We need a culture of honor
My inner being has always been in solidarity with peace and preservation of life. Maybe that is why the events of the past few months have stimulated such a visceral response. Because we must never allow ourselves to become like the system we oppose.
To protest with violence is mirroring the behavior and imitates the gesture, speech patterns, and attitude of failing leadership. The fundamental cornerstone of leadership is character and the ethical health of any country is dependent on the moral character of its leadership.
Leadership of this country has heard the cries of its people and answered with the unlawful exercise of physical force and intimidation. In contrast, the people, for the most part, have maintained peaceful opposition to brutality. Exercising moral and ethical standards is not easy and, at times, dangerous. However, taking a stand in the face of harm, is a true test of moral faith. It has the added benefit of telling our leadership how we want them to act.
We, as a people, should review the principal objectives and ideal elements of our police departments to achieve their intended objectives and identify areas of uncertainty and ethical concerns regarding their implementation. Evidence of recent events, as recorded by video and newscasts, reveal the challenge of police tactics during peaceful protests. These include a multiplicity of objectives, lack of empirical evidence regarding their effectiveness, and ethical concerns of implementation.
There has been no specificity of response to peaceful protesters or violence. Quite the opposite. Abuse by government and police has changed the trajectory of this country. Our nation as a whole will require Intensive, long term, and consistent reform in order to even begin to heal. The time for talking about accountability is over. Events over the last few months underscore the lack of real leadership in this union.
The COVID-19 pandemic response is a state effort, not a united federal one. The fact that if a federal response was enacted, more life would have been saved, is a given. With the murder of Mr. George Floyd and the unrest around it, our leadership responded with the threat of military force followed by abuse of innocent people including Mr. Martin Gugino, a 75-year-old man who was pushed to the ground. Yes, the officers in both cases have been arrested. However, public opinion believes the only reason for this is that the incidents were recorded on videos. Furthermore, 57 Buffalo New York police officers resigned in regard to the Gugino case.
This response reveals the frame of mind of U.S. government leadership and police departments as “us against them” and so-called “Blue Line.” It is glaring proof of the use of unlawful force as well as the total lack of accountability between officers. Accountability is professionalism in action.
What is most disturbing however, even above the systematic racism that screams at us, is the government’s systematic loss of values and what that means for the American people. When a government lies to its people, anarchy soon follows. Video footage showing encounters with police are in sharp contrast with their reports. What is more alarming is that after review of the video footage, protesters were released and officers were charged. Without these videos, protesters would have been charged with crimes that the officers committed. Police have diminished their ability to protect the public based on events witnessed by video. The country is spiraling out of control with little to stop it. Leadership has failed its people.
We are not perfect; however, our values push us to improve. Our leadership is pushing to divide us not unite us. They are not even hiding it. Government has lost its way. The people are speaking, loud and strong… democracy, in which the people have the authority to choose their governing legislation, is speaking in one united voice. The cornerstones of freedom of assembly and speech, inclusiveness and equality are being polished by that voice.
We must always remember. While we have individual rights, we don’t have community rights. While in the community, we assume responsibility for our surroundings and those in it. Thereby, defending it! We never have the right to do something that could injure the health or welfare of our neighbors. Our leadership and our Public Safety Officers also need to hear that. We are one. Not divided.
Traditional police departments do an excellent job with stable environments. Working well within the community’s that they serve, but often perform poorly during crisis events, seeing the public as a threat, and not as the system of support that it is.
It is unfortunate while true, that police departments are regional with their own complex issues. The badge however, is seen as universal, what an officer does on one coast reflects onto police departments on the other coast with all points in between under the microscope of public opinion. Therefore, it is vital and in the public welfare, that all police departments denounce the unlawful exercise of physical force and brutality, that they reassure the public that this will never happen here, and show transparency in why it won’t, declaring their ethical obligation to the community which they serve.
We must require a culture of honor to preform public service. Both the office and public deserve nothing less. Leadership in a free society is not a top down approach. Government by the people literally starts at the street level.
Kind, Connected Summer: A New Summer Reading Experience
Submitted by Alicia Reyes
Summer is normally the time of year library workers anticipate the most. It is when we get to see many more of you come through our doors. There is a vibrant energy that radiates throughout the library, with voices raised in excitement from participating in Summer Reading. Under normal circumstances we would be welcoming you into our library spaces, spinning the prize wheel, handing out book prizes, and gearing up for a calendar full of events. This year we were faced with a whole new “normal.” We had to redesign our Summer Reading experience to be responsive to the realities of COVID-19; seeking out ways for us to still feel connected while having to be physically apart.
- One gameboard for all ages. Alternative activities are available on the back of the gameboard if any of the main activities do not work for you or your family.
- No registration required, no start or finish point – play as much or little as you want.
- Not focused exclusively on logging reading time, however any activity can be replaced by reading or listening to a book.
- Activities are based off the Library’s new vision statement, “Kind, Connected Humans” and our four areas of exploration: Innovation and Cultivation; Healthy Families, Healthy Homes; Civic Participation; Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion. These activities will engage your whole family in exploring your community, library resources, and the world around you.
- Two rounds of gameboards! An updated gameboard will be released on July 20th with a new set of activities.
- Everything on the gameboard can be done without visiting the library and keeping in line with the current public health orders.
We know everyone looks forward to winning prizes for completing summer reading. This year, with our libraries operating differently we also had to rethink how we deliver prizes. With our local economy hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, we chose to invest in local small business by purchasing all of our summer reading prizes within Alameda County. We’re not speaking small sums either, altogether this summer program has infused over $27,000 to support the local business economy, creating prize packages that you can win each week valuing around $100 each! Since we can’t see you in person, we’re asking you to share a story/video/drawing/photo/dance/etc. you created inspired by one of the activities from the gameboard with us each week to be entered into the prize drawings. We’ll share these back with the community through our social media (with your permission) to create a virtual Summer Learning connection.
The last new thing you’ll discover this year is the addition of a Kindness Journal gift. Instead of handing out a book to each participant, we are creating an opportunity to bring your self-expression into the Library’s digital collection!
Libraries are not only about consuming materials but also serve as a place to spark your own creativity. The Kindness Journal includes prompts to inspire you, but do not feel constrained to only use the template we created. We encourage you to create a Kindness Journal in any format that speaks to you: drawing, mixed media, sculpture, video, song, etc. You can then upload your journal to our BiblioBoard portal (https://aclibrary.librariesshare.com/summerkindness/) where it has the opportunity to be cataloged and available for all library members to enjoy.
We deeply miss seeing all of you inside our libraries this summer and look forward to the day we can connect again in-person. Enjoy the Kind, Connected Summer experience, we can’t wait to see what you share with us! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask one of our staff through our AC Library Live Chat service at www.aclibrary.org.
African American reparation bill passes California Assembly
By Cuneyt Dil
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP), Jun 11 – A proposal to establish a task force to study and prepare recommendations for how to give reparations to African Americans passed the California Assembly on Thursday.
The bill advanced with a 56-5 vote as protests nationwide over police brutality re-energized the movement for racial justice and activists pressed for sweeping reforms. It is a top priority for California's Legislative Black Caucus.
If the bill passes the Senate and is signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom, eight people with backgrounds in racial justice reforms would lead a study into who would be eligible for compensation and how it should be awarded.
Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, a Democrat from San Diego who wrote the bill, said the study would reiterate California's history of abetting slavery, even as it joined the union as a “free state” in 1850.
“The discriminatory practices of the past echo into the everyday lives of today's Californians,” said Weber, who leads the Legislative Black Caucus.
The panel would start meeting no later than June 2021.
Congress last June held the first hearing on reparations in over a decade about a bill to study providing compensation to atone for the country's history of slavery. But the legislation did not make it to a vote.
The federal government has given reparations before. After 120,000 Japanese Americans were held at internment camps during World War II, the U.S. government apologized and in 1988 paid $20,000 to each surviving victim.
“We seem to recognize that justice requires that those who have been treated unjustly need the means to make themselves whole again,” Weber said.
Another priority of California's Legislative Black Caucus passed Wednesday when lawmakers approved a proposal to repeal California's affirmative action ban, passed the Assembly. Voters will decide on the measure in November if the Senate approves the bill by June 25.
County Water District receives funding to help restore steelhead trout
Submitted by Sharene Gonzales
Alameda County Water District (ACWD) was recently awarded over $3.3 million in grant funding to help fund additional fish passage improvement projects that will play a critical role in restoring threatened steelhead trout to Alameda Creek. The California Department of Water Resources awarded the grant as part of the Integrated Resources Water Management Implementation Grant Program supported by the voter-approved Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1).
Grant funding will support the completion of a second fish ladder in Alameda Creek, which is currently under construction, as well as improvements to the facilities that support the District’s groundwater recharge operations. Work on the fish ladder is a joint project with the Alameda County Flood Control District.
Once complete, steelhead trout – a federally-listed, threatened species – will have a direct route to pass the district’s rubber dams and a large flood control structure to gain access to the Alameda Creek watershed for the first time in nearly 50 years.
ACWD Board President Judy Huang, said, “This award brings us to over $21 million in grants to fund our fish passage projects – grants which help reduce overall costs to our customers.” Huang added the fish passage projects are a long-planned joint effort and will provide regional environmental benefits, as well as protecting a critical water supply for ACWD.
For more information on ACWD’s fish passage projects, visit www.acwd.org/Fishway.
Business Pulse Check – Archery Only
By Madhvika Singh
Photo Courtesy Wayne Piersol
Social distancing, shelter-in-place and quarantine used to be things we rarely heard of, and only in extreme emergencies, but now they seem to have become the norm. They have affected our social fabric and our livelihoods and have severely impacted the financial wellbeing of our local businesses and their employees. We at Tri-City Voice have featured many local businesses over time, and we reached out to some of them to share their perspective on how they have been affected and how they are coping with the new reality of COVID-19.
This is part of an ongoing series with a new business or businesses featured each week, including both those that have appeared in the paper before and those who are appearing for the first time.
Serving the communities of San Francisco Bay Area and beyond since 1989, Archery Only has established itself as a leading retail archery dealer in Northern California. It is a full-service archery store with professionals available to help customers with their needs, and also offers a wide range of instructional programs tailored for children, adults and families. We at Tri-City Voice reached out to the owner Wayne Piersol at Archery Only to check how COVID-19 and related restrictions have affected business.
Like other businesses, Archery Only was also impacted by the shelter-in-place orders and had to close doors to customers. “We were shut down on March 17th by the state. We have a small online eBay presence, but online sales are only 5% of our overall income,” says Wayne Piersol, owner of Archery Only. Piersol used this down time as an opportunity to remodel the store and upgrade their point of sale systems to better serve their customers. “We kept two of our employees on staff to cover the phones and help with upgrades,” says Piersol.
With the easing of shelter-in-place restrictions, Archery Only has recently re-opened for business with safety measures in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, including requiring all customers to wear face covers and use hand sanitizers when entering the shop. Describing the safety measures, Piersol says, “We are limiting retail customers to ten at a time in the shop, and we are running our indoor archery range at 40% of its capacity. All shooting lanes are at least six feet apart to keep safe social distancing.”
Certified archery instructors deliver a wide range of programs and activities tailored to appeal to children, adults and families in a safe and structured environment. Introductory courses are low-cost and specifically designed to provide an overview of the styles of archery, allowing customers to experience the breadth of choices before narrowing down their options. They also offer classes to supplement home school and charter school programs. For more information on the steps Archery Only is taking to ensure customer and staff safety, and on the selection of their products and services, please visit http://www.archeryonly.com.
Piersol’s lifelong passion for archery took hold on his first visit to an Archery shop when he was barely a teenager, and there was no looking back. Since winning his first award as the California State Junior Olympic Champion at age 15, Piersol has gone on to achieve many others over the years. Some of his recent ones include the “Whitney Hill” award on being only the fourth person ever to complete the California Grand Slam, and “Bow Hunter of the Year” in award 2009. He has also appeared in several episodes of “Today’s Bowhunter” on the Outdoor Channel.
With the easing of shelter-in-place restrictions across the Bay Area and as our economy enters the next phase of re-opening, we at Tri City Voice are glad to see our local businesses back up and running, with measures in place to ensure the safety of employees and patrons. We hope to see Archery Only back to its normal soon – a place where one would find Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, birthday parties and events for disabled and even the visually impaired enjoying the sport of archery.
Archery Only was featured in the August 6, 2019 edition of Tri-City Voice, https://tricityvoice.com/archives/2019/TCV-190806.pdf
Archery Only – Pro Shop
Mon – Fri 12 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Sat 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
37300 Cedar Blvd. Ste D, Newark
Pro Shop: (510) 795-0460
For lessons: (510) 795-0762
Through the business pulse series our intent at TCV is to lend a platform to local businesses share their stories. In these trying times let's hope we can develop a shared bond and come out at the other end stronger as a community to deal with challenges that future might have in store for us.
Transient arrested for arson
Submitted by Geneva Bosques, Fremont PD
On June 14th, at approximately 3:30 a.m., witnesses reported that they were following a subject who had started three fires on Mowry Ave. near Hastings St. Officers arrived within minutes and detained the subject who was then positively identified. The Fremont Fire Department arrived shortly after and extinguished the fires which were burning on the street. Fortunately, the fires did not threaten any structures due to the quick response from firefighters.
