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3/30/06 - I am a long time east side resident and was so happy to find you, such a great source of information. I will be sure to let all of my neighbors know about you.

What is up with the building on McKee (close to Toyon) that has been vacant for some time? There used to be a great produce stand there but since they went out of business it has been empty.  Thanks and good day, Janice Husak

NNV Note: Click here and here for articles related to this building at the corner of McKee and Vista (near Toyon).

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3/24/06 - I do have a concern, the County Board of Supervisors is currently in the process of implementing a new set of zoning restrictions for hillside residents. They are calling it "Santa Clara County Viewshed Protection Study and Plan."

The plan will include changes that will limit the size of your home, prohibit you from building on a view site such as a ridge, dictate the color of your house, not allowing you to rebuild if the house is damaged by fire, earthquake, etc. Any information you can print concerning this subject would be of interest to the East Siders.  Thanks, Richard Alvarez

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3/10/06 - When I looked at Rafiki's door and saw for myself that it had truly closed, I realized two things:

  1. We really need a neighborhood coffeeshop.

  2. I really wanted an alternative to Starbucks, which we have at Capitol and White.

So, I emailed Peet's, whose coffee I've loved since I walked to their store in Berkeley. I'm forwarding their response. If a whole bunch of us work on them, maybe we can get them to come into the neighborhood.  Sincerely, Kirsten Nelson

E-mail to Peet's: Hi! Our neighborhood coffeeshop (run as a fundraiser by an evangelical church), Rafiki's, has just closed. They had a terrific location, on the corner of White Road and Alum Rock Avenue in San Jose. The location - which is now available - is on the right-hand side of the street as people drive towards the freeway to head for work.

Please, please, please consider opening a Peet's in this location. There is a small cafe in the public library across the street, but it's not open in the mornings.

Peet's Response: Hi, Kirsten. We are considering further expansion in California, particularly in northern California, which is our homebase. Right now, the company is tracking customer requests for new store locations in a special database. I'll enter the information there. This is great information - thanks so much for passing it on! Have a great evening.  Best wishes, Amanda Conrad, Peet's Coffee & Tea, 800-999-2132, www.peets.com

NNV Note: You can send an e-mail to webmail@peets.com or click here for their Customer Service Feedback Form (you can leave the Customer Number box blank or enter "None" or whatever).

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2/8/06 - Judy, you and your site have been so helpful in the past I was hoping you’d have some info or advice. We are having a terrible time with Green Valley Disposal. I understand that they have *specific guidelines* and we try to follow them but it’s getting ridiculous.

First, when we threw a bag of styro-packing material in the trash, they left a note stating to please recycle it because it gets stuck in their trucks. So we started bagging them as per a flyer they sent out and leaving them at the curb. This worked until today when we had no clear bags and so put them in grocery bags so that they could still see through the loosely tied knot that these were styro-packing peanuts. The truck driver or garbage collector or whatever you call him threw these all over the street. When we called to complain, they told us that we have to buy clear plastic bags in order to recycle styro. I have to buy plastic bags to recycle????

Secondly, they refuse to pick up cardboard that is larger than 2x2 so we have been cutting our boxes down. Today, one of many pieces of cardboard we had put out was a little larger and he left ALL of them! Again all over our street! When we called to complain about their archaic recycling, the lady on the phone said that “everyone says that.” I guess since they are the only choice, they feel it unnecessary to make an effort at good customer service? When we asked to speak with a supervisor (at 9 AM) we were told that one would not be able to speak with us until tomorrow when he would call us at home because they couldn’t give us his contact info. Am I overreacting or is that crazy? I just happened to have a day off today but if I want to speak with someone to complain, I have to stay home tomorrow and hope he calls??

Coming from an incorporated area of San Jose, our recycling process seems so behind the times and is extremely frustrating. Have you had similar complaints from others in our neighborhood? Is there anywhere else we can go to complain?

Any help will be greatly appreciated. Regards, Ruthe Rosana

NNV Note:  For the Green Valley Disposal Web pages for East San Jose Foothills in Unincorporated Santa Clara County, click on these links for Single-Family Residences, Multi-Family Residences.

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2/7/06 - Dear Sir. Thank you for your compliment regarding the internal appearance of the new library.

The library of today is an extremely busy focal point in the community and there is a high level of activity within its walls.

In addition, many of our youth are visiting and discovering the new library on a daily basis. The staff and I are challenged every day to work with library customers in setting the library environment. Recognizing these realities and the diverse demand for library services and usage, the library provides an enclosed and spacious quiet room with comfortable chairs and tables dedicated for customers requiring a noise free environment.

Nora Conte, Branch Manager

NNV Note: This letter from Nora Conte, the manager of the Dr. Roberto Cruz/Alum Rock Branch Library, is in response to the 2/4/06 letter from Wm. Silvis below.

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2/6/06 - I am a Neighbor (on Chula Vista Drive) and enjoy reading NNV - especially this version suggesting that we might finally get some nice eating establishments on the upper east side. Yea!

I recently have had scary driving experiences on the Alum Rock Avenue downhill curve where Edgemont and Miguelito branch off from Alum Rock. I live north of SJCC, often work from home, and drive down the hill around 5 or 6 PM to run some errands. I've had three close calls over the past couple months at that curve while driving down hill on Alum Rock Ave. I'm sure people are rushing to get home. They go so fast that they barely make the turn and stray over into the downhill lane. The downhill driver doesn't have anywhere to go.

Do you think other neighbors have the same problem? Is there anyone we can call or anything we can do about it? Thank you for your help. Leanne Damiani

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2/5/06 - Dear Alum Rock Community. We at First Church of the Nazarene, previously located at the corner of Alum Rock and Cragmont, wish to thank the members of the Alum Rock community for many years of support and involvement in the life of this community of faith.

We are grateful for any contribution the church has been able to make in the life of the Alum Rock community. Our community service to local schools and school teachers has been especially rewarding to our parishioners and hopefully beneficial to others.

We have moved to our new facility and relaunched the ministries of the church under the name of The Point ~ a Church of the Nazarene at 3695 Rose Terrasse Circle in the Evergreen Community. We welcome all to come as our special guests and anticipate the extension of ministries within the greater San Jose community this new building will allow. You may visit us on the web at www.thepoint.cc.

We were pleased to leave the building at Alum Rock in the care of another church, Logos Christian Fellowship, who we are certain will be a positive influence for our Alum Rock friends. Gratefully, Jim G. Cooper, Pastoral Team Leader, English Ministries Pastor, "THE POINT ~ a place of possibilities"

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2/4/06 - The new Alum Rock Library looks very nice inside but lately my visits haven't been that pleasant. Kids are running around unsupervised. People talk loudly on their cell phones in the reading areas. People are also having loud conversations in these areas. The magazines are placed haphazardly on the shelves.

What ever happened to libraries being a quiet area to read in?

It appears the staff is indifferent to these distractions. What can be done to improve these conditions? Regards, Wm. Silvis

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1/11/06 - Fleming Project Delayed! 30 neighbors showed up to argue against the development, and were heard! Go to www.eastfoothills.blogspot.com for details...  Sincerely, Julie Ramirez

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1/5/06 - Clean Money: Crucial Vote next Tuesday!  I wanted to thank you again for publishing my article on "Clean Money" (public financing for political campaigns) a few months ago. With all the scandals in the news these days I think the time is coming when such reforms will come into their own.

Since you published the article, Connecticut has passed Clean Money legislation. Also Albuquerque, NM passed it for their city elections (by a 69% vote); and the Los Angeles City Council recently voted 11-0 to have a study group develop a system for their elections.

The Clean Money Fair Elections Act, AB 583, is coming up for a crucial vote this next Tuesday, 1/10/06, in the California Assembly Elections Committee. The key vote we need is Chairman Tom Umberg. It would be great if you could put the word out that we need as many phone calls and faxes between now and next Tuesday as possible, urging him to support the bill:

Chairman Tom Umberg
phone: 916-319-2069
fax: 916-319-2169

Hope all is well with you. Thanks again for your support. Craig Dunkerley

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12/30/05 - New Neighborhood Voice brought a rush of good memories from the East Side. Best of all has been reading Mrs. Olsson's updates and contributions: but it doesn't surprise me that she still helps out the neighborhood. When she joined a few of us seventh-graders who tutored struggling readers at Joseph George Middle School, I had no idea she was the mom of my buddies Will and Tracey -- I only figured it out in high school when I worked summers at the Olsson's cattle ranch off Crothers Road. Mrs. Olsson always had a tall cool glass of lemonade ready when we broke for lunch, and then served a so-very-British cup of tea ... perfect fuel for stacking and hauling hay bales up and down the mountain.

Trying to back their truck under the hay shelter one morning, I scraped a support post and ripped off the rear-view mirror. Mr. Olsson apparently had me confused for a good driver, and I hated to break the news at lunch about how wrong he was. Over lemonade, sandwiches and oatmeal cookies, Mr. and Mrs. Olsson laughed the whole thing off, something I will never forget. The tea never tasted better.

