Author Archives: Magda Heilborn

About Magda Heilborn

Magda Heilborn has been drawing and writing about new and unusual events since she was a child, but only recently while taking a journalism class, did she learn the abbreviated style of a true journalist. She currently publishes card games, including Hungry Hungry Hipsters and Buffet Master, but hopes to go deeper into the field of publishing, probably in the realm of books.

Nick Harvey: Running for Everything

A resident of Fairview, Nicholas Harvey is an avid cyclist and uses the AC buses often. Harvey has been fed up with the poor conditions of Hayward and Fairview roads, sidewalks and the efficiency of the bus lines.

Harvey decided to run for office because he felt the unincorporated areas surrounding Hayward (such as Castro Valley and Fairview) were not being properly represented. This has led to potholes, damaged or missing sidewalks, and poorly run busses.

In response to these problems, he decided to run for not one, but FIVE offices.

He has interests in each of these, particularly EBMUD, as he is concerned with rate increases. He studied desalination processes in Israel and plans to advocate for that process here in the Bay Area.

In AC transit, Harvey would like to decrease bus size for some lines, but increase bus service, which he says would support the community better. “I would advocate for more bus service in general and specifically having more forms of on-demand service for less traveled routes. However, the 22 was known as a well-used route so it confounds many people as to why it was eliminated in the first place. The motto for the new rollout of AC Transit is “better, smarter, faster service” and this could not be further from the truth for residents of South Hayward.” Harvey said.

Harvey is running for a seat on the school board because the sidewalk issue near the school falls under their jurisdiction, not AC transit, or the Department of Transportation.

Harvey has been challenged by opponent Frank Mellon, the incumbent from EBMUD, who has run unopposed since 1994. Mellon claims Harvey is running for too many offices, hasn’t released candidate statements, and if he wins more than one, might be in conflicting roles, which would require a special election, which could cost the city over $1 million.

Harvey responded that “Mudslinging Mellon is just upset that someone less experienced is challenging his position on the board, and none of the offices I’m currently running for will conflict.”

Mellon refused to comment further on the issue.

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Prop 10 Could Make Rent More Affordable

This November, Proposition 10 could make rents more affordable for Hayward, and other California residents by changing rent control limits.

In 2015, across California, almost half of all households had unaffordable housing costs. More than 1 in 5 households statewide have to pay more than half their income toward housing expenses. Renters in California pay 50-percent more than the national average, and only 20 percent of Californians live in cities with rent control, according to the California Budget and Policy Center.

The Spectator conducted an anonymous survey of Chabot students, on the topic of landlords, rent control and expectations of rent increases. One student said, “Housing is a human right, property ownership is not. Moreover, in no other industry is there an expectation of Return On Investment that compares to property owners’ expectation of ROI. We should be resetting the narrative for a more reasonable definition of ‘fair return on investment.’”

But does it reflect “fairness” in terms of setting the value for current residents to afford versus investing an amount most cannot afford; on the basis that someone else could afford it?

According to our poll, almost 20-percent of students pay 60-percent or more of their monthly income on housing.

Prop 10 will not change existing rent control laws, it would allow cities and counties to regulate rents without limit to what type of building it is, or when it was built. It also keeps the landlord’s right to a fair rate of return on their investment.

According to the California Budget and Policy Center, households paying more than 30-percent of their income toward housing are categorized as “cost-burdened.” Those with housing costs that exceed half their income then become “severely” cost-burdened.

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan voter education group summarizes the effects of Prop 10, “If passed, it would repeal the Costa Hawkins Rental Act, which was adopted in 1995, this allowed rent controls to be lifted from single-family homes and buildings of 1995 and later. Landlords could also raise the rent to market rates if a tenant left the rental property.”

When asked if Prop 10 will enforce rent control, Hayward City Councilwoman Sara Lamnin said, “It will depend on what the city decides to do, Prop 10 doesn’t enforce any changes, but it does give Hayward more freedom to set policy.”

Currently, if your home is covered by rent control in Hayward, your rent cannot exceed a five percent increase in a 12 month period. However, if your rent has not increased in several years, the landlord may “bank” those increases, and make the next increase greater than five percent.

So what are the effects? David Stark, Public Affairs Director Bay East Association of Realtors, explains “Expanding rent control to apply to single-family homes and condominiums could compel property owners to sell their rental units — effectively reducing the supply of rental housing and making rental housing even more expensive. Hayward is the only city in southern and eastern Alameda County with a rent control ordinance. Since there are no other communities with rent control it’s impossible to determine what impact it may or may not have.”

As of now, a fair return is defined in parameters of dollar amount reflecting money put into the building.

“The constitutional right to a fair return exists so that landlords are able to turn a profit on their rental properties,” states Sarah M. Winfield.

