No ceremony for Echo Karaoke’s closing

Tonight marks the closure of the Vancouver Olympics and Echo Karaoke in Ardenwood.

The parlor was unloved by Yelpers and Fremont police who said there was underage drinking and other things going on that shouldn’t have been, according to city officials.

They told me that Echo is to close after today, but the property owner is looking for a new operator to reopen the place.

Today also marks my four-year anniversary at the Argus/Oakland Tribune/San Jose Mercury News/Fremont Bulletin+.

It would have a been a nice anniversary if the stinking Canadians hadn’t ruined it.


Credits: How/Getty

Cop report

A lot of robberies/burglaries yesterday. All in formation is from the police. No reporting on my part.

A woman putting her groceries into her car at Food Maxx was approached my a man who wanted to use her cell phone. The guy then knocked her to the ground and tried to steal her purse. When she struggled, he punched her several times in the mouth, before fleeing in a white Toyota four-door car driven by a heavyset Hispanic woman.

The next robbery was at a jewelery store on Grimmer Boulevard. A couple of dudes with guns, one being an assault rifle entered the store with ski masks covering their faces. They tied up the victims and left with about $1,300 in cash. I’m guessing we’ll have more on this one soon.

Shortly thereafter, officers were dispatched to Allegro Music where they arrested a 19-year-old and two juvys, who were found with three stolen guitars, which might have been lifted from a Union City store.

Last, but not least two males in their early 20s stole snowboards from REI. An REI employee witnessed the theft and called police, who followed the burglars to Blacow and Mowry, where they arrested the duo and recovered the snowboards.


What’s up Doc



If you’re going to spend $100,000 collecting stuff, it should be something most everybody can enjoy. So kudos to Newark resident Eric Calande. The video game designer is exhibiting a good portion of his collection of original Warner Brothers animation prints and cells at the Olive Hyde Gallery in Fremont.

I talked to him there today and shot some horrific video that may or may not accompany the story online. Anyway, it’s a neat exhibit, and if you’re like me and think requested donations are for other people, it’s totally free. The exhibit will run for the next couple of weeks, but the gallery is only open Thursday through Sunday.

Check out the below photo. It’s Elmer Fudd as a Viking.


Looney Tunes and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and � Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Shanghai Expo Right Now in Fremont Central Park


Your friends in the Chinese government have brought Chinese artisans and dancers to Central Park to celebrate the new year. It’s part of Shanghai Expo, which Chinese authorities are bringing to Poland Belgium and Fremont. It’s going on from 3 to 7 p.m. this evening at the outdoor stage behind the senior center.

The blue guy is the mascot and the fat guy on the gourd is the work of Chinese gourd painter, who’ll be happy to tell you all about his craft, if you speak Mandarin.


Council Meeting Diary

The City Coucnil is preparing to once again talk about the General Plan, which will guide development in Fremont through 2030. No Ishan Shah today. But Fremont Citizen’s Network President Kathy McDonald is here. That could be a sign that she’s the group’s mystery City Council candidate. Or it could mean that she’s not that into Ladies Figure Skating.

I’m into figure skating, especially since I’m from the same town the greatest figure skater ever,  2002 Gold Medalist Sarah Hughes.

Before I came here, I was at Mission Coffee, where I ran into former City Council Candidate and Former Minute Man Charles Bartlett. He said the local Minute Man contingent has mostly moved into the Tea Party movement.
Meanwhile you might remember that Bartlett and other Minute Men / Ron Paul Supporters had gained control over the Alameda County Republican Party.

Well the Republican rebels didn’t have enough money to fight the lawsuit, so they lost on appeal, Bartlett said. The legal defeat meant they lost a majority on the Alameda County GOP’s Central Committee, he added. Without a majority, the rebs quit, and two of them, according to Bartlett, Walter Stanley and Dave Latour started the local Open Carry movement that we’ve been writing a lot about.

Anyway back to the General Plan Vision Book, which is supposed to let Joe and Jane Fremont better understand what this General Plan thing is all about.

 Once more, Fremont’s going to be model for going from a car-oriented suburb to a slightly less car-oriented suburb.  Sustainability is the theme. This will be the first general plan with a sustainability element.

“Treat the earth well. It was not given to you by your parents; it was loaned to you by your children.” That’s the quote of the day, courtesy of the Web site “Urban Design Quotes. Mayor Wasserman called it marvellous. I think we’re going to boil quinoa and douse ourselves in patchouli during the next break.

The new General Plan will say that in a truly great city, residents should be able to live happy and full lives without a car. Plan still calls for some kind of rapid bus for Fremont Boulevard.

The city keeps calling Fremont Boulevard the city’s spine. But if it’s a spine, there’s no vertebrae. You can walk a good four minutes along the boulevard in Centerville between side streets. Not very pedestrian friendly.

Fremont is aging. To counter that, Fremont will have farmer’s markets and hiking trails.

