The precoital council

Don’t be surprised next year if Bill Harrison buys you a drink, Anu Natarajan shows up at your door with cookies or Dominic Dutra lets you touch his hair.

The City Council is in full-on courtship mode, and in their minds you guys have been playing hard to get since 1956.

Usually when a city wants to pass a tax, things are pretty straight forward. The powers that be get a few handsome firefighters to knock on doors; they get the police union to pony up for some mailers; they form a campaign committee that hires the consulting firm with the ex-mayor’s daughter on staff. Wham bam … blah blah blah.

But not the Fremont City Council. They apparently want to spend the next few years re-enacting When Harry Met Sally with voters playing the role of Sally and the money scene not getting shot until 2014.

Never mind that the school district easily got a parcel tax passed last year on a shoestring campaign budget.

A prediction. No matter how many brainstorming retreats the council takes, no matter how many outreach meetings they hold, no matter how much they crow about the declining state of city streets, this is going to be public safety parcel tax.

Nobody is paying more to live in Union City because its street pavement index is higher than Fremont’s. People move to Fremont for schools, safety and convenience. The council doesn’t control schools and it can’t tax its way to an even more convenient spot on the map. That leaves police and fire.

For the masses in Warm Springs worried about burglaries, the council can scream out that they’ll get more cops. And for the 13 people who really care about the potholes, the council can whisper that a public safety tax really just dedicates a new funding source for police and fire, allowing the city to spend a little more of its operating budget on other items such as street maintenance.


Target in Pacific Commons to open in March/Newark location to close

From the company:

Target today announces a new store in Fremont, Calif. located at 43956 Pacific Commons Blvd. With the opening of the new Fremont South location, the Target at Newpark Mall in Newark, Calif. will close. All eligible store team members will have the opportunity to transfer to the new Fremont South store or other nearby Target stores.

Opening in March 2012, the Fremont South Target will include an expanded fresh food assortment providing greater convenience and value to Target guests. The store will offer basic fresh produce (e.g., bananas, strawberries and bagged lettuce), fresh packaged meat (e.g., ground beef, chicken and pork) and baked goods, cover approximately 138,000 square feet and employ 175-250 team members.

Fremont News of the Day

From the cops:

Some very strong burglars stole a stove from a home on the 4300 block of Castanos Street. The homeowner was remodeling, which gave the crooks a chance to lug the stove out the garage.

If I told some kids to quiet down and one of them took a hatchet out out of his jacket, I would run the heck away. But a Fremont man stood his ground with only a pocket knife in his hand and lived to complain to police about it. It was about 6:40 p.m. near City Hall when the victim told the kids atop the Murco Plaza parking structure to quiet down. The rowdy teens then confronted the victim; one whipped his belt at him and the other swung and missed several times with the hatchet. They ran away when they saw a police volunteer vehicle, but cops caught up to them and made the arrests.


Fremont City Council Report

UPDATE Fremont council members just made it clear that they’re gearing up for a tax measure. Doesn’t sound like they want to do it next November when two council members will be running for mayor and another will run for re-election — but they say it’s not about politics.

It’s budget update time. Fremont’s finances are stable. Despite cutting more than $5 million this year mostly from employee concessions, the city’s expenses are rising this year. Why? Rising pension costs.

But, the city is anticipating running a small surplus next fiscal year — the first since 2006/2007. 

The City Council just approved some re-striping along Scott Creek Road to try to prevent accidents like the one last year that injured several children walking home from school. The city’s plan is to narrow lanes and swerve traffic lanes away from the bike lane.

Kudos The American Association of University Women for taking about a tenth of the time I expected to receive their resolution from the City Council.

A doctor is mad because The Club at Mission Hills is closed and the owner erected a fence around the property. He was playing tennis at the Kimber Park fitness club just 10 days ago.

A couple of union folks are hear representing the 30 or so maintenance workers who will likely be laid off as the city looks to privatize maintenance jobs. That was one of the recommendations from a report by Management Partners. I didn’t pick up on it at the time of the report, but that firm has a few old Fremont hands including former City Manager Jan Perkins.

Quiz: Which literary giant began his novel, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…?” One official here guessed Dostoyevsky


Fremont News of the Day

A woman arrived home on Segovia Place to find a young man and woman racing through her yard with her jewelry and electronics. They had entered through a sliding glass door.

An officer stopped a car with two 21-year-old Nortenos inside. The gangsters ended up inside a jail cell after the cop found a loaded handgun in the center console.

From the wire
The SF, Oakland, Fremont corridor was named the best place to be car free, according to Yahoo. This would be more plausible if Fremont was left out of the corridor and New York was #1.


Longer yellow light = fewer red light tickets

The graphic below is a follow-up on a story we had in March about how Fremont’s most ticketed red light camera intersection churned out a lot fewer tickets after Caltrans increased yellow light times. The intersection is Mission  and Mohave, and Caltrans extended  the yellow light from 4.3 to 5 seconds last November.

Click on the photo to enlarge.


Affordable housing complex opens in Irvington

This afternoon is the big ceremony for Main street Village Apartments in Irvington.

The complex will have 64 units targeting really poor people. Nineteen of the units will be for people with severe mental or physical disabilities or foster kids exiting the system. The complex will have supportive services, as well as a vegetable garden, children’s play area and a computer lab.

These projects are always expensive, especially when they target the poorest of the poor. Main Street Village was budgeted at about $30 million, which pencils out to $468,750 per unit.


Fremont News of the Day

From the cops:

A fisherman won’t be able to eat his catch from Lake Elizabeth. As the fisherman was handling his fish, another man, perhaps celebrating the end of World Vegan Week, gave him a shove and threw the fish back in the lake. It must have been quite a shove; cops are treating it as a battery. 

A maintenance worker at the Nordstrom Rack was caught stealing $2,000 worth of merchansidse. The crook apparently had beed stealling stuff for quite some time.