Private Sewer Lateral Inspections Required With Sales of Homes
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 09-12-18
The Castro Valley Sanitary District passed an ordinance last week that will require all properties within the district’s boundaries to have a private sewer lateral compliance certificate when they are bought or sold.
The CVSan Board of Directors passed the controversial measure on a 5-0 vote during a public hearing at last Tuesday’s regular meeting. It will go into effect on July 1, 2019.
Under Ordinance No. 179, known as the Private Sewer Lateral Regulatory Inspection (PSL) Program, homes in the district that were built less than 30 years ago, or that have had at least half of their sewer lateral replaced in the last 10 years, will automatically be issued compliance certificates.
Properties that don’t fall in those categories will be required to have their private sewer laterals inspected by closed circuit television (CCTV) before the property can be sold.
Within CVSan’s boundaries, the homeowner is responsible for maintenance and repairs for the entire private sewer lateral up to and including the connection to the public sewer main, while CVSan is responsible for the public sewer main itself.
During a property sale it is not uncommon for the buyer and seller to negotiate who will assume responsibility for the inspection and repair costs. The average cost for replacing an entire private sewer lateral runs from about $4,000 to $5,000, according to CVSan. The CCTV permit will cost $230.
CVSan modeled this program after industry standards in place in such cities as Alameda, Berkeley, and Oakland.
Its purpose is to reduce the amount of rainwater entering damaged sewer laterals and ending up at the wastewater treatment plant during storms. This excess flow is more than the system was designed to handle and results in the plant unnecessarily treating rainwater.
For more information on the PSL Program, visit www.cvsan.org/PSL.
Labor Day 2018
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 09-05-18
More than 5,600 visitors turned turned out to enjoy Labor Day at Lake Chabot Regional Park on Monday, hiking, boating, fishing, relaxing and, of course, cooking and eating. The weather was perfect for the late summer season.
PHOTO BY FRED ZEHNDER
Young Candidate Seeks Five Offices
By Amy Sylvestri
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 09-05-18
When Nicholas Harvey moved to the Fairview area two years ago, he saw room for improvement.
Cars were speeding in his neighborhood, weeds were overgrown, and there were several blocks without sidewalks.
Harvey started attending meetings and speaking to his various representatives on the Fairview Municipal Advisory Council, the county Public Works department, the school district, and even the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.
But he said they just weren’t listening. So Harvey has decided to do something about it.
He’s running for five separate offices in this November’s general elections.
“Every time I’ve spoken about these issues, they’ve fallen on deaf ears,” said Harvey. “I’ve just become very fed up. No one wants to do anything, so I will.”
Harvey is running for East Bay Municipal Utilities District (EBMUD) Ward 7 seat, the Eden Health District Board of Directors, the Fairview Fire Protection District Board, the Hayward School Board, and AC Transit Board Ward 4.
Harvey admits that he’d most like to take the AC Transit spot, as he questions opponent incumbent Mark Williams’ financial honesty. Williams did not file campaign finance reports between 2012 and 2016 and was fined $60,000 earlier this year by the California Fair Political Practices Commission.
Harvey says the transit system is just plain badly run, with AC Transit’s per-ride operation costing roughly twice that of San Francisco’s Muni. And he would know — Harvey is reliant on public transportation, taking buses, trains, and his bike everywhere.
“I’ve never owned a car, but I do own a house,” said Harvey,
who has a degree in chemistry and now runs his own real estate consulting business.
But Harvey says he’d be content to win any — or all — of the five races.
“If I win all five, I’ll serve all five,” said Harvey. “When I filed (to become a candidate) it was my intention to serve, so I will. I have the breadth of knowledge to serve on all five.”
EBMUD Ward 7 incumbent Frank Mellon has been openly critical of Harvey casting such a wide net when it comes to the election.
Mellon, who has been on the utility board for 24 years, often is unopposed for reelection. He last faced an opponent 8 years ago.
But Mellon says’s it’s not the fact that he’ll have to campaign that he’s worried about, its the cost of Harvey’s gambit.
Elections cost the county (and therefore the taxpayer) hundreds of thousands of dollars and the cost is based on of the number of voters. If a race is uncontested, if doesn’t appear on the ballot and so doesn’t cost taxpayers money.
Mellon said that Harvey’s five-race campaign was superfluous, but Harvey defended his right to run.
“I couldn’t care less if someone is running against me; my concern is waste,” said Mellon. “Am I really running against someone who stands for something or just a guy that wants some sort of Guinness record? I’ve worked really hard for our rate-payers and I have a record of that.”
But Harvey said if that’s Mellon’s concern why is the cost being pinned on Harvey’s candidacy and not Mellon’s?
“How is the cost to the county from me running and not him?” asked Harvey, who says he does have a platform. He says his scientific background will help him grasp the work of the utility and that he intends to reform the tiered-rate paying system to help lower-income residents. Harvey went on to say that he’d also focus on water conservation efforts.
In August, Mellon went to Harvey’s home and dropped off a load EBMUD staff reports and other documents.
“I dropped off the documents to show him what kind of work he’d have to do,” said Mellon. “Apparently, he took umbrage with that.”
Harvey called Mellon’s action “unprofessional” and added that he’d like people to look at him as a serious, well-rounded candidate for each of the offices, not just a novelty.
“Before people criticize me, I’d say they should reach out and get to know me,” said Harvey.
High Priority: Keeping Stoned Drivers Off the Road
By Amy Sylvestri
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 09-05-18
Recreational marijuana use has been legal in California since the first of the year and the effects are being seen out on the roads.
The California Highway Patrol estimates that the Bay Area will experience a 70 percent increase in pot DUIs (driving under the influence) arrests in 2018 over the previous year, when recreational use wasn’t yet legal.
That sobering message came during a special marijuana traffic safety summit with enforcement officials hosted by the CHP and Mothers Against Drunk Driving last week at the Alameda County Office of Emergency Services in Dublin.
Complicating matters for the Highway Patrol is the lack of an instrument to measure marijuana intoxication like the alcohol breathalyzer test. And there’s no “legal limit” on marijuana intoxication like the .08 blood-alcohol threshold.
For now, officers must use their observation skills during field sobriety tests to find probable cause for an arrest.
At the station, an officer with specific training as a “drug recognition expert” can request a blood test which can determine the driver’s level of THC, the psychoactive element in cannabis.
An oral swab and breath test are in the research stages, according to Dr. Philip Drum, a pharmacist and one of the speakers at the summit.
Driving after ingesting marijuana is also complicated by the fact that the potency of pot isn’t regulated by the FDA and mitigating factors contribute to how long it stays in the body, so it’s difficult to determine how long to wait after consuming pot before it’s safe to drive, according to Drum.
A lot is still unknown about marijuana DUIs, he said. There are joints with the potency of a Bud Light and edibles that are as strong as Everclear (a commercial beverage containing more than 75% alcohol).
Drum said dispensaries label their products, but consumers don’t always follow the “serving size” and may be getting higher that they realize.
Because the pot-growing industry is getting so lucrative and becoming more mainstream, the number of pot-related traffic accidents will only rise.
Drum didn’t pretend to be objective during his talk to the audience of more than 100 people, most of whom were in law enforcement. Drum’s sister was killed by a driver who was high on cannabis in Seattle shortly after Washington state legalized recreational use.
CAPTION: Caltrans signs remind drivers thatx stoned driving can get you a DUI just as it can with alcohol.
The Spokes-Person FOR BIKE ISSUES
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 08-29-18
Jason Tilton of Bike Mobile works on one of the 37 bicycles brought to the Castro Valley Library on Saturday for repairs. Up to half of the students in the county do not ride their bikes due to such minor issues as a flat tire or worn-out brakes. Through the Alameda County Safe Routes to Schools program, the mobile repair clinic offers its free services to schools, community organizations and public events. It is funded by the county and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. For more information, visit firstname.lastname@example.org
Residents Upset Over Public Squabbling Amongst Board
By Amy Sylvestri
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 08-29-18
The Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council had a full agenda for their Monday night meeting, but it was the normally quiet public comment period that was the most interesting portion of the evening.
There has been palpable tension on the board ever since MAC member Dave Sadoff suggested that Ken Carbone replace Marc Crawford as the council Chair.
Carbone withdrew himself from consideration earlier this month and Crawford was ultimately reelected as chair on a 5-2 vote with members Sadoff and Linda Tangren dissenting.
That should have been the end of that. But immediately following his reelection, Crawford said that he had received complaints about Sadoff being a member of both the MAC and the Castro Valley Sanitary District board, and that he intended to get in touch with the county’s legal counsel to see if Sadoff should leave the MAC.
Sadoff’s service to both boards is legal and he has been active in both for years. He and Crawford have worked alongside each other on the MAC since 2010. Sadoff reacted with surprise that Crawford made the statement seemingly out of the blue and said he felt it was “retaliatory” for suggesting that Crawford be rotated out of the chair position.
At Monday night’s meeting, Crawford, Sadoff, and the rest of the MAC were mum, but over a dozen members of the public had their say, many lauding Crawford for his dedication to Castro Valley and others calling him a bully who regularly steamrolls over other MAC members, speakers, and people with business before the MAC.
Speaker Michael Kusiak, who has long been a proponent of having MAC members elected rather than appointed by Supervisor Nate Miley, said there was no question Crawford attacked Sadoff because he was angry about the suggestion to change the chair.
“It is a retaliatory and vindictive act on Mr. Crawford’s behalf,” said Kusiak. “This MAC doesn’t represent my Castro Valley.”
Speaker Sherry Johnson pointed out that the MAC bylaws do state that the Chair position should be rotated and said that the in-fighting on the MAC was unprofessional.
see MAC on page 11
“Like many people in this room, I want to see you work together and have bylaws that are transparent and followed, and that leadership is transferred in a logical and kind way,” said Johnson. “Work together and be kind and polite to one another.”
Former Eden Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bill Mulgrew defended Crawford, saying no one does as much to look out for the town’s best interests.
“Mr. Crawford cares for the betterment of Castro Valley,” said Mulgrew
Peter Rosen, a frequent MAC meeting attendee and speaker, said that he’s grateful for the MAC’s work but critiqued Crawford’s behavior.
“It’s a huge commitment to be on the MAC,” said Rosen. “My concern is that not only did you attack another MAC member, you did it vindictively after you’d already won the election. I don’t see any reason for doing that other than to feed your own ego. That’s what a bully does.”
Later in the meeting, Rosen got up to speak on an agenda item about water connections in a residential area far away from his own home and Crawford made a comment that Rosen was unnecessarily delaying an already nearly four-hour meeting.
“You live like four miles away,” said Crawford as Rosen took to the podium. “Sure Peter, keep us out here later ‘cause you have something to say’.”
After 45 minutes of at times pointed public comments, the MAC turned to the business on the agenda. They unanimously approved an application to allow renovation at a gas station at 18950 Lake Chabot Road to build a convenience store in the place of two former car service bays on the property.
The Council also unanimously approved an application for the operation of a 14-child day care home at 21654 Dolores Street, and heard a preliminary plan for a 25,000-square-foot outpatient medical office at 20630 John Drive.
Craig Semmelmeyer, developer of the Castro Valley Marketplace project, said construction on the old Daughtrey’s building is scheduled to begin on Oct. 1 and tdhat he still plans to open in spring 2019. He said he’s found tenants for 70 percent of space so far.
San Lorenzo Pastor Says County Trying to Shut His Church Down
By Jim Knowles
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 08-29-18
A San Lorenzo Baptist minister says the county is trying to take away his church’s tax-exempt status and shut it down to build housing or shops that produce more tax revenue.
Rev. Michael Wilson of Cornerstone Fellowship on Lewelling Boulevard says the county has been harassing him and threatening to take away the church’s tax-exemption. He says he believes that his church has been targeted with inspections by the county’s health and building departments as part of a county plan to force out the church.
“What Alameda County is doing is illegal. Under our Constitution we are allowed to worship freely and at a place of our choice, especially one that has been a place of worship for seven decades,” Wilson says.
see CHURCH on page 6
Wilson says he now has two tax bills, totaling $17,000 on his desk. And the county has threatened to sue the church if the bills aren’t paid.
But Wilson maintains a church should be tax exempt. Besides that, the church only has 21 members and could never afford to pay that price anyway. Wilson says that Cornerstone is an older congregation and in the last few years a lot of its older members have passed away.
“We would have to declare bankruptcy, go out of business and sell the land and I think that’s what they want,” Wilson says.
The church hall is rented out four to six times a year for Quinceaneras by two Catholic churches in the area that don’t have a hall, and for weddings, Wilson says. He says the county told him that makes it a business, so it’s taxable.
In addition, the church has had a few, small pot luck dinners. But Wilson says lots of churches have things like that and they aren’t hit with tax bills.
But Alameda County officials say the church has been renting out space for events, which negates at least some percentage of the church’s tax-exempt status.
“In short, a church is 100 percent exempt if it’s used as a church 100 percent of the time,” said Brian Hitomi at the Alameda County tax assessor’s office.
“We’ve found that he rents rooms out commercially,” Hitomi said. “Once you begin using some of the property for non-exempt purposes, then that portion being used is no longer exempt.”
Hitomi said that the county has been in touch with Wilson about the use of the property, and is still in the process of determining the percentage of the exemption.
“If you rent the property out, then it’s quite possible that you would lose an exemption for that area of use,” Hitomi said.
So it’s the county’s position that the church would pay a fraction of the tax bill it received. How much of the property is exempt depends on the percentage of exemption.
But to determine the percentage of exemption, Hitomi said the county needs more information from Wilson.
“We’ve talked to him and asked for further verification of his rent of these properties,” Hitomi said. “We’ve asked for written documentation as to the nature of commercial use and we have yet to receive it. We just need that for us to make our determination. They say they don’t have them.”
But Wilson says other churches have functions that raise money, in some cases a lot more.
“They had a big pot luck at Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland for $1,500 a plate fundraiser for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and the county didn’t do anything,” Wilson says. “We’re small. So it’s no equal application under the law.”
Wilson says the county is wrong, the church isn’t a business. These events are just church fundraisers, like all churches have.
Around six years ago, Wilson says the county told him that if the events are not the sole income of the church, it’s all right. But this year he says the county told him the rules had changed.
“Now they said they can retroactively go back 10 years,” Wilson says.
Wilson says he’s gone to many county planning meetings and gotten an idea of what the county wants. He believes they want to put in housing or upscale shopping, attracting higher income residents to boost tax revenue.
“We’re a test case,” Wilson says. “If they succeed here, they’ll go after other places, Goodwill and places that pay no property tax.”
CAPTION: Rev. Michael Wilson, working on the lighting last week at Cornerstone Fellowship Baptist Church in San Lorenzo, says the county is illegally trying to make the church pay taxes.
Band Lineup for 2018 Fall Festival
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 08-29-18
The Castro Valley/Eden Area Chamber of Commerce has announced the bands for the 46th Annual Fall Festival that will take place on the Boulevard on the weekend of Sept.8-9
Entertaining the crowds on Saturday will be Brewer’s Brass, Gilly (’90s), Bad Boy Bruce and The Blues Mob, Faux Show, Grovality, Rockhenge (Classic Rock), Dead Guise (Grateful Dead Style), and Tay and The Janglahdahs.
Performing on Sunday will be In Full Swing (the Castro Valley Adult School Big Band), The Surf Hounds, Pretending/2Jet, The Riptides, Earthquake (’60s), Standoff (Rock N’ Roll) and Fleet Street (Classic Pop).
But that’s only the half of it. Another big lineup of entertainment will be taking place both days on the Bedford Stage, including such favorites as the Eden Aoba Taiko Japanese Drummers, the Castro Valley School of Music, Pallen Martial Arts, the HARD Belly Dancers, the Standoff Rock N’ Roll Band, Castro Valley Performing Arts, Bedford Studios Variety Show, Bedazzled Dance Studio, Zumba Fitness, the Phil Santos Violins and the Joan Bascom Group.
Next Wednesday’s (Sept. 5) Forum will have the complete program with times of all the performance events.
More than 150 vendors and artists will be on hand for what is being called the biggest Fall Festival in years, offering all kinds of food and drink, and a Kids’ Zone.
The Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday on the Boulevard in the Downtown. Keep in mind that the Boulevard will be closed to traffic from midnight Friday until midnight Sunday.
The Fall Festival and parking are both free.
Back-to-School: Castro Valley Schools Back in Session
By Michael Singer
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 08-22-18
Madeline and Olivia Albright say it will be very hard getting out of bed this week since summer is ending and they know that they must get up early to get to school.
“I might need a second alarm clock,” Madeline, a fifth-grader at Chabot Elementary, told the Castro Valley Forum.
The Albrights join nearly 9,200 students returning or starting classes in Castro Valley’s public schools (Elementary: 4,068, Middle: 2,138, High School: 2,960) this year.
In private schools, there will be 215 students enrolled at Our Lady of Grace Catholic School and 700 students attending Redwood Christian Schools.
“We are looking forward to the upcoming school year,” Redwood Christian Schools Superintendent Al Hearne shared with the Castro Valley Forum. “Each new school year provides the opportunity for us to be a part of the amazing growth and development that takes place in our students’ lives.”
To make that transition from summer to school easier, kindergarten students at Redwood Christian received a personalized welcome earlier this month that reads “RCS Welcomes (you) to Kindergarten.”
The RCS faculty and administration personally delivered the signs throughout the East Bay, including Castro Valley, San Leandro, and San Lorenzo. In addition, parents were asked to post a picture to social media on Monday morning using #RCSReady to promote enthusiasm for the 2018-19 school year. RCS enters its 49th year looking forward to the grand opening of the Bruce D. Johnson Gymnasium in the late fall at the middle school and high school campus in San Lorenzo.
Over at the Castro Valley Unified School District (CVUSD), Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi reports maintenance and grounds teams worked diligently to clean, make repairs, and prepare classrooms and schools for the students’ arrival.
Already, the District is putting the finishing touches on modernization projects throughout Castro Valley thanks to Measure G bond funding approved by voters in 2016.
Among the improvements are the playgrounds at Castro Valley Elementary, Chabot Elementary, Independent Elementary, Marshall Elementary, Palomares Elementary, and the replacement of stadium track and artificial turf at CVHS as well as air conditioning and classroom modernization of permanent building for the Wellness Center and Engineering Pathway.
“We have added mental health counseling staff in middle and high school in order to support students’ academic and social-emotional wellbeing,” says Superintendent
see SCHOOLS on page 11
Ahmadi. “The past three years we have developed various means to better hear our students’ voices and gather their input through several committees and platforms before we make decisions. Not surprisingly, they are wise, willing to share, creative, compassionate and conscientious.”
