Category Archives: Hayward

New Hayward Library

On Oct 27, 2018, Hayward closed down a part of C Street outside of the new Hayward City library construction site to celebrate the new library building, that’s still under construction, with a street fair and ribbon cutting.

Hayward came together to celebrate the long four-year process of planning, funding and constructing of the new main branch building of the Hayward Library. Hayward had been in need of a new branch because the old building was too small, even after the two expansions in 1951 and 1970.

The new building was designed to be a library of the future. It is three stories tall and can hold 50 percent more materials than the last building. Even with the increase in space, the new building also managed to fit a new makerspace, a digital media lab, multiple community meeting rooms, and a new cafe.

The makerspace is designed for the community to learn with and use 3D printers, robotics building, and sewing machines for textiles. Hayward Techies are leading the makerspace and will be teaching classes there when it officially opens.

“The digital-media lab will be like a recording studio, that is for the public, so people can go and record their music and stuff. Including video editing software, Photoshop, all that’s also going to be for the public.” Library worker Kavita Sagran stated.

The Hayward Library will also have autonomous robots as security guards patrolling the parking structure built right next to the Library. The K5 by Knightscope is roughly 5 feet tall and will be patrolling on wheels.

The K5 will be able to see where it’s going using various cameras and LIDAR to help it see better, and recognize, people and suspicious activities. The K5 will check the license plates of the cars parked in the structure, and match them to a list for any license plates that the police could be looking for.

“One of Hayward’s biggest goals is reducing our greenhouse gasses, our footprint and just being good stewards of the environment, and this library is going to be the best building in the city to do that.” Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday announced proudly during her speech at the grand opening.

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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 211.org, 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!

Hayward Mayoral Race: Barbara Halliday

On November 6, we the people will have the responsibility of deciding who the next mayor of Hayward will be. The choice comes between the current Mayor, Barbara Halliday and Councilmember Mark Salinas on this year’s ballot. Ms. Halliday is running on a platform of experience and dedication to the city of Hayward for over twenty years. Mr. Salinas is running on the fact that he is a native to the city and wants to bring a fresh perspective for generations to come.

Representative Eric Swalwell stats that, “Under Mayor Halliday leadership, Hayward is making great progress. The Economy is improving, better services for youth are underway, and neighborhoods are safer. I encourage Hayward voter to keep Hayward moving forward and re-elect Mayor Halliday.”

Rising traffic is a constant concern of the residents of the city and although some are happy with new construction taking place others would like to see the Mayor’s office focus on infrastructure to handle the rising demand of congestion as the city expands. ​ “I think the city needs to plan the infrastructure out as they build these new properties so that we don’t run into some the problems we have seen in the surrounding cities who have started rebuilding, such as traffic and abandoned buildings. So whoever is in office has their work cut out for them,” stated Chabot College staff member and Hayward resident Sujoy Sarkar.

The city has been cracking down on drunken driving as well, with the frequency of the city’s random checkpoints throughout Hayward increasing. No doubt an initiative the mayor can be proud of. I asked students around town how they felt about the checkpoints and for the most part, they were all happy to see the city trying to keep the streets safe.

Affordable housing and rent control will be hot-button issues in the upcoming election, with the minimum wage low and rent skyrocketing over the past few years. The labor force will definitely be interested to hear who will be working to raise the minimum wage as well as capping the amount of rent a landlord can charge for over time. This is at the top of the list for Chabot College student Climmie Hines who said, “​There are too many homeless people living on the streets and something needs to be done.”

As time winds down and the uncertainty of the race clears what we don’t know becomes apparent and in the midst of the wait what we do know is the people involved all want the best for the city of Hayward and whatever change you think is important your voice is the force behind that change.

Hayward Mayoral Race: Mark Salinas

Mark Salinas is running for Mayor of Hayward against current Mayor Barbara Halliday. Salinas has been on the Hayward Council since 2010 and is a professor at Chabot. He teaches Ethnic Studies, History, and Sociology at Chabot College and on occasion, lecturers in the Ethnic Studies Department at California State University, East Bay (CSUEB).

“He works daily to make the Hayward community a better place to live and provide dignity to the everyday resident of Hayward.” Says Frank Garcia, recently retired Executive Director of the Puente Project.

You may have seen his signs across town. I went to those houses and establishments that support Mr. Salinas to ask, “How do you know Mark Salinas and why do you support him?”

At a local gas station where one of his signs rests, the operator said, “I don’t know him directly, but he and my manager go way back, back when they went to college together.” I am unsure if he was referencing Chabot College or San Francisco State. Salina’s proudly declares his educational background as it is primarily from Hayward; “I was born at St. Rose Hospital and I grew up in South Hayward in the Schafer Park Neighborhood. I attended Eldridge Elementary School, St. Bede Catholic School, 3 R’s School, and I graduated from Hayward High School. I transferred from Chabot College to San Francisco State University where I earned a bachelor’s degree in La Raza Studies and a Master’s degree in Educational Administration and Public Policy Studies.”

