Letters • 08-27-2014 | Print |  E-mail


Pleased by Spitzer’s Service in AmeriCorps


I was so pleased to read the article on Ace Spitzer (CV Man Graduates AmeriCorps, Aug. 13). There are many ways to serve our country and humanity in general, and Mr. Spitzer’s term in AmeriCorps is a wonderful example of Castro Valley’s young adults stepping up to the plate.  

Thank you for your service Ace Spitzer!

Elisabeth Xiezopolski, Castro Valley


‘More People on Bikes – Everyone Benefits’


I thought there would be a lot of ignorant responses to Bruce Dughi’s letter (“Motorists on Somerset Ave. Might See Problems Down the Road”) on Aug. 6. Seems I was right.

Mr. Martin seems to thinks bicycles don’t pay their “fare share” of cost. The social costs of operating a vehicle (congestion, pollution, fatalities, free parking, etc) are far greater than what the motorists actually pay. The social costs of operating a bicycle are negative. Fact: Every mile pedaled saves taxpayers’ money. It is motorists, not bicyclists, who are the economic parasites.

Ms. Molini seems to think that failure to license cyclists is a major issue. Yes, idiots on bicycles can be annoying and police are free to issue citations as they see fit. Idiots in cars kill over 33,000, injure 2.3 million, and cost our country at least $240 billion annually. And her priority is licensing cyclists? Can you say “misguided”?

If I buy a playset or a trampoline, it’s my responsibility to provide a place for it. Same for your toys. If I buy a car, why should your tax dollars pay for a free place for me to park? Take responsibility for your personal property. Lose the sense of entitlement – we waste $50-$100 billion per year subsidizing free parking.

My child will walk and bike to high school next year because we choose to be part of the solution and not exacerbate our social problems. The least the public authorities could do is make it as safe as possible for her to do what is right.

Ms. Theodore is correct – we should not promote forms of transportation that are inherently destructive – economically, environmentally, and physically. Let’s do what will be positive for everyone and not what is convenient. Protected bike lines encourage cycling, and more people on bicycles means everybody benefits – even you.

Stacy Spink, Castro Valley


Wider Sidewalks Will Push Bikes into Traffic Lanes


As previously discussed in the Forum, Alameda County Public Works plans to add sidewalks to both sides of Somerset Avenue for the benefit of pedestrians (bicycles use the roadway) and to continue to allow parking on both sides of the road.

This will give us driving lanes considerably narrower than we have currently. Allowing for a minimum of three feet of separation from the parked cars, this will push bicycles well out into the traffic lane, rather than their current position on the right side where they can be easily passed.

While bicyclists oppose this new arrangement for safety reasons, the most frequent aggravation is going to be for motorists, who will have to follow behind bicyclists for long distances before they will be able to safely pass over the double yellow line.

This is going to frustrate everyone and eventually lead to accidents.

I am a recreational cyclist and sometimes commute by bicycle as well. I also often drive my car on Somerset. I am in favor of the plan suggested by Bruce Dhugi.

As a side note, I have lived in Castro Valley for 40 years, and I see no advantage to making disparaging remarks about the opinions of those who have lived here only a few years. Let ideas stand (or fall) on their own merit, not on the length of time the person suggesting them has lived in Castro Valley.

Susan Stanton, Castro Valley


Sell Edge of Your Yard for Wider Sidewalk?


As a home owner on Somerset, I would like to offer a more practical solution for Somerset Avenue.

Cars must be parked on both sides, so how about widening the sidewalks by buying one foot of front yard from every home owner on Somerset? We all could use the money, and have less lawn to maintain, and the streets would remain the same width.

David Goodson, Castro Valley


Property Values Rise with Bike Lanes


Bike lanes make Castro Valley more livable, therefore more desirable. Real estate prices will increase even for those who lose government parking.

One study in New York shows rents along the re-configured Times Square pedestrian and bicycle paths increased 71% in 2010, the greatest rise in the city. In Portland, where 9% of downtown workers bike to work, the city surveyed recent transplants to the city who bike in 2009, and 62% of respondents said the city’s bike friendliness was a factor in their decision to move there.

Bike lanes are good for business. In a study of Toronto merchants, patrons arriving by foot and bicycle visit the most often and spend the most money per month. Traveling by bike encourages more frequent stops than a car.

To increase business in Castro Valley, additional patrons need to arrive on foot or by bike, as streets and parking are already full. Bicycles make a great choice since they are small and cover a significant geographical area of about 5-7 mile radius.

If Starbucks, Valley Java, Knudsen’s, Peet’s Coffee, Pete’s Hardware, Safeway, etc. want more people to buy more things, then they may want more bikes and pedestrians. The only way to encourage more bicycles is to create safe cycling. Both drivers and cyclists feel safest with protected bike lanes.

