Letters • 08-13-2014 | Print |  E-mail


Property Owners on Somerset Should

Not Lose Their On-Street Parking


Mr. Bruce Dughi notifies us in his Aug. 6 opinion piece “Motorists on Somerset Avenue Might See Problems Down the Road” that the county plan to add curbs and widen the sidewalks along Somerset Avenue would leave insufficient room for cars to pass bicycles.

Mr. Dughi’s solution is to replace a parking lane on Somerset Avenue with bicycle lanes.

I reject this solution.

If the county plan to widen the sidewalks would leave insufficient room for both cars and bicycles, the solution is for the county to leave the sidewalks at their current width.

If the sidewalks must indeed be widened, then both motorists and bicyclists must learn to share the road and yield when appropriate.

I write this as a resident of Somerset, as one who grew up on Somerset, and as one who spent much time bicycling on Castro Valley streets. The property owners of a whole side of Somerset should not lose their on-street parking to fix a problem that currently exists only on paper.

In summary, the problem is with the plan, not with on-street parking.

Albert Skjoldager, Castro Valley


Eliminating One Parking Lane on

Somerset would Create a Nightmare


As a resident of Somerset Avenue, I was most elated to see Bruce Dughi’s article (see above) stating that Alameda County intends to do a much needed upgrade of our street.

I was much less elated to see Mr. Dughi’s lack of concern for anything that does not accommodate his beloved bicycles.

According to his illustrations, he wants to totally redesign the street primarily make it better for bicycles but, if you look at his proposal, not necessarily for automobiles.

One major flaw is eliminating parking on one side of the street. Because Somerset Avenue has several very long blocks with no intermediate pedestrian crosswalks and human nature being what it is, motorists having to park across the street from their destination would likely just cross the street by walking through traffic, a dangerous situation created by his design.

Also, Mr. Dughi, being new to Castro Valley, is obviously not acquainted with the parking situation on Somerset Avenue when the high school is in session.

Eliminating one parking lane would create a neighborhood nightmare. Mr. Dughi’s references to other areas with only one or no parking lanes are totally irrelevant to Somerset.

It is interesting that bicyclists, who pay no fuel taxes, no vehicle license fees, and no vehicle registration fees, all of which go to road construction and maintenance, have no compunction about asking for what amounts to “freebies” from the public to rework our roads to suit their needs, especially in view of the fact that bicycles constitute something less that 10% of total road traffic.

The proposal by our Public Works Department shown in Mr. Dughi’s upper illustration, is exactly what the street needs – the same right-of-way with parking, curbs and sidewalks. I urge that department to just proceed with their plan.

Ken Martin, Somerset Ave. Resident

Castro Valley


Removing Parking will Make Traffic

Flow Better and Increase Safety


Thank you for publishing the opinion article written by Mr. Dughi (see above) in your last edition.

I have been an advocate for pedestrian safety for some time, working with Safe Routes to School and now with Supervisor Miley. I have begun to work with Bruce and several other community members to encourage our county leaders and public work employees to think outside the box when doing things to Castro Valley.

It is time that Castro Valley voices are heard. Officials need to know how we think conditions should be around here, rather than how they perceive conditions should be for us. We live here, this is our community.

Everyone discusses reducing green-house gas emissions, everyone talks about ending the epidemic of childhood obesity, yet the things we do don’t support these notions.

We have created a community that relies on cars. Even in our most walk-able/bike-able area, Central Castro Valley, families do not bike because of the real danger of collisions between bike and car. There is no space for bicycles.

My eight-year-old daughter refuses to ride down Somerset, except on the sidewalk, because she literally fears for her life. How do we encourage families to get out and exercise if we do not change how things are in our community?

Putting in protected bike lanes and sidewalks for pedestrians will encourage active transportation. Doing this and removing parking will make traffic flow better and increase safety for cyclists and pedestrians.  In turn, more individuals will bike and walk, reducing car use and green-house gasses and increase activity to enhance health and well-being.

I am certain that it will not be popular for the residents affected by the removal of on-street parking, but the benefits to the community as a whole should be the greater priority.

Dot Theodore, Parent, Bicycle Commuter

Castro Valley


If Bicyclists are So Unhappy with Our

Streets, Find Somewhere Else to Ride


This is in response to the article written by Bruce Dughi in the August 8 issue of the Castro Valley Forum (see above).

I have written previous letters to the editor regarding the bicyclists in our community. The proposed changes to Somerset Ave. are a waste of taxpayer money and will devalue the homes due to their parking being reduced by half.

If the bicyclists are so unhappy with our streets, they are free to find somewhere else to ride.

It appears the bicyclists want a lot from we the taxpayers. They want all the rights to the streets that the cars enjoy, but they prefer not to obey the traffic laws. I have yet to see one of them stop at a stop sign on Redwood Road, Seven Hills Road and Seaview Ave.

If we are going to give them all the right-of-way they’re asking for, then I think they should be required to register at DMV, pay registration fees and be issued a license plate so that when they break the law they can be identified and given a ticket.

The bicycles should also be required to carry insurance so that when an accident occurs and the bicyclist is at fault they can pay for the damages.

Judi Molini, Castro Valley


Thanks to All Who Took Part in

Castro Valley’s National Night Out


We want to extend a big Thank You to each of our neighbors who turned out for the First Annual National Night Out event in the Lower Gliddon/Castro Valley neighborhood on Tuesday, August 5.

More than 70 neighbors took the time to come, enjoy a potluck, and get to know one another. A big shout out to the CHP who came by to see us, and the Alameda County Fire Dept Stations No. 6 and No. 25 who brought fire engines to everyone’s delight.

Credit goes to our co-organizers, Helynn Rueda, Alison Schmidt, and Brian Weber. Without their efforts and hard work this event would not have taken place.

Our hope was to foster a spirit of community and friendship among our neighbors. We had a tremendous turnout and expect this year’s event to be the first of many. What a great neighborhood we live in!

Lu and Dagmar Bedard, Castro Valley


Letters • 08-06-2014 | Print |  E-mail


Sorry ... no letters this week


Letters • 07-30-2014 | Print |  E-mail




Thanks to All Who Supported CV Pride 2014


The Castro Valley Pride team would like to thank our wonderful community for another great event this year.

Together we transformed the Stadium Plaza on Redwood Road into a rainbow-hued family festival with live music, compelling speakers, welcoming faith groups, exciting vendors and tasty food truck fare.

Castro Valley Pride 2014 is getting bigger and better every year, and we couldn’t make it happen without major help from our supporters.

We had financial donations large and small from dozens of our Castro Valley neighbors and businesses; we had in-kind donations of food and beverages from local stores and shops; we were given important logistical items like stages, tables and chairs.

And most importantly we had you, the good people of Castro Valley who came and enjoyed a beautiful day in the sun (and shade) with us. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

To see the full listing of all of our donors and sponsors please visit the Castro Valley Pride Facebook page at www.facebook.com/#!/CVPride.

We’ll see you in 2015!

Billy Bradford

Castro Valley Pride Team


Letters • 07-23-2014 | Print |  E-mail


EBMUD Prepared for the Drought


EBMUD has indeed prepared for this drought.

We have done this through three actions: (1) plan for drought supply through the guarantee from the joint project that allows EBMUD to draw water supply during drought time from Freeport; (2) water conservation programs that have in combination with (3) recycled water projects that have reduced EBMUD demand from 225 million gallons of water used per day in 1974 to 165 million gallons of water used just this past April 2014.  All of this, while our population has grown about 20% of that time period.

And we are continuing to expand our efforts on all these programs plus are working on a joint pilot desalination project with other Bay Area water agencies.

Because of these efforts and planning for a severe drought, EBMUD is able to ask for voluntary 10% rationing where other agencies have not prepared. This voluntary rationing, along with the foregoing, will go  a long way to assuring good water supply for next year if the dry conditions continue.

EBMUD has also worked out an agreement with Contra Costa Water to store additional water supply behind  the Los Vaqueros Dam.

Finally, there’s a very powerful book “The West Without Water” that should be a must-read. EBMUD’s Board and staff recognize that the last 100 years have been wet by comparison with studies on tree rings and sediments from runoff mentioned in that book.

We have no doubt that we must prepare accordingly and are doing so.

Frank Mellon, EBMUD Director Ward 7

Castro Valley


More Ways to Save Water


I commend Dick Purdee (“The Drought: This Time It’s Really Bad,” Letters, July 16) for encouraging people to save water, and I’d like to add some more ideas to the list.

EBMUD has a diagram on their website that lists toilets as the number one user of indoor water in the average household. Therefore, you can save a huge amount of water by implementing the “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” policy in your household.

We keep a bucket in the shower and run the water in to it while waiting for it to get hot, then use this to water plants or pour in the washing machine. We save about 2 gallons of water per shower this way.

Also, you can take shorter showers and turn off the water while you’re soaping up.

Lawns use a large amount of water. If you don’t like the look of a brown lawn, get rid of it instead. EBMUD even offers rebates for lawn-conversions.

I would like to respectfully say that I don’t think it’s a good idea to use paper plates and cups and plastic ware to save water. While this does save a little bit of water in your house, a lot of water is used to grow the trees for the paper products and also for the manufacturing process. I read that it can take up to 8 gallons of water to make one paper plate.