Through reprioritization of funding, CVUSD will now have counselors available for elementary schools, Ahmadi added. And with concerns over dangerous intruders on all campuses, Ahmadi says the school district is implementing a new lockdown procedure this year called ALiCE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate). With Measure G funds, new security cameras have also been installed at all school sites.
While the physical improvements are certainly welcome, students like the Albright sisters really say they want to see their friends, meet their new teachers, and have fun learning.
“Not to mention, it was great getting new clothes for school,” Olivia, an 8th Grader at Creekside Middle School added.
CAPTION: There were lots of smiles around Redwood Christian School on opening day.
PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE KADY
Offering Bargains to Public,
Life Skills to Special Needs Adults
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 08-22-18
Whether you’re looking for a table lamp, a set of dishes or almost anything for your home, you’ll likely find a special treasure at a bargain price at the Treasure Chest Thrift Shop.
Tucked away in the Sorensdale Center for Adults with Special Needs in Hayward, the shop opened four years ago as part of a larger operation that offers vocational training for persons 22 years and older who have intellectual disabilities.
Here, special-need adults from Castro Valley, Hayward, San Leandro and San Lorenzo get real life experience working in the store, restocking shelves, helping customers with purchases and donations, and even ringing up sales at the cash register.
Some 100 participants learn and practice recreational, educational, daily living and community skills, including raising vegetables in the center’s gardens and harvesting fruit from the orchard that borders the store.
Other program activities include literacy, math, computer skills, job preparation skills, communication skills, personal health skills, physical fitness, arts and crafts, performing arts and music. Life skills learned in the classroom are practiced in the community.
The Treasure Chest Thrift Shop is open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m .to 3:30 p.m. at 275 Goodwin St. in Hayward.
Donations of gently used items are always welcome. Items can be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, at the Sorensdale Recreation Center, Room 9.
For directions or more information call 510-881-6778 or visit: haywardrec.org/SpecialNeeds.
CAPTION: Instructor Laura Stull and student Jeanne Rosenblum oversee operations at the Treasure Chest Thrift Shop, part of the Sorensdale Center for Adults with Special Needs, operated by the Hayward Area Recreation and Parks District.
PHOTO BY FRED ZEHNDER
2018 Fall Festival Coming
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 08-22-18
Castro Valley’s big annual street party is just a little over two weeks away.
Last-minute preparations are underway at the Castro Valley/Eden Area Chamber of Commerce as it gets set for this year’s 46th Annual Fall Festival that will take place on the Boulevard from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the weekend of Sept. 8-9.
More than 150 local vendors and artists are on board plus a kids zone and a robust lineup of 32 hours of live entertainment, according to chamber officials, who are expecting some 60,000 visitors over the two days.
There will be three designated beer and wine booths offering craft brews and great local wines served up in the ever-popular annual wine glasses and beer mugs.
And how about a limited edition Castro Valley T-shirt (complete with a not-so-secret canoe) that gives a nod to the town roots as chicken farms, available for purchase at the Chamber’s booth, located in front of Rowell’s Saddlery.
Keep in mind that Castro Valley Boulevard will close at midnight on Friday, Sept. 7, and will remain closed until midnight on Sunday. Detours and road blocks will be in place and traffic will be routed around the event by Alameda County Sheriff’s Deputies and the California Highway Patrol.
As always, both the Fall Festival and parking are free.
Wildfire Protection Survey
By Linda Sandsmark
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 08-15-18
Dozens of Castro Valley residents took a short hike up Ten Hills Trail (off Redwood Road) Monday to discuss fire danger along the valley’s many parkland areas.
Representatives from Cal Fire, East Bay Regional Parks District (EBRPD), Alameda County Fire Department, East Bay Municipal Utility District and Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) participated.
MAC Chairman Marc Crawford called the outing “a MAC field trip” to see what could be done about local fire hazards.
Parks District Director Dennis Waespi added that the trailside meeting was held because neighbors had some concerns about fire response. Waespi lives along the Ten Hills Trail and was a former Parks District fire fighter himself. He says staff members are working 365 days a year on vegetation management.
Acting EBRPD Fire Chief Aileen Theile is a biologist and former park ranger who specializes in fuel reduction. She says that the district follows a plan that utilizes a wide variety of fuel reduction resources including goats, cattle, staff members, and contractors. These help keep vegetation in check around the district’s 73 parks in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
Theile says all local agencies really work together now, including utility districts. When there is a fire, state, county, and regional parks staff respond in coordination.
“We’re systematically working for you, year round,” she added. “The climate is changing worldwide, and we’re actually a bit ahead of the curve. We’re not saying we can prevent all fires, but we reduce the chance of them being catastrophic fires by training together.”
Speakers from the various agencies pointed out that not all fuel can be removed. In fact, houses are fuel, and fire can be driven by unpredictable winds. They advised homeowners to maintain a defensible space around their buildings.
“There is no magic bullet,” said Edgar Orre of Cal Fire. “You’d have to take all vegetation out to stop all fires.”
Marc Crawford said he was still not convinced that everything possible was being done to minimize fire hazard for people living near parks, trails and uninhabited wildlands. He pointed to trees along Ten Hills Trail and said, “I don’t see a lot of fuel reduction going on.”
But Theile said native oak trees in the vicinity are very fire resistant, and that their fallen leaves are prone to stay on the ground rather than go airborne.
Crawford promised to revisit this topic at the September 17 MAC meeting, and said he will be doing some follow-up in the meantime.
CAPTION: Castro Valley residents climbed Ten Hills Trail Monday afternoon to hear what measures can be taken to reduce fire danger.
PHOTO BY LINDA SANDSMARK
MAC in Support of Veterans’ Takeover Of Old CV Library
By Amy Sylvestri
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 08-15-18
The Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) unanimously voted Monday night to support a plan to have local veterans’ enter into a lease agreement with county to use the old library on Redwood Road as a veterans’ center and community building.
But the terms of the agreement haven’t been finalized and the Alameda County Board of Supervisors will have the final say in the fate of building.
MAC Chair Marc Crawford said that, ideally, the county would agree to fund improvements to the outside of building and the grounds and the veterans could start fundraising to cover the internal repairs.
Those repairs- including asbestos removal, dry rot, and a leaky roof - would cost around $200,000, according to Crawford, but that cost could be reduced by donations of labor and materials.
The MAC told the veterans that they believe the Board of Supervisors will support the project and so the veterans should start fundraising via a GoFundMe page or other methods so the project can get off the ground sooner than later.
Also at Monday’s meeting, the MAC approved a proposed ordinance that amends policies surrounding billboards on the I-580 corridor.
The amendments update outdated wording in the ordinance that dates from the 1960s and give the county the ability to review new billboards.
However it will not impact the large existing billboards at the Lockaway Self Storage Facility on Dublin Canyon Road, as those are part of separate ongoing ligation. The ordinance also wouldn’t impact Rowell Ranch’s sign, because it doesn’t affect onsite business identification signs.
The MAC also heard very early preliminary talks from Eden Housing about a proposed 78-unit affordable housing apartment complex proposed for the corner of Ruby and A streets, near the Japanese Gardens.
The property is currently owned by Caltrans but Eden will be buying it by the end of the year, with a plan to begin construction in early 2020.
The project is set to come back before the MAC several times before any decisions are finalized.
The MAC also continued a proposal from a veterinary hospital located at 2423 Grove Way, which wanted to expand. The owner wasn’t in attendance and the MAC also said the parking plan was inadequate, so they’ll take up the matter again in September.
Crawford to ContinueAsCouncilChair
Finally, the MAC held an election to pick a Chair. In June, current MAC Chair Crawford’s term expired and member Dave Sadoff nominated member Ken Carbone to replace him. But member Chuck Moore re-nominated Crawford and the discussion was continued.
Over the past several meetings, one or more of the MAC members have been absent, so the election was put off until this week.
After Crawford informed Carbone that he spends an estimated 20 to 30 hours a month on MAC matters outside normal meeting responsibilities, Carbone withdrew his name from contention for the Chair.
“For me, it’s a position I’m not able to support at this time,” said Carbone. “Accepting a Chair’s nomination at this time would actually be doing a disservice to the council.”
Carbone said that Crawford should continue as Chair and suggested that other MAC members should take up more responsibilities as well. Carbone then nominated Crawford and Moore seconded the nomination.
Crawford was re-elected as Chair by a vote of 5-2, with Sadoff and MAC member Linda Tangren dissenting.
Sadoff said that the MAC bylaws say that no one should serve consecutive terms as a Chair so he couldn’t support Crawford’s nomination. Tangren didn’t speak on the matter this week but has previously said she prefers to rotate the position of Chair.
Carbone then nominated MAC member Ted Riche to the Vice-Chair spot and Riche was unanimously appointed.
Hundreds Bid Farewell to the Daughtrey’s Building
By Linda Sandsmark
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 08-15-18
Castro Valley residents were invited to take a look at the downtown’s past and future last Thursday, when “the old Daughtrey’s building” offered tours and presentations on its upcoming renovations.
The new Castro Valley Marketplace is coming to that site at 3295 Castro Valley Blvd. in spring 2019 with expectations of bringing new life to the downtown area.
Main Street Property Services, Inc. is remodeling the building to house a large natural foods grocery store, meat and seafood shop, deli, bakery, and restaurants with central seating on the main floor.
A cooking school, wine shop and multipurpose space are proposed for upstairs.
“The idea is to bring in new things so you can experience more here,” says Main Street principal Sudhish Mohindroo.
Hundreds of people came to Thursday’s event, which featured an historical video of the town (“Castro Valley, a Look Back in Time” (viewable online at vanderbilt-home.com/) and slideshows of plans for the new Marketplace.
Snacks and drinks were provided, and commemorative chandelier “crystals” from the building’s lamps were given to the visitors. Cakes imprinted with scenes from Daughtrey’s past were served, and the Ice Creamery handed out free ice cream cones.
“I think it’s fantastic. I’m impressed,” said Ernie Daughtrey, whose father, Keller, founded the original Daughtrey’s Department Store in the 1960s. “I wish the developer well, and I think he’ll do well. I hope Castro Valley supports him.”
see FAREWELL on page 3
In 1991 Ernie Daughtrey sold the store to the Kline’s retail company – which went into bankruptcy a few years later. Since then the site has housed a pool hall and a seasonal Halloween costume shop, but has largely remained vacant.
Folks attending the celebration all seemed pleased that the landmark building would finally be usable again.
“It’s going to be very nice when they’re finished with it,” says Castro Valley resident Ann Stahl. “It will be great for Castro Valley, too.”
Mohindroo says that all tenants in the hall will keep the same hours, with the exception of the upstairs wine bar or when classes or special events are held. New elevators, new windows and new side doors will be added to the building. The basement will mostly be for storage.
Even if the market is closed, the ground floor area will be viewable from the upstairs balcony area.
“The idea is for it to be opened up as much as possible,” says Mohindroo, adding that live music, art programs, guest chefs and many other activities could be coming to the space.
For more information, visit www.mspsinc.com/
SAYING FAREWELL: A nostalgic celebration for oldtimers and a curious peek at Castro Valley’s history for younger residents all came together as hundreds turned out Thursday evening for a “last look” at the old Daughtrey’s building.
PHOTO BY FRED ZEHNDER
Andre Ward Hosts First Amateur Boxing Tourney with Sheriff’s Deputies’ Academy
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 07-18-18
The noon-time line was long on Saturday but the fans didn’t seem to mind in the least. After all, it was a chance to meet and talk to a real hometown hero — five-time World Boxing Champion and 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist Andre S.O.G. Ward.
Ward was at Hayward Adult School to host his first amateur boxing event Saturday afternoon in conjunction with the Alameda County Deputy Sheriff’s Activities League Boxing Academy (DSAL Boxing) program.
“Amateur boxing is where I got my start and it’s extremely important to me to stay connected with the young boxers currently competing in the sport and to provide any knowledge and inspiration I can give them,” Ward said.
“Competitive opportunities are vital for a young boxer and I want to give them a platform to showcase their skills and I’m looking forward to being ringside to cheer them on.”
Male and female boxers as young as eight-years-old on up through elite division athletes are in the program, which provides free coaching, fitness and mentoring for underserved youth in the East Bay.
The nonprofit DSAL was founded in 2005. Deputies volunteer time to coach youth and to raise money to pay for equipment and scholarships.
“This amateur boxing event will showcase competitive opportunities from youth throughout the state of California,” said Sergeant Oscar Perez of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. “This event creates self-confidence for our youth, which helps them learn and perform at a fast and higher level, while teaching them to put forth their best effort no matter what they strive for in life.”
Long before racking up five world titles in two different weight divisions, a nine-year-old Andre Ward was taken to a boxing gym by his father, Frank, who asked trainer Virgil Hunter to teach his son “to hit and not get hit.” Hunter, now Ward’s Godfather, more than delivered on his promise, helping to develop his pupil into one of the most skilled technicians in boxing.
Known for his strong character and integrity outside the ring, Andre S.O.G. (Son-Of-God) Ward has visited numerous schools, prisons and youth facilities to share his inspirational success story.
All proceeds from Saturday’s event go to benefit the Alameda County DSAL Boxing Academy.
For more information about the Academy, visit www.acdsal.org. For more information about Ward, visit andresogward.com.
CAPTION: Recently retired professional boxing champ and hometown hero Andre S.O.G Ward autographs a pair of boxing gloves during a meet-and-greet before Saturday afternoon’s Generation NEXT Showdown at Hayward Adult School. A long line of fans waited to meet the down-to-earth Ward, who shook hands and chatted with them, and posed for scores of photos with their family members.
PHOTO BY FRED ZEHNDER
AC Transit Rolls Out Campaign
By Amy Sylvestri
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 07-18-18
AC Transit District updated its efforts to get more people out of their cars and onto public transportation at Monday night’s Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) meeting.
The transit agency is rolling out “AC Go,” a system-wide campaign to increase the frequency of buses to no more than 30 minutes at most stops and to have longer running hours. AC Go also breaks some loop routes into easier-to-understand linear routes.
AC Transit runs 151 bus lines and 5,500 stops in the East Bay (in addition to the popular Transbay lines), transporting 171,300 people daily and over 52 million people annually.
But bus services still isn’t the most popular way to get around town for most Castro Valley residents. To entice more riders with convenience, AC Transit introduced the Flex shuttle a few years ago.
The FLEX service allows riders to request a pick-up in a smaller shuttle bus from any bus station in Castro Valley to any other bus station.
You can use a smart phone, tablet, or computer any time to make a reservation or by calling 510-891-5470 Monday through Friday from 6 a.m to 7 p.m., or weekends 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can book rides days or weeks in advance. Just remember to cancel if you find you won’t be using the service.
AC Transit FLEX buses connect to other major routes for a transfer to another AC Transit bus or BART. About 80 people use the FLEX service daily in Castro Valley.
Cost of the FLEX service is the same as other bus rides, youth, passengers with disabilities, and seniors over 65 are eligible for discounts. Even if you don’t make a reservation, you can still catch a FLEX bus at the Castro Valley BART station at half past the hour.
MAC Chair Marc Crawford said that AC Transit might have to go even smaller to compete with ride-sharing services like Lyft or Uber. He suggested vans and more pick up locations in areas under-served by bus routes, such as the northern part of Castro Valley.
“I think FLEX is a step in the right direction, but you are going to have to keep going,” said Crawford.
The MAC also heard from Alameda County Public Works about two sidewalk improvement projects.
New, wider sidewalks will be constructed on Center Street from Paradise Knoll to Heyer Avenue, as well as on Santa Maria Avenue from Castro Valley Boulevard to Wilson Avenue.
Both projects are being put out to bid in the coming weeks with construction set to begin in the fall and last several months.
Public Works also said that improved and additional sidewalks on Stanton, Anita and Somerset avenues are in the planning stages.
“There has been a lot of clamoring for sidewalks in this community,” said Crawford. “I’ve got to say, Public Works is listening. That’s a lot of sidewalks coming, especially by schools.”
No action was taken on the election of a MAC Chair at this meeting, but that matter is posted on the agenda for next week’s meeting, July 23 at 6 p.m. at the Castro Valley Library.
Castro Valley Car Show Takes Final Lap
By Michael Singer
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 07-18-18
After 20 years of hosting classic Cadillacs, Thunderbirds, Camaros, and Woody Wagons, the Redwood Chapel Car Show rallied its final event this past Saturday.
Jerry Gamez, who started the show back in 1998, said the goal was always to reach out to the community and promote the values of service to others.
Gamez said he is grateful for the outpouring of support over the years and said he could not have done it without the help of nearly 100 volunteers to keep the show’s engine running smoothly.
“It takes many, many hands to put this all together throughout the year,” Gamez told the Castro Valley Forum. “But through the luck of the local sponsors and business people, it’s the only car show that I know of that doesn’t charge [for registration] yet provides coffee and donuts as well as lunch to our guests. Everywhere I go, people tell me there is not another car show like ours.”
Gamez said he had planned on retiring from the show five years earlier but felt it was time to take a victory lap at the 20th anniversary mark after a meeting with church officials.
Despite the show’s closure, Gamez says he will still be very active in two other car clubs and in his volunteer work with Redwood Chapel.
The final event was well attended. More than 319 people registered their classic cars for free.
The Redwood Chapel Car Show started with 23 cars and quickly grew into the hundreds as word got around. Gamez estimates more than 5,000 cars have parked in the church lot over the last 20 years. The event is part of the Redwood Chapel Community Church, but it is not a fundraising endeavor.
The Car Show judges handed out 32 trophies based on the class and condition of the vehicles, among other categories.
“We had a gentleman that started his car years ago that we gave a ‘Work-in-Progress’ award to,” Gamez said. “This year, that car is complete, so we’ll be acknowledging his accomplishment.”
Restoring the car involves time, passion, and a whole lot of money. A $15,000 custom paint job is not unheard of and the sky is the limit when it comes to spending money on restoring engine parts, rebuilding interiors, and adding personal touches.
“You have to appreciate the craftmanship that goes into these cars.” Gabe Cardenas from Castro Valley said. “My family has a ‘64 Chevy Impala that they are restoring. Currently, it’s in parts around the garage, so I know how much work it takes to make these cars ready for a show.”
CAPTION: Hundreds turn out for the Redwood Chapel Car Show’s final event this past Saturday.
PHOTO BY MICHAEL SINGER
Two Dead After CV Car Crash
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 07-18-18
Two women were killed and three others were injured in a single vehicle crash on Redwood Road on Saturday night.
The accident was reported shortly after 10:30 p.m. on a northern stretch of the road near Anthony Chabot Regional Park and the Upper San Leandro Reservoir.
The car, a red Mazda, overturned. The two women were pronounced dead at the scene. A 15-year-old boy and two adult men were taken to the hospital.
The accident is under investigation by the California Highway Patrol.