Let’s make Castro Valley a place where everybody wants to live. Let’s connect our great schools with safe walking and biking. Let’s add protected bike lanes along Somerset even if it removes some government parking. Everyone will benefit from a more livable Castro Valley, including those along Somerset.

Bruce Dughi, Castro Valley

Letters • 08-20-2014 | Print |  E-mail


New Stadiums Putting Baseball

Out-of-Reach for the Average Fan


The NFL has led the way in making games out of reach for average people. I have to see this happening more and more in baseball.

If the A’s ever build a precious little bandbox like the Giants, they will become equally elitist.

Another thing I hate? The Cespedes trade. They trade away one of their best sluggers for their future for a carpetbagger pitcher who will be gone next year. If they don’t at least make it to the World Series, it will be a failure.

Nothing against Lester, but this seems too much all-or-nothing.

Candlestick may have been a homely old park, though I liked the original configuration before they enclosed it. At least people like us could go there whenever we wanted, pretty much.

AT&T is picturesque, but expensive and elitist.

Baseball is the only major sport that has remained somewhat affordable and accessible – well, at least in Oakland. Wait until Wolff builds his 32,000-seat bandbox and all the seats go to season ticket holders – the well-to-do and techno-twits, as in San Francisco.

Also, the A’s pitching was really strong, but their offense is inconsistent, to put it charitably. And for all the people saying Lester had such a great debut, I say baloney. I heard he will be back with the Red Sox next season. Along with Cespedes. I think this trade and the disastrous trades for Jim Johnson and Jason Hammel, Billy Beane is losing credibility.

If there is no World Series championship, Beane might have to look for a job.

Gil “Lucky” Ludtke, Castro Valley


Golden Gate Bridge Engineers a

Sharp Contrast to Today’s Caltrans


Where were engineers like Joseph Strauss, the chief engineer of the Golden Gate Bridge, when we needed them for the recent design, build, and inspection of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge?

Mr. Strauss had impeccable experience and success designing and building bridges throughout the U.S. What were the credentials and experience of the Caltrans managers of the Bay Bridge fiasco?

Mr. Strauss graduated from the University of Cincinnati. I also – a number of years later of course – with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. I experienced a very comprehensive and strict engineering curriculum, with labs in design and prototyping to develop teamwork and proof of design success, which I applied to my post graduate work assignments.

So I do not understand how the litany of problems uncovered during the Bay Bridge work came about, namely, cracked steel rods that anchor the main section of the eastern span, flawed welds causing roadway cracks, main cable rods off-center, corrosion and rust in critical areas, flaking paint, questionable test results, and now concern for the quality of the steel in the thousands of screws and rods.

Also why were nine engineers reassigned or terminated after fore warning managers of likely problems?

We’ll probably not know the full list of problems until there is a 6.9 magnitude earthquake within 60 miles of the Bay Bridge, e.g., Loma Prieta. Meanwhile I don’t notice anyone hesitating to walk or drive across Mr. Strauss’ 77-year-old Golden Gate Bridge. It has already passed the Loma Prieta test.

So Caltrans, who will be the chief engineer on your next major project?

Christian Burgasser, Castro Valley


Time to Speak Up About Traffic,

Bicycles, Streets and Priorities


For more than 18 years I’ve been a resident on Anita Ave. in Castro Valley. I read the Forum weekly and witness the numerous arguments and disputes over everything from the Redwood Road Sign to the Daughtrey building and the cell phone tower of Lake Chabot Road.

I think it’s time I finally speak up.

Widening the sidewalks on Somerset for bicyclists? Every weekend I drive Somerset. Just before 10 a.m. this past Sunday, Aug. 10, I’m traveling toward Redwood Road at the speed limit when I notice 7 or 8 adult bicyclists heading in the same direction, riding 3 people side-by-side, in full “bicycling regalia” and totally blocking the lane.

It left me no choice but to illegally cross over the double yellow line and pass around them. After passing, I glanced back in my rear view mirror and they were all laughing about it like a bunch of lawless kids.

How is widening the sidewalks and taking parking away going to solve the problem? There’s an “ongoing battle” between cars and bicycles, not just on Somerset, but in Castro Valley in general. Something needs to be done!

Castro Valley has been a small, quaint town for most of its existence. Now, others have moved in, wanting to make it their community at all costs. So now what – bar cars totally and give the roads to bicyclists? It seems to me this is where things are heading if bicyclists begin making all the decisions for the community.

I’d also like to address the problems the so-called beautification of the Boulevard has created. Notice it ended at Anita Ave., a street with patches and potholes that has been neglected by the county for many years – the only street without sidewalks that connects the Blvd. to Somerset.

There are at least three schools whose students use Anita Ave. every day and yet there’s not even a badly-needed stop sign or light at the corner of Somerset and Anita!

When you’re waiting to turn onto Somerset from Anita, and cars are parked on Somerset, a dangerous blind spot is created that motorists have to deal with every day.