Newer dishwashers use only 4 gallons of water per cycle, and you can wash a lot of dishes with that 4 gallons. Dishwashers account for only 1% of water used in the average house.

There are a lot of other environmental impacts of single-use items, such as factory emissions, shipping pollution, and the fact that many of these items end up in landfills. There are many ways to save water while remaining environmentally conscience.

Brenda Pane, Castro Valley


Another Great Show of Pride for LGBT


What a wonderful thing it is to live so close to a community that again this year has put on a great show of pride for its gay, lesbian and transgender.

Castro Valley Pride was celebrated again this year at Castro Valley High. What an amazing show of support by the ever-growing size of the community that comes out year after year.

One of the best things that was noticed by many was that their were no signs of protest outside of the wonderful time being had by all that came. The Castro Valley Pride committee should be saluted for their great effort at putting this event together in showing that all are loved and valued.

As a gay 59-year-old man with four adopted kids and six grand kids, I value the efforts like this to show my family that families do come in all kinds. All parts of a family are just as important and loved as the rest.

I wish my partner of 26 years was still here to see such a growth in our neighboring community. I will be there again next year to help with Castro Valley Pride’s efforts in equality.

Tim DeForest, Castro Valley


Can Pets Get West Nile Virus?


Your article on West Nile virus (Page 1, July 2) made me wonder about our dogs and cats. I wanted to know what to watch for and what to do if they became infected.

Excerpted from the UC Davis Web site: “Dogs and cats are susceptible to infection, but considerably more resistant to disease than horses, humans, and some species of birds. Very young and very old cats and dogs, and animals that are immuno-compromised for some other reason, are the most likely to show signs of illness.

“Signs of a possible infection include weakness, fever and muscle spasms, although blood tests are needed to confirm a diagnosis. Treatment is consistent with standard veterinary practices for viral infections, and recovery is likely. If you suspect that your animal may be infected, seek the advice of your regular veterinarian.

“It is very unlikely for healthy dogs or cats to become ill with this virus. Pet owners should do the same things that they should do to protect themselves and family members: eliminate mosquito habitat and avoid mosquito exposure. (For more, visit www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/ccah/health_information/west_nile.cfm  and  www.VeterinaryPartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=1481)

Susan Perry, Castro Valley


A Loss to the Community


The Castro Valley / Eden Area Chamber of Commerce has lost a valued Board member who was also a true citizen to our community.

Shirley Ambro’s participation in our community will be sorely missed. Shirley could be counted on to help with almost any project that would  enhance the quality of life for our community.

Whether volunteering for an event or actually running a program, Shirley did so with energy and good humor and incredible skill. All of us have been touched by her pleasant demeanor when interacting with her.

The crowd at her memorial service and reception was testament to that. We extend our sympathy to her family and friends and thank them for sharing Shirley with us.

Bill Mulgrew, Executive Director


Thanks to All of the Supporters

of Castro Valley's Relay fo Life


Relay for Life of Castro Valley would like to thank this year’s sponsors of the 24 hour event held July 19th:

Eden Township Healthcare District, Eden Medical Center, Pampered Chef Josie Warneke, Asbury Church, Canyon Middle School, Crosspoint Realty, Moquin Press, St. Francis Electric, Valley Medical Oncology, Lion’s Breakfast Club, CVSan, Kiwanis of Castro Valley, D’s Fitness Designed 4 Women, Claudia’s Coiffeur Le Petite, Norman’s Grill, Castro Valley Florist, Mel’s Shoe Clinic, Glorious Beads, Beauty Source, Starbuck’s, Castro Village Bowl, CVS, Oakland A’s, Safeway, Costco, Red Rooster Taco, Ice Creamery, Saag’s, Rudy’s Donut House, Kevin Hinkley Auto Tech, The Roach and Siegel families

Their support helped us to raise $67,000 for cancer research, education, and advocacy.

Pat Rodrigues-Wong, Sponsorship Chair

Castro Valley


Says GOP To Blame for the Turmoil in The Middle East


The Republicans are very quick to blame Obama for the Middle East turmoil. But they should look more carefully at themselves.

Son Bush should have taken the wise advice of  Daddy President Bush who protected and secured Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. But he opted not to go into Iraq to try to take Baghdad and conquer all.

Daddy Bush had the airways controlled and otherwise had all in check. Iraq was no longer a threat to us and, in fact, Saddam Hussein let the Christian community continue to exist as they posed no threat to him.

But when Saddam fell, the Christians become persecuted and are now in great danger.

Saddam kept the various terrorist groups out of Iraq. When he fell, Iraq became very vulnerable and open to terrorist groups and to civil war.

Admittedly, Saddam was a demented dictator. but he was no longer a threat to us. And taking him down created a monster situation in the Middle East.

All son Bush did was go into a war without a cause, resulting in overwhelming deaths and destruction, and disrupting many Middle East nations.

Flo Wiley, Castro Valley


Letters • 07-16-2014 | Print |  E-mail


Don’t Let Willow Park Golf Course Fade Away


Castro Valley community take note! In less than 4 months (November 30), after 50 years, Willow Park Golf Course management group’s lease with East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) will expire.

This likely means that a public golf in CV is going to disappear. This impacts not only the casual golfer and the multiple golf clubs, but also both middle schools and CVHS golf teams, and the many tournaments that support local non-profit organizations and other community groups.

This will also be an end to the banquet facilities, bar and restaurants that have been a mainstay to the community from crab feeds to Rotary functions, to weddings and a host of other celebrations and memorials.  Also to be considered is the much needed revenue EBRPD will lose from these activities going elsewhere.

There appears to be no urgency on the part of East Bay Park District to get a request for proposal (RFP) out to the public for bidding. For over 2 years EBRPD has talked about releasing an RFP for Willow Park but at the 11th hour we are still waiting. Using EBRPD’s own timeline, at the earliest, the RFP process is already at or past the deadline for a smooth continuation of the golf course and facilities.

As late as June 11, EBRPD assured us that the RPF would be released by July 1st – but to-date nothing. Don’t let EBRPD allow our gem to just fade away.

We urge you to contact representatives (Mr. O’Connor, EBRPD Assistant GM and Ms. Severin, EBRPD CV Board Member, as well as County Supervisor Nate Miley) and let them know that Castro Valley needs Willow Park to continue to be part of our community!

Please help us save Willow Park.

Steve Falzone, President



On the Death of Dr. Neal Fong


With sadness, we note the loss of our friend and colleague at the Castro Valley Educational Foundation, Dr. Neal Fong. Neal served on the board of directors for over six years. He focused much of his work on two outstanding projects: an extraordinary scholarship program and dental screening for children.

Neal worked tirelessly to build the scholarship program. His automated systems made it easy for donors to set up scholarships and for students to apply. Other organizations used Neal’s system. In several cases, it increased the number of applicants from a handful to over a hundred. The resulting numbers are amazing. Scores of students received scholarships so they can attend college.

If Neal had only worked on scholarships, he would have been one of our most influential board members. But that was only the beginning of his involvement. As a practicing dentist, he understood how important oral health was to children. To help students in Castro Valley, he set up an annual free dental screening program for 4th graders. He enlisted the support of more than a dozen Castro Valley dentists and dental hygienists to help.

For students who needed care, but lacked the means to receive that care, Neal worked with the school nurses to arrange emergency care.

Those were his two big projects,  but there was so much more. Most importantly, it wasn’t so much what he did, but how he did it. Quietly. Patiently. Thoughtfully. And always with a great smile. We will miss him.

Neal Fong’s strong commitment to education and positive energy will stay in our hearts for years to come. He is an inspiration to us all. CVEF will continue his legacy of first and foremost giving back to Castro Valley students.

Gary Howard and Winda Shimizu


CVEF Board Members

To the Person Who Stole from My Truck...

I wonder how well you sleep at night......

That black lead line was a gift from my mother when I got my first horse over 35 years ago. My mother passed away a while back, but it still feels like yesterday. Every time I used it, it reminded me of her.

I used that lead line every week when I went shopping to keep the groceries from sliding all over my truck.

The horse I used that lead line on was the horse of my dreams. Having a horse was an expensive endeavor. I saved every penny from working two jobs simultaneously. I worked over 100 hours a week at both a day job and swing shift at another.

I was finally able to save up enough to buy the horse I had longed for my entire life. That lead line was congratulations from my mother for working so hard to buy that horse all on my own. She was celebrating my first major purchase, my first steps towards becoming an adult.

Now I will no longer have that not only useful reminder of my mother, but of her loving gift when I was so young and striving to become more independent.

Please feel free to share: perhaps my story may reach the thief. Stealing is bad karma!

Carlanne Giese-Snyder, Castro Valley


The Drought: This Time It’s Really Bad


Hello again! Yes, it’s me asking each and every person who is reading this letter to do your part saving water! Back in the mid-1970s we had a similar drought, but not like this one. This time it is really bad!

My personal thought is that EBMUD and other utilities have waited too long to ask us to save water. A dirty car and a brown lawn is a badge of honor. Some car-wash facilities do have recycled water supply and there are a couple in the Castro Valley/Hayward area.

