Bob Brunton withdraws from Ohlone Race

It’ll just be Garrett Yee, Ishan Shah and Jan Giovannini-Hill running for two Fremont seats on the Ohlone Board.

Matt Artz


  1. Of the three that are left, two are supported by Dutra.
    He needs the votes to develop Ohlone College frontage property for a Strip Mall and Condo’s
    Is Jan Giovannini-Hill also backed by Dutra?

  2. If she is, say bye to the frontage property, because so is Shah!

  3. I am NOT a fan of candidates who are backed by developers… for City Council, for the Ohlone Board, for anything… but we should debate within the confines of verifiable facts. Please don’t slam me too hard for bringing this up:

    There is, in fact, a corporate resolution which states that Durta Enterprises “has no interest in any way whatsoever in the development of the Ohlone College frontage property or any portion thereof.”

    It was signed by the Board of Trustees of Durta Enterprises on August 25, 2008 and sent to the Ohlone Board of Trustees on August 27, 2008.

  4. Andrew, what does that mean, nothing if there is a buck to be made.
    You can trust them, I choose not to.

  5. Worded curiously for a “corporate resolution” – which would normally say something like “Dutra Enterprises does not and will not . . . . ” – but this says “has no interest . . . .” – and is presumably true as of August 2008.

    Two questions arise –

    Have the economic interests of Dutra Enterprises changed since this statement was made ?

    Do the economic interests of John Dutra (an individual) difer from those of Dutra Enterprises (a business entity) ?

  6. I assume that Kathy McDonald is opposed to this development because the resulting influx of low class apartment dwellers to the Mission Hills would cramp her lifestyle. And the traffic she’d see during those mid-morning jaunts shuttling the kids to violin practice is reason enough to run for council.

    And, I bet that Vinnie Bacon is opposed because he puts the interest of decrepit and unkempt trees above the interests of human beings.

    But fill me in… why are the rest of us opposed to developing commercial space on an existing commercial main street?

  7. “And the traffic she’d see during those mid-morning jaunts shuttling the kids to violin practice…” Try driving through MSJ on Mission Blvd. any evening around 6 p.m. as the I-680 traffic uses it as a shortcut. Then there’s the Ohlone students who use Ellsworth to Pine in their attempt to by-pass Mission in the morning. And there’s the Montessori parents rushing to drop off their students before heading to Silicon Valley. Marty, you really need to get out more.

  8. Marty, you hate prop 13, you love low-income housing, you support the incumbents running for City Council, and you want all your trees to be well-trimmed. You must be a liberal Democrat!

  9. Bbox Re: #6

    These are, indeed, good questions to ask. I just think it is important to know that the document is out there and that we can hold them to it if need be (i.e. we can hold it up and ask your questions, should the issue arise).

  10. It’s my understanding Mission San Jose already has a low income housing development located at the Palmdale Estates. I know this was contested by local residents long before Kathy McDonald came along. Does Niles have any low income housing developments?

  11. Marty, The Mission is a special place in case you have not noticed.
    The land is public land, that is we passed a bond issue to purchase the land for a college campus, not Dutra’s development.
    If Dutra wants to develop the property, put it to a vote of the people who own it, the taxpayers.

  12. Andrew – #10

    If these are simple statements of fact which were true as of their writing, as opposed to a coporate resolution intended to guide future govenance, then there’s little you can “hold them to” – – and, short of verbal lashing, what consequence can you hope to impose ?

    On one hand, I have the prospect of economic gain and on the other hand I have . . . . some upset folks. I think I know which one wins in this debate . . .

    THe wording you provided sounds more like a statement of then current facts to me. . . . I hope yours is the correct interpretation.

  13. VOR,

    Niles has a wide range of housing. Apartments can be found for $1000. Economically and ethnically, Niles has plenty of diversity.

  14. Why is it so difficult to stay on point ?

    VOR asks a simple “yes” or “no” question –
    “Is there any low cost housing in Niles ?”

