A silver lining to ed budget cuts

Here’s the latest student column, by the Newark student board rep. Next month, we’ll hear from New Haven Unified’s Leslie Salvador.


By Evangel PenumakaEvangel Penumaka

Newark Unified student board member

Before this school year, I wasn’t very concerned with the number of budget cuts being made. I hadn’t realized the consequences of these changes and felt they wouldn’t really affect me. At the same time, I had no idea who was making all these decisions that would change our school and passed it off as the Faceless Man who could care less about the schools, the students and the teachers. That being said, my experience on the Newark school board has opened my eyes.

This year, I’m piecing together how everything works, what different factors play a role in the decisions made, as well as the number of people who make these decisions. I learn new things at every board meeting, and I’ve realized how naïve I was. These cuts will affect everyone, regardless of the different impact it has on us.  Continue Reading


Fremont can’t afford to staff new fire station

This June, Fremont is scheduled to open a new fire station that it won’t be able to staff.

Fire Chief Bruce Martin told the City Council tonight that the fire department hasn’t been staffing the current fire Station 11 in the industrial zone west of Interstate 880 to save money on overtime.

A new Station 11 is under construction and is scheduled to be finished in June. The department will christen the building when its completed, but in all likelyhood it won’t staff it untill it can afford to.

Martin said  Station 11 gets thew fewest service calls because there are no residents nearby and most of the buildings have sprinklers.

For more on the fire station, click here.


Fremont to ask employees to take six days unpaid /Council Diary

It’s budget night at the City Council.

The city is facing an $11.4 million deficit in its $133.3 million general fund budget.

To help plug that gap, the city is asking its unions to accept six days unpaid during the upcoming fiscal year, which starts July 1. It’s unclear if that means City Hall will close for six days like in Newark or if workers would choose days to take off unpaid.

I don’t see any union reps here at the council meeting. The only people wearing purple are Fremont’s economic development director and deputy city manager.

The city is also planning to defer some construction projects, but isn’t proposing any major service reductions on top of last year when it stopped tree maintenance.

6:40 p.m. Jack Rogers and his cousin-in-law David Beretta just walked in. They must be here to talk about proposed changes slated for Centerville. Beretta owns a lot of property along Fremont Boulevard and Rogers heads the nearby neighborhood group.

6:45 p.m. Sue Chan is asking budget questions. A free-flowing Linda Susoev, who’s running for city council again this year, is here for the second week in a row. She brought her shopping cart, which is filled with garbage bags and a broom. Continue Reading


Ongoing SWAT operation on Fremont Boulevard btw Walnut and Stevenson

UPDATE UPDATE: Suspect is arrested. Police say they found him in a third story laundary room utility room. Police say he fled down an adjoining garbage  shute, but landed on a mound of trash near the opening to the second floor, where police were waiting for him.. He was unarmed and wearing a sweatshirt.

UPDATE: Police have closed all four lanes of a stretch of Fremont Boulevard between Walnut and Stevenson.

Photo courtesy of Steve R. Waterhouse


Fremont police have locked down the Waterstone Apts, 39800 Fremont Boulevard ,  as they search for a topless man they think fired shots about 9:24 a.m.

Sgt. Chris Mazonne said a gunman got into a confrontation with two or three people at the Village Green Apartments and fired shots in the air. Officers chased him across Fremont Boulevard to the Waterston Apartments, where they’re still looking for him. No one was injured in the shooting. The gunman apparently ripped off his jacket and shirt while fleeing from the scene of the shooting.


Fremont school board members reluctant to honor slain gay rights pioneer

harveymilkAnyone who reads The Argus knows that the Fremont school board has a conservative streak.

Last year Two years ago, the board was forced to revise its abstinence-only Middle School sex ed policy under pressure from the ACLU.

And last year, a three-member board majority (Larry Sweeney, Lily Mei and Ivy Wu) banned a book it deemed too violent for AP English students.

Now that trio is holding up a ceremonial resolution honoring Harvey Milk, the country’s first openly gay elected official. They removed it from the agenda at Wednesday’s meeting.

Linh Tat has the story in Saturday’s Argus. Read it here.

Last year, after state voters outlawed gay marriage, the Fremont City Council voted 4-1 to support the legal effort aimed at overturning the vote. The lone dissenter was Steve Cho, who’s no longer on the council. It’s strange that Fremont has a strongly pro gay marriage council and a school board that is hesitant to pass a symbolic resolution honoring a gay man who was murdered more than three decades ago.

And as far as gay marriage is concerned, Fremont voters supported it last November, but by a razor thin margin.

UPDATE: I wrote this post before realizing that Linh Tat had already done so below. So I took out the redundancies and the quotes I used from Linh’s story, but left in the board’s recent history and the comparison to the City Council. Linh has good taste in selecting photos from Google.


Harvey Milk controversy

Harvey MilkFremont school board trustees have been getting flak this week for tabling a resolution recognizing Harvey Milk Day, in honor of California’s first openly gay elected official.

Community members I’ve heard from personally have all said they’re disappointed in the board’s action. But I’ve also been told that trustees have gotten e-mails from people who support the decision.

For the record, trustees Lara York and Bryan Gebhardt wanted to move forward with voting on the resolution but Larry Sweeney, Lily Mei and Ivy Wu wanted it tabled. To read their reasons, click here.

The board is scheduled to vote on the resolution May 26 — four days after the state’s official Harvey Milk Day.


Target slated to move to Pacific Commons

targetTarget is the big box store slated to move to Pacific Commons adjacent to the planned movie theater.

The development is scheduled to open in Fall, 2011.

This makes one wonder whether Target is still interested in Creekside Landing, the stalled development closer to the Milpitas border and whether Target intends to stay at NewPark Mall. I’ll try to find out next week.

For more info on the Pacific Commons project, click here. It’s a pdf brochure from leasing agent Cornish & Carey.