In my home we are now using paper plates and cups with plastic ware so that we do not need to use so much water. Change your shower head to a low flow and you would be surprised on just how much water you can save. One hint though, do not use your washing machine rinse water on your delicate plants. I did and I killed them. Common sense let me down on that one.

Dick Purdee, Castro Valley





Letters • 07-09-2014 | Print |  E-mail


Castro Valley’s History-Providers

Thankful for Your Support


Randy Vanderbilt and I would like to extend a special thanks to the Castro Valley Community for its enthusiastic support of the Castro Valley History Show at the Center for the Arts on June 28.

It was so very rewarding to see over 550 people so interested in our past history that I am sure we will keep on collecting. We, of course, cannot do this without your input of stories and pictures, so please keep them coming.

A very special thanks to the staff and volunteers at the Center for the Arts for the use of their beautiful facility. They could not have been nicer to work with. To the Byers family for the book selling and those of you who brought in your own special collection, and to those who allowed us to copy your photos – thank you so much.

The photo part of the show will remain in place for a while longer and you can call there for more information.

Once again, thanks Castro Valley – you’re the greatest!

Lucille Lorge, Castro Valley


Calls Forum’s Sheriff’s Reports

‘Virtually Worthless’


The police reports published in the Forum (and the San Leandro Times) are virtually worthless as far as being a service to the community.

As they exist, they are primarily simply law enforcement agencies bragging about the drunks and junkies that the departments catch on the Boulevard. Very few of these reports relate to unlawful activities taking place in our vast residential areas.

What is needed, and is not what we are getting, are reports of attempted break-ins, successful break-ins, prowlers, suspicious activity, etc., in our residential areas. This type of information is valuable and would help citizens to be more alert if this type of activity is taking place in their neighborhoods.

A few years back I was working the neighborhoods for a political campaign. As I talked to residents just in the next block from my house, they advised me that there had been eight break-ins in the surrounding two block area. This information was not published in the police reports of the time. It certainly would have been valuable in helping other neighbors heighten their security to guard against further incidents.

While I am appreciative of the job that these law enforcement agencies do, the simply act of publishing more relevant police reports would greatly increase their service to the citizens.

Ken Martin, Castro Valley


Says East Castro Valley Suffering

From Trash and Refuse


My applause to Ms. Kim Loisel (“Disturbed by Panhandlers, Litter on Castro Valley Streets,” Letters, July 2) for her concern and comment on litter.

I, too, often take morning walks along Marshall Street, passing Rite Aide and have been long disgusted with the trash and refuse that is consistent on, near and about this retailer’s lot and all around that corner (and right across the street from the sanitation department).

One would think a company would have more respect not just for their business image, but most certainly respect for the community they serve.

I would also like to believe our County should have an ordinance that requires retailers and businesses the responsibility to maintain their premises for obvious reasons.

Unfortunately, East Castro Valley has long suffered from these abuses and if Rite Aide, and other business aren’t willing to express the corporate professionalism to do their part and clean up their yards then perhaps the county should step in and charge for the task.

The question however, is the county able to enforce an ordinance if in fact, one even exists or, is their another reason either issue might not be achievable?

Ron Darcey, Castro Valley


Condemns Non-Profit Organizations

For Selling ‘Safe and Sane’ Fireworks


Once again it is the 4th of July and the evening cannot be enjoyed? Why? Because selfish, inconsiderate people think nothing of breaking the law in order to fire off dangerous fireworks in Castro Valley and other areas where they are not permitted.

There are several cities in the Bay Area that permit non-profits to sell these dangerous fireworks. I think it is time we tell these non-profits that no matter how good their cause may be, selling dangerous, so-called “safe and sane” fireworks is not the answer to raising funds.

Not only does it destroy the peace of the evening but it causes pets to be upset. They can – and do – cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to property. Many people are injured by these dangerous items. Though advertised as “safe and sane,” these items are anything but safe or sane.

Of course, the politicians in such cities as

Newark, San Bruno, and Dublin do not have the courage to stand up to the non-profits and tell them no more fireworks. The organizations that support selling dangerous items are not worthy of your donations!

For those living in San Bruno, Pacifica, Union City, and Newark, please contact your local politicians and tell you don’t want dangerous fireworks sold in your city.

David Ross, Castro Valley


No Sympathy for Rodeo Cowboys

Who are Kicked and Injured


My favorite part of Amy Sylvestri’s article “Rodeo Events Protested after Death of Cow” (The Forum, July 2) was the sentence, “The cows often kick and injure the cowboys during the event.”

What was the point of including this remark? Was it to try to deflect how much pain and suffering the animals go through? Was it to gain sympathy for the cowboys?

If the cowboys don’t want to get kicked or injured then maybe they shouldn’t do these things to animals – what kind of sport is that? They deserve to get kicked. If somebody took me against my will and roped me and tried to milk me I would kick them too!!!

Does anybody in this “sport” have verbal and/or written permission from the wild or domesticated cow(s) stating that they want to be roped and milked against their will? Did the cows or any other animal for that matter “sign up” to participate in this “sport”?

Why do some humans feel they have the right to do these types of things to other types of animals – just because we walk upright? If you want to show how much of a “man” or “woman” you are then go into the ring and beat the hell out of each other with another animal who has consented to fight with you and wants to get beat up.

I don’t feel sorry for the cowboy – I feel sorry for the poor animals who did not “sign up” to be a part of such a “sport”.  Besides, how is this a sport? These are defenseless animals taken against their will and forced into these (for lack of a better word) situations.

If we did this to the “human” animals there would/could/should be hell to pay. There would be outrage – oh wait this is done to “human” animals – it is called slavery – of all kinds – but it is still OK to do to animals who walk on 4 legs?! Well, that makes a whole lot of sense to me!

Thank you Eric Mills! I wish all rodeos would stop – including bull fighting/bull running and circuses that include any kinds of animals.

Sherry Stefanic, Castro Valley


Biologist Finds Fault with Killing

Earwigs or Other ‘Pests’


In response to the letter  from Ms. Osborne (“Yet Another Use for The Forum: Trapping Pesky Earwigs,” Letters, July 2) that contemplates drowning earwigs, I would like to make an alternative suggestion as to how to reduce the presence of earwigs.

Pests, like beauty, are in the eye of the beholder. For one thing, as a biologist, I don’t think that we should be advocating killing any animals. After all, earwigs, as well as mosquitoes (Forum, ibid., page 1), do have a role in Nature, why otherwise would their species have survived over millions of years?

Damage to plants may be being done by another insect which may be prey to the earwigs. Why not just shake the earwig-laden newspaper over an unused part of your garden and let them find a home there? In any case, by removing them from their ecosystem, you’re only opening up ecological space for more to come in.

Matthew Kaser, Castro Valley


Accuses ‘Lapdog Liberal Media’ for

Failure to Criticize President Obama


The Obama administration has sunk to another new low. Now seven IRS bureaucrats all claim their email messages to outside agencies were “irretrievably lost.”

These damning email messages were part of the Obama administration’s illegal effort to harass people who dared to give money to conservative political organizations.

Now we are supposed to believe that all those IRS computers magically crashed. Even more ridiculous, somehow all seven employees independently decided it would be a keen idea to throw away their hard drives! How stupid does Mr. Obama think we are?

The US Archivist says the IRS violated federal law by not reporting the lost emails immediately. Furthermore, these emails are indeed retrievable, despite the best efforts of Obama’s henchmen to destroy them. The messages are stored at servers, back up servers, (called “mirror servers”) and also by a private “cloud” server which was then under contract to the IRS. Finally, the messages can still be found on the computers of the people who received the messages. This cover-up is laughable.

When Nixon tried to use the IRS to harass his opponents, he failed, because his IRS commissioner was an honest man. In contrast, Obama succeeded, because Obama filled his administration with dishonest political creatures. You can describe Obama’s administration in seven words: “Chicago style corruption at the national level.”

But why did Nixon resign back in 1974, while Obama still clings to his office? What’s the difference? The answer is the news media. In 1974, the left-wing media demanded Nixon’s impeachment, because he was a Republican. But now that a Democrat is being a tyrant, the lapdog liberal media will not criticize Obama. And anyone who calls for Obama’s impeachment is labeled “extremist” or “racist.” The left-wing journalists who dominate the news media are pure hypocrites.

Peter Hauer, Castro Valley





Letters • 07-02-2014 | Print |  E-mail


‘A Great Day at the Castro Valley

Center for the Arts’


Saturday was a great day at the Castro Valley Center for the Arts as the Castro Valley Arts  Foundation took a full house plus down memory lane, including the maturing of every aspect of Castro Valley, including movies of the development of Castro Valley Boulevard, building of our

Schools, Castro Village, Eden Hospital and more!

Watching the growth of Castro Valley had all present busting with pride for our community. Presenter Randy Vanderbilt’s passion and presentation skills and love for Castro Valley is such a blessing!

If you missed Saturday, I encourage all Castro Valley residents to be sure to attend a future event featuring our community.

Bruce D. Johnson, Castro Valley


Thanks to Vanderbilt and Lorge for a

Wonderful Program


I want to extend a big “Thank You” to Randy Vanderbilt for the terrific video program that he put on last Saturday. He did a fabulous job narrating the program that must have taken hours and hours to put together.

