Day after Salwan’s appointment to Fremont City Council

In my story on the Salwan appointment in Wednesday’s print edition of The Argus:

Raj Salwan’s appointment to the Fremont City Council gives the five-member panel an Asian majority for the first time in the city’s nearly 57-year history.

Secondly, Vice Mayor Anu Natarajan — who cast the lone dissenting vote in the 3-1 margin that sent Salwan onto the council — said she was caught off-guard Monday because the system the council used to rank candidates was slightly different from that of past appointments. In previous meetings, Natarajan said, council members ranked each of the competing candidates, from top to bottom. On Monday, Harrison proposed that they rank only their top three choices, leaving the others unranked.

“I was surprised that the ranking system got changed at the last minute,” Natarajan said. “The outcome may not have been different, but I was a little disappointed it was handled that way.”

Harrison defended his ranking system, saying he thought “long and hard about” it and didn’t intend to surprise his fellow council members. He added that he received no pushback during the meeting about it.

“Yes, this system was a little different,” he said. “At the end of the day, it still takes a motion, a second and a vote to get the appointment.”

For more of the article, click here.


Nonprofit founded by Fremont man helps special needs students

Neal Bharadwaj founded a Fremont nonprofit organization to help local youth when he was just 15, but he shrugs off any praise about the accomplishment, saying he just was following the generous example his parents set.

“They taught us to give back, especially when there are so many people who could use the help,” said Bharadwaj, now 24.

Nearly a decade later, he’s still following his parents’ model, and his organization, Matters of Community, is going strong. It provides music, art, theater and sports programs to improve the education of special needs children, including those with learning disorders, and physical and mental disabilities.

For more of the story, click here.


The Fremont Council appointment ranking breakdown

After the interviews of the six candidates vying for the open Fremont council seat Monday night concluded, the four council members chose their appointment by using a ranking system. Each council member was to rank their top three candidate from 1 to 3. A first place vote was 3 points, a second place vote equaled 2 points and a third place vote was 1 point.  Got it?

Without further ado, here’s the breakdown of the council voting that resulted in Raj Salwan’s appointment:

Raj Salwan (Harrison – 1st place, Bacon – 1st place, Chan – 3rd place) TOTAL: 7 points

David Bonaccorsi (Chan – 1st place, Natarajan – 1st place) TOTAL: 6 points

John J. Dutra (Chan – 2nd place, Natarajan – 2nd place) TOTAL: 4 points

Yogi Chugh (Harrison – 3rd place, Natarajan – 3rd place, Bacon – 3rd place)  TOTAL:  3 points

Christina Broadwin (Bacon – 2nd place) TOTAL: 2 points

Rick Jones (Harrison – 2nd place) TOTAL: 2 points


Fremont council members appoint Raj Salwan to City Council

FREMONT — The City Council on Monday night voted to appoint Raj Salwan, chair of the Tri-Cities Democratic Forum and a politically connected ally of Mayor Bill Harrison, to an open council seat.

Salwan, a Tri-City-area veterinarian and major property owner, finished first by notching seven votes in the council’s ranking system. David Bonaccorsi, an attorney and planning commission chair, was a close second with six points. John J. Dutra finished third with four points while Yogi Chugh captured three points. Christina Broadwin and Rick Jones rounded out the field of six candidates as each finished with two points.

Following the rankings, the motion to appoint Salwan was passed by a 3-1 margin, with Vice Mayor Anu Natarajan casting the dissenting vote.

“It’s a great feeling,” Salwan said after the meeting. “I’m looking forward to working with the council.”

The term of the open seat, which Harrison vacated last month when sworn in as mayor, expires in November 2014.

Under state law, the vacancy had to be filled by Feb. 2, otherwise the city would have been forced to hold a special election that could have cost Fremont taxpayers more than $600,000, according to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters.

The five-member council is now comprised of: Mayor Bill Harrison, Vice Mayor Anu Natarajan, Councilwoman Sue Chan, Councilman Vinnie Bacon and Councilman Raj Salwan.


Fremont Crime News of the Weekend

Source:  Fremont Police Department

Friday, January 11, 2013
Incidents 293 Reports 40

#009 Vehicle Code Violation
Officer Ceniceros conducted a traffic enforcement stop and cited /arrested an adult male for being unlicensed.