Officers arrested 39-year-old Abdulfatah Idris, a transient out of Fremont. He was later booked at Fremont City Jail on felony arson charges. Idris is currently on probation for making criminal threats.
The case has been forwarded to our Mobile Evaluation Team (MET) for follow up. MET is comprised of sworn police officers and licensed clinicians. The team partners together in order to provide a comprehensive approach to issues involving homelessness and mental health.
South Bay BART Stations Are Opening!
Submitted by Supervisor Dave Cortese
At long last, the Milpitas and Berryessa BART stations have opened!
On Friday, June 12, I joined ribbon-cutting ceremonies at the two stations, along with other supervisors, councilmembers, VTA and BART officials and invited guests, and took an inaugural ride. The Silicon Valley Bay Area Rapid Transit will open for passenger service on Saturday.
If it weren’t for the health emergency that we are still facing in Santa Clara County, the opening of this long-awaited transit extension would have been celebrated with a huge public ceremony. But COVID-19 has altered the way we do things, as you know, so only invited guests were able to participate.
VTA built the 10-mile extension from the BART Warm Springs Station in Fremont, adding two new transit centers in Milpitas and Berryessa, where BART connects with VTA transit services. In Milpitas, passengers will be able to connect to the new VTA Orange Light Rail Line and ride north to Mountain View, or south to the Alum Rock Transit Center. VTA bus service connects with both new stations, providing dozens of routes across the County.
Phase II, currently in design and engineering stages, will extend service from the Berryessa Transit Center to stations at 28th Street/Little Portugal, Downtown San José, and Diridon Station with the end of service in Santa Clara.
Because of Shelter in Place Orders, BART operates from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends. Face coverings are required to ride on BART or VTA light rail or buses.
Bay Aerials takes flight again
By Hugo Vera
With Phase III of re-opening efforts set to begin soon in California, many businesses and organizations will be resuming operation for the first time in months since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of those soon to benefit from Phase III are athletic teams.
Earlier this month, the NBA announced that it was ending its three-month-long hiatus by resuming its 2019-20 season in a single-location tournament. In the Bay Area, many other teams and organizations are following the lead of their professional counterparts by reopening while also adhering to strict temporary changes.
Among these Bay Area athletes returning to action are the gymnasts of the Bay Aerials gymnastics academy. Established in 2004, the Fremont-based school has trained hundreds of gymnasts of various ages while also helping 29 of them to land offers from the NCAA. Bay Aerials hosts two prominent annual competitive events: Red Heart Competition in January (an invitational contest featuring high school gymnasts from around the country) and Pink Meet in October, benefitting the women’s cancer nonprofit United for Her.
“This past competitive season was cut one week short before our state competition. Our athletes took it well and of course they knew it would only be temporary. Within two weeks, our dedicated athletes started practicing with Facebook Live workouts and then with more organized Zoom training,” says Bay Aerials owner Lisa Aguirre.
According to Aguirre, Bay Aerials gymnasts train all year, and while the coronavirus lockdowns may have prohibited athletes from regular competition, the closures did allow for much-needed psychical and mental respite. In accordance with standards set by the CDC and Alameda County, Bay Aerials will operate in a completely different manner for the rest of 2020.
These changes include the use of multiple hand-sanitizing stations in the facilities, coaches required to wear face masks at all times, single-access entry for parents dropping off their children, limited spectator seating and a vigorous cleaning schedule. In addition, the academy’s lesson plans have been altered to allow gymnasts to remain the federally-recommended 6’ apart from each other. Parents will also be asked to enter the facilities one at a time and all non-athletes must wear masks for the duration of their visit.
“Safety is our Number One priority. If anyone does contract COVID-19, we will immediately close for 24-48 hours to notify persons in class and to sanitize thoroughly with a COVID-19 protocol,” Aguirre adds.
In addition to receiving the 2020 Alameda County Parents’ Press award for best gymnastics classes, Bay Aerials has become a pillar in the greater East Bay sports community. The academy organized a meal-drive for doctors and nurses combating coronavirus at Washington Hospital and has made notable contributions to the Guy Emanuele Fund which benefits after-school athletic programs.
“We know that our classes are the highlight of every child’s week,” Aguirre concludes. “We love Fremont and we can’t wait to open our doors to all of the children who will be in desperate need of physical education and for all who just love the gym!”
Bay Aerial Gymnastics
4883 Davenport Pl., Fremont
California counties can let these businesses reopen Friday
AP Wire Service
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – California counties can reopen a broad range of businesses starting Friday under new state guidance that marks the broadest relaxation of the state's stay-at-home order yet. Across the board, businesses are expected to provide workers with face coverings, ramp up cleaning protocols and make it easier for people to stay 6 feet (1.8 meters) apart.
The following businesses are cleared to open only with county approval:
Rooms will no longer have magazines, menus or coupons, and hotels must disable manually operated ice machines that are common in hallways. Pillow protectors should be changed daily and linens removed in single-use sealed plastic bags. Hotels should limit the number of people who can be in an elevator at one time.
Bowling alleys, mini golf courses, arcades and batting cages can reopen. Score sheets, pencils, 3D glasses or other required items should be disposable or single use if possible. Movie theaters can reopen with reduced capacity – 25% or up to 100 attendees.
Museums, galleries, zoos and aquariums can reopen but should discontinue tours that mix together groups of people, use one-way halls and walkways if possible and discontinue the use of audio headsets and strollers, so long as it's consistent with their obligations to people with disabilities.
BARS AND WINERIES
Bars and wineries should follow similar rules as recently reopened restaurants, including prioritizing outdoor seating and keeping patrons 6 feet apart. Tasting rooms should use a fresh glass for each tasting and limit groups. The state is dropping the requirement that businesses must serve food to serve alcohol.
FILM, TV, AND PRO SPORTS
Music, television and film production can start again, and so can professional sports without live audiences. Rather than issue specific guidelines, the state is directing the industries to set rules through labor agreements and by following county public health orders.
Gyms should consider reservations to limit the number of people in the facility. They should put sanitizer near exercise machines, changing rooms and other regularly-used areas and should space machines at least 6 feet apart. They should suspend high-contact activities like pick-up basketball and limit the number of people in exercise classes to maintain physical distancing. They can open pools.
Small groups where children are in the same group all day long are the lowest risk, and camps should prioritize outdoor activities. Camps should suspend the use of water fountains, limit the sharing of toys, games and supplies where possible, and direct campers to bring their own meals if they can. Campers should be checked each day with a no-touch thermometer.
WHAT'S NOT OPEN?
Nail salons, tattoo parlors and body waxing studios can't open, nor can saunas and steam rooms. Nightclubs, concert venues, live theater and festivals are also barred from reopening, as are theme parks and indoor playgrounds like bounce houses, ball pits and laser tag. Colleges and universities also aren't cleared to reopen for in-person learning.
Church burglarized, suspect arrested w/ stolen property
Submitted by Geneva Bosques, Fremont PD
On June 7th, a local church off Washington Blvd. was burglarized. The suspects stole a television from a classroom, stole a large case of toilet paper, attempted to break into the sanctuary, and left urine in a church vase. Over the course of the investigation, a license plate for a suspect vehicle was identified.
Officers followed up on the information throughout the week. The investigation led to a June 13th probation search of a Fremont residence. The search resulted in the recovery of the church’s television and several packs of the stolen toilet paper. Officers also recovered two stolen bicycles. One of the bicycles was stolen from a Fremont residence on June 12th. The other bicycle was reported stolen out of Anaheim, CA in 2017.
Officers issued 47-year-old Stacey Decrosta of Fremont, a citation for felony burglary. Decrosta must appear in court in August 2020 to face this burglary charge. Due to the “zero bail” schedule implemented by the Judicial Council of California, officers were unable to book Decrosta into custody.
The Judicial Council of California recently voted to end the “zero bail” schedule on June 20th. Individual counties must inform the Judicial Council if they plan on continuing the “zero bail” schedule or if they will resume normal bail schedule guidelines.
Decrosta is currently on probation for felony burglary. She has a lengthy criminal history consisting of numerous theft related arrests
State Senate passes bill to protect college savings from creditors
Submitted by Jeff Barbosa
California State Senate has approved a bill by Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) to protect Golden State Scholarshare 529 college savings plans from being seized by creditors in bankruptcy cases. The bill now goes to the state Assembly for its consideration.
California created the Scholarshare 529 college savings accounts in 1999 to help families of all income levels prepare and save for future higher education expenses. Children with savings accounts, however small, are far more likely to enroll and graduate from college.
But unlike retirement plans, 529 accounts are not protected from creditor claims in California. A creditor can attach the account to satisfy a judgment, which can be devastating to a family and reduce access to college. Most states have state creditor protection.
“Families across our state our facing economic hardship from the COVID-19 emergency and Senate Bill 898 will ensure that all the funds they have saved up for their children’s college education cannot be touched by creditors should they have to file for bankruptcy,” said Wieckowski. “Students seeking to better themselves through higher education should not be held responsible for their parents’ financial difficulties. College is expensive enough. This bill will add security and improve access to college for Scholarshare 529 participants.”
Letter to the Editor
Santa Clara County moves to Phase 2
Santa Clara County is able to move forward with Phase 2 because of the cooperation and sacrifices of our residents, business owners, teachers, students, community leaders and healthcare workers. The County is ready to support the businesses now allowed to provide curbside retail, manufacturing and childcare as they prepare to reopen with the required safety measures to protect workers and the public from COVID-19. At the same time, the Public Health Department will carefully monitor coronavirus cases and other data to ensure that we continue to make progress toward reducing the impact of the virus. Continuing to practice the measures that brought us to today’s action, combined with testing and contact tracing in order to move on to the next phase seems to be the best strategy we have.
Supervisor Dave Cortese
2020-2021 Budget: What Are Your Spending Priorities?
By Supervisor Dave Cortese
Nearly every part of life in 2020, including the daily workings of Santa Clara County government, has been affected by actions related to COVID-19. The 2020-2021 County Budget process is no exception.
On June 23, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors will be asked to adopt a recommended $8.3 billion “continuation” budget that will allow us to keep the county operating after the fiscal year ends on June 30. In August, after the July recess, there will be workshops, hearings, and much public discussion about the final budget that will take us through 2020-2021 fiscal year. The hearings are scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 18; Wednesday, August 19; and Friday, August 21, most likely by teleconference.
Usually, the budget workshops are in May and the hearings in June. Because of the uncertainty of both expenses and revenues caused by actions we needed to take during the pandemic, as well as the economic downturn caused by shelter-in-place temporary closing of businesses, there are, in the words of County Executive Jeff Smith, “a lot of moving parts.”
What we do know is that the estimated budget deficit will be about $300 million. What we don't know is how much the county will get in reimbursements for the $100 million already spent on costs related to coronavirus.
In closing the deficit, the county will look at eliminating vacant positions and one-time expenses, dipping into reserves and aggressively pursuing revenue from federal and state COVID-19 funding. Because of the pandemic, there have been losses in all of our revenue sources, including property taxes.
The county has faced tough budget challenges in recent history. For 10 years, cuts that totaled nearly $2 billion had to be made to balance budgets, ending with the 2013-2014 budget. So, this is the first year in a quite a while that the county has had to start the budget season with a huge gap between spending and revenue.
Add to this a state budget that has a projected $54 billion deficit. When the state has to fill a big hole in its budget, it turns to counties to provide part of the revenue, including Santa Clara County, where the estimated loss to the state is $107 million.
In working to balance the budget, the county will stay true its mission of providing for those who cannot provide for themselves, whether the need is for housing, food, mental and physical healthcare or justice. At the same time, we will look at making wise investments for the future.
I’d like to hear from you, the taxpayers, about your spending priorities to help me and my colleagues on the board of supervisors make prudent and thoughtful decisions. Please call my office at (408) 299-5030 or email me at email@example.com.
12 Strategies for Older Workers: Success in Finding and Landing a Job
By Anne Chan, PhD, MFT
The jobless rates are depressing, and current economic forecasts are grim. Many people are out of a job, and competition for jobs is daunting. If you are an older worker, it might seem impossible to land a job during the pandemic. Let us address the elephant in the room – yes, age discrimination exists and yes, there are unfair stereotypes that older workers are not savvy with technology, are in poor health, might not fit into the company culture, or are overqualified.
Most likely, an interviewer is not going to express these concerns directly. However, there are steps you can take to address these concerns in a positive manner. The following tips will help you tackle age stereotypes, at the same time, help maximize your chances of finding and landing the right job for you.
- Create a LinkedIn profile. These days, a LinkedIn profile is a must-have on a resume. Take your time to create a LinkedIn profile that stands out. Use a professional-looking photo that showcases you as a pleasant, approachable person. Do not be tempted to use a photo from decades ago. You are not going to fool anyone when you show up in person.
- Update your resume – Get your resume read by different people who are hiring. Don’t let it look dated and don’t include more than 15 years of job experience. Leave out your college graduation dates or other indicators of your age.
- Network – I would advise networking to a job seeker of any age, but older workers have an advantage because they generally know more people. Reach out to all the people you know and tell them you are job hunting.
- Be thoughtful about the salary you request. Employers are leery of hiring people who are overqualified and ask for too high of a salary. One trick is to emphasize your flexibility in your salary expectations.
- Don’t talk too much or talk down at an interviewer. It may be true that you have more work and life experience, but condescension will not get you anywhere.