Not only was the Center for the Arts Auditorium full, but the time went by so fast, it didn’t seem like an hour plus.

Also, the Historic Pop-Up Museum was terrific. Who knew we had bootleggers and that they once had a thriving business in Castro Valley during Prohibition? Thank you Randy and Lucille Lorge for the wonderful program you organized.

Frank Mellon, Castro Valley


Disturbed by Panhandlers,

Litter on Castro Valley Streets


My issue is the amount of litter I see around Castro Valley.

My husband and I enjoy walking around Castro Valley daily and lately, we’ve seen more cigarette butts, which are very harmful if they get into the drains which go straight to the bay.

Further, along Marshall by the Rite Aid store, there is always a huge amount of paper, sometimes shoes, and bottles all over the sidewalk and street. I don’t understand why people cannot throw things away in the trash. Does anyone remember “Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute,” or the PSA with the Native American man and the tear?

Those ads were on TV 40 years ago and I guess they need to update them and air them again.

Finally, the beautifully restored path along the Castro Valley Creek area by Norbridge Avenue now has shopping carts, garbage and a broken cyclone fence. In addition, there are homeless people sleeping along the path and leaving garbage. Additionally, in the last month, I have continued to be accosted by pan handlers in front of grocery stores and half-dressed homeless people walking around drug store parking lots in broad daylight.

Kim Loisel, Castro Valley


Back-In Parker at Hospital Surprised

By Responses


This letter is in response to the two letters (“Which Laws Don’t We Have to Obey” and “Writer Got Bad Advice on Parking”) that appeared in the Forum on June 25. Two gentlemen apparently took issue with my letter that appeared on the 18th regarding my backing into a parking place at Eden Hospital.

My concern was that I was informed by a young lady that an Alameda County Deputy Sheriff had been ticketing vehicles that had backed into parking places. I didn’t know then, nor do I know now for sure, whether that was true or not. My point was if it were true, it would certainly have been a waste of time and taxpayer money

Anyway, this is one of the more tame letters I had written in my 25 years or so writing to the Forum and/or Daily Review. I certainly didn’t expect the responses I got.

First of all, Mr Greenberg, I did not break any county, state or any other agencies’ laws. Nor do I advocate running red lights or breaking any other law. What was posted at Eden Hospital’s parking garage was a private sign in a private parking garage on private property.

If you believe that I should be willing to prioritize a list of laws that we don’t have to obey anymore because I backed into a parking space, you’re crazier than I give you credit for.

And Mr. Rodrigues, checking the California Vehicle Code looking for a section about requirements for parking head-in or back-in certainly would have been a waste of time. As stated above, this was a private sign in a private parking garage on private property. I seriously doubt there would been a vehicle code to reference.

I may have gotten bad information but I figured I should turn my truck around anyway. As I stated in my previous letter, I am a huge supporter of law enforcement. I have relatives in law enforcement. My cousin, a police officer, has an uncle that is a dear friend of mine that worked on the OJ Simpson case. They all do a tough job on a daily basis.

You guys need to find another axe to grind.

Doug Lessa, Castro Valley


Yet Another Use for The Forum:

Trapping Pesky Earwigs


I have read and enjoyed the gardening articles of Buzz Bertolero. I would like to add to his advice on, “round holes in flowers and vegetable leaves made from earwigs.”

I have used wadded-up – then rolled-up – newspapers fastened with rubber bands to be the best trap for earwigs. After making traps, lightly sprinkle with water. In the early p.m. place the traps close to rows of beans, lettuce, chard, or any leafy vegetable or flower. Earwigs seek a damp place during the day after feeding all night.

In the morning pick up your rolled traps carefully, shake them over a large bucket or tub: Can be filled with six inches of water. You can step on them on a cement patio .Earwigs are fast moving. They will sink in water. Traps can be reused for weeks, are non-toxic and safe around children and pets.

Judy OsborneCastro Valley


‘Citizens Can’t Pick and Choose What

Laws They Will and Will Not Follow’


Anyone may write a letter to the Castro Valley Forum opposing marriage equality, expressing a wish that gay people would stay in our own communities, saying they find us disgusting, or even making flat out false statements, like saying only heterosexual marriages produce “healthy, well-adjusted, and natural born citizens.” That is freedom of speech.

Anyone may join a congregation that opposes rights for gays and lesbians, or even advocates burning us at the stake. That is freedom of religion.

But anyone who actually tries to burn someone at the stake will be in trouble, since actions, as opposed to statements and beliefs, are governed by civil law.

If civil law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, citizens can disagree, but can’t pick and choose what laws they will and will not follow.

This is not a new discussion. Fifty years ago opponents of civil rights claimed their deeply held religious beliefs proclaimed that their God had created the so-called races separate and apart, that racial integration and interracial marriage were unnatural and contrary to the divine plan. Black people needed to stay in their own communities.

Besides, it was bad for children; how could children grow up to be healthy, well-adjusted, and natural born citizens if they did not even know if they were white or black?

Then as now, opponents of civil rights lost. Marriage equality is winning not just in courts of law but in courts of public opinion. It’s hard to convince others of the horrible consequences of same sex couples marrying if the marriages have been going on for a decade and the only consequence is people getting married.

It’s hard to convince Americans that some people are entitled to rights and responsibilities under the law, but others are not. Opponents of equality are reduced to complaining that they are being persecuted by gay people having equal rights. It is not convincing.

Carol Sholin, Castro Valley


‘LGBT Has a Fight on Its Hands’ to

Enjoy Freedoms All Americans Have


I would like to remind Mr. Spink (Marriage Equality Activists Called ‘Ruthless’,” Letters, June 25)) that throughout history American citizens have been “forced to change their livelihood” whenever they are outwardly biased, bigoted and/or discriminatory.

Women of the 19th and 20th century fought for over 40 years before the 19th Amendment finally passed giving them the right to vote. At that time there were a number of congressmen and senators who voted against the amendment. Ultimately many of these same legislators had their livelihoods changed by the voters.

Jackie Robinson and then Dodger owner Walter O’Malley each made great sacrifices in forcing baseball to break the color barrier. In 1947 this movement was unheard of and greatly unpopular with fellow owners and fans alike. But look at the results of their efforts now.

Among those “forced to change his livelihood” at that time was Philadelphia Phillies manager Ben Chapman who was not at all shy in expressing his bigotry (as well documented in the movie “42”). Chapman lasted just one year as manager and after 1947 never again had a job in baseball.

Now the LGBT has a fight on its hands simply to enjoy the same freedom and benefits all American citizens have a right to. Again, as history has proven, it will not be an easy battle (see “biased” letters in the Forum).

And yes, just like legislators and baseball managers in the past, business owners who display bias and discrimination towards one group of people will indeed “have to change their livelihood” as bigotry will not be tolerated in the U.S. of A.

Scott Masterson, Castro Valley


Says It’s the 21st Century – ‘Wake Up,

Open Your Curtains’


Stacy Jonez, Stacy Spink, Scott Richardson et. al. are missing one very big fact of law: If you own a business on public property and are paying property taxes to the U.S. government then you may not deny services to anybody based upon personal convictions or “lifestyle.” Period!

And yes, Mr. Spink, if a business owner does indeed decline to serve you because you are a “cyclist” (hardly the same as being gay and you know it) then the government would have the right to “take away your livelihood” as well they should because that business has no business discriminating against a fellow human being. Have you ever heard of “all Americans being treated equal”?

To Scott Richardson, who openly admits he is “biased” against the LGBT community, all I can say is, Mr. Richardson, this is the 21st Century not 1968. Wake up, open your curtains and get a reality check up.

Chris Scott, Castro Valley


Letters • 06-25-2014 | Print |  E-mail


Which Laws Don’t We Have to Obey?


I’ve just read Doug Lessa’s letter (“Says Law

Officers Should Concentrate on ‘Real Crime’,”

Letters, June 18) suggesting that the Sheriff should not spend time enforcing parking laws, even though “No Backing In” was clearly posted.

Doug’s suggestion is a great relief to me and our fellow Castro Valley residents. Perhaps Doug can take a little time now and prioritize the state and county laws, starting with the ones that we don’t have to obey anymore because they are not “real crimes.”

For example, I spend a lot of time just sitting at red lights when there is no one coming from the left or right so please put that at the top of your list of laws that we can ignore because it is not a “real crime.”

I see a lot of people flouting this law already, either making right turns without stopping or blasting through an intersection after the light has changed, so obviously there is general agreement on this item.

I look forward to the list of unimportant laws. Perhaps we can get them repealed so life is simpler.

Cliff Greenberg, Castro Valley


Writer Got ‘Bad Advice’ on Parking


As a resident of the unincorporated area of Hayward-Castro Valley, and after reading the letter by Doug Lessa (see above) where he was upset that the Sheriff’s Office would cite a vehicle in the Eden Hospital parking garage because the car was parked back-in instead of parked head-in, I had to write this letter to set the record straight.

The Sheriff’s Office does not, will not, nor cares if you back a car into a stall on private property or pull it in head first. The Sheriff’s Office does not go onto private property to enforce parking laws, especially something as trivial as this.

