Wasserman still not giving up on the A’s and Pacific Commons

Fremont Mayor Bob Wasserman did meet with ProLogis last week about the real estate trust’s opposition to the A’s stadium proposal on its land near the Pacific Commons Shopping Center.

Three of ProLogis’ major tenants at the shopping center – Kohl’s Lowe’s and Costco – oppose the A’s stadium proposal because it would put a stadium too close to the stores. Finding a different home for the stadium is tricky because the  farther you go from the stores, the closer you are to a protected nature area.

Wasserman said he and ProLogis talked about a couple of proposals to put the stadium a little further from the stores, one idea would be to put it closer to Interstate 880, and the other further south from the stores, which, admittedly wouldn’t have the best freeway access.

The A’s didn’t participate in the talks. Wasserman plans to meet with the A’s and ProLogis next week or next month to gauge if there is any chance the ballpark village concept can be salvaged.


You think the TCB is bad…

Well maybe you’re right, but try as I have in recent months, the Argus and the Beat still failed to make the list for most hilariously incompetent newspaper mistakes.

Click here to read them.

Here are a couple of sneak previews:

Best Headline Error
The American Family Association’s OneNewsNow site has a standard practice of using the word “homosexual” instead of “gay.” They even set up a filter to automatically make the change. This didn’t serve ONN well when a sprinter named Tyson Gay made news at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials. He suddenly became Tyson Homosexual when the site’s filter got a hold of an AP story:


Typo of the Year
The Valley News, a newspaper distributed in Vermont and New Hampshire**, committed what many journalists and editors would agree is just about the most embarrassing typo possible: it misspelled its own name on the front page. Behold:

Here’s the resulting Editor’s Note:


Rock Slide in Niles Canyon Road

Here’s something similar to what will run in the paper tomorrow: 

Rocks the size of basketballs slid into Niles Canyon early Friday morning, causing two collisions and snarling traffic between Fremont and Sunol for two hours, Fremont police said.

Authorities closed Niles Canyon Road from about 6:44 to 8:19 a.m. after rocks fell onto the roadway near Palomares Road.

A motorist driving a Kia Spectra ran into the rocks, and a Saturn Vue was also involved in an accident caused by the slide, Detective Bill Veteran said. Neither accident resulted in injuries, he added.

Caltrans workers removed the rocks by 7:30 a.m., Veteran said. Caltrans reopened the road at 8:19 a.m. after determining that it was safe for traffic.

There are on average a couple of rock slides every year on Niles Canyon Road, which winds its way between Mission Boulevard in Fremont to Sunol, Veteran said. Usually, authorities are able to turn vehicles around during the closures so motorists aren’t stuck waiting for the road to reopen, he added.


Another missed deadline, another fine for Fremont eyesore

Today is the latest city-imposed deadline for Jim Hardwick to have turned old Shell Station on Thronton Ave at Cabrillo Drive  into an exciting new mini-mart. He’s not even close to done. There’s still no roof, still no stucco, still no landscaping, etc., etc.

The city fined him $4,500 when he missed his last deadline in October. The fined him another $14,000 this month when it turned out he didn’t have a general contractor overseeing the project as promised. Now they can fine him again. That decision will come on Monday.

Hardwick said he had not comment.


Blalock is new BART Board President

BART just sent a press release announcing that Fremont’s own Tom Blalock has been elected president of the BART board of directors. As president, Blalock gets a nifty new title and tiny brief written about him in tomorrow’s paper.

Blalock was last BART President in 2000. That year Bush was elected president, the Middle East Peace Process collapsed, and all those dot-com companies went bust. Hopefully things will go better this time.


Ohlone trustee has leukemia

Bill McMillin knew something was up last month his feet were too swollen and his body was too achy to play his usual tennis match. On Monday he learned that he has an acute form of leukemia. He’ll be heading to the hospital next week for a month of chemo.

Technically, he has been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a type of cancer much more serious than the prostate cancer he beat five years ago. McMillin said doctors told him that recovery rates were 50 percent. Recovery, he said, is defined as living for another five years.

The 66-year-old McMillin said he plans to live into his nineties, just like his mom and dad. He also plans on returning to the board in February.


Central Chevrolet

The Brunellis broke the news themselves this weekend in The Argus. The venerable Central Chevrolet is closing next month after 71 years. There had been rumors of this, but the family told me last month they were staying in business. They told their employees Dec. 8 that they would be closing the dealership and service station.

The auto body shop will stay in business.


FUSD budget rumors

Apparently rumors have started to fly that the Fremont school district has a list of several schools it plans to close to deal with the budget shortfall. There’s also been some confusion that it would end the school year 25 days early.

Neither of those statements are true, Superintendent Milt Werner said at this week’s community budget meeting.

“We’re not closing schools today, nor are we talking seriously about closing schools,” he said.

As for the shortened academic year, he said a memo floating around (not sure where it originated from) suggested that if no cuts were made, school would have to end 25 days early. Werner said that was just an example used to illustrate the severity of the budget crisis, but it’s not really happening. (By law, students have to be in school for a certain number of hours each year.)

FUSD faces a $10.5 million deficit that could balloon to $21 million. The district’s Web site has info about its latest financial situation. Basically, in the coming months, the school board will consider all possible cuts, including increasing class sizes (which would also mean hiring fewer teachers next year), laying off counselors and media techs, and making changes to its transportation program.

The next community budget meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Jan. 15. The location is TBD.


Fremont loses jobs, but gains a chain restaurant?

Western Digital, which has an office in Fremont across the street from Wal-Mart on Osgood is laying off 2,500 employees. Western Digital’s spokesman wouldn’t say the Fremont office is affected, but that’s a lot of layoffs.

Perhaps the pink-slipped in Warm Springs might want to drown their sorrows in some “Technicolor” martinis at the brand new Fuzios on Stevenson Boulevard, just a stone’s throw away from Argus headquarters. The chain started in Castro, and promisies “all kinds of experiences.” Sounds like a perfect complement to Fremont’s two Applebee’s, and, of course, Joey Basils.


A bit more on Fremont’s budget

One thing I didn’t go into in my story today is Fremont’s other reserve funds. Thebudget uncertainty reserve fund, which had been $11.2 million just last year, is now expected to dry up sometime next fiscal year.

But the city has two other reserve funds that they could use to plug their budget deficit. As of July 1, the city’s fund for natural disasters stood at $18.3 million. It’s fund for new programs that could generate new money stood at $3.7 million. That’s $21 million in extra reserves the city could use, but will it?

When I asked the city manager, he said, “Those are two tools in the tool chest.” He spoke very visually yesterday.