Lorenz explains A’s comments, becomes Planning Commission Vice Chair

Forget Planning Commissioner Dirk Lorenz. Now it’s Planning Commission Vice Chairman Dirk Lorenz, and next year it’ll almost certainly be Chairman Dirk Lorenz.

But before most of his fellow commissioners voted him to the post, he addressed that email he sent out last month urging folks to attend a pro-A’s rally.

He said he did nothing wrong.

“Legally and ethically, I am entitled to an opinion on any project in abstract,” he said. 

The outgoing chairman, Richard King, agreed with him. But Commissioner David Bonaccorsi did not.

He said the commissioners work is akin to that of judges, so they shouldn’t hint at how they feel about something that could be coming before them. “The perception will always be that it was a preordained determination,” he said. 


Then something strange happened. 


Newly minted commissioner Lisa Quan nominated Bonaccorsi for the vice chairmanship, only to have the commission vote 5-2 for Lorenz. Based on seniority, Lorenz was in line for the post. Bonaccorsi said he was challenging him because he doesn’t agree with the seniority system, not because he doesn’t like Lorenz.


 Usually politicians don’t challenge for one of those posts unless they know they have the votes to win.


Even stranger, Bonaccorsi said he “had no idea” that Quan was going to nominate him. It’s pretty much unheard of for someone to nominate a fellow board member without some consultation.


Last time I know of something like that happening was 23 years ago in Mr. Stamler’s 5th grade class. My friend Kevin nominated me for class president while I was sick with chicken pox. I returned to class to find a giant poster on the wall reading, “Matt’s got the pox and Ali’s got the hots.”


You should have seen young Alison Cohen. Truer words have never been spoken in politics, but Mr Stamler made her take it down anyway.  It didn’t matter, though. I probably got the same number of votes as Bonaccorsi did.




Washington Boulevard Bridge about to open

No more detours on Washington Boulevard. The grand opening of the new Washington Boulevard Bridge has been scheduled for April 2. The 250-foot bridge is just about ready for traffic, but there will still be road work widening Osgood and Driscoll roads and connecting  Driscoll to Washington. The bridge will be for motorists, while trains roll below.

The entire projet, which is a big part of getting BART to Warm Springs, is scheduled for completion by the end of this year.


A’s, Fremont, Wolff

Just like old times: For full story, click here.

A’s out of East Bay options, Wolff says

SAN FRANCISCO — Over breakfast in a penthouse at the Fairmont San Francisco hotel on Thursday, Oakland A’s co-owner Lew Wolff stuck a fork in the long-term future for the team in the East Bay, saying he still hopes to find a new home in Northern California, but that it will be up to baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, his old college fraternity brother.

Wolff, doing nothing to quell widely held speculation that he is angling for a stadium in San Jose, said he expected to know from Selig by season’s end what the future may hold for the team. For the A’s to move to San Jose, Selig would need to push Major League Baseball team owners to override the territorial rights that the San Francisco Giants have held in Santa Clara County for about 15 years.


Centerville development back to the drawing board

The big vacant city-owned lot at Thronton Avenue and Fremont Boulevard is going to stay that way for awhile longer. What was going to be a Ralphs and then a mix of housing and retail (twice), and then an unnamed supermarket and then a bunch of live-work units is once again a blank slate.

BRE Properties, which was part of a development partnership seeking to build 300 units of housing and some storeson the site that also borders Bonde Way and Post Street, bailed out of the project recently. City folks say the economy did them in.

 Now the council will decide if it wants to continue with BRE’s partner Blake Hunt, which would have to find a new housing developer, probably with a new plan. If not, they can find a new developer or wait out the economy.

That means


Another Target for Fremont

Soon Fremont will have as many Targets as it does Applebees. The planned Creekside Landing retail retail center will have a Target as well as the previously announced Nordstrom Rack. The shopping center, which could open as early as next year, will be on the southern edge of the city, off Dixon Landing Road.


Union City cops receive thanks; host tip-a-cop event for Special Olympics

Got a bit of information worth passing on:

1: A woman walked up to a member of the Union City Police Department’s community oriented policing unit in the last day or two and gave them a card, a token of appreciation for all law enforcement officers in light of the killings in Oakland over the weekend. The card is now being shown to officers at the police department.  According to a different officer, others in the community have been verbally showing their appreciation over the last few days.

2: Police are hosting a tip-a-cop event at Applebees from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight (Tuesday, Match 24) to benefit the Special Olympics of Northern California. Applebees is located at 30980 Dyer St.


No more head shops

UPDATE: I don’t know my Fremont smoke shops. You can also get water pipes and glass pipes at Wonderland on Fremont Boulevard at Chapel Way and Underground Smoke & Accessories on Thornton at Post Street.

The folks at Underground told me over the phone that they sell the stuff. The guy who answered the phone at Wonderland said that store didn’t sell them. But I visited this afternoon and, let me tell you, nothing could be further from the truth. They have quite a selection.

However, neither shop apparently has the necessary permit to sell the bongs and glass pipes that they offer, so both shops might be operating illegally. Oh well. 

Fremont’s Planning Commission last week rejected a proposed head shop on Grimmer Boulevard in Irvington. So for now, the only place to feel good about buying pipes for marijuana smoking in Fremont is at the Devils Workshop in Niles.

Commissioner David Bonaccorsi was outspoken in his opposition to a head shop opening within a mile from Irvington High School. He also had plenty to say to a colleague about his very vocal support of the A’s.

But when Bonaccorsi challenged that colleague for the commission’s vice chairmanship, he got smoked. More on that soon.


Stimulus could fund Fremont cops

President Obama apparently wasn’t kidding said the stimulus bill would create high-paying jobs.

Fremont released a report last week estimating that the city would receive more than $9 million in stimulus funds.

Of that $682,824 would go to fund five police officer positions. This is where I usually rail against cops all making more than 100k, but given what happened in Oakland Saturday, I won’t go down that road.

Anyway, the Fire Department would get $1.5 – $2 million for storage buildings at two fire stations that had been put on ice due to cost restraints.

The biggest chunk of change, about $4 million would go for street repairs. There would also be nearly $700k for homeless prevention programs and up to $2 million for clean energy projects.


Fremont sues everyone but Lehman Bros.

Like several other cities/counties that lost money in the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, Lehman is suing just about everyone other than Lehman in its effort to recoup the $4 million it lost.

Fremont had a about $2 million corporate bond and $2 million commercial paper investment with Lehman that are worth nothing since the investment bank went belly up. Fremont’s investment holdings are worth more than $300 million. The city is trying its luck with bankruptcy court and holding out hope that the feds will allow cities to recoup their losses.

But if that doesn’t pan out, its holding out hope that it can recoup its loses by suing the firms that handled the investment and didn’t tell them that Lehman was about to go kaput. The County of San Mateo and the city of Long Beach are doing the same thing with the same lawyers, a Fremont official said.