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.


Fremont leaders trying to move 109-year-old building off historic resources list

FREMONT — Where preservationists see a storied 109-year-old building considered one of Fremont’s landmarks, city leaders see an empty, seismically unsafe structure that should be removed from the historic buildings list and sold because it has lost any historical value.

That 5-year-long debate over a small Mission San Jose District building on a quarter-acre lot will continue for the foreseeable future, as Fremont’s Historical Architectural Review Board last week asked city staffers for more information before deciding the issue.

City planners say they might deliver that report in the next month or two to the review board.

David Price, the board’s chairman, noted that fellow board members first asked city staffers for that information five years ago and still are waiting for it.

“I heard more historical analysis in the past 20 minutes than I’ve heard from staff since 2009,” Price said last week.

For more, click here.


Newark meeting on Area 2-Dumbarton plan at 7pm tonight (Wed.)

Newark city leaders have scheduled a meeting at 7 p.m. tonight (Wednesday, April 9) to discuss with the public the plans to build homes in Area 2, as part of the Dumbarton Transit Oriented Development.

The meeting will be held at Newark City Hall, 6th Floor, Council Chambers, 37101 Newark Blvd. It’s free and open to all members of the public.

The development is near the intersection of Willow Street and Enterprise Drive, on Newark’s western edge, near industrial companies and other housing tracts.

The project’s first phase has been approved for constructing 547 homes. The second phase would build 220 residences — that plan is up for council approval on April 24. The 3rd phase, involving Trumark Residential’s proposal to build 224 homes, will be heard by the Planning Commission on April 22.

For more information, go to www.newark.org. or call 510-578-4200 during business hours.



Services scheduled for Marine, Logan High grad killed in crash last week

Source: New Haven Unified School District in Union City

Memorial services are scheduled this week for James Logan High School graduate and U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Andrew Silva, who was killed early last Tuesday when his motorcycle was hit near the corner of Fremont Boulevard and Decoto Road in Fremont, by a car driven by a man who allegedly ran a red light while fleeing police. The man was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and several other charges related to Lance Cpl. Silva’s death.

Lance Cpl. Silva, a leadership student and a football player who graduated from Logan in 2009, had just returned in February from active duty in Afghanistan, according to Logan House Principal Francis Rojas. He is survived by his wife, Julie Little Nguyen, who wasLogan’s student body president in 2009, and their 2-year-old son, Noah.

Visitation hours are from 2 to 10 p.m. today, Wednesday and Thursday at St. Anne Catholic Church, 32223 Cabello St., Union City. A funeral is scheduled at noon Friday at the church, with burial to follow at 1:30 p.m. at Chapel of the Chimes, 32992 Mission Blvd.,Hayward.

Donations to help the family can be made at any Fremont Bank branch or by mail to Fremont Bank, Attn: Andrew Silva Memorial Account, P.O. Box 8170, Fremont, 94537-8170. Checks should be made payable to “Andrew Silva Memorial.”


Newark: NewPark owners to revitalize mall with city boost

It’s a Newark kind of week, I guess. In this one, the city is trying to entice NewPark Mall’s owners to spend some money to revitalize it. Will it be worth it?

NEWARK — City leaders tired of seeing stores leave outdated NewPark Mall for shiny, new Pacific Commons in Fremont are fighting back to restore the shopping hub’s luster and regain lost tax revenue, in part by appealing to a taste for films and finer food.

Newark’s first salvo in the shopping center arms race lies in a deal it has struck with Rouse Properties, NewPark’s owner: In return for improvements, the city will for 18 years give Rouse 80 percent of the mall’s annual sales tax revenue above the existing base.

Rouse has agreed to spend at least $40 million on mall upgrades, building upscale restaurants and fancier shopping and entertainment options, and replacing the closed Cinedome theater with at least a 10-screen multiplex.

For more of the story, click here.


Newark burglaries drop as residents get involved

This ran yesterday in The Argus/Oakland Tribune/Daily Review:

NEWARK — Tri-City residents fed up with home burglaries have fought back by partnering with law enforcement agencies, employing a mix of Neighborhood Watch groups and teams of police volunteers, sometimes using upgraded technology to catch criminals.

It’s hard to argue with the results, as burglary rates are down throughout southern Alameda County this year, police agencies say.

Fremont burglaries decreased 20 percent between 2012 and last year, and Union City’s rate dipped by 3 percent. Newark enjoyed the steepest drop, 41 percent.

The city of around 42,500 people has succeeded in attacking the crime from several sides, said Tim Jones, a member of Newark police’s community engagement team. “It’s not one singular thing that has done it,” he said. “It’s been about people working more in unison with police.”

For more of the story, click here.


Some Newark News: NUSD teachers, admins get 5.5% raise

Story by colleague Doug Oakley, who has begun covering Alameda County schools:

Newark teachers and administrators will get a 5.5 percent raise under a new contract signed with the Newark Unified School District, officials said.

The teacher raise is retroactive to July 1 and is good through July 1, 2015, said Assistant Superintendent Tim Irwin. It is the first such raise the 300 teachers in the small school district have received in seven years, he said.

Irwin said management in the school district, including district administrators, school principals, coordinators and managers, also will get a 5.5 percent raise.

Newark teachers start at $57,368 a year and top out at $99,514 with 25 or more years experience, Irwin said.

For more of the story, click here.

Newark teachers, administrators get 5.5 percent raise