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Fremont City Council Journal

By Matt Artz
Tuesday, January 25th, 2011 at 7:24 pm in Uncategorized.

The Rotarians are here to praise themselves and their work eradicating polio. Mayor Wasserman is a Rotarian, which isn’t surprising because he’s so old.

Person for person, the Rotarians are probably the fourth most elderly outfit in Fremont trailing only the Dominican Sisters, The Sisters of the Holy Family and the ladies of Moveon.org.

Two speakers are here today. One man complained of many break-ins around town. There’s going to be a meeting in Warm Springs about stuff like that on Thursday, and I’ll make my annual voyage out there to be in attendance.

Now it’s on to the 6-acre vacant Centerville site along Fremont Boulevard.
The city cleaned it up years ago, but it turns out there still contamination there that will cost about $500,000 to $700,000.

The project’s future is in more doubt than ever. Dominic Dutra just came out against it. Last time the vote was 3-2 to keep going with the proposed apartment complex with some retail.

In that vote, Natarajan and Wieckowski were the dissenters. But with Dutra now a dissenter, it’ll be interesting to see if he can peel a third vote.

Nevermind, now Natarajan supports giving the developer a six month extension.

Chan supports a six-month extension as well. That’s three votes when you include Harrison.

Dutra noted that the city will be investing about $26 million for an apartment complex with less retail square footage than a Whole Foods.

“When you’re investing the kind of money we’ve invested in this project…”The only reason you would ever do anything like that is if it was extremely compelling.” … 

What we’re trying to do is do something stimulative for the entire area. Will this be stimulative. I don’t think so. We need to look at what’s in the long term interest of Centerville. I don’t think this is.

Council wants to know the score on this in three months. City staffers say they’re not sure they can do that.

Vote is 4-1 to proceed is to give the developer another six months.

Council is now trying to figure out how to subsidize affordable housing with redevelopment in jeopary. Unfortunately, my computer battery is nearly dead, and I seem to have forgotten my plug. My apologizes to the person who asked me to write about this.

You’re not missing much.

UPDATE: Looks like the city is going to consider a bond, maybe for as much as $50 or $60 million to fund future affordable housing projects.

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  • whtsmsg?

    I don’t know what to say. I worked in Centerville for over 20 years. One expects change..but seriously??? This fiasco is another unfortunate example of political whimsy. Do most people tear down their house before they know if they can rebuild on the lot? Of course not. Common sense is where?? Redevelopment funds have been grossly misused in this residents opinion. Why taxes won’t pass? Look here. People want a ‘here’ here. This isn’t it and this developer/development will not bring it to the table. First do no harm. “Vision w/o action is a daydream. Action w/o vision is a nightmare.”..and that’s where we are.

  • http://fcnisbacon.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/parting-gifts-for-election-losers/ Marty

    In that vote, Natarajan and Wieckowski were the dissenters. But with Dutra now a dissenter, it’ll be interesting to see if he can peel a third vote.

    2-1+1=2

    Who would be the third dissenter?

  • http://fcnisbacon.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/parting-gifts-for-election-losers/ Marty

    BTW, Go Dutra Go.

  • VOR

    The inability of our city council to handle the rebuild in Centerville plus the administrative oversights recently encountered in the Central Park skate park project lead me to one conclusion, thank God the stadium deal never came to fruition.

  • http://fcnisbacon.wordpress.com/ Marty

    I don’t know, VOR. $500-700K to clean up contamination from a laundry cleaner seem pretty unexpected. Centerville continues to be extraordinary in every respect.

  • VOR

    In regard to Centerville my thoughts were focused more on the inability of our city leaders to resolve the issue of what the buildout would contain. It seems to indicate a clear lack of vision and minimum communication between all parties involved. The contamination issue is just icing on the cake.

  • Fremonter

    If they don’t have money to build affordable housing then just don’t build it

  • http://fcnisbacon.wordpress.com/ Marty

    I wouldn’t pat the RDA on the back either. Most developments to crop up since I came to F-mont are either aesthetic nightmares (Rock Ave, Tupelo residences, etc) or backward thinking suburban commerce centers (Pac Commons). But I really think there are extenuating circumstances with Centerville. I’m not sure if anybody can do something with that land.

