Latest on A’s

UPDATE: Here’s an excerpt from a Lowe’s Senior VP Gary Wyatt to Lew Wolff:

“Lowe’s HIW, Inc. is greatly concerned about this project because it will have a detrimental effect on our customers and ultimately our business as a result of both traffic and parking complications.” 

“…In this instance, we have significant concerns with the impact of this proposed project on our community and its citizens.”

We still don’t know whether a major tenant like Lowe’s has some clause in its lease that could enable it to complicate the ballpark village plan. I wonder if Lew Wolff anticipated that getting opposition from big business.

Here’s a story that will run tomorrow:



A’s unsure about Fremont

UPDATE:  Lew Wolff is backtracking. He told the Mercury News that he’s just frustrated with the pace of the environmental study, and that he’s still confident the team is coming to Fremont.  His son, Keith, told me that nothing has changed, but he did acknowledge that three of the larger retailers at Pacific Commons have sent letters expressing concerns about the team’s parking plans.

He said the retailers couldn’t block the project, but that the team is intent on satisfying them. One possible mitigation measure could be a pedestrian bridge over Auto Mall Parkway linking the stadium to one of the bigger parking lots.

ProLogis owns Pacific Commons and the adjacent future ballpark site. Cisco has an option to buy the ballpark land and the A’s are looking to step in and take Cisco’s place. Keith Wolff said that contrary to what Mayor Wasserman said, the team does not have any disagreements with ProLogis.

ProLogis representatives haven’t returned phone calls from me or Merc reporter Lisa Fernandez, so I can’t say for sure if any of the major retailers might have language in their leases that could give them a say over the ballpark project, or if ProLogis itself is concerned with some facet of the A’s proposal. Continue Reading


Lorenz out of Fremont Council Race

Fremont Planning Dirk Lorenz isn’t going to run for city council after all. After getting a big spread in the Tri-City Voice declaring his candidacy, he sent us an email while I was on vacation announcing that he’s out of the race. According to Dirk, if he had won, he would have had to give up his lease with the city for the Depot Diner, which he operates. He didn’t want to do that, so he’s not going to run.

Dirk also was clear that the questions people have raised on this blog about him supposedly living at his  $1.1 million house in Livermore wasn’t an issue. Dirk says he lives with his wife and his mother at her place in Fremont and rent out the Livermore home, which overlooks a beautiful vineyard.

His mother backs him up. She even offered to show me his room one time when I visited. I believe him and, even if I didn’t, I don’t have time to try to prove him wrong. I might write a little more on the Livermore thing, but I’m too busy right now.


Union City Council divided on parcel tax

Union City council members will wait until next Wednesday before putting a parcel tax extension on the November ballot. The council is split over whether to ask voters to merely extend Measure K, which genreates about $2.7 million for police and fire services or expand it so that it generates more money and includes funds for youth services.

The original Measure K tax, which went into effect in 2004, expires next year, Union City would be in deep doody if voters reject an extension in November as they did in June, when the council proposed increasing the tax and extending it for 20 years.

Councilmember Richard Valle and Mayor Mark Green want to go back to voters with the bigger tax. But Councilmembers Carol Durta-Vernaci, Manny Fernandez and Jim Navarro, pointing to a city-commissioned survey, fear that the only way the tax will pass by the needed two-thirds majority is if it is scaled back to the same rate as the original Measure K.

So unless one of those three flips by next week, Union City will go before voters with a much more humble tax proposal than in June when the measure K extension lost with about 62 percent of the vote.

Meanwhile, still no word from the California Supreme Court as to whether it will hear Union City’s appeal of a ruling that its 911 fee is an illegal tax. If that ruling holds, the city would be out another $2.7 million a year.



Fremont cops are well compensated

Just got back from the East Coast with about 15 mosquito bites and a missed flight horror story that I’ll keep to myself. No moose sightings, but plenty of thunderstorms that made for difficult camping.

One thing my friend noticed in New York City was a police recruitment billboard. Guess what the starting salary is for a member of New York’s finest? $35,881.

Now guess the salary for a starting Fremont cop? $76,327, according to the city’s web site.

As Whitney Houston might say, That’s whack.

The situation is different when it comes to teachers, who in New York City and surrounding suburbs top out at more than 100k. Tri-City area teachers have yet to eclipse the century mark, at least when it comes to base pay. I’ve mentioned to people here how I think its odd that teachers in the Bay Area make significantly less than cops and firefighters, but most say that’s the way it should be.


