Prop 3: to Fund California’s Water

For the state of California, water is an invaluable resource. So much so, that California has passed eight statewide bond measure since 1996 on water alone. Prop 3 will be the ninth.

Prop 3 authorizes $8.9 billion in the form of general obligation (GO) bonds to fund various water infrastructure projects around California. The projects will help the environment, water storage, and water safety.

A GO bond is like an I.O.U. that the state of California gives to a company for work. The state then pays back the debt from the general fund, which is revenue from tax dollars.

Most projects are funded by local government agencies to provide clean water to residents, water to irrigate crops, and flood protection. The majority of the money spent by local governments is paid by residents when they pay their water and sewer bills, but the state will also offer grants and loans to local government agencies to pay part of the costs.

Prop 3 lays out how the $8.9 billion in bonds is to be spent in six broad categories. The categories are Watershed lands, water supply, fish and wildlife habitat, water facility upgrades, groundwater, and flood protection.

$2.4 billion is set aside for protecting, restoring, and improving the watershed lands to increase the amount and quality of water.

$2.1 billion is set aside to increase the amount of water that the people of California have access to. The sources include gathering and cleaning rainwater, improving the quality of drinking water, and recycling wastewater. This category of the bill also sets aside $300 million specifically for water conservation.

$1.4 billion shall be set aside to fish and wildlife habitats improvement and preservation. This covers projects like bringing more water into a system that would have had it before human intervention. This money will also be spent to buy unowned land to keep it in its natural state.

$1.2 billion dollars shall be set aside specifically for four projects to upgrade Water Facilities. These projects include repairing federal Madera and Friant-Kern canals, building more canals to better connect reservoirs to communities in the San Francisco Bay Area, repairing the Oroville Dam located in Butte County, and planning the changes to the North Bay Aqueduct.

$1.1 billion will be reserved for groundwater preservation. The projects include cleaning and recharging the groundwater. Recharging groundwater is when water is helped to soak into the ground.

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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 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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DMV Improperly Registers Voters

The California Department of Motor Vehicles incorrectly registered 23,000 voter registrations.

As reported by Fox News and The Sacramento Bee, the DMV submitted all these incorrect registrations to the Secretary of State on Wednesday, September 5. The fault as it seems falls on the technicians because while switching between different screens, information of California residents was incorrectly merged.

It doesn’t stop there though as on Monday, October 8, 1,500 more people were found to be improperly registered to vote by the DMV.

The DMV director told the Sacramento Bee, “agency officials have worked quickly with the Department of Technology to correct these errors and have also updated the programming and added additional safeguards to improve this process.”

California Secretary of State, Alex Padilla added that he’s “deeply frustrated and disappointed that persistent errors by the DMV and CDT have undermined public confidence in your basic responsibility to collect and transmit accurate voter registration information, as has been required by federal law for 25 years.”

“You’re setting the state up for a disaster,” Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of True the Vote, told Fox. “They don’t seem to have a process in place to verify that people are who they say they are.”

When asked her opinion on the matter, Rosa, a Hayward resident stated, “it’s definitely a big deal, you’d expect them to know what they’re doing. Then when they go ahead and make these types of mistakes, it’s just shocking.”

When asked if she was one of the improperly registered voters she said no. But she added, “I would definitely not be happy if I was.”

According to Fox News, the program concerned a lot of people right from the start because they feared illegal immigrants would be able to vote. However, that is not a worry anymore as none of the people improperly registered were illegal immigrants.

The Importance of Voting

“It’s incredibly important because elections are determined by the people who show up and vote, it may seem like it doesn’t matter who votes and that the outcomes will be the same but this last election shows how misguided that perception is.” This is the message Political Science teacher Jessica Gallucci, had for students at Chabot College with regards to registering to vote.

Gallucci offered possible reasons for people not voting, “I think that there are many reasons why people don’t vote, they don’t because they feel one vote won’t make a difference, people feel that the system is rigged.”

Gallucci continued, “People are unhappy with candidates, logistical differences in actually going out and voting, but I think that what we don’t understand is that certain populations are more likely to vote than others and those benefit more in the political process because they participate and that can be an eye-opening realization for folks and hopefully that motivates them.”

With the midterm elections coming up Tuesday, November 6. We asked students about the importance of voting and the impact it has.

Voting is important to students at Chabot. Most of the students asked, said they are registered to vote. Those few who aren’t registered said that people who are registered should vote because it impacts everyone in some form even if you might not realize it.