Castro Valley Crocodiles Honor Graduating Senior Swimmers
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 07-11-18
The Castro Valley Crocodiles Swim Team recently honored its five graduating senior swimmers — Emma Neal (5 years), Matthew Kuan (5 years), Kristie Lin (10 years) Alec Dughi (5 years) and Grant Kinsley (4 years).
During their tenure, each contributed mightily to the team’s success with both skill and sportsmanship, and in the process set a fine example for younger swimmers.
At the break of the final home meet, each swimmer stood for introduction and once done, the entire group dove off the blocks in unison for a victory lap, greeted on the opposite end by their parents.
The Crocodiles are celebrating their 20th year in the East Bay Swim League and having one of their best years ever with a current overall record of 4-1. They remain undefeated in their division with two dual meets remaining before the July 28th Championship meet at Chabot College. The Champs meet will include all 12 EBSL teams with nearly 1200 swimmers.
The final dual meet of the season on July 21st will be the “Battle of the Valley” against the Chabot Marlins with the winner claiming bragging rights and the Castro Valley cup trophy!
CAPTION: CONGRATULATIONS: from left, Emma Neal, Matthew Kuan, Kristie Lin, Alex Dughi, and Grant Kinsley.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ERIC NELSON
MAC Rejects Any CV Pot Businesses
By Amy Sylvestri
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 07-11-18
Because Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) member Dave Sadoff did not attend this week’s meeting, the planned election of a Chair for the council was put off until their next meeting.
At last week’s meeting, member Ken Carbone was nominated by Sadoff to replace current Chair Marc Crawford, but Crawford seemed reluctant to step down and the discussion was tabled.
Monday night’s meeting began with the MAC soundly rejecting a proposal from the county to allow businesses that deal with marijuana infrastructure.
Having already expressed desire to keep cannabis dispensaries out of Castro Valley, the MAC said on Monday that they don’t want marijuana manufacturing, cultivation, or testing in the community either.
The county is currently visiting various community groups in the unincorporated areas to see whether they’d be open to such cannabis-related businesses.
Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan has already indicated she didn’t want such businesses in San Lorenzo, and Supervisor Scott Haggerty has said he doesn’t want any more in the unincorporated east county area, either.
MAC member Carbone said that, marijuana aside, he couldn’t see how such a business would fit into Castro Valley.
“I can’t see anywhere that would remotely support this; it’s too industrial,” said Carbone.
MAC member Chuck Moore said he doesn’t like the county foisting any type of business on communities.
“I want to see us asking for business rather than having businesses dumped on us,” said Moore.
And MAC member Linda Tangren said that the MAC may oppose the idea, but that doesn’t mean the Board of Supervisors won’t ignore their desires just like they did when they voted last year to double the number of cannabis dispensaries allowable in the unincorporated area.
“Are we just spinning our wheels here?” asked Tangren.
The county will be holding a series of meetings on marijuana manufacturing facilities and the matter is set to go before the Board of Supervisors Unincorporated Services Committee on Tuesday, July 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the San Lorenzo Library, 395 Paseo Grande.
Also at Monday’s meeting, the MAC heard again from the First Presbyterian Church about their plans to build six “tiny homes” for the homeless on their property at 2490 Grove Way.
The church has been before the MAC several times in hopes of getting a conditional use permit, but once again the council told them their plans were not complete — even if their goals are admirable — so the council tabled the issue again for a future meeting.
The major issue that needs to be resolved before the MAC could give approval is whether the tiny home project would legally be considered a mobile home park, in which case it would be subject to more state regulations even if they were approved by the MAC and the county.
“I don’t think the church is aware of the minefield they are stepping in,” said Crawford, who urged the church to vet the project with the state department of Housing and Community Development
The church has received $200,000 from Alameda County to build the infrastructure of the project — the six small structures, fencing, and security cameras. Last year, the county estimated that there are about 50 homeless people currently living in Castro Valley, with many in encampments by the creek, but there are no exact figures on the homeless population.
As in past meetings, a few neighbors spoke at Monday’s meeting, saying the project is not a good fit for the area and will lead to increased traffic, decreased property value, and other issues.
Neighbor Claire Orr told the MAC that she was concerned that “the feel-good aspects are overshadowing” other factors including the safety of people living in the area, where there have been a few car break-ins.
“I know there is the ‘not in my backyard thing,’ but this is literally in my backyard,” said Orr. “I’m unnerved by the lack of security.”
MAC Chair Marc Crawford reiterated that he knows the church has good intentions, and added that MAC is already being flexible by considering allowing a residential use for a commercial zone, but they just can’t let church do whatever they’d like.
“It’s not anything goes,” said Crawford. “We have to do things legally.”
Free Coliseum Tickets Being Used Unfairly
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 07-11-18
The Alameda County Civil Grand Jury, in its annual report on local government, has called out both the County and the Oakland/ Alameda Coliseum authority for bad behavior in the way it distributes expensive tickets to sporting events and concerts.
The jury acts as a watchdog and investigates various public authorities, then releases a report of its findings each summer.
In its final report for 2018, the Grand Jury said public entities each get the same amount of free tickets to events at the Coliseum complex to give out to non-profits for fundraisers or other purposes that benefit the public.
“Indeed, access to free luxury suite tickets that can be raffled or auctioned would be a lucrative source of funds for revenue strapped non-profit community organizations,” the Jury said. “This is especially true for high-demand/high-value tickets such as those to Golden State Warriors and Oakland Raiders games.
“It is spectacularly so for tickets to the Warriors post-season games, when luxury suite tickets sell on the open market for thousands, even tens of thousands, of dollars per seat,” the Grand Jury wrote.
But the jury found that these tickets are not distributed ethically.
“Expensive tickets seem to be treated as a perk of office or employment: They are often used repeatedly by the same elected or appointed officials and their staff members and not fairly distributed to other county workers.”
And it said, “The most valuable tickets are seldom given to community groups that could use them as important fundraising tools.
“Although approximately 30 percent of tickets are given to worthy non-profit organizations for use in fundraising, almost none of the most valuable playoffs and finals tickets go to community groups.”
For the Warriors’ tickets to playoffs and finals games, only 10 tickets out of 407 went to non-profit organizations.
“The vast majority of employees who receive tickets are the staff members of the officials responsible for their distribution.
“While the county and the Coliseum Authority established ticket policies listing what sound like valid public purposes, in practice, the policies are used as a cover for the same officials and employees to use the tickets to perform “inspections” that never result in written reports.”
And when reports were written, “they reported the wrong dates, the wrong events, the wrong recipients, and the wrong ticket numbers, and occasionally left off the alleged public purpose for which the tickets were distributed – the whole reason behind the creation of the reporting system.”
Now the agencies that the grand jury addressed have 90 days to give a written response.
The full 131-page grand jury report is available at acgov.org/grandjury/reports.htm.
CV Pride Celebrates its 8th Year This Saturday
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 07-11-18
Castro Valley Pride is back for its 8th annual celebration this Saturday at Castro Valley High School, with a lineup of entertainers, speakers, food trucks and more than 70 vendors and community groups.
Billed as a family event, with no alcohol and no nudity, the afternoon event has 10 faith groups participating this year, more than any other pride event in the Bay Area, according to organizer Billy Bradford.
“We think it’s important for our community to understand that our families are the same as theirs, and that we live right alongside them in Castro Valley and many other small East Bay communities,” says Bradford.
“We shop at the same stores, our kids go to the same schools, and we share the same visions and values that all small town Americans have.”
This year, a second stage has been designated for family entertainment with karaoke and games for kids.
Among the bands that will be performing is “Standoff” from Castro Valley High School, and blues act JoAnne LeBlanc is back for her third year. Audio is being handled by Mel Speed of The Music Company/TMC Productions of Castro Valley.
Last year, some 2,500 attended the event and Bradford expects to have even a larger crowd on hand this year.
The free event is scheduled from noon to 5 p.m. at Redwood Road and Heyer Ave. in Castro Valley. For more information on this event, please visit: www.castrovalleypride.com/
CAPTION: Castro Valley Pride is back for its 8th annual celebration this Saturday at CVHS.
Locals Rally for Immigrants
By Jim Knowles
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 07-04-18
Hundreds of people — including many from Castro Valley — turned out for the “Families Belong Together” rally in San Leandro on Saturday morning to protest the Trump administration’s policy on immigration.
Some people brought signs, some made them on the front steps of City Hall, and then the crowd marched down the street to Root Park where the rally continued.
Drivers passing by on East 14th Street honked as people chanted and held up signs reading “No Border, No Walls,” “Families Together,” “No One Is Illegal,” “Abolish ICE,” “Babies Need Their Mommies, and “Make America Kind Again.”
San Leandro Mayor Pauline Cutter found the opportunity to use her patented catch phrase, “San Leandro is a city where kindness matters,” over a portable PA, and a poet spoke as well.
see RALLY on page 15
City Councilwoman Deborah Cox said there’s a movement going on since the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., and added, “and I haven’t stopped, and we won’t stop.”
One person in attendance said she came to the march for a simple reason.
“Because taking children away from their parents is not what America is about,” said Pam Streitfeld, who mentioned that her family had to leave Poland to escape the Nazis just before World War II, even changing their family name to avoid getting captured by the Germans.
Our country should open the door for people who are escaping terrorism in other countries, Streitfeld said. There’s a way to keep out those who would do harm to the country, while letting in the vast majority of immigrants who would contribute to the country, she added.
The crowd protested the stricter immigration policy that began in April and has resulted in separating over 2,000 kids from their parents apprehended for entering the country illegally. Many are families fleeing turmoil in Central America.
The Trump administration said there is no policy to separate kids from their parents. But the stricter enforcement that started in April, holding the parents for a criminal offense, inevitably leads to separating parents from their kids when they enter the country together.
Last week, Trump signed an executive order stopping the separation of families, and a federal court ordered immigration to place the children back with their parents within a month. But it still remains unclear how many families have been reunited.
CAPTION: Hundreds of people came to rally against the Trump administration’s policy on immigration in front of City Hall and at Root Park in San Leandro on Saturday, one of more than 700 demonstrations across the nation.
Record Traffic Predicted for The Holiday
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 07-04-18
If you’re driving on East Bay freeways today you can expect some heavy traffic. AAA projects a record-breaking 5.43 million Californians will be traveling over the Fourth of July holiday period, which is defined as beginning yesterday and continuing through Sunday, July 8.
“Fourth of July is typically the busiest summer travel holiday, but this year is an all-time whopper,” said Michael Blasky, spokesperson for AAA Northern California. “Despite the highest gas prices in four years, more Californians will be taking to the road than ever to celebrate America’s birthday.”
By the numbers, 5,434,994 Californians are expected to travel over the upcoming holiday weekend, almost 300,000 more than in 2017, which was the previous all-time high for the Golden State.
Higher fuel prices aren’t slowing us down. The average cost of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is nearly 70 cents higher than in 2017, but 80 percent of travelers will be driving to their destination.
Those who are flying will pay less for airfare, but more for car rentals and hotels.
Blasky says AAA expects to rescue more than 362,000 motorists across the country over Independence Day holidays, with the primary reasons being lockouts, flat tires and battery-related issues.
‘Abnormally Dry’ Season
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 07-04-18
Northern California’s rainy season officially ended on Saturday with Castro Valley precipitation totals measuring four inches below normal and less than half of what they were at this time last year.
Last week, the U.S. Drought Monitor in Lincoln, Nebraska applied an “abnormally dry” designation — the lowest stage of drought conditions — to California’s coast because of the lack of rain over the last several months and a low snowpack during the winter months.
That designation was not expected to worsen to the next step for the next few months even with no rain. And because of record rainfall in the 2016-17 season, most Northern California reservoirs currently have adequate water supplies.
Meanwhile, temperatures will remain sunny and pleasant through the weekend, with hot weather returning on Monday.
Where to Celebrate Independence Day
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 07-04-18
There are plenty of places nearby to celebrate this Independence Day.
The Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton will have live performances, exhibitions and carnival rides running on a shortened schedule from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (no admission after 3 p.m.). See www.alamedacountyfair.com
In the city of Alameda, one of the longest parades in the nation with more than 170 floats steps off at 10 a.m. from Park Street at Lincoln Avenue. See alamedaparade.com.
Also in Alameda, the USS Hornet Independence Day Celebration features live music, family activities, food and drink vendors, views of city fireworks and more. 2-10 p.m. $15-$25. USS Hornet Air and Space Museum, 707 West Hornet Ave., Alameda. See www.uss-hornet.org/calendar/4th-of-july-2018.
Fremont also has a 10 a.m. parade beginning at Stevenson and Paseo Padre Blvd.
Jack London Square in Oakland holds a block party with live music, hip-hop artists, a BBQ, entertainment and a kids’ zone from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
A celebration at the Berkeley Marina runs from noon to 10 p.m. with live entertainment, food, arts and crafts, and fireworks at 9:30 p.m. off the end of the Berkeley Pier .
Livermore Family Fun celebration starts at 4 p.m. with the 5th Annual Downtown 4th of July Red, White and Boom Fireworks to be launched off the Parking Garage on Railroad Avenue at 9:20 p.m.. Parking Garage and Streets close at 4 p.m..
San Ramon Independence Day Celebration features free live music by Foreverland, arts and crafts, children’s activities and more from 5-8 p.m. at San Ramon Central Park, 12501 Alcosta Blvd.
San Francisco’s big celebration will be at Pier 39 beginning at 3 p.m. with live music, special events and 9:30 p.m. fireworks. If you plan on attending the July 4th firework show on the waterfront in San Francisco, BART is the best way to get there and get home. BART will be running on a Sunday schedule (opening at 8 a.m. and providing a three route service unlike the five that run on Saturday) but with longer trains and some extra event trains that evening. BART parking is free, but there will be enforcement of all parking rules. Visit BART.gov
KRON Channel 4 will have live coverage of the San Francisco fireworks.
CV’s Ken Martin Remembered
By Michael Singer
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 06-27-18
Longtime community champion, Ken Martin is being remembered for his passion and commitment to the people of Castro Valley, San Leandro, and beyond.
Martin died on June 11 after an illness that left him wheelchair bound in his later years.
A frequent contributor to the Castro Valley Forum with his “CV Side Trips” column, Martin’s passions included garden railroads, Alfa Romeo automobiles, and bocce. He was instrumental in bringing bocce to Adobe Park and the game’s awareness to the community.
In August 2015, Hayward Area Recreational and Park District (HARD) honored Martin for his efforts with the official naming of the Ken Martin Bocce Courts at Adobe Park where games are regularly played on Wednesday and Saturday mornings.
Various bocce tournaments that Martin organized help fund the George Mark Children’s House for kids with chronic illnesses in San Leandro.
Another such unsung fundraising effort helped Lee’s Donuts owner, Sam Nouv, who had been robbed and injured outside his Castro Valley store in October 2009. Martin organized a bocce tournament to help raise more than $5,000 to help with his medical bills.
“Dad was always civic minded,” recounts Martin’s son, Max. “He was a guy that got in there and got his hands into organizing stuff and really got involved with the community.”
Martin’s other community efforts include serving as chairman for the San Leandro Cherry Festival during the city’s centennial in 1972, organizing the Oakland Hobby Show in the 1970, and establishing the Livermore Airshow with the Junior Chamber of Commerce.
He was also a member of several Italian American clubs including Buon Tempo Club in Castro Valley.
Neighbor and fellow Buon Tempo member Al Bronzini remembers Martin as a person who could get things done.
“If he had an idea he could make it work, Bronzini told the Castro Valley Forum. “I would throw out an idea to him and he would sit on it for a while and then figure a way to rally people around it. He was a good guy, kind of a quiet fellow. Ken was not an outgoing person who told a lot of jokes. He was more of a serious fellow who got things done.”
Outside of his civic passions, Martin’s hobbies included building model airplanes and radio-controlled model cars. He raced midget cars on dirt tracks in three states until 1966 and owned boats that were docked at San Leandro Marina Yacht Club. Since 2006, a 7-foot wooden sculpture of a bear has commanded his front yard on Somerset Avenue.
Born in Berkeley in 1931, Martin lived in Oakland until he graduated from Fremont High School in 1949 and went to San Luis Obispo to study architecture at California State Polytechnic College. He served for two years in the U.S. Army before he married his wife, Patty.
To make ends meet, Martin was an auto mechanic, auto parts man, assistant car distributor, and, ultimately, a copier technician for Xerox for 17 years until he retired in 1994.
The family moved from San Leandro to Castro Valley in 1998.
Martin is survived by his wife, three daughters (Jacqueline, Jeannine, and Michele) and son (Max). A memorial service for Martin is being planned for some time in August.
If you would like to read and remember more of Martin’s perspectives, visit the “CV Side Trips” blog at www.cvsidetrips.com
CAPTION: Ken Martin in the summer of 2015 with his wood sculpted bear at his Somerset Avenue home.
FILE PHOTO BY FRED ZEHNDER
New Chair For MAC?
By Amy Sylvesti
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 06-27-18
The Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) was supposed to elect a new chair at its Monday night meeting, but after several moments of discussion, the item was tabled until the next meeting.
When the floor was open for nominations, MAC member Dave Sadoff nominated member Ken Carbone, a move which was seconded by member Linda Tangren.
That should have immediately triggered a vote, but member Chuck Moore spoke up to nominate current MAC Chair Marc Crawford for another one-year term before a vote could take place.
Throughout the discussion, the atmosphere was civil but there was also a palpable tension.
Sadoff said that he thought Crawford did an admirable job as chair, but that it’s healthy for any board to rotate the position.
“It helps keep things fresh,” said Sadoff.
Tangren said that a rotation would give the MAC members a chance to learn all the positions on the board and broaden their knowledge base, to which Moore replied that he was too busy top ever act as chair, so he wouldn’t support a general rotation.
The members praised Crawford’s construction knowledge and Carbone’s background in art and design as valuable assets both bring to each discussion and said either man would be
see MAC on back page
a fine chair.
Crawford reminded Carbone that were he to take over as chair, Carbone wouldn’t just be running meetings, he would be taking over all of Crawford responsibilities including the ongoing issue of trying to open the old library as a veterans’ hall.
“I’m not going to continue doing the work of the chair if I’m not the chair,” said Crawford.
Carbone then asked Crawford to compile a full list of his responsibilities as chair so Carbone could see what the job entails and decide if he even wanted to be nominated.
The motion to elect Carbone was then withdrawn and the matter was tabled to the July 9 meeting of the MAC.
Also at their Monday night meeting, the MAC approved a 56-foot faux eucalyptus tree cell tower which will house eight antennas and 12 radio units for a Verizon telecommunication facility at 19179 Center Street.
The MAC also issued a Conditional Use Permit to allow the sale of alcohol and beer at an existing convenience store at 2920 Castro Valley Boulevard.
The council gave tentative approval to new signage at the Rite Aid at 3848 Castro Valley Boulevard. They didn’t like the initial flat signs the designer presented, but said that if he came back with signs with three dimensional elements, they’d say yes.
