon’s thoughts and more after the jump.

Continue Reading