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 goods.
PHOTO BY FRED ZEHNDER
Shared Parking Lot Grand Opening
After months of construction, Castro Valley celebrated the Grand Opening of the Shared Parking and Paseos project at 3295 Castro Valley Boulevard yesterday afternoon. Despite the wintry cold, more than a hundred people turned out for the brief ceremonies and ribbon-cutting, which featured Community Development Agency Director Chris Bazar, County Supervisor Nate Miley and Kathy Knudsen. The $4.8-million retain revitalization projects creates a parking lot from the western entrance of the Daughtrey’s building to Wilbeam Avenue, with parking, lighting and landscaping extending behind the Ice Creamery building and other stores.
Shimizu Named To Hall of Fame
By Amy Sylvestri CASTRO VALLEY FORUM 02-14-18
Winda Shimizu of Castro Valley has been named one of 13 leaders to be inducted into the 2018 Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame. This year marks the 25th anni-versary of the creation of the Hall of Fame, which recognizes the con-tributions that women make in the community. Inductees are selected in a vari-ety of areas, including education, law and justice, philanthropy, ath- Winda Shimizu letics, and technology. Shimizu will be inducted for her contributions to culture and art. In addition to creating her own photographic art, Shimizu has expanded arts programming in Castro Valley schools and created scholarship programs to promote local artists. Shimizu is the executive director of the Hayward Arts Council and is also on the Board of Directors of the Castro Valley Education Foundation. She is the chair of a creative writing workshop for middle and high school students at the Castro Valley Library and she has promoted poetry shows for students in the Castro Valley School District. Shimizu’s photography has been exhibited at the Adobe Art Gallery, the Foothill Gallery, and Hayward City Hall. Shimizu and her fellow honorees will be inducted into the Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame at a luncheon and awards ceremony on March 24, at 12:30 p.m. at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 4700 Lincoln Avenue, Oakland. Tick-ets to the event are available at www.acgov.org/whof/.
CAPTION: Winda Shimizu
Eden Award 2018 Honorees
Some 180 guests were on hand Saturday evening for the Castro Valley/Eden Area Chamber of Commerce gala Eden Awards for 2018 held at Redwood Canyon Golf Course. From left, Ala-meda County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Swalwell who received the “First Responder of the Year” award; Dr. Heidi Hausauer, who was named “Volunteer of the Year”; Maria Leyson who received the Castro Valley School District’s “Teacher of the Year” honors; and, representing the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District, Board President Carol Pereira and General Manager Paul McCreary accepted the “Business Organization of the Year” award. Not pictured was Dawn Wilson, the San Lorenzo School District “Teacher of the Year,” who was unable to attend. One of the evening’s highlights was Congressman Eric Swalwell who flew in for the event to pay tribute to younger brother Jacob and all first responders who put their lives on the line every day. Castro Valley Rotary President Jim Negri was master of ceremonies for the evening.
PHOTO BY CATHY BRESLOW OF BRESLOW IMAGING
CVSan’s First Fruit Gleaning Harvests 823 Pounds of Citrus
Last Tuesday, as a part of Zero Waste Week 2018, CVSan organized a community tree fruit gleaning and harvesting of local citrus trees bursting with extra fruit.
Thirteen volunteers of all ages worked hard last Tuesday afternoon to save fruit that would otherwise have become waste.
Thanks to nine Castro Valley homeowners who opened their yards to the volunteers, a total of 823 pounds of juicy and sweet oranges, grapefruits, and lemons were saved during the two-hour harvest and delivered to the Castro Valley Food Pantry at Faith Lutheran Church.
There is more citrus still out there for saving and donating. If other members of the community would like to organize their own fruit gleaning, they should contact CVSan at firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
For more information on CVSan’s Zero Waste Week or Green Hearts Volunteer Program, visit www.cvsan.org/ZeroWaste or www.cvsan.org/GreenHearts.
CAPTION: The volunteer crew of tree fruit gleaners for Zero Waste Week picked lower fruit by hand while others used CVSan’s telescoping fruit pickers during last week’s harvest. More than 800 pounds of fresh citrus fruits were picked by volunteers from the yards of nin Castro Valley homeowners.
Wake the Dead – A Scotch/Irish Twist to Music of Grateful Dead
By Terry Liebowitz
SPECIAL TO THE FORUM 02-14-18
Next up in the Castro Valley Arts Foundation 2017-18 Series is Wake the Dead, Saturday, February 24, at 7:30 p.m. at the Castro Valley Center for the Arts.
Explaining the curious title, their tagline is: “A Celtic Celebration of the Grateful Dead.”
Rock grooves, fiery reels, achingly beautiful melodies, they put an Irish/Scottish twist to the music of The Grateful Dead!
Wake the Dead was born in 2000 when Cindy Browne (double bass), Danny Caranahan (vocals, octave mandolin, guitar fiddle), Kevin Carr (fiddle, uilleann pipes, penny whistle), Sylvia Herold (vocals, guitar), Paul Kotapish (vocals, mandolin) and Brian Rice (hand percussion) got together to create a brand-new sound.
When Wake the Dead released their first album, Grateful Dead Records took one listen and immediately signed the band, selling 25,000 copies of the CD and booked Wake the Dead at the Fillmore.
Since then they regularly play at Freight and Salvage in Berkeley.
Whether you are new to the Grateful Dead’s songs “Sugar Tree,” “Bertha,” “China Cat,” “Bird Song,” or you remember them with nostalgia, this will be a special evening.
Arts Foundation President Mary Ann De Grazia says, “Think Irish wake—a rollicking good time!” Go to www.cvartsfoundation.org for tickets.
Terry Liebowitz is a founding member of the Castro Valley Arts Foundation.
CAPTION: Wake the Dead will perform at the CV Center for the Arts at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24.
Info Night Tomorrow For TK, Kindergarten
The Castro Valley School District will hold a parent information night from 6 to 7 p.m. tomorrow in the District Board Room, 4400 Alma Ave., for children entering Transitional Kindergarten.
Transitional Kindergarten, commonly referred to as TK, is a publicly funded program for 4-year-olds who turn 5 between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2, and is designed to be a bridge between preschool and kindergarten.
To allow younger siblings of current students to enroll in the same school, the district has arranged a priority sibling enrollment period for the upcoming year that will run from Feb. 22 to Feb. 28 for district residents.
