A not so special ribbon cutting

I remember thinking unflattering things about Fremont a few years back when I had to cover a ribbon cutting event for a new parking lot.

But this is worse.

Union City’s Chamber of Commerce is holding a ribbon cutting tomorrow for a gas station. And, even worse than that, the gas station is calling itself Silicon Valley Shell, even though it’s at the corner of Mission Boulevard and Whipple Road.


SEIU workers ask Fremont Council to spread the pain

At the start of tonight’s council meeting, several city staffers represented by SEIU spoke during public comment period. Their comments were interesting for two reasons:

1) They gave a window into what types union concessions the city is seeking.

2) Without saying police and fire, they made clear they were especially unhappy that the cops didn’t agree to any pay reduction this past fiscal year, when all the other unions accepted furloughs or other givebacks.

As for the givebacks, one SEIU worker in a very patriotic shirt said the city’s contract proposal would amount to a 17 percent cut in pay and benefits. Not sure if that’s accurate. It’s just coming from one guy with white stars all over his blue shirt, but it’s more info than I’ve gotten previously on the negotiations. One SEIU employee said  she’d lose about $800 a month under the city’s plan. I don’t know how much she makes a year, but that’s not hard info to get.

The SEIU folks say they’re the lowest paid in the city. And each and every one of them said the same thing about being promised that the other unions would share the pain this past fiscal year oly for that not to come to fruition. “We need to level the playing field” was their mantra. Translation: They think the cops and firefighters should take a bigger brunt of the cuts this time around.

In other council business, the council members approved plans to build the Irivngton BART Station and pave Iron Horse Lane behind Niles Boulevard.


Environmental group files lawsuit seeking to stop Niles Canyon Project

With work scheduled to begin Tuesday on the first of three Niles Canyon Road safety projects, the Alameda Creek Alliance on Tuesday filed a lawsuit asking a judge for an injunction to stop the project.

The group’s press release pretty much says it all from their perspective:

Oakland, CA – The Alameda Creek Alliance filed a lawsuit in Alameda Superior Court today against the California Department of Transportation challenging the inadequate environmental review for the first phase of the controversial $80 million Niles Canyon highway widening project along Alameda Creek. Caltrans failed to prepare an Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”) for the State Route 84 “Safety Improvement” Project despite substantial evidence of potentially significant adverse environmental impacts to sensitive species including the California red-legged frog and Alameda whipsnake.

“Caltrans is trying to ram this ill-conceived project through with complete disregard for public input and over the continued objections of conservation groups, elected officials, and community groups from Niles and Sunol,” said Jeff Miller, director of the Alameda Creek Alliance. “The highway widening would degrade important habitat for fish and wildlife, jeopardize a decade of steelhead trout restoration efforts in Alameda Creek, and ruin the natural beauty of Niles Canyon. We insist on a thorough environmental review and reevaluation of whether this type of highway widening project with drastic impacts is even necessary.”

The lawsuit alleges violations of the California Environmental Quality Act. In 2006 Caltrans approved a “Negative Declaration” for the project, claiming no significant environmental impacts, rather than preparing the required EIR for a project with significant impacts. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Regional Water Quality Control Board and Alameda Creek Alliance submitted comments about potentially significant adverse impacts and the need for further environmental review. Caltrans failed to provide proper notice of project approval to the public and those who commented on the draft environmental review.

Caltrans cut nearly 100 native trees in the canyon this spring in preparation for the project, in the process violating several provisions of a permit issued by the Water Board. Continue Reading


Fremont folks urge Redistricitng Commission not to split city

Quite a few sign-carrying Fremont residents, including councilmembers Bill Harrison and Anu Natarajan and planning commissioners Yogi Chugh, Raj Salwan and David Bonaccorsi, spoke before the Redistricting Commission this morning in Sacramento.

Also present was Ishan Shah, who told commissioners that if they split Fremont into two congressional districts, he would fight to make sure the city also had two first-run movie theaters, one in each district. :>)

We’ll know if the show of force was successful when the official draft maps are released Friday.


Fremont News of the Day

From the cops:

Two homes were burglarized on Chamberlain Terrace. Burglars pried open sliding glass doors and stole cash and jewelry from the first home and a play station and video games from the second.

Cops arrested two people inside a CVS in the Brookvale neighborhood for trying to use a phony prescription for codeine cough medicine.

A 21-year-old male was walking in and out of lanes on Blacow Road just south of Central. When a cop came, the the man took out a knife and refused to put it down, prompting the cop to  discharge his Taser.

From the wire:

Damn SF Chronicle writing a front page story about the redistricting map and how it would dilute the burgeoning Indo-American political power in Pete Stark’s current district.  


Fremont News of the Day

fremontFrom the cops:

A robber set his sights Friday on a woman in the Ross parking lot. He grabbed her by the neck as she was walking in the parking lot and released his grip to grab her iPad and cash. Apparently he wasn’t hurting for cash. He fled in a black GMC Denali.

A 30-something-year-old man entered Game Stop in the Hub with a black bandana over his face and a chrome revolver in tow.

A person walking home from BART Sunday was confronted by a tall and muscular man who wanted his/her wallet and laptop bag. The victim gave up the wallet, but took off running with the back, only to fall on his/her face and lose the bag. But the victim chased after the robber and pleaded for the laptop bag, which the robber eventually dropped.

From the wire:

Fremont cops cleared in Cupertino shooting

The New York Times visits Little Kabul

For once, San Francisco is taking Fremont’s lead.


More cacti

Rain in June and giant cacti sprouting all over Fremont and Newark. Something is amiss. I wouldn’t be surprised if the world ends in October. Still, I think the cactus I wrote about is taller than the rest. Here’s the ones Greg mentioned in the comment section.



Fremont, split in two

I got two emails from people with the same last name concerned about the a proposed redrawing of California’s congressional districts.

The final plan isn’t due out till August, but this one splits Fremont in two. The north part of town along with Newark and Union City would stay in Pete Stark’s district. The south half of town would be a small piece of a Santa Clara County dominated district, currently represented by Zoe Lofgren of San Jose.

Stark’s district would be dramatically different. Instead of stretching along the Bay shore from Alameda to Fremont, he’d represent the inner guts of Alameda County from Hayward and San Leandro east to the Tri-Valley Area – and all the way to I-205, where people might not be so keen to have an outspoken Liberal representing them.

I’m guessing Fremont politicos wouldn’t like this because instead of Fremont being the largest city in a congressional district, it would be itty bitty pieces of two separate districts.

But let’s face it, much of Fremont has a lot more in common with Milpitas and San Jose than Hayward and San Leandro, even if that’s not reflected in the hometown newspaper.

For a pdf map of the proposal, click below:
Proposed Congressional District Map