And the MAC also tabled an application from the “Knowledge Enlightens You” charter school which operates on the Epiphany Lutheran Church property at 16248 Carolyn Street.
The school wanted to expand to up to 360 students, but a handful of neighbors came to the meeting to tell the MAC that traffic and parking were already bad with the number of kids that attend now.
The MAC suggested that the school work more closely with the county’s Public Works Agency to develop a stronger application with plans for no more than 250 students.
Local Groups Protest Treatment of Immigrant Families
By Linda Sandsmark
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 06-27-18
Several groups joined together in Castro Valley Saturday to protest the practice of separating immigrant children from their parents.
Members of the Eden Area Interfaith Council, Lawyer Moms of America, Castro Valley Activist Network, Castro Valley Women’s March Huddle Group, and others attended the rally, held at the corner of Castro Valley Boulevard and Redwood Road.
Most of the groups said they are planning further action on this hot-button issue.
“I’m not against immigrant law, I just think people should be treated fairly,” said Millicent Cowley-Crawford. She and Carolyn Darcey brought postcards for people to send to decision-makers in Washington D.C., asking that families be kept together.
Despite temperatures in the 90s, the protesters held signs and waved to motorists and pedestrians. In return, many drivers honked, and a few jeered. Protesters kept the heat in perspective, contrasting it to an immigrant detention center.
“Can you imagine being in a tent city in Texas? It would be hell,” said Stephanie Alvarez.
Protesters carried signs with a variety of messages, including “Nurses say families belong together,” “Japanese-American communities remember racist, xenophobic policies,” and “Stand up, speak out, vote.” Many held signs that simply read, “Keep families together.”
“The reason we’re holding this rally is to let people know what actions they can take so these families who were separated at the border can be reunited,” said Castro Valley resident Michael Kusiak. “We also want to pressure the current administration to change their policies so they’re more humane.
“Successive administrations and congresses have not dealt with this immigration issue. I wish I could say that keeping families together was not a partisan thing. We want to encourage people to do something, today, tomorrow and into the future,” Kusiak added.
Castro Valley attorney Sara Raymond is organizing letter delivery to Congressman Eric Swalwell’s Castro Valley office (3615 Castro Valley Blvd.) June 29 at 11:30 a.m. on behalf of Lawyer Moms of America. This will occur in conjunction with simultaneous letter delivery to lawmakers across the country.
“We’re trying to reach as many leaders as we can, and it’s not just limited to lawyers or moms. Everyone can participate in these actions,” said Raymond.
The group’s message is that families who were separated should be reunited, and people seeking asylum should not be detained in Federal institutions while they await a hearing.
“The punishment they’re receiving is really out of proportion to the offenses they’ve been accused of,” added Raymond. “I am appalled at what’s happening.”
People may bring their own letters on June 29, and Lawyer Moms of America also has an open letter, which can be signed by anyone. It demands “a just and humane resolution to the ongoing crisis of families seeking asylum in the U.S. being separated or detained at the border.”
The group’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/lawyermomsofamerica/ has more information.
Rev. Arlene Nehring of Eden United Church of Christ introduced a family from Nicaragua seeking asylum in compliance with federal law. The Hayward church will host an event to support legal aid for asylum-seekers on July 15.
This Saturday, June 30, anyone interested is invited to caravan from Castro Valley BART (corner of Wilbeam and Norbridge) to another similar protest at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) center in Richmond at 5555 Giant Highway. Meeting time in Castro Valley is 9:30 a.m., arriving at 11 a.m. in Richmond.
More information on Saturday’s rally may be found at www.facebook.com/CVActivistNetwork/.
CAPTION: Residents protesting the separation of immigrant families held a protest Saturday at Castro Valley Boulevard and Redwood Road.
PHOTOS BY LINDA SANDSMARK
Fair Opens With ‘Old West’ Flair
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 06-20-18
HERD ON THE STREET: The 106th edition of the Alameda County Fair opened with real “Old West” flair on Friday as dozens of cowboys and cowgirls drove 150 head of cattle — some of them longhorns —through the center of Downtown Pleasanton, an event that attracted nationwide TV coverage. Some 24,684 people showed up for opening day, many to take a spin on the new 70 mph, 120-foot high Turbo in the midway, or to get a birds-eye view of the fairgrounds from the new Sky Ride. The fair runs through July 8.
PHOTOS BY MIKE SEDLAK / PLEASANTON WEEKLY
New Power Provider for Castro Valley
By Amy Sylvestri
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 06-20-18
When you flip on that light switch, the electricity that illuminates your home might not be coming from PG&E.
Castro Valley and other unincorporated communities as well as 11 cities in Alameda County have begun the switchover to East Bay Community Energy (EBCE), a nonprofit alternative electricity provider.
Businesses within EBCE’s service area are being automatically enrolled to receive cleaner energy this month, and residential customers will be enrolled in November.
County officials say EBCE will save money because it will buy power directly from a source, circumventing PG&E.
The money saved from that step could go to pay for more expensive forms of energy, including solar and wind in the future.
For now, the EBCE will be using energy from a variety of sources, including hydroelectric dams in the Pacific Northwest and wind farms in Southern California.
The EBCE will still pay PG&E to maintain the power distribution system and to bill customers. And EBCE will still source some of its energy from PG&E because of ongoing, long-term contracts.
The EBCE program is opt-out rather than opt-in, so your electricity will be coming from EBCE unless you choose to take action to leave the program.
Community energy aggregators like EBCE currently serve just over 12 percent of Californians. Critics say such agencies are just being used so cities can say they are “doing something green.”
Those with questions about EBCE or who want to opt-out can visit ebce.org or call 833-699-3223.
Large Increase in Whooping Cough Cases in County
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 06-20-18
Alameda County Public Health officials say 180 cases of pertussis (whooping cough) have been reported in the county through the first five months of this year, compared to 40 cases during the same period in 2017.
Most cases this year are in high school-aged children. At least nine cases were reported at Castro Valley High School before the end of the school year.
Pertussis is a very contagious disease of the lungs and respiratory system caused by bacteria. Coughing fits due to the infection can last for up to 10 weeks or more.
Infants are the most vulnerable to serious complications. Roughly half of babies younger than one year old who get pertussis need hospital treatment.
The disease can cause serious illness in people of all ages and can be life-threatening.
Early symptoms are the same as a cold — runny nose, low or no fever, and extreme fatigue. For babies, it can result in gasping or gaging or seizures.
Pertussis is cyclical, with peak cases every 3-5 years. California’s last epidemic was in 2014, and health officials say the state will likely have another epidemic this year.
Pertussis is preventable with vaccinations. For more info, visit: www.acphd.org/pertussis.aspx
CAPTION : Infants are the most vulnerable to serious complications.
A Practice with the Pros
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 06-13-18
Members of the Castro High School football team were guests of the Oakland Raiders last week for a chance to meet — and be coached by — National Football League players.
The Raiders traded an Organized Team Activity Day for community outreach, inviting eight local high school football teams to participate in the inaugural Raiders U 7-on-7 Tournament at the Raiders Alameda Practice Facility.
Raiders players served as coaches, giving participants the chance to interact and learn from the pro’s during the competition. Raiders coaches served as game officials.
After the tournament, Raiders players spoke to the student-athletes about the life lessons they have learned through football, and conducted a Q-and-A session.
CAPTION: Oakland Raiders’ quarterback Derek Carr (far left) talks to members of the Castro Valley High School football team during scrimmages at the Raiders’ Practice Facility in Alameda last Thursday morning.
CVHS Class of 2018: A Memory to Last a Lifetime
By Amy Sylvestri
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 06-13-18
A church plan to build six “tiny-homes” as temporary homeless housing on its property was continued again at Monday night’s Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) meeting.
First Presbyterian Church, located next to Trader Joe’s at 2490 Grove Way, first proposed the idea back in April and were hoping for a conditional use permit from the MAC this week.
But the council ultimately decided that the church’s plans were incomplete and asked them to come back to the July 9 MAC meeting for further consideration.
Pastor Jake Medcalf says that his church operates a warming center for the homeless in the winter, lets people who live in their cars park in their lot for safety, serves 80 to 100 people a free breakfast every Sunday, and lets 30 to 50 people shower in their gym.
But he wants to actually house people and help them get back into employment and on their feet.
“We really want to help these brothers and sisters get into housing,” said Medcalf. “That’s the goal.”
All tenants of the tiny homes would have to under-go a background check and would have to have a job or other source of income in order to live there.
The plan for the tiny home community would be to allow people to stay in the homes for no more than 18 months, with rent increasing the longer they stay.
They’d start out paying $200 per month which justcovers the upkeep of the home. By the end of the 18-month period, they’d be paying $800 per month and the church would take $200 for expenses and keep the rest in a savings account.
A tenant who stays the whole 18 months would leave with $6,000 from that saving account to put a deposit on a place of their own.
But one issue that needs to be resolved is whether the tiny home project would legally be considered a mobile home park, in which case it would be subject to more county and state regulations.
Metcalf said one possible solution would be to tweak the rent structure so the church holds all of it in “housing fund” instead so it’s not considered be rent.
Other issues the MAC wanted to see addressed included garbage removal, fire sprinklers, and crime. MAC Chair Marc Crawford said that the sheriff’s department has received 52 calls to the church parking lot.
A few of the MAC members seemed ready to grant the permit with suggested amendments, but Crawford insisted that all the details be worked out and in writing before the application could move forward.
“This applicant is trying to do a lot of good for people, but that doesn’t mean giving them a pass on the rules that apply to everyone,” said Crawford. “I do want to support this and I think we can get there, but we need to do it right.”
Supervisor Nate Miley is in support of the idea, which he says could be used all over the county. The church has received $200,000 from Alameda County to build the infrastructure of the project – the six small structures, fencing, and security cameras.
Last year, the county estimated that there are about 50 homeless people currently living in Castro Valley, with many in encampments by the creek, but there are no exact figures on the homeless population.
A few neighbors spoke at Monday’s meeting, saying the project is not a good fit for the area and will lead to increased traffic, decreased property value, and other issues.
“I also need to live comfortably, I can’t be afraid and I’m worried about safety,” said one woman. “This is my retirement home and I’m worried about property value when I go to sell.”
Another man owns a business in a nearby shopping center and said that parking is already at a premium and the loss of 14 parking spaces to the tiny homes means he will lose customers.
“What we are worried about is our business,” he said.
But others spoke up in favor of the church’s proposal.
“I’m an atheist, thank God,” said one neighbor, drawing laughs from the crowd. “But I support the project. May your good deed go unpunished.”
CVHS Class of 2018: A Memory to Last a Lifetime
By Linda Sandsmark
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 06-13-18
The Castro Valley High Class of 2018 kicked off its commencement ceremony with a multi-lingual greeting in 27 of the languages spoken by families of students in the school.
“We take great pride in the diversity of our school and our community,” said Student Body President Madeline Thompson.
Nearly 700 graduates were honored at last Thursday’s ceremony, which hosted a standing-room-only crowd in the football stadium.
Balloons, signs, air horns and cheering crowds greeted the students, who filed in to traditional “Pomp and Circumstance” musical accompaniment.
The Star Spangled Banner, followed by “Bridge Over Troubled Water” were played by the school band and sung by the high school choir seniors, many of whom had decorated their mortarboard caps.
Senior class president Peter Maina advised his classmates not to be afraid to fail.
“If you can dream it, you can achieve it,” said Maina.
An enthusiastic congratulatory speech was given by Castro Valley School Board President Jo Loss, who told the students that their graduation was a major milestone they would remember for the rest of their lives.
“You have shown us that Castro Valley is a community of compassion and a community of greatness,” she said. “Even small gestures of human kindness can improve our world.”
She added that there is no need to postpone doing good things with their lives.
“Now is your time. You don’t have to wait for the future,” said Loss.
Each graduate’s name was read individually, with closing remarks given by Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi. American Sign Language (ASL) student interpreters were provided for the event.
Where Have All The Voters Gone?
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 06-06-18
The poll workers were there, the voters not so much, perhaps because they cast their ballots early. Above, a lone voter signs for his ballot Tuesday morning at the Aitken Senior and Community Center on Redwood Road. By mid-morning, only a handful of voters had shown up there and at several other polling places in town. California is central to Democrat’s hopes for taking control of the House. The controversial “top-two” voting system means there may be some same-party run-off contests in November’s General Election.
PHOTO BY FRED ZEHNDER
Public Employees Among Highest Paid in the State
By Amy Sylvestri
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 06-06-18
Alameda County’s public employees continue to be among the highest paid in the state, according to California’s largest public pay and pension database.
Alameda County’s highest paid employee in 2017 was Administrator Susan Muranishi, who received total pay and benefits of $775,000. Of that $501,400 was base pay.
That’s about $288,000 ahead of the next highest paid county administrator (from San Joaquin County) who received $487,000 in total pay and benefits.
When she retires, Muranishi’s contract calls for her to receive a pension matching her highest salary, so she will be collecting over a half-million annually for the rest of her life.
And that salary is rising. This year’s figure is over $100,000 more than the $657,000 Muranishi received five years ago in 2013, according to Transparent California, a database of public employee salaries.
The county’s next highest paid employee is Sheriff Gregory Ahern, who ran unopposed for reelection in yesterday’s primary. Ahern’s pension and benefits totaled more than $632,300 in 2017, with pay of $313,000 and benefits of nearly $319,000.
Ahern was the third highest paid sheriff in the state in 2017 according to the database, behind only the sheriffs of Riverside and Los Angeles counties.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley collected $486,700 in total compensation including almost
see PAID on page 15
$321,000 in base pay.
O’Malley is the state’s second highest paid DA in the database, behind only the district attorney of Los Angels County.
Alameda County Auditor-Controller Steven Manning received nearly $475,000 in compensation, including salary of $304,000. Manning is retiring this year and not seeking reelection, so he will begin collecting a pension of $170,000.
Manning was the highest paid auditor-controller in the state last year, topping the second highest compensated controller from Los Angeles County.
Alameda county’s population was estimated at 1.6 million last year, far smaller than the 10 million people who live in Los Angeles County.
All told, 22 current Alameda County employees had total competition of over $400,000 in 2017.
Of the county’s 7,410 full-time employees, the median pay and benefits totals $122,500, with just under $83,000 in salary. The total cost of all compensation for county employees in 2017 was nearly $1.2 billion.
And those are the currently active employees.
According to the website “100k Club,” a project of the California Policy Center think tank, 739 retirees from Alameda County jobs are currently drawing annual pensions in the six figures.
The California Policy Center estimates that there is $600 billion in unfunded pensions statewide for California’s public employees.
CVSan to Switch Trash Collection Companies Next May
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 06-06-18
Starting next May, garbage trucks emblazoned with a different logo — ACI (for Alameda County Industries) — will be picking up trash in Castro Valley, although many of the drivers may be familiar faces.
The Castro Valley Sanitary District Board of Directors voted 4-1 to switch from Waste Management of Alameda County to ACI for recycling, organics, and garbage collection and processing.
ACI is a privately-owned company in San Leandro that currently provides service to Alameda and part of San Leandro.
Under the new agreement, ACI is required to offer jobs to all WMAC workers displaced by the change, maintaining their wages and benefits. The decision to transfer to ACI is being left up to each employee.
CVSan received two proposals in response to its Request for Proposals and selected ACI because “its proposal provided a better overall value for the community,” according to a press statement,
which listed these benefits:
• CI’s proposal will be a 14% rate increase, compared to WMAC’s proposal of a 15.5% rate increase.
• CI accepted high performance standards, while WMAC sought lower standards of performance. As an example, industry ratings were said to indicate that ACI has a stronger safety record.
• eferences provided by the companies rated ACI higher than WMAC in all categories, including customer service quality.
• CI is committed to local and environmentally preferable purchasing, while WMAC initially struck those sections from the agreement.
ACI will begin providing services to the Castro Valley Sanitary District on May 1, 2019 for the next 10 years.
For more information on the Castro Valley Sanitary District’s new collection and processing agreement, call 510-537-0757 ext. 124, or email Public Outreach Specialist Natalie Croak at email@example.com.
CAPTION: New truck coming to town
Virginia Gates Stays Busy at 104
By Linda Sandsmark
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 05-30-18
Castro Valley resident Virginia Gates turns 104 next Monday, and she’s still busy attending church and doing many other activities.
“The key to my long life has been complete rest, proper food and water, contentment and peace,” she says.
Born Virginia Liebhart on June 4, 1914 in Dickens, Missouri, she moved to California with her family at age eight. The youngest of five children, she graduated from nursing school in 1936 and married Donald Gates in 1937.
Donald and Virginia raised their two children, Edward and Donna (Driver), in Oakland. Donald passed away in 1988 after 51 years of marriage. In addition to her son and daughter, Virginia has four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Mrs. Gates lived in the family home in Oakland for a total of 70 years, moving to Castro Valley 11 years ago.
Longevity has always run in Virginia’s family. Her mother and three older siblings lived well into their 90s.
“She’s the last of that generation,” says daughter Donna. “And she looks very much the same as she did 30 years ago.”
A birthday celebration at her church will be held next weekend.
CAPTION: ABOVE: Virginia Gates of Castro Valley celebrates her 104th birthday on June 4. AT RIGHT: Virginia (Liebhart) Gates at 21. She graduated from nursing school in 1936.
ABOVE PHOTO BY LINDA SANDSMARK
Redwood Christian High Graduation
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 05-30-18
Redwood Christian Schools conducted its 42nd high school graduation ceremony at Redwood Chapel Community Church in Castro Valley last Thursday. Seventy eight students received their diplomas from School Board Chariman Harry Bruno and Board Member April Nunes. Superintendent Al Hearne and Principal Ben Warner presented the graduates and their individual achievements and future goals to some 1,500 family members and friends in attendance. Student speakers included Senior Class President Ify Nwebube and Senior Class Vice President Allison Fontillas. Valedictorian speakers were Andrew Stanciulescu and Lucas Vaughan.
Ride ’em Cowboy
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 05-23-18
The 98th Rowell Ranch Pro Rodeo saw some of the sport’s best cowboys and cowgirls competing for prize money, and hoping to make it to the world championship in Las Vegas this December.
Cheering rodeo fans saw the Rowell Rodeo close on Sunday with a 16.92 second ride by 2017 World Champion cowgirl Nellie Miller on her barrel horse of the year, “Sister.” She took home the prize money along with a shot at another world championship in 2018.
NFL player and California Cowboy Bear Pascoe of Morro Bay narrowly lost the steer wrestling title to Josh Garner of Live Oak who took home the championship title with a 4.7 second run.