Enrollment for new TK and Kindergarten students begins on Thursday, March 1.
To enroll a student for Kindergarten or TK for the 2018-19 school year, follow the instructions found on the Enrollment tab at www.cv.k12.ca.us.
Mission to Mars
‘Landing’ in Castro Valley in 2 weeks
• CASTRO VALLEY FORUM • 2-07-18
Pascal Lee is almost a Martian. He likely knows the Red Planet as well as any Earth-bound human.
Dr. Lee is a planetary scientist who is internationally recognized for his study of Martian water, of Mars’ moons, and of future human voyages to Mars.
On Wednesday, Feb. 21, two weeks from today – Dr. Lee will present “Mission: Mars—Toward the First Human Journey to the Red Planet” at Castro Valley’s Center for the Arts.
This free lecture/adventure is sponsored by three community organizations: Castro Valley Education Foundation (cvef.org), Castro Valley Science (cvscience.us), and Wonderfest (wonderfest.org). To learn more and to register, visit: bit.ly/go-mars.
Dr. Lee, is also Chairman of the Mars Institute, Senior Scientist at the SETI Institute, and Director of NASA’s Haughton-Mars Project.
To fully secure that “almost Martian” title, Dr. Lee has led over 30 expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctica to study the Red Planet by comparison with Earth.
Dr. Lee’s personal history is almost as interesting as his explorations. Born in Hong Kong, he lived in France as a child. As a teenager, Lee already had his eyes on the stars.
He pursued amateur astronomy and read every book he could on space travel as he earned his bachelor’s in physics and masters in geology from the University of Paris.
Lee earned an astronomy PhD from Cornell, working with Prof. Joseph Veverka, a pioneer in robotic exploration of the solar system.
During that time, Cornell was also home to world-renowned astronomer Carl Sagan. Lee became the legendary science popularizer’s very last teaching assistant.
Lee’s work at NASA’s Ames Research Center and SETI takes him to the Arctic every summer to Devon Island, one of the most Mars-like places on Earth.
Recently, Dr. Lee led the Northwest Passage Drive Expedition along the fabled Arctic Northwest Passage. This daring adventure, a glimpse into what a future Martian road trip might be like, is the subject of the award-winning documentary film Passage To Mars, released to much acclaim in 2016.
As great explorers go, they often have a trusty companion. Lewis had Clark, Armstrong had Aldrin, and Kirk had Spock. Lee is no exception, for his sidekick is his trusted dog, King Kong, who bravely accompanies him to every hostile and desolate place, from pole to pole… and, at talks.
In his scarce free time, Dr. Lee likes to be walked by his dog, to paint, and fly helicopters. He is an FAA certified flight instructor on rotorcraft, which he views as analogous to future Mars exploration craft.
At the upcoming community presentation of “Mission: Mars,” Dr. Lee will discuss progress made around the world — from the Arctic to Antarctica, from basement labs to the International Space Station — in preparing for humanity’s first voyage to Mars.
Dr. Lee will also sign copies of his first book, “Mission: Mars,” winner of the 2015 Prize for Excellence in children’s science books from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Tucker Hiatt, a former high school physics teacher, is the Executive Director of the nonprofit, Wonderfest – Bay Area Beacon of Science. For more information and photos of Mars, visit mars.nasa.gov
‘ Trails Challenge’ Marks 25th Year
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM • 02-07-18
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the East Bay Regional Park District’s signature outdoor activity program, Trails Challenge.
aunched in 1993 to get East Bay residents moving outdoors and exploring their trails, the program makes it easy for hikers of all abilities to get to know and love their Regional Parks.
“The 2017 Trails Challenge was great,” said 2017 participant Diane Petersen. “I’ve been hiking at the same park (Mission Peak) forever and Trails Challenge got me out to other amazing parks in the region.”
“My pups especially liked the Trails Challenge because they got to go to new parks with new sniffs!” added Petersen.
To complete the 2018 Trails Challenge, participants need to hike a marathon’s length of trails (26.2 miles) or at least five of the 20 designated hikes in the Trails Challenge guidebook.
“Trails Challenge is about people connecting with nature,” said David Zuckermann, the district’s recreation services manager. “Hiking is one of the best ways people can enjoy our Regional Parks.”
Each year, a new Trails Challenge guidebook highlights 20 different trails throughout the parks. From shorelines to ridgetops, there is something for everyone.
handy matrix helps readers choose from easy, medium or challenging hikes, and to identify trails accessible to wheelchair users, and those that allow dogs, bikes or horses.
articipation in Trails Challenge is easy – simply visit www.ebparks.org/TrailsChallenge to download the guidebook and get started. No online registration is required. Free printed guidebooks and T-shirts are also available at participating Visitor Centers while supplies last.
see TRAILS on page 15
Participants who complete the challenge and turn in their log by December 1 will receive a commemorative Trails Challenge pin.
This year, all 20 featured trails are featured on the free mobile app AllTrails. Download the app, sign-up and log in, then go to: alltrails.com/lists/trails-challenge-2018 and click on “Copy to my lists.” Then click “Continue in App.” The featured trails will show under ‘Lists’ in ‘Plan.’
The 2018 featured hikes include these nearby parks: Cull Canyon Regional Recreation Area and the Lake Chabot Regional Park, both in Castro Valley, Crown Memorial State Beach in Alameda, Garin/Dry Creek Pioneer Regional Parks in Hayward, Dublin Hills Regional Park in Dublin, Tilden Regional Park in the Berkeley/Orinda Hills, and Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve in Oakland.
CAPTION: Diane Petersen of Hayward, a participant in the 2017 Trails Challenge, at Garin Regional Park.
EAST BAY REGIONAL PARK DISTRICT PHOTO
CV Volunteers and Chamber Honored
The Hayward Area Recreation District (HARD) has recognized two Castro Valley men – Veterinarian Rene Gandolfi and activist Billy Bradford – for their volunteer contributions to the community during the past year.
Dr. Gandolfi, a volunteer for HARD since 1987, has logged over 3,100 hours in helping with the care of the more than 100 resident animals at Sulphur Creek as well as the 700 injured, sick, and orphaned native wildlife that are brought in for rehabilitation each year.
He has shared his veterinary skills free of charge and is always on call for a variety of services including surgeries, X-rays, pathology tests, and general exams.
