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)


Ohlone fees are going up

All Community Colleges, including Ohlone, will be raising rates from $20 per unit to $26 per unit, per the State Chancellor’s office. 

This will be effective for the Fall 2009 semester.

That means that students who have already registered and paid their tuition (really, it is called a fee, not tuition) at $20/unit will now have to pay the additional fee.


Ohlone’s budget problems

Maybe readers get as sick of reading about budget woes as I get writing about them?

Ohlone doesn’t know what kind of deal its getting from the state yet, but if the governor’s budget proposal from last week was actually passed, the school would be out $6 million — about 13 percent of its $46 million budget.

The school cub back classes by 18 percent this summer. It will cut back on classes for the spring and fall, but not by as much as it did this summer. I’ll have a little something in the paper about it this Wednesday.

I’ll be away yet again. This time for a week. Back in June.


My bad

UPDATE: I was wrong. It turns out that Ohlone’s official policy had been to conduct board member interviews in closed session, even though the board never followed the policy, and the policy was never legally vetted. Tonight the board will decide if it wants to keep that policy, run it by its laywers and actually follow it, or, most likely, just get rid of it.

When longtime Ohlone College Board Member Dan Archer retired in 2007 before his term had expired, the Ohlone College board interviewed candidates to replace him in public.

Tonight, it appears that the board is being asked to vote on a new policy that would put the interviews behind closed doors, so residents wouldn’t be allowed to hear want the applicants have to say.

Not sure why the want to close the doors on a process they had previously left opened to the public.

Last year, the board approved new policies that potentially restrict board members’ access to campus and contacts with reporters. Click here for that.


Ohlone trustee has leukemia

Bill McMillin knew something was up last month his feet were too swollen and his body was too achy to play his usual tennis match. On Monday he learned that he has an acute form of leukemia. He’ll be heading to the hospital next week for a month of chemo.

Technically, he has been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a type of cancer much more serious than the prostate cancer he beat five years ago. McMillin said doctors told him that recovery rates were 50 percent. Recovery, he said, is defined as living for another five years.

The 66-year-old McMillin said he plans to live into his nineties, just like his mom and dad. He also plans on returning to the board in February.


Bob Brunton’s parting shot

After Thanksgiving, I’m planning to write a bit of a retrospective on Bob Brunton’s 12-year tenure on the Ohlone Board.  It was a rocky road sometimes, and Brunton went out last week with one last dissent.

He cast the lone NO vote last week on a proposal to give Ohlone College Trustees a 5 percent raise. Sure enough, I didn’t even know it was on the agenda until I got an email over the weekend from someone with Argus ties. No worries though, Brunton called me on Monday to tell me all about it and make sure I knew how he voted.

Brunton said the college just didn’t have the extra money for raises and that it was setting a bad precedent to take a raise in tough times.

At first, I considered writing a story about it, especially in light of the board being a major reason the college is having accreditation problems. But then I did a little math (always a struggle for me) and realized that the five percent raise penciled out to an annual stipend of $3,493. The annual increase is less than $180.

With Life Cereal now going for $4 on sale, I  just can’t get write a story about a raise that is equivalent to about 45 boxes of Life. They do get good medical benefits, though.


And a parting shot at Bob Brunton

With Bob Brunton losing re-election to the Ohlone College Board of Trustees, people can stop questioning whether he spends most of his time at his Fremont home or in Southern California, where he does a lot work.

But at Brunton’s final board meeting last week, Alan Kirshner, who is preisdent of Ohlone Faculty union, got in one last dig.

Kirshner, whose union has had its battles with Brunton, gave the following farewell to the Brunton and fellow departing trustee Trisha Tahmasbi:

“I would like to say we’re saddend for Trisha Leaving us,” Kirshner said. “And Bob, there’s not much I can say except good luck in Southern California.”

Brunton replied that he’s a Fremont resident, that he’s lived in Fremont for 20 years, and that he’ll still be attending meetings as a member of the public.

He later told me that he asked the Tri-City Voice about having a regular column.


Ohlone expects $2.2 million cut from state, enrollment up

Ohlone President Gari Browning was also at the economic forum. She said the college was expectinga $2.2 million mid-year cut from the state. Since the college has already but it’s budget in place, it will be difficult to make the cuts, she said.

In better news, she said enrollment for the fall semester was up 9 percent, although the increase in enrollment comes at a time when money is getting tighter.

As for the Frontage Property, she said the real estate market’s troubles would likely impact what ever happens with it, but the board won’t discuss it until after the election. Sorry, I know that’s vague.


Clearing up Brunton, Dutra and Ohlone

Ohlone College Trustee Bob Brunton did something very unusual in my interview with him Thursday. He told me I misquoted him previously in this blog, but then in trying to straighten the record, he twice said something that seems less defensible than his initial statement.

When I asked him in August about why John Dutra wanted him off the board, he said it was because he voted against selling the frontage property, which Dutra wanted to buy. Here’s what I wrote:

About an hour later, Brunton called the paper to let us know his schedule for the campaign season. I told him about Dutra’s quotes. Brunton said Dutra didn’t like him because he cast one of the two decisive votes opposing the Dutras development plans for the Ohlone frontage property.

I wasn’t clear from Brunton if he was saying the Dutras wanted to develop the entire property or just a portion of it. Dutra Enterprises does own property adjacent to the Ohlone parcel.

That set off the Dutra family, whose company recently passed a legal resolution stating that they no longer have any interest in the property whatsoever.

I didn’t know about that Thursday morning when I went to Brunton’s Fremont house for a candidate interview. He told me that I got it all wrong in the blog, even if I had heard him correctly on the phone.

“They are very angry at me,” Brunton said of the Dutras. “I have great respect and admiration for them. They have never expressed interest to me in buying that property.” A few minutes later, for good measure, he again said, “I never heard from the Dutras that they were interested in that property.”

Problem is the Dutras did offer to buy a portion of the frontage property, and they were part of a team of developers that made a separate bid for all of it. Trustee Bill McMillin says he still has the paperwork as does John Dutra, himself.

“Brunton is not telling the truth,” Dutra said. “He was part of the board when we made submittals. We sent a very clear letter of intent that laid out terms in which we would purchase that property. We made an offer and Bob knows that.”

Dutra said his opposition to Brunton has nothing to do with his vote against selling the frontage property.