#013 Warrant Arrest
Officer Stone conducted a traffic enforcement stop and arrested the driver, and adult male, for outstanding warrants.

#016 Warrant Arrest
Officer Sanders conducted a pedestrian stop and arrested and adult male for an outstanding warrant.

#019 Brandishing a Weapon / Mental Case
A man called and reported that a female brandished a knife at him and she was walking in the area of 7-11 (Chapel). Officers located the woman and recovered the knife. The woman was detained and placed on a psychiatric hold.

#027 Drunk in Public Arrest
Public drunkenness at Launderland on Walnut Ave. Ofc. Zargham found a 47 year old adult female drunk and disorderly there. She was booked in and transported to Santa Rita.

#031 Attempted Auto Theft
Stevenson Place Apartments, 4000 block of Stevenson. A Hispanic male and white male, both described to be in their late teens, were interrupted entering an older Honda in an apparent attempt to steal it. They were scared off by the reporting party. Ofc. Lambert investigating.

#034 Attempted Robbery
Fast and Easy Mart on Ardenwood Blvd. Three males, one with a handgun, accosted a male and battered him in his car. They fled in a silver BMW 4dr, partial plate of 4CYI… Ofc. Johnson investigating.

#043 Hit and Run Property Damage
Officer Hunt takes a hit and run report which occurred at Paseo Padre Pkwy/Decoto Blvd. Suspect vehicle, a white SUV, last seen E/B on Decoto.

#001 Armed Robbery
At approximately 11:45 pm, a suspect with semi auto handgun entered Lucky’s (Brookvale Center) and robbed an employee of cash. Suspect was a black male adult, about 20 years old, 6 feet, avg. build, wearing a ski hat that covered ears, and a green puffy jacket. He was last seen running W/B Nicolet Ave, towards the apartment complex on the S/W corner of Nicolet Ave and Fremont Blvd. Investigated by Officer Hartman.

#002 DUI Arrest/Collision
Officers responded to an unknown injury accident in the 44000 block of Cougar Ci. Upon arrival, it appeared to be a hit and run. Officers stopped a damaged vehicle that was driving in the area. Officer Soper ended up arresting the driver of that car for DUI.

IH#P13002961 Outside Assist to Fremont Fire
Officers Hartman and Rodriguez respond to outside assist for FFD. A 51 year old male was found deceased. It was an attended death. No further actions taken.

Saturday, January 12, 2013
Incidents 262 Reports 37

#007 Warrant Arrest
Officer Gourley contacted a 31 year old adult male, Union City resident, and arrested him for an outstanding warrant.

#011 Warrant Arrest
Officer Chan contacted a 26 year old adult female, Fremont resident, and arrested her for an outstanding warrant.

#019 Found Firearm
A resident on Sherwood St. called and reported he found a firearm in his backyard. Officer C. Tang recovered the firearm which was a loaded 12 gauge “sawed off” shotgun.

#027 Violation of Court Order
Violation of a Court Order and Trespassing on the 43000 Block of Charleston Way. Officers were dispatched to a violation of a court order/trespassing call. A 53 year old adult male was hiding in the backyard of his parent’s house in violation of a court order. He was found in the backyard and taken into custody with out incident.

#037 Residential Burglary Report
At approximately 10:00 p.m. Officer Soper took a residential burglary report on Skye Rd. The burglary occurred at about 7:50 p.m. Nothing was missing and no further information.

#002 Stolen Vehicle Arrest
At 12:23 a.m. on 1/13/13, Officers Hartman and Dodson are dispatched to a report of a subject knocking on a door on Tacoma Co (Ardenwood area) and asking to use the phone. The subject was associated to a nearby SUV that was a stolen vehicle out of Oakland. At 1:48 a.m., another person reported a similar subject came to their door on the 4900 block of Hildasue Terrace, again asking to use the phone. Officers Rodriguez and Hartman contacted two subjects who admitted using the SUV and parking it in an unknown driveway when they saw a police car. They were both arrested for the stolen vehicle and receiving known stolen property.