Cody Craig made an 8.6 second time in the tie-down roping event that kept him in the first place position; while the team of Lane Santos Karney of Creston and Todd Hampton of Madera showed everyone that California Cowboys have what it takes in the rodeo’s timed events with their 5.9 second winning go in the team roping event.
Roughstock event winners included Kash Wilson and Aaron Williams.
The 99th Rowell Ranch Pro Rodeo will be held May 17-19, 2019.
CAPTION: The Rockin Bull Bash opened the 98th Rowell Ranch Pro Rodeo weekend on Friday with some of the sports best bullriders and rankest bulls giving fans plenty of great arena action. Rodeo weekend ended with fans looking ahead to 99th and then the 100th in 2020.
Car Goes Off Road, Into Pond
By Amy Sylvestri CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 05-23-18
A man driving a Tesla Model S was killed in a single-vehicle car accident on Crow Canyon Road over the weekend, but it is too early to know whether the car’s autopilot feature was engaged at the time of the collision.
Keith Leung, a 34-year-old Danville resident, was pronounced dead at the scene after his car was submerged for several hours in a pond on a property on the rural 11000 block of Crow Canyon Road, according to a joint press conference held Monday by the Castro Valley branch of the California Highway Patrol and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.
Leung hadn’t been seen for over 24 hours, but had not been reported missing. It is unknown when the car left the road, and apparently the accident was not witnessed by anyone.
California Highway Patrol officers responded just before 8 p.m. on Sunday evening when the property owner reported a broken fence and other debris as well as tire tracks that led him to believe a car might have traveled down an embankment and gone into the pond, according to CHP Officer Daniel Jacowitz.
A team of nine divers from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office was called in and, after about two hours, located the vehicle in the large pond, which was filled with underwater vegetation.
“There was zero visibly in the pond,” said Jacowitz.
Lueng’s body was eventually recovered at around 5:30 a.m. on Monday.
According to the CHP, the posted speed limit in the curvy stretch of road is 35 m.p.h. and speed may have been a factor in the accident.
Jacowitz said that Leung would have to have been traveling at a considerable rate of speed to leave the road, break through the fence, and land several yards away in the pond. He said that it is too soon
to know if either drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash, but he did add that Leung was wearing his seat belt.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kelly said the recovery effort twas complicated by the fact that the Tesla is an electric car and that the divers and staff did research before attempting to pull the car out of the pond.
“We have never dealt with a submerged electrical car before,” said Kelly. “After some research, we did what we needed to do to safely get it out. We didn’t want one tragedy to lead to another.”
Jacowitz said that the CHP will be communicating with Tesla as the investigation continues to see if the car’s autopilot feature cold have been a contributing factor to the collision.
The autopilot feature was engaged in an unrelated fatal Tesla crash in Mountain View back in March and the autopilot was also on when a Tesla crashed into a fire truck while going 65 m.p.h. in Southern California in January.
Tesla has contacted the Castro Valley CHP office and is cooperating with the investigation, according to Lieutenant Stephen Perea, Commander of the CHP Castro Valley Office. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has also been notified and any relevant information will be provided to them as well.
O’Malley and Price Share Views on Law Enforcement
By Amy Sylvestri CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 05-23-18
In the race for Alameda County District Attorney, Pamela Price is trying to emphasize what sets her apart from incumbent Nancy O’Malley – namely, Price’s refusal to accept donations from police unions.
But in nearly every other subject touched on during a candidates’ forum this week, the women were in close agreement.
Price and O’Malley met Monday night at the San Lorenzo Library for a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters and Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs.
The two alternated answering questions posed by moderator Janice Friesen, a former Castro Valley school board member, often taking the same stance on a given issue.
Asked their opinions on trying teens as adults, both said diversion programs to keep young offenders away from prisons are ideal.
Price said that when it comes to deciding whether a youth should be tried as an adult, minority teens face the adult court more often that white teens.
“I will not charge a juvenile as an adult when I am your district attorney, or charge a juvenile with life without the possibility of parole,” said Price. “I want to make sure we give kids a chance to make a mistake.”
O’Malley agreed that getting young offenders back on track to being members of society is important, but said that juveniles receiving harsh sentences is only for “very heinous crimes.”
O’Malley added that in 2016, four teens ended up in the adult court, one a “white guy who lit a woman on fire and then stabbed her when she wouldn’t die fast enough.”
In 2017, a juvenile triple rape suspect was charged as an adult and no youths have been charged as adults so far in 2018, according to O’Malley.
On working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) both women said they would protect the undocumented.
“I would have no involvement with ICE as your district attorney,” said Price. “We need to figure out how to support the immigration population.”
O’Malley said she currently does not work with ICE and never asks the immigration status of people at the Family Justice Center, a program the county has for victims of crimes like domestic violence and human trafficking.
On police accountability, O’Malley said that building relationships between cops and the community is key to understanding each other.
“When people talk and have a respectful dialogue, those judgments fall away,” said O’Malley.
Price said that ousting bad cops will help build public trust.
“I will hold bad cops accountable for bad acts,” said Price. “Trust me, that’s what good cops want.”
Price previously ran for state Assembly in 2014 but this is O’Malley’s first campaign despite the fact that she is the incumbent. In 2010 and 2014, O’Malley ran unopposed and she was the first woman to be Alameda County’s District Attorney.
O’Malley has the endorsements of Gov. Brown, the entire Alameda County Board of Supervisors, and senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris.
Price played up her outsider status, saying she’ll upset the status quo. She told of being introduced into the justice system at age 13 when she was arrested for a civil rights protest and saved by mentors who saw her potential. She is a product of the foster care system who made it all the way to Yale and went on to get her law degree from UC Berkeley.
Price’s endorsements include Black Lives Matter founder Alicia Garza, actor Danny Glover, and Our Revolution, San Leandro.
Election Day in Tuesday, June 5. For more information about the June 5 election, visit www.acvote.org
CAPTION: Nancy O’Malley Pamela Price
Record-Breaking Travel Expected This Weekend
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 05-23-18
Drivers in the East Bay can expect heavy afternoon traffic tomorrow and Friday as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers setting off on the long three-day weekend.
AAA predicts Californians will kickoff the unofficial start of summer in record numbers this year, forecasting 4.3 million residents will take to the state’s freeways.
Higher gas prices aren’t deterring them. Travelers choosing to drive will pay the most expensive Memorial Day gas prices since 2014. California gas prices are nearly 70 cents higher compared to last year, due to expensive crude oil, record gasoline demand and shrinking global supplies.
nother half-million Californians will be taking to the skies this weekend, increasing air travel by 7.5 percent over last year.
Travelers can expect some relief in their wallets when paying for car rentals and most mid-range hotels. The average daily cost of a car rental this Memorial Day is the lowest rate in the past four years and 11 percent cheaper than last year at an average at $59.
Big Weekend for Rodeo Fans
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 05-16-18
The Rowell Ranch Pro Rodeo gallops into town this Friday, May 18, beginning with the Rockin’ Bull Bash and some of the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association’s best bull riders taking on the sport’s rankest bulls.
The thundering excitement of hoof pounding in the arena begins at 7:30 p.m. An after-party follows that night, with dancing and live music by Country Guilty.
Two days of full-throttle professional rodeo action continues on Saturday and Sunday with performances beginning at 1:30 p.m. Prior to the Saturday and Sunday performance, fans are invited into the arena for the Cowboy Experience at noon to learn first-hand about the sport of rodeo, the various events, equipment used and animal welfare.
The public is encouraged to come down into the arena, visit with cowboys and committee members about the care and equipment that goes into making sure the animals and cowboys are well taken care of at all times.
Tickets are on sale now for the 98th Rowell Ranch Pro Rodeo. Tickets range in price from $17 to $40. General admission and reserved seating is available.
Visit rowellranchrodeo.com to buy tickets or purchase them at the gate the day of the performance.
SOME LIKE IT HOT!
Friday evening’s Chili Cook-Off (above) attracted a big crowd to the Rowell Ranch to sample the spicy concoctions of 21 different teams. Below, the 36th Annual Rowell Ranch Parade stepped off Saturday morning with the theme “We Ride Together”as an audience of hundreds lined the sidewalks along the Boulevard. Both events are sponsored by the Rotary Club of Castro Valley. See a complete list of the winners of both events inside this issue of The Forum.
Religious Center’s Expansion in Crow Canyon Deferred
By Amy Sylvestri CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 05-16-18
A religious group is proposing expanding its existing facility on Crow Canyon Road to include several new structures including a kitchen and large prayer hall, but the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) said the plans weren’t complete and ultimately deferred the matter at their Monday night meeting.
The M.A. Center currently operates under a conditional use permit and now wishes to expand on nearly 20 acres in the agriculturally zoned area at 10200 Crow Canyon Road, about two and a half miles southwest of Bollinger Canyon Road on what was a former horse ranch.
The M.A. Center is the local base of Mata Amritanandamayi, also known as, Amma or the “hugging saint” – a Hindu spiritual leader and guru.
The applicants propose to remove the M.A. Center’s temporary tent structures and replace them with a three-story dining hall, prayer hall, and other buildings. During special events and retreats, up to 900 people could be expected on site and there are 654 parking spaces planned.
The MAC emphasized that there was no religious motive behind their questioning of the plan, simply land use questions.
Several of Amma’s adherents and M.A. Center workers and volunteers showed up at Monday night’s MAC meeting to lend their support to the expansion, but the MAC said a lot of work on the permit proposal still needs to be done.
MAC Chair Marc Crawford said there was no plan for grading the construction.
“To be honest with you, this seems really incomplete,” said Crawford of the application.
MAC member Linda Tangren said “no one is questioning your ministry” but wanted more information on the project’s environmental impact.
MAC member Chuck Moore said he’d treat the M.A. Center the same as any applicant but wants to make sure that the construction “fits in the vision of agricultural properties.”
And so they sent the project back to the applicants for further tweaking.
Also at Monday night’s MAC meeting, the council approved a martial arts school for 3300 East Castro Valley Boulevard and the demolition and subsequent rebuilding of a home at 16851 Cull Canyon Road.
Pipe Replacement on the Boulevard Starts Monday
SPECIAL TO THE FORUM 05-16-18
The East Bay Municipal Utility District plans to begin replacement of a water pipeline located on Castro Valley Blvd., between Park Way and Lake Chabot Road next Monday evening, May 21.
It is scheduled to occur at night to lessen impacts on local businesses and traffic on Castro Valley Blvd. where there will be some lane closures during the project.
The district says the work is necessary to restore redundancy in the system and reliable water service to the area.
The pipe replacement will take about two weeks to complete. There will be no water outages during the project.
Trench work will be conducted from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. for the first four to five days.
Testing, flushing and chlorination of the pipeline will take place from 7 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. for the next three to four days. Then the pipeline connection will be made from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. over an additional two to three days.
During the nighttime work, there will be rolling lane closures as the pipeline replacement work progresses. A minimum of one lane in each direction will be open at all times.
There will be flood lights and construction-related noise and dust. One lane in each direction will be closed during the daytime testing, flushing and chlorination of the pipeline.
Final paving and concrete restoration will be scheduled after completion of pipeline work.
For questions and for more frequent email updates, contact Laura Luong at 510-287-0140 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For emergencies or after-hours questions, call EBMUD at 866-403-2683.
Quake Jiggles Castro Valley
SPECIAL TO THE FORUM 05-16-18
A small earthquake rattled the East Bay Monday evening. The quake was centered in Oakland and struck at 7:18 p.m., according the the U.S. Geological Survey.
There were no reports of injuries or damage. BART service was halted briefly for an inspection of the tracks, a routine procedure following an earthquake.
The U.S.G.S. received thousands of calls about the temblor, some as far away as Salinas and Sacramento.
Palomares Elementary Celebrates 150 Years
SPECIAL TO THE FORUM 05-09-18
Palomares Elementary school celebrated its 150th anniversary on Saturday, April 14th, 150-years ago to the day that Palomares opened at the mouth of Eden Canyon.
The school hosted a community celebration with more than 400 past and present students, staff, community members and distinguished guests attending.
During the opening ceremony, Palomares Principal, Dr. Jennifer Tomita, recognized the work and dedication of teacher, Diane Milinkevich, the Palomares Parent Teacher Club and the planning committee for the time, work and love they put into the day’s celebration.
“Although our school has grown and changed over the years, the heart of our school and community has remained the same: We are Palomares, small school with great spirit,” Dr. Tomita said.
The day’s activities included a walk through the school’s 150 year history, field games from 1868, a 1915 Alameda County Fire Department Fire Engine on display, a ride down Palomares’ iconic 50-foot slide and a BBQ lunch with live music by Thompsonia.
President Abraham Lincoln signed the school charter in 1863 and Palomares opened its doors five years later, presided over by its first teacher, Miss Margaret Halley, who taught there for two years. She had 34 students in grades 1-8.
In the “modern” school of its day, Miss Halley’s classroom was equipped with blackboards, erasers, chalk, a teacher’s desk and chair, children seats, bookshelves, a coat rack, and a pot belly stove.
For more fascinating history of Palomares Elementary school, please visit:bit.ly/PalomaresTurns150
CAPTION: SOARING THROUGH HISTORY: Students past and present, along with school
officials, celebrated Palomares Elementary School’s Sesquicentennial Anniversary on
Saturday, April 14, 150 years ago to the day that Palomares opened its doors at the mouth
of Eden Canyon.
Rowell Rodeo Parade Will Spotlight Palomares’ 150th
By Michael Singer
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 05-09-18
This week’s Rowell Ranch Rodeo Parade will be marked by a special float that recognizes one of the original Castro Valley schools chartered by President Abraham Lincoln.
The annual parade is scheduled for this Saturday, May 12 and includes more than 50 entries including several equestrian mounts, veterans’ groups, high school marching bands, and youth sports teams.
A special entry this year comes from Palomares Elementary, which recently celebrated its sesquicentennial anniversary (see story on this page). President Lincoln signed a charter back in 1863, paving the way for the school’s opening in 1868.
“To mark this event, a small group of parents built a replica of the original school house to honor those students from the past who helped mold and shape the rich history and a promising future for the school community,” Proctor Principal Jennifer Tomita told the Castro Valley Forum. “Palomares would like to invite any staff and student alumni to join them in the parade.”
Also featured in this year’s parade are a new marching band from Redwood Christian High School and winners of the Rowell Ranch Art & Essay contest. The Grand Marshals judging the parade this year are members of the Castro Valley Community Alliance.
“It’s a real community event that brings a lot of people together,” says Parade co-chair Bill Nott. “This is the 98th year of the Rowell Ranch Rodeo and the parade has been in Castro Valley for the last 37 years.
“We have the strong equestrian, ranching community represented here even though we are a suburb. I think the parade helps binds us together and is one of the many things in Castro Valley that gives us our identity,” says Nott.
Starting at 10 a.m., the half-mile parade will kick off on Castro Valley Boulevard from Nunes Avenue and head west until Wisteria Street. It then snakes back east on the Boulevard until it passes the grandstand in front of the Daughtrey’s Building and turning south on Wilbeam Avenue.
If you’ve ever wondered why the Alameda County Fire Department leads the parade every year, Nott says it’s because they need to have easy access out of the lineup in case of an emergency. After that, the parade is stacked with alternating floats, horses, classic cars, bands and walking groups to prevent the animals from getting spooked and showoff the parade’s diversity.
Streets will be closed starting at 9 a.m. on Parade day until 1 p.m. on Castro Valley Boulevard between Redwood Road to Lake Chabot Road.
Norbridge Avenue will also be closed from the BART entrance to Stanton Avenue. The BART entrance on Redwood Road will remain open. And as you can imagine, parking will be restricted in the parade zone including on Nunes Avenue and San Miguel Avenue as well as along parts of Baker and Kerr Streets.
Chili Cook-Off This Friday
By Michael Singer
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 05-09-18
Need a fun break from your commute home on Friday night? Look no further than the Castro Valley Chili Cook-off at the Rowell Ranch Rodeo grounds from 5 to 8 p.m. on May 11.
The evening event is primarily sponsored by The Rotary Club of Castro Valley and will include world-class chili tasting, craft beers from Drakes Brewery, games and activities for kids, and of course live music.
The annual event is the official kickoff event to the Rowell Ranch Rodeo which includes the parade on Saturday and the competition starting May 18. Proceeds from the Chili Cook-off help fund various Castro Valley Rotary projects.
Twenty-one teams are entering the competition this year, each making 10 gallons of chili. While traditional chili only consists of some type of meat, red chili peppers, and other spices, everyone has their favorite recipe.
“Something with a little kick to it is good, but not too much so that people can’t eat it,” says Chili Cook-off chairman, Randy Vanderbilt. “Every once in a while, you get someone using different colors of beans and tomatoes, but there is no surefire winning combination.”
It’s also a fallacy that firefighters have the best chili, says Vanderbilt.
“There was a group of women judges many, many years ago that may have been swayed by the good-looking firemen, but that doesn’t happen anymore with our double-blind judging,” he added.
Long before the crowds arrive, the judges assess the chili on a few items: the texture of the meat (not too tough or too mushy); flavoring and chili pepper taste (not too hot or too mild); consistency of the mixture (not too thick or too thin); and the aroma and blend of spices.
Five entries from each group will advance to the final round, with a new set of judges, who will select the winners based on the same criteria used in the first round. Judges never see which cook is serving up which chili, which makes it as fair as possible.
The “King” or “Queen” of Castro Valley Chili comes with bragging rights, but there are cash prizes for the top three chili entries including a $500 prize for 1st Place. There is a People’s Choice Award for the crowd’s favorite chili. And a $100 prize goes to the winner of Best Booth Decoration.
Parking is free and tasting tickets start at $1 apiece.
In Need of Your Help
SPECIAL TO THE FORUM 05-02-18
Honoring veterans past, present, and future has always been the goal of Castro Valley veterans says Jim Uhlik, a U.S. Navy veteran of 10 years service who will become Commander of VFW Post 9601 later this month.
Stories of so many who have given so much to our country can be heard at Castro Valley’s Veterans Memorial — all one has to do is listen and read the many brick inscriptions embedded there, according Uhlik.
There is still room for more stories to be told, but the memorial is need of your help again.
Over the past four years VFW Post 9601 has hosted crab feeds, raffles, and other fundraisers and has received many public donations towards raising the $85,000 still needed to complete the expansion project.
“Many citizens have been under the impression that we were ready to build,” says Uhlik. “But with each passing year, the price of the project has gone up.”
Donations large and small can be made by going to CVVM.info or contacting Uhlik at 510-593-6703 or Anthony Lindsey at email@example.com
The memorial, which was dedicated on Veterans Day 2012, is located at Castro Valley Community Park on Quail Ave. just off Lake Chabot Road.
CAPTION: U.S. Navy Veteran Jim Uhlik at the Castro Valley Veterans Memorial.
