Prop. 8 legal challenge

Fremont’s City Attorney Harvey Levine has written his report to the City Council about what it can do as far as the Prop. 8 lawsuits.

There are three lawsuits challenging Prop. 8. on grounds that it is actually a “revision” and not an amendment to the state constitution, and was not adopted by the correct procedures. Revisions must first get two-thirds majorities in the Assembly and Senate before getting passed on the the voters.

A lawsuit filed by the city and county of San Francisco, the County of Santa Clara and the City of Los Angeles, argue that Prop. 8 is a revision because it gives “a bare political majorit final say over the meaning of the equal protection clause” in the state constitution.

The petitioners of this lawsuit  are seeking the support of other California cities and counties.

Potential council actions are:

1) Join in the litigation as a party (Not sure if that means spending $$$)
2) Write an amicus brief or letter (supporting the lawsuit
3) Simply keep tabs on the lawsuit and see how it proceeds
4) Nothing


I talked to Lew Wolff today

The A’s co-owner told me a few things:

1) The team has a plan to finance construction of the stadium first and then phase in the housing afterward. Problem is he wouldn’t tell me what that plan was. He said it would take too much time. Remember the stadium costs were supposed to be offset by the housing, retail, hotel, etc.

2) He’s still saying 2012 for completion of the ballpark, but he’s not holding very firm to it. His exact quote was, “In this world, I’m not calling dates anymore.”

3) Wolff says the declining fortunes of the property owner, ProLogis, won’t affect the project. ProLogis has seen its share price plunge from $71.79 to $5.08 over the past year. Wolff said the real estate trust was never going to invest in the project and it’s not asking the team to exercise its option to buy the ballpark site.

4) The Notice of Preparation, which accompanies the final project proposal should be released in the next 30 days. When I asked why it’s been delayed for several months, Wolff said the team wanted to get the Fremont election behind them and see who won.

5) No resolution yet to concerns from Lowe’s and NUMMI about traffic

The Mercury News is going to run a story about stadium funding in the Bay Area this weekend. I suspect we’ll pick it up in The Argus.


NUMMI doesn’t do layoffs

Our sister paper, the San Jose Mercury News is reporting this.

The most interesting part of the story was toward the end. Apparently NUMMI doesn’t lay people off.

Toyota has a no-layoffs policy, so truck line workers will cross-train and do maintenance at the plant, Goss said. NUMMI has about 5,400 employees, of which 4,550 are represented by the United Auto Workers.


NUMMI-related commentary

This paragraph was taken from a commentary by Peter M. De Lorenzo, who runs an online auto industry magazine.

Let’s take California, for instance. Judging by our reader mail, there seems to be a large contingent of people out there who adamantly believe that “Detroit deserves to die” etc., etc., and that whatever happens “won’t affect me.” But GM and the domestic auto industry’s collapse will most definitely affect Californians as well. NUMMI, a joint operation between GM and Toyota (the Toyota Corolla, Toyota Tacoma and Pontiac Vibe are built there) and the only San Francisco Bay Area car factory, is already reducing shifts and may even shut down its Tacoma pickup truck line due to the burgeoning economic slowdown. One of our readers who understands the ramifications of a domestic industry collapse passed this interesting local news report along about NUMMI, which said, “There are tens of thousands of additional jobs on the line besides the 5,000 at NUMMI. There are over 1,000 suppliers in California that provide parts. They in turn employ 50,000 people.”

To read the entire article, click here.

Seems like he wants a bailout. Hard for me to be too sympathetic. The newspaper industry is deep doo-doo as well, but no one wants to bail us out, even though our products have become more Chevy Nova than Toyota Corolla.


Fremont could back lawsuit against Measure 8

The City Council might just step into to the legal wranglings surrounding Measure 8. Councilmember Bob Wiekowski asked that the city attorney study whether Fremont might support a lawsuit initiated by San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera that challenges the constitutional validity of the measure banning same sex marriage.

Fremont usually doesn’t tread into controversial statewide issues, but Herrerra is asking other local agencies to support the lawsuit. Two other lawsuits challenging the measure have also been filed.

Based on the overwhelming NO on 8 vote in Alameda County, one would assume that majority of Fremont voters opposed the measure. However, according to the Chronicle’s database, a lot more Fremont residents gave money in support of the measure and, I’m told, about 100 or more people locked arms on Mission Boulevard two Saturdays ago in support of Measure 8


Mayor: Irvington BART Station is going to happen

The City Council last night approved up to $5.35 million to do a preliminary design of the planned Irvington BART Station, as well as some construction work that would make it easier to build the station after the Warm Springs station is completed.

The easiest/cheapest option, of course, would be to build the Irvington station along with the Warm Springs extension, but the city doesn’t have enough money to build it by 2014, when the Warm Springs project is scheduled for completion.

The Irvington station, which would have about 900 parking spaces,  would be near the corner of Washington Boulevard and Osgood Road.

A Fremont lifer reminded me earlier today that just because the council has agreed to spend some money on designs, doesn’t mean anything will come out of it. He recalled that the council, way back in the 90s, hired a Portland-based architect to come up with designs for a cultural arts center slated to go near the library.

Still no cultural arts center, but, in this case, it seems like the council is dead set on leveraging its redevelopment funds for the station.

The Planning Commission is already reviewing a higher-density project for Irvington that assumes the station will be built.

For an unedited story I wrote about the station, click where it says to click.

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repost on blog stats

In October, for the third month in a row, the TCB was the second most viewed news blog in our newspaper chain. We had more than 30,000 page views in October, which was only about 400,000 fewer than the Oakland Raiders blog. Maybe if Fremont was as dysfunctional as the Silver and Black, we’d get more page views.

The only news blog that bested us — and it was only by a hair — was Josh Richman’s Political Blotter. It’s good, but he cheats by writing about the entire region and posting weekly Arnold Schwarzenegger movie clips, while I’m stuck with Vinnie Bacon’s dog and Steve Cho’s martial arts exploits.

I also question Richman’s professed appreciation of good bagels. He hadn’t even heard of PJ’s at Mowry and Capitol — the best bagels west of the Hudson River. I wouldn’t be surprised to find him noshing at Noah’s upping his page views by continually hitting the reset button on his blog page. I would only do that at a quality establishment. But, whatever, he’s the champ.