  • worble

    Lets not forget about the train station debacle in Niles. How much money did the city spend on that project that nobody but niles cares about. Move it to Mission blvd, Move it back to niles. Wow that money would repair alot of streets in Fremont including Niles blvd. Oh Niles can’t do anything wrong with Dutra living there with Marty. HA HA Dutra is just as bad as W-ASS-ERMAN when it comes to backdoor deallings.

  • Judy Zlatnik

    Niles Redevelopment money was generated in Niles!! We decided how to spend it long before Dominic was on council!! Redevelopment $$ in Fremont are supposed to be built to benefit that particular area. Niles Blvd. in the redevelopment area was widened and vastly improved!!You obviously didn’t spend much time looking at the toxic mess that was there before redevelopment. I would have probably been run out of Niles had I been on council when they voted to move the train station because I was not for it..but I’m delighted with the town square..anyone in Niles not happy?? Oh wait, this is Niles…

  • http://fcnisbacon.wordpress.com/ Marty

    Worble, I know the thought of slumming it around an 890 API elementary makes you want to take a shower. But considering the industrial purgatory that is to become of Warm Springs, perhaps you should consider a move to Niles.

  • worble

    Hey Marty guess what I do live in Niles I juast hate how the people here in Niles think that we are better than the rest of the city of Fremont when we are not.@Judy the city only repaired the street in a small section of town what about the rest of Niles blvd.

  • Judy Zlatnik

    Redevelopment $$ can only be spent in the redevelopment area..a limited area in the downtown.

    I don’t think we Nilesians feel superior to the rest of Fremont. We do know that we live in one of the best communties anywhere..no matter where we go in the world, it’s great to comeback to Niles!

  • VOR

    Judy, you are absolutely correct you live in one of the best communities, especially in Fremont. Niles has charm, character and good people. A real small town feeling. But, I think if you took a survey of Nilesians and asked where they lived they would identify themselves as from Niles, not Fremont. I think Marty would agree with me on that given his comment of the other day. Someone recently pointed out to me a friend of theirs listed her city on Facebook as Niles District, CA. Really?

  • http://fcnisbacon.wordpress.com/ Marty

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that pride, VOR. I’ve said it before, but if it weren’t for the schools, proximity to my work and Niles, there’s no chance I’d live in Fremont. Take one of those away, and I’m out! (hint hint)

  • Robert

    I also admire the pride Niles folks have, but it surprises me that they indeed say they are from “Niles, California” rather than Fremont. There is also inequity of development dollars that go to Niles over others redevelopment areas. Centerville has become the blackhole of Fremont and needs the most help, while Irvington is second but is making some progress.

  • Niles Baxter

    Let’s just say that a lot of Niles folks feel different from, but not better than, Fremont folks. Separate but not superior, not inferior. After all – that’s why they came to Niles – it’s different and they like it that way. People from Sunol also sometimes speak similarly about their little town-within-a-town. Some people also make a point of saying that they’re from Centerville or Ivrington or Warm Springs, too.

  • http://fcnisbacon.wordpress.com/ Marty

    Perhaps Chief Steckler can have these Niles traders hung in the new town plaza.

  • http://fcnisbacon.wordpress.com/ Marty

    …traitor

  • Robert

    Niles Baxter – good points. I don’t see how that qualifies as a traitor.

  • Robert

    Fremont Bulletin on Centerville development: http://www.mercurynews.com/fremont/ci_17227805?nclick_check=1

  • Robert
  • http://fcnisbacon.wordpress.com/ Marty

    If the sarcasm wasn’t obvious, I was joking about proud Nileseans being traders traitors.

    I’m serious about punishing our city’s offenders in the town square though.

  • charlie C

    #4 VOR says “thank God the stadium deal never came to fruition.” and as a result Fremont is going to be getting a toxic railway yard instead! VOR…are you REALLY HAPPY about that?

