Election update

Here’s the latest on who’s pulled/filed papers to run for local office this November (in alphabetical order). Names in blue are those who have “filed,” meaning they’ve submitted completed paperwork as opposed to just picking up papers to run. Also, names with asterisks at the end are incumbents. The filing period ends Aug. 6.

* Alameda County Water District (2 open seats): 1) Judy Huang*; 2) Paul Sethy

* BART, District 6 (1 seat): 1) Tom Blalock*

* Fremont City Council (2 seats): 1) Vinnie Bacon; 2) Kristen Briggs; 3) Bill Harrison*; 4) John T. Herndon; 5) Fazlur Khan; 6) Kathryn Rhyn McDonald; 7) Anu Natarajan*; 8)) Vladimir Rodriguez; 9) Linda Susoev

* Fremont Unified School District (2 seats): 1) Lara York*

* New Haven Unified School District (2 seats): 1) Jerico Abanico; 2) Rosalinda Canlas; 3) Sarabjit Cheema; 4) Gwen Estes*

* Newark Unified School District (2 seats): 1) Charlie Mensinger*; 2) Gary Stadler; 3) Nancy Thomas*

* Ohlone Community College District, Area 1 (2 seats): 1) Bill McMillin*; 2) Richard Watters*

* Ohlone Community College District, Area 2 (2 seats): 1) Bob Brunton; 2) Ishan Shah

* Union City City Council (3 seats): 1) Subru Bhat; 2) Emily Duncan; 3) James Robert Greaney; 4) Venkataraman Iyer; 5) Forrest Patterson; 6) Gary Singh; 7) Bill Stone

* Washington Township Healthcare District (3 seats): 1) Michael Wallace*


Election filing period – Day 2

Here’s the latest on who’s pulled papers to run for the November election. Names that were added today are in blue. Remember: just because someone pulls papers doesn’t mean (s)he is running necessarily. One’s candidacy isn’t official until the completed forms are turned back into the county Registrar’s office (or city hall) and certified by the registrar/clerk. The filing period ends Aug. 6.

* Fremont City Council (2 open seats): 1) Kristen Briggs; 2) Kathryn Rhyn McDonald; 3) Bill Harrison; 4) Anu Natarajan; 5) Vinnie Bacon

* Fremont Unified School District (2 seats)

* Newark Unified School District (2 seats): 1) Gary Stadler; 2) Charlie Mensinger; 3) Nancy Thomas (Thomas pulled and filed papers today)

* New Haven Unified School District (2 seats): 1) Jerico Abanico; 2) Gwen Estes (Estes pulled and filed papers. She said four years ago when she ran for re-election that it would be her last term. I guess she changed her mind.)

* Union City Council (3 seats)

* Ohlone College, Area 1 (2 seats): 1) Bill McMillin; 2) Bob Brunton

* Ohlone College, Area 2 (2 seats)


Let the race began

Today was the first day people could officially declare their candidacy for local government races by filing papers with the Alameda County Registrar of Voters or, in some cases, at city hall. Here’s a summary of Tri-City area races for November and who’s picked up nomination papers. That means these people are thinking about running, but until they submit completed forms (aka “file them,”) they’re not official candidates.

* Fremont City Council (2 open seats):  1) Kristen Briggs; 2) Kathryn Rhyn McDonald; 3) Bill Harrison; 4) Anu Natarajan

* Fremont Unified School District (2 open seats).

* Newark Unified (2 open seats):  1) Gary Stadler

* New Haven Unified (2 open seats): 1) Jerico Abanico

* Union City Council (3 open seats): No one’s pulled papers, but Emily Duncan, of the city’s human relations commission, has had a Facebook page up since June about her candidacy.

* Ohlone College, Area 1 (2 open seats): Bill McMillin.

* Ohlone College, Area 2 (2 open seats).


Fremont teachers negotiate one-year contract

The Fremont school district and teachers union have reached a tentative one-year agreement on concessions to help the district balance its 2010-11 budget. The district is facing a $16.2 million deficit.

Highlights include:

  • K-3 class sizes jumping from 20 students to 28.  
  • Restoring elementary science, music and physical education to 50 percent. 
  • Six unpaid furlough days, equivalent to a 3.21 percent pay cut. Teachers would teach three fewer days and not work three noninstructional days. 
  • A 3.21 percent pay cut for substitute, adult school and preschool teachers, with a similar reduction in stipends for coaches and advisers of clubs and other extracurriculars. 
  • An optional spring open house, voted on by the faculty at each school site. Continue Reading

Fremont school board rejects controversial book

Bastard Out of CarolinaFor the second year in a row, the school board rejected Dorothy Allison’s “Bastard Out of Carolina” as suitable reading material for AP English classes. The book is about a girl who is beaten and raped by her stepfather. Trustees said they’re disturbed by the graphic depiction of violence. Hopefully the latest story will be posted online soon. To read a story from earlier this week (before yesterday’s meeting), click here.