I worked a slew of odd jobs for the folks of my friends -- the Kellers, the Caywards, the Saldivars, the Skillings, the Farmars -- but Clavering Hill Ranch was a place apart.  Peter Albert

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12/5/05 - I would like to update you in regards to the outcome of the Town of Los Gatos annexation attempt. The Town held their meeting tonight at 7:00 PM and heard from the public on this issue at 9:00  PM. The Council Chambers were overflowing with people. Some had to leave before they had a chance to speak on the issue. Every speaker opposed this annexation attempt, their arguments were clear and very strong. All of the speakers asked the Council to allow a vote except one person, she very politely asked the Council to drop the issue altogether. At about 10:20 PM, the Town Council unanimously voted to drop the proposed annexation of the areas less than 150 acres immediately. The Council mentioned that they did not hear from anyone from the La Rinconada area. They said that they will inform the people of this area of the positive attributes of being annexed into the Town. If you live in this area, I urge you to write to each of the Council members with your opposition.

Rumor had it that the Council was planning on putting this issue to a post card vote which was very unpopular with the residents. Los Gatos staff informed the Town Council members that it would cost about 10 to 20 thousand dollars to put together this post card vote. An article was written for both the Los Gatos Daily News and the Los Gatos Weekly if you would like more information on the meeting.

This is a great win for us. We made a difference in the outcome of this meeting on very short notice. I would like to personally THANK EACH OF THE LOS GATOS COMMITTEE MEMBERS! Without you, this would have never happened and the annexation attempt would have prevailed. This fight is not over, we need to put people in political positions that would be sympathetic towards our issue to prevent this situation from happening again. We also need to remember to help other communities faced with the same issue in the future.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for your support!  Keep in Touch and Happy Holidays!  Cindy Steele

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12/2/05 - Hello Judy, here is a report about the meeting Fleming area neighbors had last night about the Braddock and Logan development in our area.

Some things are becoming clear: We need to make our city councilmembers and supervisors aware of our concerns about annexations and runaway developments. We also need to work toward some changes in San Jose's General Plan, which allows city density standards to be thrust upon our county neighborhoods: 18 homes here, 17 on Alum Rock Ave. at Fleming, 12 on Fleming near Warner Heights, plus the Story and Clayton disaster. These projects get rubber stamped, approved and annexed because they are "small" by city standards and fly under General Plan triggers for traffic studies, etc. But the city has to consider the cumulative effect of these projects on traffic, pedestrian safety, aesthetics and quality of life. The infrastructure isn't there in terms of roads and sidewalks for all of the projects that have been built in just the last few years.

One thing came across loud and clear from the neighbors last night: Things have reached a breaking point. We have to stand up to what is happening here. Maybe it's time to call a general meeting for all neighborhood groups in this area to consider a united action. It's affecting us all right now.  Len Ramirez

Here's the meeting report and link to our blog: www.eastfoothills.blogspot.com 

About 35 neighbors braved a Thursday night storm to voice their opposition to a proposal to build 18 homes on Fleming Avenue between Alum Rock Avenue and Neves Way. Neighbors stood shoulder to shoulder inside Len and Julie Ramirez' Fleming Avenue home to express concerns to Jim Sullivan of Braddock and Logan Group, the developer of the project, and Todd Rufo, Policy Advisor to City Councilmember Nora Campos. Neighbors said their biggest concerns are density, traffic and the danger the project would create for drivers and pedestrians as well as aesthetic and quality of life issues. Sullivan told the neighbors that his company is complying by San Jose General Plan development guidelines since the property would be annexed to the city of San Jose. Currently, the property of The Lord's Baptist Church is in county jurisdiction.

Sullivan also said those guidelines stipulate that the project would have no major impact on traffic since it is less than 50 units. Neighbors strongly disagreed, pointing to photo enlargements displayed on a TV screen showing a 12-hundred foot traffic backup that occurs daily on Fleming Avenue as it is. Neighbors also made several suggestions to mitigate the problems, such as acquiring a lot on Clareview to build a second road outlet to the development, lowering the number of homes to be built, and/or creating buffers to lessen the impact of traffic and congestion. Rufo promised to make a detailed report of the meeting to Councilmember Campos, and neighbors were urged to write emails to their city and county representatives.

Neighbors concerned about this must speak up at the San Jose Planning Commission meeting, scheduled for December 7th at 6:30 pm in City Hall. More on this meeting coming soon.

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NNV Note: The following letter refers to the Santa Clara County Supervisors’ vote on a “Resolution of Intent” supporting changes in county building and development standards for unincorporated urban neighborhoods to make them match those of their surrounding cities. This would make it easier for cities to annex small (less than 150 acre) unincorporated areas in the future. This is especially important during the two year “window of opportunity” during which cities can annex county pockets without approval of voters. The window closes in January 2007. The resolution passed three to two with Supervisors Beall and Gage voting against it. Any actual changes to development standards will have to undergo full public review and another vote.

11/29/05 - On behalf of our committee, I would like to thank everyone for their help opposing the Resolution of Intent. Many people signed petitions, showed up at the meeting on Nov 15th, spoke at that meeting and wrote e-mails to their Supervisors. I want to share with you the positive changes we have made since the first meeting on this issue October 14th.

On October 14th, the Supervisors voted unanimously to support the Resolution of Intent. Six of us showed up at that meeting and opposed this issue. The Supervisors rescinded their decision to allow more time for the six of us that opposed this issue to understand the Resolution of Intent. The Supervisors felt that we did not know what we were talking about. We had about three weeks to inform the people of the Santa Clara Valley. We did this with a very small committee consisting of about ten people and limited funds. We were able to reach out to eight of the fifteen cities in Santa Clara County affected by this issue. We were able to change the minds of two supervisors with the help of the residents and voters who this Resolution of Intent affects. We have made great progress. If we had had more time, the outcome may have been different.

As one pocket in the unincorporated area we have little to say what happens to our property rights. But if we band together as an unincorporated area united as one coalition, we will be in a much better position in the future. I personally do not want to let the connections our committee has made with each of you to disappear. I would like to ask each one of you if you are interested in staying connected, please let me know. We all need to help each other regardless of where we live to prevent the loss of our current property rights.

If you could let us know what area you live in, it would be a great help. We need to know which areas are being represented. We have email addresses but no idea where everyone lives. We will send you another email sometime in January.  Many Thanks, Cindy Steele (408) 314-2415 or (408) 356-7330

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11/18/05 - This is a story idea that I think NNV should follow. We are home owners on Fleming Avenue, across from the SJ The Lord's Baptist Church at 143 Fleming Avenue where a developer has purchased the land and submitted a proposal to the City to build 18 single family homes on only two and a half acres.

The developer, Braddock & Logan Group, is pushing the limit of the city's zoning standards to maximize its profit margin. It is neglecting the fact that its property borders the county line. The lot sizes they are proposing are much smaller than neighboring lots, or even other new developments on Fleming, such as the new Craftsman homes at Fleming and Mahoney. We can see what this development would look like because this developer has a similar project under construction at Clayton and Story where big homes are crammed onto small lots.

Our biggest concerns are that the density proposed would greatly impact traffic and safety on Fleming and Alum Rock. To back out of our driveway at 8 am is already a nightmare and a risk. Fleming Avenue is a very narrow street and already serves as a main artery for surrounding homes and schools. A new development of 18 homes would only add to the existing congestion.

We are not opposed to development in our area per se. We are for smart, neighborhood-friendly development that does not compromise the safety and quality of life of our families. Braddock & Logan Group needs to be more sensitive to the needs of the neighborhood, not just its pocketbook. Families in this neighborhood will have to live with the effects of this development long after the bulldozers and construction workers are gone.

The planning commission has scheduled a public hearing on this for December 7th, 2005 at 6:30 pm at the new San Jose City Hall in the City Council Chambers.

We have started a blog on this subject at www.eastfoothills.blogspot.com.  Sincerely, Len and Julie Ramirez

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11/18/05 - A call to serve! Many NNV readers may know that currently there is a vacancy on the Alum Rock school board.

Former Alum Rock resident Judith Knutson wrote a fantastic letter to NNV detailing the characteristics important for a good board member a few weeks back. She is right on all accounts. Serving on the Alum Rock board is a tremendous opportunity to do great good for the children and families of this district.

I want to implore those who could even consider applying for the vacancy or running in next year’s election to answer the call to service put forth by 13,000 students in Alum Rock schools. (Three seats will be on the ballot next fall.) These students, whether you know any of them or not, whether you have children in Alum Rock schools or not, whether you are an Alum Rock alum or just moved here last week, are the future of this community. But they live here now and need your leadership and talents now.

Fortunately, our board and district are making progress, but a vibrant community needs a deep bench beyond five people on one board. Our board needs to recruit and groom community members for service. And community members need to make themselves available for service, both in schedule and in the attitudes they carry. Civic duty goes beyond mowing your lawn and saying hello to your neighbors.

To those who cannot even imagine serving on the board (or have nightmares about it), I say, why not?

