36

And We’re Back …

That’s right, the Tri-City Beat blog is back. This is the first blog posting since its founder, Matthew Artz, bid us all goodbye in December. Matt moved to The Oakland Tribune (our sister paper) to cover the Oakland City Hall beat.  In the meantime, our excellent colleagues, Rob Dennis and Darren Sabedra, held down the fort for eight months while I was covering courts and crime in southern Alameda County.

But now, I am officially covering the cities and school districts of Fremont, Newark and Union City. One of my first unofficial acts is to bring back this blog. Contact me anytime with story ideas, suggestions, concerns, questions, complaints, corrections and, on that oh-so-rare occasion, embarrassingly gushing praise. I can be reached at 510-353-7011 or cdebenedetti@bayareanewsgroup.com.

In the future, I’ll be posting photos and videos and fun 21st-Century stuff. Until then, I’m going to start slow and simply say:

It’s great to be back covering you, Tri-City area.

Chris DeBenedetti

  • Glenn

    Excellent! I knew I had kept this RSS feed in my reader for a good reason, even if I was already following you on Twitter. Welcome (back).

  • Chris De Benedetti

    Thanks for the welcome, Glenn. Please spread the word. Talk to you soon.

  • http://www.bacon4fremont.com Vinnie Bacon

    Chris,

    Glad to hear you’ll be working down in the Fremont area.

  • MikeTeeVee

    We currently get the paper version of the Merc but not the Argus. Can you tell us how different the Fremont coverage is between the two papers?

  • charlie C

    …and while we’re at it did any amongst you oppose bringing the A’s to Fremont?

  • bbox231

    Several “among us” DID voice objection to the stadium. . . . .. including NUMMI and Catellus.

  • charlie C

    #6…and then NUMI went belly up. Catellus will NEVER be able to generate the income for Fremont that a professional sports franchise would have. Admit it, you screwed up …Fremont will never be a major leauge city because of it. Remember this when you vote in the next election.

  • RescueBlues

    Sorry, you worded that incorrectly — “The A’s will NEVER be able to bleed Fremont with a professional sports franchise.” The only thing I’ll gladly admit is that Fremont dodged a bullet and I’m grateful that no stadium ended up next to Pacific Commons (the only place LW seriously considered, funded by a lot of overpriced housing sans schools, until the market collapsed) *or* on a tiny lot in Warm Springs *or* anywhere else within the city. And I will remember *that* when I vote in the next election.

    But seriously Charlie, get help. The Fremont A’s are dead, so if you love the team go watch them in San Jose or Oakland or Las Vegas, or go watch the 49ers (if you can afford the huge ticket prices and horrible traffic) in their new SC stadium.

  • WarbleFly

    Its all tragic really. Fremont blew it. The A’s would have been an economic and cultural godsend. Now what do we have? A whole lot of wasted real estate. Alas, the NIMBYs and pessimists have destroyed another opportunity.
    And myself, my family and my friends will remember who to vote for this November.

  • charlie C

    #8…Maybe you need to admit you screwed the pooch and move on. Fremont has been forever screwed by the likes of you and others (who thought they could get elected) by opposing the best thing that could have EVER come to Fremont. Admit it RescueB…you are a fool!

  • bbox231

    It’s a shame that Bill and Anu and Susan and the rest of the Counc-ill weren’t able to create an effective plan and vision for this facility. It is a shame that they were completely unable to muster any significant support.

    One would have thought that with their many years occupying City Hall (!) they would have, by now, built a sizeable power base of citizens willing to get behind their vision.

    The reality appears to be that none of these individuals have been able to use their time in office to expand on the list of very few electorate necessary to get into office in this town.

    While (sadly) a few relatives and a couple of business owners may get you elected in Fremont, there’s no way that these few connections will make something like an MLB stadium happen.

    It is the same small town reasoning which ignored the obvious negative consquences to parking and traffic in the original stadium design, which now continues (ad nausium) to declare this as a failure resulting from opposition, as opposed a lack of support.

