Fremont considering installing surveillance cameras, license plate readers

FREMONT — Investigators increasingly have relied on residents’ private security cameras to find and arrest burglars, lowering the city’s burglary rate last year by nearly 30 percent.

Fremont police now want to install their own surveillance camera systems, including license plate readers, in about a dozen intersections.

The cameras would be placed near city borderlines because most of Fremont’s burglaries are done by out-of-towners, and ¿police want to catch criminals as they drive near the freeway, police spokeswoman Geneva Bosques said.

“Having cameras and license plate readers at city exit points gives us the ability to track vehicles used to transport suspects in and out of the city,” she said.

The City Council on June 17 will consider police’s request to spend $300,000 on the video surveillance systems. If council members approve them, the city then would put the job up for bid, Fremont police Chief Richard Lucero said.

For more of the story, click here.


Fremont Citizens Network flier: ’10 reasons to vote NO on Measure E’

Measure E opponents have posted this at www.FremontCitizens.org


10 Reasons to Vote NO on Measure E

1.     The bond is written to make us think that it is ENTIRELY devoted to renovations for existing schools.  However, it contains about $250,000,000 to be used for “over runs and inflation” (~40%).

2.     Coincidentally,  Developers need new schools for new development (more than 3,000 new homes in Fremont).

3.     The bond’s $250,000,000 for “inflation and overruns” could be used to build those new schools.

4.     As Assessed Property Values rise, the Measure E tax will increase year over year through the life of the bond.

5.     Measure E contains $77,000,000+ in Capital Appreciation Bond – akin to a PAYDAY LOAN, discouraged by Jerry Brown (Governor) and Bill Lockyer (State Treasurer) and outlawed in many states.  Repayment of this amount DEPENDS ON the city’s ASSESSED VALUES RISING 4% PER YEAR FOR 38 YEARS.  As Prop 13 puts a 2% cap per year, this growth rate depends on turnover and new developments to make up the difference.  Fremont will be forced to accommodate more growth or make higher payments.

6.     If voters approve Measure E, and renew the parcel tax when it expires, the total property tax (for school bonds) on the average $450,000 (assessed value) home would increase from $191 per year to $479 by 2018.

7.     The bond provides NO SENIOR EXEMPTIONS.

8.     Property owners are still paying for: a parcel tax and two prior voter-approved bond measures from 1991 and 2002.  Measure E would extend payments on district bonds through 2051, but still leaves 3/4 of the identified district needs unaddressed.  There will be more bonds because there is more need.

9.     Measure E bond language is so vague that the District can use our taxpayer $$ to buy land and build schools for all the new developments we will be forced to accept.  The DEVELOPERS should provide the land/facilities for all the students in the developments they build, NOT the taxpayers.  Previous history shows NO BOND should be approved before FUSD has formalized plans on Developers’ promises to mitigate their impact, especially in the new BART development.

10.  Our existing kids will never get new schools, if this bond money is used just to “fix” or buy new land/new schools for the new developments.

Shouldn’t we be spending one-time funds to help current Fremont children by modernizing existing schools and instituting long-term facilities solutions?  VOTE NO ON MEASURE E!

For the link to this, click here.



Fremont parents want developers to do more to ease school overcrowding

From Sunday’s print edition …

FREMONT — With a low crime rate, high-quality schools and a growing tech sector in an improving economy, Fremont has caught the eye of covetous home developers.

But several residential developments soon will add thousands of students to already overcrowded campuses, which school leaders say could damage the quality of education, strain district resources, send students out of their neighborhoods and add to traffic as parents drive kids to those more distant schools.

District leaders say they are close to a crisis point.

And even though it is likely developers will largely finance one new school, the leaders also want voters to approve a $650 million school bond — Alameda County’s largest ever — on the June ballot to ease existing and anticipated overcrowding. That has some parents saying developers should start paying much more in development fees to Fremont Unified, so that property owners aren’t burdened with more tax debt.

“I don’t think it would be fair to saddle taxpayers with costs for a new school,” Fremont resident Mary Biggs said. “You can’t constantly turn to the taxpayers.”

Forest Park Elementary’s overcrowding reflects the district’s challenge, said Superintendent of Schools James Morris. Its 982-student enrollment is well above the ideal maximum, 850 students, for an elementary campus. But it could be worse, as another 215 neighborhood students who normally would attend Forest Park attend other campuses outside their area, district leaders said.

Several other schools are crowded in Fremont Unified, where 33,662 students attend 42 campuses. Enrollment has grown by 2,000 students in the past six years, and 1,500 more are expected by 2017. The district has added portable classrooms as a short-term solution, but it is running out of room, Morris said.

“It’s a problem, and we don’t have the capacity to solve it,” he said. “We just can’t continue like this because we don’t have the seats available for more students.”

And it might get worse before it gets better.

For more, click here.


ICYMI: Fremont police reopen investigation into teacher-slapping incident

Another FUSD-related story by colleague David DeBolt. It ran last Friday:

FREMONT — A longtime Fremont elementary schoolteacher accused of slapping a student who got a math problem wrong was set to return to the classroom Friday but will remain on leave after police reopened an investigation into the matter, officials said.

The planned return of the third-grade teacher drew outrage and protests by students and parents before class at Patterson Elementary School on Friday. Parents said the 58-year-old teacher has no place in the classroom.

