Dog Park Lights to take a big step forward

Union City has scheduled a public hearing for Sept. 30 on a proposal to install lights at Drigon Dog Park, according to the dog park group, which is pushing for lights. This will be a chance for dog park supporters to show their strength and park neighbors, if they care, to say they don’t want to here dogs barking up to 10 p.m. every night. It could be interesting, but it probably won’t be.

Friends of Drigon Dog Park has so far raised $17,500 of the $20k needed to install the lights.


Swat action in Union City NOT related to ‘local’ homicide

If you happened to hear about the raid on a Union City home this morning you’re probably wondering what it’s all about. Well, Union City police, the ones who busted into the home on Galaxy Way about 6 a.m., told me that it was related to a homicide case in Hayward and then referred me to a different agency for more information.  We’ve got a reporter at The Daily Review working on the details, but it appears that at least a half-dozen suspected gang members were arrested related to a killing in Hayward last month. Check The Review for information later. We should have the full story in our paper tomorrow.


Another Torrico aide seeks public office

It’s starting to seem like anyone who works for Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico needs to hold some type of public office. First his Deputy Chief of Staff Trisha Tahmasbi gets appointed to the Ohlone College Board of Trustees and makes a run for the Fremont City Council. Now, on a much, much less significant note, his aide (and former Argus freelancer) Ben Liu has applied for a spot on the Union City Parks and Recreation Commission.

It’s hardly an influential board. It can only make recommendations to the City Council, and whether it was about getting more youth service programs or city-subsidized dog park lights, the council usually ignored the commission’s recommendations when I covered City Hall.

Liu grew up in Union City. Here is what he wrote when I asked him why he wanted to sit on the commission:

“Since college, I was interested in public service.  My experience in the USAF and current job as a field representative for Majority Leader Alberto Torrico allows me to serve in an expanded role. Among my areas of focus for the Majority Leader are parks and recreation and public safety.

I applied for the position to gain access to, to know the community, and to understand the needs of our city’s residents. Most importantly I want to volunteer my time and impact the lives of our youth.”


High Court Denies Union City’s Appeal in 911 Ruling

That means Union City won’t be able to collect the $2.7 million this year from the 911fee (now deemed an illegal tax) they had been tacking on to people’s phone bills. According to the city, it means they will also have to refund the $2.7 they collected from residents last year.

If you put it all together, it means the city budget forecast is getting a whole lot gloomier.

We’ll have more on this next week.


Candidate filing period ends

UPDATE (8/14/08): The registrar has confirmed the eligibility status of all the candidates below.



This blog has been inundated with comments about some Fremont council candidates. But let’s not forget there are other races in the Tri-City area.

The extended filing period for certain races ended this evening. Below are the updated lists. Names with an asterisk next to them are candidates whose eligibility to run have not been confirmed by the Alameda County Registrar of Voters Office. Continue Reading


Union City council argues for parcel tax

The Union City City Council met last evening to hash out the wording for the official argument in favor of the city’s proposed parcel tax extension and enhancement.

The existing tax, known as Measure K, generates $2.7 million annually to fund public-safety services. But with the tax set to expire in April, city officials will place a new measure on the November ballot, asking voters to extend the tax by eight years while also increasing the tax rate to generate an extra $500,000 a year to fund youth services, such as gang prevention and intervention programs.

Click on the links below to read the following, parts of which will appear in the voters’ handbook:

* Resolution and ordinance for a new measure (the ordinance is the full text of the measure).

* City attorney’s analysis

* Argument in favor of the measure

Although no one submitted arguments against the measure by today’s deadline, that’s not to say there aren’t voters opposed to the tax. In fact, a similar proposal was defeated in June. (The latest proposal shortens the length of the tax and decreases the tax rate from what was proposed in June.)

image from maddot13’s site on flickr.com.

Good Dog Park News

There’s a lot more going on at Drigon Dog Park than pit bull attacks. As we’ve written about before, a citizens’ group have been raising money to install lights at the park. Union City said they needed to raise 20k, and the dog park group is getting close.

They’ve raised about $16,000 ove the past couple of years, and they’re hoping to reach their goal as early as next month.

The original designer of the park has agreed to design the lights for free, so if the group can reach an agreement with the city and park neighbors, Drigon might become an after-dark park before too long.


Deadline reminder

It should come as no surprise to anyone who’s been following our coverage of local elections that the candidate filing period is tomorrow.

Just a reminder that while the deadline is 5 p.m. Friday for most candidates, the deadline is 4 p.m. for those planning to run for the Union City City Council.

Union City’s City Hall is closed every other Friday, including this week. But because of the filing deadline, the city clerk’s office will stay open tomorrow for special hours.

A reader called me yesterday to ask where people need to go to pull papers. Basically, if you want to run for a school board, Washington Hospital board or pretty much any race other than city council, you can file through the Alameda County Registrar of Voters office in Oakland.

Fremont and Union City City Council candidates can file through their city halls.

image from Joseph Dath's site at flickr.com

Lights out

Last night’s Union City council meeting was interesting for two reasons: First, heading into the meeting, there appeared to be minority support for increasing the rate on the existing Measure K public-safety parcel tax, which raises $2.7 million annually (additional revenue would fund youth services). But by the end of the evening, the council passed an ordinance (4-1) to place a measure on the November ballot to extend the tax for eight years while raising it by another $500,000 annually.

Councilwoman Carol Dutra-Vernaci, who cast the dissenting vote, raised questions about whether the city could get the necessary two-thirds vote on Election Day if it raised the tax. But she vowed to fight “tooth and nail” to get the measure passed.

The second notable moment of the evening occurred when the power went out for a few seconds in the middle of discussions about the city’s budget.

The city is appealing an appellate court decision that residents have been taxed a 9-1-1 fee illegally. If the state Supreme Court decides not to hear the case, the city would lose $2.7 million in annual revenue, plus it may have to refund up to $2.7 million to residents, city officials said.

Earlier in the evening, council members mentioned that without the revenue, the city would have to look at cutting services, and Dutra-Vernaci was in the middle of suggesting that city staff try to identify existing funds that could be reallocated for youth services when the lights (and microphones) went out momentarily.

Coincidence, or a sign from the budget god?

image from shadphotos' site at flickr.com

Union City: Dog mauled at Drigon Dog Park

Another perspective:A woman who says she was at Drigon before and during the attack said that the Pit bull was playing well with the other dogs in the park before the incident. She thought it was a nice dog.

Draco, a 10-pound Miniature Pinscher was attacked and nearly killed by a Pit Bull Sunday afternoon at Drigon Dog Park in Union City. 

The dog had been in the park for only a few minutes when three larger dogs, including the Pit Bull approached, said Draco’s owner Zendy Aguirre. When Draco ran away from the dogs, the Pit Bull attacked, shattering one of Draco’s ribs.

“I went to pick up (Draco) and the Pitt Bull bit me and ripped off my thumb nail, Aquirre said. The Pit Bull then sunk its teeth back into Draco until Aguirre’s boyfriend gave it a good kick.


The Pit Bull’s owner later took his dog and ran away. Aguirre doesn’t have a picture of the offending dog or the identity of its owner.

What she does have is a veterinary bill for nearly $7,000. Draco has been hospitalized for the past three nights. He has three broken ribs and doctors had to remove a fourth rib that was too badly damaged to heal. He also has numerous puncture wounds.

The Pitt Bull is described as a dark gray American Pit Bull Terrier with cropped ears and white fur on his chest. It wears a regular collar and a choke collar.