Jailed pastor may be from Union City

Our company has an online story about the Rev. Walter Hoye deciding today to spend a month in jail. Hoye, a Berkeley pastor, became the first person convicted of violating an Oakland law to prevent anti-abortion protesters from harassing patients visiting clinics.

Hoye is a Union City resident, according to other media reports.


(No) tax break for Stark?

A number of news organizations have reported that Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, had received a tax break for his Maryland home the past two years, but it turns out he may be ineligible.

To qualify, a person must live in Maryland at least six months of the year, own a Maryland driver’s license, be registered to vote there and file Maryland state taxes.

Although Stark lives in Maryland most of the year, he has a California license and votes in California. The congressman, a senior member of the House’s tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, has told reporters that he was not aware that he might not be eligible for the tax break.

To read the full story, click here. Stark is quoted in the story as saying he guesses he’ll find out this weekend how his constituents feel about this. He’s scheduled to hold three town hall meetings in Alameda County on Saturday. Here’s the schedule:

* 9-10 a.m.: Council Chamber at City Hall, 37101 Newark Blvd., Newark

* 10:30-11:30 a.m.: Adult School auditorium, 820 Bockman Road, San Lorenzo

* Noon to 1 p.m.: Earhart Elementary School multipurpose room, 400 Packet Landing Road, Alameda.


In memoriam: Art Lampert (Part 2)

Art Lampert, a former Fremont City Councilman and Alameda County Water District trustee who died March 7, will be remembered during a Celebration of Life event on April 4. The event will begin at 1 p.m. with a memorial service, followed by a reception, in the Anderson Auditorium of the Washington West building of Washington Hospital, 2500 Mowry Ave., Fremont.

For the original blog post, click here.


131 pink slips handed out at Newark schools

I spoke to Tim Erwin, director of human resources at Newark Unified, this morning and it appears that 131 teachers and administrators received layoff warning notices today. This number is noticeably higher than the 90 slips that had been anticipated. Erwin said the number is higher only because some candidates for layoffs share the same higher date, and additional information needs to be collected to determine who would be laid off if such measures become necessary. In one extreme case, there were 25 people with the same teaching credential and hire date, he said. In cases such as these, a tie-breaker system will be applied to determine whose jobs are more vulnerable if layoffs are required.

The school board will not begin making cuts until early April. At that time the district may begin rescinding notices. “We’re not going to make people wait,” he said.


Fremont Idol

Washington High School teacher Matt Ballin performed a song he wrote about the negative impacts of budget cuts at tonight’s school board meeting. The song, “California Children,” was made into a video. Click here to check it out. For the lyrics (as submitted by the California Teachers Association), click here.

On a related note, this Friday — dubbed “Pink Friday” because some 20,000 California teachers will receive pink slips — educators and parents will “Stand Up for Schools” with local rallies.

In Fremont, community members will meet between 3 and 3:30 p.m. at La Pinata (39136 Paseo Padre Parkway) and march down the street to Assemblyman Alberto Torrico’s office (39510 Paseo Padre Parkway).

I understand a similar rally will take place on the corner of Mowry Avenue and Cedar Boulevard in Newark.

The Fremont and New Haven school districts don’t plan to issue teacher layoff notices, but the Newark district will be handing out pink slips.


Best of the Beat, Part III Farewells

We’ve had to say goodbye to some good folks at the Argus since the Beat started. Here are a couple of the farewells:
rob.JPGThe fellow pictured on the right is our city editor, Rob Dennis. Sadly for the seven or so editorial folks still left at The Argus, this is his last day on the job.

Loyal Tri-City Beat readers might remember Rob as the angry guy whose lone venomous post about a bogus BART parking ticket triggered an avalanche of anti-BART rants.

But Rob is more than just a hater. He’s our best investigator, most seasoned reporter and sharpest editorial writer. He’s also our resident beer guzzler, chain smoker and card shark.

Rob has shared major awards for a series about mortgage lenders discriminating against minorities, and coverage of the Rodney Blach trial. Later this month, we’ll print a four-part series that is mostly his work.

Rob came to The Argus eight years ago after a distinguished tenure as a Wal-Mart sales associate and several years living off the dole in his native Ireland.

Starting Wednesday, he returns to his roots — mooching off other people’s tax dollars.

Rob was one of about 100 MediaNews-East Bay (our parent company) employees who took a buyout last week as our newsroom continues to shrink.

He’ll collect unemployment, freelance a little and eventually head over to Prague to work on a documentary film. He says it’ll be about Eastern Europe 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, but word on the street is that it’s really a first-person piece on how former Communist bloc countries have kept beer prices under $1 a pint.

We might have to start a liver transplant fund for him.

In case anyone cared, Rob never did pay that parking ticket. BART backed down in the face of Rob’s irrefutable evidence and exasperated sighs. It was a big pain in the butt, but in the end, it was worth it. We hope that’s how Rob will come to look back on his time at The Argus.

Hey, Rob! Take care, buddy. We’ll miss you.


And this is from November.

Photographer Bea Ahbeck is proof that you need not to be tall to be Swedish nor have dark hair to be smart. She’s both.

Unfortunately for us at The Argus, however, The Tiniest Viking is the latest to get thrown overboard in the shipwreck that is the news business.

Her layoff was made official Friday.

It’s a big loss. Bea’s tough as nails: both at the Argus poker table, where she finished many a close seconds, and out in the field.

We worked Sundays together in 2006, and I remember one time she climbed to the edge of a cliff to get the best possible picture of a hang glider who had crashed below.

That autumn was Stakeout Sunday. Nearly every week between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Fremont cops were doing some kind of SWAT operation usually with a crazy person trapped inside of a house. We’d sneak around barriers and peak over fences looking for better views, often during critical junctures of NY Giants games that I was missing.

Here are some of the types of photos that will be missing from the paper now that she’s gone.

There’s the artistic shots, like this during a project in Africa:

The American classic shots:

The portraits:

The underwater:

The beautiful:

And, the truly scary:

We also won’t have her web productions, including this really funny one about peacocks in Union City.

But Bea’s still around. She actually lives in Fremont, and, in case you’re in the market, I hear she’s a super great wedding photographer.

As for the Argus, we still have an excellent photographer based out of Fremont, and others have come down to help out when he’s not around. And, if they can’t make it down here, fear not, I have a Cannon four megapixel sharpshooter, and I’m not afraid to use it.

Check out this self-portrait. The future of newspapers is at hand:


In memoriam: Harry Brumbaugh

UPDATE (3/12/09): Here’s a photo of Harry Brumbaugh:



In addition to Art Lampert, another person who once served on the Alameda County Water District board passed away last week.

Harry Brumbaugh was on the board from the mid-1960s to 1990 and taught social science at Washington High in Fremont for 35 years. One of his daughters, Diana Brumbaugh, also taught at WHS for eight years and now works as the assistant principal at Mission San Jose High.

Brumbaugh was one month shy of his 84th birthday. He died peacefully at home, according to family members.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. March 20 at St. James Episcopal Church, 37051 Cabrillo Dr., Fremont. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Salvation Army.

I’ll update this post if I get a photo of him.


In memoriam: Art Lampert

There was an article today about former Fremont City Councilman Art Lampert dying due to a health-related issue on Saturday. The 78-year-old had served on the council from 1972-80 and, until this weekend, served on the Alameda County Water District board.

A celebration of life in Lampert’s memory will take place April 4 at Washington Hospital. Time TBD.

Below is Lampert’s candidate statement from when he ran for City Council in 1972, provided by his family: Continue Reading