“I think there’s no way he should be able to come back,” said Danny Rivera, father of 9-year-old Julian, the alleged victim.

For more, click here.



3rd-grader removed from Fremont school amid claims he sexually harassed girl

The past 12 days have seen a wide range of stories coming out of Fremont Unified School District. Here’s the most recent:

FREMONT — A third-grade Hirsch Elementary student accused of sexually harassing a female classmate has been removed from his school, a Fremont district official said Tuesday.

Fremont Unified School District Superintendent James Morris announced the decision about an hour after the 8-year-old girl’s mother handed out 200 fliers outside the Irvington district campus, calling for the boy’s removal from the school.

The mother says the 7-year-old boy twice touched her daughter in a sexual way during a six-week period, with the most recent instance occurring Thursday on campus.

“Unless we as parents all get together to stand against this, nothing will change,” she wrote in the flier. “Help me support our girls against this type of behavior.”

This newspaper is not naming the mother in order to protect the identity of her daughter.

For more of the story, click here.


Fremont: Recap from Honda/Khanna candidates’ forum Saturday

Story by Paul Rogers and Josh Richman

FREMONT — In their only matchup before the June 3 primary election, U.S. Rep.Mike Honda on Saturday night said he would continue to be a voice for the powerless in his Silicon Valley district, while former Obama administration official Ro Khanna said the region needs a new, more tech-minded representative.

The two Democrats, locked in one of the most closely watched congressional races in the United States, met at a packed candidates’ forum at Fremont City Hall attended by more than 300 people, many of them waving signs and chanting before and after the event.

The biggest news of the evening, however, may have come afterward when Honda, in response to a question from this newspaper, agreed to debate Khanna in the future. For months the congressman, seeking an eighth term in a district that runs from Fremont to San Jose to Sunnyvale, has turned down multiple invitations to debate. Khanna has blasted Honda for agreeing to participate only in scripted events.

Honda promised that after the primary, in which only the top two candidates will advance to the November election, he will go head-to-head with Khanna on a debate stage.

“I think that makes sense because it will be one-on-one,” said Honda, D-San Jose.

Khanna beamed when he heard the news.

For more, click here.



Alameda County Water District: Tiered rates, water overuse penalties considered

A special meeting to discuss the issue in greater detail has been scheduled at 5pm tonight (Mon, 5/5), at the Alameda County Water District office, 43885 S. Grimmer Blvd., Fremont. This advance story ran over the weekend:

FREMONT — Burdened with a $15 million budget shortfall caused by the drought, water district directors will meet Monday to consider bridging the fiscal gap by penalizing heavy water users.

The method Alameda County Water District leaders would have to approve involves “drought surcharge” water rates that increase per-gallon charges for customers in single-family residences as they exceed mandated water-use levels.

Most residences pay $3.37 per unit of water, which remains the same no matter how much the customer uses, district leaders said.

But that would change under the proposed rate structure, which would impose three separate rates for each two-month billing cycle based on a water “unit” of 748 gallons:

  • Use of 0-16 water units: zero surcharge.
  • Use of 16-30 water units: a surcharge as high as $1.94, pushing the total charge per unit to $5.31.
  • Use of 30 or more water units: a surcharge as high as $2.93, pushing the total charge per unit to $6.30.

A flat surcharge as high as 63 cents, regardless of water use, would be applied to residents in apartments and other multifamily residences, businesses, schools and government agencies — boosting their total charge per unit to $4.00.

For more, click here.


Homeless vets find housing, services in Alameda County through new program

This seems like a compassionate yet sensible program helping military veterans who’ve fallen on hard times. Fremont’s Abode Services is the lead agency:

Earlier this year, Army veteran Maria Lizardo and her family of seven were evicted and took short-term refuge in a Hayward motel room, creeping closer to life on the street.

Ex-Marine Dwayne Clinton, fresh off a 12-year prison sentence, was trying to stay clean and sober while working his way back into society, hoping to end the addiction that led to his problems with the law.

A few months later, both military veterans have homes, job prospects and, perhaps most important, hope. They took separate paths, but their new, life-altering opportunities stem from the same source: the Every Veteran Home program, which helps homeless veterans and their families find housing.

The program started in 2011, when the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced it wanted to eliminate veteran homelessness by 2015.

The road to that goal remains steep.

In 2013, nearly 58,000 veterans were homeless, according to a federal report. Alameda County had 492 homeless veterans last year, comprising 11.5 percent of the county’s homeless population.

Every Veteran Home tries to lower those numbers.

For more, click here.



Religious leaders, residents demand leaders make Fremont more affordable

FREMONT — More than 50 religious leaders and residents gathered outside City Hall on Thursday, calling on Fremont leaders to make the city more affordable for working families.

Dozens of people at the hour-long rally waved signs that read, “Affordable housing for Fremont,” “Rent control,” and “Raise the minimum wage.”

Several speakers echoed those sentiments, demanding that City Hall provide more affordable housing, rent controls, job training and a minimum wage increase for residents.

“We’re here to fight for all the people, for the work force of this city,” said Deacon Jorge Lara, of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Fremont. “A lot of money is coming into this city and we have the same rights as the rich people.”

For more, click here.