#003 Family Disturbance/Restraining Order Arrest
At 1:00 a.m., officers responded to a disturbance on Argyle Rd. Officer Allsup arrested a 26 year old adult male, Fremont resident, for a restraining order violation. While en route to FPD Jail, the male started spitting at the officer, so he got “Wrapped” and booked at Santa Rita Jail.

#005 Public Intoxication
Subject tried to enter a locked door at the Chevron on Farwell Ave. Officer Piol arrested an adult male for public intoxication.

Sunday, January 13, 2013
Incidents 194 Reports 26

#008 Trespassing Arrest
At approximately 8:30 a.m., Ofc. Richards spotted a 24 year old adult male transient, sleeping on a restaurant table at the Crossroads Shopping Center. Ofc. Richards recently warned the male not to loiter at the shopping center after he was previously found sleeping on a table. The restaurant owner advised that he sleeps on the table or next to the table just about every night. The restaurant owner requested that he be arrested for trespassing.

#011 Suspended License Arrest
During a traffic stop in the area of Blacow Rd and Mowry Ave, Ofc. Ceniceros arrested a 63 year old adult male, Fremont resident, for driving on a suspended license.

#012 Warrant Arrest
Ofc. Dias conducted a warrant service and arrested an adult male for several outstanding warrants.

#016 Driving without a License
At approximately 1:10 p.m., Ofc. Kindorf arrested a 23 year old adult male, Fremont resident, for driving without license in the area of Blacow Rd/Garden Way. He and his vehicle went to jail.

#009: Mental Evaluation
Officers responded to a call of a family disturbance on the 4600 block of Boone Dr. A 50 year-old adult female was upset and throwing things around the kitchen. Family members had to physically prevent her from getting to the knives. Officers arrived and the female was sent to the hospital for a psychological evaluation.

#014 Found Property Report (Bullet Casings)
At approximately 12;25 p.m., a caller from Target at the Hub reported that he had found several bullet casings in the parking lot. Ofc. Baca responded and took a found property report.

#026 Stolen Vehicle
A ’91 Blue Honda Civic 2D, was stolen from Food Maxx between 4:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.

#001 Ascertain the Problem Call
At approximately 11:35 p.m., dispatch received multiple calls from Mojos Bar (Peralta Blvd.) reporting a subject had entered the bar with a firearm concealed underneath his jacket. Units from both Swings and Mids responded and set up a hasty perimeter. An involved subject was contacted and detained in front of the bar near an associated vehicle. Patrons were contacted inside the bar and were cooperative as they were pat searched and directed outside. Officers searched the vehicle, and located two firearms. A 26 year old adult male and a 23 year old adult male, both Hayward residents, were arrested for carrying a concealed stolen weapon, being a felon in possession of an firearm, illegally possessing an assault weapon and carrying a loaded firearm.

Fare Evasion/Resisting Arrest – Fremont Station
1/12/13 1423 Hours

An officer attempted to contact the suspect for fare evasion. The suspect saw the officer approaching and fled on foot. The officer got into his patrol car and was able to locate the suspect just as he exited the parking lot at the south end of the station. When the officer attempted to detain the suspect, the suspect told the officer that he did not have any authority to detain him as he was now in “Fremont” and no longer on BART property. The officer attempted to get the suspect into a control hold, but the suspect tensed his body and attempted to pull out of his jacket. The suspect refused the repeated commands of the officer to stop resisting. The officer requested cover units and Fremont PD was first to arrive. The suspect was taken into custody after a brief struggle. The suspect complained of pain to his shoulder and wrist. The sergeant responded to approve the arrest. The suspect was taken to a local hospital for examination and then transported to the Santa Rita Jail where he was booked for resisting arrest. The suspect was also cited for fare evasion. There we no injuries to officers. CASE #: 1301-1662

On-duty Watch Commander
BART Police Department
Office: (510) 464-7020


Profile on Dan Bernal and his Niles district vinyl record store

It’s often difficult to find the time to do profiles on people in the community, but I’m glad there was time to do this one on “Needle to the Groove” in the Niles district. It ran Sunday …

FREMONT — When Dan Bernal made plans to open his vintage music store, only one location would do. It had to be in Niles — where nostalgia swirls around the neighborhood’s quaint, Capra-esque lanes like steam from a Brooklyn manhole.

