August 2017 President’s Message by Cindy Towles

(Text of Speech – Cherryland Fire Station Grand Opening Celebration, more or less)

It’s a great day in Cherryland!

As president of CCA, but mostly as member of a family that has long owned property in Cherryland, I am excited to speak on this memorable occasion.
I remember as a child, with my mother, visiting a couple named the Johansens; their daughter Lois Gunderson was my mom’s lifelong friend since at least junior high school.   In the 1945 photo of the then All Volunteer Cherryland Fire Department in front of Vic Hubbard’s Garage on Meekland Avenue, Carrel Johansen is one of the men pictured.
In addition to all of the wonderful attributes mentioned by the previous speakers (such as seismically safe and enhance our response capabilities); Aisha Knowles said in a news article that this state-of-the-art facility will “increase our visibility and integration into the community.”
It is also beautiful… with the art murals, in which I found the medium fascinating: Glass Tiles known as “Tessera”.

detail of mosaic installation, by David Burke, at the new Cherryland Fire Station

detail of mosaic installation, by David Burke, at the new Cherryland Fire Station

Because of recent technological breakthroughs:  glass tiles being coated on the back which allowed pictures to be broken down into pixels and then printed on each individual tile by the Computer aided design (CAD) software which then instructs robots how to pick and place the tiles in the grid; bringing the ancient art of mosaic into the modern age.

In the Greek and Roman traditions, glass tiles, (or tessera hospitalis) were given out as tokens of mutual hospitality and friendship.

I hold up this token of friendship, which represents of the gesture of good will shown to us by Alameda County by making monies available to us for this Fire Station, the Community Center which is about to break ground, and the Meekland Streetscape/Sidewalks.

Roman gladiators were given a tile with the inscription “one whose valor has been proved beyond a doubt.”  To the Alameda County Fire Department, and all First Responders, I hold up this tile (or tessera gladiatorial) and thank you for this …

This tile tells the story of this Fire Station and even Cherryland.   Where tradition meet technological advances and progress.

On behalf of Cherryland and the Community association, I would like to express our gratitude and elation at the fulfillment of this dream.
Thank you.

This entry was posted on July 31, 2017.

July 2017 President’s Message by Cindy Towles

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

These words are extraordinary: every human being has “God-given” or, if you prefer, “natural” rights to live, be free, and pursue their happiness. So, in the Founders’ understanding, natural rights would include the right to life itself, the right to think for oneself, the right to self-defense, and the right to keep what one has worked honestly for, among others. The Founders knew that we need some protection in order to have the freedom to exercise those rights. Legal rights (such as the right to vote) are those that are acknowledged and protected by a given government. Governments were legitimate to the extent that they protected rights. Those that arbitrarily took them away possessed no moral authority. The Founders understood that even virtuous leaders, however, can succumb to the temptation to abuse the rights of others, so they designed a federal government that would have limited power, and whose branches would check one another.

Thomas Paine begins the pamphlet Common Sense with an observation that people tend to confuse government with society. According to Paine, society promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, while government is there only to protect life and property. Don’t get them twisted, folks. If all people acted morally, government would not be necessary; but since people are fallible, government is “a necessary evil” for the protection of life and property, and its success is to be judged by the extent to which it fulfills this role. If it fails to improve society or, worse, actively causes some of the same troubles that would result from anarchy, by Paine’s standards, it is far worse than if such behavior were to occur on its own; since the people create and support the government, and are therefore causing their own troubles. So, ultimately, freedom depends on citizens who care enough about preserving it to really evaluate the people who run for office, and on citizens having the wisdom, courage, and sense of justice necessary to act when they see government overstepping its bounds.

When the Founders wrote in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal,” they were aware of the differences that make people individuals—differences in appearance, personality, aptitude, skills, and character; that the government therefore must work to serve the common good, treating every citizen equally, regardless of agreeing with their beliefs, political or otherwise. They only exception, and only with due process of law, is when necessary to advance a compelling government interest, such as public safety, national security, or the protection of the rights of others.

