Bus blues

My editor posted the BART horror story below. I don’t think he’s going to get over that ticket for weeks, so cold-calling PR flacks beware: Don’t dial up The Argus, at least until Valentine’s Day.

Around Fremont, Rob’s frustration might only be matched by residents of the California Terrace neighborhood, near the intersection of Mission Boulevard and Gurdwara Avenue.

Many of them have been mad for months that AC Transit re-routed Route 99 through their neighborhood at the request of the nearby Sikh Temple, which wanted better bus service for its seniors.

It might seem harmless, but residents say the buses pose a major danger on their narrow streets and that the route change smacked of favoritism toward the politically-active Temple.

The dispute seems to have gotten so intense that one resident said neighbors have asked for a police presence when they have to go inside the temple (their assigned polling place) to vote on Tuesday. Another person wrote us a letter accusing the city’s Senior Commission of pandering to Sikhs when they held one of its meetings at the temple.

Meanwhile, a Sikh leader had accused neighbors of purposely trying to back a car into an AC Transit bus to highlight the perceived danger.

Amid the ruckus, AC Transit is formulating a new compromise. Instead of running 27 buses down the street, its only going to run 14. Southbound buses won’t enter the neighborhood, but from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. northbound buses will stop right outside the Sikh Temple, AC Transit spokesman Clarence Johnson said.

Johnson didn’t know off-hand of any other religious institution that gets front-door bus service.

He described the latest service change, which is scheduled for March, as an attempt “to appease the concerns of everybody in the community.”

As for that Senior Commission meeting, the Sikh Temple and the city were both proud of it. I even wrote a brief in the paper at the temple’s request. Here’s a picture from the meeting that we didn’t have space to run:


Ticket to whine

At the end of a soggy, frustrating day, there’s nothing quite like arriving back at your car in the Fremont BART parking lot to find a $25 parking citation – after you paid the parking fee.

I followed the directions on the sign: 1) Park in any numbered stall in the Daily Parking area of the lot. 2) Remember your stall number. 3) Go to the Parking Validation/AddFare machine inside the station and enter your stall number. 4) Pay the fee using cash or a BART blue ticket. 5) Retrieve your receipt.

Apparently, they forgot to note the all-important No. 6: “None of the above matters if a BART cop decides to come along and make stuff up.”

The officer cleverly managed to observe my vehicle in the parking stall at 11:10 a.m., a neat trick since it was sitting in the newsroom parking lot at the time. I didn’t actually arrive at BART until 11:35, at which point I spent five minutes driving around in circles looking for a spot (a blog for another time), finally finding one closer to Mission Peak than the BART station.

 I paid the $1 fee at 11:46 a.m., 13 minutes before Officer Make Believe wrote his ticket. Oh, and I have a receipt with a time stamp.

Doesn’t matter. According to the hapless troll who answered the phone at the citation processing center, I can either cough up the $25 or write them a letter explaining why they should believe my, you know, provable truth, over Officer Wrong A Lot’s word. Want to guess what side they’ll come down on?

Bet I’m not alone. Anyone else out there got a BART horror story?


Free t-shirts?

I don’t know if they’ll have any neon signs, but Obama fans have scheduled a rally at the corner of Fremont Boulevard and Mowry Avenue tonight at 8:30 p.m. Not sure why they’re doing this in darkness, but they plan to be out there for 75 minutes with t-shirts to hand out. I guess you can always bleach them if Obama isn’t your man.


My Voice, MyVote


If it were up to Fremont students at Kennedy High, November’s presidential race would have Democratic Sen. Barack Obama going mano e mano with Republican Sen. John McCain.

Irvington High students, on the other hand, would pit Obama against Congressman Ron Paul.

Results from the statewide high school mock presidential primary election, called MyVote California, continue to trickle in. So far, only 250 of the 450 participating schools have reported. As it stands, Obama has a sizable lead over the other Democratic front-runner, Hillary Clinton (55.6 percent to 35.6 percent).

