Classic Post Office Neglected PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 03 September 2015 12:42

090315n1By Jim Knowles • San Leandro Times

During the New Deal, 1,100 post offices were built in towns across the country, including the one in Hayward.

They were built quickly and at a reasonable price, but they’re beautiful and built to last. The New Deal wanted a symbol of the federal government in every town, and many post offices, including Hayward, commissioned an artist to paint a mural in the lobby.

But recently, the Bradford Branch Post Office in downtown Hayward, built in 1936, has been going to seed. It’s simply been let go, the paint peeling so badly that the plaster beneath it is starting to rot.

The sad condition of a historic building was brought to the post office’s attention last week, and a post office spokesman said the building will be taken care of right away.

“The job order has been approved today,” said post office spokesman Gus Ruiz on Monday. “We’ll get this post office up to par. It’s just a matter of contracting to do it.”

Ruiz said he wasn’t aware of the condition of the Bradford Branch.

“Unfortunately, they let this one go,” Ruiz said.

It’s important to keep a post office in good condition because its appearance represents the United States Postal Service to the customer, Ruiz said.

Customers at the Bradford Branch Post Office in downtown Hayward have noticed the building in need of some TLC.

“It’s a beautiful building, so I don’t want to see it run down,” said post office patron Patsy Crockett of Castro Valley who works in Hayward.

Crockett said it looked like the unpainted window frames were going to get dry rot.

Like many of the New Deal post offices, the Bradford Branch has a mural. Hayward Rural Landscape by Tom Lewis, a scene of old Hayward when it was farm country, hovers over the lobby.

One goal of the New Deal post offices, built by the Public Works Administration (PWA), was to unite the country. So no matter where you go, from Maine to San Diego, the post office reminds you that you’re in the United States, a symbolic thread that holds the country together.

The post office has been closing its offices across the country and selling the buildings. The United States Postal Service (USPS) is closing 2,000 of its 32,000 post offices, mostly small, little-used offices.

Some of the 1,100 New Deal-era post offices are closing too. In Berkeley, post office patrons have been protesting a plan to sell off the downtown Berkeley post office.

And in Napa, public sentiment and Congressman Mike Thompson got the USPS to cancel plans to demolish the historic Franklin Station Post office in downtown Napa, an art deco classic built in 1933.

090315n2In recent years, the post office has lost business to email and other electronic communication.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel ran a cartoon showing a woman with a letter in hand at the front door of a building marked U.S. Post Office. She’s reading a sign taped to the door that reads: “Closed Permanently – questions or complaints? Send an email, text message, tweet or visit our Facebook page.”

CAPTION: The Bradford Branch Post Office in downtown Hayward (above), a New Deal classic built in 1936, is in need of some tender loving care. At right is an example of the peeling paint at the post office.


Creekside Residents Worried about Path PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 03 September 2015 12:40

By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

The City of San Leandro is in the beginning stages of planning a pedestrian and bicycle trail to run along part of the San Leandro Creek, but they say they will get  opinions from the public before any decisions are made.

An anonymous group writing as “Creek Privacy Residents” (CPR) who live by the creek put out a flyer last week that got some residents up in arms. The author of the flyer believes that path could bring crime to their backyards by giving people easier access. The flyer also expressed fear about a lack of privacy and said that homeless people already live along the creek.

But the path would run along only a fraction of the creek – likely away from any residential areas, according to Cynthia Battenberg, the city’s Community Development director.

“We are looking at what’s appropriate,” said Battenberg. “The creek itself involves many different areas. What’s feasible for the path may be a section by Root Park.”

Though the city says the path will avoid residential areas, much of the creek goes through residential areas. Going in either direction from Root Park, backyards of houses are along the creek.

Right now, the city has put out a bid to find someone to draw up a plan for the path. Battenberg emphasized that no construction would begin without a series of public meetings.

The city received a $200,000 grant from CalTrans just to plan the creek trail.

“We are looking for a consultant to put together a study,” said Battenberg. “We are just starting out.”

Battenberg said in the next three or four months, they’ll select the consultant and then start having meetings about what people want from the trail.

The city is taking down a list of residents who want to be contacted when the meetings are scheduled. If you want to be added to the list, call the city planning department at 577-3448.


BART Aims for Cleanliness PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 03 September 2015 12:35

090315n3By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

BART is getting less stinky all the time, thanks to new plans to replace station elevator floors and eliminate cloth surfaces from the trains.

Last week, BART began the process of replacing and waterproofing the flooring in all 127 of its station elevators. The Bayfair and downtown San Leandro stations are set to be fixed in the coming months, but no date is set yet.

Any liquid spilled in the elevators is going to become sticky and smelly, says  BART spokesperson Taylor Huckaby. But Huckaby admits that urine is a major problem.

“Any kind of liquid that spills in the elevator can seep into the old flooring or even under it into the supporting structures below,” said Huckaby.  “Though food and drink are banned within the paid area, people still bring and spill them. This is in addition to people misusing elevators and treating them as restrooms.”

Huckaby says BART officials do all they can to prevent people from peeing in the elevators, but that “it is difficult to police.”