Therefore, these rights apply not only to those mentioned in the Declaration, but to all: Rich and poor, Republican and Democrat, white and black, man and woman, Asian and Hispanic, liberal and conservative, gay and straight, Jew and Christian, Muslim and Hindu. Many of these groups, did not even exist in America in the colonial era. But, the Declaration’s intent is clear; that they too have “inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

This July 4th, as we watch fireworks and wave flags in celebration, may we also pause to reflect on our nation’s heritage. As the festivities end (generally about 2am here on Mission Blvd) and the last trails of smoke glide across the summer night sky, (especially now, at a time when much negativity dominates our public media) I will take a moment to thank God, and you can thank whoever you thank, for all that our freedom allows.

This entry was posted on July 1, 2017.

June 2017 President’s Message by Cindy Towles

Once Upon a Mattress.  I just had a memory of that old Broadway musical, starring Carol Burnett, and based on the Princess and the Pea by Hans Christian Andersen.

Maybe I just had Mattress on the Brain for the past month or two as we had Rodney Clara from the Mattress Recycling Council as our speaker for the April General Meeting, and I hosted a Mattress Recycling Dropoff on May 6th across from the former Banchero’s site.

Although the Mattress “Take-back” was a mild success, maybe 12 mattresses, I spoke to everyone who dropped one off and it seems that none were from my target market:   apartments in Cherryland.  So… I wasn’t too terribly surprised to see a bunch of discarded mattresses around the community this week.   What’s the deal?!?   End of the month and you can’t pay the rent, so time to move?   Can’t fit mattresses in the truck?  Heck, just dump ’em wherever you like!

I admit, discarded mattresses and furniture are my pet peeve.  It’s one of the things that got me started in community service a few years ago.   Before I let my hair grow.   I used to call the stretch of railroad track along western in back of Sunset High School the “Mattress Graveyard”.

Anyway, in the musical, the Queen wants to prove whether her prospective daughter-in-law is really a Princess or not; and that test is whether or not the Princess has the sensitivity to discern a pea underneath her mattress, causing her to not be able to fall asleep.  But the Queen ups the ante just a bit by placing the pea under TWENTY mattresses.   The chorus sings:

Quiet, Quiet
The queen insists on quiet
She’s ordered twenty mattresses
The softest and the best
And she’s threatened execution
If we dare disturb the rest
Of her very special guest
She’s ordered
Quiet, quiet, quiet!
I re-wrote the lyrics:
Blight, blight
Cindy can’t stand blight
They’ve discarded twenty mattresses
along the Western tracks
And she’s threatened execution
of those who leave them there
She’s pulling out her hair
She’s tired of
Blight, blight, blight!
Seriously, if you see a mattress or other furniture discarded, you can contact Alameda County Public Works at:
510-670-5500 (M-F 8AM – 5PM)
or by using the Mobile Citizen phone app.
ALSO!! The next One Day Mattress Collection Event will be hosted by Alameda County on Friday, July 14, 2017 at the Ashland REACH Youth Center.  More info to follow.
Spread the word!!!
We’ll round up these mattresses yet!   And I’ll try not to lose sleep over it …
This entry was posted on June 1, 2017.

May 2017 President’s Message by Cindy Towles

According to the U.S. Census Bureaus’ Estimates, this is the cultural breakdown of Cherryland:

Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 55.6%
White 18.1%
Black or African American 9.5%
Asian 9.2%
Other/More than one 7.6%
The United States has been traditionally called a melting pot because American history began with waves of immigrants, who became assimilated into American society.  The term “Melting Pot” is from Israel Zangwill’s 1908 play of the same name, which depicts the life of a Russian-Jewish immigrant whose entire family is killed because of their ethnic group. He writes a great symphony called “The Crucible” expressing his hope for a world in which all ethnicity has melted away.
In the UK, where immigrants have always been encouraged to maintain their traditions and their native language, they describe themselves as a “salad bowl”, with people of different cultures living in harmony, like the lettuce, tomatoes and carrots in a salad.
A 2004 survey of Chinese, Vietnamese and Mexican immigrants by National Public Radio and others shows that many came here with the hopes to return to their home land, but realize that, for their children to have opportunities to be successful in America, it is important to assimilate and learn the language. At the same time, they desire to preserve the culture of their homeland and pass on traditions and values to the generations of family members that follow.
The book Who Are We: The Challenges to American National Identity, compares American culture to a basic tomato soup with immigrants adding spices to the soup.  I like to think of Cherryland as being more of a casserole; soup is a little too homogenous to describe us.
Cherryland’s population is 55.6% Hispanic.  According to a 2012 survey by the George Barna group, Hispanics believe a strong traditional family is the building block for a healthy community.   I like that spice that they add to the Cherryland Casserole.  Savory and cozy, like cumin.  Heartwarming.
I am not sure what the 18.1% white is. I suspect white means the 19th-century immigrants from Europe who fled poor economic conditions and settled America, developed its infrastructure, and advanced its politics and culture.  Like my great-great-grandparents, the Borge da Silvas, who immigrated from the Azores Islands. I think the 18.1% add the salt to the recipe. Basic, but an essential nutrient; and you notice it when it’s missing.
Salt’s counterpart, the fragrant peppercorn, once prohibitively expensive and a global commodity, is supplied by the Asian population.  This enterprising people group earns 115-120% of what “whites” do.
The 9.5% Black/African-American population most likely immigrated here originally from the African diaspora. Spirituality was a significant part of African Americans’ ancestral culture, so “Grains of Paradise” will be the zesty flavor this vibrant people group adds to the Cherryland Casserole; like their enormous influence on music, art, literature, religion, cuisine, and American culture in general.
When we have a casserole, we expect that there will be different ingredients and that they will be mixed together. But what if you ordered casserole and got a pile of sauce on the right, spices on the left, and some vegetables on a separate plate? Or, worse yet, what if all the ingredients were put into a blender!
My recipe for Cherryland Casserole would be one where the ingredients would maintain their own distinct individuality and were lovingly mixed into equal proportions of rights and opportunities, into a unified dish.

With a generous portion of spices.

In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas
(“in necessary things unity; in uncertain things freedom;
in everything compassion”).
~ Marco Antonio de Dominis

This entry was posted on May 1, 2017.

April 2017 President’s Message by Cindy Towles

Last year, when Supervisor Miley instituted a cleanup day along the Mission Blvd-E. 14th Street corridor, it didn’t quite make it down to my block, so I went out into the median strip at the Grove Way light and hoed some weeds, at the crack of dawn, so I wouldn’t get run over.

I took notice of the lamp posts on the Grove Street bridge and was thinking that I didn’t remember the lights ever being turned on.  Fast forward to early morning March 13th of this year.   I noticed that the lights are on.  When did THIS happen?  I didn’t know how long the lights had been on the bridge; I suspected that they were not part of the original construction in 1910, so I did some research.  I didn’t find out when the lights were added, but I found some interesting facts, such as, that on an average day 3,500 cars pass over it.  And in 2011, some gal publicly repented in the Facebook group “You know you’re from HayWarD if…” for spray painting the bridge on Grove Way at Mission with Led Zeppelin symbols and graffiti in the late 70’s. Good thing she was sorry.   My Grandma had to look at that.

Speaking of Facebook, when I posted the pictures of the lights being on, my dear friend and CCA Board emeritus, Derry Silva, said that she, her late husband had painted that bridge years ago with Bob Campisi, Erica Campisi and Sherry Klepper.   I’m glad, because sometimes that little gateway to Cherryland gets forgotten next to the big one at Mission & Hampton or even Meekland Ave.

