One’s not enough

Fremont won’t be getting a second Trader Joe’s anytime soon,  but Applebee’s is another matter. The all-American chain restaurant opened a second Fremont eatery Friday in Pacific Commons. Mayor Wasserman even mentioned it in his State of the City address Monday.

For those keeping score, Fremont now has double the number of Applebee’s as Newark and Union City, although Newark has the most Applebee’s booths per resident.



Here’s a post from www.thetruthaboutcars.com regarding NUMMI possibly no longer producing the Toyota Tacoma. Yes, he does misspell “Fremont.” I’ll contact NUMMI to see what they say.

NUMMI RIP? Toyota Considers Dumping UAW Plant

By Frank Williams
July 3, 2007 – 16,838 Views
07_tacomaacab2.jpgAccording to the now-infamous Georgetown, Kentucky memo, ToMoCo’s brass are concerned that their workers’ wages are growing faster than the company’s profits. To rectify this situation, Toyota’s newest plants will pay workers based on local manufacturing wages– not United Auto Workers (UAW) scale. Naturally, the UAW is using this as flamebait to organize Toyota’s stateside operations, starting with Georgetown. Toyota’s launched its next salvo in this ongoing war of wages: they’re contemplating pulling Tacoma production from NUMMI.

GM and Toyota formed NUMMI (New United Motor Manufacturing Inc.) in 1984. The Fremont, California facility was Toyota’s first foray into American manufacturing and GM’s chance to learn about Toyota’s take on lean manufacturing. The 380-acre NUMMI facility currently cranks-out approximately 250k cars (Toyota Corolla, Pontiac Vibe) and 170k trucks (Toyota Tacoma) per year.

The NUMMI plant employs around 5440 “team members.” Some 4550 of these employees also play for the UAW. This makes NUMMI the only Toyota plant using UAW labor and one of the highest-labor-cost manufacturing facilities in the entire American automotive industry.

Some NUMMI workers earn more than $32 per hour, plus benefits. Combine this compensation with the joint venture’s location– a high-cost area away from Toyota’s major suppliers– and it’s no wonder the factory’s drawn negative attention from its Tokyo taskmasters.

In a prepared statement, NUMMI officials recently declared that the plant must do more to improve its “competitiveness” and stated it would only stay in business “only if it is able to do so.” That’s management-speak for “if we can’t get labor costs under control we’re abandoning this turkey.”

Moving Tacoma production from Freemont to a lower-cost production facility does not pose insurmountable difficulties. Toyota’s Tijuana plant already makes the beds for all Tacomas, along with small quantities of complete trucks (34K in ’06). For the money saved in labor costs, the world’s largest automobile manufacturer could expand their Mexican production facility to accommodate increased Tacoma production.

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Splitting the baby

There’s something a little strange about this park sign.

It’s missing a wooden plank, and there’s no text following the slash.

Not too long ago, the sign read “Old Alvarado/Cesar Chavez Park,” but a Union City founding father who sold the city some of the park land asked that Chavez’s name be removed. Of course that elicited an angry reaction from Hispanic leaders, who had fought to get Chavez’s name added to the park a decade ago.

So rather than have the two sides duke it out, the city semantically split the park in two. This area near the gazebo, where the Saturday Farmer’s Market is held, is once again Old Alvarado Park, and the adjacent grass field is Cesar Chavez Park.

No one’s complaining, at least not to us, and now Union City can boast that it’s the only place around where you can stand in two parks at the same time.


Back to school

Some Mission San Jose High parents may be asking themselves if it’s safe to send their children to school on Monday, when students return from spring break.

Campus safety became an issue after a Mission teacher received a threatening letter on March 10, in which the anonymous letter writer referenced last year’s massive shooting at Virginia Tech.

I called Fremont police today for an update on the investigation and to inquire if there would be extra patrols around MSJHS next week, as there were in the days following the letter’s arrival.

The department’s spokesman, Detective Bill Veteran, said there was nothing new to report. But he reiterated that the police department is taking the letter “very seriously” and that “an additional school resource officer will be making appearances throughout the day” on Monday.

