Extraordinary service

Here’s a group of hard-working, community-minded people. The Community Services Commission reviews grant applications for City funding from nonprofits that serve Hayward residents. Each year they diligently review scores of applications requesting millions of dollars, and recommend grant awards to the City Council. In each of the past two years, the City Council has approved their recommendations with no changes. I’m fortunate to work with these volunteers (and Council Member Elisa Márquez) in my capacity as City staff liaison. At the end of the year in June, we had dinner together at Buffalo Bill’s Brewery to celebrate a year of service and accomplishment. Cheers to the good people of the C.S.C.!csc-dinner-2016

I did not have selfie relations with that man

president-clinton

The former President of the United States, Bill Clinton visited my hometown and workplace yesterday morning. No matter what your political beliefs are, it’s an honor to meet a former President and Commander-in-Chief. The last time a U.S. President visited Hayward was in 1980 when Ronald Reagan came to town. He hosted a campaign dinner at a local bowling alley. I was too young to attend, but other locals remember it well.

Alma mater

 

 

This is where I went to college. When I was growing up, both my parents worked hard to keep a roof over our heads and save for our family’s future. I got my first job when I turned 16, at Lucky grocery, and have worked ever since. Achabotfter high school, I started college at Cal State Hayward. I was paying all my own tuition and fees, because I fortunately had a steady job with flexible hours and decent pay.  Then the tuition went up dramatically. I switched to Chabot College for two years for my general education courses because it was too difficult to cover the increased tuition at Cal State. I eventually transferred back to Cal State Hayward and finished my Bachelor’s degree, working nights as a waiter to pay my way. I later went on to get my Master’s degree at San José State, and now some 30 years after that first job as a grocery bagger, I have the good fortune of working for my hometown as city librarian. I’ve attended many schools and visited many university campuses, even worked at some. But this one is where I went to college. This one is home.

 

A tree grows in Hayward

I’m so relieved to see my “groundbreaking” oak tree produce beautiful new leaves again. It went dormant right after I transplanted it into this pot. I was worried that it wouldn’t bounce back. I got this tree as a dignitary gift at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Hayward library. Needless to say, this is a very symbolic and important tree to me.

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Smalley Ave

I remember when my family moved back to Hayward in 1979. I was seven years old. This is the apartment complex we lived in then, on Smalley Ave. I now drive past it on my smalleyway to work every morning. Back then, I remember my mother crying in my father’s arms because she thought we would never be able to find a house. We eventually did, a rental house in Eden Gardens, which we lived in for many years. I was in high school when my parents bought their first home in Palma Ceia, with the help of a first time homebuyer program.

Ground Breaking Celebration

On October 3, 2015…

Several hundred community members and dignitaries gathered in Municipal Parking Lot #10 on the corner of C Street and Mission Boulevard to celebrate the ground breaking for Hayward’s 21st Century Library and Heritage Plaza project.

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Dignitaries participate in the “golden shovel” ceremony, October 3, 2015. (L to R): Principal Architect Chris Noll; Council Member Francisco Zermeño; Council Member Sara Lamnin; Council Member Elisa Márquez; Council Member Greg Jones; Council Member Marvin Peixoto; Mayor Barbara Halliday; Mayor Emeritus Michael Sweeney; Friends of Hayward Library President Judy Harrison; Hayward Library Commission Chairperson Kari McAllister; Council Member Al Mendall; Director of Libraries and Community Services Sean Reinhart; City Manager Fran David; Director of Public Works – Engineering and Transportation Morad Fakhrai; General Contractor Tim Penick.

The festivities included music courtesy of Mariachi Juvenil de Hayward; the historic 1923 Seagrave Fire Engine courtesy of Hayward Firefighters Local 1909; a seed-planting activity organized by the Hayward Seed Lending Library; a bounce house courtesy of Hayward Area Recreation and Park District; refreshments generously donated by Eko Coffee and Tea House; and special surprise appearances by two “monumental figures from Hayward’s past” – the iconic Big Mike and Doggie Diner statues.

After the formal speeches, dignitaries including the Mayor and Council officially broke ground on the project with a “golden shovel” ceremony in which the soil was used to help plant a tree in the Heritage Plaza. Community members also participated in the ceremony by using the soil to plant seedlings from the Hayward Seed Lending Library to grow in their homes and gardens.

The event was organized by staff from Library and Community Services, Maintenance Services, and Environmental Services; and was sponsored by the Friends of Hayward Library with major support from Eko Coffee and Tea House.

Preparations for the new library construction have begun including preliminary utility work along C Street. Construction on the site itself is expected to begin in early November. Construction will last approximately 24 months. Complete construction updates including a construction site webcam will be available on the project website, www.haywardlibrary.org

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“Big Mike,” Hayward’s unofficial mascot, makes a surprise return visit to downtown Hayward to help oversee the ground breaking festivities on October 3, 2015.
The former Doggie Diner location on C Street at Mission Boulevard as it appeared circa 1975. The historic 1923 Seagrave fire engine is visible in the photo at left. Both the 1923 Seagrave engine and an original Doggie Diner statue were present for the ground breaking celebration at this location forty years later on October 3, 2015. Image courtesy of Hayward Area Historical Society.
The former Doggie Diner location on C Street at Mission Boulevard as it appeared circa 1975. The historic 1923 Seagrave fire engine is visible in the photo at left. Both the 1923 Seagrave engine and an original Doggie Diner statue were present for the ground breaking celebration at this location forty years later on October 3, 2015. Image courtesy of Hayward Area Historical Society.
Mariachi Juvenil de Hayward, a nonprofit youth musical troupe led by City of Hayward employee Juan Varelas, perform at the ground breaking celebration on October 3, 2015.
Mariachi Juvenil de Hayward, a nonprofit youth musical troupe led by City of Hayward employee Juan Varelas, perform at the ground breaking celebration on October 3, 2015.
Community members plant seedlings with the ceremonial groundbreaking soil, October 3, 2015
Community members plant seedlings with the ceremonial groundbreaking soil, October 3, 2015