The Shah of Fremont

Read my story about Ishan Shah here.

Ishan is great. I went over to Mission Coffee after school on Wednesday unsure if his candidacy should even be a story more than a year before the election, but that at least this would be one politician who wouldn’t offer to buy me food.

Sure enough, I arrived to find Ishan sitting at a table with his computer in front of him and a fresh cinnamon roll waiting for me. What could I do? Yum.

As I mention in the story, Ishan knows a lot about Fremont politics for a 16-year-old. But he did get stumped on one easy question: naming Fremont’s five historic districts.

He got Niles, Centerville, Irvington and Mission right away. But he blanked on the last one.

I told him there was a hotel there. But that didn’t register. I told him that nursery there had closed last year, but you can’t expect a 16-year-old to know his nurseries.

Finally, I told him that there was also an elementary school with the same name.

“Gomes?” he guessed.
“No,” I said. “Warm Springs”

He was mad at himself. He insisted that he knew it, but suffered an inopportune “brainfart.”

I believe him.


Wasserman’s address at the Saddle Rack

I’m not fast enough to write down all of what he said word-for-word, although the mayor is an admirably slow speaker. Here are some main parts.

On the anonymous blog comments:

I do have some very hard feelings. This is where we are in the world. We have the anonymous bloggers and emailers. I’ve gotten some horribly inflammatory things accusing me of things I’ve never heard of let alone did. And that was very difficult tot take.

The mayor continued that he had been in public service for 55 years during which time he had always been upfront and acted with integrity.

When I see these cowards hiding behind (aliases) and defaming the city and defaming us individually, I find that very hard to take, and it makes me very bitter. Continue Reading


Update: Ducks at The Lake in Newark

Spoke to Sue Carey of the City of Newark Maintenance Department today and she said crews cleaned up The Lake over the weekend and found only one additional dead duck. As you may recall 15 ducks were found dead at The Lake last week. Tests done by the state Department of Fish and Game showed that they died from avian botulism, a paralytic diseased caused by toxins in the water. Apparently the high temperatures last week activated elements in decaying brush already in the water, which then turned into toxins. The death toll is now 16. I stopped by The Lake on Tuesday morning and everything looked normal.



I’m in Great Neck, NY again saying hello to friends and family and goodbye to a very special place.

It’s kind of hard not to blog from my parents’ house since I’m the only one here on west coast time, and I’m intimidated by any television set with more than six working stations.

You may have noticed that I’ve blogged about Fremont nearly every day for the past six months. You’re probably as sick of me as I am of documenting gas prices at the Shell Station next to Argus headquarters. (BTW, regular was $4.49 as of 2 a.m. Wednesday.)

So, I’m going to lay low for the next 10 days. I’ll be in the woods of New England trying to prove that we Long Island folk can rough it as good as anyone.

It’ll be just me, my tent, sleeping bag, Indian food in a bag, several tissue packs because my post-nasal drip never takes a vacation, my favorite pillow, and — thank G-d — my NorCal girlfriend, who unlike me, grew up doing this camping thing and actually knows what she’s doing in the great outdoors.

If I see a moose, I’ll find a way to post a picture of it here asap. Otherwise, I’ll be back by the end of the month.


Argh, the swashbuckler could really turn a phrase

I mentioned in a post last week that The Argus had just four reporters, down from 11 in 2000. I spoke too soon. Our company made 29 editorial employees walk the plank Wednesday including our best feature writer and third-best poker player, Todd R. Brown.

Todd covered Newark, Ohlone, ethnic communities and pirate stores. Now, I guess, he’ll wander the streets of Fremont looking for decent salmagundi.

You’ve probably read recently that the newspaper business seems to be in Davy’s grip. Revenue is down, circulation is down, newsprint is up, and our parent company has some debt issues.

The lubbers are supposed to meet next week at corporate headquarters and figure out what this will mean for the three of us still here. For now, though, I am your Fremont, Newark and (shiver me timbers) Union City reporter.

Fair Winds, Todd. Fair Winds.


We have a winner

5001.gifJon Simon’s response to Coyote Bill was the 500th comment. Apparently it was so monumental, that our servers malfunctioned and the blog went dead for a few hours.

Anyway, if Jon is willing to step inside Argus headquarters next week, there will be an Argus t-shirt, Celebrate Fremont commemorative wine glass and the baked goods of his choice waiting for him.

He’ll also find a lot of open space. To answer Jon’s question about our newsroom, The Argus had 11 full-time reporters in 2000. Now we have lots of elbow room.


500th Comment Prize and Argus news

We’re fast approaching our 500th comment, which is a decent number for a 5-month-old blog. To celebrate our roundest number yet, the 500th commenter will be offered a prize: likely some homemade baked goods and an Argus t-shirt (one size fits all). I hope the winner accepts.

In Argus news, our Union City reporter Jamaal Johnson is leaving the paper and the area this week. With the paper down to four reporters (at least for now), we’ll have some minor beat changes. Our education reporter, Linh Tat, will now add Ohlone College and Newark Unified to her beat. Newark reporter Todd Brown will also cover Union City as well as ethnic communities. I’m sticking with Fremont and Ben Aguirre is still public safety and the courts.


I “heart” Rob Dennis

rob.JPGThe fellow pictured on the right is our city editor, Rob Dennis. Sadly for us, this is his last day on the job.

Loyal Tri-City Beat readers might remember Rob as the angry guy whose lone venomous post about a bogus BART parking ticket triggered an avalanche of anti-BART rants.

But Rob is more than just a hater. He’s our best investigator, most seasoned reporter and sharpest editorial writer. He’s also our resident beer guzzler, chain smoker and card shark.

Rob has shared major awards for a series about mortgage lenders discriminating against minorities, and coverage of the Rodney Blach trial. Later this month, we’ll print a four-part series that is mostly his work.

Rob came to The Argus eight years ago after a distinguished tenure as a Wal-Mart sales associate and several years living off the dole in his native Ireland.

Starting Wednesday, he returns to his roots — mooching off other people’s tax dollars.

Rob was one of about several MediaNews-East Bay (our parent company) employees who took a buyout last week.

He’ll collect unemployment, freelance a little and eventually head over to Prague to work on a documentary film. He says it’ll be about Eastern Europe 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, but we’re worried that it’s really a first-person piece on how former Communist bloc countries have kept beer prices under $1 a pint.

We might have to start a liver transplant fund for him.

In case anyone cared, Rob never did pay that parking ticket. BART backed down in the face of Rob’s irrefutable evidence and exasperated sighs. It was a big pain in the butt, but in the end, it was worth it. We hope that’s how Rob will come to look back on his time at The Argus.

Take care, buddy. We’ll miss you.