That fact and the lights being on reminds me of the lamppost in The Chronicles of Narnia.   That lamppost, which started as a piece of a bar that the sorceress had chucked at the Lion; and the land was so fertile, anything would grow in an instant if it was planted in the ground. Trees and flowers blossomed into life.

Kind of like this plot of land that used to be the Meek Orchards because it was such good ground, until they didn’t rest the land and sub-divided it for houses.   (BTW, the ground here is fertile again.   I know this because tomatoes have volunteered on my property line, near the sidewalk.)   This lamppost, (as our Grove Bridge lights) set in an unlikely location in a Waste place, marvelously displaces the dark with light near the portal between the land and the other realm.

“It will not go out of my mind that if we pass this post and lantern, either we shall find strange adventures or else some great changes of our fortunes.”

―Lucy Pevensie, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

May our lights remain ever lighted, and be symbolic of new life and great changes in our fortunes here in Cherryland.   And perhaps also of strange adventures.

This entry was posted on April 1, 2017.

March 2017 President’s Message by Cindy Towles

As I write my first President’s Message from my little house on the plot on Mission Boulevard that was originally a piece of what was “Meek Orchards Tract” purchased by my grandfather in the 1930s from the Bank of Haywards, I reflect on the many changes that have occurred over the years.

Even though my parents lived in the City of Hayward off of Winton, I stayed with my grandmother frequently and she would take me to Cherryland Park to play occasionally.   In the decades that followed, “progress” began to take its toll on our community and was particularly evident on the thoroughfare running in front of grandma’s house.

What began as the El Camino Real then the unpaved road for horses and buggies traveling from Niles to Oakland, became East 14th Street, then Mission Blvd and finally SR-185.  It reminded me of a line in a John Mellencamp song where the interstate runs through the man’s front yard.   Cherryland was no longer a destination but a blur as cars whizzed by.  The failure of the Ashland and Cherryland business district specific plan created in the 1990’s didn’t help.  Chain stores such as Long’s and Lucky left Creekside.   After my grandma died in the 80s, my parents eventually down-sized and moved into the house, and put up lattice on the windows as well as an extra gate to keep prostitution activities out of our driveway.   My colleagues on the CCA Board tell me that in the interior of the community, as the original owners passed away, single-family dwellings were torn down and replaced with tenements, spurring the creation of the “Cherryland Homeowner’s Association”.

When I took over the house in 2009, I ended up being the beneficiary of low-income assistance from the now-defunct Alameda County Redevelopment Agency to upgrade my home as well as a grant to paint it.   I opted to not put the lattice back on the windows, because I had began to see things improve; instead of prostitutes walking in front of the house, I was seeing moms with strollers, and I said “I am not going to live like this, not going to hide in my own house”, and subsequently received a postcard in the mail requesting public input for the Update of the Business District Specific Plan.   I showed up a meeting and began my journey in service to my community.

Since then, I have seen some wonderful things:  the halfway house across the street becoming a haircut place, Meekland Avenue getting repaved, community gardens, the street sweepers coming by every now and again, Eden night live, and developers interested in blighted lots at our major intersection.  I anticipate even more wonderful things.

When I spoke recently at a forum for potential retailers at Kitchen 1014 in Ashland, one of the attendees commented to me that my love for my community was evident.   I hope that it is evident to Cherryland as well.

This entry was posted on March 4, 2017.

THE NEW BOARD: The Real People behind the Scenes by Ingrid Moller

President: Cindy Towles

Cindy was born at Eden Hospital and re-planted in Cherryland in 1996 in the house her grandfather and great-grandfather built on Mission Blvd. Cindy has a big heart for Cherryland and is involved in many of its causes (Ashland/Cherryland Fam Fest 2015, Chamber of Commerce, Ashland/Cherryland Business District Specific Plan etc.). She works for a start-up company.

Vice President: Cindy Torres

Cindy has lived most of her life on Hampton Rd in Cherryland. She considers the Meek Estate her backyard and gives plenty of her time to good causes: The Hayward Historical Society, Cherryland Community Association and the Castro Valley Eden Area Chamber of Commerce. She runs the annual Easter Egg Hunt at the Meek Estate.

