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Archive for February, 2011

A young senior commissioner

I can already hear my editor, who’s out this week, pressing me to write about his guy. He’s Arvind Ravichandran, a 2010 Irvington High School graduate, and soon to be one of the newest members of the Senior Citizens Commission.

Sad to say but it looks like outgoing Senior Commissioner Fazlur Khan didn’t get his wish of being replaced with “a black” for the benefit of racial diversity in Fremont.

I got a wee bit excited for Fazlur when I read that the other new appointee to the commission was named Angela Turner. But, alas, she’s Chinese.

Posted on Friday, February 18th, 2011
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Fremont’s Wish List

Fremont council members will approve its legislative priorities and its funding wish list.  Interesting that the city is seeking money for the Warm Springs BART station when everyone knows it’s going to be a dud thanks to Union Pacific.

Maybe it’s too late to scrap it altogether and have BART build the Irvington station and let the city’s big redevelopment bond pay for fostering business growth and affordable housing near that station.

Anyway, here’s the list:

FUNDING PRIORITIES

1. Auto Mall Parkway between I-680 and Osgood Road, and Mission Boulevard between I-680 and Warm Springs Boulevard: 680 trying to reach the Warm Springs BART station will increase the already congested segments on Auto Mall Parkway between I-680 and Osgood Road and on Mission Boulevard between I-680 and Warm Springs Boulevard. The City supports seeking regional, state or federal funding to assist with making the necessary improvements to either of these roadway segments to mitigate some of the BART impacts.

2. Warm Springs BART west entrance: from both the east side of the station, toward the BART parking lot, and the west side of the station, toward the TESLA factory. However, the current Warm Springs Extension Project only has funding for station access from the east. With the large amount of vacant land west of the station, the City desires to provide access from the west side of the BART station to facilitate development and redevelopment of parcels west of the station. However, with the recent sale of the vacant NUMMI properties to Union Pacific Railroad, the need for access on the west side of the station is dependent upon the UPRR’s ultimate use of this property. Should UPRR be willing to develop a portion of that land with uses that generate substantial BART ridership, the City supports the use of regional, state or federal funding to provide access from the properties west of the Union Pacific Railroad (UP) and BART tracks, over the UP tracks into the west side of the BART station. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, February 18th, 2011
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Fremont union stuff

Both of these tidbits will be in the paper shortly.

It’s not looking like Fremont cops are going reach an agreement to give up 2 percent of their salaries this fiscal year to help the city balance its budget.

The police department has already implemented cuts to save the money that would have come from the union concession. The department has cutback on training and overtime. It’s also delayed hiring three to four new officers.

Also:

Negotiations get underway next week between teachers and the school district. Looks like it’s going to be a doozy. Teachers want some sort of raise to pay for rising health care costs.

The administration wants to cut teacher pay. It also wants broader authority/more flexibility to evaluate teachers, set schedules, layoff teachers, enact furloughs, etc.

The union leader said it’s the worst proposal she’s seen. The superintendent is an optimistic guy. He thinks they’re going to reach a deal.

Posted on Thursday, February 17th, 2011
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FAME Charter School

UPDATE: That was one intense meeting. At one point a woman started shrieking “Remember the Children, Remember the Children!” Folks clapped for that, and I felt fortunate not to be an education report. Too many sentimental teachers.

About 50 teachers and parents attended  the meeting to support a teacher who was fired Monday. Apparently she’s accused of emailing a blog that’s critical of the school’s CEO, but I’m not 100 percent clear about that. I won’t be writing the story.

The teacher is in her fourth year at the school. Parents and colleagues say she’s the greatest. They had less nice things to say about the school administration. Apparently quite a few teachers have been canned by the school, which is  independent of the school district even though it’s funded with tax dollars. Also, the teachers aren’t unionized.

They’re sending me to a meeting tonight at FAME charter school in Fremont. It’s popular with Muslim families, and there’s been a lot written about its CEO, most notably this storyin the NYTimes.

Here’s a paragraph of that story:

Last year, state auditors pinpointed dozens of irregularities, including unusually high compensation of more than $336,663 for FAME’s director, Maram Alaiwat, for whom the school also bought a $75,000 Mercedes. In interviews with The New York Times, former employees have described a climate of intimidation punctuated by capricious firings, and a purchasing process so haphazard that textbooks and writing materials were sometimes in short supply.