- Besides the usual websites that list jobs, check out ones that are specifically for older workers, such as www.retirementjobs.com and www.workforce50.com.
- Update your skills – Be sure that you are showcasing the kinds of skills that current employers are looking for. If you are behind the times, consider taking online courses to spruce up your resume.
- Work on presenting yourself as comfortable with innovation and technology. Be sure to highlight your technology chops in your resume and interview. If you are behind in technology, take steps to address this by signing up for a class or learning on your own.
- Take steps to address fears that you are overqualified. Express your enthusiasm for the job and for the work involved. Assure them that this is a job you want.
- Assure the interviewer you are interested in working for long-term. Employers might have fears that you will work for only a few years before retirement. Be prepared to answer the question, “Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?”
- One stereotypes about older people is that they are low energy and get sick often. Employers might worry about older workers taking a lot of sick leave and not being reliable. You can address this in several ways – first pay attention to your demeanor, posture, and tone of voice. Are you energetic? vibrant? robust? If not, practice in front of a mirror or a trusted friend and work on letting your healthy self show. Secondly, you can mention your perfect attendance record in the interview, cover letter, and your resume. This is an area where you can turn a potential negative into a positive. Emphasize your loyalty and reliability – these are assets that employers desperately want and are fearful that younger candidates might not have.
- Highlight any current and relevant skills and experiences. Please watch your language. By this, I do not mean swear words. Older workers might inadvertently use dated terms like “rolodex” or “landline.” Be sure to practice using contemporary language. Also, emphasize your proficiency with software that the employer is using, such as Excel or Google calendar.
As a final note, employers are always on the lookout for skilled candidates who are loyal, reliable, and trustworthy. Many older workers possess these exact qualities in spades. Keep sending out those resumes after you’ve utilized these tips.
Anne Chan is a career counselor and licensed psychotherapist in Fremont. She specializes in helping people find happiness in their careers and lives. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Anne Chan, 2020
COVID-19 testing in San Leandro
Submitted by San Leandro Police Department
A free testing center has opened in San Leandro to frontline and essential workers, seniors, persons with diabetes, hypertension, and other health conditions making them vulnerable to COVID-19, plus anyone with COVID-19 symptoms regardless of where they live. You do not need health insurance and will not be asked about immigration status. To make an appointment, visit https://lhi.care/covidtesting or call 1-888-634-1123.
COVID-19 Testing Center
Marina Community Center
15301 Wicks Blvd., San Leandro
Flowers that are a cut above
Article and photos by Daniel O'Donnell
“Flowers in a Vase” is a famous painting by well-known French Impressionist artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir. It is an 1866 oil painting on canvas that depicts a ceramic vase filled with a colorful array of wildflowers sitting on a grey marble table. The beautiful bouquet was captured in this masterpiece and will live on for others to see for many years to come. The actual floral arrangement, on the other hand, probably only lasted a few days because the flowers, beautiful as they were, were not suited for a long-lasting arrangement. However, certain flowers are better choices for long-lasting displays; many can easily be grown at home.
Cut flower arrangements in vases have been enjoyed for thousands of years. Displays can be seen in artwork from ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, and China. Throughout history, flower arrangements have been used in religious rituals, ceremonies, or as display of wealth. Often the flowers used had medicinal or symbolic reasons that were prioritized over longevity. Some flowers used in in arrangements today are chosen for their significance, but many of the flowers, especially ones grown at home to be used in vases, are for their aesthetic appeal.
Several things can be done to extend the life of a flower cut from the garden. Cutting the stem at an angle creates a larger surface area that can take in water. An angled cut also prevents the tip of the stem from lying flat on the bottom of the vase, which makes it harder to absorb water. Keeping the arrangement out of direct sunlight and trimming the bottoms of the stems every few days will keep the flowers fresh longer. Changing the water regularly and adding a teaspoon of sugar as flower food and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to act as an antibacterial agent will also prolong the life of cut flowers. However, some flowers just have better genetic makeup to survive longer in a vase. Sometimes weeks longer.
Alstroemeria planted in the garden blooms in late spring and flowers throughout summer. It prefers full sun but will still flower in partial shade. If there were a master list of exotic colors, there would be an alstroemeria to match each one. The flowers can last beyond two weeks in a vase if there is ample water.
There are two types of sunflowers – branching and nonbranching. Both produce the iconic flowers of summer that can last for over 12 days in a vase. Most people prefer branching sunflowers when growing for arrangements because they produce multiple flowers while nonbranching sunflowers only produce one.
Lilies are easy to care for and grow well in many gardens. Asiatic and oriental lilies are the most popular, especially around certain holidays, but store-bought versions may have been forced to bloom in greenhouses to be ready. Lilies grown in the garden will bloom on their own schedule. When cut and brought into the house, their vibrant colors and sweet fragrances can be celebrated for three weeks.
Gladioli have long lasting blooms both in the ground and as cut flowers. There should not be a problem finding a desired color with over 10,000 different cultivars. Gladioli are as easy as any other bulb to care for when in the ground and flowering. Regular watering is all that is needed. There are a few extra processes to go through after cutting gladioli to extend their longevity in a vase. The stem should be placed in warm water after it is cut for a couple of hours and then recut while under the water. You will be glad that you made the effort.
Leucospermums are drought-tolerant evergreen shrubs that produce an abundance of flowers that look like brightly colored pincushions with pins in them. There are nine groups of Leucospermums all have the characteristic pincushion flowers but range in sizes, shapes, and all the colors of the rainbow. Using these mysterious-looking flowers in a vase means you will be stuck enjoying them for at least three weeks.
It is essential to grow Cymbidium orchids in pots outside because they need cool night time temperatures to initiate flower spikes. The uncut lush flowers can last up to three months. A single plant can produce multiple spikes with ten to twenty-five flowers so cutting a few for inside should not be a problem. A cymbidium arrangement can last for at least three to four weeks.
Renoir was not the only impressionist painter to paint cut flowers in a vase. Monet painted his own flowers in a vase and van Gogh painted sunflowers in a vase. Those flower displays will live on indefinitely. The arrangements made from homegrown cuttings will last only a few weeks but are sure to leave a long-lasting impression on you.
Daniel O'Donnell is the co-owner and operator of an organic landscape design/build company in Fremont. www.Chrysalis-Gardens.com
Disney plans to reopen California theme parks in July
AP Wire Service
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP), Jun 10 – Disney is proposing to reopen its Southern California theme parks in mid-July after a four-month closure due to the coronavirus, the company said on Wednesday.
Disney Parks, Experiences and Products said in a statement that the goal is to reopen Disneyland and Disney California Adventure on July 17. A nearby Disney-themed shopping area would reopen on July 9.
Advanced reservations will be required for theme park visitors and capacity will be limited, the statement said. Events that draw large crowds, such as parades and nighttime spectaculars, won't return immediately and Disney characters will be in the parks but not available to meet with visitors, the statement said.
The plan to reopen the parks, which have been closed since March 14, is still pending government approval.
Disneyland fans normally can bank on the park being open regardless of what's going on in the world around it. The park closed only a handful of times in 65 years and never for more than a day, according to Jason Schultz, supervisory archivist at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum and unofficial Disneyland historian who wrote “Jason's Disneyland Almanac.” The last closure was after the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
The proposed reopening date is 65 years after Disneyland first opened its gates in 1955.
DMV reopens remaining offices offering limited services
Submitted by Supervisor Dave Cortese
California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has reopened its remaining field offices that were temporarily closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. With this phase of reopening, employees at 169 field offices will assist customers with current appointments at the specific office and limited transactions that require an in-person visit.
Behind-the-wheel drive tests are not yet available, and DMV continues to recommend that customers use its online services, expanded virtual services, and other service channels to complete transactions, including eligible driver license and vehicle registration renewals.
The DMV has already begun rescheduling appointments canceled during the temporary closure and notifying customers of the new date. Once the DMV has accommodated those customers, the DMV will begin offering a limited number of new appointments. The DMV plans to resume offering all services to appointment and non-appointment customers in the coming weeks, as space allows.
Customers will notice numerous changes to safeguard the health of employees and customers. Employees are wearing face coverings and maintaining physical distancing and have access to disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, facial shields, gloves, and soap and water. The DMV also is providing hand-washing stations for customer use in select locations. Customers are required to wear a face covering and remain 6 feet apart in line. Customers are offered a text message that will allow them to wait outside the building until notified they are ready to be served. Entry into the building is metered, and customers may experience extended wait times.
The DMV has expanded its “DMV Express” option to all field offices, allowing customers to fill out the online application for REAL ID, upload documents at home, and receive an expedited experience at a local DMV office. The federal government has also extended the REAL ID enforcement date to October 1, 2021, a year later than previously announced, to give people more time to apply.
“I continue to encourage Californians to use our online services, Virtual Field Office, DMV Now kiosks and business partners whenever possible,” DMV Director Steve Gordon said. “Nearly all DMV tasks can be accomplished without an office visit. To keep wait times down and to maintain public health guidelines, I ask you to only visit a DMV office when absolutely necessary and to come prepared.”
By Roddy Sheer and Doug Moss
Dear EarthTalk: How are we doing in the battle to stop or slow deforestation, especially in the tropics where forests store so much of the world’s biodiversity?
— M. Lark, Neptune, IA
In short, not so good. Global Forest Watch, a project of the non-profit World Resources Institute (WRI) which uses satellite data to track global forest loss, found that the world lost some 3.8 million hectares of tropical primary forest (defined as forests of native trees undisturbed by human activities) in 2019 — equivalent to one soccer field every six seconds and an area about the size of Switzerland in total. One particularly nasty side effect of all this forest loss is the release of more than two billion tons of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere as the trees came down in 2019. (To put that into context, this is more emissions than caused by all of the vehicles on the road in the United States during the same 12-month stretch.) The tropical primary forest loss in 2019 is the third highest amount in recorded history, behind only 2016 and 2017.
While deforestation is an issue everywhere, it is particularly problematic in the tropics where the majority of the world’s biodiversity lives. Another leading conservation group, WWF, points out that some 17% of the forest across the Amazon has been cut down over the last 50 years, mostly to make room for cattle ranching — so we can enjoy our steaks and burgers. The group warns that if nothing is done to stop it, some of the world’s most iconic and biologically diverse forest landscapes could be lost to deforestation, including primary habitat for iconic wildlife species like orangutans, tigers and elephants.
“The hot spots are located in the Amazon, the Atlantic Forest and Gran Chaco, Borneo, the Cerrado, Choco-Darien, the Congo Basin, East Africa, Eastern Australia, Greater Mekong, New Guinea, and Sumatra.” reports WWF. “Up to 420 million acres of forest could be lost between 2010 and 2030 in these ‘deforestation fronts’ if current trends continue.”
Brazil suffered the largest total primary forest loss of all in 2019, with deforestation for agriculture and other new land uses increasing rapidly through that country’s vast stretches of Amazon rainforest. Meanwhile, neighboring Bolivia experienced the largest surge in primary tropical forest loss, where rampaging wildfires, most likely set intentionally to clear land for farming, reduced 80 percent more tree cover than in previous years.
On the bright side, Global Forest Watch reports that primary forest loss was reduced significantly in Indonesia, where a recently imposed government moratorium on clearing land for palm oil plantations — along with beefed up enforcement — has reduced annual forest loss to levels not seen for 15 years (before the palm oil craze swept the region). Primary tropical forest loss was also down some 50% in both Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.
What’s the solution? Frances Seymour of WRI tells The New York Times that she’d like to see the international community address the problem through economic incentives that encourage forest protection. She adds that governments should focus on preventing forest burning, increasing monitoring and enforcement to stop encroachment while providing the poor with alternatives to forest exploitation.
EarthTalk is produced by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss for the nonprofit EarthTalk. See more at https://emagazine.com. To donate, visit https://earthtalk.org. Send questions to: email@example.com.
By Ned MacKay
To restore public access that has been curtailed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, East Bay Regional Park District is reopening some park entrances and allowing resumption of some customary summertime activities.
As of June 12, the park district planned to reopen the Old Tunnel Road staging area on the Orinda side of Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve. While the staging area was closed, visitors were parking their cars along the frontage road to Highway 24 just east of the Caldecott Tunnel, an unsafe situation.
At Crown Memorial State Beach in Alameda, the parking lot at the Otis Drive entrance was scheduled to reopen, partly to alleviate overcrowded street parking. Also reopened was the Tidewater staging area at Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline in Oakland. Shadow Cliffs Regional Recreation Area in Pleasanton remained walk-in only. Picnicking or congregating in large groups is still not allowed.
Starting June 15, the district planned to allow outside day camp operators to host groups of no more than 12 at a time for three weeks for hiking and other activities. Social distancing of campers will be required.
And for mid-July, the park district is considering reopening Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont; and resuming normal operations at Del Valle, Shadow Cliffs, Castle Rock, Quarry Lakes and Lake Chabot regional parklands. This would include camping, picnicking, swimming, and boating. Of course, all the above depends on the status of the coronavirus pandemic as determined by the public health departments of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.
The best source of up-to-date information on the status of your favorite regional park is still the park district’s website, www.ebparks.org. Links to all the COVID-19 information are right at the top of the homepage. Although various park entrances and visitor centers have been closed, most of the regional park trails, both within and connecting the parklands, have been open all along.
