Tri-City movie theaters have healthier popcorn

I get a food newsletter called Nutrition Action.

The latest edition has good news for Fremont moviegoers. The local theater monopoly, Cinemark, happens to be the only one of the big three theater outfits that pops its popcorn in non-hydrogenated canola oil. AMC and Regal both use coconut oil.

What’s the difference?

Well a large popcorn at Cinemark’s theaters in Union City, Newark and Milpitas has 910 calories and four grams of saturated fat. AMC’s large hs 57 grams of saturated fat and Regal’s has 60 grams of saturated fat.


Mark Green to run for County Supervisor

Union City Mayor Mark Green told our Linh Tat this evening that he is running for the Alameda County Supervisor seat being vacated by Gail Steele.

He’ll have a lot of company on the Democratic Primary ballot in June. Already in the race are former state Senator Liz Figueroa, Hayward City Councilman Kevin Dowling and Nadia Lockyer,  the executive director of the Alameda County Family Justice Center.

Green had filled out a statement of intent to run this summer, but he listed his wife as the treasurer and hadn’t raised any money, so it wasn’t clear if he was really going to run.

County Supervisor is as plum a political job as you can get. There are no term limits, and no matter how frustrated voters get, they never take it out on their county supervisor. Once you’re in, you’re pretty much set for life. Just ask Green as Union City Councilman Richard Valle. They both tried and failed to oust Steele.

I took a look at the candidate campaign contribution lists last week. Lockyer had already raised nearly $70,000 through June. It probably doesn’t hurt that her husband is state Treasurer and former state Attorney General Bill Lockyer. Quite a few of her contributors live closer to Baja than they do to Hayward.


Fremont less crime-ridden than most

Congressional Quarterly, a slightly more reliable source for stats than Men’s Health, has released its crime rankings for cities with more than 75,000 people. That means no Union City or Newark.

Fremont was ranked 90th out of  393.

There’s a lot less crime than in Berkeley, which ranked 294th and Oakland, which was 391th. Yikes.

The safest city is Colonie, NY, a pleasant suburb of Albany, where it’s sometimes too cold to start cars let alone steal them five months out of the year.

Livermore, Sunnyvale and Vacaville all had lower crime rates than Fremont.


Fremont Unified eliminates parent conferences

There’s an article in today’s paper about Fremont Unified eliminating the two traditional parent conference days as part of this year’s budget cuts. Teachers had their work year reduced by five days (equivalent to about a 2.67 percent pay cut), so they’re not meeting with every parent. Some will still meet with parents who request a conference, but there are reports that other teachers are refusing to set up face-to-face meetings, opting instead to communicate by phone or e-mail. (District officials say they expect that if a parent specifically requests a meeting, that teachers would still honor that request.)

Some parents feel they’re not missing much by not having conferences, while others are outraged. Some feel the elimination of face-to-face time with teachers is a step back for a district whose leaders say they want to improve communication with stakeholders.

What do you think?


Water Park was profitable

I know a few people wanted an update on the Water Park’s first season.

I don’t have specific stats – those will be released next month – but the city said it was profitable even though average daily attendance didn’t reach 1,100.

Here’s the explanation:

 The attendance ended up at 70,000. 1,100/day was not a magic  break even number. It was what the studies projected the attendance to be based on the facility having maximum occupancy of 1,500 and the geographic region. Once we were up and running, we determined that the maximum occupancy for safety was 1,250.


Face lift for Bay Street

bay streetDoes better infrastructure beget more happening streets? Fremont is about to find out.

The city is pumping more than $8 million for streetscape improvements to Bay Street, Papazian Way and Trimboli Way in the Irvington District.

They’re going to widen sidewalks, install a traffic circle with a coastal live oak tree in the middle, plant 43 other trees, install bike racks and steel benches, and construct decorative street lights.

And, of course, no urban design project is complete without sideway bulb-outs to make it easier for folks to cross the street.

The hope is that all the improvements, and some looser zoning rules,  will persuade property owners to build more “intense” development in the area.  A couple of years ago, the city built a new parking lot there in hopes that all the infrastructure improvements would lead to a parking shortage. We’ll see.


Livengood exits Assembly Race, endorses Yee

Milpitas Mayor Bob Livengood has dropped this evening out of the Assembly race and endorsed Ohlone College Trustee Garrett Yee over his lone opponent, Fremont City Councilman Bob Wieckowski.

Yee and Livengood held a press confrence outside Milpitas City Hall and then sent emails out about it to folks like me. I’ll call them for comments tomorrow, but it just so happens I was in the same room as Bob Wieckowski when the emails were sent.

Wieckowski was less loquacious than usual. He said it doesn’t change much for him and that Milpitas is now open territory. Meanwhile Bill Harrison, who got a text message about the endorsement during Tuesday’s council meeting, said that Livengood’s departure means his man Wieckowski can debate Yee one-one-one, mano-a-mano without Livengood to get in the way.


Some good news for Wieckowski

When Bob Wieckowski runs for Assembly next year, he’ll be doing it as Fremont’s vice mayor, a meaningless title that still sounds better than councilman.

It wouldn’t be unheard of for a council to name its favorite son as Vice Mayor to help him out in a regional campaign: I think Richard Valle skipped ahead when he was running for County Supervisor in 2006.

But that isn’t the case here. Under Council rules, it would have been either Wieckowski or Sue Chan, but Wieckowski got the nod because he got more votes in last year’s election. Wieckowski was appointed unanimously.


Saddle Rack in trouble

The Bay Area’s biggest and best country western bar has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week

The Saddle Rack isn’t closing its doors just yet, but it’s going to a Wednesday through Saturday schedule.

Apparently, its been a bad year for the bar. Not only are revenues down, but it’s appealing a six-figure  judgement from a personal injury complaint against it and contesting about $100,000 in taxes the state says it owes.

To make matters worse, two months ago, burglars made off with the bar’s ATM machine.

In brighter news, I recently chickened out of riding the mechanical bull, which surely would have resulted in another personal injury lawsuit.  I still marvel that our photographer can walk after his dismount.

All the news stuff is from our business reporter George Avalos. He should have a full story in our business page/section tomorrow.