Billy Bradford has volunteered for HARD’s Senior Adult Programs for the past three years. He is founder of “Castro Valley Pride,” a community event to raise awareness and promote equality for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender people.
see HARD on back page
Bradford also operates “Bad Business Model Bikes” out of his Castro Valley garage where he acquires used bikes, refurbishes them, and then gives them to those in need. He has not tracked how many bikes he has given away or how much money he has spent, but he says he loves what he does.
The district also paid special recognition to the Castro Valley/Eden Area Chamber of Commerce and to CAHR, a nonprofit organization founded 45 years ago to enrich the lives of those with intellectual disabilities which was forced to dissolve in 2015 for financial reasons.
The Castro Valley/Eden Area Chamber, which serves Ashland, Cherryland and San Lorenzo besides Castro Valley, was honored for its sponsoring of a variety of positive programs to area residents and partnering with HARD on many others.
In addition, HARD recognized the Hayward Junior Giants Program, and named Christina Sonas as Volunteer of the Year.
CAPTION: Dr. Gandolfi - Billy Bradford
Chamber Installs Leaders for 2018
A large crowd was on hand last Thursday evening at the Moose Lodge for the installation of the Castro Valley/Eden Area Board of Directors for 2018. The new officers were sworn in by Assemblymember Bill Quirk. Shown from left, Hans Cho, Bryan Daylor (Treasurer), Kathy Anderson, Sandra Macias, Bill Mulgrew, Julie Sumiki, Captain Marty Neideffer, Zelma Byrd, David Gehrke (Vice President), Assemblymember Quirk, Peter Rosen (Vice President), Tim Castle (Board President), Cindy Torres (Vice President) and Brian Morrison (Vice President).
PHOTO BY FRED ZEHNDER
County ‘In Good Health Financially’
BY AMY SYLVESTRI • CASTRO VALLEY FORUM • 1-31-18
Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley discussed a range of local issues — everything from homelessness to mattresses being dumped on the side of the road — during a live-streamed “State of the District” speech online last week.
On the county’s $3.1 billion budget, which had a $108 million deficit this fiscal year, Miley lamented that for every dollar of property tax, the county only gets 15 cents, so the county depends on state and federal money for most of its funding.
That federal funding could be jeopardized, he said, if the county doesn’t cooperate with the Trump administration on issues like immigration enforcement. But Miley said that he was committed to continuing to provide services for the county’s immigrant population.
“We’re doing that irrespective of what’s happening on the federal level,” he told viewers.
Despite the large budget gap, Miley said the county is in “good health financially” and unemployment remains low.
He criticized Trump’s tax plan, but said it remains to be seen how much it will affect his constituents.
“I’m hoping that this doesn’t have a significant impact on the county, but we’ll see how it plays out,” said Miley.
He promoted a proposed $140 million county sales tax on the June ballot which would fund early childhood education programs.
witching gears, Miley said that Alameda County is in “the sports biz” despite the ongoing issue of a new stadium for the A’s and the impending departure of the Warriors and Raiders. He wants to keep the A’s at the Coliseum and he’d like to see an expansion football team return to Oakland.
Miley said affordable housing needs to be a priority in his district and discussed the feasibility of 200-square-foot tiny homes as one solution.
“I’d live in a tiny home, it’s like living in a dormitory” said Miley, who went on to call the lack of affordable housing and increasing homelessness a “crisis that needs immediate attention.”
Miley named helping seniors, violence prevention, and making sure the unincorporated areas are fairly represented in county governance as areas he’ll focus on in 2018.
Finally, Miley talked about recreational marijuana, saying the county will have to develop regulations concerning delivery, cultivation, and other factors, now that recreational use has become legal.
“We aren’t naive enough to think that there won’t be issues associated with cannabis,” said Miley, but he said it should be regulated like alcohol and cigarettes.
The Board of Supervisors is creating a public awareness campaign called “weed can wait” to discourage young people from using pot before they are 21.
Miley said the main take away from his talk is that the people of District 4 – which includes Castro Valley, Ashland, Cherryland and parts of Oakland – should get involved in local government and shouldn’t hesitate to call his office at 272-6694 with any issue.
“Get involved and get engaged,” said Miley. “We can’t do this on our own.”
The entire speech can be seen at facebook.com/pg/SupervisorMiley
Neighbors Want to Keep l-Way Barrier On Gary Drive
BY AMY SYLVESTRI • CASTRO VALLEY FORUM • 1-31-18
A standing-room-only crowd at the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) meeting Monday night heard an update from the county on the one-way closure of Gary Drive, and changes coming to some Caltrans-owned parcels.
At the intersection of Strobridge Drive and Gary Avenue, there is a concrete island and two “Do Not Enter” signs that prevent people from turning left from the I-580 exit and into a residential area. It blocks only one lane and traffic can flow in the opposite direction, allowing people to leave the area.
The barrier was erected in 2005 and was originally going to be temporary. The county’s Public Works Agency told the audience that opening up the other lanes would help with traffic circulation and the county does not typically put restrictions on a public street.
But most of the residents who addressed the MAC want the barrier to remain. It might add several minutes to their commute time by forcing them to use a longer route around the barrier, but it also prevents thousands of drivers from using their neighborhood as a short cut.
When the barrier was put up, a traffic study estimated that 4,000 cars per day were using the route. Now, with
see MAC on page 7
web apps like Waze, drivers know about shortcuts and residents said they fear there would be even more traffic.
“This road is not built for that kind of capacity,” said Hobert Street resident Derek Hudson. “It’s inconvenient for all of us that live there but we’re the ones that have to live there and we prefer it (the barrier). I’d rather take three or four extra minutes driving and have our neighborhood.”
The MAC directed the Public Works Department to look at some alternative solutions, perhaps moving the barrier to past Strobridge Elementary School so residents would have a bit more freedom of movement, but people still couldn’t use it as a thoroughfare.
“I see no reason at all to remove a bypass before we find a solution for the neighborhood,” said MAC member Chuck Moore. “The convenience of commuters shouldn’t outweigh the homeowners.”
The MAC also heard about the future of several parcels of land owned by Caltrans located near I-238.
In the 1970s, Caltrans planned a I-238 bypass expansion and purchased 400 parcels in the vicinity of Castro Valley and Hayward. The project was eventually abandoned and the properties have been sold off. Just 10 remain, including two that encompass parts of Castro Valley.