During the past two years as a school board candidate and serving as Secretary of the Alum Rock Educational Foundation, I've heard every awful story about the district, often multiple times. “Ain’t it a shame!” “Can you believe what they did?” “I heard…”

Over the last 15 years, many of our friends and neighbors disengaged. We put our children in private schools or we use grandma’s address in Evergreen (or Berryessa). Over the past five years Alum Rock has gotten incrementally more crowded (witness the traffic!) but attendance is down by almost 3,000 children. Why is that?

It does not have to be this way.

Be the community you want to have. Make the schools you want to see. You are in charge. This is your district. Own it and take responsibility.

We on the Alum Rock Educational Foundation are always looking for passionate people who want to make positive changes in the district in a spirit of collaboration and in the absence of politics. We want your ideas, we want your gifts, and most of all, your time and dedication.

There are many ways to serve in this community, and the school board is only one of those. If you want a way to do something big while looking relatively small, please, contact me at (408) 717-3773. A person can get a lot done if he or she is willing to let someone else take the credit. Let’s do something now. John S. Leyba (This is the personal opinion of John S. Leyba and does not reflect an official opinion of the Alum Rock Educational Foundation.)

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10/20/05 - The second community meeting with ESUHSD Interim District Superintendent, Bob Nuñez, on reassigning JLHS Principal Bill Rice to Independence High School, was held with very short notice on Wednesday, October 19, at 5:00 PM in the JLHS Library. Interim Superintendent Nuñez announced that Bill Rice will stay at James Lick High School. Everyone at the meeting was very happy!

Teachers, parents and students had planned to protest the decision to transfer Bill Rice at the ESUHSD Board of Trustees meeting on October 20.  The evening before that meeting, Interim Superintendent Nuñez got ahead of the protest by announcing that Bill Rice will stay at JLHS . The community meeting Interim Superintendent Nuñez previously planned for October 24 to announce his decision has been cancelled. Click here to read the Mercury News editorial, "Turnaround is right call for James Lick High" (10/21/05, Page 14A), written after the decision that Bill Rice will stay at James Lick was announced.

The Lick community had been outraged that a gifted leader, who has been an outstanding catalyst for change at the high school, was to be removed. Just a few weeks ago, Bill Rice was named JLHS Principal – after 18 months of co-directing the school with two others. The teachers, staff and students met with Mr. Nuñez several times to express their disappointment (and outrage) at this decision.  At the previous community meeting last week, Mr. Nuñez promised to reconsider his decision to transfer Bill Rice to Independence.

Click here to read the San Jose Mercury News editorial, "Principal's Reassignment Deals Blow to Reform at Troubled School" (10/17/05, Page 12A).

Principal Bill Rice has been the driving force in Lick High’s turn-around. He has earned the respect of the students and staff. To have lost him now would have taken the momentum out of the school’s precarious progress.  Judy

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10/12/05 - NNV recently published a notice of a vacancy on the Alum Rock Union Elementary School District board of trustees. It made my heart flutter. I felt hope for the children of Alum Rock for the first time in several years. I was a resident of Alum Rock for 35 years, a school district employee for 25 years, and a parent of 2 students for 14 years. Because of my experiences, I am compelled to offer some thoughts on who might be a productive and positive board member.

The ideal candidate, I believe, should be a person who has no political agenda, no aspirations of amassing power or influence over the residents of the community, has no plans to avenge perceived wrongs, and is courageous enough to stand up to other board members who have such motivations. This candidate should recognize that a school district is meant to be managed by its superintendent.

For many years, the ARUESD has been accused of micro-managing the district. You have no doubt heard that on numerous occasions from your neighbors, read it in the papers, listened to it on the local television news, wondered about it. What does micro managing really mean? It means that some board members go beyond that for which they were elected, which is to set policy.

The district employees are charged with implementing the policies through a set of well-defined procedures. All too often, board members act as though they are the implementers; they assume responsibilities that should be left to employees. In doing so, they anger and intimidate employees. Or, if they did not vote for a particular policy and its procedures, they deliberately sabotage successful implementation.

Either of the above approaches serves only to undermine the superintendent, and foment unrest and frustration among employees and community members. Such action also causes community members to believe that they can go to an individual board member and seek her/his help to make changes based on their own personal agendas. This type of activity feeds the feeling of power a trustee has, and prevents the board from acting properly within its legally defined structure. It also prevents employees, from the superintendent on down, from carrying out their responsibilities. The superintendent must have the flexibility to manage day-to-day affairs, plan for the future, implement programs, evaluate them, and make decisions on what to continue and what to abandon.

The best candidate for the position of trustee is one who recognizes that employees, parents, and community members will be positively involved in the educational process if there is freedom for the employees to do their jobs. A good superintendent who is given the support of the board, not their interference, will be successful in raising students' academic achievement. Isn't that the purpose of a school district? Increasing achievement, and sustaining it, has happened before. It can happen again.

It is my hope that an unbiased, reasonable, cooperative, apolitical person, one of you, will declare for candidacy. Were I able, I would not only vote for you, I would be your campaign manager.  Judith Knutson

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10/12/05 - Don't transfer Bill Rice. There can be no higher priority for a school district superintendent and board than to have a school administration led by a principal who has a vision for the future and develops a school atmosphere that creates a desire for learning and academic excellence.

In the year and one-half Bill Rice has been at James Lick, he has transformed the school from a culture of failure to one of academic success. As evidenced at the parent meeting held tonight in the Lick library, parent, student and faculty morale has not been higher in recent times. To move Mr. Rice from James Lick, as proposed by Superintendent Nunez, would endanger the progress and momentum he has created and return James Lick to the widely held negative community stereotype.  Sincerely, Alan Henninger, Nella Henninger

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10/11/05 - Hello: I am Rick Cortese, JLHS class of 1968. Both my brothers, Karl and Jerome, also attended Lick back in the 60s and my Mother still lives in the area. My brother's wife Mary also taught at Lick for a number of years.

It's kind of sad to see Lick in the decline. I could understand a low rating if my brothers and I were still going there. I would have thought the average IQ would have increased while decreasing elsewhere as we moved out of the neighborhood.<grin>  Rick Cortese

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10/6/05 - Judy:  First, I want to congratulate you again on your wonderful, informative newsletter! It really is the one connection that we have here in the East Foothills. Every edition is interesting and fun to read but your October 2 newsletter provided an article to which I just had to respond.

The article involved the reminiscence of and appreciation for Tom Dusek by Edie Pricolo. As a 1968 graduate of James Lick and president of my class for freshman, sophomore and junior years as well as ASB President my senior year, I had many years of contact with Mr. Dusek.

The "too many to count" post high school years have given me a much better perspective on how valuable his service was to both the students and the school. My memories of great teachers and good experiences at Lick include the time spent in the Student Center (now happily renamed in Mr. Dusek's honor).

As a child of the 60's it was so "un-cool" to exhibit the enthusiasm and dedication to the school that Mr. Dusek so well represented. But now I can really understand and appreciate it especially understanding his very fascinating personal background that was presented in the article.

On behalf of all past Comets, I want to say "thank you" to Mr. Dusek, something I was much too self-conscious and unworldly to do as an 18 year old high school graduate. It is people like Tom Dusek who make the area in which we live so special and I thank you, Judy, for providing a venue through which this can be done.  Sincerely, Bill Zavlaris

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10/4/05 - I enjoyed reading the October NNV at Rafikis last night while the harpist was playing. Very nice, young Chinese sisters alternate playing on Mondays and they are good. Mother is right there of course.

A few thoughts on emergency preparedness and the Clorox bottles in particular. I think I have a good water solution for many of us. Buy a water purification pump, the kind sold for backpacking at REI or Mel Cotton's, and pump water out of your neighbor's pool if needed in an emergency. That's my plan. I have four neighbors with pools, 10's of thousands of gallons some of which may splash out in an earthquake, but I bet there will still be plenty for pumping and drinking. And there is no storage problem. I also recommend the freeze-dried backpacking food. You just add boiling water and let rehydrate.

I make sure I have plenty of propane on hand for cooking with the camp stove and barbecue and I also have a small generator to keep the refrig and freezer going. And a truck full of gas to supply it. I figure that's the minimum you need to survive a week. None of this requires much thought or ongoing upkeep...  Sincerely, Alan Craig

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9/22/05 - I'm not sure if you are still looking for ideas for the corner* property. I think it would be a great place for a Breakfast Café. It would be a great place for the locals to meet.  Lori Frost

* At the corner of McKee Road and Vista Drive

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NNV Note: Knowing that ex-neighbor and long-time NNV writer, Ed Allegretti, and family had suffered property losses from the Katrina-related storms in the little town of Ellisville, MS, NNV asked Ed to bring our readers up to date.

9/22/05 - Thank you for asking and I'm truly flattered that folks care.

For Jones County, it was the worst storm in recorded history. Not only did the hurricane winds cause significant damage but the many small tornadoes that resulted did so also. Laurel, Ellisville and the entire county (our area is called the Piney Woods or Pine Belt) had much damage namely due to trees being blown over or snapped off. Yet, it is amazing to me how many just missed various houses.

