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


Mandatory water restrictions declared in Tri-City area

FREMONT — An emergency water shortage has been declared in the Tri-City area with mandatory limits on landscape irrigation.

The ordinance immediately took effect Thursday night when the Alameda County Water District board approved the action, agency spokesman Frank Jahn said.

It bans residents and businesses from irrigating lawns and other landscaped areas on consecutive days. Landscape watering will be permitted just one day a week from April 1 to May 31 and from Oct. 1 to Nov. 30; and two days a week from June 1 to Sept. 30. From Dec. 1 to March 31, irrigation is limited to one day per week and banned on rainy days.

Tri-City school districts and cities receive an extra day per week from June 1 to Nov. 30 to irrigate public parks, school grounds, playing fields and day care center landscaping.

Repeated violations of the new limits could result in serious punishment — termination of water service and a misdemeanor citation that could lead to a 30-day jail sentence and a $600 fine.

Formed in 1914, the Alameda County Water District supplies water to 336,000 people in Fremont, Newark and Union City.

For the story, click here.


Fremont schools: $157 million school bond spent properly, oversight panel says

FREMONT — The panel overseeing a $157 million bond measure says the school district spent the money properly to upgrade its aging 42 campuses, completing the promised work on time and under budget.

The health and safety bond that voters approved in 2002 paid for renovating Fremont’s schools over the past decade, including seismic retrofits, improved plumbing and heating systems, roofing repairs, and safety upgrades for playgrounds, electrical wiring, and automobile traffic, the oversight committee said at a school board meeting last week.

Recent refinancing, and interest earned on bond sales, gave the district more money for added renovations, pushing total expenses to $173 million, according to the committee’s report. The additional school projects included paving new parking areas, replacing a walkway cover, installing a library air conditioning system and renovating Valhalla Theater at Irvington High, the district’s only performing arts school.

“We showed the citizens of Fremont that the board and the district can be fiscally responsible,” said Peggy Herndon, an oversight committee member and a former school board trustee. “And we’re looking at having the same success with the next bond.”

For more, click here.