Fremont still wants to revitalize the elusive goal of revitalizing town centers, like Centerville and Irvington.

City wants to establish art zones.

More quotes :The 20th century was about getting around, the 21st century will be about” something else … I missed it. Something about enhanching urban areas.

Another paraphrase of a quote: “How can I look at my grandchilren in the eye and know all that was happening and did nothing about it.”

In a nutshell, the city staffers are saying Fremont’s going to be a little less car oriented, a little more desnely-populated in pockets of the city.

It’s question time. No it’s compliment time.

Wieckowski says this Vision Book, which I couldn’t print out today, will become commonplace among planners.

Bill Marshak isn’t that impressed with the Vision Book. You can read his opinion in a local periodical, whose initials are almost identical to TCB. 

Now it’s time for Anu Natarajan. She’s the one who asked for a vision book because she thought people could grasp it better then a dense, hard-to-read general plan.

She says format of the Vision Book is great, but all the pieces aren’t woven together. “It’s not telling a compelling story yet.”

The introduction doesnt’ really tell readers the vision for Fremont, she says. Some parts have too many specifics. Fremont shouldn’t be defensive about providing less parking, she says. She has a lot more comments, but, from what I’m reading, they can’t compare to Yu-na Kim’s performance in Vancouver.

Now it’s time for Wasserman, who thinks the Vision Book is a great document. He says intro could have been a bit stronger. We’re done. Anyone who wants to see this Vision Book, click here. Meeting’s over.


Save the Niles Post Office

The group working to saving the Niles Post  Office from extinction just emailed me the below spreadsheet showing that Fremont already has relatively few post offices given its population. As of last month, the Niles Branch is one of 162 post offices still on the chopping block. The info is from   www.city-data.com,   www.USPS.com, and www.california.hometownlocator.com.



PO/ store 5 mi.max Med. Inc. Land area

Sq. mi.

Pop/ 5 mi


Alameda   70,580   6693 4/ 1 25   $86,516. 10.80   2,823
Atherton     7,406   1,467 1 14 $240,482.   4.90      529
Belmont   24,776   5,551 2 11   $80,905   4.53   2,252
Castro Valley   57,420   3,980 1 10   $81,629. 14.43   5,742
Foster City   28,803   7,664 1   9 $114,564.   3.80   3,220
Fremont 202,867   2,652 5/ 2 10   $94,866.  87.10 20,266
Hayward 142,061   7,941 3/ 1   8   $61.880.  44.33 17,757
Hillsborough   10,844   1,746 0   9 $232,253.    6.23   1,204
Los Altos  28,349   4,360 1 16 $151,481.    6.35   1,771
Los Altos Hills    8,592      917 0 12 $207,453.    8.62     716
Los Gatos  29,320   2,669 1   8 $112,731.  10.71   3,665
Menlo Park  30,089   3,040 1 14 $101,734.  10.13   2,149
Monte Sereno    3,602   3,105 1   8 $184,383.    1.16      450
Newark   41,781   2,990 1   9   $87,261.  13.97   4,642
Oakland 404,155   7,126 20/ 3 30   $48,699. 56.06 13,471
Palo Alto   59,395   2,475 5 13 $108,020. 23.67   4,568
Redwood City   74,060   3,871 3 14   $76,905. 19.48   5,290
San Carlos   27,238   4,604 1 12 $106,365.   5.92   2,269
San Jose 948,279 10,319 20/ 5 27   $80,616. 28.65   3,521
San Leandro   77,880   6,053 3 12   $60,265. 13.13   6,490
San Lorenzo   21,947   7,820 1 10   $70,677.   2.77   2,194
Santa Clara 110,200 5,566 3/ 2 25   $92,619. 18.30   4,408
Saratoga   30,445 2,515 1   9 $167,204. 12.11   3,382
Sunnyvale 132,109 6,006 3/ 3 19   $89,543. 21.94   6,953
Union City   66,869 3,746 1   8   $81,491. 19.30   8,358
Woodside     5,579    453 1   9 $205,726. 11.76      620

New sports facilities for Fremont, Part 1

mission san jose aquaticsMission San Jose Aquatics is raising money to build a $13 million pool near City Beach. One parent wrote me that the facility will include an Olympic-size pool and a multi-use pool with a soft bottom and a beach-like entry.

I’m not sure what that means, but he writes that it’ll be great for disabled people and beginner swimmers.

The club is hoping the pool will get a lot of community use. Fremont doesn’t have a public pool for free swim, although community groups can rent out the pool at American High School, and some neighborhood associations have cabana clubs. There is free-swim at the Silliman Center in Newark and Logan High in Union City.


New sports facility in Fremont, Part II

skateparkFremont is strongly considering building the new skate park near the old Swim Lagoon in Central Park, directly north of the Water Park. The city has $1.2 million to build the park, which officials say will be a lot bigger than the old one (photographed above), which closed last year.

A vote on the project consultant is scheduled to go to council next week, and the park is expected to open in 2012.