Close to my main house are some lovely large and old live oaks and magnolia trees. Some previous wise owner must have known that these trees have the most extensive root systems and thus can best resist winds. None of these blew over. However, I lost about a dozen "ornamental" trees (as compared to some pine trees in the non garden area of the property). These were redwoods, other types of oaks, and one very large pecan tree. We did spend about four days chain sawing and cleaning up brush. I now have four large burn piles but since we've had no rain since the hurricane we can't burn yet. The pecan tree actually pulled up out of the ground at about a 45 degree angle and had to be professionally removed at a cost of $2,900! It was next to the garage and some cement around it probably kept it in place. If it fell it would have crushed the outbuilding that (son) Chris uses as his room. Needless-to-say the garage needs much repair.

There was some minor roof damage to the garage, barn and tenant houses. Our roof had the most damage because it is steep. The entire roof had to be replaced. The insurance company will pay the entire cost; they have been very responsive.

We did have eight folks stay with us for a week. Five were neighbors and three were their kinfolk from New Orleans. Our tenants all had folks staying with them too. We never lost water and had electricity by Wednesday night, long before most folks because we are along the main power line that supplies two large companies in the area. Thus, many people stayed at my property.

For us life is somewhat back to normal but sadly many other folks from the coast have significant difficulties. Truly, I think the Red Cross, local officials, and really the local churches did an excellent job of helping people. Some of us also spent time helping chain saw and removing debris from other yards.  Ed Allegretti, Ellisville, MS

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9/8/05 - Good morning.  Thank you for asking how we weathered Hurricane Katrina! Just obtained the Internet today. The storm hit our county hard but thankfully we only lost a few trees and probably need a new roof due to the loss of shingles. We went without electricity for a couple of days but that is nothing compared to what the poor folks on the coast are experiencing.  Ed Allegretti, Ellisville, MS

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9/1/05 - Thank you for your good works. What’s with the quiet viewshed plan going through Santa Clara county supervisors presently?

Basically the valley wants views of the hills without seeing new or existing homes, driveways, etc. In the worst form of this measure, no existing hillside home could be replaced or built without hiding itself.

To me that's about as practical as seeing the valley from the hills without seeing homes, driveways, freeways, offices, etc. You can't go backward when it was built legally. It also cannot be an unequal plan, only for part of the citizens. This would really affect property values for existing hillsiders and those who want to be hillbillies.

I feel more hill people would support this viewshed if it were not so one-sided. It is really leaning towards approval. At the county's web site insiders are dreaming up all kinds of ways to get it through. Some would rush it so there is little public input. Some include wildlife to help their case. The valley has about the same wildlife, that's not really the issue here.

A compromise could be, that where pockets of homes have been and will be allowed, in the hills, include valley view protection for those hillsiders so that no one can block their views with structures and/or landscaping. Other hillside communities around this valley have this protection.

Does anyone know how the supervisors of the valley's hillside communities lean on this viewshed measure? I know of no public meetings with us and Mr. McHugh.

I would appreciate any light you can bring to this. Thank you, Lou Todd

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8/26/05 - ARNC is Looking for Volunteers. ARNC (Alum Rock Neighborhood Coalition) is a group of your neighbors dedicated to improving the quality of our neighborhood. We meet quarterly to plan our activities and we have 9:00 AM to noon projects on the first Saturday of the month four times a year.

Our current calendar is:

October 1, 2005 - Oleanders at Alum Rock Avenue (Trimming & Clean-up)

November 5, 2005 - 680 & Alum Rock Avenue Off Ramp Clean-up

March 4, 2006 - Project to be determined

May 6, 2006 - Project to be determined

We welcome your suggestions for projects. We encourage you to get involved at any level. This is a great way to meet your neighbors, have fun, and get the self-satisfaction of contributing to the improvement of the quality of your neighborhood.

Go to www.arnc.org for more information. If you would like to volunteer your services, please send us an email at info@arnc.org and we will get in touch with you.  Steve Pollock

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8/4/05 - I'm writing about two issues that concern me on the East side of San Jose.

The first is the car repair that someone wants to open at the corner of McKee Road and Vista Drive. This is a horrible spot for another car repair when there is one directly across the street as well as on McKee and White Roads. It would be an eyesore as well as more unneeded traffic at McKee and Toyon Ave.

The second issue that concerns me is the horrible condition that the grounds of the Quality Tune Up are in at the corner of McKee and White Roads. I've been living on this side of town for 52 years and have seen a lot of changes. Some good, some not so good. It was bad enough when they allowed the huge billboard to be erected at this site, blocking the view of the foothills, but it sickens me to see the terrible shape the parking lot is in at the front of the car repair. The weeds must be two to three feet high and trash is strewn all over. This has been this way for years. I feel ashamed when friends come to visit from out of town and travel up McKee Road towards my home and pass that dump.

We've done such a nice job on Alum Rock Avenue and the new library looks beautiful, but what's happening to McKee Road? At least they should be made to maintain their lot with some landscaping.  Thank You, Jimmy White

NNV Note: Jimmy's letter was an e-mail to Christine Silva Burnett, Chief of Staff for Councilmember Nora Campos.

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7/6/05 - I hope you had a safe and sane 4th, they were sure blowing some illegal fireworks in the east foothills!

I went to Alum Rock Park last week, and witnessed the demolition of the maintenance yard. I was thrilled to see the yard gone since I never felt it belonged there, and noticed some old structures that had been hidden by the maintenance buildings. Then I saw the project sign that stated a new maintenance yard was going up in its place at a cost of $715,000. I still don't think that the maintenance yard should be put there. This is the "heart of the park", the most used by visitors, and arguably the prettiest. It seems to me there are other places in the park that could be used. A maintenance yard should be put in the least visible area - not in the most. I sent an email to Metha Sizemore at San Jose Parks and Rec. She handles public feedback and will get back to me.

Please publish this in the newsletter. I will be curious to find out what other readers have to say about it and if we can do anything to change it before the new buildings are put up.  Sincerely, Scott Paul

NNV Note: The "old structures" Scott saw were part of the historic Alum Rock Park Natatorium. Click here to read the story and see the photos.

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6/13/05 - Councilmember Nora Campos, in an enlightening article in the Mercury News opinion section this morning, makes the case for strong San Jose council districts and effectively replies to the Mercury News 6/6/05 editorial on Fire Department cutbacks (see letter below).

Councilmember Campos writes that, "Before 1980, the San Jose City Council was made up of at-large members, not the so-called 'mini-mayors' that we have today. That system consistently shut out minorities and less-affluent neighborhoods. More than 70 percent of the city council members lived in just two neighborhoods, with the majority of the council being male, white, and either businessmen or attorneys.

With this system of at-large representation, the more affluent areas of the city got the majority of services, while the low-income and minority communities were by and large ignored.

During the past 25 years, we have worked hard as a city to reverse this trend and remain accountable to our residents while keeping in mind the best interests of the city as a whole. As leaders, our job and our duty is to advocate meeting the needs of our district constituencies. That is democracy at work, and if you were to visit any area of this city you would see the benefit that equal representation has provided to the residents of San Jose. Through the advocacy of elected district representatives, there are new libraries, skate parks, retail centers, and youth and community centers in areas of the city that historically had been ignored."

Councilmember Campos deserves our support for championing fire safety and other issues in District 5. Her article effectively rebuts the Mercury News and her other critics. We hope you will come to City Hall this evening at 7:00 PM for the rally to support the firefighters and for keeping Water Tender 2 at Station 2. 

Meanwhile, here's a letter I wrote to the editor of the Mercury News about their 6/6/05 editorial:

"The Mercury News editorial titled 'On cuts, council must see the puzzle for the pieces' (Page 6B, June 6) trivializes the concerns of East San Jose residents regarding the threat of losing the Water Tender from Fire Station 2 on Alum Rock Avenue. The editorial writer wrote that 'somebody has to stand up and say: Look, we can’t make everyone happy here.'

If it were as simple a matter as keeping a bunch of 'upset' folks 'happy' by hoarding some marginal piece of equipment, you might be justified in implying that Councilmember Campos supports an untenable position inspired only by provincial 'mini-mayor' proclivities.

The East Foothills neighborhoods need the Water Tender. It is housed at Station 2 because of the potential for an 'Oakland Hills' type fire here. The tender is not needed in inner-city neighborhoods where there are plenty of fire hydrants. It is a necessity in areas where there are few (or no) fire hydrants such as the hillsides at the edges of the city. Just because the fire department says that moving the tender from Station 2 to Station 16 'will actually improve overall response times in the East Side' doesn’t make it true. I’m sure that it would come as no surprise to you that sometimes 'facts' are manipulated out of expediency. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that driving eight tons of water any further than necessary is foolish – and in the case of a Wildland Urban Interface area such as ours, just plain dangerous.

If Councilmember Campos did not champion maintaining the tender at Station 2, she would not be representing the constituents of her district."

