The council meeting is still ongoing. This will be brief. I’m super busy trying to finish stuff up before I leave late Wednesday for a camping trip, so I ended up watching the meeting from the Argus office.
The council spent about two hours on the proposed safety improvements to Niles Canyon Road. There were well over a dozen speakers, mostly folks from Niles and Sunol, who are opposed to the project, or at least the scope of the project.
They think widening the road will ruin the beauty of the canyon.
Council members at least wanted Caltrans to consider less invasive work.
Caltrans promised to make everyone happy. We’ll see. I missed some of what Caltrans had to say because Carl Flynn finally called me back. Nice young man.
I talked to a leader with the Niles Canyon Railway who said the construction could shut down the scenic trains for a year because Caltrans is planning to dig into a train embankment.
Seven of the 10 candidates participated in the debate: Bill Harrison, Fazlur Khan, Kathy McDonald, Vinnie Bacon, Anu Natarajan, Linda Susoev and John T. Herndon.
Kristin Briggs, Vladimir Rodriguez and Carl “The Ghost” Flynn were absent. I’m going to try to track Flynn down tonight at Outback Steakhouse, where I’m told he works. If that fails, he’s dead to me.
First question: What’s the biggest issue facing Fremont?
Harrison: The economy. He says that when people have quality jobs things are better.
Natarajan: Says city needs to talk to residents about services they want and how much they’re prepared to pay for them.
Fazlur Khan: Proposes federal green technology bank that will create 30,000 jobs in Fremont.
Fazlur won this debate before it started. He brought a gigantic nameplate so everyone on TV would know it was him speaking, even if they couldn’t always understand what he was saying.
But the nameplate was so big that it crept into the space of Kathy McDonald who was sitting to his left. So when the camera was on Kathy, you could still read the nameplate, making it appear that Kathy’s name was actually “Khan.”
Linda Susoev battled Khan claim for claim, at one point saying that her grandfather sold 3 billion records.
Bacon and Natarajan both touted their urban planning master degrees as if it meant they could cure cancer and rescue cats from trees.
As the forum wound down they competed to see who could make the most obscure city planning references. Natarajan set the bar high saying the city has made sure “that everyone gets the same info at the counter.” Huh? That would be the front counter in the city’s planning department to all you earthlings out there.
From the cops:
Residents on Colville Place in north Fremont called police to report a drunk man was vandalizing a home. The drunk man also happened to have a knife and barricaded himself in a bedroom when police arrived. Police called out the SWAT Team. The man tried to jump out of a window and was arrested.
On Tuesday night Oliveira Elementary School will honor students who did well on the STAR standardized tests.
Students who scored proficient or advanced will get certificates.
Students whose scores jumped two or more levels or who scored at least 600 will get trophies.
And students who didn’t do well will be publicly cursed by real estate agents for not helping prop up home values.
Just kidding about the last one, but this event is no joke.
Oliveira has honored their top test takers for the last four years, and the event is so big, they have to hold it at American High School. Even the new superintendent, Jim Morris, will be there at 7 p.m. tomorrow.
It’s the same pipeline we wrote about last week. No other pipelines in Fremont were on the Top 100 list.
Here’s how it read:
Map No. 14
Evaluate the potential replacement of 22,363 feet of pipe between the Vargas Rd and Irvington Station due to the potential for ground movement. This section of L131 is located over the steep slopes from the Vargas Rd to Mission Blvd and through a 10-15 foot easement through central Fremont to I-880. Construction currently is scheduled for 2012.
Fremont has about five times more residents than Newark but it has 95 times more National Merit Scholarship semifinalists than the city that won’t stop giving us Newark Days.
Last week we printed the names of all the national merit scholarship semifinalists. But here’s the breakdown by high school:
Mission San Jose: 65 (That’s my count, but I’m no scholar. I covered the opening of a Deaf Center today and twice referred to American Sign Language as ALS.)
Irvington High: 19
American High: 10
Washington High: 1
Kennedy High: 0
Newark Memorial: 1
Logan High School (Union City) 5
To see the names as they were printed in the Argus, including Fremont Christian students, which I’m not counting as part of Fremont’s 95, click where it says to click. Read the rest of this entry »
Reminder, the I-680 Toll Lane goes into effect today. Anyone who who uses that road is more than welcomed to report whether it made a difference on the morning commute or if they liked or didn’t like it.
From the cops:
When security at the Lucky supermarket tried to detain two shoplifters Saturday, one of the perps showed them a knife and then took off with his younger lady friend. But security followed them as the walked southbound on Farwell and the cops caught up to them and made the arrests.
A woman called police Sunday to report that gangster looking guys were harassing her kids on the playground of Centerville Jr. High School. Officers, arrived, possible gangsters fled, but cops stopped and arrested two of them at Holy Spirit Church.
Shoplifter was caught at Foodmaxx Sunday placing items into a baby stroller.
Several males robbed another mail at the Jack in the Box parking lot Sunday in Centerville. The victim’s GPS and cell phone were stolen. The robbers fled in a gold Chrysler with 20″ chrome rims.
I’ve spent the last few days trying to talk with the City Council candidates who are mysteries to me: John T. Herndon, Kristen Briggs, Vladimir Rodriguez and Carl Flynn.
Flynn is still a mystery to me. I’ve stalked him. I even went to his apartment complex yesterday evening, but no dice. All I know about him is he’s the only candidate other than Linda Susoev who hasn’t responded to The Argus questionnaire form and he’s got a website that hasn’t been updated for a long time.
Briggs is a single mom living in an apartment in Centerville. She works in the mental health field for Santa Clara County. She said that she didn’t realize how much prep work goes into running a successful council campaign.
She’s always wanted to be in politics and thought Fremont City Council was the lowest rung. Now she understands that people have to earn a seat on the council by suffering through insufferable commission meetings or breaking bread with wonky, uncompromising environmentalists.
She said there’s a lot she’ll have to learn about Fremont, but that you can’t teach integrity and guts, and that’s what she’s got.
When I talk to novice candidates (this year and prior years) one of they almost always say that city politicians are ignoring them and detached from the city. Another common theme is that they want more stuff (fireworks), but don’t want new taxes to pay for them, and they think there’s money somewhere, but they’re not sure where.
With some candidates, it’s tough for me because I’ll ask a question about a major issue, and they won’t know what the heck I’m talking about. I struggle with whether to print their on-th-fly opinion or the fact that they weren’t informed.
Sometimes candidates see an issue, but don’t realize that it’s been debated for eons. Vladimir Rodriguez noted the big empty lot at Thornton Avenue and Fremont Boulevard and said that he never here’s anyone discussing it.
I told him that it’s been a big deal and that a divided council approved moving ahead with an apartment complex with several shops on the ground floor.
Rodriguez said he’d prefer more retail. He thought the land near the future Tesla plant could make a good place for a mall.
Of the newby candidates, the one who appeared to have the best sense of Fremont was John Herndon. He also was the only candidate who emailed me a photo. There he is on the right, a recent appointment to the Alameda County Republican Central Committee.
Herndon also works in the mental health field and he’s an assistant minister at an Oakland Church. His dad was a minister in Philly where he grew up.
Herndon, who “watched and studied the theories of Mr. Reagan,” said he’d be more involved in the community than the incumbents, and criticized them for the situation in Centerville without my prodding.
If I lived in Fremont, I would consider voting for Herndon based solely on his signs.
Any guy who makes purple his campaign color has the guts to take on Fremont’s problems.
One area of concern, however. Herndon is an Eagles fan. A lifetime without a Superbowl title can mess with a man’s head.