Union City teen enters mayoral race

Kevin Armonio, an 18-year-old who graduated James Logan High in June, has qualified as a write-in candidate for the Union City mayoral race. He is the only person to challenge the current mayor, Mark Green, who is seeking re-election.

Armonio is studying political science at Chabot College. He said he doesn’t expect to win, but he entered the race to gain experience in politics. Ultimately, he wants to become a legislator.

I’ll have a story about Armonio in either tomorrow or Wednesday’s paper. (I’m working on getting a photo of him.)


Wasserman’s questionable volunteers

Two things happened Sunday that I didn’t think were possible: My roommate Alex beat me at ping pong, and someone scooped on me on a Fremont politics story not involving Dirk Lorenz.

Here’s a google alert I got Sunday night:

Fremont mayor’s campaign broke law by recruiting students on …
San Jose Mercury News, USA – 3 hours ago
The mayor’s campaign staff recruited students in classrooms at three of Fremont’s five high schools, promising college recommendation letters from the mayor …

When I clicked on it though, the Mercury News web site said the story had been removed.

I contacted Mayor Wasserman, and he emailed me late Sunday night. He said that he knew of the story, but hadn’t read it. He said he didn’t think any recommendation letters were promised, and they certainly weren’t promised by him. He also said his volunteer recruiter had permission from the principals and teachers at the schools, but no one seemed to be aware that they were violating the education code.

The scooper, I think, was Karen Wiese, a Berkeley Journalism student, who I met on Friday at that economic forum shindig. She seemed cool, but I’m starting to like her less and less. Doesn’t she know that competitive journalism ceased in Fremont years ago?

I don’t know what Wasserman’s doing up at this hour. I’m still basking in the Giants’ victory over the Steelers.


ProLogis stock dives

ProLogis is a real estate investment trust that owns Pacific Commons and the land that may one day be the Oakland A’s Cisco Field. It’s stock dropped more than 28 percent Friday.

Click here for a story on the Denver-based company.

And, click here, for a story Chris De Benedetti wrote about the deal ProLogis struck with the A’s.


The Oakland A’s of Fremont

The A’s have done a bit of a disappearing act before the election. Team representatives didn’t speak to the Chronicle or East Bay Express for recent stories about the mayor’s race. I called Keith Wolff Wednesday afternoon just looking for an update on the project, but I haven’t heard back.

I plan to write some kind of update about the project before election day. The public aspect of the environmental review was supposed to start months ago. Now I’m hearing it’ll finally be next month. I’m also curious about how the economic meltdown will affect it. When SummerHill Homes President Joe Head said Friday that their recent projects in Fremont had sold for less than anticipated, I thought of the A’s, who are financing the stadium with the surrounding residential development.

And when Solyndra’s Ben Bierman said his company couldn’t get financing for a $1 billion plant in Fremont, I wondered how the A’s will get it for their much bigger project.

Of course, the A’s don’t have to get financing right now, and the homes wouldn’t be built until 2012 at the earliest, so maybe there’s nothing to fear but another 3rd place finish.


Three cheers for Fremont

A lot of council candidates have been saying that Fremont City Hall makes life tough for business owners. I forgot to mention that at the economic forum Friday morning, executives from Summerhill Homes, Solyndra and Lam Research said doing business in Fremont was a breeze.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the council candidates are wrong. Those companies are pretty big, and one would expect the city to be more flexible with them. It could be different for a small-time business owner.


Tri-City gang stats

I attended a gang and drug awareness info meeting at Washington High last night, put on by members of the Fremont PD and Southern Alameda County gang task force. Here are a few stats I picked up from the meeting:

* There are 3,105 known gang members in Fremont, Newark, Union City and parts of Hayward as of last month.

* About 98 to 99 percent of these gang members reside here.

* About 230 of these gang members are 14 to 17 years old.

* Some gang members are as young as 9 years old.


New Haven superintendent search process debated

There was an article in The Argus yesterday about the search for a new superintendent for the New Haven school district.

Long story short, some community members on the superintendent selection advisory committee criticized the process, saying they wish they had been given the opportunity to interact face-to-face with board members about the candidates. Instead, they apparently were instructed to direct their comments, one by one, to a facilitator while trustees sat in the back and listened. One committee member called the process “incomplete,” and Trustee Gwen Estes said, “It’s hard to call it a `community’ group when the community’s not involved.”

Today, another committee member, Michael Ritchie, sent an e-mail to trustees and others in the district, saying he was clear all along about how things would be handled. He also thanked the board for getting the community involved. Michael has given me permission to reprint his e-mail (in blue text). Check out his take on how things went: Continue Reading


DUI suspect wants to hire Johnny Cochran

Figured someone might find this mildly amusing.

During a vigil held last night for a 2007 slaying victim, several shots rang out and police eventually stopped a man — 19 years old — who was driving away from the scene. As soon as he gets out of his car, he starts talking nonsense to the cops and says, “I wish I had enough money to hire Johnny Cochran to sue your asses.”  Um, Cochrane’s been dead since March 2005.

Anyway, turns out the man was arrested for DUI, and nothing related to the shooting. No one was hurt in the incident, by the way.  There will be a story in the paper tomorrow.