PHOTO BY FRED ZEHNDER
CVHS Wins Prestigious California Choral Competition
SPECIAL TO THE FORUM 05-02-18
Castro Valley High School’s Madrigals and A Cappella have earned First Place at the 24th Annual Golden State Choral Competition, the most prestigious competition of its kind in California and the result of the students’ hard work under the direction of their amazing director, Mrs. Larrysa Sadoway. Over the past 24 years, CVHS has received several trophies at the statewide contest. The Madrigals competed in the chamber division and A Cappella competed in the concert choir division, and this year received First Place in both divisions. Only two choral programs have ever accomplished this in all the years of the competition. It is considered an honor just to be invited to sing at the annual event.
Opponents Speak Up at Town Hall
By Amy Sylvestri CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 05-02-18
The Castro Valley Sanitary District (CVSan) held a special town hall meeting at the library last week, outlining its plans for a new sewer lateral program which could potentially be costly to some homeowners.
CVSan wants to make it mandatory for older sewer laterals to be inspected upon sale of a home. Lateral are the lines that go from a house out to the main sewer lines under the street.
Repairs to a lateral can cost up to $20,000 for a homeowner, but CVSan officials say some eligible homeowners can qualify for grants of up to $2,000.
The laterals need checking because of inflow and infiltration (I&I), which is basically water from various sources entering the collection system that can cause sewer overflows.
District General Manager Roland Williams said that Castro Valley has an unusually high amount of I&I compared to neighboring towns because of its geography and that, during storms, waste water flow can be up to 10 times more than on regular days.
“Castro Valley is essentially shaped like a bowl and when our flows come in they all come in together and we have this high-peak event,” said Williams. “We have to manage that or we get overflows and absolutely no one wants sewage outside of the system.”
But many speakers at last Tuesday night’s meeting opposed CVSan’s plan.
One was Marc Crawford, chair of the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council who has been a vocal critic of the proposal. He said the timing of the inspections simply doesn’t make sense and that CVSan was taking advantage of homeowners when they sell, presumably to get an influx of cash.
“I have to ask if anyone has thought of timing this to when (a lateral) has problems, not when you have money?” asked Crawford.
Others in the audience said they didn’t see the point of replacing their laterals when some of the main lines in town are around 100 years old, so they might be connecting a brand new lateral line to a leaky main.
“What’s the point of asking a private citizen to replace a lateral if the mains aren’t fixed and sewage could still end up in our home?” asked one woman.
The replacement-upon-sale inspection policy, however, is becoming more common in the Bay Area.
CVSan estimates that 42 percent of Alameda County municipalities require it. Once inspected and repaired, a homeowner would get a certif-
see INSPECTION on back page
icate saying the laterals wouldn’t have to be inspected again for 20 years.
Also at the meeeting was the director of Pinole’s Public Works Department who said that they have a similar lateral ordinance and said that, when checked, only about 15 percent of the lateral lines did not need some type of repair.
She also said her city’s I&I did go down after the lateral program was installed, but it wasn’t possible to tell if that was because of the new laterals or because of the amount and timing of the rain they got.
The lively crowd talked over Williams several times as he attempted to guide the conversation and save the Q&A session until the end. Crawford shouted out that when you rush an explanation of a program that could cost homeowners tens of thousands of dollars, you’re going to get some pushback.
“If you are trying to manipulate people, they are going to speak up,” said Crawford.
CVSan says that all the public input will be considered by their Board of Directors before any decisions are made about a potential ordinance.
If you couldn’t make the meeting, but want to give feedback, you can send your comments to CVSan via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Natalie Croak, 21040 Marshall St., Castro Valley 94546.
2018 CV Sports Hall of Fame
By Lowell Hickey
SPECIAL TO THE FORUM 04-25-18
Sixteen new members were inducted into the Castro Valley Sports Hall of Fame at the induction ceremony Saturday night at the Redwood Canyon Event Center.
Roderick Bobbitt and Juan Anderson from Castro Valley High’s 2011 championship basketball team, NCAA track champion Sasha Wallace, San Jose Earthquakes star Nick Lima, soccer standout Mariah Cameron and cross country All-American Kelsey Santisteban represented the current decade of athletes.
From past decades were footballers Mike Proulx and Michael Klews, volleyball star Alexis Kollias, barefoot water skier Scott Pellaton, wrestler Brad Vadnais and basketball standout Jackie (Wilson) Moog.
Coaches inducted were Cal’s Bob Milano, Redwood Christian’s Jim Cleveland and Castro Valley High’s Peter Brewer. Anthony Reyes, head trainer for the San Francisco Giants, rounded out the 2018 class.
Renowned sports journalist Dave Del Grande, a Castro Valley resident, served as Master of Ceremonies for the event, which is sponsored by the Castro Valley Sports Foundation.
The Hall of Fame, established in 2010, honors athletes, coaches and other sports figures who grew up in Castro Valley, lived there for a significant period of time, or contributed significantly to youth athletics in the community.
For profiles of each of the inductees, or more info on CV Sports Foundation, visit: castrovalleysportsfoundation.org.
CAPTION: The 2018 Class of the Castro Valley Sports Hall of Fame: Front row, from left, are Jackie (Wilson) Moog, Kelsey Santisteban, Bob Milano, Alexis Kollias and Mariah Cameron. Back row, from left, are Peter Brewer, Jim Cleveland, Brad Vadnais, Michael Klews, Mike Proulx and Scott Pellaton. Absent are Juan Anderson, Roderick Bobbitt, Nick Lima, Anthony Reyes and Sasha Wallace.
PHOTO BY CATHY BRESLOW/BRESLOW IMAGING
Swalwell Calls For Ban on All Assault Rifles
By Jim Knowles CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 04-18-18
Congressman Eric Swalwell called for a ban on all assault rifles at a town hall meeting in San Lorenzo on Saturday.
The congressman didn’t just stop at banning the sale of the weapons that fire bullets at a rapid rate, but getting rid of all the ones that exist in the country.
“I think the American people are willing to sell a of a couple of F-35s (jet fighters) to buy back every assault weapon in the country,” Swalwell said. “We can’t just ban future sales, we need to go to the heart of the problem.”
Swalwell added that he wanted to assure hunters and gun collectors that he favors a ban on the rapid-fire assault weapons only, not to ban other guns.
The automobile industry equipped cars with air bags and other features to make sure there were fewer deaths, so the gun industry should do the same, Swalwell said.
The congressman’s remarks came at a town-hall meeting in the Arroyo High gym on Saturday afternoon with around 200 people in attendance. He spoke for half an hour before taking questions on a wide range of topics from health care to Russian hackers.
The Democrat from California’s 15th Congressional District said he wants national health care.
“We need Medicare for everybody,” said Swalwell who presents himself as someone who can work well with both Republicans and Democrats in Congress.
On sanctuary cities, Swalwell said he prefers the term “safe cities,” saying that people are safe knowing that they’re not going to be deported if they get pulled over.
“I don’t think our police officers want to be turned into border patrol agents,” Swalwell said.
A man asked about climate change and alternative energy, and Swalwell replied that the key to green energy is tying it to new jobs. People aren’t going to be for something that threatens their jobs.
The third-term congressman said the Democrats made a big mistake when they just opposed the Keystone Pipeline to carry oil from Canada. Just being against something won’t work, unless you have an alternative plan that will create jobs, he said.
But the alternative energy plan won’t happen unless somebody steps up, he said, suggesting that the oil lobbyists and money have an influence on Congress.
“To be 100 percent renewable energy, you can only do that if you are bold enough to do it,” Swalwell said.
Swalwell said he favors a disclosure act that tells all shareholders of stock what campaign contributions the company makes.
On Russian influence of the 2016 election, Swalwell sounded convinced of collusion with the Trump campaign, which Trump denies.
Swalwell said Trump has invested heavily in Russia and the Russians invested a lot in Trump, and added that the Russian hackers “delivered the goods.”
Responding to a question about rent control, Swalwell said he understood how, in our economy, market forces are at work, but something seems wrong when rent increases much more than other costs. He said he was afraid that for future generations starting a family, buying a house would be out of the question.
It appeared the entire crowd was made up of Swalwell fans. There wasn’t a word of disagreement, a debated point, or a tough question. Whether that’s good news or bad news is the only question.
CAPTION: Congressman Eric Swalwell meets with constituents at Saturday’s town hall meeting.
PHOTO BY JIM KNOWLES
CV Man Competing in World Poolplayer Championships
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 04-25-18
Robert Battinich of Castro Valley and five other Alameda County residents are competing in the 2018 American Poolplayer Association Championships and Showdown Series, which began today in Las Vegas and continues through Sunday.
They are vying with more than 2,500 amateur poolplayers from the U.S. Canada and Tokyo for over $600,000 in prize money.
Battinich, 67, a retired contractor who goes by the nickname “Poncho,” has been playing pool for 18 years and is a member of Heart Of The Bay Pool League.
He and Craig Nicholson, Bob Soule — both of San Leandro — Alex Almendral of San Lorenzo, and Brad Ashmore and Ken Collins compete in weekly 8-Ball and 9-Ball League play.
They each paid a one-time entry fee of $20-$25 to compete in the local tournaments that won them the coveted spots in the American Poolplayer Association’s Championships, which were recognized in 2010 by Guinness World Records as the “world’s largest pool tournament.”
The championships are being held at the Westgate Resort and Casino. For more info, visit: heartofthebay.apaleagues.com.
CAPTION: Robert “Poncho” Battinich of CV and five other local poolplayers are in Las Vegas for the 2018 Poolplayer Championships and Showdown Series continuing through May 29.
PHOTO: AMERICAN POOLPLAYERS ASSOCIATION
EYE IN THE SKY
Sheriff’s Office Shows Off Its Drones
By Amy Sylvestri CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 04-18-18
In the past year, drones have helped put out fires, found drowning victims, and even tested for poisonous gases, according to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Greg Ahern and a couple of his officers stopped by the San Lorenzo Village Homes Association meeting last week to talk about their fleet of “unmanned aerial vehicles” or drones.
The sheriff’s office has a dozen drones, which they use locally but also lend out to surrounding agencies during emergencies.
The crowd in San Lorenzo was gung-ho about the drones, thanking Ahern for his department’s hard work.
But when the county first announced plans to use them five years ago, there were protests.
Dozens of people spoke out against the plan to buy just two of the flying cameras at a special meeting of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors in 2013.
Sheriff’s Commander Tom Madigan said there were lots of misconceptions back then.
“People thought we were using Predator drones, the large military drones that fire mis-
see EYE on back page
siles,” he said. “Instead, we are using these things from Best Buy. I bet someone in your family has something like it. We aren’t using any kind of technology that a member of the public couldn’t purchase.”
Madigan said that during a fire at Alco Metals in San Leandro last summer they were able to help firefighters by attaching a gas sensor to a drone and flying it through the noxious smoke to determine what kind of gases were being released.
Madigan showed a video of a drone being used during the serving of a high-risk search warrant in Oakland, where the drone operator was able to tell deputies on the ground that suspects were running out behind the house and down the street. You could see one suspect toss away a gun and a bag of what Ahern said were drugs.
Sheriff’s Office drones have been used to help find the car of a woman who drwned in Niles Canyon last winter, a teenage kayaker who died in the Bay, and in the Santa Rosa firestorm to assess damage.
HARD to Upgrade, Expand Local Parks, Create ‘Master Plan’
By Amy Sylvestri CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 04-18-18
New play structures, remodeled bathrooms, more parking – the Hayward Area Recreation District (HARD) will be making a variety of upgrades to their 95 parks over the next few years.
In 2016, voters approved a $250-million bond for HARD to upgrade and expand parks in Castro Valley, San Lorenzo, Ashland, and Cherryland and the district is now developing a “master plan” for the next decade about how they will spend that money.
On Monday night, Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) members heard about the master plan and some upcoming park upgrades.
A recent survey of the parks showed just 28 percent to be in “good” condition and the rest fair to poor. The bond money will be used to make repairs at the poorest parks, according to HARD.
In addition to improvement and repairs to the parks, the bond will fund several larger capital improvement projects over the next several years, including:
• $94,000 to renovate the Kenneth Aitken Senior Center in CV
• $90,000 to upgrade Rowell Ranch
• $31 million to renovate Kennedy Park
• $4 million for the Fairmont Terrance Park expansion
• $2 million for a new 2-acre park at 18470 Via Toledo in San Lorenzo
• $1.3 million to renovate the Hayward Plunge
• $1 million to expand the parking lot of the Meek Estate
• $222,000 for upgrades to the Sulphur Creek Nature Center,
HARD has a basic goal of having a park or playground within walking distance of every resident. So they prioritize their “areas of need” where the population is more dense and parks are farther away.
HARD has identified most of Ashland, parts of Cherryland, western Castro Valley, and the area around Grove Way as needing more park access.
The MAC also heard preliminary plans for a major undertaking that HARD would be part of – a trail to run along the San Lorenzo Creek.
The Friends of the San Lorenzo Creek – a non-profit founded in 2002 and dedicated to preserving and supporting the creek and surrounding nature – want to construct a bicycle and pedestrian trail from the Don Castro Reservoir in Castro Valley all the way to the Bay. It would run by several parks along the way.
“Imagine being able to bike from Cull Canyon to the Japanese Gardens,” said Rick Hatcher who belongs to the Friends of the San Lorenzo Creek and is also vice president of the HARD board of directors.
But there is no funding in place for the project and it would also involve getting dozens of property owners along the creek to agree to construction, which could be hard.
“I think it’s a great idea but getting all those property owners could be difficult,’ said MAC member Chuck Moore. “There sure are some challenges ahead of you.”
Matt Tuner, Supervisor Nate Miley’s constituent liaison said that the next step will be applying for grants this spring in order to try to get the project off the ground.
Masonic Lodge to Honor Two CV Teachers
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 04-18-18
Two Castro Valley teachers will be honored by the Crow Canyon Masonic Lodge tomorrow evening, April 19.
Krista Samboy of Chabot Elementary School and Kelly Abbott of Redwood High School were selected by the school district for having taken extra effort with their students in their classrooms.
They will be recognized for their contributions at an awards dinner at the CV Masonic Center, 4521 Crow Canyon Road. A musical performance by Castro Valley High School Madrigals, under the direction of Laryssa Sadoway will start the award ceremony. Social begins at 5:30 p.m. with dinner served at 6:15. For dinner reservations call 510-258-0654.
The California Masonic Foundation supports public education in three critical areas – elementary-age literacy, advancing instruction in middle school algebra; and expanding the Foundation scholarship program to include students for whom a college education has not been a choice.
Each year since 1985 the Crow Canyon Masonic Lodge has honored outstanding local teachers to mark Public Schools Week.
CAPTION: Teacher Kelly Abbott of RHS with therapy dog “Kilda” / Teacher Krista Samboy of Chabot Elementary School
Hundreds of Loyal Readers Respond with Subscriptions
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 04-11-18
To date, more than 1,400 readers of the Castro Valley Forum and the San Leandro Times have purchased Loyal Reader Subscriptions which will enable the two community newspapers to publish advertising not available in the past.
The Forum and Times depend entirely on ads to stay in business, so the additional revenue will be important as this industry struggles with increasing costs and against the shift in advertising from print to the internet.
On pages 6 and 7 of this week’s Forum, you will find the names of subscribers of both newspapers that were received as of Monday.
Those received after Monday will be printed in next week’s edition.
If you subscribed but your name doesn’t appear in the list, or if your name was misspelled, please contact the publisher, Fred Zehnder, at email@example.com
Church Proposes Tiny Homes for CV’s Homeless
By Amy Sylvestri CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 04-11-18
A church in town wants to build six “tiny homes” on their proper-ty to temporarily house homeless people. The Castro Valley Mu-nicipal Advisory Council (MAC) heard their preliminary plans at Monday night’s meeting.
“There have been numerous times brothers and sisters come to our door needing blankets,” said Pastor Jake Medcalf of the First Presbyterian Church, located next to Trader Joe’s. “Sending them out in the cold and wet is hard to do. People are people. Everybody has a name, everybody has a story.”
So to help out, Medcalf says that his church operates a warm-ing center for the homeless in the winter, lets people who live in their cars park in their lot for safe-ty, serves 80 to 100 people a free breakfast every Sunday, and lets 30 to 50 people shower in their gym.
But he wants to do more, which is where the tiny houses come in.
The church has received $200,000 from Alameda County to build the infrastructure of the project – the six small structures, fencing, and security cameras. The East Bay Municipal Utility District has said they will wave water connection fees and the Castro Valley Sanitary District is offering a steep discount for its services. Last year, the county estimated that there are about 50 homeless people currently living in Castro Valley, with many in encamp-ments by the creek, but there are no exact figures on the homeless population. The plan at the First Presby-terian tiny home community would be to allow people to stay in the homes for no more than 18 months, with rent increasing the longer they stay. They’d start out paying $200 per month which just covers the upkeep of the home. By the end of the 18-month period, they’d be paying $800 per month and the church would take $200 for ex-penses and keep the rest in a sav-ings account. A tenant who stays the whole 18 months would leave with $6,000 from that saving account to put a deposit on a place of their own. All tenants would have to under-go a background check and would have to have a job or other source of income in order to live there. Supervisor Nate Miley was at the meeting to lend his support to the idea, which he said could be used all over the county. “If this works, we want to take this model and use it at other churches throughout the unincor-porated areas and the county. We want this to be a model.” But not everyone is thrilled with the idea. A couple of neigh-bors who live in the area spoke up, saying they were worried the houses would take up already limited parking at the church and lead people to park on the streets and that there would be a lot more traffic in the area. One woman said she felt it was “shady” that the county would give money to a religious institu-tion in any context. MAC Chair Marc Crawford said the idea was good but he had concerns about how the infrastruc-ture would function. “This is a land-use decision for us, this isn’t about ‘is it worthy?’” said Crawford. “I’m not trying to put a a bunch of obstacles in front of it, but I’m not trying to approve it just because it’s a good cause.” The tiny home issue was a discussion item only at Monday night’s meeting and the MAC made no determination to approve of disapprove the homes. The First Presbyterian Church will be holding a town hall meet-ing on their tiny home idea on Wednesday, April 18 at 7 p.m. at their church at 2490 Grove Way.
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM04-11-18
A subtropical “atmospheric river” of moisture streaming from Hawaii drenched the East Bay with record rainfall from Thursday night through Saturday morning.
Castro Valley recorded more than 3 inches of rain during the storm, bringing the season total to 16.77 inches. Some spots in Northern California received over 6 inches of rain.
“This is a very unusual event in the sense that the rainfall amounts would be more representative of winter and not April,” Meteorologist Mike Pechner told the Forum. He said the pounding storm, dubbed the “Pineapple Express,” was the result of tropical remnants of a Pacific typhoon.