As is often the case, the Mercury News did not print my letter. One of the reasons we started New Neighborhood Voice in the first place was so our opinions (and yours!) could be heard.  Thanks, Judy

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6/9/05 - Our street, Oakmore Dr., a very peaceful quiet street, that kids can play on, had its peace shattered by a crazed gunman looking to hijack a car. My wife stood terrified as she looked out our kitchen window to see a man with a pistol, pointed at our good neighbor’s head, demanding the keys to her car that had her daughter in it. My wife was getting ready to call a friend just as she witnessed the horror. So instead of calling her friend, she dialed 911. Meanwhile, our neighbor’s daughter jumped out of the car, just as the madman jumped in. He took off towards the closed end of the cul de sac, left the car, and fled on foot into the creek. Word is that he broke into two houses, one on Club Dr. and the other on Rennie, before finding keys to a Cadillac that he escaped in. This all happened Sat. June 4th., 2005, 12 Noon.

Judy, we still don't know if the man was caught. The San Jose Mercury Newspaper's Police Blotter had nothing pertaining to this crime. My wife, in trying to work out the terror that she witnessed, wrote a poem about her feelings that day.
____________________________

First Saturday in June
Blue skies, cool breeze
Not a care in the world

A madman with a gun
Shatters our perfect day
Fear, tears, and shock
Innocence lost

Was the bubble that thin
So easily burst
Will we ever be the same?
____________________________

Please share this information with our neighbors. We feel that alerting them to this is important. Sincerely, Scott and Cindy Paul

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6/8/05 - There was a small brush fire just up the hill from our house this afternoon (near Clayton Road and Marten Avenue). It was on the driveway up to that very modern building (school or monastery) on top of the next hill across the road. Station 21 on Mt. Pleasant and the Water Truck from Station 2 responded.  Bracey Tiede

Click here for a photo of Water Tender 2 at work.

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6/7/05 - Hi Guys - I have just spent a wonderful hour and a half reading the latest edition of NNV. Please know that you are doing a tremendous service to East Siders (and former, 35-year residents). Lots of serious stuff, info backed by painstaking research, outreach to all residents, just the right amount of wit, and just the right amount of "hominess" are cherished in this Oregon outpost!

By the way, the "life-size" statue of Mary is probably accurate. People were a whole lot smaller during Jesus' time. :-)  Peace, Judith Knutson

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6/7/05 - Wow, I had no idea Joe Leonard lived right down the street. I bet I have seen him. He was famous when I was a kid and paid a little attention to racing. And what a coincidence ... I saw the car parked on a trailer in the side yard of a neighbor on Miguelito and was so curious I had to lift the cover a bit to see what I thought was a classic Indie or Formula 1 car about a week ago. Tell Dan thanks for telling the story. After this "scoop" you'll have to promote him from cub to star reporter status.

I will have to keep an eye out for Joe and say hello.  Alan Craig

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6/6/05 - The Mercury News, in its editorial this morning on Fire Department cutbacks, says Councilmembers “Yeager, Campos (are) failing to keep (the) entire City’s needs in mind.” The editorial calls the proposed cutbacks, including moving the Water Tender from Station 2, “well-justified” and says “somebody has to stand up and say: Look, we can’t make everyone happy here.”

This editorial trivializes East Side concerns. The question of moving the Water Tender isn’t about “keeping people happy” – it’s about safety for the areas which need it most. The San Jose Fire Department coverage area extends far beyond the eastern City limits.

The San Jose Fire Department is responsible for fire protection in many fire prone areas such as the East Foothills and Alum Rock Park where there aren’t fire hydrants every few hundred feet. Firefighters have told us that they need the water tender at Station 2.

This isn’t a question of telling the fire department where they should make the cuts they have been asked to make. It’s a question of telling the City that we are not willing to accept the fire department cuts they have requested because public safety is too important.

Councilmember Campos would not be fulfilling the needs of her constituents if she didn’t act as an advocate for their needs. The editorial fails to point out the she has a workable plan to “fix” the funding gap for another year.

Let’s support Councilmember Campos – she’s working on the bigger picture here. Judy

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6/4/05 - I am a San Jose Firefighter. A few years back there was a big fire in the Penitencia Creek area and I’d like to tell you how the SJFD saved a home with Water Tender 2.

This fire had the potential of being as great as The Oakland Hills Fire. I am sure you and your community have not forgotten that horrific night.

Water Tender 2 was dispatched out of Station 2 on Alum Rock with two personnel. There were no delays on getting this extremely valuable apparatus on scene. It is strategically located at Station 2 to protect your community and should permanently remain there. The Alum Rock Hills and the Penitencia Creek area, like the Oakland Hills and other Wildland Urban Interface areas, lack fire hydrants, water pressure and water sources.

Water Tender 2 has the ability to set up two portable folding tanks of water capable of holding 2200 gallons of water so that fire engines and brush patrols can resupply themselves while Water Tender 2 shuttles water back and forth.

Water Tender 2 was an extremely valuable piece of equipment at the Penitencia Creek fire. At one point it went up Suncrest and made a right turn on Boulder Drive. There was definitely a fire storm. The vegetation, topography, and especially the wind were against us. There was vegetation burning all around the hillside and multiple structures threatened, making this a difficult fire to manage, fight, control, and contain.

Water Tender 2 made a left turn up Claitor Way. Vegetation was already burning up against a house on the corner of Boulder Drive and Claitor Way. At this time Truck 2 was making a desperate request. They needed water! The crew of Truck 2 were fighting fire, protecting a home on Suncrest and were dropping low on water.

Water Tender 2 turned around on Claitor and headed back to assist Truck 2. At this point they realized that the house at Boulder and Claitor was beyond threatened - it was on fire. The outside rear of the garage wall was in flames. They made several attempts to radio their location and emergency, but radio traffic was heavy and everyone was stepping on each other’s radio traffic. Once again, Truck 2 requested water.

As they triaged the decision to abandon this home to assist their brothers on Truck 2, they drove up the hill. There was a Battalion Chief at the corner of Boulder Drive and Suncrest and they did a face to face, "Chief, we’ve got a house we are about to lose behind us, the exterior is on fire and Truck 2 is calling for water and we can't get through on the radio." Chief asked if they had water. "Yes,” they replied. Chief then made the decision to have them turn around and try to save the house.

No time was wasted and Water Tender 2 backed down the hill. At this time the inside of the garage was on fire. They pulled a hose line off Water Tender 2 and the Fire Engineer put Water Tender 2 in pump, supplying the firefighter with water. He made an interior attack, held his breath and went in, initially by himself.

He went in holding his breath, eyes watering, nose running. He ran out coughing to catch his breath and ran back in - this time with the engineer backing him up. Again coughing, they backed out and extinguished the outside walls and deck of this structure. They went back in, extinguished the fire and saved this home.

Keeping Water Tender 2 at Station 2 is justified. If this Water Tender would not have come from Station 2, I am 100% positive we would have lost this home.

Should we relocate Water Tender 2? The proposal is to relocate it to Station 16 on King Road and Cunningham Avenue. Our Chief states this would make it centrally located, making it capable of responding to the south end of San Jose. There are already two other water tenders on the south side of San Jose.

Please consider our safety as well as your community. Keep The Water Tender at Station 2. Don't allow your community to lose this valuable piece of equipment and don't allow these cutbacks that sound so promising, beneficial, and strategic. These cuts put my brothers’ and sisters’ safety in jeopardy and rob our communities from a blanket of safety. Sleep good knowing you have the best ready, willing, and quickly available. Proud to serve you, Thank you for doing what you do. I hope this is beneficial to your community and us. God bless.  Anonymous firefighter.

NNV Note: No, we have not forgotten that horrific night. Click here to read how some residents remember it as they were preparing to evacuate if needed. Click here for photos. Click here for the articles which led to this response.

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6/3/05 - Dear Schuster – ‘Been reading your column. Too bad about your friend Catrene – though I must say you didn’t sound too broken up. Surely some cataclysm caused her to succumb to such a catatonic state that the hunter sent her to cat heaven.

Thought you’d like to see this dippy picture of me and my companion. She thinks she owns me – so I let her (keeps her contented). I am really an independent cat! She goes on trips sometimes and turns me out to the wilds. I have a ball catting around (if you get my meaning – Wink, Wink!) The kid across the street feeds me. I’ll be looking forward to your next essay in NNV.  Louie Rickel (Cool Cat “Louie” corresponds from Tempe, Arizona; Aided and abetted by Grandmom Clairee Tynes, Placentia, CA)

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6/3/05 - Hi, Judy. I meant to send this to you a while ago when you printed the story on your resident bird watcher. We have something in common.

I thought you might like to see our little "Schuster," Spicy Mike. He's actually not so little – he's now about 15 pounds. He's turning three years old this month (three years going on 12 weeks). He is also a great observer of the outdoor goings on of his backyard. For him, it's a lot like going to the movies.