At a house on Gading Road I knocked on the door and asked why they endorse Salinas, “I don’t really know him, but he does a lot for students, especially helping with lunches and breakfast.” They were referring to the breakfast program in which Mark Salinas serves as the executive director.. According to the website, “The Kids’ Breakfast Club is a nutrition and education program, with the mission to improve the quality of life for kids and families in Hayward and the Hayward Area. For 26 years, The Kids’ Breakfast Club has delivered high-quality nutrition and education activities to kids and their families when school isn’t in session.” As a 100 percent program, The Kids’ Breakfast Club has been selected as the 2018 California Nonprofit of the Year by California State Assembly member Bill Quirk.

Upon accepting a time and location to interview Mr. Salinas, I was invited to attend The Kids’ Breakfast Club.

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The End of the 22 Line?

The discontinued 22 line stopping at the Chabot bus stop.

The discontinued 22 line stopping at the Chabot bus stop.

On June 17 the AC Transit 22 Line, a bus route that looped around Chabot College, South Hayward and Hayward BART, ended service, leaving many Chabot students with more busses to catch, higher costs, and a drastic increase in wait time.

“I used to take one bus to school, and now I take five.” Theresa Pedrosa, a Chabot Student Council Representative, stated, “Two to school and three to get home.”

AC Transit offers a $5 day pass to help keep costs low if you are taking more than two busses locally. The day pass can be obtained by asking the bus driver when paying, or it will be automatically applied on the third ride when using your Clipper Card.

The cash fare for a single ride is $2.35, two trips a day would be $4.70, 30 cents cheaper than a day pass. On a tight budget, 30 cents is a lot of money and begins to add up over time.

It takes more busses to get to Chabot. You wait longer for the busses, and as a result, it takes longer to arrive at Chabot

Mrs. Mak, a Chabot student bus rider, states, “The bus 22 change is a really big inconvenience, to try to bring eight grandchildren on the bus, catch three buses to go visit my 75-year-old mom down by the Holiday Bowl.”

According to the AC Transit website ending the service of the 22 line was intended to decrease wait times and increase the number of busses on the street. AC Transit states that its goal is also to make the bus lines simpler and more reliable.

Dee Collins, a student at Chabot College, adds, “Because of the 22 change, and the other bus line changes, service is sporadic. It’s never on time.”

“I used to take the 22 from the Hayward BART to campus,” Davin Benson stated. “The 60 was extended to go to campus, effectively replacing the 22 for anyone coming from Hayward BART, and there’s a stop going toward Chabot right off the street I live on.”

The people most affected by the ending of the 22 line are the students living on Tennyson Road. The residents of Tennyson Road were already worried about the rising costs of public transportation before the service of the 22 line ended. With the change in bus routes, the residents near Tennyson Road have to take more buses to get to their destination.

The increase in wait times has led to people staying out longer during unsafe hours of the night to catch a bus. Even before the change, residents of Tennyson Road were worried about being assaulted and robbed while waiting for what was possibly one bus. Currently, bus riders have increased their risk just to wait for a second bus to get their destination.

If you have strong feelings about the canceling of the 22 line, contact the candidates for the AC Transit district director for Ward Four to express your thoughts on the issue. The AC Transit district director candidates are Nicholas Harvey and Mark Williams.

 

South Hayward City Council Meeting

On September 11th, the Hayward city council members hosted their meeting at Matt Jimenez Community Center, after returning from their summer recess, to talk to the community about the current state of South Hayward, and AC Transit elimination of bus line 22.

Hayward City Councilman Al Mendall expressed his concerns about the current situation of South Hayward. “It is in need and deserves many improvements. It is a great community, the people living there are wonderful but there aren’t enough resources.”

Mendall continued, “There aren’t enough parks, there are no services on Tennyson like banks. The nearest bank is on Mission Blvd. which is badly needed in the community. Crimes have also been an issue, and the city has worked on that…”

Many Hayward residents attended this special meeting.  Many residents expressed their concerns and opinions on the vision plan of the Tennyson Corridor Project during the public speaking segment.

Rosa Salguero, local Hayward resident expressed her concerns on the overall future of Hayward. “I am more concerned about affordable housing, as well as for the residents of South Hayward who won’t get the resources they need.”

One of the most important topics of the meeting was AC Transit shutting down the bus service of bus line 22. Many students and Hayward residents depended on using this line to get to school, work, and Downtown Hayward.

Councilman Mendall did express his opinion on this topic. When asked if the City of Hayward has control of AC Transit Mendall stated “The city does not have control of AC Transit’s decisions. AC Transit is their own agency. The decision was made by them not us.”