I think the Mr. Lessa was given some very bad advise by this unnamed young lady or she was seeing if she could get a rise out of him.  The Sheriff’s Office has much more important things to do rather than worrying abut how one parks their car in a private parking garage.

Mr. Lessa should have checked the California Vehicle Code and he would not have found a section that would require him to park head-in or back-in. I appreciate the Sheriff’s Office for the great work they do for us each and every day.

Tom Rodrigues, Castro Valley


Forum’s Omission Costly to Fair-Goers


I received a text message last Wednesday from my daughter, “the Castro Valley Forum has an article that states its $1 day at the fair, let’s all go.” So the four of us decide, hey it’s only $1 let’s go after work and have dinner at the fair.

After sitting in traffic, paying $10 for parking, we got up to the ticket booth and were very disappointed by the signs on the booth stating that the $1 admission price ended at 5:00 (it was now 6:45). What do we do? We pay the $40 dollars to get into the fair. So much for dinner.

It sure would have been nice if the Castro Valley Forum’s front page article about the fair stated that $1 admission ended at 5:00.

Tracy Pioli, Castro Valley


Technology Has Improved the Ability

Of Scammers to Steal Your Money


I am a Boy Scout, working to complete my Communications merit badge.

I just wanted to say that I can really agree to the “Don’t Fall Victim to Scammers” (Page 6, The Forum, June 18) because now that technology has improved, people have taken advantage of that.  People who want to steal your money, identity, Social Security number, etc., find it much easier to do via computer or phone.

Whether you are old or young, people want your money and will trick you into giving it to them. I totally agree with the tips. Technology is both a useful tool and a deadly weapon. Uninformed people can easily fall into robbers’ traps.

Logan Tom, Castro Valley


Says Laws Taking Away Freedom of

Choice Have ‘Gone Too Far’


I read the letter submitted by Stacy Jonez (“Takes Issue with Bradford Letter on Businesses and Marriage Equality,” Letters, June 11). I found it interesting for the writer to point out what our lawmakers have enacted concerning gay marriage.

As for myself, if a person I know is gay, so what? Gay people have just as much right as anyone on earth to live in freedom and do as others do.

As far as marriage is concerned, that is between the two of them. I do not like to see gay people express their love for each other in public. In the gay community I am going to assume the embrace and kissing is an accepted sign of loving. I find it hard to see, let alone do, such behavior.

What gay people do in the privacy of their home is their business and none of mine. What I do find hard to take is our government forcing those of us who do not want to participate in gay living being forced to do so! Stacy Jones’ letter states “A Christian baker, Jack Phillips, of Colorado, was forced to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple that he refused to do because of his Christian beliefs!” Even though this marriage was not in Colorado, but in Massachusetts.

When laws are written in these United States that takes away our freedom of choice, it has gone too far. We, the people, do have and will never surrender that freedom of choice.

Men and women of our great nation have died to protect these rights. Let us not forget who they are.

As November elections approach, sit down and do your homework to find the best person to fill the job! Once again I ask you not to vote the party ticket. Read and learn. Investigate those who want to govern. Be sure you make a good choice.

Richard Purdee, Castro Valley


Marriage Equality Activists

Called ‘Ruthless’


It looks like some folks really misunderstood Stacy Jonez’ letter (“Takes Issue with Bradford Letter on Businesses and Marriage Equality,” Letters, June 11) .

First of all, this is not about denial of services. Those targeted (wedding photographers, planners, bakeries) are industries with many choices and planned well ahead of time. If I call a restaurant to service my cycling event and they say, “sorry, we don’t cater to cyclists” my answer would be “Fine. You don’t like my lifestyle. I certainly don’t want to give you my money. I’ll find somebody else.” That’s a proper response – vote with your wallet.

But the gay marriage advocate responds differently. “Fine. You don’t like my lifestyle. Now, how can I destroy you?”

This is not about skin color – this is about conduct. Bible-affirming business owners are told: “Deny your sincerely-held religious beliefs, openly affirm our beliefs, or we’ll take away your livelihood. Deny the Bible, deny your God – or else.”  The prophet Daniel – confronted in the same manner – chose what appeared to be certain death, rather than bow down to another belief system.

Even those who simply exercise their First Amendment rights by writing a check to an organization affirming traditional marriage have their lives ruined by gay zealots who can’t accept hearing an opinion different from their own (see Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich). Free speech?  The gay community doesn’t believe in it.

Mr. Dimick’s analogy to the Taliban (Letters, June 18) seems completely divorced from reality. It is gay activists who are detonating the IED’s, destroying businesses and blowing to smithereens any person or family who dares to openly disagree with them.

Welcome to “free speech” and “tolerance” as defined by gay activists, whose message is “abandon your beliefs, publicly support us – or we will ruin you.”

They’re ruthless, efficient – and getting better at it.

Stacy Spink, Castro Valley


‘No Other Standard of Marriage Equal

To the Male/Female Union’


Humans are accountable for their actions, not their biological attributes. It is self-evident by the design of our reproductive and digestive systems that humans are made to function biologically as a complementary pair. There can be no other standard of marriage equal to the male/female union.

All men are created equal, but not all sexual unions. The state has a compelling interest in promoting marriages that normally produce healthy, well-adjusted, natural-born citizens. Parents have a compelling interest in the lives of their children and grandchildren. Children have a compelling interest in the complementary gender, sexuality and psychology of their parents.

Our humanity, marriage, and sexual reproduction are well designed blessings from God. When they are honored and held sacred, our society flourishes. When they are disregarded and dishonored, our society suffers.

When has any society benefited from sexual freedom and immorality?

I have lived here since 1968, so I am biased by memories of the misery of the AIDS crisis. I’m also biased because I’m the faithful husband of a faithful wife and we are concerned parents of two boys and a girl. But if I am “American Taliban,” then Nancy Pelosi is the devil.

Billy Bradford (“Businesses Welcome Marriage Equality,” Letters, May 28)) may have called some CV businesses, but certainly not all. There are many that remain unchecked in fear of being forced into serving every SSM/LGBT ceremony or being forced out of business.

I wonder which tactics Billy and his friends, who obviously have no genuine interest in contracting actual services, plan to use against those who would rather refer them to others.

If you are a concerned business owner, I highly recommend you listen to the 6/17/14 STR podcast where an anonymous wedding photographer calls in to ask advice and ends up helping to form an activist defense strategy. www.strcast2.org/podcast/weekly/061714.mp3 or at www.str.org

Scott Richardson, Castro Valley





Letters • 06-18-2014 | Print |  E-mail


Letter-Writer Jonez Said to Express

Views of ‘the American Taliban’



Your beliefs are different than mine, a letter to the Forum recently claimed, and we can’t have that. The very existence of your beliefs is a threat to mine and most likely will cause the downfall of civilization.

Therefore, your beliefs must go.  You must do things my way, according to my interpretation of my religion.

Is this the Iraqi or Afghan or Pakistani Taliban speaking? No, it’s the America Taliban, whose latest pronouncement was by Stacy Jonez (“Takes Issue with Bradford Letter on Businesses and Marriage Equality,” Letters, June 11).

According to Jonez, same-sex marriage is a sin, foisted on an innocent public by Castro Valley’s Billy Bradford, “crooked” and “corrupt” governments and a cabal of “fascists.” Asking people not to treat gays and straights equally is imposing “a new belief system on us.”

Jonez and the American Taliban believe that it’s just not fair to prevent them from discriminating against gays because non-discrimination violates their beliefs. Perhaps they have forgotten “No Irish Need Apply,” “Japs Not Welcome” or “Whites Only.” Or perhaps they haven’t forgotten, and long for a return to those days.

Our own Nancy Pelosi recently characterized the American Taliban’s (and therefore Jonez’) attitude best when she called it “venom masquerading as virtue.”

Amen, sister.

Steven C. Dimick, Castro Valley


Jonez ‘Mistaken’ in Concluding That

Everyone Holds Same Views on Faith



I take exception to Ms. Jonez assertion that Billy (Bradford) is seeking to impose a new belief system upon me (see reference above).

As a Methodist, as a wife and as a mother, I believe in the writings of the New Testament. This  includes to love my neighbor, including my neighbor that is a different race, gender, sexual orientation, different religion, and different ability than my own. This belief system is not new.

At the core of the Civil Rights movement is that  “Civil rights include the ensuring of peoples’ physical and mental integrity, life and safety; protection from discrimination on grounds such as race, gender, national origin, colour, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, or disability.” It is not “outrageous” to demand that businesses comply with laws regarding discrimination.

I invite Stacy Jonez to visit the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, where there is an entire wall detailing the chronological advancement of each Civil Right throughout history. One can see the injustices perpetrated on others sometimes even in the name of religion.

Jonez is very mistaken in concluding that everyone holds the same views about faith and discriminating against persons that are gay. The biological reality is that some people are gay. Biology that has existed long before the concept of marriage. All I ask is that others not speak for me and conclude that we hold similar views.

We don’t, and I imagine one day Jonez might

see our differences don’t define us.

I’m not sure the slur “fascists” is used correctly, as it means intolerant. I’m not the one intolerant on the issue of gay rights.