“Even if you don’t think it means anything, just know your vote counted in some way. It was tallied,” said Dee Collins, a student who is registered to vote.

Jessica Gallucci commented on students learning the importance of voting, “There are many places on campus where students are being exposed to the importance of voting in courses and extracurricular activities and hopefully we will continue to do this in the future.”

If you want to vote but didn’t get a chance to register by the deadline, the state of California must provide provisional ballots when asked, even if you didn’t register. Go to the California Secretary of State, Alex Padilla’s website for more information.

Dia de Los Muertos

Chabot College began celebrating Dia de los Muertos on Wednesday, October 17 at noon by placing altars around campus which were available for students to view until Thursday, November 1 at 6 in the afternoon.

These altars were placed in the building 700 lobby, El Centro, building 100 first floor, the library, and the building 400 lobby.

Each of the altars featured different things. The altar in the 400 building lobby was dedicated to Mexican singer Selena Quintanilla. Known by many as simply Selena, she was admired by many people, her music was mostly “cumbias” which is dance music in Spanish, but she also sang some love songs in English. She passed away on March 31, 1995, when she was just 23 years old.

The altar in the 700 building was a traditional Dia de los Muertos altar, with several pictures of different people that have passed away with an image of the Virgin Mary behind them as a traditional altar.

Finally, the altar found in the library was an altar based on the history of Dia de los Muertos.

Officially Dia de los Muertos is celebrated on October 31 and ends on November 2. It’s a day where people honor their loved ones who have passed away. Chabot ended the Dia de los Muertos festivities with a celebration they hold every year on Thursday, November 1, 2018, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Event Center.

During this celebration, students had the opportunity to learn the history of Dia de los Muertos as usual. Students also got a chance to participate in a variety of activities like Loteria which is basically like Mexican bingo, face painting, candle making, flower making, and much more. Students were also able to learn about the resources provided at El Centro and on campus.

The organization responsible for the altars and the celebration was the Hispanic-Serving Institution.

Serena Williams Fined for Breaking Racket

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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 Star is Born: Worth Watching?

In the world of pop culture, there is one specific superstar artist everyone needs back in their lives, and to make another album that will make you strike a pose. That superstar artist is Lady Gaga. She is back but making her debut on the big screen with the Academy Award winner as well as making his first directorial debut Bradley Cooper in the new movie called A Star is Born (ASIB).

This film was released on October 5, 2018. This film is about Ally Campana who was an unknown songwriter who was discovered by a country superstar singer Jackson “Jack” Maine who’s an alcoholic and drug user who saw Ally performing a song at a Drag Bar.  As Jack was mentoring Ally not only he was starting to fall in love with her but started to help reach her dream into becoming a famous songwriter.

Vanity.com stated that ASIB made 44 million dollars in the U.S., and 56 million worldwide the first weekend it was released. This movie has taken over the box office dramatically. This movie will automatically be nominated for next year’s Academy Awards.

The way Lady Gaga performs in the movie is what makes this movie so powerful and emotional. Majority of the songs in the movie is written by Gaga.  Daniela Criollo, Hayward Resident, enjoyed the movie and stated: “The music in the movie is so organic, and the way she just sings each song is just amazing.”

Of course, this movie isn’t for everyone because it is a drama/romance genre. Kelly Vance, a writer for the East Bay Express has certainly expressed his opinion on the movie on Rotten Tomatoes, and in his article. Vace states, “Just TV-commercial pathos and huggy redemption. Filmmaker Cooper, who reportedly “inherited” the vintage movie franchise from his pal Clint Eastwood, strives for a fast-paced, ultra-realistic, music biz environment and achieves it.

A Star is Born’s soundtrack includes all 34 songs in the movie. It also includes the hit singles “Shallow” that is sung by Gaga, and Cooper together, and “I’ll Never Love Again.“When Gaga appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert to talk about the movie, she explains what her experience was like singing with Cooper.

Gaga states “ The truth is I like singing with him, and at the end of the day I know from being close with Bradley you know he says it to me on camera, in the film, and says it to me in real life all you gotta do is trust me. The truth is we trusted each other, and the ideas you know not to “act” at all. You know to sing, to communicate, to have a conversation. And when we did our scenes together we did them over and over and they were different every time because we were doing it live.”

The question you might ask is “Is this movie worth watching?” Hell yes! Not only because Lady Gaga is in it but the overall storyline of the movie and if you just love country music. You can also stream the soundtrack on Spotify, Apple Music, or buy the album. Just make sure to bring a box of tissues and personal snacks before heading to watch it!