Hayward City Manager Kelly McAdoo said that by 2022, Hayward will create a master plan to determine desirable uses for the property from input they are currently getting from residents. McAdoo said that additional housing has been one idea.
Speakers said they were concerned about new construction affecting their views, disturbing wildlife, and bringing more crowding and traffic to the area.
MAC Chair Marc Crawford was also critical, saying the sale of the property would be a “sweetheart deal” for the city of Hayward, as they are the property owners and would be in the position of approving developers and profiting from the developments.
Crawford said that, going forward, he’d like to have a discussion about whether some profits from the sale of the property could be earmarked for Castro Valley.
“There should be some sort of benefit for Castro Valley,” said Crawford.
White Stripes to Be Painted on Stanton Avenue
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM • 01-31-18
The Alameda County Public Works Agency has been actively seeking innovative solutions to the long-standing issue of vehicles parked on dirt pathways or unimproved sidewalks.
These blocked pathways force pedestrians to walk into streets to maneuver around the obstacles.
As part of a new pilot program, the Public Works Agency will be installing white line striping in gutter areas to better define the area intended for use by pedestrians.
This first installment of white edge-line striping will appear along Stanton Avenue, between Castro Valley Boulevard and Somerset Avenue. Other locations in Castro Valley are also being evaluated for consideration.
A longer-term solution for Stanton Avenue is also in the works. After securing grant funding for sidewalk installation, the Public Works Agency has started preliminary design activities for sidewalks along Stanton Ave. between Castro Valley Blvd. and Miramar Avenue.
More information on the conceptual design will be available this spring.
For more on the edge line striping, contact the Maintenance and Operations Department at 510-670-5500.
Women’s March 2018
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM • 01-24-18
Hundreds of women and men from Castro Valley joined a rally of an estimated 50,000 people at the Alameda County Court House Saturday morning for a march through Oakland in support of women’s rights and against the Trump administration. The energetic audience heard women speakers and joined in song with the Oakland folk group Emma’s Revolution. This was just one of scores of rallies and marches in towns and cities across the United States marking the anniversary of the nationwide Women’s March in DC against the incoming president last year. The Oakland march ended at Frank Ogawa Plaza with a “Call to Action” by a number of women’s advocacy groups. PHOTOS BY DAWN MARTIN
Chamber Announces 2018 Eden Awards
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM • 01-24-18
The Castro Valley/ Eden Area Chamber of Commerce has announced this year’s selections for the 2018 Eden Area Awards.
Alameda County Deputy Sheriff Jacob Swalwell was named “First Responder of the Year,” Dr. Heidi Hausauer will receive the “Volunteer of the Year” award, Maria Leyson was named Castro Valley School District “Teacher of the Year,” Dawn Wilson will receive the San Lorenzo School District’s “Teacher of the Year” award, and the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District will be awarded the “Business Organization of the Year.”
A celebration of the honorees will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, February 10, at Redwood Canyon Golf Course, 17007 Redwood Road, in Castro Valley.
The gala evening will include dinner, desserts and silent auction.
For tickets ($75), please visit: edenareachamber.com.
First of BART’s New Railcars Make Debut
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM • 01-24-18
Ten new BART train cars made their debut Friday morning with first customers boarding at MacArthur Station for the inaugural passenger run.
The first riders seemed most impressed by how clean the new cars were. But they also liked a whole list of other improvements including quieter rides because of new, tapered wheels, better air conditioning, and more comfortable padded seats.
The most notable difference is that the new cars have three doors on each side instead of two which will allow for quicker on-and-off boarding.
That’s important because BART is working towards carrying more passengers in the future. Since 2012, when 775 new rail cars were ordered, ridership has grown 14 percent. Train routes are color-coded to match the BART system map, and next-stop
information is readily available on digital screens and easier-to-understand recorded announcements.
Another 10 new cars are awaiting final testing on the system before being put into service.
CAPTION: BART’s new cars made their first passenger run Friday.
SHOTS SCREEN SHOTS FROM BART VIDEO
CV Rock Legend to Have Day in Honor
BY AMY SYLVESTRI • CASTRO VALLEY FORUM • 1-24-18
Cliff Burton, the Castro Valley native who went on to become a bassist for the heavy metal band Metallica before dying in an accident at the age of 24, will have a day named in his honor.
The Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) voted unanimously at their Monday night meeting to make Feb. 10 (Burton’s birthday) “Cliff Burton Day.”
The proclamation will now go to the Alameda County Board of Supervisor for approval.
Burton was 20 years old when he joined Metallica and played with them until his death in September of 1986. He was killed when the band’s tour bus crashed in Sweden.
Burton was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009 and has been named one of the top ten greatest bassists of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.
Currently, a small plaque commemorates Burton at Marshall Elementary School, where he attended before graduating from Castro Valley High, but the MAC felt Burton deserves further recognition
“I think (the proclamation) is a great idea,” said MAC member Linda Tangren. “If I didn’t say it was a great idea, my older daughter would come after me.”
AC Chair Marc Crawford said he couldn’t recall the MAC making any other proclamations naming days after notable Castro Valley figures and said they were “breaking new ground” in honoring Burton.
Also at Monday night’s MAC meeting, the council heard from the county’s Community Development Agency about the state’s new regulations for “accessory dwelling units.”
Sometimes called in-law units, these structures are add-ons to existing homes. They are becoming more popular as soaring real estate costs are forcing people to consider alternative housing solutions in the Bay Area.
The state of California is making a push to make it easier for people to build accessory dwelling units by cutting through some red tape and streamlining the application process, explained Christina Horrisberger, a senior planner with the county.
“The state wants more leniency rather than more restrictions,” said Horrisberger.
The MAC expressed concerns about parking as well as the visual impact of more structures on smaller pieces of land.
“It leaves a bad taste in my mouth,” said Tangren. “It’s not that I don’t understand the need for more housing, but it’s our local communities that are going to be affected.”
Crawford said that “not in my backyard” views are when the state stepped in to change the process in the first place.
“Overly restrictive attitudes are why the state is taking action,” said Crawford.
Changes to the current policies governing the specifications of creating accessory dwelling units will now go to the Board of Supervisors for approval in the next few months.