  • Robert

    I’m serious about punishing our city’s offenders in the town square though

    Marty you are a cruel & judgmental person. I hope you are not the judge or jury

  • Robert

    I think the stadium is preferrable to the railroad yard, but we needed to learn more about the stadium proposal and how much Fremont and taxpayers would have had to pitch in.

  • VOR

    Charlie C. you missed my point. After years of delay our appointed leaders have totally bungled getting something built on the six-acre parcel in Centerville and readily admit they didn’t “dot all their i’s and cross all the t’s” for the new skate park. How on God’s green earth do you think they would be able to handle construction of a $400 million stadium?! There’s major league and there’s bush league. You be the judge what we’re woking with here.

    Secondly Charlie, if the stadium had been built on either the original PacCommons site or the original Warm Springs site the NUMMI property would have become available after closure of the auto plant and UP would still have their rail yard.

  • http://fcnisbacon.wordpress.com/ Marty

    I hope you are not the judge or jury

    I just want to be the executioner.

  • Robert

    I think we should look to expand city council and district elections to get better representation for ALL the districts of Fremont.

  • Gus Morrison

    Robert, be careful what you wish for. Remember that districts have to be essentially equal population, making the traditional Fremont districts (MJS, WS, Irv, Cent, Niles) not the new districts. They would rather be consolidations, with neither MSJ or Niles being large enough to have a council seat. Centerville and Irvington would have a larger share of the vote than the other districts because of population density.

    And, election by districts is not a panacea. Look around, Oakland, Berkeley, and San Jose elect by districts, while San Leandro elects from districts (must live in a district, but run city wide.) Sunnyvale numbers the seats and people run for a specific seat. Some have better government than Fremont and many have worse. Unfortunately, there is no perfect system.

    Where people run in districts, they are often willing to shunt bad projects into someone else’s district or they collude with someone from another district to do so. They seem to care more about their district than the city as a whole.

  • Jon Simon

    I’d like to hear about a vote where a Niles council member voted for a pro-Niles issue (or against an anti-Niles issue) while the non-Nilesians all voted otherwise. Anybody know of one? I have yet to see how Niles gets special treatment. Seems more like slander and speculation to me.

  • Californiaguy

    Gus,
    People do not feel that they are being properly represented. How many times has the Council Chambers been filled with Fremont residents being upset about something. The answer is oh we cannot do anything or roll over for the Developer.
    Gus if district elections are not the answer…What is?

  • Robert

    Gus,
    Usually I agree with you. This time, I beg to differ. Fremont is ripe for expansion from 5 council members to 7 due to it’s larger size and presence in Alameda county. Because of Fremont’s 5 historic town center, people identify themselves in their little town. This thread is a perfect example of that sentiment. I think it would be good to have Niles combined with neighboring district so that Niles folks (as well as other districts) will have to work with their neighbors. This way we will have a local rep of each area and tied to the larger Fremont. This will increase the responsiveness of council as well. Right now with good representation, the “squeaky wheel gets the oil.”

  • Robert

    Niles has 2 representatives (Anu, Dutra) for a small area which wouldn’t even comprise a district per Gus Morrison and every single Niles resident seems to belong to this blog…enough said.

  • Ishan Shah

    I know I’m sticking my head into the lion’s mouth a bit here by bringing up anything stadium related but there was an interesting article on CNN today that I thought I’d share:

    http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/02/06/greene.stadium/index.html?hpt=C1

    just food for thought.

  • californiaguy

    It is so plain what needs to happen for Fremont to take its next step in its evolution of becoming a more urban area.
    I believe Gus and a lot of other people in Fremont, prefer that it remains a small town.
    I want Fremont to grow up, become a urban center for entertainment, fine resturuants. A walking downtown or whatever the hell they are calling it now.
    We need better representation and we need a strong mayor type of government. also District elections, seven council members including the Mayor.
    What we have now simply is NOT working.

  • Randy

    The best line from Ishan’s article is one of the comments:
    “This has happened in all sports, NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, NASCAR… you name it and they have all abandoned the smaller towns that made them what they are today.”
    And that’s exactly what would happen to Fremont, after Lou Wolff had sucked all possible tax subsidies from Fremont’s wallet.