All sorts of dramas unfold, like Chicky (our chicken) pecking at her kibble near our kitchen back door while the Huns (the sparrows) swoop down, surround her, and dart in to steal the little bite size pieces of protein. All the while Chicky (who has now become Chicky the Giant) spins around, nipping at them in her desperate attempt to protect HER food. Flustered and frantic, her defense is to no avail.

The Huns devour the last bits and then just as suddenly as they swooped in out of nowhere, the mass of wings shoots up. In a soft, subtle, thunderous whoosh of feathers, they are gone. And Mikey sits at attention in his theater seat on the other side of the plate-glass-windowed door all bristle-tailed, whiskers pointing forward, thrilled by yet another scene of the perennial battle of wills between Chicky the Giant and the Huns.

Then he settles himself back down in his chair to await the next exciting scene in this continuing drama. Rest assured that he can usually catch it about three times per day at around ten, two and four o'clock. Plenty of breaks for napping.  Elizabeth Driedger

Click here for a photo of Spicy Mike waiting for the show to start and here for more photos of Spicy Mike.

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5/31/05 - Dear Readers. A neighbor phoned on Memorial Day to alert us to an attempted break-in at her house on Highland Drive. Sometime Sunday afternoon, May 29th, someone attempted to break the deadbolt locks on a door to her house which is not visible from the street. While the locks were damaged, the intruders did not gain entrance. However, when she called the Sheriff, deputies came out and told her that her next door neighbors’ house had been broken into and ransacked, most probably in the same timeframe.

Same old message: When you’re not at home, make your house look as if you ARE at home. Leave your radio playing, put your lights on timers, leave a vehicle in your driveway. Don’t let newspapers pile up on your driveway or mail build-up in your mailbox. Have an alarm system installed in your house – and use it! Install deadbolt locks. Get a dog. Get creative. Involve your neighbors in watching your house – and return the favor.

And, by all means, do NOT confront a suspicious person or try to interrupt a break-in. The deputy told our neighbor, “Lock yourself in your bathroom and call 911; don’t play detective or try to be a hero!”  Judy

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5/27/05 - I want to thank a young man who came to my rescue when a pit bull attacked my dog when we were walking on Alum Rock Avenue. It was right at Fleming where we were waiting for a green light when this uncollared, uncouth dog sneaked up behind us and started sniffing then attacking my poor Stella. There were several cars waiting there, maybe four, but the drivers were just watching idly as I was yelling and kicking at the dog amidst all this commotion.

Then, like something out of a movie, this green truck dashes up along the bridle path, skids to a stop and this tall young blonde/brown-haired fellow jumps out, runs up and starts kicking the dog to make him stop. He told me to take my dog and leave while he 'handled this one' so I did but didn't get his name and phone so I could thank him again.

Could you put this in your paper to thank him along with a caution to walkers who bring their small children along with their dogs along the Avenue? I took my dog home and went back with my car but the young man and the dog were gone and everything was normal at the intersection.  Thanks, Edie Pricolo

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5/15/05 - Hi Judy,

My name is Carol Ashman. I thought I'd introduce myself since I am the webmaster & email administrator for a neighboring community, Pleasant Hills Neighborhood Association. We're a fairly new association, started late last year partially in response to the Pleasant Hills Golf Course (White & Tully) replacement.

Traffic is one of the issues concerning our association which may be of interest to your East Foothills Neighborhood Newsletter as well. Adding hundreds of homes where the former Pleasant Hills Golf Course existed will put stress not only on White Road, but may also extend up the foothills to Mt Pleasant Road, Clayton, etc. You may have read about the political battles regarding this in the San Jose Mercury News. The San Jose City Council is having an evening meeting this Tuesday, May 17, to discuss how to proceed with developing this & 3 other sites in our area. We are urging our neighbors to attend this meeting to make their concerns known.

There is a lot more information about this on our website, but I thought you might want to make your readers aware that this issue may impact them as well.

Carol Ashman, Pleasant Hills Neighborhood Association, email: PleasantHillsNA@yahoo.com, web site: http://www.pleasanthillsna.com

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5/14/05 - Dear San Jose Neighbors and Friends,

Thank you for bearing with me on these updates regarding the Evergreen Visioning Project. As of my last message, the Mayor had agreed to a two-week deferral on this issue, supposedly to gain input from the community. Here is what has transpired since:

The Evergreen Task Force spent many hours coming up with some good faith recommendations to augment the Mayor’s proposal, in an effort to “meet him half way.”

On Monday, May 9, the Mayor met with members of the Evergreen Task Force and was presented with these recommendations.

Near the close of business on Friday, May 13, the Mayor issued a response, rejecting all of the Task Force’s recommendations — in essence paying lip service to the community’s input and leaving very little time for them to respond.

The Mayor has made his position clear: “My way or the highway.” This hardball position is disempowering, to say the least, to all of us who call San Jose home. If you care at all about who should have a say in decisions that impact a local community (in Evergreen or elsewhere), attend the City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 17, at 7:00 pm and show the Mayor and City Council the face of the community. (For more information, please contact Dave’s office at 408-277-5242 or dave.cortese@sanjoseca.gov.)

In case you’re interested, the Evergreen Task Force will be meeting on Monday, May 16, at 7:00 pm and, as always, this meeting is open to the public. (For location, contact Dave’s office at 408-277-5242 or Rabia.Chaudhry@sanjoseca.gov).

Thanks in advance for doing what you can to make a difference in this community.

With very best wishes, Pattie (wife of Councilmember Dave Cortese)

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5/13/05 - Medical information on stolen San Jose Medical Group computer recovered.

Excerpts from the San Jose Mercury News story (click here for the complete article).

"(San Jose Medical Group CEO Ernie) Wallerstein told the FBI that (Joseph Nathaniel) Harris was manager of the group's McKee branch from August 2004 to September 2004 and was asked to resign after being confronted about stealing money and medication.

The FBI agent wrote that Harris, while working for the medical group, bragged about being a U.S. Army Green Beret and having a side business selling computers. He had been fired from the Silicon Valley Children's Fund after serving there as program director from August 2002 to August 2003 because he spent too much time on his side business, the FBI affidavit states.

Several weeks before the medical group's computers were stolen, the children's fund was also burglarized and two of its computers were stolen. Computers from both thefts were later offered for sale on Craigslist, an Internet bulletin board, under e-mail addresses linked to Harris, according to government documents.

Harris was arrested last month in Campbell for an alleged auto theft and was interviewed in jail by the FBI. He acknowledged that he sold computers on Craigslist and said if he was let out of jail, he could lead the FBI to the disc with the patient information. The disc was later found in his car."

NNV Questions: Why did San Jose Medical Group hire this guy after he had been fired from the Silicon Valley Children's Fund? Didn't they check his references and talk to his previous employers? Shouldn't they have been more careful hiring the "manager of the group's McKee branch"? The article doesn't say, but perhaps we should all assume the worst - that our confidentiality has been breached - and continue our proactive measures with the credit reporting companies.

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5/4/05 - Hi Judy, I saw your column in NNV on the San Jose Medical Group ID Theft. I too am a patient of SJMG and received the same letter.

I am a particular nut about not giving out personal information -- not just my social security number but my full date of birth as well because this is one of those key pieces of data that thieves can use to initiate ID theft.

I did some research on how to protect myself and I wanted to share with NNV readers one of the items I found that appears to be the best way to protect yourself from unauthorized credit fraud.

One of things that is open to all California residents is the ability to "freeze" your credit files (one of the good things our politicians have done for us!).

You can essentially lock your credit report from anyone accessing it unless you give specific permission. This will prevent unauthorized people from applying for credit using your data. There is a cost to this and it's $10 for California residents. You pay to lock it, you pay to unlock it -- unless you can prove that you were a victim of ID theft. The SJMG burglary does not qualify as ID theft -- you have to show that someone has wrongfully used your ID to gain credit to prove ID theft. The biggest downside of freezing is that you must wait a few days for the credit bureau to unlock your file in order to get new credit -- but if you're not actively pursuing new credit lines (credit cards, car loans, house loans), it's no big deal. For me this is a small price to pay to protect against identity theft. There is no other impact to this act -- it does not impact your credit score.

There is a very good website maintained by the State of California with the freeze information, letter templates and details. The website is: http://www.privacy.ca.gov/sheets/cis10securityfreeze.htm

My husband and I have have elected this option and now feel more protected. We both froze our credit files, so it has cost us $60 in fees (not including certified mail charges). We sent these letters on Tax Day and have already recieved confirmations back from all three agencies. No matter if it was your specific information stolen from SJMG, in these times it's better to be safe than sorry. Cheryle Custer

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5/3/05 - Dear San Jose Neighbors and Friends,

Thank you so much for joining together with your fellow community members concerning the Evergreen Visioning Project. There has been an outpouring of support in the way of phone calls and emails and it is working! Today, after meeting with three EVP task force members, Mayor Gonzales and Councilmembers Campos and Yeager requested a deferral of the Evergreen Visioning Project item that was scheduled to be heard at tonight's City Council Meeting.