The steady downpour caused minor flooding and scattered traffic accidents in the East Bay as well as flight delays and three cancellations at Oakland International Airport.
The storm recharged East Bay Municipal Utility District reservoirs around the Bay and eased drought concerns a bit for next year.
There was not much change in the Sierra snowpack. Rain occurred at higher elevations, but did not melt much of the snow.
Drizzle and showers remain in forecast for Castro Valley today and at times during the next week.
CAPTION: The steady downpour on Friday drenched shoppers and pedestrians around Castro Valley. The powerful storm, which began Thursday night and continued through Saturday morning, boosted local rainfall totals by more than 3 inches.
PHOTO BY LINDA SANDSMARK
Loyal Reader Campaign
The Forum’s campaign for Loyal Reader subscriptions through the month of March was successful beyond our imagination.
We were overwhelmed by the number of responses and touched by a number of supportive notes that were included with the subscriptions.
Next week we will publish the names of all the subscribers, but we wanted to say this early “thank you” to all of you who participated.
Publisher, The Forum
New Steel Reservoir
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM04-04-18
April 18 marks the 112th anniversary of the great San Francisco earthquake. So yesterday, Bay Area water agencies held a tour of various sites around the East Bay to demonstrate just how they are preparing in the inevitable event of another massive quake.
One stop was on the Castro Valley/ Hayward border where the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) is building a new $15-million steel tank reservoir.
The 9-million-gallon tank will replace a 50-million-gallon reservoir which was originally made of cement poured over earth. While the new tank will hold far less water, it is also not as vulnerable to being destroyed in a quake.
In Hayward, EBMUD showed off one of their “interties,” which connect the pipes of different water districts. The four districts that are interconnected in the Bay Area are EBMUD, the Contra Costa Water District, the Santa Carla Water District, and the San Francisco Water Power Sewer.
It’s that type of regional cooperation that’s going to be key in the event of an earthquake or even just a drought, according to Alison Katsama, EBMUD’s manager of public affairs.
To have the ability to connect one regional water system to another will allow a more vulnerable water district to get help from one that hasn’t suffered as much damage.
“If something major were to happen to our major lines, we’d have that back up,” said Katsama.
CAPTION: MASSIVE UPGRADE: A new 9 million gallon tank is replacing a reservoir in the Castro Valley/ Hayward hills as part of a seismic upgrade being done by EBMUD.
World-class Climber Brings Mountain Adventures to CV Library on Tuesday
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 04-04-18
Tales of Mount Everest, the world’s highest summit, and Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa, are coming to Castro Valley Library on April 10 at 6:30 p.m.
World-class climber and guide Wilfred Moshi will share his experiences, insights and pictures from both adventures.
Moshi became the first Tanzanian and the third African to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 2012. He’s also the founder, owner and chief guide of Kili Treks Tanzania, which leads multiple groups to the 19,341-foot top of Africa each year.
Wilfred will discuss the beautiful sights of the region as well as efforts to conserve it for future generations.
The event is free, and those who want to learn more about the mountains and maybe even climb them are invited to attend this rare opportunity. For more information, visit www.kilitrekstanzania.com.
Sixty Years of ‘Good Times’ For CV Club
By Michael Singer
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM04-04-18
What do you get when you mix food, family, and fundraising? Just ask the members of the Buon Tempo Club, an Italian-American organization celebrating its Diamond Anniversary this Saturday.
The anniversary dinner is expected to include a five-course meal prepared by chef Joseph Sotello and a desert crafted by chef Jessica Pacheco. An 18-piece band is expected to perform courtesy of the Castro Valley Adult Orchestra, including Village Barber shop stylist, Al Proietti.
Jim Murphy, who serves on the Buon Tempo Board of Directors, says the dinner dance is an opportunity to celebrate the heritage of the club but to also attract new members to its current roster of 250.
“People find a group because they like the membership, they like the food, or they like the amenities,” Murphy says. “It just so happens that I like all three at Buon Tempo.”
The food is a big draw and Buon Tempo does not disappoint. Cooking is shared among members who want to prepare classic and contemporary Italian fare.
Recent meals included Italian Roast Beef, Cannelloni, and Fettucine.
Murphy notes that chefs typically start out during the members-only “Boy’s Night Out” meals before sharing with the broader Family nights. Chefs also come from various other restaurants.
“We always have member chefs,” Murphy says. “If someone said they were willing to cook for 200 people, we would give them a shot. But we do have our favorites.
We have one chef that cooks at the Colombo Club in Oakland and one other restaurant and he’s in his 80s. When people hear he’s cooking, the members get excited and more people come out for those meals.”
The club has a long history of philanthropy including an annual open bocce tournament and a sep-
arate dinner fundraiser to support the George Mark House, a children’s hospice in San Leandro.
The club also sponsors several different athletic, academic, and vocational scholarships for high school seniors. To date, the Club has awarded more than $170,000 in scholarships.
Other fundraisers supported remodeling the San Leandro Main Branch Library and a donation of $3,000 presented to the mayor of the hard-hit Italian city of L’Aquila, which suffered a massive earthquake in 2009.
Buon Tempo is also a major sponsor of the “Relay for Life” cancer walk and car show as well as a float in the Rowell Ranch Rodeo Parade.
Founded by a handful of guys from San Leandro in 1958, the premise was simple: gather together men from the community; cook traditional meals along with great conversation; and support local charitable organizations.
The group initially bounced around various members’ homes until a long-term property near San Leandro Boulevard was purchased in the late 1960s. The groundbreaking was put on indefinite hold, however, after the city declared eminent domain on the majority of the land for construction of part of the San Leandro BART station.
After a few temporary relocations, the Club has been working out of Transfiguration Church in east Castro Valley.
This Saturday’s dinner will include a souvenir wine glass, commemorating the evening. The doors open at 5 p.m. for happy hour with dinner starting at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 for members and family, and $30 for guests.
Swallwell to Face Two Challengers
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 04-04-18
Rudy L. Peters, a Republican who lives in Livermore, announced his candidacy for Congressional District 15 last week.
The district includes Castro Valley, Dublin, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore, Pleasanton, Union City, and parts of Contra Costa County, including San Ramon.
It is currently represented by Democrat Eric Swalwell who has become nationally prominent because of his frequent guest appearances on TV network and cable news broadcasts.
The 55-year-old Peters is co-owner and CEO of AARD Solutions, a disabled veteran-owned small business that provides professional engineering services primarily to U.S. Government agencies.
In a press statement, Peters said his goal is to bring his depth of experience to the public sector to promote individual freedom and enable economic success for all California citizens.
“I’m interested in leadership that’s more concerned
with doing the right thing—for our district, for our state, for our nation than in continuing the current standard in Washington, doing absolutely nothing except engaging in polarizing partisan politics,” Peters stated.
He and his wife Cindy have three children. They have resided in Livermore since 1991.
Swalwell, who will be running for his fourth straight term, is also facing a challenge from Brendan St. John, a 20-year Pleasanton resident who does not state a party preference.
St. John, 49, is a medical marketing executive and a married father of three teenagers who has had no political or government experience.
When he announced last fall, St. John said he was “fed up with the divisive rhetoric from both major political parties, and the ineffectiveness of our government.”
The top two finishers in the June Primary will face each other in a runoff election in November.
A March for Change
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 03-28-18
Hundreds of Castro Valley activists including students, parents and teachers joined a massive rally against gun-violence at Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco (above) and at more than a dozen other spots around the Bay Area on Saturday afternoon.
The March For Our Lives was centered in Washington, D.C., but similar demonstrations were held in cities across the U.S. and around the world in the wake of last month’s shooting at a Florida high school in which 17 people died. At right, Castro Valley teen Isabella Ruiz, a member of the Women’s March Huddle, holds a poster at the San Francisco rally. Huddle lead person Erin Cambra said she was inspired by the large number of youth at the march.
“It gives me hope that young people are getting active and staying engaged – and they will vote!”
PHOTOS COURTESY OF PROBONOPHOTO
New Art Project Coming
By Amy Sylvestri CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 03-28-18
The art installation planned for underneath the I-580 overpass over Redwood Road will be extended, as similar designs will be used to decorate 10 utility boxes on Redwood Road and Castro Valley Boulevard.
The Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) heard from the Alameda County Arts Commission Director Rachel Osajima about the project. The designs will be based on the “Castro Valley” identifier mural which will be painted on the overpass later this year, with a depiction of rolling hills and a blue sky.
As with the overpass project, MAC member Chuck Moore once again expressed his concern about the project, saying that the county’s money could be better spent on sidewalks or roads. Osajima again replied that the money was earmarked specifically for art.
Other MAC members were more enthusiastic.
“ I think it’s an enhancement in our community,” said Linda Tangren. “It leads to getting a better perspective on who we are.”
The designs will be vinyl wraps and will be completed before the mural itself. There are plans for having up to 30 utility boxes decorated in the future.
Also at Monday night’s MAC meeting, the council approved a variety of projects.
see MAC on page 15
They gave the go-ahead to some preliminary deigns at the Castro Valley Marketplace at the old Daughtrey’s property.
MAC Chair Marc Crawford said the Marketplace project has the potential to be one of the most exciting in Castro Valley and that he trusted developer Craig Semmelmeyer to guide its future.
“There is a quality above what we’ve experienced in this,” said Crawford. “ I want to give them as much leeway as possible.”
The MAC also unanimously approved a new spa in town called “The Floatery” at 2678 Castro Valley Boulevard. Patrons will float in salt water tubs which, the owners say, have therapeutic properties.
Tangren asked if the business would be subject to similar regulations as massage parlors, some of which have come under fire in Alameda County for illegal practices. She was told that no employees have any physical contact with patrons at The Floatery, so the circumstances are different.
“We haven’t run into any floating prostitutes yet, so it’s not an issue,” said Crawford.
The MAC also unanimously gave the go-ahead to a retailer selling alcohol at 22058 Center Street and an application to continue running a preschool at 20121 Santa Maria Avenue.
Becca Savery Crowned Rowell Ranch Rodeo Queen
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 03-28-18
Becca Savery of Hayward was crowned Miss Rowell Ranch Pro Rodeo Queen on March 17 at the annual rodeo kick-off dinner and queen coronation.
It was a full day of competition for Savery, beginning with horsemanship that morning followed by interviews, impromptu questions and speeches during the evening program.
Savery is a 24-years-old graduate of Hayward High School and Chabot College who currently works in retail management.
She fuels her love for horses and all things western by participating in a number of horse events including gymkhana, barrel racing, team penning and roping.
You’ll often see her running sponsor flags at local rodeos as well, on one of her three horses Bella, Big Chief and Blue. In her spare time she enjoys hunting, training her dog Cali and leather tooling.
Each year, the Rowell Ranch Pro Rodeo Queen Contest is held to select a young woman with the enthusiasm to serve as an ambassador for the Rowell Ranch Pro Rodeo, the sport of professional rodeo and the Castro Valley-Hayward community.
The competition is based on poise, personality, interview skills and horsemanship. Savery will receive more than $1,000 in scholarships and prizes and will represent the Rowell Ranch Pro Rodeo and the community for the coming year at events and rodeos throughout the West.
The 98th Rowell Ranch Pro Rodeo will take place May 18-20 at Rowell Ranch Rodeo Park in Castro Valley. Tickets range in price from $17 to $30. Tickets can also be purchased at the gate the day of the performance. To purchase tickets or for details about how you can take part in the full cowboy experience and a complete calendar of rodeo activities, visit: rowellranchrodeo.com
CAPTION: Becca Savery of Hayward, newly-crowned Rowell Ranch Pro Rodeo Queen.
Women’s Huddle Joins Gun Protest
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 03-21-18
Last Wednesday, members of the Castro Valley Women’s March Huddle gathered at Castro Valley Blvd. and Redwood Road to support students’ positions on gun control. Members included active and retired teachers, healthcare workers, mothers and grandmothers. The participants work together to promote equality, women’s rights, voter participation, and environmental protections through political activism and community service. The group will be participating in the big March for Our Lives rally on Saturday at 1 p.m. in San Francisco’s Civic Center. For information on joining Huddle members for the rally, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
PHOTO COURTESY OF KATHY PADRO
Residents Express Fears of Wildfires At MAC Meeting
By Amy Sylvestri CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 03-21-18
In the aftermath of the deadly fires in Sonoma County last October, some Castro Valley residents are worried that it could happen to them. At Monday night’s Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) meeting, they asked what is being done to prevent it.
“Each dry season, my neighbors and I are really concerned about the possibility of fire,” said John Sullivan, who lives near the Proctor Ridge. “That’s frightening. Could this happen in Castro Valley? Of course it could. All of Castro Valley is vulnerable.”
The Alameda County Fire Department (ACFD) says that the most vulnerable portions of town are along the northern border which is a “fire severity” zone, particularly areas adjacent to Lake Chabot and Anthony Chabot Park. But all of Castro Valley is considered to be in at least “moderate” fire danger during the dry season.
To keep the area as safe as possible, the fire department works in conjunction with the East Bay Regional Parks Fire Department, and the East Bay Municipal Utilities District (EBMUD) which owns much of the parkland.
Sullivan suggested to the MAC and the fire officials in attendance that a fire break along the Ten Hills Trail be widened to create a buffer zone between the residential area and the parks. He added that trees and undergrowth have grown exponentially since he moved into his home 30 years ago and they should be cut back.
“Let’s put everything on the table and together let’s look for a solution,” said Sullivan.
Some measures for preventing fires are enforcing smoking bans in parks, having strict campfire rules, and working with utility companies to make sure equipment is safe. PG&E power lines are thought to have sparked the Santa Rosa fire.
Fire Chief David Rocha said that “fuel management is key” in preventing wildfires — in other words, getting vegetation under control so there is less to burn.
To that end, the parks employ grazing goats to trim grasslands and this week they are bidding out a contract to remove eucalyptus trees from the ridgeline.
EBMUD board member Frank Mellon says that a frustrating thing sometimes occurs when people hear they are chopping trees; the same neighbors who want their homes protected from fire are critical of removing the highly-flammable eucalyptus trees.
“You wouldn’t believe the heat we catch from people about cutting the trees,” said Mellon.
MAC Chair Marc Crawford said the MAC may consider forming a subcommittee on fire safety in the future, but for now EBMUD and the fire department are working on “multi–faceted” plans to protect Castro Valley.
Also at Monday night meeting, the MAC heard an update from the Alameda County Public Works Department on various projects they’ve been working on around town.
The department is still recovering from the 2017 storm season, according to public works director Daniel Woldesenbet.
During the rainy season, they received 380 calls for service and 28 roads were closed.
In Castro Valley, parts of the northern section of Redwood Road remain closed as the road as crumbled down the hillside. Woldesenbet said they hope to have the road open by mid-April but that can’t be guaranteed.
“Every time we try to fix it, it keeps sliding,” said Woldesenbet. “These latest rain events haven’t helped.”
Another big public works project in Castro Valley is the restoration of Cull Creek. The Public Works department is in the process of converting overgrown wetlands into a creek with grasslands surrounding it.
Woldensenbet said people have rightfully said it doesn’t look great in it’s current state, but they still have to go through several rounds of seeding and growth and it will be competed in the summer of 2019.
CVSan Proposes Sewer Pipe Check At the Time Older Homes are Sold
By Ronald P. Williams, Jr.
SPECIAL TO THE FORUM 03-21-18
Castro Valley Sanitary District (CVSan) is seeking public input into a proposed Private Sewer Lateral (PSL) Program designed to reduce the inflow and infiltration (I&I) of rainwater and groundwater into the public sewer system through PSLs serving single-family homes.
A PSL is a pipe that connects a building’s plumbing system to the public sewer main, which is typically located in the middle of a street.
The proposed program would require homeowners to have an inspection of their PSL performed at the time of sale. Once inspected, CVSan would issue a “pass” certificate to homeowners whose PSL doesn’t need to be repaired.
The “pass” certificates would be valid for 10 years. If the PSL is faulty, repair would be required. Homes that are 20 years old or newer or have had a recent lateral replacement would be exempted from the inspection requirement.
The most environmentally responsible and safest sewer infrastructure is a “closed” system, or one which prevents outside water sources from entering the system and wastewater from leaving the system.
Rainwater and groundwater can enter sewer pipes through cracks and/or broken joints, which are primarily caused by root intrusion and deterioration of the pipes due to aging.
This is called inflow and infiltration, or I&I. As is the case in most jurisdictions in California, homeowners within CVSan boundaries own and are responsible for maintenance and repair of the PSL that transports wastewater from their home to the public sewer system, for which CVSan is responsible (Castro Valley Sanitary District Code § 4.110).
During rainy conditions, CVSan experiences a greater than 10-fold increase in sewer flows that end up at the Castro Valley/Oro Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant.
As a result, CVSan is unnecessarily chemically treating infiltrated water. More importantly, this added burden on CVSan’s sewer system creates the potential for sanitary sewer overflows. A sanitary sewer overflow is when untreated sewage flows out of a sewer system before it reaches the treatment plant, creating obvious health and environmental hazards.
Overflows may also result in significant fines levied against CVSan by regulatory authorities.
CVSan works aggressively to maintain its sewer system through regular inspection of its 160 miles of pipelines to identify and repair problems according to the Sanitary Sewer Management Plan which
is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Regional Water Quality Control Board.
As part of CVSan’s long-term plan, the sewer system is fully inspected and maintained in a repeating seven-year cycle.
There is no current inspection program in place for PSLs. While an inspection can be done at any time, homeowners usually learn of problems with their PSL when they experience a backup or failure, which means that infiltration has been seeping into that PSL for some time.
In the U.S., EPA’s State of Technology for Rehabilitation Wastewater Collection Systems (July 2010) EPA/600/R-10/078, PSLs are estimated to contribute about 40 percent of a system’s I&I.
Unfortunately, voluntary compliance with maintenance obligations has been insufficient to maintain CVSan’s closed system. CVSan’s Lateral Replacement Grant Program (LRGP) was implemented in 1998 to encourage inspection and repair of PSLs.
While successful, the LRGP only assists in repairing about 25 PSLs each year.
CVSan has been discussing the I&I problem and possible solutions for many years. Since 2014, CVSan has hosted 15 publicly-noticed meetings that included items related to the I&I problem or the proposed PSL program, including 11 meetings in the past year.
Additionally, CVSan has received input on the program from CVSan’s Community Advisory Committee and local real estate agents. The draft ordinance is now at a stage for public comment.
CVSan will hold a town hall meeting for the community within the next 60 days; the schedule will be posted and published in the Forum.
To learn more about this program, visit www.cvsan.org/PSL.
Public comments can be submitted to Public Outreach Specialist Natalie Croak through email at email@example.com or mailed to ATTN: Natalie Croak, 21040 Marshall Street, Castro Valley, CA 94546.
