Supervisor Valle Seeks to Improve Tennyson Corridor

Joseph Geha, The Pioneer

Chase Thomas
Politics Editor
August 9, 2012

The Alameda County Supervisor representing District 2, Richard Valle, wants to build a “multi-purpose education and training facility” on Tennyson street in south Hayward as part of a long term Tennyson corridor improvement project, Valle told The Pioneer in an exclusive interview last week.

“The idea is to leverage the political ability of District 2 to bring together a coalition of people to create some real change in that area and to build a bricks and mortar educational, medical, and vocational training for youth,” said Valle.

Bisected by Interstate 880, Tennyson road runs east to west between Mission Boulevard and Industrial Boulevard in south Hayward and is comprised of lower income African-American, Latino and Asian-American families, according to Valle. Valle said the corridor has stagnated over the last 20 years, leaving its minority-owned small businesses to struggle, many of its citizens unable to afford healthcare and its children without proper education.

“I’ve watched that neighborhood – because I’ve lived in south county for over five decades – and the fact that District 2 for the past 20 plus years hasn’t made much of an impact in that corridor to me screams for something to be done,” said Valle. “More and more children in that corridor have asthma. More and more children in that corridor are not receiving the health benefits that they should, and the education that they should or that they’re entitled to. We can’t continue to lose generations of kids, we have to step up and do something.”

The answer, according to Valle, is to build a “multi-purpose education and training” center that includes a medical facility, educational facility (including vocational training), and a child-care center. Valle hopes such a center could help unify the local citizens and help raise the average level of education.

“The key is starting with early generations to raise the education level and raise the standard of education, which will then raise the standard of living across the board for people,” said Valle. “Education is the key to a good future, regardless of the economy.”

Although the education and training center is only in the early planning stage of development, Valle said he has already reached out to some leaders in the community about working together on the project.

A similar project – the Cypress Mandela Training Center in Oakland – provides a 16 week pre-apprenticeship program through the Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD) of Alameda County to help prepare citizens for jobs in the construction industry.

Andreas Cluver, secretary and treasurer for the BCTD, said the union is looking into options for expanding it’s current vocational training and apprenticeship programs in Oakland or providing a sister program for the Tennyson corridor.

“A lot of apprenticeships can start out at 15 to 16 dollars an hour with full pension and benefits,” said Cluver. “So, it’s not just a job, these are career opportunities that you’re giving to people who perhaps would not have had that opportunity otherwise.”

Valle said the center could be a reality in a soon as five years if funding from federal grants can be secured along with the support of the community.

“We will reduce crime, increase the education level of the kids, reduce recidivism,” said Valle. “We will reduce the dropout rate. We will reduce teen pregnancies. We’ll increase income and revitalize the neighborhood. We’ll stimulate the economy. All of those things are outcomes we are looking for.”

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