MSJE picket

UPDATE (8:18 p.m.): The school board voted 3-2 not to transfer Curtis from MSJE. Trustees Ivy Wu, Lily Mei and Larry Sweeney voted not to move her. Trustees Bryan Gebhardt and Lara York were the “no” votes.

The regular board meeting also started nearly 1.5 hours late — a new record! I don’t know if the hold-up was due to the board not coming to an agreement over this decision or if it had to do with another issue.


(ORIGINAL ENTRY): Here’s a photo that someone submitted from Tuesday’s picket at Mission San Jose Elementary. A group of parents say their principal, Bonnie Curtis, is being forced to transfer to another campus, even though the administrator said it ultimately was her decision. Read the full story by clicking here.

The school board is scheduled to vote on the possible reassignment tonight.



No more outdoor smoking at Fremont restaurants

Remember me? I used to be a blogger. Sorry for the paucity of posts and lame attempt at alliteration.  I’ve been busy with other stuff and had to cut out something. I’ll be blogging more regularly again in a few weeks.

I tried to do a live council blog last night, but had some technical difficulties. Too bad. It was a mildly amusing meeting. The only news is that the council passed the first draft of an ordinance to ban restaurants from allowing outdoor smoking. Restaurants had been able to designate half of their outdoor seating for smoking, but that’ll change for good in early December when the new law goes into effect.

I tried to find some angry smokers today, but only landed one guy with an opinion but no name, and a lass with no opinion. Oh well.



Yankee manager Joe Girardi is an idiot. He should be chained to the dugout railing to avoid making imbecilic pitching changes. Second time this season he took out a reliever with the bases empty and two outs only to have the new pitcher give up the game-losing run.

I’m not the only P-O’ed person in Fremont. Several folks who live near the Sikh Temple around Mission Boulevard and Gurdwara Drive are upset about a Temple event this weekend. There were lots of emails between residents and city officials. Residents wrote of parking, traffic and fire cracker nuisances. They also wrote that the Temple folks didn’t let them know about the shindig.


Post offices still at risk

I missed this, but some on the Niles Chat group didn’t. The Postal Service issued an updated list of post offices threatened with closure. Niles and Mission San Jose are still on the chopping block.

The list of threatened post offices is now down to 371. It will be whittled down some more before it’s final.


Useless press release of the month

It’s Elevator/Escalator Safety Week in Fremont. Is there an escaltor in town outside of Target? And can one truly celebrate Elevator/Escalator Safety Awareness?

Fremont celebrates National Elevator Escalator Safety Awareness Week

October 19, 2009 – FREMONT, Calif. – Mayor Bob Wasserman of Fremont signed a proclamation declaring November 8 – 14, 2009 as National Elevator Escalator Safety Awareness Week. Safety Week is a promotion of public safety awareness for the elevator and escalator industry’s equipment. The Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation (EESF) sponsors Safety Week annually during the second full week of November.


Anu Natarajan has a new gig

Congratulations to Fremont Councilmember Anu Natarajan. Not only did she land a job, but she escaped the tedium of her chosen field, urban planning. No more Environmental Impact Reports and Mitigated Negative Declarations for Anu.

Instead, she’s been named program manager for the “Realizing the California Dream,” whose goal is to promote government and fiscal reforms.

The position is funded jointly by The American Leadership Forum-Silicon Valley and Joint Venture: Silicon Valley.


Bye-bye, Milt

Fremont Superintendent Milt Werner shocked some in the audience at tonight’s school board meeting by announcing that he is stepping down at the end of June to spend more time with his family. (Click here for news story.) He said his recent performance review and the stress of dealing with budget cuts did not play a part in his decision.

School board President Larry Sweeney confirmed that Werner received a positive evaluation and was surprised by the decision. A district press release said the board “reluctantly” accepted Werner’s resignation.

Werner will retire with two years left on his contract.

The last superintendent for FUSD, Doug Gephart, also retired early. His decision came as a shock to some as well, since he had recently signed a multi-year contract with the district.

Likewise, Pat Jaurequi stunned the community in July 2008 when she stepped down as schools chief of the New Haven school district to head another district.


Live Council Blog

7:42 The publicity guy for the Express Lane project just stopped by my table. He said their studies show that people who are late – often mothers picking up their kids – are the ones most likely to use it. I figured it would be rich people and people with bad credit, who act like they’re rich. I also complained to him about HOV lanes. I got a ticket a few years ago for driving in the HOV lane. It cost me my entire Argus NCAA Basketball Pool winnings.

7:27 p.m. Anu Natarajan is asking questions:

She asks about where the money goes. Unclear answer

Now it’s Bill Harrison

He’s talking about some Torrico bill and talk about the Express Lanes also being used on weekends.  Harrison says it’s exciting. All for council members in attendance have Fastrak. Wieckowski is out. I hear he had a death in the family.

Wasserman likes it too. California is sometimes so strange to me. People go crazy about raising property taxes, but everyone seems to think its great to charge $9.75 to drive on the freeway. In New York we have super high property taxes and toll roads, but at least the schools have art and music classes and class sizes are under 35. This crummy weather must be making me nostolgic.

Anyway, the meeting is adjourned. I’m going to look at old Don Mattingly videos on YouTube.

7:25: It’s Question/Sue Chan time.  First question: this there a camera? Yes, for enforcement.

What’s the range? It’s a big mystery. It hasn’t been set. It could be as low as zero when there’s no demand. In SoCal it’s been as high as $9.75. I’d rather be late.

What about hybrids? The state decides if solo drivers in hybrids can use the express lane for free.


7:22 p.m. Looks like this Express Lane/Toll Lane are already established in So Cal and Minnesota. Caltrans is showing a video extoling the project.  Basically if you’re a solo driver with Fastrak, you can enter the Express/Toll Lane for a fee (the video said $4) and glide on through Fremont.

7:15 p.m.  This is going to be a super quick meeting. Only thing left on agenda is a report on the planned I-680 Express Lane, or the I-680 Toll Lane. I’m interested to hear the report. I know that this is getting promoted as pro-environment because fewer cars might be idling, but the idea that rich folks can pay to avoid traffic feels a little strange.

John Dutra told me a year or so ago that he had a lot to do with the legislation that is bringing us the Express Lane. I didn’t say anything, but I was thinking that he shouldn’t be able to avoid the traffic I’m in just because he can afford the toll. But maybe it’s a good idea.

It’s Council prolocamation time.

The council is honoring the winning team of The Bike To Work Challenge. Three of the winning cyclists are from Fremont. They and they’re families comprised about half the people in the council chamber. It’s almost empty now. Marshak of the Tri-City Voice is here.

I actually saw him and his wife last week at Argus headquarters. We’re taking up less space these days, and he’s looking for more elbow room, so we might actually occupy the same office. It’s hard to imagine the TCB and TCV under the same roof, but I already have to sit in between a Red Sox fan and a Boys to Men fan, so things really can’t get much worse.