CVSan remains committed to long-term planning to maintain and continuously improve its sewer system to reduce the risk of sanitary sewer overflows, while keeping rates affordable.
CVSan’s current sewer service charges are 20% lower than the average in Alameda County.
Roland P. Williams, Jr. is General Manager of the Castro Valley Sanitary District.
CV Hummingbird Raises 2 Healthy Babies
By Patrick Vadnais
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 03-14-18
Betty Johns, a resident of Baywood Court Retirement Community in Castro Valley, has a nice view of a hummingbird and her two babies nesting in a downstairs neighbor’s tree.
Her neighbor, Ann, first noticed the nest on Feb. 7 on a branch of a Japanese Maple tree. Another neighbor, Kathleen, also enjoys watching the excitement and is helping by keeping a watchful eye on the nest. The mom had been sitting on the eggs for a couple of weeks, keeping them warm. They hatched around Feb. 24.
The mom occasionally flies off to gather food. She has been very protective, flying back and forth when people come to close.
The babies will eventually test out their wings in preparation for flight (at around three week old). They will then leave the nest.
Mom will continue to feed them for two or three days, while showing them good places to catch bugs and get nectar. She will then chase them off to be on their own and they will never to return to the nest.
Betty enjoys having company stopping by to see the hummingbirds. Her friend Cheryl Lekas took the pictures.
After mating, the female will find a suitable tree branch and construct a nest the size of a golf ball using moss, spider silk, bark, leaves, feathers and other available materials.
Hummingbirds usually lay two eggs – about the size of jellybeans – on two different days. When the eggs hatch, the babies are approximately an inch long long and weigh about a third the weight of a dime. The mother will immediately start searching for food.
Although the adult hummingbirds can live exclusively on nectar, the mom will look for worms, insects, nectar, bugs, and the like for the protein the babies need to grow and develop. The babies must eat often and will die within 4 hours without a food source.
The female hummingbird is the only one that will care for her babies. The male does not assist with any of the child care.
Full grown hummingbirds are approximately 3 to 4 inches in length and weigh 4 to 5 grams. The average life span of a hummingbird is 5 years, but they have been known to live for more than 10 years.more than 10 years.
PHOTO BY CHERYL LEKAS
Sewer Pipe Plan Roils MAC Board
By Amy Sylvestri CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 03-14-18
The Castro Valley Sanitary District is proposing a new lateral pipeline project that could cost Castro Valley homeowners up to $20,000 – an idea that was soundly criticized by the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) at their Monday night meeting.
CVSan has been considering the program for over a decade, according to Roland Williams, the district’s general manager. MAC member Dave Sadoff is on the CVSan board and recused himself from the discussion.
Williams said that the sewer system is overwhelmed in parts of Castro Valley when there is a lot of rain. The issue isn’t sewer water getting out, but rather rain water getting in.
So CVSan is proposing that homeowners pay for repairs to the lateral lines which extend from their homes to the larger municipal pipes.
“We are at the very beginning of the outreach portion (of the possible project),” said Williams. “There haven’t been any decisions about when or if this program will go into effect. These issues will need to be addressed one way or another.”
Williams said the cost of such repairs is around $5,000 for 50 feet of lateral pipe replacement but could range up to as much as $20,000.
The idea proved unpopular with the MAC, as well as some real estate professionals in the audience – one possible part of the proposal was that the lateral repairs be required when homes change ownership.
“When you do a termite inspection, you don’t need a governmental agency getting involved in that,” said MAC Chair Crawford.
Crawford asked if the repairs were being mandated by another agency or authority and Williams said they are not. Crawford was also skeptical of CVSan asking residents to pay for the lateral project when sewer rates in Castro Valley area already higher than other local sanitary districts.
“We pay some of the highest sewer rates around,” said Crawford. “We are already getting hosed. You want to insert your-
see MAC on page 7
selves into the home-selling process and that seems like a gross overreach of government.”
Crawford also said that he did not like the fact that CVSan has already drafted a version of the ordinance before doing public outreach.
David Stark of the Bay East Association of Realtors asked if the lateral repairs were even really necessary or just something CVSan would like done.
“What is the exact problem they are trying to solve?” asked Stark. “Specifically, where are these leaky pipes and how quickly do they need to be repaired.
Bill Mulgrew of the Rental Housing Association of Alameda County said that hitting a homebuyer or seller with an extra bill for thousands of dollars would make Castro Valley less appealing in the real estate market and also felt the lateral repairs may not be necessary.
“It feels like something is sneaking by,” said Mulgrew of the plan.
CVSan has promised to schedule a town hall meeting in April or May to get more input from Castro Valley residents. The date, time, and location are to be determined.
Seniors Send Support to Parkland, Florida Students
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 03-14-18
A group of senior citizens at Castro Valley’s Baywood Court Retirement Community will be sending a message of support to the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a former student gunned down 17 of their classmates on Feb. 14.
“The kids from the high school are so incredibly articulate, we just want to support them,” says Baywood resident Marianna Neil.
The statement, signed by members of the Baywood community, does not take a political stance. Instead, it focuses on a bond the senior citizens want to build with the younger generation. In part, it reads:
“We are elders of this generation. Most of us in our 80’s and 90’s and yes, even in our 100’s. Sometimes we are referred to as the silent generation. But we still have our voices and hearts that hurt when we hear of killings on our soil and within our schools. Some of us have fought in wars along with comrades and friends who did not survive in order to protect our country from senseless killing. You are our youth — our great and great-great grandchildren, our grand nieces and nephews. We feel your loss as our own.”
Students from around the country are participating in numerous walkouts.Watching similar violent scenarios play out over and over has frightened and saddened not only the young, but older generations as well.
“I’m just so afraid every day that when I read the news there will be another one,” says Ruth Haber, President of the Residents’ Association. “We saw the kids with their hands up, signaling to the police they were all right.
“We want to let them know we are far away from them, but we still support them and their “Never Again” movement. They’ve already had some results and we support them in what they have to say.”
The Baywood Court seniors will be sending their statements of support to the students in Parkland, including posters created by residents. They hope to inspire more people to become involved in this important discussion.
CAPTION: A SHOW OF SUPPORT: Members of Baywood Court Retirement Community sign messages of support for the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. A former pupil massacred 17 of their classmates with an assault weapon on Valentine’s Day.
PHOTO BY LINDA SANDSMARK
Three Local Girls Officially Join CV Boy Scout Pack 72
SPECIAL TO THE FORUM 03-07-18
A Castro Valley Boy Scout dinner became part of Scouting history last month when three girls officially accepted their initiation Bobcat badges.
Castro Valley Boy Scout Pack 722 initiated the three female scouts into their Tiger/Webelos 1 Den 9 at the annual Blue and Gold Banquet held on the last Saturday night in February.
Hosted at United Methodist Church this year, the dinner was a birthday party, honoring Scouting and celebrates the founding of Boy Scouts of America in 1910 and Cub Scouts of America in 1930.
Ziva Gorski, a 6-year-old first-grader at Golden Oak Montessori Charter School, as well as two fourth-grade twins, Faith and Hope Hudson, were welcomed into the nearly 90-year-old organization.
The unanimous decision was made last fall to allow girls into the club at the start of the new year.
The Blue and Gold dinner was the first time the girls were officially recognized as members, receiving their badges at the award ceremony along with their fellow male scouts.
Ziva, a Castro Valley resident, is the youngest of 3 children. Her two older brothers are currently members of the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, and their father, Mike Gorski, is a former Boy Scout and a Co/Den leader.
Faith and Hope Hudson are also Castro Valley residents. Their older brother just received his Arrow of Light and is now a Boy Scout. Their father, Derek is a Co/Den leader as well.
Two members of the San Francisco Bay Area Council were also in attendance that night.
“We believe We strive to bring what our organization does best – developing character and leadership for young people – to as many families and youth as possible as we help shape the next generation of leaders,” stated, the
Boy Scouts of America’s Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh has said the Boy Scouts believe “it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children.”
For more information, please contact Kim or Mike Gorski @ 510-828-1352 or 925.998.4387
CAPTION: MAKING LOCAL HISTORY: From left, Ziva Gorski and twins Faith and Hope Hudson, all from Castro Valley, were officially recognized as member of Boy Scout Pack 722 at the annual Blue and Gold dinner February 24 in Castro Valley.
Remembering Internment of Local Japanese Americans
These are all words used to describe the Japanese and Japanese American experience of World War II.
The stories of those that lived through this period, as well as their descendants, are more relevant today than ever, while we as a society still grapple with issues of immigration, race, and discrimination.
“Loyal Americans: Japanese American Imprisonment During World War II” is an exhibition of artifacts and stories of people whose civil rights were violated. Conversely, they also show the courage and bravery of ordinary Americans in extraordinary circumstances.
“Working with the Eden Township Japanese American Citizens League, community members, and speaking directly with the families who were affected by the incarceration has been an amazing experience while heart wrenching at the same time,” says Curator Diane Curry of the Hayward Area Historical Society.
“Their stories are touching, enlightening, and horrible. The atrocious violation of their civil rights is a lesson we can never forget.”
Complementing the exhibition are three programs. The first, on April 14, is a family friendly program celebrating traditional Japanese culture. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., families can participate in making a thousand paper cranes.
The cranes will be displayed in the museum lobby for the duration of the exhibition, and then sent to the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima, Japan to honor those who lost their lives during the atomic bombing in 1945.
The Eden Aoba Taiko group will also be present during the program to demonstrate taiko drumming beginning at 11 a.m.
Then on May 12 at 2 p.m., internees who experienced the prison camps first-hand will share their stories and experiences. A third program focusing on civil liberties is scheduled for Aug. 11.
“Loyal Americans: Japanese American Imprisonment During World War II,” supported by the Eden Township Japanese American Citizens League, will be on display from March 10 through Oct. 28 at the Historical Society’s Museum of History and Culture, 22380 Foothill Blvd. in Hayward, open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
A member’s reception, free to the public, will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. this Friday, March 9, thanks to a generous grant from the Edward E. and Donna L. Martins Foundation.
For more, call 510-581-0223 or visit: HaywardAreaHistory.org.
CAPTION : This farm family awaits evacuation bus at Hayward Plaza. Father and mother immigrated from Japan, and their eleven children were born in the United States. The father operated a small farm, growing tomatoes and berries.
Oakland Ballet’s Spectacle ‘Jangala’ At Center
for the Arts on March 13
By Terry Liebowitz
SPECIAL TO THE FORUM 02-28-18
Dancing wolves, a hungry tiger, a bear, a panther, a hoard of monkeys, a herd of buffalo and a couple of elephants and peacocks are coming to the Castro Valley Center for the Arts on Tuesday, March 13 at 7:00 p.m. to star in the Oakland Ballet’s “Jangala.”
All ages will love this ballet based on Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book.
Because of the Disney film, Jungle Book, most children already know about Mowgli, the lost boy who is adopted by a pack of wolves and must use his wits to survive in the jungle.
The familiar story and the 90 minute length make this a perfect introduction to ballet for families. This is a perfect opportunity for parents and grandparents to introduce their children and grandchildren to classical dance with a twist!
Artistic Director Graham Lustig’s new version of Jungle Book takes place in an urban city and features an all Indian score with classical ragas (improvisational melodies), bhangra (a genre of Punjabi music), and folkloric music from across India.
The combination of classical Indian dance and contemporary ballet is a thrilling spectacle of colors and motion. “Jangala” is the Sanskrit word for jungle.
In addition to “Jangala,” the Oakland Ballet invited Nadhi Thekkek and the Nava Dance Theater to present “The Little Elephant in the Room.” Again, dancing peacocks, flowering foliage and a life-giving river try to convince just one human that the elephant’s home is worth saving.
“I am thankful that the Castro Valley Arts Foundation has chosen to sponsor this wonderful opportunity for families,” said Castro Valley Superintendent of Schools Parvin Ahmadi. “The last two years the Oakland Ballet has held performances during the school day for our students. This is the first time there will be an evening performance so families can attend and enjoy a wonderful ballet.”
Tickets ($20 for all seats) are available at www.cvartsfoundation.org
CAPTION: GET YOUR TICKETS NOW: Oakland Ballet’s “Jangala,” based on Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book, will be performed at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 13, at the Castro Valley Center for the Arts.
Superintendent’s Statement on Castro Valley School Safety
By Parvin Ahmadi CVUSD SUPERINTENDENT 02-28-18
Our thoughts and prayers are with victims and families devastated by the tragedy in Florida.
In light of tragic events involving intruders on school campuses, I want to assure you that student safety is our highest priority. As required by law, our district and school safety plans are comprehensive and include all aspects of school safety.
As a part of our continued efforts to improve safety protocols, last summer all administrators and our law enforcement partners participated in training on new emergency procedures called ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate).
During the next few months, administrators will be training all staff and providing age-appropriate information to students.
In order to improve safety, this past summer we also replaced all portable communication devices and continue to have monthly district-wide radio checks and practices. In addition, as a part of Measure G, all school security cameras are being replaced with new high-resolution cameras.
Social and emotional safety of our students are top priorities for us. In line with the District’s core value of ensuring that every student feels safe and supported in school, we have focused our efforts in promoting empathy, compassion and responsibility through Positive Behavior Intervention System and restorative practices.
Our commitment to students’ social-emotional health is also evident in the Governing Board’s decision not to eliminate elementary school counselors when the federal grant that funded the program was about to sunset. Instead, we worked to re-prioritize expenditures to ensure we continue to have counselors in elementary schools.
Our new Wellness Center (housed in temporary buildings at Castro Valley High School) is another example of the Castro Valley Unified School District’s commitment to the health and safety of students and staff.
We are grateful to voters in Castro Valley for approving Measure G, which includes funding for modernization and construction of new facilities such as the Wellness Center. With support from organizations such as Eden Counseling Services, Axis Community Health, Project Eden, and Alameda County Behavioral Health, we are able to increase counseling services at the Wellness Center.
Parvin Ahmadi is Superintendent of the Castro Valley Unified School District.
Old Library Site's Future in Limbo
By Amy Sylvestri CASTRO VALLEY FORUM
It seemed like a done deal that the old Castro Valley Library site on Redwood Road would be turned into a veterans’ community center, but the county stepped in with an idea to use federal and state money to turn it into veterans’ housing, so now the future of Castro Valley’s second most famous empty building is still up in the air.
At Monday night’s meeting of the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council (MAC), the county’s General Services Agency said there was a lot of liability connected to the building, which has been disused for nearly a decade.
They said federal and state funding was available for veterans’ housing and that perhaps the building should be razed and new apartments constructed with a veterans’ community center on the bottom floor.
The idea wasn’t popular with the MAC, nor the veterans in attendance.
“I’m flabbergasted that a project that everyone was on board with had the rug pulled out on it,” said MAC member Dave Sadoff.
Veteran Mike Martin said that both the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion would be willing to raise funds on their own to get rid of any asbestos, water damage, and other issues necessary to make the building habitable.
“Why can’t we fund it ourselves?” asked Martin.
Ethel Gilmore, who works to find housing for homeless vets and to get them access to care and support, said the library site isn’t the right place for housing, as it’s too small
see MAC on back page
— less than an acre — and too far away from Fremont and Livermore where veterans’ services are located.
“I can’t believe we are going to cram then in,” said Gilmore. “Let’s be fair with them and let’s be fair with the property.”
Neighbor Steve Turner said he would be fine with the veterans’ community center, but there isn’t space there for a multi-story apartment complex and parking garage.
“Yes, there are appropriate times to say ‘not in my backyard,’” said Turner.
MAC Chair Marc Crawford said the MAC doesn’t want to see the old library building torn down.
“I’m not willing to give up on the building and I don’t thing this community is either,” said Crawford.
Crawford said he wants the veterans, the MAC, and the community to talk, and for the matter to come back before the MAC in another month or two.
Discussion of a new use for the old Castro Valley Library is on the agenda of the County Unincorporated Services meeting, tonight (Feb. 28) at 6:30 p.m. at the San Lorenzo Library, 395 Paseo Grande.
At Monday’s MAC meeting, the council also approved the subdivision of a property at 19241 Carlton Ave. into three parcels. The MAC also continued discussion of a number of items including signage at 2806 Castro Valley Blvd, a spa at 2678 Castro Valley Blvd., and the division of a church property at 4779 Heyer Ave. to be discussed at future meetings.
Local ‘Traders Sporting Goods’ to Close Next Month
By Michael Singer CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 02-21-18
Traders Sporting Goods, a longtime, family-owned sporting goods store, is shutting its doors for good after 60 years in the community.
Owner, Mark Cucchiara made the announcement last week in an advertisement that the company will sell off its inventory at its location on Castro Valley Boulevard near Chester Street.
The store specializes in gun safes, ammunition, and supplies for hunting and fishing. Traders has not sold firearms since 2006 and never at its Castro Valley address.
Cucchiara says there were a lot of factors leading him to his decision to shut down. Interacting with his regular customers is one thing 57-year-old Mark says he will miss the most.
“Throughout the years, and all of the customers I’ve dealt with, it’s been a pleasure to help them buy their hunting and camping gear. Because you go back a long ways of time with them and I will miss that,” Cucchiara told the Castro Valley Forum.
A series of obstacles motivated Cucchiara’s decision. Rent has increased substantially on his 1,300-square foot store. Sales are drastically down. Parking in the area is limited to a few spaces on the street, and worst of all, customers often use Traders as a place to try before they buy the same products online, such as on Amazon.com.
“Eight out of 10 of my customers come in and take a look around and then end up buying on Amazon,” Cucchiara says. “I had a player from the Oakland Raiders come in one time and look at a hand-held taser before he took out his phone and purchased it without shipping charges.”
The original Traders Sporting Goods opened in 1958 in San Leandro on East 14th Street near Dutton Avenue. Cucchiara’s father, Tony, faithfully ran the business with his son joining him in 1975.
The store was a central location for hunters and gun enthusiasts. A clerical error in 2006 and new gun restrictions forced the company to eliminate its firearms sales. The store reopened in 2010 after a Castro Valley location was secured.
Ammunition and other items are not as easy to purchase online. New laws take effect in 2019 requiring a background check on purchases of ammo, so Cucchiara is hoping to sell his stock quickly.
Reminiscing about his business in Castro Valley, Cucchiara says he was not as negatively influenced by the street improvement projects on the Boulevard. However, closure of the Castro Valley Gun Club and shifting attitudes of younger people towards camping have hurt his bottom line.
“Younger customers are interested in fishing and hunting, but mostly because they are accompanying a parent or grandparent,” Cucchiara says.
Cucchiara says it will be nice to have his weekends back again after the store closes. He adds that he might even take his own fishing trip. Traders is expected to hold its final sales the week of March 5.
CAPTION:Purchasing equipment online and shifting attitudes about outdoor sports among younger people have resulted in the closure of Traders after a 60-year history in sporting