Ohlone sees support for big bond

I wrote a story for today’s paper that Ohlone College is considering a new bond initiative in November, 2010; and that a survey it commissioned showed that 58 percent of those queried were likely to support it — more than the 55 percent needed for passage.

That was surprising.

For one, it was only eight years ago that voters approved a $150 million bond for Ohlone, which paid for the new Newark Campus and other projects.

Two, bond measures benefit from a sexy project to sell voters, like a new campus, a seismically safe hospital or new fire stations so men making more than $100k per year don’t suffer the indignity of listening to each other snore in buildings prone to collapsing in earthquakes.

But Ohlone’s bond has no sex appeal. The research firm asked voters to gauge what they’d like to see addressed in a facilities bond. The top item was proper ventilation in science classrooms to allow safe use of chemicals. zzzzzzzzzzzzz. Not exactly the stuff of punchy campaign fliers. Maybe, they’ll have a glossy photo of a kid wearing a lab coat and a gas mask.

Then again Fremont residents, at least, seem to love bond measures almost as much as they hate taxes, so maybe it will pass.

Matt Artz


  1. Whose assets are seized when Ohlone college can’t remit on a $350 milliom debt obligation? Is this Ohlone’s responsibility alone, or is Fremont liable? I ask because I can’t imagine any scenario where CA cities and such can continue to fund expansion on bonds. Christ, T-bills when negative last month. Who buys this trash?

  2. Matt, your disdain for our firefighters is disheartening. For one thing, firefighting is no longer an exclusively male profession. But it seems that your problem centers mainly around what they are paid.

    When’s the last time you had to fish a three-year-old out of a pool and know what to do to try to save it’s life? Could you do that? How about picking the same homeless guy up for the 500th time and keeping him alive long enough to get to the hospital to treat what ails him? Or tending to a septo- or octogenarian in cardiac arrest? Then there’s car accidents, hazardous materials spills, downed power lines and, of course, fires. Frankly, their training and dedication puts most of us to shame, and shame on you – again.

  3. Irvington – couldn’t agree with you more – as firefighter/EMTs saved my dad’s life in a heart attack. Snide comments are out of place here.

  4. You two are out of your minds. A firefighter in Fremont makes nearly the salary of a physician at Kaiser.

    I hope you proponents of paying fire staff $160,000 per year start coming up with ways to fund it. I for one haven’t spend a dime of sales tax in Fremont this Christmas season and am damn proud of it. I’ll let guys like Irv with their inveterate support of unions put their money where their mouths are, so to speak.

  5. Matt, I seem to sense a theme in your recent posts. No sex clubs in Fremont. College bonds aren’t “sexy”. Perhaps your Freudian slip is showing.

  6. I can support a Ohlone Bond Measure. The college is local for all of our local students who have been frozen out of Cal State and Berkely because of the high cost of tution.
    Ohlone is a bargain for our local students.
    It seems that Matts sense of humour is more important then our Students!, lighten up.

  7. Marty,

    Ohlone College is an independent governmental agency, with its own elected board of trustees. Cities (Fremont, Newark, or a tiny part of Union City) have no responsibility for the college or its obligations.

    I think, if they are going for a 55% election, it has to be in November, coincident with the election of trustees. If they try June, it would require 2/3. IMHO, I think they need to work hard to build a constituency if they want a measure to pass in this financial environment.

  8. Here’s an interesting analysis of fire and police pay in Davis, CA.


    There’s a gross discrepancy between fire an police pay (firefighters make substantially more while having less responsibility for their pay rank). But what is most egregious how base salaries exploded from 2000 – 2009. Some data:

    In 2000 firefighters made between 44,225 (firefighter I) and 48,653 (firefighter II). In 2009 they made between 75,342 and 92,660, respectively. Mind you this is base pay, and not factoring in promotions. It means a firefighter entering the force in 2009 is making 70 % more than what the guy or gal who started in 2000 was paid. It means that a Firefighter I promoted to Firefighter II in 2009 is paid 90 % more than one promoted in 2000!

    Using my trusty inflation calculator, 44,225 in 2009 dollars is 55,519, and 48,653 in 2009 dollars is 61,078. The money alloted by the city of Davis has outpaced inflation by 36 % for the firefighter I position and 51 % for the firefighter II position.

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