    It’s a shame we didn’t possess the management skills to put forth an effective stadium plan on our first swing of the bat. It’s a shame we weren’t connected to the greater community in a manner which would have allowed strong support for a beneficial vision. It’s a shame that important decisions continue to be made by and to the benefit of a small group electorate.

    It’s a shame that our current leadership have absolutely no incentive to want any of this to change.

  • charlie C

    An MLB stadium for an city the size of Fremont is sensible development. All of the positives clearly outweigh what you call the (obvious negative consquences). Isn’t it true that a *vocal minority* with their own self interest in mind killed what would have been the in the best interest of Fremont? Kudos to Santa Clara for not letting a *vocal minority* like the FCN win the day. Remember this when you vote in the next election.

  • bbox231

    Exactly right, Charlie . . . a very small group of individuals who went almost completely unchallenged by any pro stadium support whatseover . . . . and who’s interests were, seemingly, aligned with the most significant business interests in our community.

  • bbox231

    http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/reports/2000/5/cities%20schwartz/competitive

    “…while attendance at sports events and revenues from tickets and related
    sales may, in fact, rise, they are likely to do so at the expense of businesses elsewhere in
    the area, such as movie theaters, bowling alleys, and restaurants”

    Bottom line, those who oppose a stadium have the backs of the majority of businesses in the immediate vicinity. Those who promote a stadium do so to the likely demise of businesses throughout the region.

    And, which is exactly what Catellus and NUMMI were trying to tell you.

  • worble

    WOW!!! Charlie tuna your still crying about a stadium that Lew was never going to build in Fremont. You and back door Bob and the rest of the Hotdog beer drinking drunks got played HA HA HA NO STADIUM IN FREMONT!!!

  • Chris DeBenedetti

    A couple of housekeeping issues: I’m pleasantly surprised that in less than a week we have 15 comments on a single blog entry. Having said that, some of the comments already are not passing the minimum standard for civility. You can have robust debate — even ad nauseam — until the cows come, but please keep it civil. That means no name-calling and no gratuitous taunting.

    Thanks for reading this blog, as it shakes off its cobwebs. Thanks, in advance, for trying to raise the level of discourse as we move forward.

  • charlie C

    #14…
    With all due respect you are simply wrong. If we all live for another 30 years it will be as plain as the nose on your face that Santa Clara is now and will have become an even much more desirable place than Fremont *because* they were wise enough to invest in something for that would benfit *all* the people. What ya going to say when The Block turns into the New Park Mall a. Is this what the FCN wanted when they opposed the best thing that could have happened to Fremont. I hope we all remember what a blow the *vocal minority* has given to the gut of Fremont. Remember this when you vote in the next election.

  • bbox231

    #17 –

    It is a fact that the stadium was opposed by NUMMI and Catellus who were, at the time, amongst the most significant business members of our community.

    It is also a fact that the concerns and desires of these very same businesses was, by in large, in alignment with those few residents who voiced opposition to the stadium.

    It is a fact that numerous independant analysis of the economic impact of stadia consistantly reinforce the conclusion that stadiums do little in the way of helping a local economy and can even have a negative overall effect.

    IT is a fact that stadiums do not generate incremental spending (last time I looked, they dont print money therein) but are simply a redirecting mechanism which redistributes the (largely) fixed entertainment budgets of families away from OTHER activities (businesses) and into the hands of a small group of stadium operators, team owners, and players. The overwhelming majority of this redistributed wealth LEAVES THE COMMUNITY in some way or another, because these same people spend a small fraction therein.

    So – with all of this in mind, it is my humble opinion that those who opposed the stadium, directly or indirectly, placed Fremont business interests at the top of their list of priorities.

    For these same reasons, I conclude that those who promoted the stadium were clearly guilty of, to some degree or another, subordinating the business interests of these valuable and respected businesses and members of our community.

    What was it that was wrong and what is the basis of your opinion?

  • MikeTeeVee

    The owner of the A’s wants a new stadium in San Jose, as part of a larger real estate deal. It doesn’t matter what anybody in Fremont wanted.

