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Archive for August, 2011

Fremont test scores

For data on Fremont test scores click here for district scores based on ethnicity and here for a school-by-school breakdown.

Overall test scores increased a bit, but not fast enough and not by students in the right subgroups to satisfy your friendly federal regulator. The No Child Left Behind Law — some of whose provisions are perhaps the best evidence that our public school system truly has produced a nation of idiots — demands that students in all sorts of categories continually improve in their test scores through 2014 when every student  is to be proficient in English and math, even though that’s impossible and invites fraud.

Unfortunately we’re three years away from examageddon and that intelligence chip still isn’t on the market. That means soon every district in the country will be in violation of the law and will go into the dreaded Program Improvement.

This year was Fremont’s turn. The district along with three elementary schools failed to meet all of their targets. They are Blacow Elementary, Grimmer Elementary and Cabrillo Elementary. Cabrillo actually saw its test scores rise 50 points to 814, but that wasn’t good enough. The only school whose score went up more was Durham Elementary, which jumped 55 points — enough to get it out of Program Improvement.

No surprises when it comes to the top scoring schools: Mission, Hopkins and Mission.

 

 

Posted on Wednesday, August 31st, 2011
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Curtains for the Center Theater

It’s hard to know when the owner of the Center Theater is joking. When he tells me that he’s going to turn the theater into a massage parlor with happy endings, I think he’s joking.

When he tells me he’s going to turn it into a recycling center and rename it “Center Garbage,” because “it matches the city,” I think he’s half joking. He does think the City Council is garbage.

But when he tells me he’s going to demolish the stage, the screen and the seats inside the venerable 64-year-old single screen movie theater, I think he’s dead serious.

Why?

Because he has already paid an architect to draw up demolition plans; because he’s already submitted an application to demolish the inside of the theater; and because there’s nothing the city can do to stop him.

The theater owner, David Siddiq, is still angry over the City Council in July denying him a permit to expand uses for the theater to include concerts banquets, dinner shows, etc. Without that permit, he doesn’t think he can make any money with the theater, so he’s decided to rip out everything and turn it into a commercial office space.

Of course the commercial rental market isn’t exactly thriving in Centerville. Trust me, if rents were climbing, the Argus would have moved somewhere else. Like Sri Lanka.

Siddiq thinks the city wouldn’t let him expand the uses for the theater because it wants to diminish its value and then buy it from him and turn it into a community arts center. But the city doesn’t have the money for that anymore. And if Siddiq removes the screen, the seats and the stage, it would all but kill the community arts center plan.

Posted on Wednesday, August 31st, 2011
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Solyndra

On the day Solyndra joined NUMMI and Cisco Field in Fremont’s netherworld, my company laptop decided to crash the party. Unfortunately for Fremont, its chances of returning from the grave are much better than Solyndra’s.

I was at the plant early this morning to chat with workers and feed quotes to the guys who actually get to write these stories. Compared to NUMMI’s final days, the scene outside Solyndra was a county fair. That’s probably because Solyndra has so many eminently employable engineers and because even the longest-tenured workers were only there six years.

There was actually a recruiter hand out business cards in the parking lot. He called it “a job fair.”

A couple of the younger guys were making plans to go golfing, others were going to meet at Denny’s.

I feel sorry for the ex NUMMI guys who got jobs at Solyndra. They really can’t catch a break.

I’ll be interested to real the stories analyzing what went wrong. I think it comes down to shape. No one wants a solar panel that’s shaped like a churro. It’s unnatural.

Posted on Wednesday, August 31st, 2011
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Fremont News of the Day

From the cops:

A mother read her 12-year-old daughter’s diary. Big mistake. The girl apparently wrote fake entries about sleeping with an 18-year-old — all to throw her snooping mother off the scent of her 14-year-old boyfriend, with whom she had been messing around. The mom called police — after she took her daughter to confront the innocent and sexless 18-year-old. Police arrived to a big shouting match, but settled things down.

A divorced woman at Southlake Mobile Home Park invited her boyfriend to live with her in the park. This upset her ex-husband, who went to the home with a baseball bat and beat on the new boyfriend.

How fast do Fremont police get to the scene of a crime? Fast enough that they responded to a report of a 52-year-old man masturbating in the bushes on Creekwood Drive in time to arrest the man before he climaxed. Unclear if the cops were really that fast or the masturbater was just a slowpoke.

A shoplifter, who triggered Walmart’s theft alarm had no time for the store’s greeter. When the greeter asked the shoplifter to stay put, the shoplifter gave the greeter two good bumps and threatened to do a lot more.

Posted on Tuesday, August 30th, 2011
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Development firm still has plans for Kimber Park

When news broke last week that developer Ed Daou had fatally shot his son and himself, folks in Kimber Park didn’t know if that would spell the end for Daou’s plans to redevelop 13 acres that includes lots of open land and a private tennis club.

It will not.

