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Route 84/East West Connector project

Frankly, I think Fremont residents have commented enough on this one, but they have yet another chance during the next 60 days. The Draft Environmental Impact Report has been released for the road project that advocates say will ease traffic along Fremont’s northern border with Union City.

Union City loves the plan, which includes a new road from Mission Boulevard to Paseo Padre Parkway. Fremont has been less enthusiastic, and some North Fremont residents have been absolutely hostile.

They’ll be happy to know that the planned $211 million project is still short of cash. Project planners have a plan to cut a $100 million deficit to about $43 million, assuming Union City and Fremont want to donate their land rights (they had planned to sell them to Caltrans) and Caltrans agrees to sell lots of land in North Fremont to developers.

As for the remaining $43 million, well there’s always that economic stimulous package, transportation officials said. They’re hoping to get it by late 2011 when the projet could begin.

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No chicken in Fremont’s pot, no car in its garage

When Fremont’s budget tanked six year’s ago, it didn’t have a budget uncertainty reserve to turn soften the blow. If this recession doesn’t let up soon, Fremont will be without one again as early as next year.
The city released revised budget figures that project a $9.9 million operating deficit for this fiscal year, which ends in June and an $11.2 million deficit for next fiscal year. The city’s budgetary reserve can make up $4.4 million of next year’s shortfall.

The remaining $6.8 million? Trouble.

In a press briefing today, City leaders wouldn’t use the L-word, “Layoffs,” not the Showtime program. But they called the situation dire, and said the city is going to have to reevaluate how it delivers services, which usually means big cuts.
Back in 2002/2003, Fremont eliminated more than 200 positions including more than 20 in the police department.
I’m writing a budget story for tomorrow, but I only have 15 inches of space to work with, so I’m leaving out some background stuff. I’ll try to fill that in here over the next few days.

Oh, and don’t worry, there are no plans to ask anyone to pay more taxes. Phew!! When I asked City Manager Fred Diaz about that, and he said that given the failure of the last two utility tax measures, a third major tax proposal, this time in tough times, wasn’t likely.

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Record Crowd, record debt for Niles Parade

Marie Dear of the Niles Merchants Association told me that police estimated 20,000 people attended last months Niles Festival of Lights. I didn’t confirm with the cops.

But all was not well. Parade organizers were about $6,000 short of breaking even. That means more fundraisers including maybe yet another classic car show, but the parade will be back next year, she said.

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A’s ballpark village plan is hard to alter

Keith Wolff called be back on Friday. I wanted to know if there was any chance the A’s could move their proposed ballpark farther away from the stores at Pacific Commons, but still keep it on the same site, near AutoMall and Interstate 880.

That would be hard to do, he said, since moving the stadium farther from the stores would put it much closer to a nature preserve, which would invite new sorts of problems. Wolff also reiterated that nearly all of the stores at Pacific Commons have been fine with the team’s plans, except, of course, the biggies: Lowe’s, Kohl’s and Costco.

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Dream On?

Hometown Hero Kristi Yamaguchi has won Olympic Gold and television’s most watched dance competition, but she’s having a little difficulty building a state-of-the-art playground in Fremont’s Central Park.

Yamaguchi’s Awways Dream Foundation was to have built a park in which disabled kids could play side-by-side with their able-bodied buddies. But then it turned out that the playground on the north end of central park would need an expensive drainage system, and when that was worked, out it turned out that there weren’t contractors willing to do the work for free.

If the foundation can’t find contractors who will to donate their labor, it is going to have raise another $300,000 for the project. It is already planning to launch a donation campaign next year. If it all comes together, the park will be built this spring. If not, then it will have to wait.

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A’s schedule charity event … in San Jose

Don’t they know Fremont is the new San Jose. Stomper, we hardly knew you.

Not to read anything into this…

A’s “Step Up to the Plate for Education” Program to Benefit

East Side Union High School District in San Jose

Fundraiser Donates a Portion of Ticket Proceeds Directly Back to Schools

OAKLAND, Calif. – The Oakland Athletics “Step Up to the Plate for Education” program will join forces with the East Side Union High School District in San Jose in order raise money to help save sports programs which are proposed to be eliminated due to an extra-ordinary cost-cutting proposal. The program will be announced by Jim Leahey, A’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, at the Special Meeting of the Board of Trustees at 6:00 pm this evening (830 N. Capitol Ave., San Jose).

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Catellus can block stadium near Pacific Commons

I mention this in a story I wrote in today’s paper. Catellus/ProLogis can say no to any A’s stadium proposal on its property south of Pacific Commons. The A’s and Cisco’s have options to lease or purchase that property, but when it comes to the stadium Catellus can say no. Although if that were to happen, the A’s would be afforded some type of appeals process that isn’t entirely clear to me.