Fremont council race generates interest

A story this weekend gave an overview of who’s running for which local office in the Tri-City area.

Since then, two more people have picked up papers to file for candidacy for the Fremont City Council: Suzanne Chan, a Fremont planning commissioner, and Larry Montgomery.

That brings the total number of city council candidates so far to 11, with only two seats open. The odds aren’t great, especially since Councilman Bob Wieckowski is seeking reelection. It’s common knowledge that it’s more difficult – though not impossible – to beat an incumbent.

Unfortunately, the weekend article did not mention the race for the Washington Hospital board of directors. Pat Danielson and William Nicholson’s terms are up. I’m still trying to pin down whether anyone’s taken out nomination papers. Stay tuned, folks.


New Haven board calls special meeting tonight

UPDATE: The school board has named David Pava the interim superintendent. Pava, 59, was the deputy superintendent this past year and has worked more than 30 years in New Haven. A story will be in Friday’s paper.



In case you didn’t catch our breaking news story online, the New Haven school board has called an emergency meeting for 7:30 tonight to discuss naming an interim superintendent to replace outgoing schools chief Pat Jaurequi.

Jaurequi said she wasn’t actively seeking a new job, but the opportunity came, and she accepted the position over the weekend.

A story in tomorrow’s print edition will have some more details.



I’m in Great Neck, NY again saying hello to friends and family and goodbye to a very special place.

It’s kind of hard not to blog from my parents’ house since I’m the only one here on west coast time, and I’m intimidated by any television set with more than six working stations.

You may have noticed that I’ve blogged about Fremont nearly every day for the past six months. You’re probably as sick of me as I am of documenting gas prices at the Shell Station next to Argus headquarters. (BTW, regular was $4.49 as of 2 a.m. Wednesday.)

So, I’m going to lay low for the next 10 days. I’ll be in the woods of New England trying to prove that we Long Island folk can rough it as good as anyone.

It’ll be just me, my tent, sleeping bag, Indian food in a bag, several tissue packs because my post-nasal drip never takes a vacation, my favorite pillow, and — thank G-d — my NorCal girlfriend, who unlike me, grew up doing this camping thing and actually knows what she’s doing in the great outdoors.

If I see a moose, I’ll find a way to post a picture of it here asap. Otherwise, I’ll be back by the end of the month.


Fremont library and pornography

It turns out you can get more at the Fremont library than most people probably realized. Last month I learned you can get free art museum passes, and this month I learned you can get free access to pornography on the library’s computers.

But a Fremont resident, who asked that his name not be printed, is waging a battle to make the library block porn sites on all of its computer terminals.

Right now, only the children’s room has internet filters, and that’s the way it’s going to stay, said Sallie Pine, who runs the reference desk.

“We are not going to police what people do with regard to access to the internet,” she said. “It’s a first amendment issue.” If someone, like the nameless Fremont man, rats out a porn site visitor, the librarian will remind them that it’s not the best place to view such sites, but he/she won’t boot them from the terminal. “As uncomfortable as I am with someone coming to the library to do that, they have that right,” Pine said.

The right also extends to hate web sites. The exception is if the site includes illegal material, such as kiddy pron. In that case, the cops get called.

The computers do have privacy screens, which make it difficult for passersby to see what people are looking at, but Mr. nameless Fremont man, says he and others somehow manage to see pron anyway. “I’ve had children stop in their tracks,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense. If two people take off their clothes and start having sex in the public library they will be removed.”

One more tidbit. San Jose’s library has filters at all their internet terminals because they accept a form of federal funding, which requires that all recipients install filters, Pine said. Alameda County doesn’t get the federal funds, so they don’t have to install the filters.


Fremont: Niles Banquet Hall could lose use permit

From my favorite Niles chat group: The Planning Commission is considering amending or revoking the use permit for Niles Banquet Hall, owned by Ohlone College and Water Board Trustee John Weed.

One wedding reception this year ended in a shooting and another in a stabbing.

If I wasn’t 3,000 miles away on vacation, I’d call John Weed and the city and find out exactly what’s going on. But that will have to wait.

Here’s what I saw on the chat group:

NILES HALL – 37270 NILES BOULEVARD – (PLN2009-00004) – to consider
modification or revocation of a Conditional Use Permit or Permits that
currently allow a nightclub and social hall in the Niles Planning
Area. This project is categorically exempt under California
Environmental Quality Act guideline 15301, Existing Facilities and
15321, Enforcement Actions by Regulatory Agencies.

UPDATE: John Weed’s reply on the Niles group follows: Continue Reading