As part of the fight against the coronavirus, park visitors should remember to maintain social distance of at least 6 feet, keep dogs on leash at all times, carry face coverings for use when social distancing is not possible, and visit in small groups consisting essentially of immediate household members.
On top of everything else, 2020 fire season is underway. District firefighters have already provided mutual aid at several East Bay fires outside regional parklands and fought one at Point Pinole Regional Shoreline.
Park visitors can help prevent fires by being especially vigilant and careful while roaming the trails. Smoking, including vaping, is prohibited in the regional parks. And if you do spot a fire during your visit, call 911. If circumstances permit, report the fire’s location, size, direction of burn, and whether any people or structures are threatened. However, your own personal safety takes priority, so get away as quickly as you can.
For more information, visit California Department of Fire and Forestry Protection (CAL FIRE) website, www.fire.ca.gov/.
Over four decades ago, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched two spacecraft designed to travel through interstellar space. Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were designed to explore the outer reaches of the sun’s influence (heliosphere) and beyond. Instruments aboard have been able to send wonderful images and data about the outer planets of our Solar System; both are now exploring the vast expanse of space between stars.
Along with scientific instruments, an important artifact was stowed on these spaceships… a 12-inch, gold-plated phonograph record of pictures, music, sounds from Earth and greetings in 55 languages. The task of compiling and assembling these greetings was given to distinguished astronomer and science communicator Dr. Carl Sagan of Cornell University and his wife, artist and writer, Linda Salzman Sagan.
With no specific instructions about content, those speaking for Earth were asked to be brief and extend greetings to extraterrestrial beings that might encounter Voyager. Although bombarded by a collection of science fiction/horror dramas that portrayed beings from outer space as aggressive, cannibalistic, antagonistic and dangerous (e.g. War of the Worlds, It Came from Outer Space, etc.), a common theme of peaceful coexistence is evident when reviewing the messages. Sentiments of “peace”, “friendship” and “goodwill” are common.
In this period of turmoil and civil unrest, it is reassuring to examine the fundamentals of humankind and find common themes that point toward united humanity. Although fear-engendering semantics can inflame and alter perceptions, at our core, people are more inclined toward cooperation rather than confrontation. Conflict arises when we are challenged by irrational and rigid circumstances that rely on coercion rather than compliance through agreement. Fear of loss of control can stoke the fires of anger and injustice to the point of combustion amid slogans that convey a plethora of meanings depending on the messenger and audience.
The current Black Lives Matter (BLM) upheaval is an example of extreme prejudicial behavior that permeates our society and has erupted from a confining veneer of dysfunctional societal normalcy. Anger and angst are responses to both overt and subtle messages of division, repression and fear in direct contradiction of Voyager epistles sent to the stars. The BLM movement is a reflection of a common desire that craves to be treated as a whole community rather than disparate fragments. A symphony of voices using phrases such as “defund” aspire to the best aspects of community – support and safety without fear.
How to achieve this in the midst of a moral and organizational crisis is the question. Can people focus on shared strengths and seek solutions based on common goals and aspirations rather than contentious rhetoric and destruction? The cliché “world peace” is often considered vapid because it is so universal and therefore, taken for granted. Voyager 1 is now traveling through interstellar space with a message of peace and harmony between the inhabitants of Earth and anyone else out there. It’s time to recognize and act on our shared humanity. How else can we prepare to meet someone who answers our interstellar call?
City Council OKs 3rd set of city employee pay reductions
Submitted by Chuck Finnie
Recently, Hayward City Council approved a third set of pay reductions and changes in compensation agreements with city workers to save money amid declines in city revenue stemming from the COVID-19 public health emergency.
The latest compensation changes, agreed to with workers represented by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021 and Hayward Association of Management Employees (HAME), are projected to save the city’s General Fund up to $691,448 in wage and benefit costs in the 2021 Fiscal Year, which starts July 1. Across all city operating funds, the changes could save nearly $1.2 million in FY 2021.
The reductions approved include up to 55 hours of unpaid furloughs for workers represented by SEIU and 80 hours of furlough for HAME-represented management level employees. Compensation reductions and concessions are being sought in response to steep declines in key city revenues, most notably sales tax dollars, which is resulting in a significant use of the city’s General Fund operating reserve.
The General Fund pays for basic municipal services, such as police, fire-fighting, 911 response, libraries, maintenance of public spaces, and administration of general governmental operations and programs. The General Fund reserve is like a savings account that provides a cash-flow cushion for getting through cyclical fluctuations in expenses and revenues, meeting unanticipated needs and to draw on in times of emergency.
Going outside? Don’t forget to bring a face cover
Submitted by San Leandro Police Department
To further control the spread of COVID-19, Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Erica Pan recently issued a Health Officer Order broadening when a face covering must be worn.
The face covering order went into effect on June 8 throughout Alameda County and supersedes the prior face covering Order. Face coverings now must be worn at all times by all members of the public, including outdoors while engaged in physical activities (walking, running, biking, etc.) and within 30 feet of people outside of their household.
“A face covering helps prevent transmitting the virus that causes COVID-19.” Pan said. “Everyone should wear a face covering anytime they are outside the home and around other people. This helps decrease the exposure for all of us and is one of the few tools we have that will allow us to decrease risk as we gradually allow for more activities outside the home.”
Face coverings can be simple and homemade, made of cloth, fabric, or other soft or permeable material without holes, that covers the nose and mouth.
More guidance for employers is available in the Site-Specific Protocol Plan. People with a written exemption from a medical professional due to a medical condition, health concern or disability, or anyone who has trouble breathing, are not required to wear a face covering.
Children aged 12 and younger are not required to wear a face covering, and any child 2 or younger should not wear a face covering. The order does not apply if a person is only with members of their own household and does not expect to come into contact with a member of the public.
A person that is walking, hiking, bicycling, running or engaging in other physical activities is not required to wear a face covering during the entire duration of their activity, but that person must carry a face covering that is easy to access so they can wear it once they are within 30 feet of other people.
“Face coverings protect everyone because people may have COVID-19 and not realize it,” Pan explained. “My face covering protects you and your face covering protects me.”
More information on both Health Officer Orders and accompanying documents are available online at:
Pandemic prompts support for small businesses from Facebook
By Miranda Jetter
Among the most visible victims of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has wreaked havoc across nearly every facet of society in the past months are small business. Main streets and downtowns bear shuttered storefronts hung with signs and posters scrawled with well-wishes for customers and promises to return. In the midst of this crisis Facebook has developed new features to try to help these hard-hit small businesses.
According to a press release from the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses account for 44% of all economic activity in the U.S. It is clear in a survey conducted by Goldman Sachs on small business that COVID-19 is taking a toll. Sixty-four percent of respondents said they had cash reserves that would last them less than three months. In addition, 93% of respondents said that COVID-19 would have a long-term impact on their business operations.
One of the tools touted by congress to help small businesses is the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Designed to incentivize keeping workers on payroll, they are loans meant to alleviate some of the stress placed on small businesses during this time by providing funds to cover employee’s wages and overhead fees. The loans are forgiven if certain parameters, like using 75% of allotted funds on employees, are met.
However, PPP has been dogged by issues and controversy. According to an article in The Atlantic several large businesses like Shake Shack and Ruth Chris’s Steak House were roundly criticized for taking PPP loans when they are by no means small businesses. Only 29% of those approved for PPP funds had received them, according to the survey and many have found the guidance on how to apply and receive loan forgiveness overly convoluted and confusing.
This is where Facebook comes in, unveiling a new product called Shop. The Shop feature allows businesses to design a “virtual store front” said Diana Doukas, a policy manager at Facebook. In particular the feature is useful for retail and restaurants, sectors which have been acutely struggling without foot traffic. This new product comes in addition to other features that can be used by small businesses like Fundraisers and Gift cards and resources on the Facebook website like business resiliency toolkits and digital marketing training.
The Shop feature is accessible through a businesses’ Facebook or Instagram page and differs from a business’s public page on the website by allowing for everything from browsing products, to contacting sellers, to ordering and tracking products. All of this can be done on one platform without the need to toggle between different sites, said Doukas. Businesses can customize their shops with their own branding and aesthetic, ideally to approximate the experience of a real-life store as closely as possible.
They’ve also released a “Support Small Business” sticker on Instagram, a tag that can be inserted into an Instagram story. The sticker is meant to encourage people to shop local by creating awareness of small businesses, said Doukas. The hope is that the sticker, which allows users to tag a small business they support, will galvanize others watching the story to check out the business mentioned.
Businesses Nearby is another tool that Facebook is rolling out which compliments the Shop feature. It helps users find businesses in a 1-500-mile radius around them. Doukas said that this allows users to discover and engage with new small businesses in their communities. The Shop and Business Nearby tools are features that businesses have to opt in to, said Doukas, and they do come with a price. Each feature requires a one-time processing fee for operations but that there are no ongoing charges.
These new tools are part of an ongoing effort by Facebook to become an integral part of conducting business. They already derive much of their advertising revenue from small and medium sized businesses. Since 2016 they’ve created surveys and reports with the World Bank, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and Small Business Roundtable. In April of 2020 they announced $100 million in grant funds for small businesses globally. “We have long been in the business of small business,” said Doukas.
To learn more about Facebook’s small business features visit www.facebook.com/business.
Want to learn Mandarin?
Submitted by Katy Cheng
It is never too late to learn a new language. Fremont Chinese School (FCS) has started a new class — Adult Chinese I — beginner level Mandarin Chinese course that aims to build a solid foundation of basic communicative skills as well as knowledge of Chinese language and culture. Students will learn proper pronunciation, basic vocabulary, and grammar structures.
Upon completion of this course, students will be able to engage in basic daily conversations, read simple Chinese text, and input Chinese characters digitally using the Pinyin system. The instructor for the course is Cleo Lu, Ph.D., coordinator of Chinese Program at California State University, East Bay.
Registration for the 2020-21 school year has begun. For details, visit www.fremontchineseschool.org. Enjoy the early bird discount until June 30. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (510) 468-9905.
Adult Chinese I
9:00 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.
Irvington High School
41800 Blacow Rd., Fremont
Fremont City Council
June 9, 2020
- Fremont Police Department released a comprehensive infographic of the department.
- Town Hall June 10 at 6 p.m.
- Authorize recycling processing agreement amendment.
- Approve purchase of two dump trucks from Golden Gate Truck Center and one flatbed truck and two utility trucks from National Auto Fleet Group.
- Authorize application for Transportation Development Act Grant Funds of $264,575 for Pedestrian Crossing Enhancement Project.
- Approve investment policy. PASSED 6-1; Kassan, Nay
- Authorize agreement with Lyft and GoGo Technologies, Inc. for ride-hailing services; amend agreement with MV Public Transportation for wheelchair accessible van services.
- Authorize agreement with City of Newark for FY 2020/21 paratransit services.
- Award contract to O’Grady Paving, Inc. in the amount of $2,265,284 for Fremont Boulevard Intersection Safety Improvements Project.
- Introduce ordinance requiring electronic filing of Fair Political Practices Commission Campaign Disclosure Statements and Statements of Economic Interest.
- Public Hearing to replace Level of Service with Vehicle Miles Traveled for transportation analysis.
- Proclaim June 2020 as Pride Month.
- Complaint about lack of response to opposition to restriping of Rancho Arroyo Parkway.
- Request to remove police resource officers from Fremont schools.
- Police destruction of records and accountability.
- Police conduct with protesters.
- Defund police department and issue about Tesla reopening and COVID-19 positive workers.
- Clear homeless encampment in Warm Springs.
- Invest more in human services.
- Second Public Hearing on FY 2020/21 proposed Operating Budget. General Fund Expenses total $213.4 million next year. Revenue drop of over $12 million related to pandemic following a $10 million drop this fiscal year.
- Salwan referral: explore Project Labor Agreements on public projects.
- Terminate Civil Unrest Emergency Proclamation including curfew.
Mayor Lily Mei Aye
Vice Mayor Rick Jones Aye
Vinnie Bacon Aye
Raj Salwan Aye
Teresa Keng (District 2) Aye
Jenny Kassan (District 3) Aye, 1 Nay
Yang Shao (District 4) Aye
Garden of Blessing Community Garden
By Madhvika Singh
Photos by Madhvika Singh & Teresa Schmidt
Whether it’s the sight of the tiniest droplet on a nasturtium leaf, a visiting hummingbird, or suddenly stumbling upon a robin nest or the first raspberry, the sights and sounds of a garden are always music for ears, art for eyes and meditation for soul. So are watching rain fall on your Swiss chard, a heavy headed, wobbly rose waking up from an all-night drizzle, the sound of snapping a pea, slicing a sumptuous tomato for a salad or grilling a freshly picked scallion. Whether food self-sufficiency, working out, or creating a weekend family activity, gardening has plenty of benefits.
With similar thoughts in mind, combined with their core value of “Care of Creation,” the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose in Fremont started their Garden of Blessing in 2016 after receiving a grant from one of their donors. “The inspiration for the garden came from our mission of reaching out to community, care of our planet, and our heritage of education,” says Sister Barbara Hagel and Sister Jeanette DeYoung, who have spearheaded development of the garden.
In the process of tending to the garden, they have learned many methods of sustainability and organic gardening. The variety of fruiting and flowering plants attracts an abundance of wildlife that helps with pollination, resulting in superior quality produce. There are also over a dozen beehives at the site. In addition to serving the essential purpose of pollinating the vegetables and fruits on the property, the bees yield honey as well. The garden is run with the help of volunteers from the community who work alongside the sisters.