    – you know, “..low cost housing..” like those purpose-built econo boxes my friend Marty is so fond of and which are so frequently want to pop up in the other districts around Fremont ?

    Personal assessments of the relative ethnic diversity and availability of apartments in Niles do little to offer an kind of ANSWER to VOR’s original question.

    They are, however, a more sophisticated version of that age-old rationalization – “We dont want none of that going on ’round here.”

  15. There are no affordable rental subsidized projects in Niles, primarily because there has been no appropriate site. However, the housing development at the corner of Mission and Niles (across from the 7-11) was subsidized by the Redevelopment Agency and was sold to moderate income buyers, with provision to maintain their affordability upon resale.

    Further south on Mission, still in the Niles Planning Area, is an affordable project (I think at Pickering, on the west side of Mission) Harker Place, or something like that.

    In the olden days, there was a city policy, which probably still exists, that afforable housing should be spread across the city and not specifically located in any one or two districts. The problem is usually the availability of sites designated for higher density housing.

  16. Oh, and I missed the VOR link to Widipedia on Section 8 housing. To the best of my knowledge, the only Section 8 housing in Fremont is senior housing. Market rent projects in Fremont generally rent for more than the Housing Authority wants to spend on rent.

  17. Questions. Gus, would the Housing Authority approve low income housing for $1,000 or is that above their approved limit? The Palmdale Estates housing is considered low-income. Does it have to be extremely low-income before the Housing Authority designates it as such? Is the senior deaf housing on Driscoll Road considered Section 8?

  18. Remember, VOR, I have been out of office almost six years and people no longer tell me things, so, while I have a good memory, every once in a while I need an update to keep it current.

    I don’t know the limits for Section 8, but I do know that Fremont rents are higher than other cities in the county and most, if not all, Section 8 certificates go other places. I rent an office and another office is rented by a guy who manages rental properties. He tells me he prefers Section 8. The rent is always on time and the housing authoity somehow monitors the property and makes the owner whole if there is damage.

    Oryssom Village (159 Washington) is an affordable project. Rents are set by a formula, as I recall, based on median income in Fremont. Low income is considered to be 60% of median. Make an assumption that median income in Fremont for a family of 4 is $100,000 (not right, but close and easy to use to calculate.) So a family earning $60,000 is low income. It is considered appropriate that 35% of income is the right number for rent, so .35 x $60,000 / 12 = $1750 a month.

    Projects for lower income families are calculated using the same type of formula, but using smaller percentages of median income. In my experience, those kind of projects are very hard to make work because of the deep subsidy required. There are not many very low income projects in town, except for senior projects.

    The deaf senior projects may have some Section 8 certificate people, but I don’t know. Nothing is built as a “Section 8 project.” The program is one where people apply for a certificate entitling them to a rent subsidy where the tenant pays a percentage of their income for rent (I don’t recall the percentage and I’m too lazy to look it up) and the Housing Authority, using federal housing money, makes up the difference.

    One of my treasures from my service is a copy of a letter from the Housing Authority to an applicant. It begins:

    Dear Mrs. ….

    Congratulations! You have won the lottery for a Section 8 certificate. Sometime in the next four years, you will be called in for an interview.

    Like most of life, Section 8 ain’t easy.

  19. VOR, I’ll just back up Jon Simon’s comment that Niles has an extraordinary amount of economic diversity on it’s own. Some of that is a product of chance. But I’m still going to tout it, as I believe Niles is one of the best places to live in the Bay Area. And as I’ve argued with Box, it can be had at any income level.

    The same can not be said for Mission Hills. So, I’m not going to cry for bunch of McMansion dwellers because some apartments are going to be strung along a commercial district on Mission.

    But back to my original point, seeing the inevitable resistance from Kathy McDonald on this is going to be laughably predictable, as her interests in politics begins and ends with her desire to keep her lifestyle exclusive (while Vinnie just likes trees).