The MAC also unanimously approved two land uses – the construction of a 2,950-square-foot single family home at 5922 Jensen Road, and an application to allow up to 51 children at a child care facility at 20166 Wisteria Street.
CAPTION: Castro Valley native Cliff Burton will have a day named in his honor
Martin Luther King Day 2018
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM • 01-17-18
A crowd of about 200 gathered at Hayward City Hall Plaza for a rally and march on Monday morning to celebrate Civil Rights Leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Others spent the day in community service projects cleaning up and restoring waterways around the Bay Area.
PHOTO BY FRED ZEHNDER
Smalltown Society: Popular Hang-Out for Artists, Musicians, Community Advocates
BY LINDA SANDSMARK • CASTRO VALLEY FORUM • 01-17-18
If you’ve wondered what’s in the little storefront to the left of Trader Joe’s grocery, the Smalltown Society invites you to drop by and take a look.
The space welcomes anyone in the community who wants to make our area a better place — especially artists, musicians, and advocacy groups.
“It started with my band called Smalltown Society, where we were writing songs about the various social issues we saw in the community,” says lead curator Paul Keim. “After the band recorded an album, I turned to my wife and said, ‘I don’t think we’re done here.’ ”
First Presbyterian Church provided the space next to Trader Joe’s for this new type of community outreach, which now includes daytime and evening activities.
Smalltown Society hosts a variety of events, including speakers, films, forums, rehearsal and performance space, and artists’ workspace.
“We want to foster and highlight more beauty and justice in the community. Volunteers are keeping the doors open every Wednesday through Friday.
Every Thursday night we have an open door session, which is like a community living room. We hope more people will come. And they can get snacks and drinks next door at Trader Joe’s,” says Keim with a smile.
When he first took on the role of lead curator/community organizer, Keim thought it best just to listen to the hopes and issues brought up by people in the community.
He discovered an impressive and diverse array of talented and knowledgeable locals, including a variety of artists and people doing advocacy work.
The space’s calendar is now full of events, and may be viewed online at www.smalltownsociety.com. Of special interest may be “The Lab” (musician/poet workshop) next Tuesday, Jan. 23, and a writers’ workshop with local author Mark Vaz on Feb. 9.
Hours for the Smalltown Society space are 9 to 5, Wednesdays and Fridays, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays. Additional events are also held outside those days.
Questions about the gathering space may be directed to email@example.com.
CAPTION: This space next to Trader Joe’s in Castro Valley houses the Smalltown Society Space, a popular spot for local artists and advocates to hold their meet-ups.
PHOTO BY LINDA SANDSMARK
Miley to Deliver Virtual ‘State ofDistrict’ Speech
Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, whose District 4 extends from East Oakland through Castro Valley and into Pleasanton, will deliver a virtual “State of the District” address on his priorities for 2018 online at 6:30 p.m. next Tuesday, Jan. 23. The live-streaming speech will be available at www.facebook.com/pg/SupervisorMiley.
Yet Another Hazard for Pedestrians
BY JIM KNOWLES • CASTRO VALLEY FORUM • 01-17-18
You’re about to step off the sidewalk and cross the street.
You remember the old adage: make eye contact with the driver, so you know that they see you before you step in front of a car.
But how do you do that when so many cars have tinted windows?
A lot of cars these days have their driver’s side windows darkened. All you see is a blackened window. Do you step in front of a 4,000-pound motor vehicle when the driver could be looking the other way, or at their phone?
To not be able to see the driver puts a person walking in jeopardy, and that’s why there is a law against tinting the front windows (the driver’s side and passenger’s side windows).
It’s okay to darken the backseat windows, but not the front ones.
But it turns out that law doesn’t do much because more and more cars have tinted windows that hide the driver. Safety organizations and law enforcement don’t exactly have window tinting as a top priority.
It is against the vehicle code to have the front driver side or passenger side windows tinted, said Chris Cochran, spokesman for the California Office of Traffic Safety.
“I agree it would be hard to catch the eye of someone behind a front driver side tinted window,” Cochran said.
Cochran said that’s about as far as his knowledge on the subject goes. He added that enforcement is up to each law enforcement agency.
The National Safety Council said they aren’t familiar with any studies on window
tinting and pedestrian safety, and that accident reports don’t track window tinting.
After asking their road safety experts, the consensus was that window tinting was not an issue that the National Safety Council has been involved with, said the NSC’s spokesperson Tatyana Warrick.
Law enforcement uses their own discretion when enforcing the laws, Warrick said. With pedestrian fatalities, the NSC looks at speed, distraction and impairment, which are also the primary causes of motor vehicle fatalities, she said.
The National Safety Council has seen an influx of pedestrian and other “vulnerable road user” fatalities over the past two years, Warrick added. But it’s not know if the increase is caused by tinted windows.
Police issue tickets for illegally tinted car windows, though it’s difficult to determine just how often.
It would be hard to get the number of tickets written for tinted windows, said San Leandro police spokesman Isaac Benabou.
But it is a citable offense, he added.
“It’s a violation of the vehicle code,” Benabou said. “It’s a citable offense. We do enforce it, but it would be up to the officer’s discretion whether or not to issue a ticket.”
Castro Valley Sisters Achieve The Status of ‘All American’
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM • 01-10-18
Anna and Maya Dughi of Castro Valley recently competed in the USA Track & Field Cross-Country Nationals in Tallahassee, Florida. Anna, at left in both pictures, placed 8th out of 302 of the fastest 9-10 year-old girls in the nation with her sister Maya placing 14th.
Ten-year-old sisters Anna and Maya Dughi of Castro Valley traveled to Florida last month to compete in the USA Track & Field Cross-Country Nationals in Tallahassee.
Anna placed 8th out of 302 of the fastest 9-10 year-old girls in the nation.
To get a feel for the pace, the winner averaged 5:47 minutes per mile for the 1.86 mile (3 km) course – a track star at most high schools. Anna averaged 6:01 minutes per mile for a total time of 11:14 min.
This is Anna’s 3rd “All American” title (top 25) for cross-country. She also received a special award for 3 undefeated regular seasons.
However, this was really Maya Dughi’s race, easily achieving the goal of her first “All American” title by placing 14th.
She exceeded her own expectations, averaging 6:09 minutes per mile for a final time of 11:28, not far behind Anna.