Treasurer: Hugh O’Donnell

Hugh lives on Grove Way and is our newsletter editor and all around go-to guy. He communicates with the county. He has been working for an aluminum company in Hayward for a long time. He also plays the drums in a band called: “Hugh and the Hefners”.  What is there not to like about Hugh?!

Secretary: Sandra Macias Archuleta

Sandra is a very talented young lady. She has a KCMC Channel 28 program “Ask Sandra” and works together with the Padres Unidos. Her calling is to be a community activist. Her husband Carlos shares her passions. They have two lovely children.

Parliamentarian: Mike Baratta

Mike worked for a boat building company in Richmond for many years and is now re- tired. He works very hard to help the unincorporated area out, especially Ashland and Cherryland and has very close connections to our Supervisor and the Deputy Sheriff’s Activities League. He is an all-around helpful man.

Member at large: Ruth Baratta

Ruth, Mike Baratta’s wife, has been on our board several times, serving as an excellent President. She worked as a manager for a large company.  Her mind is super sharp.

She has a passion for Cherryland.

Immediate Past President: Ingrid Moller

Ingrid has been a resident of Cherryland since 1980 and have been selling real estate here from 1983 until now. I am a founding member of the Cherryland Community Association together with my husband

Basil Sherlock, Member at Large: Retired professor from Cal State East Bay and former president.

This entry was posted on February 1, 2017.

President’s Message January 2017… A Call to Service

by Ingrid Moller
“No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a …part of the main…and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”
The year is quickly coming to a close as I am writing this. A New Year will be starting soon bringing in its wake new hope, new responsibilities, new events, pleasures and surprises—hopefully good ones.
In Cherryland, we are hoping for the new streetscape to begin on Meekland Ave, the new fire station on Meekland Ave to be completed, the ground to be broken for our Cherryland Community Center on Hampton Rd, and the start of the mixed use development at the corner of Mission Blvd and Hampton Rd. A lot of exciting things!
The Cherryland Community Association will have a new board of directors. Some of the previous directors will stay: Cindy Towles, Cindy Torres, Hugh O’Donnell, my husband Basil Sherlock and myself. Because some of these will be “at large” directors, we need more members to join us . At the last general meeting, a few folks volunteered to serve or at least give it a thought: David Koutney and Sandra Archuleta.
Sandra runs a TV show “Ask Sandra” for the Chabot Channel and is a community organizer. She is a member of the Padres Unidos, a Hispanic group of women borne out the Cherryland Elementary School’s PTA and now representing parts of our Hispanic community. Sandra would be a great liaison between the Padres and CCA. She is enthusiastic, smart and full of energy (besides being beautiful).
David Koutney owns several apartments in Cherryland which all show pride of ownership. He cares about his tenants and it shows. He also cares about Cherryland and has been a member for several years and keeps coming to our meetings. Blight is one of his and his wife’s Shirley major concerns.
At our next general meeting on January 10 we will vote for a new board. Please come and join us. Please think about serving on the board. We all have put in our time for years. No matter what age, walk of life, ethnicity you are, you are welcome as long as you live or own property in Cherryland.
Some think that our organization is now run by “Octogenarians” which they mean in a derogatory sense. I take it as a compliment. The democracy in Greece in ancient times was run by wise and old men. Seniors stood in high esteem because of their age and wisdom and experience. In our fast and changing times, that seems to have changed. Be that as it may, our octogenarian stock could use some youthful sparks. Do come and give a little of your time to make this wonderful Cherryland a beautiful, safe and just place to live. Our board meetings are always interesting and never boring. We have a lot of fun besides the work we do, not to mention the delicious cakes and cookies and occasional wine. Step into the footprints of our generation and take it further into the future. It is yours to shape!

This entry was posted on January 1, 2017.