All this while the county spends millions “beautifying” the Boulevard with landscaping that looks like dead weeds, and designer “artist inspired” seating spaces that cost $6,000-plus each.

It’s about time the real problems in this community are addressed. People need to stop worrying about meaningless problems like “where to ride bicycles” and start dealing with reality.

Mike Drake, Castro Valley


Without Sidewalks, Somerset Ave.

Difficult for Pedestrians, Drivers


Somerset Ave. in Castro Valley has long been somewhat difficult to drive along. Not at all times, however, only on school days. Student foot traffic is a small portion of the problem. Most of the avenue is not paved from side to side. That is, no sidewalks!

Those of us who drive in the area have seen cars parked on what might be called “sidewalks.” Those that park in this way do not leave much room for pedestrians. Pedestrians are forced to walk on the street, as are mothers with strollers. It is most unsafe for any person to do so.

I do believe that those portions of Somerset should be repaved and have gutter and sidewalks installed. Depriving home owners/renters, from parking on their side is not a good idea at all. I agree that the sidewalks will be somewhat narrow, but a lot safer.

Dick Purdee, Castro Valley

Impound Bikes, Cars, Trucks of

Those Who Run Stop Signs?


Some letters express astonishment as to why bicycles are allowed on the road at all because various sightings have them running stop signs.  I can’t help but agree that no vehicle should ever run a stop sign.

Perhaps something could be done about those miscreants who blatantly run stop signs like impounding their bicycles, motorcycles, cars, trucks or whatever for a month.

It seems like a pretty big  problem to me because as I travel about Castro Valley seldom do I see anyone stop for a right turn at a stop sign.  From my observations only about 20 percent of automobile drivers actually do stop on a right turn. The rest of them breeze right on through like the sign wasn’t even there.

So if these lawbreakers had their vehicles impounded for a month then the rest of us could enjoy these summer days to walk (or, shhh!, ride our bicycles) on Castro Valley streets, safe from those cellphone texting, crazed drivers whizzing thru their right hand turns.

Mark Longton, Castro Valley

Supports Adding Bicycle Lanes Along Somerset


I would like to voice my heartfelt support for introducing bicycle lanes and reducing parking along one side of Somerset Ave. Bruce Dughi’s proposal for this busy street is well conceived and will benefit our community in countless ways.

I also wish to thank Dot Theodore for her thoughtful response outlining the problems that this street currently poses for people who would like to use forms of transportation other than cars. Like Dot’s daughter, my daughters are also afraid to ride down Somerset on their bicycles.

Riding on the sidewalk is dangerous as well – both to the rider and to pedestrians. Were Somerset to have bicycle lanes, we and many other families would be encouraged to bike to school instead of drive. Aside from the health benefits of walking and cycling and the aesthetic benefits of fewer parked cars on the road, encouraging residents to step out of their cars will help bring the community together.

We will have more chats alongside the street, get to know our neighbors, and be healthier and safer for it.  I think that is worth paying the small price of having to park across the street.

Erin DeBakcsy, Castro Valley


Says Bicycle Critic ‘Dehumanizes

Broad Swath of Society’


What a pity some react negatively to people who do anything differently from them.

Judi Molini’s (“If Bicyclists are So Unhappy with Our Streets, Find Somewhere Else to Ride,” Letters, Aug. 13) misstatements about bicyclists, in particular, seem aimed at dehumanizing this broad swath of society.

The first misstatement to clear up is her claim that cyclist’s don’t pay taxes, the fact is, everyone pays into the “General Fund” that paves and maintains our roads, and while cars cause 6.5 cents of damage per mile, they actually only pay about 2.4 cents in taxes and fees.

Cyclists, on the other hand, only account for .02 cents per mile. Yet Molini’s anger is aimed at dehumanizing bicyclists even though they are usually regular people like my wife and me who sometimes cycle to church on Somerset, particularly during OLG’s Fall Festival (so others can park).

Ms. Molini, how can I get to church, if you get your way? Speaking of parking, how many times have you had to circle the Village parking lot to find a spot? Wouldn’t we all save a lot of time if more people walked or took bikes? Another misstatement is that she has never seen a cyclist stop at a stop sign on three different roads. Hog wash.

I do agree that cyclist shouldn’t be above the law, and many of us ride accordingly. Law enforcement agents should ticket many more cyclists for genuine violations than they already do, and this is the official position of the California Association of Bicycling Organizations.

I know many cyclists, and they come from every stripe of society. One owns much of this town, some are contractors, others scientists, many go to church, but obviously most bicyclists are just kids out having a good time. Such character assassination is absurd.

Karl Hodges, Castro Valley


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








Weekly specialty items listings, garage sales, and much more!


Current Ads


If you would like to place a Classified Ad, call Patrick at 510-614-1558.

Biz Spotlight

Tell us about your local business, events, and special offerings. Where you make the news!


Submission form

Real Estate

Get the latest in housing news and services delivered to you in full color PDF.


Browse this weeks gallery