State of the City

The State of the City address is kind of like what going to synagogue was like for me as a kid. I start off reasonably content, but before long I’m turning pages to see just how much longer it’ll last. Then I eat a lot of cake.

Wasserman mostly just talked about the good stuff, which is why we got out about 10 minutes ahead of schedule.  He praised Dirk Lorenz for being a good guy and briefly touched on the loss of the A’s and the crummy economy.

Then he started on the really happy stuff, like the BART extension and the new grade separations on Washington Boulevard and Paseo Padre Parkway, and the new Kristi Yamaguchi playground and Water Park, and, of course Solyndra and its future solar panel plant got a mention too.

He even said that there has been a 38 percent reduction in euthanasia at the shelter. Having done our Pet of the Week page for two years, I can say that is great news, because they were sometimes killing nearly 100 cats a week during kitten season. But I wonder if that would have made the cut during a better economy when there was more development to talk about.

Nothing was said about Centerville, or the Globe, or Patterson Ranch or Irvington. Niles got a mention because the Town Plaza should be finished this year. No talk of layoffs or upcoming labor negotiations. No talk of NUMMI’s future.

Mostly, if you read the Argus, there wasn’t any new news except for Linens N’ Things closing and the Kristi Yamaguchi Always Dream Playground breaking ground in May.


Scanner: Ice Cream Vendors Arguing Over Territory In Newark

Typically, stuff we hear on the scanner is treated by us as nothing more than a news tip. In other words, we won’t print what we hear on the scanner unless it can be verified by police. But sometimes there are items we hear over the radio that are just too amusing not to mention somewhere.

Such was the case about 3:15 p.m. Tuesday in Newark where two ice cream vendors apparently got into a shouting match — not sure exactly where — about who has the territorial rights to peddle Push Pops in a certain neighborhood. It’s unclear if we’re talking about guys actually pushing carts and clanging handlebar bells, or sellers with the trucks and annoying music. Regardless, if this thing resulted in fisticuffs, it would have been a great story to write. As it is now, it’s nothing more than blog fodder. Enjoy.


The state of the city is ….

Time for Bob Wasserman’s State of the City address. He takes the stage in less than an hour. About a half-hour after that, I go table-to-table looking for uneaten desserts.

Usually, these are optimistic speeches. We’ll what we get today. I betting on a lot of talk about the new Solyndra solar panel factory.


RECALL: Spices from Union City plant

Health officials are warning people people not to eat spices manufactured by Union International Food Company, a plant based in Union City.

White and black pepper products made by the company have been linked to Salmonella poisoning, affecting 42 people in four states, including 33 in California. Many who became ill had eaten at Asian resataurants that used the peppers, according to various media reports. No deaths have been reported.

For more details from the California Department of Public Health and a list of the voluntarily recalled products, click here.

I’m working on a follow-up article, hopefully for tomorrow’s paper.


U.S. is great place to be Hindu, Bangladesh not so good

The Hindu American Foundation, which was founded in Fremont, recently released its 5th survey of Human Rights for Hindus. Bangladesh, which is home to a majority of the 20 million or so Hindus living outside of India, was cited for many human rights violations. Maylasia, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia had many issues of their own.
The group didn’t document any abuses in the U.S. or Britain. You can read the report here.


Fremont goes after alleged nuisance property

From a quick glance on Google Earth, Kay Court is a resonably nice cul-de-sac with ranch homes, a couple of backyard swimming pools and a basketball hoop at the end of the block.

But one house on the block between Roberts Avenue and the railroad tracks is a drug den, according legal papers filed by the city last month in Alameda County Superior Court. Fremont is asking a judge to declare the property ” a public nuisance” and force out the owners and residents occupying the home, which would be closed for a year.

According to the complaint, in June, 2007, police found 8.1 grams of crystal meth and a digital scale in a secret compartment in the kitchen. In November, a police informant purchased the drug from one of the residents.”

The city maintains that “people who are invited to the property frequently leave severely intoxicated and generally engage in loud and disruptive behavior including, without limitation, throwing garbage in neighbors’ yards and yelling.

One occupant of the house “often invites guests into his backyard, where they smoke marijuana, drink, play loud music, and behave in an extremely noisy and disruptive manner,” according to the complaint.

I’m told Fremont doesn’t do too many drug house nuisance abatements.


Coming sooner, comming later

I got a voice message from Joe Head of SummerHill Homes. He said SummerHill (Urban Housing Group) really does plan on moving full steam ahead with building a 301-unit apartment complex on that grassy field along Walnut Avenue and State Street. The project would include a screen for outdoor movie watching.

Meanwhile, before I went on furlough I spoke to Richard Frisbie of the Patterson Ranch development. He said he expected the Patterson family to hold on to the land until home prices recover, however long that takes. Once the market is healthy, he expects that they would sell the land to developers who would build the 839 homes, two churches, school, park, etc.