“Everything’s antique in Niles,” Bernal said, while an employee cleaned a Johnny Cash record. “It’s just an old town. It fits in perfectly.”

That same charming nostalgic vibe also might explain why the vinyl records he sells at his shop, Needle to the Grove, have such enduring appeal. After all, he said, when music buffs embark on a quest to recoup their record collections, they really are revisiting their faded youth.

“One woman was almost crying in here when she found a record by Taj Mahal,” said Bernal, 40. “She had the album when she was younger and she was so happy to find it again.”

Bernal knows the feeling. Music has been his lifelong obsession, starting when he was a Newark 12-year-old deejaying house parties, and continuing through his 20s when he was a devoted “superdigger,” his term for professional collectors constantly on the hunt for old records.

“I’ll go anywhere for good records in good condition,” the Fremont resident said. “I still get butterflies when people drive up with boxes of records and I can work out a deal to buy them. I get a ‘record high’ and it’s all natural.”

For the entire story, please click here.


Newark Crime News of the Weekend

Source: Newark Police Department

January 11, 2013

0742 Hours: Officer Allum investigated a suspicious vehicle at the EZ-8 Motel and discovered it had been involved in a hit and run collision the night prior. Officer Allum located the responsible person, Victor Suarez-Meza, DOB 05/11/85 (Concord). He was issued a citation for 20002 VC- hit and run. Suarez-Meza also had a traffic warrant for his arrest. He was issued a new court date for the warrant.

1145 Hours: Officers responded to a report of a robbery that had just occurred at Public Storage, 38290 Cedar Blvd. The suspects: #1 possibly a Black Male Adult, 6’0”, 190 lbs., wearing a dark hooded sweat jacket, dark pants and dark shoes, along with #2 possibly a Black Male Adult, 5’11”, 190 lbs., wearing a green or greyish colored hooded sweat jacket with white sleeves, unknown colored pants, entered the business and had the clerk lie on the floor while Suspect #1 held a black semi-automatic pistol at her. Both suspects had their faces covered. The suspects took cash from the drawer, approx. $100.00. The suspects fled northbound on Cedar Blvd in a black car.

1251 Hours: Officer Cerini conducted a traffic stop and arrested Michelle Concepion, DOB 11/03/69 (Newark) for 11377(a) H&S- possession of drugs and 11364.1 H&S possession of drug paraphernalia. She was booked at the Fremont Jail.

1617 hours Officer Revay responded to JC Penny and accepted their Citizen’s Arrest of Catherine Flores, DOB 09/25/91 (Hayward). Flores was arrested for 484(a) PC- petty theft and issued a Notice to Appear.

1912 Hours: A homeowner from a residence on the 37000 block of Spruce Street called to report there was an unknown person on the roof of a residence. As officers responded the area, the unknown suspect was reportedly seen attempting to cover a flood light on the south side of the residence. Once the suspect was seen by the caller, he fled west into backyard of the residence. A perimeter was set and a yard search commenced. “Ares” indicated on a scent in the north/west corner of the backyard and officers located freshly trampled grass in the same area. Additional yards were searched on Spruce, Thornton, and Poplar to no avail.

According to a witness an older model, gold Saturn (unknown plate) was seen in the neighborhood earlier in the afternoon; occupied by at least two unknown males not known to the area. The suspect in this incident was described as a Hispanic Male and was last seen wearing a dark colored jacket.

2147 Hours: Officer Norvell arrested Bruce Meiers (02/27/1956) Transient, for 245 PC- assault with a deadly weapon. Bruce stole a can of beer from Safeway. Once confronted by an employee, Bruce threw the can at the employee’s face causing a laceration. The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment. Bruce was transported to Santa Rita Jail.

January 12, 2013

1013 Hours: Officer Neithercutt conducted a traffic stop and issued a citation to Gustavo Ayala, DOB 01/17/93 (Newark) for 23222(b) VC- possession of marijuana in a vehicle.

1112 Hours: Officers Ramos and Johnson contacted Gabriel McClements, DOB 09/26/90 (San Jose) at NewPark Mall and arrested him on his felony Grand Theft warrant. He was booked at the Fremont Jail.