All legal issues aside, why would a business expose themselves to rejecting any potential customers? Makes absolutely no sense.

Juliet Barraza, Castro Valley


Who Decides Which Sinners Will Be

Punished by Withholding Services?



Stacy Jonez (see above) argues that one must follow his conscience regardless of the needs or wishes of others. Therefore, if a baker believes that homosexuality is a sin, he should refuse to provide a cake for a gay wedding.

Another “sin,” premarital sex between heterosexuals, will of course be evident at a wedding

if a bride’s pregnancy shows, but what if it doesn’t? Should we require that she submit to a medical exam before we attend or assist at her wedding?  And how could we determine the virginity of her bridegroom?

What about the other deadly sins of anger, envy, gluttony, greed, pride, sloth, and excessive wealth? How can we find and suitably punish them?

Fortunately, not all believers are as restrictive in this regard as conservative Christians and Islamists. Many Christian churches, for example, welcome everyone, those recognized as sinners and those not so recognized; and Buddhism does not discriminate.

We must hope that doctors, nurses, paramedics and other first-responders do not withhold their services because of religious beliefs. Doing so would seriously endanger the helpless and the needy in times of emergency.

What would Jesus say? Surely that love and tolerance come first.

Kay Athos, Castro Valley



Says Law Officers Should

Concentrate on ‘Real Crime,’ Not the Way He Parks at Eden Hospital


My father-in-law has been admitted to the new Eden Hospital on a few occasions the past few months. My wife and I had spent a fair amount of time visiting during his stays there.

During our visits we always parked in the parking garage/structure. Having a fairly large truck because of my business as a home inspector/general contractor, I found it easier to back into the small spaces as did many of people.

However, after backing into a parking space then walking toward the hospital one afternoon, a young lady approached us and asked if I had backed into a parking space. I replied yes I did. She then warned me that an Alameda County Deputy Sheriff was driving through the structure ticketing vehicles that had backed into parking spaces.

Yes, there are signs saying not to back in. Now I am a huge supporter of law enforcement, but come on, is there not enough real crime going on in town? Drunk drivers, speeders, robberies just to point out a few. I think the Sheriff’s Department’s time would be better spent chasing down real criminals. Oh, and by the way, I turned my vehicle around before I was “caught” and ticketed.

Doug Lessa, Castro Valley




Letters • 06-11-2014 | Print |  E-mail


Takes Issue with Bradford Letter on

Businesses and Marriage Equality


Correction to Billy Bradford’s May 28 letter (“Businesses Welcome Marriage Equality”) regarding repealing of Prop. 8 and “baker.”

Prop. 8 has never been “repealed” and the First Amendment is still law. Corrupt governments and courts are not allowing what the majority of Californians and other states have stood for over 237 years: marriage is fundamentally between a man and woman.

The majority understands the true meaning of marriage as it has been for 40,000-plus years. Jack Phillips. a

Christian baker of Colorado, was threatened when he declined to create a wedding cake for a gay ceremony in Massachusetts even though Colorado’s constitution doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage!

Billy and crooked governments seek to impose a new belief system upon us – even one that is fundamentally at odds with one’s conscience and liberty. People are attacked for their beliefs and for not conflicting with their own faith.

Phillips was ordered, on pain of fines or even jail time, to violate his faith and provide the wedding cake to the homosexuals, or else. People must not be forced to convey a message with which they believe to be sin.

Conduct and expressions are protected by the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and by Article II, Section 10 of the Colorado Constitution.

Phillips simply declined to promote a false view of marriage. This has also happened to photographers, florists, and innkeepers – just Google it.  This is not about race, but one’s true faith in regards to sin.

It’s outrageous that the government would threaten jailing unless they say and do what it demands even if it is sin. Religious beliefs have stood for 5,000 years and the fact that one man’s anatomical body part doesn’t fit within another man’s and can produce no offspring doesn’t seem to matter to the fascists. We can both respect religious convictions and free choice.

Stacy Jonez, Castro Valley


Wants to Keep Convenience Store

From Selling Alcohol


A warning to residents along Crow Canyon near the Valley Convenient Mini Mart.  This establishment has changed hands and it appears to have changed business models as well.

Our once-convenient store for those 1-2 items we didn’t feel like jumping in our car to pick up would like to be our one-stop shop for all things alcohol in the very near future.

Please join our Shadow Creek neighborhood at the MAC meeting to stop the approval of a liquor license. Research  clearly states that liquor stores

1) decrease property value and 2) increase crime when added to a given neighborhood.

This is a store that our children stop in on their way home from school to buy a snack or drink.  As you walk into the store the first display wall you see is all wine. This is not the type of establishment I would support or want at the entrance to my street.

MAC meeting, Monday, June 23 in the CV library. Please come to this meeting and help stop this campaign for a liquor license! (You received a notice of this meeting in the mail in a font too small to read and the date has been changed from the one originally stated).

Kate Teague, President


Shadow Creek Association

A Speeding Problem on Sydney Way


I live on Sydney Way and we have a speeding problem.

The speed limit is 25, the average speed is 35-45, some even more.

We have tried everything; we even had a mobile speed sign once. We have requested speed bumps, but have been denied for many reasons.

Everyone know there are not enough officers to enforce traffic laws in every area. With so much crime, they are kept pretty busy. So in order to make Castro Valley a safe place, we all need to do our part and obey the traffic laws.

Now, as to the kids crossing the streets by the high school, they need crossing guards! After a couple of times, I learned never to go near there when school lets out.

Final note: To the bald man in the tan car, who stuck out his tongue at me in front of Walgreens when he didn’t stop of a pedestrian (me), I thought it was childish. We shouldn’t let children drive! Please slow down.

Mary Valens, Castro Valley


School Buildings and Grounds Worker

Honored by Educational Foundation


On June 5th, I was honored by the Castro Valley Educational Foundation for the work I give to our school district. I am a classified  buildings and grounds worker at Creekside Middle School.

I am very proud of my work with some of the kids at our school who need a different approach to education. They learn some basic skills of life and the meaning of an honest day’s work.

I was so pleased that the Foundation took the time to look at the classified members of our district and honor them as they do the teaching staff. We are over 300 members strong and are the core of the daily function of our district.

Again I would like to thank the Castro Valley Educational Foundation for this wonderful look at what classified folks offer to the daily role of our district, and for the honor of being selected for this award.

Tim DeForest


Creekside Middle School Lead Buildings and Grounds

Old Timers Baseball – An Evening Of Great Entertainment


I would like to share an experience that I had recently in the company of some of my Castro

Valley neighbors.

Rob Scott, who I see frequently, has been telling of his involvement with the San Leandro Old Timers baseball team, part of the NorCal Oldtimers Baseball Association. The guys (35 and over) play at fields as far away as Napa, Modesto, Lodi, and Watsonville, with a season finale is in Benicia.

The home game on May 4th pitted the Old

Timers against the Watsonville Angels. It was a short drive to the San Leandro Ball Park at Teagarden St. and Aladdin Ave. in San Leandro, close to Marina Square.  Parking was free (as was the admission!)

A plaque above the concession area proclaimed that this is the Old Timers’ home. It impressed me that such a well-kept, dedicated facility, complete with grandstands, restrooms (and even a kitchen!) was available to amateurs.

The low-key ambience afforded access to the dugout for chats with the players (and a few of their teenage sons, busy keeping score, minding statistics, etc.,) who were happy to explain fine points of the game they love.

Mingling with the participants, hearing their stories, and seeing their uniforms and the field close-up, was special. It reminded my of my 1960s childhood, when athletes were heroes.

A camaraderie-bolstering post-game barbecue put on by the home team afforded a chance to socialize with the visitors. The Scott family had trucked in a pair of barbecue kettles that were used to cook hot dogs and tri-tips rubbed with spices and sea salt.

Other home-made dishes included green salad with locally-raised vegetables, macaroni salad with pimento-stuffed olives, and several kinds of cookies. It was quite a gourmet spread, assembled during the game – an impressive bit of multitasking.

The fun culminated in a raffle at which bottles of wine and other prizes were distributed.

All in all, this pleasant outing made me wish I had some talent for baseball. And I marveled at the mere handful of spectators – these games are probably not well-publicized. The next home game is at 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 14th – hope to see you there!

(The team seeks players.) For league information and a schedule of games, contact Bob Scott, 510-889-1878,  or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Ralph H. Page, Castro Valley


A Thank You to Castro Valley’s

‘Amazing Teachers’


As the parent of a graduating senior at Castro Valley High School, I want to thank all of the teachers who taught my two children during their years in Castro Valley Unified School District.

We have terrific schools, but those great schools are no accident. We have wonderful parents who support their students and the schools whole-heartedly and a very generous community. But it is the dedicated teachers who work so hard every day to make our schools the best they can be.

My children had a great education in Castro Valley, and I thank all those amazing teachers for all they did for my children and the other children in our community. Thank you and have a great summer. You earned it.

Gary Howard, Castro Valley


Grateful to Live in a District Where

Teachers and Parents Work Together


This is my family’s 10th year in Castro Valley. Like so many families, we moved here for the great schools.