Critics of the CEO say they’re going to be present at tonight’s meeting and demand her ouster. And, they’ve got a blog.

Posted on Thursday, February 17th, 2011
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Four Washington High athletes get four-year college scholarships

Washington High had a ceremony for its record four athletes that received full-ride athletic scholarships.

signing

They are:
· Megan Kufeld, Class of 2011: University of Washington with a soccer scholarship. Megan is on the U-17 US National Soccer Team.

· Paige Diamond, Class of 2011: University of Denver with a soccer scholarship. Paige plays in the Olympic Development Program.

· DeAndre Carter, Class of 2011: Sacramento State with a football scholarship

· Konami Yokoyama, Class of 2011: St. Mary’s College with a volleyball scholarship

Posted on Wednesday, February 16th, 2011
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Borders, bye bye

Borders plans to close its Fremont and Union City stores along with 198 more as it heads into bankruptcy.

Get the entire closure list here.

In Union City, that leaves readers the public library.

In Fremont, you’ll still have homegrown Half-Priced Books in Pacific Commons, along with an Islamic bookstore on Peralta and a Christian bookstore on Sundale.

Posted on Wednesday, February 16th, 2011
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Fremont News of the Day

fremont_news_linkFrom the cops:
A woman held to her iPhone for dear life as a 220-pound man tried to rip it out of her hands while she was on a call. The woman was walking and talking in the area of Gurdwara Road and Terrace Drive when the man went in for the unsuccessful grab. He ran away in a black beanie, tan jacket and basketball shorts.

From the wire
More money for BART to San Jose
Best Waffles in Fremont or Union City?
This story about Jeopardy in today’s paper reminds me of this song

Posted on Tuesday, February 15th, 2011
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Fremont News of the Day

From the cops:
fremont_news_linkA 20-year-old woman was waiting for a bus at Mission and Grimmer Boulevards when a young man in a brown hooded sweatshirt and black beanie pulled out a small folding knife and demanded her phone. She obliged and the perp ran away.

A skinny black man with an oval shaped birth mark on his cheek brought a black handgun into the Subway at the Hub last night. He left with about $900. Cops say the suspect description was similar to a robbery at Rite Aid last week.

Two separate vehicles on Whitfiled and Glenmoor had their windows broken.

From the wire
Stark proposes day to honor Darwin

Posted on Thursday, February 10th, 2011
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Fremont News of the Day

fremont_news_linkFrom the cops:

Two men stole power tools from in full view of employees at the Home Depot on Auto Mall Parkway and left in a blue Ford van. A responding officer got a tip from a customer at the store that the van was seen post-burglary on Grimmer Boulevard. Two officers located one of the suspected burglars in a storage shed on Osgood Road. Meanwhile other cops found the van abandoned at the La Quinta Motel. The second burglar is found at Homestead Suites, where he admitted to the burglary and said there was a third man involved presently at Jack-In-The-Box on Osgood. Cops arrested him at the fast food joint.

Posted on Wednesday, February 9th, 2011
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Fremont Council report

I tried to pre-write my city council story this afternoon.

Bad idea.

I wrote that the council was going to do more to solicit public input early in this year’s budget deliberations.

That was what Councilmember Bill Harrison suggested, but that’s not what the council wanted to do.

Like recent annual city budgets, this one is going to be painful, as the city digs even deeper into its reserves and contemplates service reductions and employee pay cuts.

Harrison wanted to the council to consider commissioning a budget survey this year, and maybe forming a citizen budget commission for future years.

But his colleagues argued that the council should come up with a budget plan and then take that to the public, if any of them really care about it anyway — Fremont budget hearings are usually very quiet affairs.

Here’s a bit of what Dominic Dutra said:

“I don’t think we need to survey citizens to figure out what we need to do … I certainly appreciate the idea that we need to get their input. But the council needs to take responsibility to come up with a plan.”

And here’s a bit from Mayor Wasserman:

The real key that tends to get overlooked is it’s wrong t ogo out and ask the public what they thin, unless you can give them something of what you think.

The mayor also recalled his days as police chief when the public was more active in crafting budgets.

As police chief it was a lot of my time, he said. And the end result was really nothing.

Posted on Tuesday, February 8th, 2011
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