1118 Hours: Officer Cerini made contact with Darryl Bernard, DOB 10/09/86 (Newark) at Cedar Blvd. and Breton Dr. Bernard had a felony warrant for his arrest and fled on foot. Bernard ran through several streets before being located near Chase Bank on Jarvis Ave., where he gave up. Bernard was arrested for his felony 11377(a) H&S- possession of drugs warrant and for 148(a)(1) PC- resisting arrest. He was booked at the Fremont Jail.

2116 Hours: Officer Smith investigated a domestic violence incident that occurred at a wedding reception inside the Newark Pavilion. The suspect fled the scene prior to the arrival of Police at the scene.

2117 Hours: After responding to a call of a disturbance at the E-Z-8 Motel, Officer Bloom arrested Darrin Mottram/DOB: 06-02-71 (of Hayward) for being drunk in public. Mottram was booked at FPD Jail.

2210 Hours: Officers responded to a possible residential burglary in progress at a residence on Lobelia Dr. Several residents noticed suspicious activity in the area and called the police. Upon arrival at the scene, Officers confirmed a burglary was in progress and located two getaway vehicles parked in front of the residence. Each of the getaway vehicles was occupied by a suspect, in addition to the other suspects still inside of the residence. As Officers set up a perimeter around the scene, simultaneously both getaway vehicles fled and one suspect exited the residence and jumped over a backyard fence. Both getaway vehicles were quickly stopped and the suspect who jumped the fence was confronted by an Officer causing him to jump back over the fence into the victim’s yard again. As the rest of the suspects exited the residence into the backyard, they were taken into custody. One of the suspects (later determined to be a 17-year-old juvenile) was apprehended by Officer Jackman’s K-9 partner “Eliot” after refusing to comply with commands and attempting to flee. Inside the residence, Officers located a large gun safe that the suspects had knocked onto the ground and were attempting to pry open with sledge hammers and crowbars. Arrested for burglary charges were the following:

Sigfredo Reyes/DOB: 07-22-88 (of Fremont)
Lorenzo Bridges-Hipolito/DOB: 12-17-91 (of San Lorenzo)
Juan Garcia/DOB: 06-23-92 (of Hayward)
Jorge Gonzalez/DOB: 03-07-94 (of East Palo Alto)
17 year old male JUVENILE

Gonzalez was one of the getaway drivers and was also arrested for possession of Cocaine and a Felony Burglary Warrant. Garcia was the other getaway driver and was also arrested for Assault with a Deadly Weapon since he attempted to run over Officer Jackman as he fled the scene. The adult suspects were all booked at FPD Jail and the juvenile suspect was booked at Juvenile Hall.

January 13, 2013

0809 Hours: This victim had originally called on 01/12/13, however due to the residential burglary call on Lobelia Dr. the victim decided to call back this morning. Officer Rodgers responded to a residence on the 6600 block of Normandy Dr. to investigate a residential burglary that occurred on 01/12/12 between the hours of 1230 hours and 2130 hours. Entry was made through an open bathroom window. The residence was ransacked. The loss at this time is jewelry.

1004 Hours: Officer S. Eriksen contacted James Belrose, DOB 06/06/67 (Fremont) near Albyn Ct. and Olive St. Belrose was arrested for 11364 H&S- possession of drug paraphernelia. He was issued a citation.

1409 Hours: Officer Cerini conducted a traffic stop on Thornton Ave. and arrested Sandra Zambrano, DOB 05/07/89 (San Francisco) for 4462.5 VC- false registration on a vehicle.

2026 Hours: Officer Ramos followed up on information from last night’s burglary arrest and recovered a stolen vehicle parked near DeVry University in Fremont. This vehicle had been taken during a residential burglary in San Mateo. San Mateo PD was notified and took custody of the vehicle for evidence processing related to their ongoing investigation

Any person with any information concerning these incidents or other incidents can contact the non-emergency line at 510-578-4237. Information can also be left anonymously on the “silent witness” hotline at 510-578-4000, extension 500.


Fremont bans smoking in “additional” outdoor areas, changes smoking ordinance


Fremont City Council Amends Smoking Ordinance

Smoking Banned in Additional Outdoor Areas and Landlords Required to Disclose Smoking Restrictions to Tenants

Fremont, CA – January 11, 2013 – Today the City of Fremont strengthens its leadership as a forward-thinking Silicon Valley city by amending its Smoking Ordinance to better protect the public’s health and welfare. The City’s prior Smoking Ordinance was adopted in 1983 and had not been significantly updated since 1993-before State law banned smoking in indoor places of employment.