The first two established phases of the Garden of Blessing include a raised bed vegetable garden where organic vegetables like tomatoes, peas, and asparagus are grown, and a fruit tree orchard with over 20 fruit trees. Garden of Blessing has served as a place that fosters collaboration and harmony, and provides fresh fruit and vegetables, supplementing daily dining room meals with produce as well as helping the most vulnerable in the society.
The sisters are now in the process of putting down “roots” for phase three of the Garden of Blessing, a community garden. The Garden of Blessing Community Garden would be located in an 8,000 square feet area of land at the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose. In the community garden, plots of varying sizes would be available for rent to anyone in the community to suit their individual needs.
Sister DeYoung and Sister Hagel will continue to be involved in the development of the community garden and will support necessary fundraising. “We are working on the grants to add the necessary infrastructure and welcome donations to support the project,” shared Sister Hagel. The garden manager, Guy Duran, will provide direct oversight of the daily operations and management at the community garden.
Although the initial plan was to start the community garden this fall, due to COVID-19, it will open in spring 2021. The community garden area is already being prepared and cultivated, and tomatoes, basil, beans and squash are already making their appearance. The Sisters hope that with the community garden, more people contribute and encourage others to do so as well. Providing community outreach to those in need, giving others the education and opportunity to help themselves, is one of the Sisters’ goals in setting up the garden.
The Sisters have already seen the beneficial impact of community gardening. Sister DeYoung shared how one person from the neighborhood spent a year volunteering at the garden to learn how to grow plants in harmony with nature, and then used that to start a similar garden in his own backyard. “I thought that itself was a very good reason to start a community garden,” added Sister DeYoung.
With the rise in popularity of smaller housing units in urban areas, a lot of us do not have access to backyards and gardens. Renting a plot opens up the opportunity for those of us without access to space in hour homes. Taking regular care of plants can also be a great way for children to learn responsibility as they help seeds take shape into seedlings, feed seedlings to grow into plants, and care for the plants to harvest produce.
Renting a plot and being able to grow your own produce also means you get time to spend outside in nature and interact with people in your community with similar interests. It also offers an opportunity to learn from others and share expertise with those who are just starting their journey. More than ever, in times like these, activities like gardening can help us stay connected and combat isolation, while bestowing us with the joy and convenience of growing our own produce.
Garden of Blessing Community Garden
Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose
43326 Mission Cir., Fremont
To inquire about renting a plot at the community garden, please contact:
Garden Manager – Guy Duran
Golden State Warriors cheer for the Class of 2020
Submitted by Alameda County Office of Education
The Golden State Warriors, in partnership with the Alameda County Office of Education, gathered some of their biggest stars to honor the Bay Area’s high school Class of 2020 with a video address to graduates.
The video, which was recorded in May and shared with Bay Area schools ahead of graduation ceremonies, features Head Coach Steve Kerr, All-Stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, and East Bay native Juan Toscano-Anderson saluting members of the Class of 2020 for their resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Congratulations to the Bay Area Class of 2020,” said Curry in his address to graduates. “You guys did it, and you did it under some pretty unique and uncertain circumstances, to say the least. So, congratulations! And now it’s time to go out and conquer the world. As the last few months have taught everybody: expect the unexpected, be able to adapt, and don’t let anything, anything, stand in your way.”
“As any coach would tell, you're going to face a lot of adversity at some point in the game—or in this case in life—and to persevere through that adversity is really what's going to set you apart and make you a champion,” Kerr told graduates in the video.
The Class of 2020 is graduating from schools with campuses that have been closed since March in a variety of non-traditional manners, from virtual ceremonies to drive-through events. In addition to the loss of in-person instruction and opportunities to socialize with peers, they saw in-person high school graduation ceremonies, proms and other traditional end-of-year events canceled to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
“The loss of these final months of high school had an immeasurable impact on our students,” said L. Karen Monroe, Alameda County Superintendent of Schools. “We are so grateful that the Warriors were willing to add their voices to the tributes for the Class of 2020. We know of few people better able to speak to persevering through adversity than our Warriors. We are so proud of our students and if we could do anything to make their graduations more special, we wanted to do it.”
The Alameda County Office of Education approached the Warriors, who have won three NBA Championships in the last six years, about this project and the team quickly accepted the offer to celebrate the achievements of the Class of 2020.
“Our players and Coach Kerr thought it was important to recognize and salute the Class of 2020, especially due to the unique circumstances and challenges they have faced over the last few months,” said Raymond Ridder, Warriors senior vice president of communications. “These students are our future, and any words of encouragement that we might be able to provide to inspire them to dream and strive for greatness is well worth the time invested and part of our duty.”
“I myself never thought that I would be in the NBA, and just like you guys I’m also from the Bay Area. So, if I can do it, you guys can do it as well,” said Toscano-Anderson in his address, noting that he graduated from Castro Valley High with the Class of 2011.
The Warriors’ tribute was part of virtual graduation ceremonies across the Bay Area and Northern California.
Congratulations to the Class of 2020!
Hayward Area Recreation and Park District receives awards of excellence and distinction
Submitted by Jacqui Diaz
Hayward Area Recreation and Park District (HARD) announced that the Hayward Community Garden has been selected by the California Park and Recreation Society (CPRS) as a 2019 Award of Excellence winner in the category of Design – Park Planning. Additionally, the District’s AG Day program received Awards of Distinction for Outstanding Activity/Special Event from both CPRS District III and the California Association of Recreation and Park Districts (CARPD) respectively.
Hayward Community Garden opened in Fall 2019. Its first phase of development consisted of seventy plots for individual and shared use. The gardening area allocates space for cultivating vegetables, fruits and other ornamental plants. In addition to gardening plots, the park provides demonstration garden areas, an outdoor classroom, greenhouse, compost bins, picnic tables, barbecues and a children’s natural play area. Using grant funds received from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service, valve and flow sensors that measure consumption were installed, which allows for water conservation.
Spaces are available for use by District residents and can be leased for a two-year period. If interested in a plot, visit www.HaywardRec.org.
The AG Day event was recognized as an Outstanding Recreation Program by CPRS and CARPD. The Eden Area AG Day annually brings together over 1,300 students from Castro Valley, Hayward, and San Lorenzo school districts. The event supports third grade teachers and curriculum and provides a hands-on learning experience to teach students about the importance of agriculture in communities. Students learn about history of the region, ranches, animals, careers and products. The goal is for participants to have a learning experience about the possibilities of agriculture and to become inspired to grow food, better understand nutrition and honor local agricultural history.
“We are honored to be recognized with these three awards,” stated Board President Paul Hodges. “Both the Community Garden and AG Day represent a commitment by the residents who participate in these programs. These awards also honor those volunteers, businesses, schools, and agencies who have supported the effort to build programs and parks that create a meaningful impact on our community – so we share this award with them as well.”
To learn more about H.A.R.D. programs and events, please visit www.HaywardRec.org.
MUST GO IN THIS ISSUE
Seeking public input on sea level rise adaptation plan
Submitted by City of Hayward
The City of Hayward, East Bay Regional Park District, and Hayward Area Recreation Park District are jointly seeking public input on strategies under consideration for adapting the Hayward shoreline to rising sea levels.
Sea levels are rising and are anticipated to continue rising in San Francisco Bay and globally, a climate-change phenomenon caused by the warming of oceans and increased melting of land-based ice such as glaciers and ice sheets, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Adaptation strategies currently under consideration would structurally alter the bay edge within Hayward through a combination of nature-based designs, like gravel beaches and tidal-marsh restoration, and engineered strategies, such as levee improvements and tide gates.
The nature-based approaches seek to enhance protective ecological features of the shoreline, while engineered solutions would aim to reduce risk to critical shoreline infrastructure, such as the city’s wastewater treatment plant, Hayward-San Mateo Bridge, Bay Trail, and Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center.
To provide feedback, visit www.haywardshorelinemasterplan.com. The deadline for public comment has been extended to Friday, June 26.
Hayward resumes street sweeping
Submitted by City of Hayward
City street sweeping services resumed Monday, June 15, Hayward Maintenance Service Director Todd Rullman announced. The resumption of street sweeping coincides with a request that residents once again begin observing and complying with neighborhood parking regulations.
Enforcement of parking regulations won’t begin until Monday, August 3. In the meantime, enforcement personnel will be distributing informational flyers instead of parking tickets.
For more information, call maintenance services administration at (510) 881-7745.
Hayward City Council
Tuesday, June 9, 2020
- Adopt a resolution approving a side letter of agreement between the city of Hayward and the Service Employees International Union, Local 1021 for implementation of an unpaid furlough in fiscal year 2021.
- Adopt a resolution approving a side letter of agreement between the city of Hayward and the Hayward Association of Management Employees for implementation of an eighty-hour furlough in fiscal year 2021.
- Fiscal year 2021 Operating budget work session #1 (report from Finance Director Claussen). Staff report and agenda materials were provided no later than designated date of Tuesday June 9, 2020, via the city’s meeting and agenda center under documents received after published agenda.
Mayor Barbara Halliday Aye
Sara Lamnin Aye
Elisa Marquez Aye
Al Mendall Aye
Mark Salinas Aye
Aisha Wahab Aye
Francisco Zermeno Aye
Victim Interrupts Home Burglary, Suspect Arrested
Submitted by Geneva Bosques, Fremont PD
On Friday, June 12th, at approximately 3:30 p.m., a homeowner reported hearing noises in her home. As she walked down her stairs, she noticed her home had been ransacked. She then observed a transient male suspect fleeing from her home. She provided a detailed description of the suspect as numerous officers responded.
An officer located a matching suspect at Fremont Bl. and Sundale Dr. The male subject was detained and later positively identified by the victim.
40-year-old transient, Dennis Aquino of Fremont was arrested for residential burglary. He was then booked at Santa Rita Jail.
Aquino is currently on probation for vandalism and has stay away orders from the location of his arrest, as well as numerous other locations throughout the city.
Aquino has been arrested previously for multiple counts of burglary, theft, trespassing, drugs, resisting arrest, and violating stay-away orders.
Clues sought in possible Hayward homicide
Submitted by Officer Claudia Mau, Hayward PD
Detectives from the Hayward Police Department are asking the public for help as they continue to investigate a possible homicide that occurred in early May.
The incident started at 4:17 p.m. Friday, May 1 when officers responded to a call for service in the area of Industrial Parkway and Pacific Street. On arrival, officers found an unresponsive man suffering from gunshot wounds. Emergency personnel soon arrived and pronounced the man dead.
The Alameda County Coroner’s Office and the Hayward Police Department later identified the man as Mike Lorenzo, 65, a homeless man from Hayward. Authorities are investigating the death as a homicide.
Anyone that has information about the incident is asked to call Detective Sangha at (510) 293-7176.
Submitted by Hayward PD
On June 14, around 3:00 a.m., our officers responded to a report of shots fired in the 2700 block of Manon Avenue in Hayward. Upon arrival, two men were located suffering from gunshot wounds. Medical aid was provided however one man was pronounced deceased at the scene. The other man is currently being treated at a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The identity of the deceased man is known but it is being withheld until proper notification is made to his family.
This incident remains an ongoing investigation as witnesses are identified and evidence is gathered.
Anyone with information related to this homicide is asked to call Detective Sangha at 510-293-7176. The Hayward Police case number is 2020-035011.