December 2016 President’s Message by Ingrid Moller

When one returns from a trip, you often see your own home and neighborhood in a new and fresh way. This is what happened to me coming back from Europe this time. There had been several rain storms already and our neighborhood seemed to be greener than before. The hills were turning green after months of brownness. It is a change that I often look forward to after the long dry summer.

Some great changes have taken place also in our Cherryland neighborhood:  Meekland Ave has been resurfaced from Blossom Way to Lewelling Blvd., a much-needed improvement and probably in preparation for the opening of the new fire station on Meekland.

Down towards A Street around Poplar and Smalley Ave, EBMUD was busy lowering the main to prepare for the county’s Public Works coming in to start the new streetscape from A Street to Blossom Way. We have been waiting for this for a long time. Let’s hope it will happen next year.

New trees have been planted between Sunset Ave and A Street along Western Blvd right across from Hayward Adult School. Some rocks have been placed in between with oleander plants interspersed. It looks very pretty and prevents those big rig trucks from parking there. Actually, it has become a non parking zone. Of course now the trucks are all parking on Sunset Ave and along Laurel Ave. But at least the Western thoroughfare has much improved.

Another improvement happened under the radar screen along Western Blvd. A house near Hampton Rd that was known as a drug house and caused the neighbors great concern with frequent visits from the Sheriff and the zoning enforcement agency is now vacant and will be sold. A sigh of relief can be heard around the neighborhood.

Two developments slated for the corners of Hampton Rd and Mission Blvd and Mattox Rd and Mission (site of the Serra property) are inching forward. They will feature residential housing and commercial opportunities, and will bring those corners to life. They will fit into the new Specific business plan for Cherryland and Ashland. Hopefully the county will also improve the streetscape along those developments to give the area a much needed lift.

We might see the start of construction for the Cherryland Community Center in 2017 as well the start of a new Cherryland Elementary School on the campus of the Hayward Adult School. We are hoping for a K-8 for our kids.

A lot of things to be thankful for!!!

This entry was posted on December 1, 2016.

July 2016 President’s Message by Ingrid Moller

The sudden vacancy of the “Presidency” forced us to be creative about our next meetings, our speakers and our board configuration. What first felt like a problem, may as well be a good thing: Several board members rushed to the rescue and will be conducting our meetings and looking for interesting speakers.
You will be treated to a whole round of new leaders of the Cherryland Association Community. Basil Sherlock will convene the next July meeting, which features newly-re-elected Supervisor Nate Miley. Cindy Towles will be the one for August, facilitating about how we can better support bicycling in our community, Derry Silva will be at the helm in September. Her topic will be human trafficking.
October will feature Isaac Caselis and Hugh O’Donnell who will share the leadership for the meeting. November will see us celebrating Thanksgiving with our own homemade pies and in December, as usual, Nate Miley will give the State of Cherryland address.
Our community calendar is filling up as well: July 1st and 2nd launched Summer Nights Live at the corner of Hampton Rd and Mission Blvd, which will bring food and entertainment to our corner every Friday and Saturday until October. The Deputy Sheriff Activity’s League received a grant for approximately one million dollars to provide us with great healthy family fun, i.e. beach volley ball, wall climbing, food trucks, music, dancing etc. Come and bring your friends and family. Here is a chance to meet your neighbors!
On July 21, we will have a Castro Valley Eden Area Chamber Mixer at the Meek Estate Park in the Carriage House. Business folks from Castro Valley, Ashland, Cherryland and San Lorenzo are going to mingle there. For quite a few it will be the first time to set foot in our beautiful Meek Estate. The Cherryland Community Association will be hosting this event. We are looking forward to this.
The fire station on Meekland Ave is emerging. Walls are up and the framing is almost finished. We have been promised that Meekland Ave from A Street to Blossom Way will receive a new streetscape and the remainder from Blossom Way to Lewelling Blvd will receive a new cover. Let’s hope it all happens!

This entry was posted on July 8, 2016.