Mendall continues, “We heard this complaint many times, and we understand how concerning it is for everyone. I don’t understand why this change was made. It doesn’t seem to be a good change, and I know that myself and the city are actively trying to reach out to AC Transit to talk about that, and see how to restore that service. It is still not a done deal yet.”  

Councilman Mendell also mentioned that a newly improved park is being built on Tennyson, and there are two grocery stores scheduled to open on Mission Blvd.

Michelle Sifontes, Veterinary major, did express her concern about the bus line 22 service. Sifontes states, “I think I speak for many students and adults that have jobs that shutting down bus 22 is a real set back and causes a problem. I live on Mission, and I have taken bus 22 to help me get to school.” Sifontes continues, “Shutting down this bus can prevent people, especially those with no other form of transportation, from getting to where they need to go.”

If you are interested in attending the next City Council meeting it will take place on September 25th at 5:30 pm at Hayward City Hall.

Passion Projects on Display at City Hall

A city thrives when their voices are heard. Some efforts have shown that The City of Hayward wants to “do a better job of understanding who their citizens are and what their citizens want” however, “a lot of citizens feel left out,” Sean McFarland, Advisor of The Student Initiative Center at Chabot College mentioned during an interview. How do we voice the words from the people in our community?

For this proposal, about 100 Chabot students collaborated to create, “Needles in the HayStack,”  a community-inspired art exhibit taking place in Haywards City Hall.

Tennyson Thrives is a collaborative effort between community members, Hayward City staff, and the Chabot College Student Initiative Center to create and implement a dynamic Vision Plan for the neighborhoods along the Tennyson Corridor.

So, what’s the plan? Advisor Sean McFarland admits that the goal is for, “The Mayor and The City Council, to see this in their workspace,  take a second to stop and interact with the art pieces.” The art exhibit will showcase a wide variety of art pieces made from an array of material in efforts to voice the opinions of the community. Some projects displayed are photo albums that open up into singing telegrams and other projects have stretched the artistic imagination by making movies, blankets, and CDs related to Hayward.

Collectively there will be about 70 pieces submitted. This has been the strategy of the community to elevate the truth and the heart of the citizen’s concerns. “We’ve had students go down and talk to citizens of South Hayward. It’s been exciting.” Advisor McFarland feels that through this art show artist will, “tell the stories of the people, rather than an essay, and it’s an epic amount.” One of the pieces also includes a roughly 6 foot long display board vividly illustrating the culture of a citizen from Hayward portrayed by a talented Chabot artist.

Lynn’de Holder, Tania Romero, and Monica Hernandez came together to work on an ambitious piece emulating one of Hayward’s well-known landmarks, the welcome fountain that invites you to South Hayward’s border.

Monica believes that what inspired her to create the project was that, “it’s always been a part of Hayward…but it hasn’t received much attention since the city stopped doing maintenance on it.” Monica Hernandez was the inspirational mind behind the replica of the infamous Hayward fountain that welcomes citizens.

Tania believes that “the idea for the art was to take something that is supposed to represent Hayward in a way, and interpret the lives of the people that make the city what it is.” In a desire to reach out to the Council, Tania Romero, “hopes that this project will give them insight into South Hayward life and help them think of these lives.”

In pursuit of finding the hidden beauties and lost artistry of Tennyson Corridor, the C.B.O’s also known as Community Based Organizations, “are getting a good pulse of the community,” and Sean McFarland also details that “ this work explains what matters to the citizens.”

The students felt honored and pleased to be apart of an ambitious project in hopes to shed light on South Hayward’s concerns. Happily, with the art exhibit, the collaboration of Chabot students will bring light to the “personal views and lives of the South Hayward residents” as mentioned by artist Tania Romero.

The art exhibit in Hayward City Hall will be open from May 21 to May 25. There, you will be able to explore the beauty of “Needles in the HayStack” exhibit which will have its grand opening on Tuesday, May 22, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

What Has Disappeared

If you’ve been to South Hayward recently, you’ve probably noticed the plethora of shutdown business. Whether you’ve fond nostalgic memories of Holiday Bowl or received critical services from the now-closed Kaiser hospital, many residents have felt the impact of disappearing businesses.

Kaiser Hospital once provided emergency medical services to all of Hayward and beyond. Although there are a few emergency care clinics located in South Hayward like St. Francis Urgent Care Center, the options are not as good. As Franchesica  a first-year sociology major put it, “I was born there, and it sucks to see it close.”

Many things that once brought joy to the residents of South Hayward are now gone. The most prominent monument to disappearing businesses is the Holiday Bowl which closed in 2005. It is currently overgrown with vegetation. Plans are in place to tear down the facility and put 72 townhouses in its place. Residents now need to travel to San Ramon or Fremont to go bowling.

