We’ve posted my story on BART’s groundbreaking today in Central Park. It was long, and at the end, a lot of people you guys elected into office got to wear hard hats, pose for pictures and sign each other’s commemorative shovels.
So what does this mean for Fremont drivers and Central park users?
Well, There will be lane closures on Stevenson when the time comes to build the BART tunnel below Stevenson around Guardino. But we don’t know when that will be. The trench through Central Park will cut into a lot grassy open space, but it won’t disturb any park facilities like the baseball and softball fields.
And for all you joggers, a dam will be built into the east end of Lake Elizabeth during construction. The temporary trail will detour runners onto the dam, so the path will be a little less than its current two miles.
I went to a 7:30 a.m. meeting today on health care reform, sponsored by the Fremont Chamber. I’m deciding whether or not I can put everything I heard into a coherent story, which is tough because I’ve mostly been ignoring the health care debate other than YouTubing videos of Pete Stark talking about bodily functions.
Washington Hospital Doctor Joseph Andresen gave a report, which I wish I could post on here.
1) Per capita, the U.S. spends $6,567 on health care costs, which is the most in the world and more than $2,000 more than the number two country, Switzerland.
2) Average worker premiums have gone up from 5,791 in 1999 to $13,375 this year. Workers’ contributions have more than doubled from $1,543 to $3,515.
3) During that time period, inflation is 29 percent, but the cost of health care premiums have increased 119 percent.
James Logan High School alumnus Matt Leal (class of 2000) has been blogging about the deadly tsunami that hit villages in Samoa and American Samoa, killing at least 39 people, on Tuesday. Leal, 27, has been on a Peace Corps assignment in Apia, Samoa, since last October. His mom said that he and the other Peace Corps members are safe.
Here’s an excerpt from his blog (in blue):
Most of Apia evacuated to higher ground. Uphill roads became one-way highways for cars and buses, but most of us just walked. Tsunami sirens blared across Apia. Church bells rang. My school rang its bell. …
I walked with a couple girls from my 11.3 class and held an impromptu geology lesson.
There was much confusion as to where we were supposed t go and where we could stop. Students asked me where we were going, and I could only tell them we were going “Up.” A couple teachers also asked me. “I was following you,” I said. …
It’s unclear what this means for the rest of the school day. Since there’s no articulated evacuation point, students and staff were strewn across multiple villages and it seems impossible for us all to come back and spend the rest of the day as normally scheduled.
Bob Wieckowski sent out another press release touting his some of his more prominent supporters for next year’s State Assembly race. Last time it was Mayor Wasserman and former Mayor Gus Morrison. This time it was Fremont councilmembers Anu Natarajan and Bill Harrison.
Not to be outdone, Garrett Yee sent out an email today with quotes from some of his supporters, like Newark Councilman Al Huezo and former Ohlone College Trustee Doug Treadway.
No word yet on who Vinnie Bacon’s dog will be barking for.
Retired Washington High School Football coach Jim Ingram should be a happy man. There are plans to name the field house at Tak Fudenna stadium after him and to build a bust of him to put in the field house.
But, of course, there’s no money for the bust, right now. So a fundraiser with the old coach has been scheduled for the afternoon of Sunday, Oct. 18. Go Huskies.
East Bay resident Wynn Grcich spoke at the Newark City Council meeting Thursday and opened her 20-minute speech — which focused largely on water issues throughout the region – by urging the state’s longest sitting mayor (Dave Smith) to run for Governor. She lauded Smith’s leadership — particularly his effort in helping Newark maintain a fairly balanced budget over the years – and offered to run his campaign. She opined that if San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom could run — ever after leading his city into more than $300 million in debt — that Smith should try his hand.
Mayor Smith chuckled and remarked “only if I can take all of these people (the council and city staff) with me.”
For the second time in recent months, I’ve been tripped up by police scanner traffic that led me to believe there was an active SWAT incident going on in the Tri-City area.
In May I heard SWAT action on the Fremont police radio channels, and it turned out to be nothing more than a training exercise at a defunct car dealership. And today I heard similar static on the Union City radio channels. One big difference though: I didn’t race out there today with my notebook and press pass in hand. Instead I was able to confirm by telephone that stuff I was hearing was indeed a training exercise.
I suppose it’s a dead give away when you hear an officer calmly say “shots fired,” instead of screaming it as would be the case if the incident were real.
For you scanner junkies, be aware that this training will also be taking place tomorrow.
What was supposed to be a united rally against state budget cuts and a push for local school funding turned into an attack on the Fremont teachers’ union and the no-layoff clause for permanent teachers in its contract during last night’s education/budget forum.
Overall, the event was a tame affair. Three or four dozen people attended — about half of which I recognized as elected officials, school administrators or the super-involved parents who serve on various school committees. A couple of the organizers said after the event that they had hoped for a larger turnout and agreed that perhaps they had been preaching to the choir. Nevertheless, they’re hoping those who heard their message will pass it on to others in the community.
That message being that the fiscal crisis the district finds itself in (about a $20 million deficit) is the fault of the state Legislature which keeps making cuts to education; that there needs to be a Constitutional amendment so that state budgets no longer need two-thirds legislative approval to pass; and that it behooves everyone in the community to support a local schools parcel tax. Read the rest of this entry »