This is significant because it will allow time for Dave to meet with the Task Force and discuss this further, as well as gather input from concerned residents. The item will now be heard on May 17th at 7:00 PM. Your attendance on that date will be CRITICAL.

If you would still like to come out and speak tonight there will be an opportunity for you to do that at the end of the council meeting during the "open forum". This will be around 8:00 PM. (Dave's staff will be there tonight to help guide any speakers) We will keep you posted of any new developments over the coming days. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact Dave and his staff at 408-277-5242 or dave.cortese@sanjoseca.gov

Gandhi said, “Rights that do not flow from duty well performed are not worth having.” Thanks for doing your part on behalf of all of us.

With very best wishes, Pattie (wife of Councilmember Dave Cortese)

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4/30/05 - Dear San Jose Neighbors and Friends,

Many thanks to all of you who have taken the time to call and write our Mayor and Dave’s fellow council members on the issue of the Evergreen Visioning Project. Dave asked Councilmember Yeager to help mediate a compromise this week, which, in spite of a strong good-faith effort on Ken’s part, didn’t really go too well. The Mayor’s revised proposal, which was not put in writing until Friday afternoon, is a slight improvement over the prior council action but would still in essence disregard the District 8/Evergreen Task Force recommendations and start over with a group of the Mayor’s handpicked allies. Dave has submitted a memo to the clerk asking that this item be deferred for two weeks to give the community more time to consider its implications. The Mayor responded with an additional memo rejecting Dave’s request for deferral. (The links to the actual documents are below.) The Mayor is calling for his latest proposal, which was created behind closed doors, to be acted upon at the council meeting this coming Tuesday, May 3, without first getting neighborhood input. Dave believes the public, especially the neighborhoods affected, should have an opportunity to say whether this latest proposal is fair.

In Dave’s view, it’s not only this particular plan that is at risk, it’s also neighborhood empowerment in general. If this can happen in Evergreen, it can happen anywhere. Dave is very open to the idea of creating avenues for citizens of our neighboring districts to provide their input. At the same time, he believes that those who are most affected by proposed quality-of-life changes should be the ones most empowered to recommend what those changes should be.

If you are concerned that the decisions for an entire community (in this case, District 8) will be made by a select few, now is the time to let your voice be heard. If at all possible, please attend the city council meeting on Tuesday, May 3, at 7:00 pm. If you would be willing to speak for 2 minutes asking that the Mayor and council reverse their stance on this issue or defer the final vote two weeks until the community can provide further input, even better. (Call the D8 office at 408-277-5242 on Monday or Tuesday for details.) If you can’t come but would be willing to call or write to the Mayor and council, please do so now. It would also be very helpful if you would pass this information along to your neighbors and friends.

We are the voice of the community. Thanks in advance for speaking up.

With very best wishes, Pattie (wife of Councilmember Dave Cortese)

PS. Here is the article Dave wrote for San Jose Inside, which offers further insight into what is happening. (To read online and reply to the blog go to http://sanjoseinside.com/sji/blog/entries/evergreen_no_more/.) Here is the revised memo from the Mayor (to see the actual document go to http://www.sanjoseca.gov/clerk/Agenda/05_03_05docs/05_03_05_4.5.pdf.) 

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4/12/05 - I was just reading the email notice about the naming of the new Alum Rock Library. I got to thinking about this after reading all the comments put forth by those already engaged in the naming process. The KISS principal should be applied here, you know, keep it simple.

I think the library should be called the Alum Rock Village Branch. It was NNV that started using the term “village.” I don't think you started the term but more likely revived it. I for one never heard of it until my association with NNV.

Let's not forget what the Village has just transformed itself into in the last couple of years. A lot of money, time, effort and energy was put into it to revive it and bring it back to a new level of being that now has real class and dignity. Now, all who drive by or shop at the Village stores each day have a real sense of pride for what's been accomplished within the Village and the area surrounding the new library.

The Village is very unique, rich in history and has earned a well deserved revitalization for this East Side community. The library is the final cornerstone piece that finishes off the efforts of so many who worked so hard to bring back the Village. What better term than the word “village” to describe the addition of the new library and its location.

I am quite sure Dr Cruz was a great man who is an inspiration to many, especially Latinos on the East Side. I say honor this special man on the inside of the library. I don't know all the components of the interior yet, but using his name to title a specific area would be very appropriate. The term Pala Rancheria de los Ninos could be coined for the children's section of the library.

I say let's continue to honor the Alum Rock name and the Village itself. Why not have the name “Alum Rock Village Branch Library” be the point on the map which gives the neighborhood its front door to this special place at the base of the East Side Foothills?  Dan Gentile

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4/4/05 - Thanks for another informative edition of the “New Neighborhood Voice” which really keeps one up-do-date with the wide range of activities found in our community. We do need to stop Pombo’s ridiculous transportation study and I enjoyed the information on it. Ed Allegretti’s missive from Mississippi really made me appreciate the diversity and tolerance of our area as opposed to so many other parts of the country. Too often we don’t realize how unique this is, but it is as wonderful as the great weather, spectacular mixture of cultures and physical beauty. There is a reason why our housing costs are so high and Mississippi’s are so low.

Keep up the good work!  Bill Zavlaris

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4/1/05 - I would like to clarify the section in your FAQ regarding possible annexation of the Lyndale Neighborhood by the City of San Jose. At no time did I mention or imply:

"the neighborhood could be annexed - and no longer be an unincorporated 'county pocket' It was made clear that the City would really appreciate having the neighborhood willingly come into the city's fold, but, that, if necessary, the City could impose city-dom on it - opposition or no! "

My statements to the Lyndale Neighborhood Association were limited to the following:

-The Planning Department is putting together information on annexation for our Office in the next 3-4 weeks.

-At this time the City Council has taken no position on the annexation of any county pocket within City boundaries.

-We would continue to monitor Lyndale community's questions and concerns and report them to the Councilmember.

I have copied Kathleen Dolci, Vice President of the Lyndale Neighborhood Association to this e-mail. Mrs. Dolci invited the Office of Councilmember Campos to the meeting and moderated the discussion. Kathleen can verify the scope of my comments to the Lyndale Neighborhood Association.

Thank you. Francis N. Zamora, Communications & Events Coordinator, Office of Councilmember Nora Campos, District 5, (408) 277-5157, (408) 277-2445 Direct, (408) 995-0827 FAX, Francis.Zamora@sanjoseca.gov, www.sanjoseca.gov/district5 

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4/1/05 - Alum Rock residents are thankful we are getting a new library. The old one was just too small. With its new building and a new spot right at the intersection of White and Alum Rock, it will hopefully be not only the center of our community geographically, within a block from the high school, the youth center, and the old retail shops of “the Village,” but also socially as well, with its larger collection of materials and computers and its cafe and meeting room.

Changing its name I think will detract from the unifying and prominent characteristics the library might have. To take pride in one’s local area, in our small place amongst the sprawl of this Valley, there must be self-recognition. A sense of belonging to a place, a feeling of community is important to foster more participation and activism. Identity is a key factor.

Just as knowing the name and qualities of the individual people on your block helps bring trust and even friendships, in turn enhancing each person and the neighborhood, so does recognizing the name and special qualities of your larger community help bring social and political involvement within the community and as a part of the metropolitan area. We are lucky in having a good diverse mix of old and new homes and old and new people. We have many grocery stores, restaurants, and schools and churches within walking distance of where we live. Although our unity isn’t always apparent, it shows when we see familiar faces at places like Alum Rock Park or Peter’s Bakery.

We come together when our neighborhood sees a need: saving the library from closing a decade ago, getting the Alum Rock Youth Center built a few years ago, or even walking out of class to protest the East Side Board (and Schwarzenegger) a few days ago. Our sense of place and connection to these streets and the space between them is present.

But if it were up to the City, the rest of the unincorporated land would be annexed and Alum Rock, as a little bit distinct from big San Jose, would fade from existence. Nora Campos has stated her desire to have the name of the library changed, yet a sizeable portion of library patrons do not even live in the city that she represents! What right does she have to push to take away from our local identity? I hope County and City residents agree with me when I say that there is only one appropriate name for the Alum Rock library: the Alum Rock Library.  Tommy Travers

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3/17/05 - I know it's not just me. I've spoken with many people that live in East Side San Jose and they keep commenting that we do not have any restaurants on our side of town. I'm not planning to go into the restaurant business, but what can we do to get something decent here? I know downtown SJ has some of the best places to eat now but what if we don't want to go all the way downtown for some good food? Milpitas got the idea some time ago. A small hope is once Eastridge Mall is completed we may have a few nice places to go.

It would be nice if you could write an article, etc., on this subject and or plans in the works to improve the East Side with some fine dining.  Thanks for your time, Kelly Brambila

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3/10/05 - Thanks so much for providing this wonderful connection to those of us who live in the traditional Eastside and East Foothills neighborhoods of San Jose. I was particularly interested in the update on the artwork for the new library.