Another famous closed business Valle Vista Skating rink which was open from 1950-2003. After it closed down it became a location for migrants and homeless until it burnt down in 2008, no one was harmed. Now residents have to go to the skate park in north Hayward or drive all the way to San Ramon “Golden Skate Rink” to get an authentic skating rink experience.

Over the years many industries have closed down all over Hayward often moving to more affordable states. One of the recent loses is the Gillig Bus manufacturer that took over 850 jobs to Livermore after deciding that it “outgrew” its Hayward location.

“What community,” said a local Hayward resident when interviewed by a student as part of the community outreach project. This proved to be a common trend when Professor McFarland’s class conducted their interviews with South Hayward residents.

One thing’s for certain there’s a growing sense of isolation in South Hayward as many residents perceive the city is continuing to focus on the downtown area. But with new grant money available and the new effort by the city to bring businesses to South Hayward the future may be better.

Complete Streets Initiative

One does not need to look far to see the less than stellar state of Hayward’s streets. The cracked streets are very much apparent and are in need of repair. Thankfully, an initiative is in place to improve the streets and sidewalks of Hayward.

The Complete Streets Initiative aims to improve the streets of Hayward and the Tennyson corridor, as well as to keep pedestrians safe. The initiative also plans to improve biking paths and sidewalks, as well as repaving roads and filling potholes of many streets in Hayward including Tennyson Road. Union City resident Arturo Soto agrees. He’s seen terrible road conditions on Industrial Blvd, as well as Mission Road. Arturo also pointed out that lower income areas generally tend to get less roadwork.

Teaming up with Smart Growth America, an organization whose mission is to advocate for federal policies and programs that support neighborhood development, 1,140 agencies nationwide are adopting the initiative to provide for a better environment for their communities.

The Complete Streets Initiative launched in 2004, planning to “…promotes the implementation of Complete Streets policies and professional practices,” according to the Smart Growth America website. Hayward is also partnering with Bike East Bay for better, protected cycling lanes.

Vision Zero Network, an organization committed to helping communities increase traffic safety, also partnered with the project. The Vision Zero strategy was first successfully implemented in Sweden in the 1990’s and was also proven successful across Europe.

Their approach included preventing traffic deaths while applying normal human faults, while also reworking transportation systems to prevent fatal car crashes, as well as widening roads and sidewalks. Pedestrian safety was a priority, entire intersections were reworked, including bike lanes.

The Complete Streets Initiative also includes the Complete Communities Strategic Initiative. The Complete Communities Initiative aims to improve Hayward so that it may become a better, thriving place to live for people of every citizen, family, and employee.

Transportation Manager, Fred Kelly, explains that these three initiatives work together. Complete Streets, Complete Communities and Tennyson corridor all overlap in certain fields. “There will be efforts to see what we view as a vision of Tennyson road.” The initiative includes protected bike lanes, the number, and width of traffic lanes as well as sidewalks.

The Complete Streets initiative, along with the Tennyson Corridor and the Complete Communities Initiative is one of the most important steps to making the overall Hayward community and the Tennyson corridor a better place.

For more information regarding the Tennyson Corridor, Complete Streets Initiative and Complete Communities Initiative, visit hayward-ca.gov.

Public Transportation

One of the challenges that young students face is the accessibility of public transportation. Even when these young students have access to these services, they’re still met with challenges of reaching their destination on time.

In the past, The Passion and Purpose club worked with AC Transit to have the Student Transportation Initiative pass. This would help students by providing discounts through the AC Transit EasyPass Program. This would allow the students to save a tremendous amount of money which had estimated around $1,650 a year. All of this would have been funded through an already existing Chabot Student fee. Based on the number of units a student has, this would be exempted, but students could choose to opt out. Unfortunately, this Initiative didn’t pass, but there is still an effort being made to have this passed.  

Brenda Gomez, who is apart of the YES Program (Youth Enrichment Services) tries to help young students, most of which are in continuation schools. The YES Program provides bus passes for these students for up to $75. Funding for these passes was cut up to $100,000. Even with these passes, the buses are still not reliable when it comes to reaching their schools on time. Another issue is the location. It’s typically not safe during the night which led to some being assaulted and robbed. So public transportation isn’t the only challenge here, it’s the area in which these students live too.

Presley Chang and Isaac Chavez of the Passion and Purpose club had interviewed many of the residents in the South Hayward area. They had discovered that most of the issues concerning public transportation were increasing costs and the congested roads. Multiple trips can leave a massive dent in the wallet, and it is always difficult to arrive at their destination on time. One of their interviewees was Carlos Luntonio, who is the Director of the Devocio Vasquez Health Center. One of the solutions that Luntonio came up with is to have the public transit have their own designated roads like the ones they have in San Leandro.  Hayward would most definitely benefit from this.