We want to thank the community for their patience as we continue to investigate. We are committed to providing additional information as soon as the investigation allows
Culver-Stockton College, Missouri
Spring 2020 graduate
- Anthony Garcia of Union City
Bradley University, Illinois
Spring 2020 Dean’s List
- Sarah Dove of Castro Valley
Belmont University, Tennessee
Spring 2020 Dean’s List
- Kevin Cameron of Fremont
- Samantha Silva of Fremont
Georgia Institute of Technology
Spring 2020 graduates
- Nathan Chan of Fremont
- Jasmin Voigtlander of Hayward
University of San Diego
Spring 2020 graduates
- Kassandra Amper of Milpitas
- Jillaine Balajadia of Union City
- Azaria Baldwin of Union City
- Emma Barrow of Castro Valley
- Antonio Cardenas of Hayward
- Zachary Castro of Milpitas
- Delaney Heller of Castro Valley
- Elizabeth Rickey of Fremont
- Gavan Singh of Fremont
- Josephine Tsai of Fremont
University of the Cumberlands, Kentucky
Spring 2020 graduates
- Deonne Kunkel of Hayward
- Krishna Bhupal Yadav Kandula of Fremont
- Bhargav Ram Narra of Milpitas
- Vinayak Velpula of Fremont
- Bhanukiran Reddy Allam of Fremont
- Meet Ankleshwaria of Fremont
- Phaneendar Rao Avishineni of Newark
- Saikiran Goud Bandameedi of Fremont
- Narayana Yaswanth Kumar Bhogaraju Venkata Bhaskara of Fremont
- Ugandhar Bitra of Fremont
- Sai Venkata Rama Krishna Reddy Bokka of Fremont
- Jaipal Challa of Fremont
- Manul Gaddam of Fremont
- Suresh Reddy Gadepally of Fremont
- Naveen Reddy Kalagiri of Fremont
- Pruthvi Raj Kola of Fremont
- Anitha Kolluri of Fremont
- Sharat Chandra Lingampally
- Venkatesh Miryanam of Fremont
- Abdul Farhan Mohammed of Fremont
- Ateeq Mohammed of Fremont
- Ghouse Mohammed of Fremont
- Owais Ahmed Mohammed of Fremont
- Nithish Nadukuda of Fremont
- Hariteja Nakka of Fremont
- Bharadwaj Nalluri of Fremont
- Arun Kalyan Reddy Namala of Fremont
- Hari Krishna Nandipati of Fremont
- Akshay Nimmala of Fremont
- Rahul Sai Kumar Pasicanti of Fremont
- Venkat Ram Reddy Pinnapureddy of Fremont
- Sushma Ragi Reddy of Fremont
- Vikramaditya Sakki of Fremont
- Abrar Sohel of Fremont
- Sathya Nikith Reddy Surson of Fremont
- Malleswari Vadlamudi of Fremont
- Vinaykumar Vure of Newark
- Mohammed Wahed Waseem of Fremont
- Lalitha Devi Gundugolla of Fremont
- Vamsi Krishna Malleboina of Milpitas
- Tanzeem Uddin Mohammed of Fremont
- Amulya Nalipireddy of Fremont
- Shravan Kumar Parande of Fremont
- Mahesh Poreddy of Fremont
- Venkata Sathya Surya Vara Prasad Sariki of Fremont
- Hiral Shah of Fremont
- Aria Alokozai of Castro Valley
- Anudeep Goud Bathula of Fremont
- Sandeep Kumar Reddy Tunga of Fremont
Wheaton College, Illinois
Spring 2020 Scholastic Honor Society induction
- Sara Grace Rosselli of Fremont
University of Iowa
Spring 2020 Dean’s List
- Nihaal Gill of Fremont
Youngstown State University, Ohio
Spring 2020 graduate
- Hannah Ideis of Fremont
University of Alabama
Spring 2020 graduate
- Joseph Ballard of Fremont
Spring 2020 graduate
- Jordan Puckett of Newark
Spring 2020 Dean’s List
- Stephen Owens-Wong of Hayward
Fort Hays State University, Kansas
Spring 2020 graduates
- Yunfeng Zhao of Fremont
- Elias Aceves of Hayward
Georgia Institute of Technology
Spring 2020 Dean’s List
- Yuankai Cai of Milpitas
- Joshua Ngotiaoco of Fremont
- Kunal Sharma of Union City
The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi
- Samantha Mills of Milpitas; San Jose State University
Local high school student wins award for community service
Submitted by Shirley Sisk
The League of Volunteers (LOV) selected Esha Gautam from Washington High School as the winner of “Scholarship Award for Community Service.” The scholarship is established for graduating seniors in the Tri-Cities who performed a minimum of 50 hours of service to the community in their junior and senior years. LOV established the award in memory of Michael Gendreau, a dedicated board member and volunteer supporting LOV and its programs with his service since 1989.
Esha has been the arts & entertainment editor for the school newspaper, member of the tennis team, and club treasurer for Project Aqua. Esha will be attending UC Berkeley to major in Economics/Business.
Popular children’s summer camp canceled
Submitted by LOV Newark
In what would have been its 40th year, the annual Summer Camp for kids in Newark has been canceled for 2020 – due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
Sponsored by League of Volunteers (LOV), the popular six-week program offered hundreds of Tri-City area children ages five to 12 a chance to enjoy arts and crafts, sports, games, music, dance and special events each day at Mayhews Landing Park.
In a statement released June 12, LOV Executive Director Shirley Sisk shared the disappointing news with the community. “LOV has been hard hit by the closures we’ve all experienced under COVID-19. Unfortunately, we will have to cancel this year’s Summer Camp. We really wanted to at least have a 2-3 week fun time for the children in the Fremont, Newark and Union City in late July or early August.”
She added that the group was preparing for a shortened summer camp program and even had 200 children on a waiting list. But LOV officials ran into numerous stumbling blocks including new rules allowing only 12 children together at a time, playground slides and swings locked, and uncertainty about when children will be going back to school.
No announcement has been made about whether the program will return next year.
1st Degree Murder
I am so angry! The murder of Mr. George Floyd is an outrage. It was an unspeakable and brutally cruel crime that should never have happened in America. We have laws.
The abject and grievous failure by the Minneapolis Police Department to lead by confronting that monster in their ranks; this unacceptable failure certainly co-signed the murder of an innocent, subdued innocent man.
Instead of promptly putting the handcuffed Mr. Floyd into a police vehicle and transferring him back to the police precinct, respecting Mr. Floyd’s civil rights, the police standing by took no action to stop the outright murder. They, in my opinion, also co-signed Mr. Floyd’s murder.
Protests of this heinous brutality are guaranteed under our nation’s “Bill of Rights” within the First Amendment, “the right of the people to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
Rioting, looting, arson, assaults, shooting into buildings, attempted injury to police officers is criminal activity by career anarchists under the auspices of protesting the murder of Mr. Floyd. Sadly, this behavior does not honor the good memory of Mr. George Floyd.
With deep sympathy for Mr. Floyd and his family.
Mary Gomez & family
Music education nonprofit tunes up for online learning
By Brittany Ung
Music for Minors II (MFMII) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching children about all things music—from drumming to singing to dancing. During the school day, volunteer docents enter classrooms in Fremont, Newark, Castro Valley, Pleasanton and Dublin with harmonicas, drums, kazoos and more, ready to engage students with a new song or musical game… usually.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, MFMII docents can no longer meet with their classes. Instead, volunteers are finding alternate ways to use music to connect students who are now miles away. Some have recorded lessons on YouTube, others are joining video calls to meet with classes.
After schools moved classes online earlier this year, Suzy Young, a volunteer docent of 11 years, sent a video to the teachers of classes she usually volunteers at, showing herself teaching “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.” Some of them asked her to join their class virtual meetings.
Technology has enabled volunteers like Young to make sure music still thrives in the age of social distancing, but it comes with drawbacks. On the logistical end, lagging video and audio make it difficult to teach things like harmony or singing in rounds. And on the social end, older children are prone to feeling awkward and self-conscious when asked to sing alone in their rooms, instead of in a large group.
Some challenges have encouraged creativity in volunteer docents. MFMII has five resource centers located in local schools, where volunteers can borrow musical instruments for use in the classroom. But, because of the pandemic, those centers are closed for the time being. So instead, some docents are encouraging children to make their own instruments. A harmonica made from a tongue depressor and rubber band or a kazoo made of a toilet paper tube with wax paper on the end can keep kids engaged and can even teach them about how music works on a scientific level.
In Young’s case, her students will learn from a MFMII-sponsored Taiko drumming instructor who usually brings a set of the Japanese drums into the classroom. But since the class will be held over Zoom, she’s encouraging her students to find their own drum—a pot and chopsticks, a plastic spoon and bowl, or even their own hands for creative body percussion.
There is one thing the nonprofit can’t replace: volunteers. Volunteers are essential to MFMII’s ability to reach the nearly 5,000 children that they do now, says Executive Director of MFMII Carol Zilli. But she doesn’t know how many people will volunteer to serve next year.
Usually around 30 to 40 new volunteers sign up for their yearly training in September. But many of those learn about MFMII through in-person events and performances—something that’s impossible because of the pandemic. Zilli recalled one of the last MFMII performances before social distancing requirements: a 300-student performance at Harbor Light Church for an audience of over 700. “That, you can never replace,” she said. “You can’t do any virtual thing like that ever.”
But they’re trying anyway. In May and June, MFMII presented a series of Facebook Live mini concerts for students and the community, with sponsorship by Pickleberry Pie, a nonprofit that brings music to children who are sick or seriously disabled. For the concerts, MFMII brought in musical duo Lori and RJ, two professional musicians who are also MFMII board members. Meanwhile, the nonprofit is posting videos and songs on its Facebook page at facebook.com/musicforminors2, where they hope to drum up volunteer support and donations.
Zilli noted that learning to teach and share music with children is an experience many volunteers find personally fulfilling. “This program is not just for the students. It’s not just for the children,” she said. “It’s for the volunteer docents. Many of volunteers have said to me, ‘This is the most rewarding volunteer thing I have ever done.’”
And though the pandemic means docents have to wrestle with lagging connections and distanced ensembles, the joy of sharing music doesn’t go away.
“Doing the music class was a reminder that while things are different, and maybe a little scary [students] were anxious, music is always something that can bring a little joy into their lives,” Young said. “It can help them feel better if they’re not feeling that good. Whether they’re singing to their favorite song or listening to music or playing an instrument or dancing, all of those things just make you feel better. And we kind of need that at this time.”
Training for volunteer docents runs from September 21 to November 9 on Mondays and Wednesdays. Volunteers will learn both basic music theory and music education techniques. For more information on volunteering or donating, visit musicforminors2.org, email email@example.com or call (510) 733-1189.
Newark Police Log
Submitted by Newark PD
Friday, May 1
- At 8:43 p.m. officers responded to a report of an armed robbery on the 35000 block of Newark Blvd. A suspect entered a retail business and asked the clerk for $100 while showing a handgun and threatening to shoot. The incident is under investigation.
Tuesday, May 5
- At 12:01 p.m. Officer Horst investigated a cold theft of a package from the front porch of a residence in the 38000 block of Primula Terrace that occurred at 11:17 a.m. The package was taken within five minutes of delivery.
Wednesday, May 6
- At 9:09 a.m. Officer Allum was conducting a security check in the 8100 block of Jarvis Avenue when he found that an auxiliary entrance door was shattered and the business appeared to be ransacked. Loss was 21 robotic vacuums worth about $12,369.00. The incident is under investigation.
- At 11:01 a.m. Officer Knutson investigated a theft of $2,500 worth of solar panels at a residential construction site in the 6500 block of Purple Crab Drive.
Thursday, May 7
- At 4:37 p.m. Officer Slavazza located a stolen vehicle at the corner of Saint Paul and Saint Matthew drives. The vehicle was stolen out of Salt Lake City, Utah, and there were two stolen license plates out of San Francisco inside the car.
Officer Involved Shooting Investigation
Submitted by Officer Claudia Mau, Hayward PD
We are actively investigating an officer involved shooting that happened June 1, 2020. At about 4 a.m., officers responded to a call for service regarding looting at the CVS located on Harder Rd and Mission Blvd. During the contact, officers discharged their service weapon. We are still investigating all the factors to determine what led to this outcome.
A male was transported to the hospital, treated for minor injuries, and he was released from the hospital. He is currently in custody. We have three other people in custody in connection to this incident. No officers were injured during this incident.
If anyone has any information that can assist this investigation, please call Detective Purnell at 510-293- 7176. We are not releasing any identifying information of the officers. This remains an ongoing investigation as witnesses and officer testimony is gathered and analyzed.
Anytime the Hayward Police Officers use force, regardless of degree, it is a serious matter that requires a thorough investigation. In addition to an internal investigation, that Alameda County District Attorney’s Office has been notified. We want to thank the community for their patience while we continue to investigate. We are committed to providing additional information as soon as the investigation allows.
City of Fremont Launches Pop Up Patio Program
Submitted by Cheryl Golden
The City of Fremont launched a new pilot program, Pop Up Patio, for brick-and-mortar restaurants and retailers. The program will allow small businesses to use outdoor space to conduct business beginning June 19 by granting temporary access to adjacent public or private spaces in light of restricted indoor operations by Alameda County implemented to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Pop Up Patio will provide much-needed economic relief for businesses by developing a process that enables restaurants and retail businesses to move dining and commercial activities outdoors, where social distancing guidelines can be upheld and more customers can be safely served. In addition, customers will be able to socialize, support local businesses, and engage in their favorite activities while social distancing.
“To ensure the needs of our business community are met during this challenging time, Fremont has positioned itself as a leader by having all aspects of the pilot program in place ahead of the Alameda County’s approval for small local businesses to re-open to the public and offer outdoor dining and retail operations on June 19,” said Fremont Mayor Lily Mei. “Through the early creation of a streamlined permitting process, we are excited to see how the new pilot program will positively impact our community as a whole and further support our resilient small businesses.”
As a pilot program, Pop Up Patio will allow City staff and participating businesses to test and evaluate standards and propose zoning amendments for a more permanent program citywide. The pilot program will assess the use of outdoor space for three different scenarios: on the public sidewalk, within public on-street parking spaces, and within private plazas and parking lots. The permit fee has been waived for businesses participating in the pilot program.
The opening of the application process this week comes on the heels of recently released revised guidelines from the Alameda County Public Health Department for the re-opening of local business activities beginning June 19. City staff is now reviewing and approving permits. Permits that are approved will be held in a ready-to-issue status until the County Health Order changes to allow outdoor dining and retail starting June 19, at which point in time applicants will be immediately issued a permit allowing them to build and use their Pop Up Patio.
Restaurants and retailers that are interested in participating in the Pop Up Patio Pilot Program can access the program application and view additional information by visiting www.Fremont.gov/PopUpPatio.
Red Cross now testing all blood donations for COVID-19 antibodies
Submitted by Christine Welch
For a limited time, the American Red Cross is testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies, providing donors insight into whether they have been exposed to this coronavirus. At the same time, there continues to be an urgent need for blood donations as hospitals resume surgeries and treatments that require blood products.