  • charlie C

    18…
    No, the fact is NUMMI, Catellus, the NIMBYs, the pessimists and the wanna be City Council members were all a part of the the *vocal miniory* that chased away a golden opportuniy for their own self interest. NUMMI went belly up Catellus continues to build soon to be obsolete malls, the NIMBYs got a railroad yard, the pessimists are still looking at a glass half empty and that wanna be politican with a $2,000 dog is running for City Council again. Anyone who does their reasearch knows that professional sporting teams are cash cows that generate millions and millions for their communities. It’s too bad for Fremont that self interest defeated what would have been an economic and cultural bonanza.

  • bbox231

    Not at all surprised to hear that your definition of a “cultural bonanza” is having 10′s of thousands of baseball fans (many of whom will be inebriated well beyond the legal limit) dumped onto your streets after a game.

    Can’t help but wonder how much “culture” Brian Stow feels he was the beneficiary of.

    And, at the end of the day I might have some sympathy for your cause IF the pro-stadium folks had made a serious attempt. . . . .but it never happened, Charlie. At best, this was an amateurish attempt to throw some mud on the wall in hopes that something (anything) might stick. . . . . The flaws in this thing were blatant to anyone with a half ounce of common sense.

    And, at the end of the day, it didn’t happen, we didn’t produce, we fell flat on our rear-ends because Bill and Anu and Susan didnt MAKE IT HAPPEN.

    This council has a well established history of failure, Charlie – take a look around. They’ve failed to do anything in Centerville. We’ve got a very nice and very new Police Station that is (reportedly) unsafe. Heck, we can’t even get a simple skate park tossed together. And, just like with the stadium, we’ll keep regurgitating the same tired old excuses (one of which is a vocal minority nonesense.) But at the end of the day *THEY*, the ones who were in the drivers seat, the ones who would be proudly declaring their victory IF a stadium whad been built, the ones who purportedly SHOULD have the connections to make a deal like this come together, THEY were the ones that SHOULD have had the backing of a majority of Fremontians and THEY didn’t and as a result, you dont have a stadium.

    The legacy is pretty clear, Charlie. This council has not had the backs of business in this city, it has not had the interests of a majority of Fremont citizenry, and it has catered to a small, select and vocal group of well established electorate. If you’re unclear as to who that favored and vocal minority is, all you gotta do is take a drive through each of the districts. . . . . and take a look around. It’s plain as day, the rest of you please continue to make your regular contributions to the Fremont general fund and retirement plan.

  • charlie C

    …and as you know prohibition was a miserable failure.Those who you wrongfully call the inebriated dumping onto the streets could have been spending millions and millions a year in the upscale restaurants and bars that would have been built and flourished right here in Fremont. Fremont could have been on the map! Now your going to vote for a guy with a $2000 dog and Fremont problems will be cured?

  • worble

    Could have? maybe? hopefully? possibly? all sound like wishful thinking. Some people just don’t have the mental capacity to handle the truth. NO BALL PARK IN FREMONT. :) :]

  • bbox231

    Hey Charlie – dont know where you get your information since you never site any sources, but, here’s a source that suggests that, in fact, boat loads of your beloved baseball fans ARE INDEED over the legal limit –

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-01-18/sports/ct-talk-sports-alcohol-study-20110118_1_researchers-sports-fans-alcohol-consumption

  • charlie C

    #23…What’s your point?
    #24.. So Boxie, what part of economic growth, jobs, small business revitalization and civic pride do you not get? It’s all about doing what’s right and not whats in *YOUR* self interest. Why has that not resonated with YOU and the FCN crowd?
    http://www.ehow.com/list_6764597_benefits-having-sport-franchises-cities_.html
    If you are are you referring to the $2,000 dog….just ask Mrs Bacon.

  • bbox231

    #25 – Charlie you failed to grasp your own obvious mis-statement. Please go back and re-read – it may sink in.

    While Charlies works to try to sort out an obvious disconnect with reality, there’s another disconnect in the F-mont stadium gambit that is just as disturbing. Only in this case it involves your council.

