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Blast from visions past

By Matt Artz
Tuesday, May 12th, 2009 at 1:28 pm in Uncategorized.

I came across was handed the below column in the Mercury News, which was published on Oct. 8, 1989 1999 (oops) about Fremont plan that offered, let’s just say, a rosy vision for the city’s future. 

The column was written by Dennis Rockstroh, and, considering the council is talking about a Fremont Boulevard street car service and killing its championship golf course dream, it was interesting enough to me that I’m transcribing it below. Here it goes:

A $230,000 plan goes for naught

I once saw the future.

But we’ve been tricked.

Here’s what a 1989, $230,000 taxpayer-paid plan said about Fremont’s future:

“The tour begins at the Visitor’s Bureau office in the Chadbourne House in front of the Fremont Hub.

“The Fremont Hub is a bustling community center of four-to-six-story office buildings and specialty shops. Three movie theaters, two nightclubs and an award-winning Brazilian/Portuguese restaurant make the Hub an attractive place for an evening’s entertainment.”

OK. Go ahead and laugh, but when you’re finished, I feel it is my obligation to tell you that we’re only halfway through this plan, which was nine months in the making. I’m hoping that the Brazilian/Portuguese restaurant –award winning, of course — could become a reality.

But not likely, said Fremont Mayor Gus Morrison.

“It would depend on the demographics,” he said, noting that the old Portuguese families that settled in the area long ago are substantially outnumbered now.

Here’s the trick part.

When I sought to find out which of the 70 suggestions made in the costly study paid by you were followed, hizzhonor said that he didn’t know of any that had been acted on by the present council.

Politics.

Let me address that later.

All of the recommendations from the 1989 City of Fremont Strategic Plan were aimed at making the Bay Area’s forth-largest city a better place to live with monuments, theaters, swimming pools, gateways and a slogan.

One suggestion was to replace Fremont’s “nondescript blue-collar” image. That has been done largely by accident and largely by newcomers to East Silicon Valley.

Some recommendations were doomed from the start, such as the plan to construct a business retreat next to the future championship golf course at the base of Mission Peak.

Politics. Other reasons, too. But mostly politics.

While many of the study’s recommendations were actually accomplished — possibly accidentally — the report was ignored. Your $230,000 investment was pretty much a waste.

Politics.

To understand Fremont politics, you must understand concepts such as Republicans vs. Democrats, Dodgers vs. Giants and dogs vs. cats.

Over the years, we Fremont-watchers — and there are many of us, so watch it — have divided the political thrust in this community into two major camps, which we call Old Guard 1 and Old Guard 2.

The bottom line is this: The 1989 work was mostly the product of Old Guard 2. Shortly after, political control moved to Old Guard 1.

The new Old Guard may have some of the same goals as the old Old Guard, but they don’t want to play that up. It would be like Democrats taking up Republican ideas. That can only happen quietly.

As the years went on, we East Silicon Valley-watchers placed Fremont politicians into the two camps. Except for one.

There are too many names to mention here but suffice it to say that among the Old Guard 1 camp followers you would see the names of Parry, Olsen, Morrison, Zlatnik, Dutra, Alvarez, Milnes, Stein, Torchia and McIvor.

Among the Old Guard 2 members would be the names of Mezzetti, Ball, Mello, Loisel, Roessler, Zager, Holmes, Wong, Japra and Pease.

Of course, these things change from time to time. And our brain trust decided that Councilman Bob Wasserman is a switch-hitter, able to swing from the right or the left.

The study’s make-believe-tour ends in the Mission San Jose-Warm Springs areas where most of the really neat new stuff is happening in Fremont.

“After the Mission (which is crowded with tourists), the next destination is the Weibel Champagne Cellars for a picnic and a complimentary glass of champagne. From the picnic site, Fremont’s championship golf course and the adjacent business retreat are visible.”

Not.

I went there. No golf course, no retreat. Houses, houses, just houses.

Say, did you know that Fremont once had a longtime,working winery?

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  • bigT

    Weibel!!!!!!!!!! I used to work for a distributor selling Green Hungarian to grocery stores

  • Irvington

    Matt – It’s charming, really, that you didn’t know about our winery. There’s a lot about Berkeley history that I don’t have a clue about.

    Houses, houses everywhere – they’re a plague on our town – in the minds of our City Fathers, storage for the working and consuming units that tend and support the business interests that, in turn, support the City Fathers. Their idea of a perfect symbiotic relationship. Of course, the houses aren’t the worst; it’s the “high density dwelling units” that will eventually take us under.

    But you gotta love the mental picture engengered by the description of Bob Wasserman as a “switch hitter”!