I also asked school board President Ivy Wu if she felt comfortable sending her daughter to MSJHS. In the days immediately after the community was told about the letter – when some parents kept their children home – Wu said she believed the campus was safe. Today, she told me that she tries to teach her children not to live in fear.

“There are risks in life anytime, anywhere. You walk on the street, there could be a car accident. … We have to live above our fears,” she said.


Extra, Extra

This Sunday, The Argus is printing the first story in a four-part investigative series about the clergy sexual misconduct in the Oakland Diocese. Rob Dennis, our former city editor, spent a lot of nights and weekends working on this along with several other Argus reporters, who no longer work for the company. It should be interesting, especially the fourth story, which I wrote.


Hi-tech company opens Fremont office

Costar.com is reporting that Occam Networks, which telecommunications products, has leased 36,000 square feet of space with nine loading at the Gateway Corporate Center in Fremont.

Fremont has a huge glut of vacant industrial space, and while Occam’s arrival is just a drop in the bucket, it’s a nice addition for the city, said Daren Fields, Fremont’s economic development director.



I got this email about Karts-n-Golf from a serviceman stationed overseas. To my knowledge, he’s the only person to write the paper about the place being forced to close. Getting past this fellow’s potshots at his hometown, does anyone else care that a little bit of Fremont’s recent, campy suburban roots is going bye-bye.

Here’s the letter: 

I grew up in Fremont my whole life, and am currently stationed overseas. Once in a while I check the Argus online too see the local news.     

1: No karts n Golf will make Fremont the most BORINGEST (is that even a word?) city in the world.  

2. Karts n Golf is the only thing Fremont has, Recreation for teenagers. 

3. Why is Fremont still considering the Oakland As??? They belong in Oakland, Not the boringest city of Fremont California. 

4. At least Oakland has a zoo. 

5. If the crime rate goes up in the high schools, we know to blame Fremont.

When i was younger, me and my friend were pulled over for: running real fast with shopping carts and smashing them together. Cmon now…Think of possibilities without “Things to do in Fremont”,  The library doesn’t count.-PFC RUSCH, PAUL 


Comcast Woes

A woman who lives in the Antelope Hills neighborhood of Mission San Jose called today with nothing good to say about her phone, Internet and cable provider, Comcast. Christina Patterson said her phone and Internet went kaput Wednesday morning and Comcast hadn’t fixed it until Thursday.

She’s demanding to know what exactly happened, but every time she calls Comcast, she ends up with an operator in some far-flung place who can’t help her, she said.

“I can’t believe there is no accountability,” she said.

Anyway, Ms. Patterson was curious if her neighbors had the same problem, so I said I’d post it on the blog.


A’s outspend Yankees for Prez

We pretty much know that the owners of the Oakland A’s will be supporting Bob Wasserman for mayor of Fremont this November, but who do they like for president?

Keith Wolff is apparently an Obamamaniac. He gave the Illinois senator $2,300 last year, according records located on www.opensecrets.org.

Keith’s dad, Lew Wolff, on the other hand, gave $1,500 to second-tier Democratic candidate Christopher Dodd.

Lew may be the jocular face of the franchise, but the majority owner is still John Fisher, and he apparently likes to hedge his bets. He gave $2,300 to Obama, $2,300 to Mitt Romney, $2,300 to Rudy Giuliani and $1,000 to John McCain. He might have also given Hillary Clinton $2,300 but I can’t tell for sure from the information listed that it’s the same John Fisher.

If I’m an A’s fan, I’m thinking if Fisher had $2,300 for Romney, he should have had $90 million for Dan Haren.

Compare Fisher’s largess with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. The Boss, who got into some legal trouble years back for contributions made to Richard Nixon, dished out just $4,600: half to Clinton and half to Giuliani, a very legit Yankee fan. Perhaps that’s why Steinbrenner’s wife, Joan, also gave Rudy $2,300.

Final tally:
A’s $11,700
Yankees $6,900