    Take a look thru the archives on Fremont liquor licenses denied. Plans for Joe’s Corner as submitted by a small-business operator is a good place to start. There are others. But what is fascinating is that while denying small-business opportunities under the auspices of – “we have too many liquor licenses” we are perfectly content to support a stadium which would have dumped 100′s and 1000′s of inebriated souls (according to the public record of facts) onto streets.

    Now, if this makes no sense to you, congratulations – you have a pulse. If it doens’t make sense, line up behind Charlie and the rest of your current council members. Help is on the way.

  • bbox231

    Here’s a breath of fresh air.

    I have absolutely no idea if he merits a vote for mayor, but, at least he can see that the king has no clothes and has, in this one instance, no qualms about stating as such –

    “Other candidates and council members have been on the council for years, I don’t feel like they’ve delivered. They give great talks each year, but they’re not delivering, and I think Fremont needs a new face.” – Aziz Akbari

    I can only hope and pray that there’s more were this came from.

  • charlie C

    obvious disconnect?…hey sport, let me help you connect the dots, let me help you pick up the pieces. your boy bacon, a well known business killer is a man who fears trimming his bushes, a man won owns a $2,000 dog. so is this the *help* you are refering to? the FNC is dead! the fact that a vocal minority won the day doesn’t make you right. fremont needs to elect sensible developers to help us get get a there there.remember this when you vote in the next election.

  • bbox231

    Sheesh – - – dunno where that came from.

    Who is FNC? I didn’t even realize FNC was part of the discussion of whether or not inebriated baseball fans do or dont exist. Remember? – the drunk fans you stated in #22 were “wrongfully” identified.

    But it seems, based on the data referenced in #24 above, that YOU are wrong, AGAIN, Charlie and once again at odds with reality. (Still trying to figure out who FNC is)

    But, let’s move along how about that Aziz Akbari, kid Charlie? If nothing else he has the backbone enough to call it like it is – - – ”Other candidates and council members have been on the council for years,” Akbari said. “I don’t feel like they’ve delivered. They give great talks each year, but they’re not delivering, and I think Fremont needs a new face . . . .”

    And, as for that vocal minority thinking you keep regurgitating, (another conclusion, which, IMHO represents a massive disconnect from other obvious facts – but, let’s go along with Charlie’s little dream here just for grins) Wasnt the Fremont Citizens Network just a DIFFERENT minority than the one who so repeatedly put (and re-puts) Bill, Anu, and Sue into their council seats?

    Charlie, LOOK AT THE DATA (again) All Fremont has is minority political interests!!!! The voting record itself is one of a MINORITY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    But everyone gets that point (seemgingly except you), so here’s my point – -

    I hope that by peeling back the veneer of smiling faces to the underlaying waste and ineptitude that has beleaguered this cadre of Council glad-handers and which have a few achievements but many more huge misses and obvious disconnects in rational thinking, for example – Centerville – just MAYBE we might wake up a few of those other tax[auers who, like Akbari, just might decide, they too have had enough, and that it’s time to cast a ballot.

    Queue Chris D – Chris, this is where you come in because on *THIS* particular note, we need a public press which is willing to ask the right and good questions – right???

    After all It is our local press which, in part, encourages lethargy amongst electorate by making the decision to deliver pretty personal interest or tougher good question answering coverage to our local politicos and which can help to bring the FULL record of accomplishment or lack thereof into the light of day.

    And if that full record is scrutinized, I believe that a majority of taxpayers will begin to think like Mr. Akbari. Hopefully, Chris D will begin to get some qood questions on the table in front of ALL of the candidates, in time for election.

    So continuing with the shout out to Chris D and Argus, if you are still listening, let’s not waste the time or space on pretty anecdotes and imagery. These stalwart occupants of our Council Chambers should have a LENGTHY list of accomplishments based on their tenure alone and each and every one should be clamboring to get that list in front of electorate. But Isn’t it curious how little space they have each dedicated to RESULTS in their respective web sites and how much resource they instead allocate to pretty pictures and useless lists of people they know of.(There’s a good question – “Why do Fremont incumbants spend so much of their promotional time and effort focussing on broad personal generalizations and less on a discussion of the specific issues that plague our city?”)

