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*


A silver lining to ed budget cuts

Here’s the latest student column, by the Newark student board rep. Next month, we’ll hear from New Haven Unified’s Leslie Salvador.


By Evangel PenumakaEvangel Penumaka

Newark Unified student board member

Before this school year, I wasn’t very concerned with the number of budget cuts being made. I hadn’t realized the consequences of these changes and felt they wouldn’t really affect me. At the same time, I had no idea who was making all these decisions that would change our school and passed it off as the Faceless Man who could care less about the schools, the students and the teachers. That being said, my experience on the Newark school board has opened my eyes.

This year, I’m piecing together how everything works, what different factors play a role in the decisions made, as well as the number of people who make these decisions. I learn new things at every board meeting, and I’ve realized how naïve I was. These cuts will affect everyone, regardless of the different impact it has on us.  Continue Reading


FAME Public Charter School audited

We had a story in Sunday’s paper about FAME Public Charter School and an audit which found a number of questionable business practices at the school — from using the wrong funds to pay bills and failing to report full wages on tax forms to using taxpayers’ dollars to pay the executive director’s speeding ticket.

The full audit report should have been posted online yesterday, but it didn’t make it to our Web site until today. To read the story and accompanying audit, click here.

Also, I noticed on the FAME Web site that it’s seeking candidates to serve on its governing board. Click here for more info if you’re interested.


No day off for cops

While many people had the day off in observance of Presidents Day, police officers were busy at work. There were the Fremont cops investigating the officer-involved shooting incident, and, in Newark, police responded to a scene where a man had holed himself up for about four hours in a house before he was arrested. Here’s my write-up:


Police on Monday arrested a man who had holed himself up in a house for about four hours after officers responded to a call about a domestic dispute.

When officers arrived around 11:10 a.m., they found a woman and her two sons outside a Vinewood Street home while the man was inside the house. The man — later identified as Gary Lee Burcham, 55, of Newark — was believed to be bearing firearms, so nearby residents were evacuated, police said.

Officers from Newark and Union City responded to the scene.

After about four hours of negotiations, the man, without incident, was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, police said. He underwent a mental evaluation before being booked, police said.



`Coffee with the Cops’ Part II: Police Chief Jim Leal

Ever wanted to speak to Newark Police Chief Jim Leal about something going on in your neighborhood, but had no idea how to contact him? Well, here’s your chance to talk to him face to face. Leal and Commander Bob Douglas are the two officers scheduled to participate in this month’s “Coffee with the Cops” event in Newark. The event is slated for 6 to 8 p.m. WEDNESDAY, OCT. 14, at Starbucks on Stevenson Boulevard at Balentine Drive. In case you show up and forget what to ask Chief Leal, just remember that he is a big San Jose Sharks fan, so that’ll break the ice, hopefully long enough for you to remember your question.


Newark city council candidate’s home vandalized

Nadja Adolf called this morning and said that her home was vandalized while she and her husband were out earlier today. Nadja, one of three candidates for city council, said when she arrived home she noticed that someone had chucked eggs onto her porch while she was gone.

“This is so juvenile, it’s unbelievable,” she said.

Nadja called police when she realized what had happened, and they have documented the incident. A police commander said they will increase patrols near her home.

When asked why she thought someone might have thrown the eggs, Nadja pointed to the fact that she was running for council, is an environmentalist, does not like gangs and opposes Measure L, the city’s proposed utility tax.

Nadja is running against incumbents Ana Apodaca and Alan Nagy, all of whom appear on the Nov. 3 ballot.


Newark Mayor David W. Smith for Governor?

Yes, you read that right, Governor.

East Bay resident Wynn Grcich spoke at the Newark City Council meeting Thursday  and opened her 20-minute speech — which focused largely on water issues throughout the region — by urging the state’s longest sitting mayor (Dave Smith)  to run for Governor. She lauded Smith’s leadership — particularly his effort in helping Newark maintain a fairly balanced budget over the years — and offered to run his campaign. She opined that if San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom could run — ever after leading his city into more than $300 million in debt — that Smith should try his hand.

Mayor Smith chuckled and remarked “only if I can take all of these people (the council and city staff) with me.”



Newark teens IDed in murder, attempted suicide

Although investigators have not released the name of the teen believed to have been shot to death by her ex-boyfriend before turning the gun on himself Friday, multiple outside sources have identified the girl as Amanda Caravantes and the suspect as Erik Petersen, both 17.

Both teens attended Newark Memorial High at some point, and Petersen still is enrolled there, according to sources.

Community members have called a candlelight vigil at 7 tonight near Newark Junior High (at Lafayette Ave./Newark Blvd.).

The text in blue is a statement from the Newark school district:

The Newark Unified School District and the Newark Memorial High School community are saddened by the tragic loss and injury of two young people on Friday night in Fremont. 

In order to provide support to students and staff who may know these families, the District will have counselors and psychologists on call this week.  Parents and students are encouraged to contact school staff if they need, or know of anyone who needs support regarding this incident.

Please join us in keeping these young people and their families in your thoughts.


Reminder: Newark City Council meeting tonight

In case you missed the memo or forgot, there is a Newark City Council meeting tonight (7:30 p.m., Newark City Hall, 37101 Newark Blvd.) to further discuss the proposed Utility Users Tax, which is on the November ballot. Looks like the city is softening it’s stance on the length of the proposed tax. Initially they wanted to implement it for 20 years if it passed, now they are looking at just six years. This proposed change, which the council will have to approve, is being made due in part to opposition from community members, Assistant City Manager Dennis Jones said earlier this week.

If you can’t make it to the meeting, you can follow the happenings via my twitter feed at www.twitter.com/benaguirrejr  I’ll do my best to provide updates throughout the meeting. There will be a story the following day.


Newark calls special council meeting to discuss Utility Tax

UPDATE (4:30 p.m.): Assistant City Manager Dennis Jones confirms that the main change is the length of the proposed tax from 20 years to 6 years, and the language will be included on the ballot. There will be an opportunity for public comment on the issue, Jones said.

Got word late this afternoon that Newark has called a special city council meeting for WEDNESDAY (Aug.5), 7:30 p.m. at City Hall  so that the board can discuss revisions to the utility users tax proposed by city staff. No word yet what changes are being suggested, but No Newark Tax — a group of citizens opposing the ballot measure — seems to think it’s to reduce the length of the proposed tax from 20 years to just six years. More to come when the city releases the agenda, which should be within the hour …

Here is my original story (LINK).