Daou’s business partner, Steve Saray said that the development and construction company Daou founded and ran is still in business, and it still plans to close a deal to purchase the Kimber Park property.

He also said the firm, called Civitaf, planned on submitting a development application with the city withing 45 days. Daou had been pitching a proposal to refurbish The Club at Mission Hills and build nearly 30 homes on some of the open space.

Residents thought it was a terrible idea and city planners said it ran contrary to  the original development covenant that set aside the land as private open space.

Posted on Friday, August 26th, 2011
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Fremont News of the Day

From the cops:
A burglar decided to cover his tracks by trying to set fire to the home on the 37600 block of Fremont Boulevard he had just burglarized. But turns out he no arsonist. The home is still standing, just with fewer contents inside.

Someone selling a bicycle on Craigslist got dinged by the cops because a woman in Davis couldn’t recognize her own stolen bike. The bike lady thought she saw her recently stolen bike being offered for sale on Craigslist out of a home in Fremont. Cops located the seller and went to his house. They found the bike wasn’t stolen, but that the resident had built an illegal dwelling in his garage. The case is going to code enforcement.

Instead of laying low, a parolee with multiple outstanding warrents fought so loudly with his girlfriend in a home on the 4000 block of Deep Creek Road that cops were called out. They surrounded the home and arrested the parolee.

From the wire:

Fremont Redevelopment Agency is giving back tax funds to state.

Safety improvements slated for intersection of Walnut and Argonaut

Posted on Friday, August 26th, 2011
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Planning Commission approves hillside mansion for the third time

No one fares better at the Fremont Planning Commission than Dr. Goney Sandhu. He could probably get these guys to approve a fire dancing academy in the hills.

Problem for Dr. Sandhu is the City Council. Twice Dr. Sandhu got Planning Commission approval for a 16,000 square foot mansion in the hills just south of the Union City border. And both times the Council rejected the project based on Fermont’s voter-approved ordinances that restrict hillside development.

Environmentalists are still opposing him, but it’s looking much more promising for Dr. Sandhu, who owns 80 acres of hillside property. He’s nearly cut the size of his house in half to just under 10,000 square feet. That includes going from an indoor pool to an outdoor pool and from a five-car garage to a four car garage. He’s also agreed to put it in a spot where just about no one will be able to see it.

A lot of those changes may not sound like much, but they help him conform much more with the hillside ordinances, and it was enough for city staff members to recommend that permits for the house be approved this time around.

Environmentalists say they’ll appeal this to the City Council, so we’ll find out soon if the third time is a charm for Dr. Sandhu or if it’ll be strike three.

BTW, I talked to Sandhu after the meeting. He said he’s spent more than $350,000 thousand just to get to this point of the approval process. But he said living in the hills is his dream. He grew up in the Seven Hills district of Union City, and the hills is where he wants to be.

Posted on Thursday, August 25th, 2011
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Mission to get a craft beer bar

Fremont Planning Commissioners has just done something that could be worth a few votes when they inevitably run for City Council: They’ve brought booze back to Mission San Jose.

In a few months, “California Craft Beer” will open at 43377 Mission Boulevard. The future owner of the shop just blew me off, but his lady friend tells me the establishment will be sort of like “Starbucks, but with beer.” From what I can gather, that means no pool, no music and no karaoke.

Also, this being Fremont, the place will close at 10 p.m. I’m guessing Happy Hour will be from 1 to 2 p.m.

I’m no Mission San Jose historian, but I’ve been told this will be the first bar-like establishment since The Mission Bell Tavern, which closed some time ago. I was also told that the Mission was was home to about a dozen bars, but Ms. Olive Hyde — the woman for whom the art gallery is named — was a big fan of the temperance movement. Beginning in the 1940s, she apparently bought up the bars and closed them down.

Posted on Thursday, August 25th, 2011
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Fremont News of the Day

From the cops:
A crook is a little better prepared if this run of earthquakes continues, after he smashed the front window at Ahern Rental on Boscell and grabbed a $1,000 generator.

From the wire:
Niles theater to screen once banned Fatty Arbuckle film.
I was at a NUMMI job fair yesterday. One guy told me he’s been looking for work about as long as they’ve been looking for Hasanni Campbell. They’ve actually been looking longer for Hasanni.

Posted on Thursday, August 25th, 2011
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Non-injury accident leads to fatal crash

 Very bizarre fate car wreck this morning.

There was a minor non-injury crash on I-680 this morning. The two drivers, 37-year-old female and a 47-year-old male, agreed to trade insurance information off the freeway, so they exited at Washington Boulevard and parked on the north side of Washington near the off ramp.

They were both standing on the sidewalk about 9:30 a.m. when an 83-year-old Fremont man traveling westbound on Washington veered off the road and right into the 47-year-old man, sending him down an embankment. Officers found the man pinned under the Buick. He was taken to a regional trauma center in San Jose where he was pronounced dead.

The 83-year-old was also admitted to the hospital. 

 

Posted on Wednesday, August 24th, 2011
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