Antibody testing will indicate if the donor’s immune system has produced antibodies to this coronavirus, regardless of whether they developed symptoms. Donations will be tested using samples pulled at the time of donation and sent to a testing laboratory where they will also undergo routine infectious disease testing. A positive antibody test result does not confirm infection or immunity.
COVID-19 antibody test results will be available within 7-10 days in the Red Cross Blood Donor App or donor portal at RedCrossBlood.org. The test has been authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“As an organization dedicated to helping others, the Red Cross is pleased to provide more information about COVID-19 to our valued donors,” said Dr. Erin Goodhue, executive medical director of direct patient care with the Red Cross Biomedical Services. “If you are feeling healthy and well, please schedule an appointment to not only help saves lives but also learn about your potential exposure to COVID-19.”
The Red Cross is not testing donors to diagnose illness, referred to as a diagnostic test.
Donation appointments can be made by downloading the free Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. Thanks to Amazon, all those who come to give June 1-30 will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email.*
Blood drive safety precautions
To protect the health and safety of Red Cross staff and donors, individuals who do not feel well or who believe they may be ill with COVID-19 should postpone their donation.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities:
Fremont-Newark Blood Donation Center, 39227 Cedar Boulevard, Newark
6/16/2020: 11:45 a.m. – 6:15 p.m.
6/17/2020: 11:45 a.m. – 6:15 p.m.
6/18/2020: 11:45 a.m. – 6:15 p.m.
6/19/2020: 8:15 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
6/20/2020: 8:15 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
6/21/2020: 8:15 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.
6/22/2020: 11:45 a.m. – 6:15 p.m.
6/23:00/2020: 11:45 a.m. – 6:15 p.m.
6/24/2020: 11:45 a.m. – 6:15 p.m.
6/25/2020: 11:45 a.m. – 6:15 p.m.
6/26/2020: 8:15 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
6/27/2020: 8:15 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
6/28/2020: 8:15 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.
6/29/2020: 11:45 a.m. – 6:15 p.m.
6/30/2020: 11:45 a.m. – 6:15 p.m.
San Francisco police won't respond to non-criminal calls
AP Wire Service
SAN FRANCISCO (AP), Jun 11 – San Francisco police will stop responding to neighbor disputes, reports on homeless people, school discipline interventions and other non-criminal activities as part of a police reform plan the mayor announced Thursday.
Mayor London Breed said in a news release that on calls that don't involve a threat to public safety, police would be replaced by trained, unarmed professionals to limit unnecessary confrontation between the police department and the community.
“We know that a lack of equity in our society overall leads to a lot of the problems that police are being asked to solve,“ she said in the release. “We are going to keep going with these additional reforms and continuing to find ways to reinvest in communities that have historically been underserved and harmed by systemic racism.”
Breed said as part of police reforms, the city will also strengthen accountability policies, ban the use of military-grade weapons and divert funding to the African-American community.
The city will develop its plan over the next year and follow models like the Cahoots program in Eugene, Ore., Breed said. That community-based crisis program employs social workers and mental health workers to respond to disturbances where crimes are not being committed.
Third Niles Gateway Plan Up for Review
A revised proposal to build residential units on the vacant Henkel property in Niles has been submitted for formal review. The proposal is the result of several iterations of plans, lawsuits, and appeals involving developer Valley Oak Partners, City of Fremont, and various resident groups and individuals.
Just as with the previous proposals, the new one would require a General Plan Amendment to change the land use designation from industrial to residential and change the zoning to allow multi-family housing on the site. The latest plans include 75 for-sale residential units on 6.08 net acres, with no commercial space. The city would deed the stub end of Niles Boulevard to the developer for use as a private roadway connecting to an interior loop road. The developer would provide a pedestrian access point to the Alameda Creek Trail near the railroad embankment.
The original proposal was to build 98 three-story residential units and several mixed-use commercial spaces on the property. The latest proposal reduces the amount of residential to 75 two-story units and eliminates the mixed-use commercial spaces.
In the original proposal, parking for the commercial spaces was on Niles Boulevard, and there was access to the development from Chase Street in the adjacent residential area. After several revisions, the latest proposal eliminates all parking on Niles Boulevard, and has no vehicle connection to adjacent neighborhoods.
In the new proposal, plans for a community center have also been dropped, and there are changes to the architecture, open space layout, and other features.
What Didn’t Change
Despite these significant changes, there are still several areas of concern regarding traffic, density, massing, and affordability.
The proposed development is still located at one of the worst traffic bottlenecks in Fremont. The narrow, two-lane portion of Niles Boulevard in front of the proposed site makes a sharp turn under the railroad overpass and connects directly to the congested Niles/Mission intersection. All the in-and-out traffic for the development would have to pass directly through this bottleneck. Because Niles is not near a transit center, most of the residents would choose to drive.
The proposed development would still be denser than nearby residential areas, most of which are single-family detached homes with moderate-sized yards. In contrast, the proposed development would consist of multi-family attached townhouses with no backyard or side yard. As a result, the development would be more than twice as dense as the adjacent neighborhoods.
Not only would the development be denser, but it would also appear more massive. The revised plan still has long straight rows of attached townhouses. Eight of the 13 buildings would be five-plexes. Although the buildings are now two-stories, when they are five-plexes, their massing is exaggerated. In this revision, all the garage doors are the same plain design, which also adds to the perceived bulk of the buildings.
And finally, the entire development would consist of market-rate housing, priced at the upper end of the affordability range. According to the latest Housing Element report, Fremont has issued building permits for far more new market-rate housing than the goal set by the State of California, and not enough for below-market-rate housing. So, if we already have too much high-end housing, then why should the city approve this proposal to get even more?
Because the proposed site is within the Niles Historical Overlay District, it required review and recommendation by the Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB). At the HARB meeting on June 4, the board recommended approval by a vote of 2 to 1. Two of the five HARB members had to recuse themselves because of their prior involvement with the project.
The Planning Commission is tentatively scheduled to review the proposal on Thursday, July 9, and make a recommendation to the city council. Final approval of the Niles Gateway Planned District requires a General Plan Amendment to change the land use designation. That is an important decision to be made by the City council. No date has been set for the council meeting.
Meanwhile, residents are encouraged to send their comments and questions about the latest Niles Gateway proposal to city staff planner David Wage at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SpaceX captures the flag, beating Boeing in cosmic contest
By Marcia Dunn
AP Aerospace Writer
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP), Jun 01 – The first astronauts launched by SpaceX declared victory Monday in NASA's cosmic capture-the-flag game.
They quickly claimed the prize left behind at the International Space Station nearly a decade ago by the last crew to launch from the U.S.
“Congratulations, SpaceX, you got the flag,” NASA astronaut Doug Hurley said a day after arriving at the space station.
Hurley showed off the small U.S. flag during a news conference and again in a linkup with SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California.
“You can bet we will take it with us when we depart back to Earth,” said Hurley, floating alongside Dragon crewmate Bob Behnken.
The flag flew on the first space shuttle flight in 1981 and the final one in 2011. Hurley was on that last shuttle crew.
The flag was an added incentive for Elon Musk's SpaceX company and Boeing, competing to be the first private company to launch a crew to the space station. Saturday's liftoff of NASA astronauts was the first from the U.S. in nine years. Boeing's first astronaut flight isn't expected until next year.
An estimated 100,000 people – suppliers, vendors, engineers, etc. – were responsible for Saturday's flawless launch of test pilots Hurley and Behnken aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center. The Dragon capsule, also built and owned by SpaceX, docked at the space station Sunday.
“It's awe-inspiring for all of us,” SpaceX manager Benji Reed told the astronauts from Hawthorne.
Reed asked them about the Falcon ride. Hurley said he could feel when the rocket went transonic and broke the sound barrier. The final push to orbit, on the second stage, was full of vibrations and felt like “driving fast, very fast on a gravel road,“ he said. The astronauts instantly went from pulling more than three G's – more than three times the force of Earth's gravity – to zero gravity as soon as they reached orbit.
“Sounds like the ultimate ride in a Batmobile with the jet engine turned on,” Reed said.
Behnken said one of the first things he did upon reaching the orbiting lab was call his 6-year-old son, Theo, to hear what is was like to watch his father blast into space “and share that a little bit with him while it was still fresh in his mind.“
Hurley and Behnken spent Monday making sure their docked Dragon is ready to make an emergency getaway, if necessary. The capsule will serve as their lifeboat during their space station visit. They joined three station residents – an American and two Russians.
NASA will decide in the coming weeks how long to keep them there. Their mission could last anywhere from one to four months. The timing will depend on Dragon checkouts in orbit and launch preparations for the company's next astronaut flight, currently targeted for the end of August.
With so much uncertainty and so many variables, Behnken said it was a little hard explaining to his son when he'd back.
“From his perspective, he's just excited that we're going to get a dog when I get home,” Behnken said with a smile.
The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
Summer reading is a close as your computer, tablet or smartphone
Submitted by Mariana Walker
Officials from the Santa Clara County Library District’s (SCCLD) Summer Reading Program want to spread the word that this year’s program has gone virtual.
The theme for this year’s program is “Dig Deeper: Read, Investigate, Discover!” It is open to readers of all ages who are encouraged to dig below the surface, investigate the unknown and discover new things. The free program accessed over the internet is underway now and continues until July 31.
Dozens of online events, ranging from family fun activities to enriching adult classes, are planned during the program which will be held virtually to keep everyone safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The look of Summer Reading is different this season, but you can experience the same quality and wonderful programs that we have been offering to our patrons for years,” County Librarian Jennifer Weeks said. “Our goal is always the same, to foster a love of reading and offer many exciting programs and learning activities that everyone can enjoy.”
Children’s librarians are hosting special events every weekday at 3:00 p.m. on Facebook Live. This includes book clubs on Mondays, special live performances and shows on Wednesdays, and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) events on Thursdays. During July, there will be virtual concerts for younger children, featuring performers such as Latin Grammy winners 123 Andrés.
Events aimed at teenagers include an Open Mic Night on Wednesday, June 17, College Application Help on Thursday, June 18, Virtual Teen Trivia and craft activities. For adults, librarians are hosting Virtual Film Clubs, live Master Gardener presentations on plant-based eating, and more. Patrons can earn a prize for reading five books and completing fun discovery and investigative activities. Get started by signing up on Beanstack at https://sccl.beanstack.org/reader365.
SCCLD will begin offering curbside services in late June. There will be contactless holds pickup and material returns at all eight SCCLD libraries. Please monitor the SCCLD website at https://sccld.org/ and social media (@SCCLD) for further updates. Patrons are asked not to return items until then.
SCCLD is temporarily expanding eCard registration to all Santa Clara County residents. That means free access to enjoy eBooks, Audiobooks, eMagazines and digital newspapers, streaming movies and music, and dozens of online resources for students, job seekers, and people of all ages. There are also video tutorials to help patrons navigate these resources.
Last year, more than 32,000 people participated in Summer Reading. Participants read more than 255,000 books, which also included our 1,000 Books by 6 total. SCCLD hopes to make this year just as special, to prove that even though we are apart, we are still in this together.
SCCLD Summer Reading Program
Online through July 31
Open to children, teenagers and adults
Free; registration required
Bill to strengthen whistleblower protection laws
Submitted by Josh Richman
On June 11, Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15) introduced legislation to better protect whistleblowers from having their anonymity and safety compromised. Current law prevents only some federal officials from revealing a whistleblower’s identity, and there is no penalty for violations. The Enhancing Protections for Whistleblower Anonymity Act would impose criminal penalties on any federal official who knowingly communicates the identity of a whistleblower, or information which would reveal such a person’s identity, except to other government officials when permitted by existing law. The bill also would let whistleblowers whose identities are illegally disclosed sue for injunctive relief or monetary damages.
“Whistleblowers are critical to rooting out waste, fraud, abuse, and illegal conduct, especially as this administration strives to block congressional oversight at every turn,” said Swalwell, a member of the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees. “Threatening and trying to reveal whistleblowers’ identities is wrong and undercuts long-established policy, endorsed by both Democrats and Republicans for decades, to encourage people to come forward with allegations of wrongdoing. It’s time to stand up against these attacks and strengthen the right of whistleblower anonymity.”
Swalwell began drafting the Enhancing Protections for Whistleblower Anonymity Act last year after President Trump and others attacked the courageous whistleblower who raised concerns with the Director of National Intelligence’s Office of Inspector General about the president’s actions with respect to Ukraine – actions for which the president later was impeached.
Calling this person a “disgrace,” someone who was perpetrating a “hoax,” and suggesting this was a “spy” who could face the death penalty, the president demanded to “meet [his] accuser.” This led to wild speculation and efforts by Members of Congress and people across the country to discover and publish this person’s identity; as a result, the whistleblower’s attorney expressed fear for his client’s safety. The Judiciary Committee soon will hold a hearing to take testimony from whistleblowers regarding President Trump’s and Attorney General William Barr’s politicization of the Department of Justice.
City takes action to stamp out teen tobacco use
If you are a parent, there is a good chance you know that teen tobacco use and nicotine addiction are on the rise. If you are not a parent, please listen, because there are some things you need to know.
The tobacco industry has found a winning combination — predatory marketing, colorful packaging, sweet flavors and cheap products to addict a new generation of smokers. Flavored tobacco products are often hard to distinguish from nearby candy displays in retail outlets. These products are often much cheaper than candy bars or a bag of chips. Cigarillos such as Swisher Sweets, for instance, are sold in packs of 4 and priced at $.99 cents, making them even more tempting to price-sensitive youth.