Every year the American Lung Association in California reviews and grades local smoking regulations of cities based on areas where the Association believes local action is needed and where the greatest health benefits can be derived. A city’s overall grade is based on three categories: 1) Smoke-free outdoor air protection; 2) Smoke-free in multi-unit housing; and, 3) Reducing sales of tobacco products. Last year, Fremont received a “D”, a grade not reflective of its commitment to public health.

In response, the Fremont City Council took immediate and purposeful action to revise the Smoking Ordinance by prohibiting smoking in public places and in places of employment. The revisions are aimed to limit unintentional exposure to second-hand smoke, as well as provide an environment supportive of smoking cessation efforts. The amendments took into consideration both the needs of smokers and the needs of non-smokers to breathe smoke-free air, and determined that when in conflict, the latter takes priority. The new Smoking Ordinance was adopted by the Council on Dec. 4, 2012, and became effective on Jan. 3, 2013.

“Over the years, Fremont has been recognized for being an ideal place to raise a family as well as a healthy, sharp, and bright city,” said Mayor Bill Harrison. “Amending the City’s Smoking Ordinance further demonstrates the City’s commitment to ensuring that Fremont remains a healthy and desirable place to live, work, and visit.”

The new Smoking Ordinance includes many amendments. Noteworthy ones include:

– Removes the smoking policy requirement for employers.
– Simplifies the reasonable distance between smoking and non-smoking areas to allow smoking 25 feet from building entrances, windows, and air intakes.
– Reduces the sign requirements to outdoor areas, including sidewalks in commercial areas, recreational areas, outdoor dining areas, and service areas.
– Bans tobacco product vending machines and redefines a retail tobacco store to include only those stores where 75 percent of the gross sales receipts are from the sale of tobacco or smoking products and accessories.
– Requires landlords/managers of multi-unit residential rental buildings to disclose smoking units, smoking areas, and smoking complaint policies to prospective tenants. The landlord is not liable for a tenant’s violation of the ordinance where the landlord has fully complied with the noticing requirements. The amendments to the ordinance declare second-hand smoke is a nuisance and allow a lawful tenant or property owner to bring a civil nuisance action without having to prove damages.

To view the new Smoking Ordinance, please visit, www.Fremont.gov/SmokingOrdinance.


Fremont meeting to interview council applicants scheduled for 5pm Monday

Here are the remaining six applicants competing for the fifth and final open council seat:

David Bonaccorsi and Raj Salwan received the maximum four votes, while Christina Broadwin, Yogi Chugh and John J. Dutra each notched three votes. Rick Jones avoided elimination with two votes.

Those candidates will be interviewed in the council chambers at another special meeting scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday. During the interviews, expected to last 35-40 minutes each, waiting candidates will be sequestered without electronic devices in a nearby room at City Hall, Mayor Bill Harrison said. After a candidate’s interview is completed, he or she may stay to observe the rest of the meeting.

“We’ll do a ranking after the interviews, then do a motion to whittle the six (candidates) down to three,” Harrison said Wednesday. “We’ll start again if we can’t find a consensus.”

See you Monday.


Fatal shooting Thursday night in Fremont

Sad and shocking news out of Fremont last night …

Story by Katie Nelson here:

FREMONT — A man claiming to have shot a family member in their Pardee Court home Thursday afternoon showed up at the city’s jail two hours later to turn himself in, police said.

At 5:25 p.m., police received a call saying that a 27-year-old man had just shot a family member inside their home. When police arrived, they found a deceased 48-year-old man with at least one gunshot wound.

Police did not release the victim’s identity.

The shooting suspect, who is also not being named by police, had left the home before officers arrived. Though police began a search for him, they could not find the suspect.

Around 7:20 p.m., police said the suspect showed up at the Fremont Police Department Jail and told dispatchers he was there to turn himself in.

He even brought the gun he used to shoot his family member, police said.

Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the shooting, but would not disclose the nature of the relationship between the victim and the suspect. Police did say both men lived at the home.

It is Fremont’s first homicide of 2013.