Even more impressive, she passed three girls in the final 30 meters by maintaining focus and determination to the end!
The girls, who attend Independent Elementary School, are the daughters of Garland and Bruce Dughi of Castro Valley.
New Library Program Will Celebrate Reading and Community Discussion
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM • 01-10-18
The Castro Valley Library will kick off its first annual Castro Valley Reads on Sunday, Jan. 21, from 2 to 3:00 p.m.
Following the lead of successful city-wide “read” programs from across the country, the library is seeking to get as many people as possible to read and discuss the same book.
The idea is to celebrate reading, great literature, and to build community through a thoughtful exchange of ideas.
“A library is at its best when it is promoting community engagement through excellent programming,” said Dawn Balestreri, branch manager.
“With Castro Valley Reads we want to answer the questions: What would happen if everyone in Castro Valley read the same book? What could we learn from each other? What could we learn together? We hope you’ll join us and find out!”
The 2018 book selection is the best-selling memoir, Lab Girl, a book about science and the environment by acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren.
Lab Girl is the witty and moving coming-of-age story of an American geo-biologist. Jahren has spent her life studying plants, seeds and soil to learn about our environment both past and present. A fierce advocate for funding scientific research, she wants all of us to be good stewards of the green things on this earth.
This book is also about her life, the ups and downs she’s experienced on her journey to becoming an award-winning scientist, and her quirky friendship with her lab partner Bill.
Jahren is the winner of many prestigious awards, including three Fulbright Awards, and is the only woman to have won both Young Investigator Medals given within the earth sciences.
After she finished graduate school at UC Berkeley, she built four labs from scratch including the one she now leads in Norway.
Her book was called one of the best books of 2016 by The Washington Post, The New York Times, NPR, Slate, Time, and Entertainment Weekly. She is a great writer who is serious about her work, open about her life, all while employing a wicked sense of humor.
The Kick Off on Jan. 21 you’ll hear dramatic readings from Castro Valley High School students, sign up for a book discussion, get a free copy of the book, and learn how you can get a special invitation to meet Hope Jahren.
The celebration continues throughout February and March with many special Castro Valley Reads programs.
If you can’t make the Kick Off, come to the Library after Jan. 21 to sign up for a discussion. Free copies of Lab Girl are available while supplies last.
Castro Valley Reads is generously funded by the Friends of the Castro Valley Library.
CAPTION: Acclaimed scientist and author Hope Jahren, above, with her lab partner Bill. Jahren’s best-selling memoir “Lab Girl” has been selected by the CV Library to kick off a new program called “Castro Valley Reads” on Sunday, Jan. 21. Those who sign up will get a free copy of the book to read and share its ideas with others in the community.
Update on ‘Castro Valley Marketplace’
BY AMY SYLVESTRI • CASTRO VALLEY FORUM • 1-10-18
The Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) got an update Monday night on the much-anticipated “Castro Valley Marketplace” project at the old Daughtrey’s site.
Developer Craig Semmelmeyer presented some drawings of the exterior and also told the MAC that he has successfully leased out over half of the space.
Semmelmeyer first proposed the grocery store concept to the MAC back in February of 2017 and he was selected as a the developer in June.
“It’s been almost a year since I first came to the MAC and we’ve accomplished so much,” said Semmelmeyer. “It’s really been an amazing year.”
MAC member Dave Sadoff commended Semmelmeyer for getting so much of the property leased so early. Tenants will include the
grocery store, a restaurant, and a yoga studio.
“It’s got success written all over it,” said Sadoff.
Semmelmeyer showed plans for a terracotta-colored building with yellow stripes at the corners, which the MAC said was a bit bold. But council members also said they weren’t interested in holding up the project’s progress over cosmetic issues.
“The last thing we want to do is stall this project over a paint color,” said MAC member Ken Carbone.
Semmelmeyer said that the store front designs will come back before the MAC for approval in the near future.
MAC chair Marc Crawford said that a tremendous amount of time and effort has gone into ensuring the marketplace project will be a success.
“I can’t think of another building (in Castro Valley) that has had this level of thought put into it,” said Crawford.
The MAC also got an update on the shared parking project and “paseo” alongside of the marketplace – a project that is running months behind schedule.
The $4.8 million parking project creates a lot from the western entrance of the Daughtery’s building to Wilbeam Avenue, consisting of parking spots, lighting, and landscaping behind what will become the new grocery shop and extending behind the Ice Creamery building and other stores.
The parking lot is now open, but the paseo remains unfinished. It was originally planned to be completed in September, then postponed to late November. One aspect of the paseo – a thick wooden trellis – has been scrapped.
Eileen Dalton, the county’s community development director, said the project was further delayed when some poles were installed in the wrong place, but the problem has been corrected. Rain has also delayed the pouring of some cement, but Dalton said it’ll be completed by the end of the month.
’18 Flu Season May Be Worst In a Decade
Since California’s flu season began last October, 27 people under the age of 65 have died, about seven times as many during the same period in previous years.
“This appears to be one of the worst seasons we’ve had in the last 10 years,” state epidemiologist Dr. Gil Chavez told reporters yesterday. “We’re early, and we’re trending up.”
The death toll is actually much higher because the state’s statistics do not include deaths among those over 65.
Dr. James Watt, chief of the division of communicable disease control with the California Department of Public Health said that the state’s outbreak might just seem worse because the season is peaking early.
“Our hope is that because we started early, we’ll end early,” Watt said.
Both officials urged getting a flu shot for everyone over six months old. While this year’s vaccine is not as effective as in previous years it can still reduce the severity of the disease.
It takes about two weeks for the flu shot to take effect.
THE FIRST BABY OF THE YEAR
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM • 01-03-18
Prince Abraham McElligott was born at 2:11 a.m. on New Year’s Day, Castro Valley’s first baby of 2018. Prince, weighing 7 pounds and 2 ounces, was delivered at Eden Medical Center by Dr. Sonia Badheka. Prince’s father, Reuben M. McElligott is not only from Castro Valley, but his family has lived here for generations. Prince’s mother, Edlyn P. Rodriguez, is from San Leandro and still has family in the area. In addition to mom and dad, Prince will be welcomed home by two brothers (Jayden and Reuben III) and three sisters (Anaisha, Lili, and Ruby). The family currently lives in Discovery Bay but hopes to move back to Castro Valley soon.