Last year, the board voted 3-2 not to accept the book, which was recommended by the district’s secondary schools’ textbook adoption committee. This year, the vote was 4-1. (Trustees Lily Mei, Larry Sweeney, Ivy Wu and Lara York voted not to approve the book; Bryan Gebhardt supported it.) York switched her vote from last year, saying books that had just been reviewed the year before should not return to the board so soon for reconsideration.

“I don’t think it’s productive for the board to have the same conversation over and over,” she said.

The board plans to change its policy so that in the future, books that are denied can’t be brought back for reconsideration for at least two years.


Teens like their sleep

SleepTonight, a parent spoke at the Fremont school board meeting, urging trustees to reconsider their decision not start high schools later in the day. The board had initially decided to have first period start later, based on support from a community survey and medical research that shows teens biologically are wired to wake later. But after learning that the change would increase the district’s transportation costs by $103,200, the board decided not to go forward with the plan.

Shortly after the parent spoke tonight, I came across an article about new research regarding sleep-deprived teens who start school earlier and increased car crashes. The article noted:

” “This study did not prove by any means that early high school start times led to increased rates of car crashes,” instead it shows an association between early risers and car crashes, said Robert Vorona, a sleep doctor at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia. “


image from tapasparida’s site at flickr.com.


All-Star teen?

Sejal HathiTwo years ago, I wrote about Sejal Hathi, a Fremont teen who founded an international nonprofit called Girls Helping Girls to provide resources and empower women and girls in other countries to become educated and financially independent.

Now a student at Yale, Hathi is one of three finalists for the “PEOPLE All-Stars Among Us” title, presented by Major League Baseball and People magazine. If she wins, she’ll be honored at the July 13 All-Star game in Anaheim. To vote for your favorite “all-star,” visit the fan section of oaklandathletics.com through June 20.


Student poet

UPDATE (June 8): Click here for the story.



Fremont student Sarah Li, a junior at Mission San Jose High, will be picking up an American Voices Award at Carnegie Hall in NYC on Wednesday.  This award is considered the “gold medal” of writing by the national Scholastic Art & Writing Awards program and puts her in the company of writers Truman Capote, Bernard Malumud, Joyce Carol Oates and Sylvia Plath; actors John Lithgow and Robert Redford; and artist Andy Warhol, who all have received Scholastic Art & Writing Awards in the past.

Li is one of 17 students nationwide to receive this honor — one American Voices Award is given out per region. Li is the only one in California to receive this award. A more in-depth story will be in tomorrow’s paper. Meanwhile, here’s her winning poem, which she wrote after learning about children who went into hiding during the Holocaust. (I apologize for the formatting. I’ve tried everything to get the spacing right, but for some reason, WordPress is being difficult. I hope I have not bungled the integrity of the poem.) Continue Reading


Community support for Fremont family facing deportation

Tatiana & EugeneThere seems to be a groundswell of support for Tatiana Miroshnik and Eugene Kotelnikov, her 16-year-old son, who have been served deportation papers to return to Russia by June 18.

Miroshnikov moved to Fremont 13 years ago and married a U.S. citizen but divorced before she had obtained her green card. She appealed, but the court decided this year not to grant her or her son permanent residency. (Eugene was 3 when he came to the U.S.)

Many members of Centerville Presbyterian Church, where Miroshnikov plays the violin, have been rallying for her to stay. They say a woman like Miroshnikov — a single mother who isn’t on welfare nor harmed anyone, and who has given back to the community by performing in various local music groups and promoting music education in schools — shouldn’t be targeted by U.S. immigration officials.

If she is deported, Miroshnikov would leave behind her U.S.-born daughters, ages 10 and 8, and cannot return to the United States for at least 10 years.

Tomorrow, classmates of the son at Washington High plan to march to Rep. Pete Stark’s Fremont office after school, about a mile-and-a-half from campus. Continue Reading


FUSD board rejects Harvey Milk Day resolution

Tonight, the Fremont Unified school board rejected a resolution supporting Harvey Milk Day, which honors the state’s first openly gay elected official who was slain in 1978.

Trustees Larry Sweeney, Ivy Wu and Lily Mei opposed the resolution; Bryan Gebhardt and Lara York supported it. This decision comes one day after the Fremont City Council voted to adopt a resolution mayor issued a proclamation supporting Harvey Milk Day.

The board was supposed to vote on the resolution two weeks ago, but the issue was tabled, an action which in and of itself upset many in the community.

I’ll be writing a story about this tomorrow.