Fremont: No Indian-Americans on City Council or school board

Back in the Tri-City Beat saddle here. I found this topic especially interesting, especially given the city’s large Indian-American population. [Some say “Indo-American” … our newspaper’s style is “Indian-American.”] Anyway, I always find it fascinating when people do NOT  want to discuss identity — whether it be racial, ethnic, religious, gender, etc. To each his/her own. Either way, here’s a story from Thursday’s print edition:

FREMONT — Anu Natarajan left City Hall on Tuesday night with mixed emotions.

Natarajan, Fremont’s first Indian-American council member, had finished her final public meeting after 10 years on the council, but her excitement for future challenges was tempered by sadness, knowing that a major life chapter had closed.

“I have not shed tears yet,” she said the next day. “But I know they’re coming.”

Indian-Americans in Fremont might feel the same after last month’s election, which produced no winning Indian-American candidates in City Council and school board races. When the new council meets Tuesday, it will not have an Indian-American for the first time in a decade. Fremont’s school board, meanwhile, has never had one.

That is surprising in a city where 1 in 5 residents are Indian-American.

Did the election signify a political backlash toward South Asians? Or were the results, in which each of four Fremont Indian-Americans lost, a ballot-box fluke?

The latter option is the most likely, said several Indian-American leaders interviewed for this story.

For more, click here.


Newark tweeting teacher will not be charged with crime for ‘inappropriate’ remarks

NEWARK — The teacher whose Twitter messages expressed violent thoughts about students will not be charged with a crime, police said Thursday.

Investigators found that Krista Hodges — whose tweets said she wanted to “stab some kids” and wished two students “would get hit by a car” — did not rise to the level of criminal threats, said police Cmdr. Mike Carroll.

“The tweets, while inappropriate and unprofessional, did not meet the elements (required) to establish a violation of the code,” Carroll said in an email.

Police said they spent three weeks interviewing students, teachers and other school district employees.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges after reviewing the probe’s findings.

For more, click here.


Fremont energy saving program pays off for libraries

Residents have until the end of the month to join an energy conservation program that has yielded $1,000 for Fremont libraries.

The Fremont Energy Challenge, an Alameda County program, gives participating PG&E customers access to the home energy analyzer, a free online tool that helps people track and monitor their energy use.

The program, which started in June, donates $5 to Fremont libraries each time a resident signs up.

About 200 Fremont residents have signed up, making themselves eligible to receive discounts and gift cards from home improvement stores, city leaders said.

The deadline to sign up is Sept. 30.

“Making Fremont more energy efficient is one of the city’s priorities, and it’s an effort that every resident can contribute to at home,” said Rachel DiFranco, Fremont’s sustainability coordinator.

To participate, go online at www.homeenergyanalyzer.org, or www.fremont.gov/1983/Fremont-Energy-Challenge.


Newark Unified accepting applications for board vacancy until Sept. 19


To the Newark Community,

On Wednesday, August 20, 2014, Governing Board Member Gary Stadler filed a letter of resignation with the Alameda County Superintendent of School, effective immediately.

The Governing Board vacancy will be filled by Board appointment. Beginning today and ending at noon on Friday, September 19, 2014, the Board will be accepting applications to fill this position. Please click here for a copy of the application or you can pick up a copy at District Office.

On Wednesday September 24, 2014, the Board will meet in open session at 6:00 p.m. at the District Office to review all applications and to interview the candidates. Candidates should make themselves available for this meeting. The Board anticipates making the selection at this meeting. The appointment will become effective immediately.

Applications will be accepted from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at the District Office,
beginning Monday, Sept 9, 2014. To be considered as a candidate, the application must be received in the District Office by noon on Friday, September 19, 2014. Any
application received after noon of Friday, September 19, 2014 will not be accepted.
If you have any questions about the process, please feel free to call Board President
Nancy Thomas at 510-792-4835 or email at nthomas@newarkunified.org.


Newark Unified School District Governing Board Members



Or go online at NewarkUnified.org.


Fremont: Road closures this weekend for Festival of India

A Nixle announcement from the Fremont Police Department on road closures this weekend for the Festival of India:

The City of Fremont has issued a special event permit for the 22ndAnnual Festival of India.  The event will take place on Saturday and Sunday (8/16 & 8/17) from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.  Please be advised that several roads will be closed in the Downtown area.

Saturday, August 17, 2014, from 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, August 17, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

  • Walnut Avenue – between Paseo Padre Parkway and Liberty Street in both directions:

Sunday ONLY, August 17, 2014, from 11:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. – PARADE

  • Paseo Padre Parkway – between Mowry Avenue and Stevenson Blvd. in both directions
  • Walnut Avenue – between Paseo Padre Parkway and Liberty St.
  • Liberty Street – between Capitol Avenue and Beacon Avenue in both directions
  • Capitol Avenue – between State Street and Paseo Padre Parkway in both directions
  • State Street – between Beacon Street (mid-block) and Capital Ave.
  • Kearny Street – between Stevenson Blvd. and Liberty Ave.
  • City of Fremont Development Services parking lot at 39550 Liberty St.

Roads to remain open:

  • Beacon Ave.
  • Liberty St. (between Beacon Ave. and Stevenson Blvd.)
  • Walnut Ave. (between Liberty St. and Fremont Blvd.)