PHOTO BY EMMA DUGAS / SUTTER HEALTH
Longtime School Board Member Kunio Okui Dies
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM • 01-03-18
Former Castro Valley School Board member Kunio Okui, 72, passed away December 19 at Kaiser San Leandro Hospital.
A CPA by profession, Okui was known for his integrity on the school board and his watchful eye over district expenditures.
Former Castro Valley Unified School District superintendent Jim Negri remembers Okui as a friend as well as a colleague.
“I was saddened to learn of Kunio’s passing. I first met him at a California School Boards Association (CSBA) training in the 1990s when I was working for the Pleasanton School District. We remained friends throughout the year,” said Negri.
“As a board member, Kunio was fully committed to ensuring that every student had access to a quality education and quality teachers. While fiscally conservative, Kunio understood the challenges of balancing the budget during the difficult years, while maintaining quality programs,” Negri continued. “He worked diligently to pass the bonds that upgraded and provided new facilities.”
Bruce D. Johnson, Superintendent Emeritus of Redwood Christian Schools, said Okui “leaves a marvelous legacy of service and commitment.
“He was a true Christian gentleman and all who knew him were blessed by his steadfast faith and love for all kids regardless of their age or what school they attended,” said Johnson.
Okui left the school board in 2012 after 21 years of service, including the position of President. Besides his school board service, he was active in the San Lorenzo Japanese Christian Church. He also played bridge and was a devoted Golden State Warriors fan.
Kunio Okui is survived by his wife Patti, three children, and six grandchildren. His full obituary is on page 14.
Legal Pot’sFirst Day
BY AMY SYLVESTRI • CASTRO VALLEY FORUM • 1-3-18
New Year’s Day was the first day for legal recreational marijuana sales in California and two cannabis shops in the unincorporated were open for business.
We Are Hemp on East Lewelling Boulevard in Ashland and Garden of Eden on Foothill Boulevard in Cherryland say business is booming, especially with new customers.
“We had someone in here on Monday who’d never smoked a cigarette before or any cannabis,” said Sarah Morgan, a manager at We Are Hemp. “He wanted to try it out. We’ve had a few first-time customers ask for recommendations.”
But Morgan added that most people who have visited the shop have medical marijuana cards and aren’t buying pot for the novelty.
“We still serve primarily a medical base,” said Morgan.
Over at the Garden of Eden, one employee estimated that they had three times as much business this week as they did prior to legalization.
“We are extremely busy right now,” said the woman. “It’s chaotic.”
egal recreational marijuana sales went into effect on Jan. 1 and existing medical marijuana dispensaries were the first to open their doors to new users. In the future, recreational-only shops may be permitted with county approval.
In December, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors created a last-minute resolution to authorize the sales at We Are hemp and the Garden of Eden.
Last year, the Board of Supervisors also voted to allow up to five cannabis shops, an effort spearheaded by Supervisor Nate Miley whose recent reelection campaign received $60,000 in donations from the cannabis industry.
The California Police Chiefs Association, the Castro Valley CHP, and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office have gone on record about their concerns about stoned drivers, the risk of theft associated with the all-cash marijuana sales, and the thriving black market.
According to USA Today, 13.5 million pounds of marijuana were produced in California in 2016 and 80 percent was illegally shipped out of state. Of the remaining 20 percent, only one-quarter as sold legally.
Police also say that the legal pot – which is taxed heavily up to 70 percent – won’t end black market sales.
CAPTION: We Are Hemp, left, on East Lewelling Blvd. in Ashland, and Garden of Eden on Foothill Blvd. in Cherryland did a booming business on the first day of legalized recreational sales of marijuana in California.
PHOTO BY FRED ZEHNDER
The 1950 Castro Valley Fair: ‘Bigger, Better Than Ever’
BY JOHN CHRISTIAN
SPECIAL TO THE FORUM • 12-27-17
Castro Valley boasts many annual events. The Fall Festival, the Rowell Ranch Rodeo, and the Light Parade just to name a few. But Castro Valley has been the home of many other events in the past.
The 1950 Castro Valley Fair is one such event.
The Castro Valley Fair was an end of summer celebration that began in 1947. The first fair was a humble affair, taking place on the grounds of the Castro Valley Grammar School on Castro Valley Boulevard. The next two were held at the site of the Castro Valley Community Center. Those fairs were well attended but still relatively small.
In 1950, the Castro Valley Fair Committee wanted to expand the event and make it bigger and better than ever.
Led by local clothier Ted Lawrence, the committee worked to move the fairgrounds to Castro Valley Boulevard between Baker and Rutledge Roads. This new location was more prominent and helped to increase attendance over the previous three fairs.
It featured a large concession area with matching green and gold booths decorated by volunteers to attract a bigger crowd.
Another goal was to make the event a little more family friendly and had a very specific policy of “no hard liquor, no dice.” This apparently was an issue at past celebrations.
ith these goals in mind, the committee scheduled a variety of events for the four-day celebration which ran from August 3-6, 1950.
Highlights included an amateur talent show at the Chabot Theater. The winner of the event, attorney Gene Rhodes, beat out a magician by singing romantic ballads for a raucous crowd.
Another event was a baking contest won by a Mrs. Wilkins for her “Sunshine Sponge Cake” recipe. For her efforts she received an engraved silver platter.
The Castro Valley Community Center sponsored a country themed “gingham and overalls dance.” There was even a parade down Castro Valley Boulevard featuring floats built by local businesses and organizations. The winner was Paine Realty, which built a float that represented the “evolution of a home.”
The float had a chronological theme with trees, then lumber, and then a large model of a complete ranch style home.
The most reported event of the fair by far was the crowning of the
event’s “Sunshine Girl.” Six contestants entered the hotly contested competition. When all the votes were counted Diane Gonsalves emerged victorious.
Gonsalves was crowned by the previous year’s champion Elaine Machado in front of a large enthusiastic crowd. She presided over many of the fair’s events and was even a part of business ribbon cutting ceremonies well into the next year.
After four jam-packed days, the fair came to a close. The Castro Valley Fair Committee gave 50% of the proceeds to the community center and thanked the community for turning out. The event drew people from far and wide and was largely a success.
The 1950 Castro Valley Fair just goes to show that Castro Valley has always loved a good party.