  20. Bbox,
    The term “low income housing development” is an unclear term to me. I answered his questions as best as I could, totally snark free. Fortunately, he clarified.

    Section 8 housing could cover anywhere rented by someone receiving Section 8 funds. I’d be shocked if nobody in Niles were doing so. There are a lot of old duplexes and triplexes being rented out for cheap. I’m not so sure you’d fine much Section 8 in the Mission district.

    As for being PC: it seemed your motivation for asking the questions was to search for hypocrisy from the Niles citizenry. Hence my answer.

  21. Thanks Bbox. The General Plan Housing Map after page 26 is interesting. The district dividing lines, shown in gray are so thick it’s hard to define the boundary lines, although Irvington appears to be the clear leader in affordable housing.

  22. Yup yup – — as i said – there’s much more to this topic, but it’s a great starting place –

    Seems like Irvington has 7 or 8 complexes / facilities available to those of limited means – Centerville comes in with 3 – Mission San Jose has at least 4 – Central (Cherry/Guardino) has 6 or 7 – and Niles has ….. 1.

  23. If you define affordable housing as what the city government tells you is affordable housing, then yes Box and VOR, you two are right.

  24. According to the city:

    … housing is generally defined as affordable
    when it requires less than 30 percent of a household’s annual income.

    I have a big expensive house in Niles that’s costing me about 25% of my gross. BING! Now Niles has 2 affordable housing developments!

  25. Well, well. Marty lives in a Niles McMansion and has piles of $$$. So why does he keep slamming Kathy McDonald for the lifestyle he imagines she has in the Mission Hills? Just because she’s got the nerve to run against his buddies on the City Council?

  26. Kathy used two loans totaling $922,000 in 2005 to finance her Mission Hills house. That is substantially more than my loan. My house is big and relatively expensive compared to the area average, but it is not Mission Hills McMansion status by any means.

    Nevertheless, I am making the point that the city’s definition of “affordable housing” is useless, or at least ambiguous as Jon Simon tried to say.

    Furthermore, the amount of developments designated by the city to be “affordable housing” is a lousy metric to decide which neighborhoods are affordable – though Proverbs 29:9 dictates that Bbox will still argue so.

    Back to the point at hand, if there is any neighborhood in F-mont in need of the city brand of “affordable housing”, Mission is it. I think the property in front of Ohlone should be seriously considered for this purpose. Just think about all the diversity that would be introduced into Weibel Elementary!

    PS – perhaps I’m being too hard on McDonald on this since after all, she hasn’t voiced an opinion either way. I was just making an estimation based on her protectionist history.

  27. Marty,

    Wow, you are obsessed with Ms. McDonald’s finances. Why is that?

  28. I wouldn’t call entering a name and clicking submit an obsession. But you inferred that I was “imagining” her financial situation. I just wanted to clarify that for you.

  29. You created a blog with the sole purpose of attacking Kathy and Vinnie. That’s at least bordering on obsessed.

    The average person does not have that kind of information a click away. Are you in real estate? That might explain your support of the developer-backed incumbents and your criticism of those who would challenge them. Sorry, your anonymous persona as an average, concerned Fremont resident has just been blown.

  30. I wish I were an obsessed blogger. If so, there would have been something posted since April.

    But, otherwise you’re spot on. I am a RE developer, and a damn good one. And this entire town would have been mine…mine I say… if it wasn’t for that meddling Baxter!

  31. Could Marty be Dominic Dutra, wow, that explains so much. His attacks on Kathy McDonald and Vinnie Bacon is because they are the only threat to the status quo which is no longer acceptable. He is definitly a member of the “Good Ole Boys” that are running Fremont as a candy store for developers

  32. If Californiaguy were to attack a candidate and nobody cared, is it still an attack? Or is it only an attack if you disagree?

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