Our experience in the Castro Valley Unified School District has been a good one. My children go to a wonderful school, Castro Valley Elementary, and are taught by amazing and dedicated teachers. We love Castro Valley Unified and the diversity of the Castro Valley community.

I am grateful to be a part of a top-notch school district, and to live in a community where teachers and parents work together. Through my involvement in a variety of organizations in CVUSD I have met many parents who want to carry on the long tradition of excellence in this district.

Thank you parents for giving time and energy to build supportive school communities. Thank you teachers for working hard educating our students and creating a safe learning environment. As the saying goes, “it takes a village.” Parents and teachers are an integral part of that village.

I’m looking forward to a long fun summer and returning to the Castro Valley Elementary community and entering the Creekside Middle School Community in the fall. I hope that everyone has a fun and safe summer.

Please be watchful at the pool and always wear your helmets when riding bicycles and scooters.

Dot Theodore, Castro Valley Parent






Letters • 06-04-2014 | Print |  E-mail


The Reason Why Pedestrians

Don’t Follow the Rules


I was disappointed, but not surprised, to read letters recently published here that were quite biased against pedestrians.

Let’s try to understand why pedestrians do not follow rules: fundamentally, the system as it exists prioritizes cars to the detriment of walkers.

Pedestrians will cross streets in the middle of a block to avoid unnecessarily long waits at car-biased intersections. For example, pedestrians in Castro Valley have to push a button in order to cross a lighted intersection. This guarantees a wait, since the pedestrian’s light always starts red, while a car has a fair chance of hitting a green light.

In Oakland and San Francisco, pedestrian lights are automatic just like car lights, so both are treated equally.

Additionally, some crosswalks like the one near CVHS don’t even have stop signs/lights for cars, making pedestrians subject to car traffic. This is an explicit choice to prioritize cars over pedestrians.  Could this be why there have been several pedestrian/vehicle collisions there recently?

Finally, for a pedestrian to cross an intersection diagonally, he must cross two streets and wait through two lights. A car making a left turn has only to wait for one cycle of lights which might be green with no wait at all.

We need to make legal intersections so easy and convenient that walkers want to use them by default. Here are some ideas, although I am sure there are many other possibilities:

• Automate pedestrian lights, just like car lights, to reduce pedestrian wait time

• Add car stop signs/lights at crosswalks to give walkers same priority as cars

• Raise the crosswalks so they serve as a speed bump and therefore slow down cars. These were recently added in front of Ardenwood Elementary in Fremont.

• Paint the road with a brightly visible pattern and add brilliant flashing lights like the new crossings near Marshall Elementary.

• Install diagonal crosswalks like those in Oakland’s Chinatown to make intersections more efficient for pedestrians.

Let’s fix our transportation system to make walking more equitable and more practical as a mode of transportation so we can get more walkers out there.

Bruce Dughi, Castro Valley


Can’t Understand Why Ken Martin

‘Expressed Such Anger’


Mr. Martin, I do not understand why you expressed such anger with me in your May 21 Letter to the Editor. Perhaps it’s because I have a prior commitment and cannot attend your bocce ball tournament this year. It certainly doesn’t derive from my May 14 letter.

I did nothing to merit your accusations that my reading skills are inadequate. I did exactly and precisely what I said I would do: I explained the laws governing the voting process, which many seemed confused about. I was hoping that public discussion could then focus on just the merits of the tax.

While your May 21 letter stated “I fully understand the balloting process and its requirements,” you clearly didn’t. Your May 7 letter expressed confusion: “Aren’t the terms ‘elected’ and ‘appointed’ virtually mutually exclusive?” You incorrectly assumed that the Waste Management Authority Board Members’ names would “apparently appear on a ballot somewhere at some time. Should you see this entity on a ballot. . . .”

I explained how you would not see this entity on the ballot, and would only see one of the many member agencies’ appointed member’s names on the ballot.

Your May 7 letter also impugned our “Worst Sleazebag Penny-ante Politicians” with their “First sleazy move: sending out postcards. . . .” My May 14 letter served to educate you and exonerate the public officials’ otherwise evil actions by noting that officials did nothing more than adhere to voting law requirements.

I am sorry that you are offended. I have 30 years of experience in municipal management and finance. It is your choice as to whether you benefit from the expert advice I offered in what you termed my “irrelevant” letter.

Brian A. Foster, Castro Valley


VA Scandal: Says Many Members of

Congress Should Also Resign


Now that Veterans Affairs Secretary Shinseki has resigned, it is time for more people in to step aside in connection with the terrible scandal at the VA hospitals.

The next to go should be the members of Congress who have repeatedly voted against helping our vets the past four years by opposing funding for job training and other programs and benefits for warriors returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The mention of those two wars brings me to my next point. If there are any members of Congress still left who 10 or more years ago sided with the Bush administration to send our soldiers into senseless wars which cost billions of dollars and left thousands dead, then they should retire too. Their action only created more vets who just got neglected and mistreated once they returned home.

Either help the men and women who serve, or stop fighting other country’s battles.

David Shipp, Castro Valley


Coping with Global Warming

Requires a Proactive Attitude


Keeping California Green is an ongoing process. If we are waiting for someone else to take charge, it may be a long wait.

Does anybody really think that PG&E is going to encourage us to use the free energy that the sun provides? There are many things that we, as individuals, can do.

Solar is now available at a price less expensive than current PG&E rates. While it makes it much less expensive, one of the most important reasons is the environmental impact.

As homeowners in Castro Valley, we have decided to remove our lawn and have installed solar. The solar system is working very well and is providing us with all of the electricity that we need.

Do your homework on this one. It is still the Wild West out there when it comes to solar companies. Look here in your own town. You will find the best. Mandatory water rationing is assuredly part of our future. It certainly would be nice if the state of California considered giving tax incentives to those of us who are reducing our reliability on state resources.

The Federal government does provide a 30% tax credit for the installation of solar. EBMUD is providing a small rebate for lawn removal if it is replaced with native drought resistant plants.

There are a myriad of signs that global warming is here to stay. We should all be proactive rather than our usual course of being reactive.  While Governor Brown is spending a lot of time talking about it, he has done little to motivate individual conservation. However, that should not stop us all from doing our part to make our community an example of renewable energy without sacrificing comfort ability.

Trish DeSloover, Castro Valley


Join the March Against Influence of

Money on Government


Are you worried and concerned or maybe really sick and tired of the influence of money on our elected politicians? Around 80% of the American people across party lines, when asked, would like to see less of this corrupting influence on our political system.

Almost every significant issue from climate change and pollution, to continuation of starvation wages for our fellow workers, to the assault on public education and other social programs can be linked to corporate lobbying groups.

Well, right now there is an ongoing effort to change all this for good.  A group called 99Rise.org embarked on a 480-mile march on May 17 from Los Angeles to Sacramento. The March for Democracy’s goal is to raise awareness of the underlying problem our society faces and to demand that those we have elected to represent us start representing for the people’s needs. It is time to place the needs for the many above profit for the tiny few. And it is time to hold our politicians personally accountable for their actions in keeping the failing status quo.

99Rise.org is asking for help on all levels to make this on-going campaign a resounding and a lasting success.  And one that will change Sacramento and then Washington forever.  They can use help with finances and logistical help with media outreach, assistance to the marchers and to promote the massive planned rally on the capitol steps on Sunday June 22, 2014.

Many people from Castro Valley, Hayward and San Leandro will be helping and joining. Please join us and help us make sure that this is the beginning of our new democratic society that provides opportunity for all its citizens.

David Siegel, Castro Valley


Letters • 05-28-2014 | Print |  E-mail


Disappointed by Forum’s Page One Rodeo Caption


Reading the recent cover story on the Rowell Rodeo, I was greatly disappointed by the “Bucking broncos and bulls await their 15 seconds of fame” caption with the accompanying picture.

The only thing those animals are awaiting is a mechanical inflicting of pain in order to force them to perform unnatural actions for macabre entertainment.

To recast that senseless and unnecessary violence against animals in a cutesy light is to forsake truth for public relations puffery, and I would have thought better of the Castro Valley Forum than that.

Dale DeBakcsy, Castro Valley

Photo Shows Students’ Shortcuts at Crosswalk


In response to your front page article “Three CVHS Student Hit by Cars in a Single Week Last Month (The Forum, May 21), we were dismayed to hear of the recent student injuries and hope all will recover quickly.

We’d also like to point out that the attitude of many CVHS students is apparent by observing the photograph in the article. It shows that the two students are preparing to leave the crosswalk and “shortcut” to the other side of the street.

We live on Heyer Ave. less than a block from the school and often drive on Redwood Road during the time that student pedestrians are in the area. Many times, they are ignoring basic pedestrian rules and regulations while using their phones and other portable electronics devices.

They do not pay much attention to such controls as wait-walk signals and pedestrian crosswalks. Maybe the student body should have an orientation covering the various intersections in the school vicinity and how to conduct themselves to promote both driver and pedestrian safety.

The three injuries covered by the article didn’t mention whether the driver or the pedestrian was at fault. The implication was that the driver was responsible, but we believe that this information is important to solve the problem and prevent future events that hurt students.