Please feel free to contact Special Events Manager Maya Williams if you have any questions regarding the special event permit process.  Maya can be reached at 510-790-6967.

For more, click here.


Advocate: Newark school board violated Brown Act after vote

NEWARK — The school board is negotiating a new superintendent’s contract this week as a question arose over whether the board violated the state’s open meeting law.

On Friday, board members rejected Superintendent Dave Marken’s attempt to rescind his resignation, then refused to reveal how each member voted. That refusal violated state law, an open meetings expert said this week.

But the district’s attorney, Lou Lozano,¿ said his view “at the time” was that trustees only need to report votes on motions that pass.

However, the board’s attempted secrecy violated state law, said Terry Francke, founder of Californians Aware, a nonprofit organization dedicated to open government. The Brown Act says local government boards must report how each member voted on any action taken, Francke said.

“What (the board is) saying is it’s all in how you formulate the motion, and I don’t believe the Brown Act puts up with such exercises in semantics,” he said. “The public has a right to know who did what on that issue, no matter how the motion was framed.”

For more, click here.



Fremont school district delays adopting controversial health book, will work with publisher to change it

FREMONT — The use of a health textbook some deemed inappropriate for students has been delayed, giving school district leaders time to consult the book’s publisher over its chapters on sexual education.

The Fremont Unified school board held off on adopting “Your Health Today” on Wednesday night, after parents complained that its discussion of bondage, prostitution and other frank sexual topics was unfit for teaching ninth-grade students.

At the board meeting’s outset, Superintendent James Morris recommended that trustees choose among three options. Two choices involved revising “Your Health Today” to varying degrees. A third option would create two different health courses, including an honors health class using the new textbook.

The five-member board decided that the district should work with the publisher to make changes to the book, creating a high school edition that will be age-appropriate for 14-year-olds.

The motion passed on a 3-2 vote, with trustees Larry Sweeney and Lily Mei dissenting.

For more, click here.



Fremont police to hold training Friday at Ohlone College

If you hear loud noises and see lights flashing Friday near Ohlone College, don’t be alarmed, says the Fremont PD. Here’s their announcement:

On Friday, August 15, 2014, from approximately 7:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m., the City of Fremont’s Police and Fire Departments will conduct a joint training exercise at Ohlone College, located on the 43600 block of Mission Blvd.

The training will involve a large number of police and fire personnel at the school campus. The purpose of this specialized training is to enhance the ability of our Fire and Police departments to jointly respond to major acts of violence.  Part of the training involves expanding the delivery of medical aid during high risk situations.   This partnership is of great benefit to those we serve and is a core component of our mission to provide the highest level of public safety to our community.

During the training, you may see public safety vehicles driving on the campus with emergency lights flashing and limited occasional pyrotechnics will be used to simulate the noise and smoke of an incident.  Training safety during this exercise is of the utmost importance to us.  The training site will be secure and will not be open to the public, press or media.   The theater performance scheduled for Friday evening on the campus will not be affected.  We appreciate your understanding and have structured the training to limit the impact on the surrounding community.


Fremont: School leaders may delay use of health textbook after parent outcry

FREMONT — School district leaders are considering delaying the adoption of a health textbook after parents complained that its presentation of frank sexual topics is inappropriate for ninth-grade students.

Superintendent Jim Morris has recommended putting on hold the use of “Your Health Today” until Fremont Unified employees can work with the book’s publisher to make it more “age-appropriate.”

Meantime, school board members on Wednesday will consider using last year’s health textbook for the short term.

“I … recognize and respect the concerns of some of our families,” Morris said, “and believe this recommendation is a great compromise that will address those opinions while still working toward ultimately providing the best curriculum possible in our schools.”

The controversy started June 25, when Fremont school board members voted 3-2 to buy copies of the book. But parents objected to the book’s sections that talk about sexual education topics. A petition on the website Care2 has nearly 2,200 signatures calling for the book’s removal.

For more, click here.



Oakland Tribune editorial: Newark school board trustees should reveal their votes or resign

Here’s a Bay Area News Group editorial about the Newark Unified school board’s vote in closed session on Friday. The editorial that appeared in Tuesday’s (Aug. 12, 2014) newspaper edition:

Elected officials too frequently forget they’re accountable to the public for their votes.

In this case, the Newark school district board last week in closed session defeated a motion to allow popular Superintendent Dave Marken to rescind his resignation.

Two trustees supported the motion, and three did not. The board refused to reveal publicly how each trustee voted. They relied on convoluted legal advice from their attorney, Louis Lozano.

The state open meeting law is clear. Local government boards must report how each member voted on any “action taken.” That includes “a collective commitment … to make a positive or a negative decision.”

Nevertheless, Lozano argues that trustees only need to report votes on motions that pass. The motion that failed, Lozano says, was to allow Marken to rescind his resignation. Lozano argues that had the board instead passed a motion not to allow Marken to rescind his resignation, trustees would have had to make their votes public.

Lozano’s legal hairsplitting runs roughshod over the intent and language of the law. Even Lozano admits that the board could have opted to reveal the vote anyhow. So far, it hasn’t.

If trustees don’t want to be accountable, they should resign.

For the online version, click here.