At the Eden Youth and Family Center in South Hayward, we serve local youth and their families dealing with substance abuse and provide other essential services. We have a courageous group of youth leaders who are passionately working to increase awareness about the tobacco industry’s cheaply priced flavored tobacco products and the adverse health impact it has on youth.
Last month, local youth provided input at a Hayward Planning Commission meeting. They shared their experiences – encountering peer pressure to smoke, being worried for siblings and friends who were addicted and running out of class to take a “puff,” and stories of how they’ve easily obtained flavored tobacco products. In fact, a student working as a decoy with local police was not carded for buying a pack of little cigars and other flavored tobacco products at multiple stores. According to an Alameda County survey of high school cigarette smokers, over 43% of high schoolers purchase their cigarettes directly from the store.
Candy-flavored tobacco products are ubiquitous in our neighborhood retail shops. In Hayward, there are 119 tobacco retail stores. Over 75 stores are located within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, playgrounds and daycares, and they are concentrated in low-income communities of color. Along Tennyson Road alone, there are over a dozen tobacco retailers located right next to the Harder/Tennyson neighborhood where the highest concentration of youth in Hayward live, and where nearly 23% of residents are youth.
Studies have found that making tobacco purchases as inconvenient, difficult, and expensive as possible for kids, helps reduce the likelihood that they will try a tobacco product or become a regular user. Products that create lifelong addictions and major problems shouldn’t be as cheap as $.99 cents. In fact, they shouldn’t be around at all.
The Hayward City Council will tentatively be meeting on July 7th at 7 p.m. to decide whether to strengthen its existing tobacco ordinance. Hayward has the opportunity to join seven neighboring cities and the County of Alameda in making it more expensive to buy tobacco products and ending the sale of all flavored tobacco, with no exemptions.
Thank you to the Hayward Mayor and City Council for continuing to be leaders in tobacco policy and standing with parents, students, community leaders, and health professionals to protect the health of all Hayward families and youth. Together, we can combat the epidemic of youth vaping.
Karen Halfon, Executive Director
Eden Youth and Family Center
Tim Myers featured by writer group
Submitted by Knuti VanHoven
On Saturday, June 27 Fremont Area Writers will host poet, Santa Clara University Professor and Children’s Author Tim J. Myers.
Myers’ publication list includes over thirty examples of “serious literature” such as books and a variety of anthologies and prizes. (His favorite was winning first place in an event judged by John Updike.)
One night he picked up an unfamiliar bedtime storybook to read to his children. It only took five minutes to read Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, but for Myers it was a life changing experience. He enjoyed the book’s unbridled imagination and imagery as much as his kids did! He developed a passion for the genre and its limitless possibilities. Since then, he’s written sixteen children’s books (one of which was a New York Times best-seller and was read aloud on NPR).
On June 27th Myers will be discussing his work and sharing hints, both on story crafting and on surviving as a writer. The meeting will be held on Zoom. FAW’s past meetings were in-person, but the Zoom meetings are proving so popular that the group is considering them for permanent use.
To request this meeting’s zoom address, email email@example.com. Put “FAW meeting” on the subject line. FAW asks that you send your request by noon, Friday June 26 so that they can have adequate connections available. On Saturday June 27, sign-in opens at 1:45 p.m. Allow up to fifteen minutes for “Zoom room” registration. The meeting begins at 2 p.m.
This Fremont Area Writers Meeting is free of charge and open to anyone of any skill level, from novice to professional, who seeks craft tips, group support and encouragement along their path to becoming a better writer.
For more information, contact Fremont Area Writers at https://cwc-fremontareawriters.org/ or Tim J. Myers http://www.timmyersstorysong.com/TM_Website/Homepage.html.
Saturday, Jun 27
RSPV by Friday, Jun 26 to firstname.lastname@example.org
(Put “FAW meeting” on the subject line.)
Impact of COVID-19 on city finances
Submitted by City of Union City
With significant declines in sales tax, business license tax, transit-occupancy tax, and parking revenue, Union City is anticipating a $4 million impact to the FY 2020/2021 budget. The city’s General Fund is like a savings account that helps the city to manage the flow of revenues and expenses. Essential city services, such as police, fire, park and street maintenance and community recreation, are provided by the General Fund.
When revenues decline, this impacts the City’s ability to provide these essential services. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased costs associated with janitorial services and other areas that require the city to further prevent the spread of the virus.
As a short-term stabilizing measure, the city decided to discontinue its annual subsidy of $310,000 to Alameda County Library located adjacent to city hall. The library has been closed since the beginning of the pandemic, but the subsidy previously helped to keep the library open an additional 20 hours a week. In addition, the city council will consider permanent reductions to recreation services, which also stem from recreation center closures and cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city is currently performing a comprehensive fiscal analysis to understand how COVID-19 will impact the city’s seven-year financial outlook. A city council budget workshop will take place in early August to discuss the seven-year outlook and further explore stabilizing measures. The budget workshop will be followed up with a strategic plan retreat on August 13 to reassess city priorities, talk about new norms for the city and re-envision the future of city services.
Union City Police Log
Submitted by Union City PD
Friday, June 5
- At 8:51 a.m. officers were dispatched to a residence on 14th and F Streets on a report of an in-progress burglary. The caller told police that her father, an off-duty security guard, caught a female breaking into his house, and that he was holding her at gunpoint in the backyard. Arriving officers coordinated with the victim and safely took Jennifer Lewallen, 34, into custody on suspicion of trespassing.
- At about 12:55 p.m. officers responded to a report of an assault on the 2100 block of Decoto Road. The victim was a U.S. Postal Service letter carrier who was found unconscious and bleeding from the mouth. When the victim woke-up he told officers a man and a woman approached him and started an argument. One of the suspects punched the victim, knocking him to the ground. Witnesses said the suspects fled the area in a blue Hyundai sedan. The first suspect was described as a black man with a thin build and braided hair. The second suspect was described as a heavy-set white female with long, curly hair. An investigation is continuing.
Sunday, June 7
- At 2:23 p.m. officers were dispatched to Atlantic Street and Western Avenue to assist the Alameda County Fire Department, who were on the scene battling a grass fire. While evaluating the blaze, fire personnel were dealing with hostile individuals who lived at the encampments that caught fire. One of the people was angry and yelling at the firefighters and ultimately threw a rock that shattered one of the windows of their fire truck. The male suspect, described as a Hispanic and wearing all black clothing, was not located. Officer Dejong investigated the vandalism, and the Union Pacific Railroad Police investigated the arson.
- At around 8:30 a.m. officers responded to a disturbance on the 33000 block of Alvarado Niles Road. A senior living center employee told police that a man, who claimed to own the property, was following elderly residents around, threatening them if they did not leave. Upon arrival, the witness pointed out Lowell Ligon, 29, who began to walk away from officers after being told to stop. When officers attempted to detain him, Ligon pushed and pulled away in an attempt to leave. A record check showed Ligon was on active parole for resisting arrest, and county probation for trespassing and had a felony warrant out for his arrest. Ligon was arrested and on the warrant and on various other charges.
Union City City Council
June 9, 2020
- Union City Council Mayor Carol Dutra-Vernaci read a statement about George Floyd, whose death in Minneapolis May 25 set off a wave of protests, civic discourse and discontent across the world. She said the city grieves for Floyd and his family and called for a minute of silence in his honor.
- Later, the city manager provided a summary of events in Union City in response to Floyd’s death, including: a message from the city’s police chief condemning police action in Minneapolis (May 30), countywide curfew enacted (June 1), mayoral public message stating the city’s commitment to dismantling racism (June 3), Virtual Town Hall (June 4), Black Cowboys Horse March (June 5), Inspire Church prayer protest and Black Lives Matter protest (June 7). The mayor also signed support for former President Obama’s Commit to Action to address police use of force policies.
- Dutra-Vernaci noted that the City’s police force is under immense pressure and stress and that good officers get painted by the same brush as bad. The Council unanimously voted to form a joint Human Relations Committee and Council sub-committee to determine how to move forward with community engagement.
- Melissa Schuen Mallory, chair of the Human Relations Committee, commended public works staff, police and fire departments for their response to the looting in Union Landing.
- Police Chief Jared Rinetti said that the police “love this community, we are public servants,” and he believes in care, compassion and empathy for policing, and is eager to dialogue with the community to improve.
- Rate Increases in Solid Waste and Recycling Services:
The Council held a Public Hearing and discussion regarding two resolutions related to increases in solid waste and recycling services and extending the recycling processing surcharge to Tri-City Economic Development Corporation (Tri-CED).
- The City received 337 protests, but this does not constitute a majority protest. The Council unanimously adopted the first resolution. For single family households, weekly curbside garbage, organics and recycling collection will increase by $1.42 monthly starting July 1. Multi-family households will see a rate increase of $1.10 per month for garbage and organics weekly collection. The Council postponed voting on the second resolution until July 13 so it can receive further financial planning documents from Tri-CED.
- Exclusive franchise agreements between the City and Republic Services and Tri-CED specify that solid waste, organics and recycling rates must be adjusted annually. Republic and Tri-CED submitted rate adjustment applications for fiscal year 2020-21, seeking increases due to inflation and increased disposal costs, as well as adjustments to city fees.
- David Watley, member of the public, questioned the timing of this rate increase considering many people are suffering financially due to the COVID-19 crisis. Later Watley spoke about the need for more input in the governmental decision-making process from all protected classes (minorities, disadvantaged, disabled and others).
- City Economic Development Manager Gloria Ortega discussed a business survey on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting Union City’s economy. Of the 27 businesses that responded, 10 non-essential businesses were temporarily closed, 17 businesses were open (seven of these businesses were non-essential but shifted to virtual/remote work) and 10 business were deemed essential.
- The survey cited employee layoffs (657 as of May 15, at nine businesses with more than 75 employees); loss of sales tax revenue to the city; the public’s concern about recommended safety measures (masks, social distancing); and the many factors affecting how the city revives its economy. Concerns include re-establishing cash flow, paying rent and utilities, and re-establishing customer bases.
- Ortega also noted that in the “Tri-City area” (Union City, Newark and Fremont), 85 businesses had laid off 17,618 employees; and in Alameda County it’s been reported that 351 businesses laid off 31,098 employees. Her full presentation can be found at the City Council’s website in the agenda packet, here: www.unioncity.org.
- Adopted an Urgency Ordinance of the City of Union City authorizing the zoning administrator to issue temporary use permits and waive requirements of Title 18 of the Municipal Code to facilitate business operations impacted by the novel coronavirus.
- Approved the minutes of the special and regular City Council meetings held May 26, 2020
- Adopted a resolution calling for and giving notice of a General Municipal Election for Tuesday, November 3, 2020
- Adopted a resolution authorizing the city manager to execute the first amendment to the consulting services agreement between Union City and Dyett and Bhatia, Urban and Regional Planners, to increase by $49,000, for a total contract amount of $231,369 for additional work associated with a specific plan update for the proposed project located in the Station East Area.
Mayor Carol Dutra-Vernaci Aye
Vice Mayor Emily Duncan Aye
Pat Gacoscos Aye
Jaime Patiño Aye
Gary Singh Aye
Union Sanitary District
Virtual Board Meeting June 8, 2020
Sanitary District staff requested board discussion and direction regarding topics for use in the fall 2020 newsletter. Topics being considered include fiscal years 21-25 rate information and deferral program, COVID-19 wastewater monitoring, and digester 7 project update. Topics will be solidified later this summer.
The Board approved two motions
- Minutes of the May 26, 2020 meeting
- A clarifying resolution to the deferral of the collection of rate increases adopted for single and multi-family residential customers.
- Third quarter fiscal year 2020 district-wide balanced scorecard measures: Staff noted that the safety of employees continues to be a District priority, and in the third quarter focus shifted to the critical response to the pandemic emergency. The COVID-19 situation created new challenges, requiring new District protocols at every level of safety. Response time remains above target with no adverse impacts to customers. In addition, no sewer overflows or critical impacts were reported in the quarter. Eight out of 11 capital improvement projects remain on target.
- A PFM Asset Management LLC-led review of third quarter fiscal year 2020 managed investment portfolio report outlined portfolio returns due to the pandemic causing worldwide market disruption. A more recent report was added to the third quarter (which ended March 31) presentation because of the rapidly changing market conditions. The domestic data was strong prior to the coronavirus outbreak, but record-shattering job losses and other indicators have caused volatility. Interest rates have plunged and are likely to remain low throughout the crisis. Detailed financial figures can be found at the Union Sanitary District website in the June 8, 2020 agenda packet.
- Sami E. Ghossain, technical services work group manager, gave an update on the status of the Capital Improvement Program projects. (Of the 24 CIP Projects, 11 are ranked as Priority One.) In June 2019, the Board approved the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) budget for FY20 in the amount of $19.73 million for the design and construction of 24 CIP projects. The total CIP expenditures up to March 31, 2020, were under the projections for the third quarter by approximately $5,561,000.
- Board President Handley summarized the May 21, 2020 East Bay Discharge Authority (EBDA) Commission meeting.
- COVID-19 update, Alameda County Health Department will set the “back to work” mandates and the staff has developed plans in anticipation.
Tom Handley, President Aye
Pat Kite, Vice President Aye
Anjali Lathi Aye
Manny Fernandez Aye
Jennifer Toy Aye