Richard Rufer & Camille Minichino, Castro Valley

Discouraged by Drivers’ Behavior


I am discouraged by the behavior of drivers, not just in Castro Valley, but in general. It’s difficult enough to deal with people that drive too slow, or too fast, or the ones that refuse to use their blinkers and make random turns wherever and whenever they feel like it.

But recently I have been the victim of more serious offenses. First, I was the victim of a hit and run. However, this person ended up hitting someone else as he tried to flee the scene, and eventually stopped. This young man was seriously impaired. I hope his license has been taken away.

But, even more serious, my son and I narrowly escaped being hit in a crosswalk as we were walking to Chabot Elementary School. We had already stepped into the crosswalk, when this truck came down Parsons Avenue towards the stop sign and crosswalk at Christensen. The driver made eye contact with me and proceeded to blow through the stop sign.  It was appalling.

As we continued our walk, I warned another mom with her child to be careful, even in the crosswalk.  She said her mother was just hit in a crosswalk 2 weeks before!

I believe this letter comes to you at an opportune time, since last week you ran a story about other serious incidents at crosswalks. I urge drivers everywhere to pay attention, especially at crosswalks. You are not alone out there in the world.

I love my son, and there are mothers and fathers out there who love their children too. We don’t want to see them taken away from us, and we don’t want to be taken away from them.

How about a crosswalk and stop sign at the intersection of Parsons and Wilson Avenues? It’s a very hazardous spot. Maybe drivers will at least slow down. Who knows? Who’s with me?

Deb Maher, Castro Valley


‘Common Sense Should Prevail’


In response to the article regarding the students being hit by cars, the responsibility does not just lie with the drivers. These are young adults that should have learned at a early age to look both ways before crossing. Common sense should prevail.

We have driven as residents of C.V. for many years during school hours. We have seen students walk against the light, walk diagonally on Mable and Redwood ignoring crosswalks, texting, earbuds in ears and not paying attention to their surroundings.

Maybe the school needs to re-visit basic safety regulations and courtesy’s not only for the drivers, but students as well.

Renee Langon, Joyce Poulos, Joanne Parenti, Genny Maques, Sue Chauquette, Castro Valley


Students ‘Act Like They Own the Road’


I have owned a house across from the high school for 35 years and have witnessed so much on our block. I am sorry for the students who got hit by a car while “crossing the crosswalk.”

Well, I very seldom see the students use the crosswalk. They have jaywalked in front of me while I come down the street and act like they own the road. I see more students doing that then using the cross walks.

On Redwood Road and Mabel Ave. are two crosswalks with lights. The kids will hit the one on Redwood to go across the street but instead of walking in the crosswalk they diagonally walk across Redwood to the school side of Mabel, avoiding the other crosswalk.

One day, several kids were coming back from lunch on Santa Maria Ave. and Mabel. As I was driving down Mabel to stop at the stop sign on Santa Maria, several kids decided to jaywalk across in front of me and I had to slam on my brakes. They stared at me and acted like they owned the road.

So who’s fault is it when the illegally do that? And what if I couldn’t stop? The students have a responsibility also. So I don’t appreciate reading on page 5 “...Drivers need to pay attention to crossing signs, Watch for Pedestrians.” Like I said, very few use the crosswalks near the high school.

Judith Ancar, Castro Valley


‘Motorists Seem Immune from

Personal Responsibility’


Imagine the public outcry if last week’s headline read “Three CVHS Students Shot In A Single Week.”  Folks across town would demand increased gun control, more responsibility from gun owners, and prosecution of the perpetrator(s).

Sadly, last week’s headline did not involve guns, but something much more dangerous - motor vehicles.

Motorists seem immune from personal responsibility. A teenager who drives drunk in Burleon, Texas and kills four persons receives no jail time for the “offense.” Another kills a cyclist in Kirkland, Washington and is given a $42 ticket for an “unsafe lane change.”  The examples are endless. I am sure the motorists who attacked the kids are driving today.

How to fix this?  The only way to get vehicle operators to have proper regard for others (pedestrians and cyclists) would be to hold them to the same standard of accountability as anyone else using a tool that is potentially lethal to others.

If you hit someone and are at fault, the charge is assault with a lethal weapon and it (the vehicle) is confiscated until the charges are settled.  You don’t get to send the victims to the hospital and then drive away.

What else would help? We have 330+ sunny days a year here and 50% of our trips are four miles or less. So many of us could definitely model better behavior – such as showing our kids that you don’t have to operate America’s most dangerous lethal weapon as your primary form of transportation. Besides saving lives, we would also save tons of money, reduce pollution, congestion, and improve public health tremendously.

I see absolutely no chance of any of this happening. Well over 90% of our population are motorists, and they will never vote for any laws to hold themselves accountable for their actions.

Stacy Spink, Castro Valley


Mud-Slinging Scrapes Bottom of Barrel


Of course, I should have expected no less during mud-slinging season, but I thought the nasty mailers by Bob Weickowski and Mary Hayashi were scraping the bottom of the mud barrel – until I received the anti-Ellen-Corbett mailer from Rep. Eric Swalwell’s campaign.

According to Swalwell, while Corbett was in the State Senate, she (Gasp!) “Took a trip to Maui!”

Does his mailer allege that the trip was paid for by a lobbyist and that she later returned the favor? That she charged what was really a vacation to the taxpayers? Nope. It says she went to Maui. Period.

But wait. There’s more. According to Swalwell, Corbett also “Took a trip to India!” (Gasp, again!) And “Took a trip to Spain!” (I’m running out of gasps, here. I’m also running out of exclamation marks trying to keep up with Swalwell.)

I just took a trip myself, so I suppose I’m unsuited for public office. But if I could run and were elected, I would immediately sponsor legislation to levy a hefty fine against any political candidate who slings mud in any fashion (half truths, out-of-context quotes, baseless allegations, etc.) at his or her opponent.

Until that glorious day, however, I’m just a voter. But I’m a voter who counts every mudball against the hurler when it’s time to vote.

Steven C. Dimick, Castro Valley


Businesses Welcome Marriage Equality


What a wonderful time for marriage equality! Since the Supreme Court ruled in two historic marriage cases last summer (including our own Prop. 8), so much has changed for the better for gay families all across our great nation.

Recently our neighbor to the North – Oregon – made civil marriage legal for our LGBT friends and family members living there, followed by Pennsylvania the next day. Today about 40 percent of Americans live in states with marriage equality, and according to a recent poll, 59 percent of Americans support marriage rights for committed and loving gay and lesbian couples.

Unfortunately legally married gay couples in California become “unmarried” when they cross our other borders into Nevada or Arizona. Imagine a fun weekend in Tahoe with your spouse, except that when you get there your spouse is no longer legally married to you!

There is clearly much more work to be done to ensure that we live up to the “equal protection” portion of our Constitution.

Bringing it home, some even better news is that our local businesses realize that treating gay couples equally is indeed good business. We contacted all the CV florists, event planners, party stores, dress stores, bakers, rental venues, etc. and every single one said of course they wanted to help with our weddings now that Prop. 8 had been repealed.

A huge thank you to the Castro Valley businesses and community for being such a warm and welcoming place for everyone. Don’t forget that Castro Valley Pride is Saturday July 12, at Redwood and Heyer from 12 to 5. We’ll see you there!

Billy Bradford, Castro Valley Pride


A Booster for CV’s ‘Tallest Tower’


Jeff Null’s letter (“Well Yes, it Would Be Visible From All Over the Bay Area,” Letters, May 14) is a great example of the creativity and innovation that has made America great.

While most of us have been stuck in limited, small-town thinking the past many months, Jeff leads the way with his proposal to improve Castro Valley and establish its reputation as a design and architectural destination. I applaud his idea to put the world’s tallest tower on the site that is currently occupied by the old Daughtrey’s building.

Imagine the interest from around the world as well as the boost to the local economy that this massive building would bring!

I would also add that I think we should discuss the possibility of a pool on or near the rooftop. I want to be part of that discussion now instead of waiting too long into the design process when architects are much less likely to make changes.

To get the fundraising efforts started, I am willing to empty out the loose change jar that we’ve been filling the past year or so. I estimate that my contribution will be well north of $12 at this time. If we all chip in, and recruit  some corporate sponsors (Ice Creamery, etc?), I believe we’ll be well on our way.

Let’s be open-minded and creative today, like Jeff said. I agree with him: “...it could very well lead to a brighter tomorrow”!

Christiaan VandenHeuvel, Castro Valley


Boulevard’s Wrong-Way Benches


I’m sure you’ve received a multitude of letters concerning the benches in front of Certified Tires. I asked my neighbor, Sarah, whose finger seems to be on the pulse of Castro Valley, why the benches faced the building and not the Boulevard.

She had no answer. For a while the talk of the town was a cell tower on Lake Chabot Road and the Community Center. It had a particular shape, that combined with the upgrade of the Boulevard, we could expect a huge influx of tourists.

While discussing this, I had an epiphany: open a bed-and-breakfast to handle the overflow of tourists. Then, for some unknown reason, our landmark was mutilated. Now our merchants will be hurt, our motel rooms will not be filled with tired and weary travelers, not to mention Wally’s B&B.

There are many reasons why the benches should face the boulevard, so let’s find out why they are not.

Wally Klier, Castro Valley




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