`Coffee with the Cops’ Part II: Police Chief Jim Leal

Ever wanted to speak to Newark Police Chief Jim Leal about something going on in your neighborhood, but had no idea how to contact him? Well, here’s your chance to talk to him face to face. Leal and Commander Bob Douglas are the two officers scheduled to participate in this month’s “Coffee with the Cops” event in Newark. The event is slated for 6 to 8 p.m. WEDNESDAY, OCT. 14, at Starbucks on Stevenson Boulevard at Balentine Drive. In case you show up and forget what to ask Chief Leal, just remember that he is a big San Jose Sharks fan, so that’ll break the ice, hopefully long enough for you to remember your question.


Newark city council candidate’s home vandalized

Nadja Adolf called this morning and said that her home was vandalized while she and her husband were out earlier today. Nadja, one of three candidates for city council, said when she arrived home she noticed that someone had chucked eggs onto her porch while she was gone.

“This is so juvenile, it’s unbelievable,” she said.

Nadja called police when she realized what had happened, and they have documented the incident. A police commander said they will increase patrols near her home.

When asked why she thought someone might have thrown the eggs, Nadja pointed to the fact that she was running for council, is an environmentalist, does not like gangs and opposes Measure L, the city’s proposed utility tax.

Nadja is running against incumbents Ana Apodaca and Alan Nagy, all of whom appear on the Nov. 3 ballot.


Newark Mayor David W. Smith for Governor?

Yes, you read that right, Governor.

East Bay resident Wynn Grcich spoke at the Newark City Council meeting Thursday  and opened her 20-minute speech — which focused largely on water issues throughout the region — by urging the state’s longest sitting mayor (Dave Smith)  to run for Governor. She lauded Smith’s leadership — particularly his effort in helping Newark maintain a fairly balanced budget over the years — and offered to run his campaign. She opined that if San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom could run — ever after leading his city into more than $300 million in debt — that Smith should try his hand.

Mayor Smith chuckled and remarked “only if I can take all of these people (the council and city staff) with me.”



Reminder: Newark City Council meeting tonight

In case you missed the memo or forgot, there is a Newark City Council meeting tonight (7:30 p.m., Newark City Hall, 37101 Newark Blvd.) to further discuss the proposed Utility Users Tax, which is on the November ballot. Looks like the city is softening it’s stance on the length of the proposed tax. Initially they wanted to implement it for 20 years if it passed, now they are looking at just six years. This proposed change, which the council will have to approve, is being made due in part to opposition from community members, Assistant City Manager Dennis Jones said earlier this week.

If you can’t make it to the meeting, you can follow the happenings via my twitter feed at www.twitter.com/benaguirrejr  I’ll do my best to provide updates throughout the meeting. There will be a story the following day.


Mom shot in Union City apartment while kids were home

UPDATE: (3:05 p.m.) First version on the Web site.


Story should be online momentarily, but a 25-year-old mom was shot and wounded this morning in a Union City apartment during an argument with her husband. Cops say two children were home at the time (and the mother of the suspect), but none of them were hurt. Woman is expected to live, although she is undergoing surgery as I write this.


Newark calls special council meeting to discuss Utility Tax

UPDATE (4:30 p.m.): Assistant City Manager Dennis Jones confirms that the main change is the length of the proposed tax from 20 years to 6 years, and the language will be included on the ballot. There will be an opportunity for public comment on the issue, Jones said.

Got word late this afternoon that Newark has called a special city council meeting for WEDNESDAY (Aug.5), 7:30 p.m. at City Hall  so that the board can discuss revisions to the utility users tax proposed by city staff. No word yet what changes are being suggested, but No Newark Tax — a group of citizens opposing the ballot measure — seems to think it’s to reduce the length of the proposed tax from 20 years to just six years. More to come when the city releases the agenda, which should be within the hour …

Here is my original story (LINK).


Cause of death for Newark’s abandoned baby undetermined

Yesterday we learned that the abandoned baby found in May at a Union City apartment complex died from a bacterial infection contracted through a prolonged labor. It’s probably worth noting that the cause of death for the baby boy found in Newark in 2006 hasn’t been determined, said Newark police Sgt. Bill Shaffer, who was the lead detective on the 2006 case.

Also, I swung by the grave site for Matea Esperanza today to see if there had been any new memorials or flowers (or visitors) — but there didn’t appear to be. If you’re interested in visiting her, she’s in the Eternal Life (near the south eastern corner) area of the Chapel of the Chimes cemetery on Mission Boulevard near the fence line.


Newark Unified School District seeking an interim high school principal

Big thanks to a caller who pointed out that the Newark Unified School District has posted a job listing for an Interim principal position at Newark Memorial High School. The district had been seeking a principal since June when then-principal Connie Spinnato left her post after just one year. The district held a special board meeting last week — to presumably present a candidate for the position — but nothing of significance took place. The next day, the aforementioned job listing was posted.

Both Superintendent Kevin Harrigan and Human Resources Director Tim Erwin are on vacation this week, so we’ll have to wait until Monday at the earliest to find out why the district is now searching for an interim principal. Officials have said in the past that starting a job search in June for such an important position is not ideal. In other words, they would have preferred to solicit applications earlier in the school year because most people have their plans for the next year pretty well mapped out by June.


Newark officially seeking utility tax

Looks like voters will have more to decide this November than just its city’s leaders. The Newark City Council approved a resolution Thursday to place a Utility Tax on the ballot, a 3.9 percent tax that is projected to raise $2.6 million annually. The tax, which would be applied to electricity, gas, cable, etc., would be implemented for 20 years, but the council can remove it at any time, City Manager John Becker said. I’ll have more on this later in a full-length story, including some points opponents of the tax brought up during the meeting.


Newark Unified’s response to “Swine” flu

We’ll have a story  in tomorrow’s paper about how local school districts are reacting to the Swine flu, but here is a bit of info for those who live in Newark. Superintendent Kevin Harrigan sent notes to district employee and parents this week addressing the issue. 

In a nut shell, the note to employees states that school activities will continue as normal unless a confirmed case comes from the area. If that happens, then the district will work with county health officials to determine if school closures are needed. (View note to staff HERE) (.doc)

The note to parents also addresses the issue, but urges parents to to keep their children at home if they exhibit flu-like symptoms. (View note to parents HERE) (.pdf)  (Spanish/Espanol version is HERE) (.pdf)

Newark Unified is also going to use it’s Web site to distribute information.