“It’s a Statewide problem, and someone needs to enforce the city ordinances. Supposedly we have rent control, but if no one makes landlords follow city policy, what good is it?” Marquez continued, “I won my case against the city, but I was the first person in the county to take it that far. It’s not an easy process, I think Prop 10 is going to be crucial for most people to afford to live in the bay area.” Gina Marquez, Chabot student, and San Leandro resident said. Marquez has been fighting the county on their practices related to rent and rent control.

“In Hayward, having rent control versus not, often means being able to stay in one’s community versus being displaced. This is especially true at this time because Hayward is developing, and gentrification is beginning to reach Hayward.” says, Sarah M. Winfield Staff Attorney, Tenants’ Rights Program, Centro Legal de la Raza.

Sarah continued “Improving rent control or expanding it would protect my clients, who are all low-income and mostly people of color, from displacement from their homes and the Bay Area.”

Marquez states, “In Castro Valley, many tenants have complained of astronomical rent increases of $400 and above. Majority of tenants are served improperly because they are unfamiliar with The Alameda County Renters Ordinance. Politicians are in denial that landlords are violating rules and laws, therefore, the massive rent increases result in displacement, homelessness and the vicious homeless shelter cycle.”

Marquez continued, “People, like my neighbor, on fixed incomes in their 80s shouldn’t have to face eviction and all that entails because landlords are greedy.”

At Solis Gardens of Hayward, Kathleen Souza, the 69-year-old tenant moved out after receiving a rent increase of 135 percent for her studio apartment, from $700 to $1,650 without utilities included, as mentioned in a previous issue of The Spectator.

According to California Secretary of State, Alex Padilla, almost $26 million has been contributed to advertising in support of this proposition (voting yes) and about $75 million has been contributed to advertising in opposition of this proposition (voting no). That’s a difference of almost $50 million in support of voting No. Draw your own conclusions about advertising.

In Hayward, a few families argued that rent control is what allowed their family to inhabit their apartment during an unlawful eviction. Due to litigation in process, they chose to remain anonymous.

If you currently have problems with your rent policies, your landlord, or other items related to the city, there is help. For city and community resources, or dialing 211 could be your refuge. This is a free and confidential service designed to help people find local resources. Most importantly, if this issue affects you or someone you know, vote!

Serena Williams Fined for Breaking Racket

Serena WilliamsSerena Williams

Serena Williams called out for being a poor sport during the U.S. Open, but was she out of line, or the umpire?

Time magazine reported that during the first set of the U.S. Open, on Sept. 8, Williams was given a violation from chair umpire Carlos Ramos for illegal coaching from coach Patrick Mouratoglou. “I’m honest, I was coaching. I don’t think she looked at me, so that’s why she didn’t even think I was.” Mouratoglou said later.

After the violation, Williams told Ramos on the court, “I don’t cheat to win, I’d rather lose. I’m just letting you know.” Williams lost the match to Naomi Osaka, 20, after a total of three violations — including one for smashing her racket — which added up to a fine of $17,000. She later said she felt the entire incident was “sexist.”

Many athletes have defended Williams, including tennis icon Billie Jean King and soccer player Abby Wambach.

“Serena is a 23-time Grand Slam champion, both she and her sister are very focused when they’re playing, so I don’t blame her for getting upset that the umpire accused her of being coached. On the other hand, the umpire didn’t do what umpires usually do for other players, and make an effort to de-escalate the interaction.” said Steve Nuget, local tennis player of 30 years.

While Williams’ behavior may have been heated, it certainly wasn’t outside of the norm for a frustrated tennis player, and it seems many men have done the same or more, with no fines or reprimands.

“I think Serena has always had it hard, growing up in Compton, and being female, and being black, she just had to fight and overcome hurdles every step of the way. Overall, I don’t think the umpire was entirely unfair, but he didn’t give her the same treatment other players would have gotten.” Nugent said.

The crowd jeered and backed Williams in the dispute with the umpire, but ultimately, Osaka fired an unreturnable serve and won the U.S. Open. Even during the trophy ceremony, the crowd continued to boo loudly.

Despite her frustrations, Williams showed her sportsmanship by wrapping an arm around Osaka, who was crying and calmed the crowd. “She played well, and this is her first Grand Slam,” Williams told the fans. “Let’s make this the best moment we can, we’ll get through it. Let’s give everyone credit where credit’s due. Let’s not boo anymore. We’re going to get through this. Let’s stay positive. Congratulations, Naomi. No more booing!”

After the match, Osaka was asked about the confrontation on the court, but she didn’t have more insight for them. “I don’t know what happened on the court, so, for me, I’m always going to remember the Serena that I love,” Osaka said. “It doesn’t change anything for me. She was really nice to me at the net and on the podium, so I don’t really see what would change that.”

Williams defended her choice to speak out during the match. “I’ve seen men call other umpires several things,” she told reporters. “I’m here fighting for women’s rights and women’s equality … and for me to say ‘thief’ and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist reaction.”

