Voicing support for a new Hayward main library is great, but are advocates willing to work for a bond measure to pay for it?
That's the question Councilman Marvin Peixoto had for the dozens of library supporters who filled the Hayward council chamber Tuesday.
Council members were enthusiastic about plans for a new three-story library at C Street and Mission Boulevard, across the street from the current building, which opened in 1951. But how to pay for it is a big question.
While the city might be able to secure grants to cover portions of the project, such as solar panels or a digital learning center, it still would have to come up with most of the money. The new building would cost $60 million, and the city only has $10 million allocated for the project.
No decisions were made at Tuesday's work session, and staff members will come back before the council this fall on more detailed designs and funding proposals. The city needs to gauge what the community wants, Mayor Michael Sweeney said.
"We don't have $50 million laying around," he said.
Several council members said they would support a bond measure, but it would take work to pass.
"There are people in favor of something, and then there are people willing to do the hard work and pound the streets and do the tough work to get this bond measure passed," Peixoto said. "I hope the people I saw here tonight are willing to do the hard work."
Oakland prevails over Measure Y worker
Oakland has fended off a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by a favorite of former Mayor Ron Dellums, who was facing financial ruin when he parlayed a volunteer role in one of Dellums' citizen task forces into a six-figure salary coordinating Oakland's signature public safety initiative Measure Y.
Jeffrey Baker filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the city saying he was let go in 2011 because he pursued claims that the police and fire departments were violating the measure's strict spending prohibitions. But in a ruling last month, Superior Court Judge Brenda Harbin-Forte resolved the case by denying money for Baker. The City Council had eliminated Baker's position as a cost-cutting measure.
The city racked up slightly more than $100,000 in legal bills defending the suit.
The case raised questions about city hiring practices for key jobs that aren't subject to civil service laws. Oakland had no résumé, job application or letters of recommendation on file for Baker, who couldn't pay a $3 million judicial penalty for looting his dying aunt's estate and had struggled for years to find steady work before landing the Measure Y job.
San Lorenzo firehouse gets a face-lift
San Lorenzo's fire station will get its first fresh coat of paint in about 15 years this month, compliments of the San Lorenzo Village Homes Association.
The home association owns the building, just 85 feet away from its offices, and leases it to the Alameda County Fire Department which operates Station 22.
On Tuesday, association board members picked Oakland contractor MB Jessee for the job that will cost $6,350 for the exterior, and $8,626 for the interior. Fire officials will pick the colors.
"We are being good landlords, and we have been doing repairs to the firehouse," said association administrator Susan Kleebauer. The HVAC system and a leaky gas line was also fixed in the past month, she said.
The station's lease was extended for two years, effective July 1. Plans to rebuild the station are on hold until the county can find funding.