If you are interested in researching local history please visit the Hayward Area Historical Society at 22380 Foothill Boulevard in downtown Hayward. Visit our website haywardareahistory.org or call 510-581-0223 for more information.
John Christian is Associate Archivist of the Hayward Area Historical Society.
CAPTION: Winner of the 1950 CV Fair Parade was Paine Realty with this float that represented the chronological “evolution of a home,” with trees, lumber and a model of a ranch-style home.
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE HAYWARD AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
New Year,New Laws
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM • 12-27-17
At the stroke of midnight Sunday, a slew of new laws go into effect in California that will likely affect nearly everyone in some way.
The one that has received the most attention, of course, is the one approved by voters in November of 2016. Prop. 64 legalized the recreational use of marijuana.
On Jan. 1, Californians age 21 and over can legally buy as much as an ounce of pot, but only at businesses registered with the state. However, using marijuana while driving – or even while riding as a passenger – is banned.
California’s minimum wage will increase on Monday to $11 per hour for companies with 26 or more employees and to $10.50 an hour for businesses with 25 or fewer workers. Employees making at least $45,760 a year are exempt from the minimum wage increase.
Vehicle owners will have to pay a transportation improvement fee
along with their DMV registration in 2018. Most will pay $25 or $50 depending on the value of their vehicle.
Gun owners will have to buy ammunition in person through an authorized vendor. Ammunition can still be purchased online or from a catalog, but it will have to be shipped first to a licensed vendor who can charge a processing fee.
Taking effective in 2018 is the New Parent Leave Act requiring small businesses with 20 or more workers to provide eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to bond with a new child. The leave must be taken within a year of the child’s birth or adoption. Employers are not required to provide leave other reasons, such as a family member’s medical issue.
A new law will prohibit parking enforcement officers from issuing a ticket at a parking meter or parking payment machine that is broken, and you can park at the broken meter for hours if there is no posted time limit.
A Sanctuary State regulation will restrict local police agencies from communicating with federal immigration authorities about people in custody, except for those previously convicted of felonies in the past 15 years.
Public schools, including community colleges, Cal State University and U.C. campuses, will be prohibited from collecting information about student citizenship or immigration status and that of their families.
Tenants in new housing developments will be permitted to have one or more pets if the development receives financing through state programs.
Bad Start to Christmas Eve
A collision between a truck and this SUV at the corner of Cull Canyon and Crow Canyon roads Sunday morning resulted in the SUV driver being transported to Eden Hospital. The accident occurred at abut 9:30 a.m. next to the Fire Station. Then Sunday night, California Highway Patrol Officer Andrew Camilleri, Sr., a 33-year old father of three who lived in Tracy, was killed when an impaired driver crashed into his patrol vehicle on I-880 near the Winton Ave. onramp in Hayward. Another CHP officer, Jonathan Velasquez, was injured.
PHOTO BY EDWARD GERVASONI
County Fast-Tracks Pot Sales
BY AMY SYLVESTRI • CASTRO VALLEY FORUM • 12-27-17
A late decision from the Alameda County Board of Supervisors last week will allow dispensaries in the unincorporated area to sell marijuana to anyone over the age of 21 as soon as they open their doors in 2018.
By a vote of 3-1 (with Supervisor Wilma Chan dissenting and Supervisor Keith Carson absent), the board created a resolution on Dec. 19 to allow existing medical marijuana dispensaries to also sell recreational pot to adults.
Under the new ordinance, the Supervisors said that legal dispensaries “advance the goals of the county by supporting emerging businesses.”
Though there are no cannabis dispensaries in Castro Valley, there are currently shops in Ashland and
Cherryland. Those business are now eligible to apply to the state to be given priority in obtaining a temporary permit for recreational sales.
Last Wednesday, the Board of Supervisors hosted a “Winter Cannabis Summit” detailing how people in the pot business can comply with new laws related to the legalization of recreational use.
Supervisor Nate Miley, an organizer of the summit, spearheaded a successful county initiative this year to increase the number of medical marijuana shops in the unincorporated areas of Alameda County from two to five.
Pot stands to be a cash crop for both the business owners and the state and county, as government officials will collect taxes and fees. Annual license fees to sell recreational marijuana will range widely – from $1,200 to $78,000 depending on size and location of the businesses.
One issue with legalized marijuana is that it’s an all-cash business since most banks won’t deal with the pot business because it remains illegal under federal law.
At the marijuana summit last week, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said that the cash aspect was a concern, as she feared that employees of cannabis shops may be target for robberies. She also said that legal weed may bring an increase in illegal street sales because the drug will be more readily available.
Other local law enforcement officials agreed.
Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. Bret Scheuller recently discussed how cannabis enforcement will be handled, saying his department did not support the ordinance to increase the number of dispensaries, but it’s happening, so the department is doing its best to prepare.
“We are going to be a very active partner in trying to police these (growers and stores),” said Scheuller. “We’ve never had to deal with legal cultivation before. It’s a cash crop. It’s a commodity. Also, the black market is here and it is going to remain.”
Scheuller said that trouble stemming from marijuana – thefts, fires from illegal grows, etc. – have gone up “exponentially” since medical marijuana use was made legal 20 years ago.
“We have committed to policing it,” said Scheuller.
California Highway Patrol Commander Steve Perea said that his officers have received additional training about what to do with drivers that they think are impaired by marijuana
Officers must use their observation skills during field sobriety tests and 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 levels of THC present.
“When it comes to recognize impairment, it’s different than drinking,” said Perea.
In 2017, there were 441 DUI arrests by the CHP in the Eden Area through the month of October and 34 were from drugged driving, up from 19 such arrests in 2016.
“We get good, strong convictions in drug arrests.” said Perea. “With Prop 64, we are in uncharted territory. We want to get ahead of it as much as possible.”
CAPTION: Annual license fees to sell recreational marijuana will range widely – from $1,200 to $78,000 depending on size and location of businesses.
Saturday’s Big Traffic Snarl on I-580
CASTRO VALLEY FORUM • 12-20-17
This big rig overturned on eastbound I-580 near the Crow Canyon offramp in Castro Valley at around 11 a.m. last Saturday, leading to multiple lane closures and clogging traffic for hours. All lanes were finally reopened around 4 p.m. There were no injuries, according to the Alameda County Fire Department and the cause of the crash is under investigation.