Some damaged vinyl elevator floors will be torn out and replaced with waterproofed, heavy-duty aluminum. Others will be cleaned, repaired, and disinfected.

BART also recently got a bit less gritty when the last of carpeting was torn out of the cars. The official last carpeted car – Car  Number 1593 – was removed from service earlier this summer and given a makeover with easy-to-clean vinyl flooring.

Every single car in the 389-car fleet is now carpet-free. The project to replace the flooring began back in 2008 and now every car either has spray-on rubber floors or vinyl.

BART says the carpeting in all the cars from the early 1970s was enough to cover nearly five football fields.

BART officials say there has been a “dramatic” drop in complaints since the carpets were pulled out.

All the seats have vinyl covers now too, for an overall easier-to-clean mode of public transportation.

CAPTION: BART is replacing the floors in its elevators to make them easier to clean, including the elevators at San Leandro and Bayfair stations.


Kiwanis International Club Celebrates Centennial PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 03 September 2015 12:31



The San Leandro Kiwanis Club meets on Tuesdays at The Englander.

By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

Kiwanis International is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. The famous service club was founded in 1915 in Detroit and the San Leandro chapter came along not too much later in 1923.

Today, there are more than 8,400 active clubs in 96 nations. In celebration of their 100th anniversary, Kiwanis International has launched “The Eliminate Project” with a goal of raising $110 million to eradicate tetanus worldwide.

The San Leandro Kiwanis get together for lunch each week.  They have a few laughs and listen to various guest speakers – and most importantly, do a little fundraising for worthy causes locally and globally.

They have a lot of fun raising money with things like barbecues and beer tastings. They’ve done cleaning projects at the Oakland Zoo and made lunches for Special Olympic athletes.

“I needed something to get involved in locally,” said member Vicki Kitzfeld. “And we do a lot for the community.”

Susan Reisz  and Mary Corbett were the first female San Leandro Kiwanis members when the club first let women join in 1988. “And now this is the longest relationship of my life,” joked Corbett.

The Kiwanis are all about friendship and having a good time for a good cause.

To learn all about secret handshakes and “happy dollars,” pop down to the Englander on a Tuesday at 12:10 p.m. and see about joining.

After all, if they’ve been around for a century, the Kiwanis must be doing something right.


Tree Blooms After 15 Years PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 03 September 2015 12:24



The Freitas family gathers under the China Doll tree, son Dwayne at left with Reyleen and Jim.

090315n7By Jim Knowles • San Leandro Times

The Freitas family has watched their China Doll tree grow for 15 year, but this year the tree gave them a surprise.

Reyleen Freitas first bought a little tree in a pot at about the turn of the century. She’s moved it since to bigger pots as the tree grew, and eventually planted it outside by the maple tree.

“It hung out here with the maple tree and now, after 15 years, it bloomed,” Reyleen said. “My husband looked it up on the internet and these trees rarely bloom.”

Jim Freitas said he thought it was a piece of paper in the tree, at first. But as he looked closer, he saw that it was a white flower.

The china doll tree seldom blooms, and when it does, the flowers don’t last long.

“The blooms fall off after one day, the next day it’s lying on the ground,” Jim said.

But the Freitas family appreciated the blooms while they lasted – an added touch to a beautiful summer.

CAPTION: Jim Freitas took a photo of the bloom (at right) on the China Doll tree before it fell off the next day.

Annual Gala Raises Money for Schools PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 03 September 2015 12:22

090315n4Join the San Leandro Education Foundation at the Casa Peralta, 384 W. Estudillo Avenue, on Friday, Sept.11, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. for the third annual gala “Evening Under the Stars” with live music, gourmet food, libations, museum tours and more.

Tickets are $65 and can be purchased on-line at or by calling 618-GIVE. Tickets are tax-deductable and all proceeds benefit the San Leandro Education Foundation.

The event brings over 300 people out for an evening of dancing, dining and fun, all while raising funds for services and programs the twelve schools in the San Leandro Unified School District.

The 2015 gala will feature the music of Orlando Torriente & Friends who deliver high energy salsa as well as soulful ballads.

The San Leandro Education Foundation has become the primary conduit for individuals, businesses and foundations to support schools in the San Leandro Unified School District. The Foundation focuses its efforts in three areas: positive youth development, S.T.E.A.M. Enrichment (science, technology, engineering, art/design, and math), and volunteerism. Its activities also include a free weekly e-newsletter for parents and the public to see student work and hear about what is happening across the school district.

The gala is held outdoors at the Casa Peralta, 384 W. Estudillo Avenue, from 6 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.Tickets are $65 per person and include dinner, dessert, a drink coupon, valet parking and souvenir photo. Sponsorships start at just $250 and are still available. For more information or to purchase your ticket, visit or call 618-GIVE. Organizers encourage people to purchase in advance as tickets do sell out.

CAPTION: Chabot-Las Positas College Trustee Isobel Dvorsky and San Leandro Scholarship Foundation Board Member Alice Sarafian greeted guests at last year’s Gala.




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