    For our newbies, we should be hearing clear suggestion as to what they’d do differently and why different is better.

    And, Hey Mr. Akbari if you’re around – nice first swing of the bat but, it’s not time for some new “faces” on the council – we’ve already got “faces” – - what we NEED is coherent thought, heatlhy debate, decision, and – most importantly – action!

  • charlie C

    Box, LOOK AT THE DATA and then look in the mirror. Not so very long ago the Fremont Citizens Network (FNC) held a little flash mob protest to oppose the A’s coming to Fremont. Who is the FCN…why, you are the FCN… You, FCN president Kathy Mac and her running mate VBacon were all there…remember? Your ilk pissed and moaned and won the day remember? Now your saying you are the *solution* the 2 time loser is the cure? Box you are and will always be the the vocal minority my friend. May I suggest you go trim some shrubbery with your fraudulent saviour. Maybe he will let you pet blondie,his $2,000 dog .

  • bbox231

    I’d love to see the data and the facts Charlie.

    Unfortunately – you appear to have none because you’ve presented none.

    Very consistantly, all you and the rest of the council have EVER served up in this (and so many other) debates has been innuendo, pretty visions, excuses and personalized annecdotes.

    Wouldn’t you think that someone who had been on the council this long would have SOMETHING of substance to offer????

  • West

    Chris,
    Welcome, I am happy that you have restarted the blog. I am also happy that you made the statement about civility.
    I have depended on this blog for local news. I also enjoyed Matts dry sense of humour. He used to blog from the city council meetings.
    I am also tired of Charlies nastyness, lies, and bad info. FCN is no longer active, He is beating a dead horse, along with the failed attempt to bring the A’s to Fremont. I believe that He has the right to spew his version of the truth.
    People on the blog has tried to explain to Charlie that a ball park is not that good of deal for the city of Fremont. We will now have businesses, industrial mfg, and housing, that is far better for Fremont then a Ball Park.
    It has been suggested to Charlie that since San Jose is getting the ball park, He should persue getting the San Jose Giants to come to Fremon, that would fit Fremont.
    Perhaps you can limit people to one blog a day, then I will only have to ignore one message from Charlie. I can live with one message a day.
    Please moderate the blog. Lets talk about real issues not dead ones, like the ball park.

  • Dan Ondrasek

    Chris,
    Thank you.
    This website was a very important microphone for vetting ideas and understanding the opponent’s view. Yeah – things will get a little spirited and there are times that you will find that you are having a battle of wits with unarmed opponents, but it is a great outlet. Thank you for turning it back on and putting up with us. The Tri-City Area is going through important transitions and the end result of each is very important to the three cities and the Bay Area as a whole.

    Looking forward to the debate(s) ahead.
    Dan Ondrasek

  • Chris DeBenedetti

    Catching up from the weekend … Thanks for the comments from both Dan and West. I’ve tried to give commenters a lot of rope, especially early on. But I’m inclined to lean toward what West wrote. My policing of comments is about to get more strict.

    One last thing: If the A’s show interest again in Fremont, we’ll cover it until you’re sick of it. Until then, West is right: it’s a dead issue in these parts and has been so for 3-1/2 years. Both sides have exhausted their talking points. Let’s move on and debate something more relevant to Fremont and the region in 2012. Thanks again for reading this blog.

  • bbox231

    Chris D –

    Dont know if you’ve got any sway with the design folks but we really need a solution to the mobile access –

    With all due respect the mobile TCB version is just plain bad. All you get are the recent post banners, no mention of comments – so, you’re forced to look thru each individual post to see if comments exist or have been added.

    IMHO this will never gain traction in its current form but c’est la vie – - – a workaround SHOULD be available and looks like it was intended because at the bottom of the mobile page is a link that says – “EXIT THE MOBILE EDITION (view the standard browser edition)” – which would be a PERFECT solution for those very few of us who dont find the mobile version functional – EXCEPT – that the link doesnt work . . . . .

    PRETTY PLEASE ??? –

    I’ll buy you a drink if you can make this happen . . .

  • Bbox231

    Chris. Nice work and thanks. Name your poison.