In the GOP race, McCain has a nearly 7-point lead over former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (26.9 percent to 20.1 percent). Trailing in third is former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whom the Associated Press has reported plans to bow out of the race.

Mission San Jose High is the only participating Tri-City school whose results aren’t in.

Students also voted on three fake ballot measures regarding vehicle registration fees, whether every eligible citizen should be required to vote, and if cyber-bullying should be protected under the Freedom of Speech Act. Keep checking the Secretary of State’s Web site for updates.


Baby quake doesn’t quite rattle area

A 2.0 earthquake occurred at 9:43 p.m. Monday night in Niles Canyon, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The “microearthquake” likely was too gentle for most Tri-City area residents to notice.

Do you think you felt the baby rattler? If so, let us know by commenting here.

An interactive map that shows Bay Area fault lines and recent shakers can be viewed on the USGS Web site. In Northern California, data for the map is collected by the USGS in Menlo Park and by UC Berkeley.

A topographic map that shows a more precise location for the quakes can be created by clicking a link toward the bottom of the page.

Monday’s modest quake appears to have occurred along the Hayward Fault.


Give peace a chance


(Above) About 200 to 300 teachers, parents and community members greet New Haven students with peace messages as the youngsters leave school in this Jan. 18 photo.

“Safety” and “anti-violence” are the buzz words these days in Union City, following the Dec. 21 shooting death of  14-year-old Vernon Eddins outside Barnard-White Middle School. 

The incident has galvanized the community: There was the Jan. 7 forum called by the Youth Violence Prevention Coalition, the Jan. 18 “greet the students” event organized by the teachers union, and the series of New Haven school site council meetings to discuss student safety and campus security. (The last site council meeting will be tomorrow, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Pioneer Elementary.)

Last, but not least, there’s tonight’s City Council meeting, where the Youth Violence Prevention Coalition will present a proposal for cracking down on violence and providing healthy activities for youths. The meeting will be preceded by a peace march from James Logan High to the Ruggieri Senior Center.

You can read more about tonight’s events in tomorrow’s paper.


Kinder 101


Maricella, 4, and mom Davina Sanchez (right) read a story as program specialist Donna Lindsay tries to calm Nathaniel Cabanag, 4, on the first day of school.

For children who were too young to start school last fall, the New Haven school district on Monday began offering a midyear kindergarten program to prepare the 4- and 5-year-olds for kindergarten next September. Though there were some tears and restlessness, all in all, the first day went smoothly, according to parents and staff.

 “I had kids crying because they didn’t want to leave their moms (in the morning), then by the end, they were like, `No, go away!'” teacher Nicole Souza said.

Maricella Sanchez, the girl in the above photo, told me she made two friends the first day of school, and her fave recess activities involve the seesaw and swing.

Another kid, 5-year-old T.J. Feurstock, got excited talking about his day:  “I like lunch time. I ate all of my sandwich,” he proudly reported.

Three students who were enrolled in the program were no-shows on Monday. But the district won’t have to worry about filling those seats if the students decide not to participate. There’s still a waiting list of about 40 pupils, according to student services Executive Director Kathy Moniz.


Go back to green

We ran this picture in black and white Sunday from the A’s fanfest:  as4.jpg

What you couldn’t see in the paper was that they’re wearing black jerseys, which the A’s are going to sport for several home games this season.
I don’t blame the A’s for going into rebuilding mode, but even if they’re going to play ugly this year, they shouldn’t look ugly doing it.
The team is celebrating its 40th anniversary in the East Bay (formerly known as Oakland) so why pick a color that has no connection to its history here or anywhere else for that matter? 
If they really need an alternative jersey to boost apparel sales, why not hearken back, in spirit, at least, to those garish but great gold uniforms with “A’s” on the left chest? Instead, it seems, they’re channeling the not-so-storied tradition of the Colorado Rockies



scream.jpgI made a really bad mistake on my Sunday story. For those of you wondering where the heck Dry Creek Road is, well it exists only in my mentally blocked brain. The street where the 15-year-old was killed and where the city is planning to reduce speeds is DEEP CREEK ROAD.

Sorry about that.