“The fact that I have to go through this is just an example for the next person [who] has emotions and wants to express themselves, and they want to be a strong woman, and they’re going to be allowed to do that because of today,” Williams continued, “Maybe it didn’t work out for me, but it’s going to work out for the next person.”

A Trip to Egypt Station

Four Chabot College students gathered around a table discussing the Egypt Station album while they listen to it together.

Students discussing the Egypt Station album while listening to it.

The launch of The Spectator’s new Listening Party was held in The Spectator office (2325), above the cafeteria. This trial run featured Egypt Station, Paul McCartney’s new concept album.

During this early event, only a few students attended but seemed to have a good time.

“I’m not exactly sure what a listening party is,” said Tasha, Chabot student. For the uninitiated, a listening party is an event to listen to a whole album, have free pizza, and at the end, you share your opinions about the music. “That sounds pretty cool, it might be cooler if it was pizza AND dessert,” said Anna Lisa, another student.

Many students don’t listen to whole albums anymore, “Of course I love music, though I usually just find one song, and buy or download that.” 19-year-old student, Hualani said.

This does seem to be a trend, although the album isn’t dead, “I usually listen to an album once, and then the songs I really like, I add to my playlist.” Ovi, a 26-year-old student, said, “I love music, I think a listening party is a great idea.”

Ovi continued on the issue of most people not listening to albums anymore. He expressed the feeling many agree with, when you hear a song on the radio, it’s only a small snapshot of someone’s work. If the radio plays a popular song, who decided its popularity?

If you listen to an album, you learn more about the artist, the ideas behind not only one song, but that song in relation to the album as a whole. When only one song is picked out of the album for you, by someone else, perhaps with an agenda, the message you receive may be entirely different from what was intended.

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Lane splitting: Legal, But Safe?

California is the only state in the union who has made lane splitting, when a motorcycle straddles two lanes of traffic, officially legal.

“I only lane-split when traffic is stopped or crawling, and I don’t go more than 10, or 15 miles per hour faster than traffic, I’m pretty conservative.” said motorcyclist of 15 years, Danae Zoule. While California has made this legal, in 37 states it is illegal, and the rest have a large grey area on the legality of the practice.

“It’s not really safe for cyclists to crawl along with the rest of the traffic,” Joshua MacAran, motorcyclist for the last 2 years, says, “other drivers don’t seem to understand how fast a motorcycle can brake, and they don’t leave enough room to not crush us during a fast stop.”

“One time I had to bail out when I was on my bike,” said Sean Vansnickel, motorcyclist of 12 years. “The car behind me didn’t allow enough time to stop, so I jumped in the bed of the truck in front of me.”

According to one of the very few studies on motorcycle behavior and safety, lane splitting has been found safe, when traffic is going up to 50 mph, and the motorcyclist does not exceed 65 mph. This UC Berkeley study also found only 17 percent of motorcycle accidents occurred during lane splitting, and less than 2 percent were fatalities.

The California Highway Patrol declined to be interviewed at this time.

“I do get mad at other motorcyclists I see speeding recklessly through traffic at high speeds, they give the rest of us a bad name.” Ms. Zoule said.

All the motorcyclists agreed that the best thing drivers can do for motorcycle safety is to be aware and give them more space than you think they need. The best thing motorcyclists can do is take a motorcycle safety course, wear your protective gear, and be conservative when passing.

Free Google vs. Free Microsoft

Is Microsoft Office better than Google Docs? That depends on what you want to do, and how old you are, since both are now free.

At Chabot College, teachers and students over 30 believe Word and Excel specifically, are important software skills to have before entering the workforce, especially a job in tech or business.

“I would say Microsoft is more professional, but I prefer Google.” Chiffah Dobshi, 19. Most under 30 find Google products easier to use, though their security does seem to be in question, “I’ve always been kinda suspicious of Google programs since they’re all online. I like using Google Docs, but I think in a work environment I’d probably be using Microsoft Word more.” John, 18.

It’s hard to say which product suite will be most used in the future, but it’s a safer bet to know how to use either one with ease. So far, Microsoft and Google put similar effort into the quality of their products, although Google keeps everything online, and technically has the rights to anything you write on their server.

“The security of online software? I assume it’s non-existent,” said Business Teacher, Melissa Patterson, “You don’t even list Microsoft Office on your resume anymore, because they expect you to know the main three, Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, at least a working knowledge.”

In case you want to make sure your Microsoft skills match your Google skills, Chabot and Microsoft have now made it possible for all Chabot students, faculty, and administrators to create an MS Office 365 OneDrive account. This is free to use for the entire time they associated with Chabot College.

Microsoft is offering to match or exceed what Google offers students, with their entire suite (including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint), and online storage, in their OneDrive. You can access the account on multiple systems and it is compatible with Windows, macOS, iOS and Android devices.


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