Having just completed "Tierra Encantada," a 93-unit apartment development on Alum Rock between King and Jackson, where we were fortunate to utilize the beautiful artwork of Keith Bush (both in the decorative front gate and in the children's play area in the interior courtyard which was designed by Marvin Bamburg of MBA Architects); I can't help wonder why the City goes to artists from North Carolina when we have gifted artists living right in the neighborhood. I have visited Keith's studio on Highland Drive and have seen many wonderful pieces that could really help to give Alum Rock Village more character. How can we get this to be considered an element of the urban design changes for Alum Rock Avenue?

In dealing with the owner of Alum Rock Florists, I was told that a huge spike in their rent "forced" the business to N. 4th Street. The owner was very reluctant to leave her space. This seems a very short-sighted way to deal with a business that has weathered the ups and downs of Alum Rock commercial all of these years since locally owned businesses really help define a community.

Thanks again for your efforts with New Neighborhood Voice!  Bill Zavlaris

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3/7/05 - Schuster has excellent writing talent. His articles are so great that I mail them to New York to Chance and Cookie.  Chance and Cookie are cats who have been snowbound for months.

The article was not only enjoyable reading but very educational regarding the birds in Schuster's yard and in Binky's yard. (We live with our cat Binky!)

Keep Schuster on your payroll as he earns his can of Friskies. We will be looking forward to more articles from Schuster.  Jan Bockmier

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3/7/05 - I’d like to second Chris Miller’s positive review of Thai White Rock Café. My husband and I went to check it out after reading her raves and, if anything, she understated the quality of the food. It was simply delicious and, as she pointed out, astonishingly inexpensive. (Most dishes range from $4.75 to $5.95.) The spring rolls were easily the best I’ve ever eaten, the curries are divine, and the Pad Thai noodle dish was very good. For vegetable lovers, they also offer a side dish of stir fried veggies which is a great assortment (broccoli, carrots, green beans, cabbage) but is definitely for garlic lovers! Those of us that aren’t quite that enamored of the stinking rose should order this dish without garlic.

The service is warm and attentive. Sophana, one of the owners, served us and it was clear that they are trying very hard to do a good job. We felt welcomed and appreciated.

Regarding the wine list issues Chris mentioned, I agree that this is the only area of weakness. Sophana explained that they will soon be introducing a wine list but encouraged us to bring in any wine that we like and they will serve it without a corkage fee. This policy will be in effect even after the wine list debuts because, as she explained, “We don’t know very much about wine.” They know so much about food I don’t think they need to!

I strongly encourage all of our neighbors to give Thai White Rock Café a try. It’s wonderful to have a truly fine restaurant in our area and we all need to support them. In my opinion, White Rock is as good or better than any other Thai restaurant in the entire Bay Area.  Kim Hawley

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2/16/05 - I would welcome an investigation, and group pressure on the Sheriff's office. I live on Mt. Hamilton Road, and our mailbox was rifled 3 years ago, resulting in identity thefts of both myself and my partner. It's a real pain, not to mention the loss of a sense of safety.

My grandparents built this house, and this is the first time, since 1957, that we have had to put up a locking mailbox. An outgoing check was changed, duplicated and forged, and sent off to pay someone's Sprint cell phone bill. I still get dunning notices for this non-existent person from Sprint. Nothing happened from the Sheriff's office, as far as I know, and the investigating officer was transferred. He told me that usually people refuse to press charges, because it's a pain for them to take the time, and that the banks just pay off and cut their losses too.

The Sheriff I worked with was sympathetic, if overworked, before he was transferred to another department. He tried to help me, but Sprint wouldn't cooperate. He was understandably discouraged about investigating, and told me, "The squeaky wheels get greased," meaning to keep calling back and stating your willingness to prosecute. My bank paid for the forged checks but it was an incredible hassle, that follows me around even now, as I have to go through extra steps to get credit, ever since I reported this to the credit bureaus.

Thank you for the newsletter, Deva Luna

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2/8/05 - Hi! I read the recent issue of NNV and simply MUST respond to the solicitation for additional information regarding mail theft. We live in the San Jose Country Club neighborhood and our mail was stolen from our curbside mailbox on the afternoon before Thanksgiving 2004.

A summarized version of the series of events goes like this: at 3:00 p.m., I saw the white mail truck at our mailbox; at 4:00 p.m., there was a woman at the end of our driveway thumbing through papers; at 5:00 p.m., our 10-year-old daughter went to retrieve the mail and the mailbox was empty with the door open; at 7:30 p.m., our next door neighbor delivered his house key to us so we could look after his pets, and he said there had been a "strange car" with someone sitting in it and people coming back to it earlier that afternoon.

I have reported the incident to the post office (via the official form sent to me by the postmaster), but not the police. My husband, daughter, and I saw the woman who we believe helped herself to our delivered mail. If, at the time we saw her, we thought someone was stealing our mail, we would have done something about it. But, being the trusting and see-the-good-in-everyone people we are, we thought she was probably a neighbor trying to deliver something to us.

Unfortunately, an incoming check (from my mother, who was reimbursing me for some See's candy) was part of the stolen mail. My mother put a stop payment on the check. The strangest part of the whole scenario is that on December 16, the empty envelope (from my mother) was in our mailbox along with a torn-open envelope from American Express offering us a card. On December 19, the check and note card from my mother was in the mailbox! I have kept these items, as they have fingerprints on them.

In the meantime, we are purchasing a locking mailbox. I have recommended this to everyone in San Jose I've spoken to since the theft. Frequency of mail/ID theft in our state is second in the nation only to Washington, D.C.  --- Lisa Rominger

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12/22/04 - Dear Mr. McHugh, (E-mail to County Supervisor Pete McHugh)

I read with great concern about the 25,000 square foot home (compound????) that may be built on Clayton Road. What really concerned me was the lack of building ordinances to prevent such a monstrosity from being built. As more huge homes are built on the hillsides, it seems they are getting bigger and bigger. I believe people should be able to build the kind of home they desire but not at the expense of the quality of life of the surrounding community. Growth may be inevitable, but monstrous overwhelming growth is preventable. Not only will houses like this be an eyesore to the neighboring community, the entire valley has to look up and see these things marring the hillsides.

I used to live near Willow Glen and watched the huge houses destroy the ambiance and quality of life of its quaint neighborhoods. There is a happy middle ground that allows large homes to be built that fit into their surroundings. An intact, cohesive community will create value in these neighborhoods - not exorbitant priced mansions.

Please put the proper restrictions in place that allow people to build new homes, but not destroy the surrounding quality of life. I voted for you, Mr. McHugh. I put my trust in you and the rest of the county supervisors to do the right thing for those of us that have lived in the county for many years and don't want to see it ruined.   Sincerely, Barbara Springer

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12/2/04 - Do you have any idea who might be feeding the wildlife up here? For about the 15th time, this morning we have found moldy bread on our deck. Yesterday there were two big hunks of bread on our back patio. We find bread bags fairly often, too. Some animal obviously eats this stuff and carries it around. The raccoons (we think) also have been enjoying my new fountain, and have nightly games of tag on our roof. Anyhow, I would like to ask this person to stop, because it's no fun to pick up disgusting, moldy, soggy bread. And it is only bread, so whichever animals are bringing it, they're not just getting into someone’s trash.  Pat Benham

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11/10/04 - I went for a bike ride yesterday and talked to the survey crew at the SJCC bridge and the word I received was that they are with San Jose Water and do surveys every year to determine the amount of change in ground elevation due to the movement of our water table along with seismic readings. They measure down to a 10th of a millimeter! Hope this can help answer any questions.  Good Luck, Scott Paul

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11/1/04 - Thank you so much for your support and coverage of the Alum Rock Youth Center. You are one of the people who are responsible for our success, Judy. I want to thank you for all that you do!  Ed Solis

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10/29/04 - HCA seems to have great plans for the expansion of Regional, and it makes sense (in a way) that SJ Hospital must close because of the huge problems it faces. I accept that. BUT, did HCA say how LONG it was going to be before these grand plans would be starting? And when will they be completed? And, what is going to happen to all the people who will need medical attention in the meantime? Where will they go? And, I can't help but wonder if HCA can be trusted to carry out their promise of these grand plans, in view of how they reneged on their vow to keep SJ Hospital open until 2007? I'm skeptical. I think the ER and Trauma at SJ should be protected until all the changes for their arrival at Regional are accomplished. Is it too much to ask for a contingency plan to fill the interim?  Carol Schultz

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10/28/04 - I encourage everyone to vote for the parcel tax for the Alum Rock Union School District. Please read its description in the Sample Ballot; it appears to be a well-thought-out plan that is very much needed in our area. Plus, it is explicitly noted that money will not go towards administrators' salaries.

And another election matter: I just received my "Independent Voters' Guide" in the mail. It is a list of all the races, measures, and propositions that will be on my ballot, along with voting recommendations. As noted in the fine print, twelve of the items are recommended because the campaign for that candidate/issue gave money to the Guide.

This pamphlet was made to look official and unbiased: It claims to contain "concise information about state and local candidates and issues" and "evaluations and recommendations by: American Government Professors, Environmental Leaders, Nurses and Health Care Workers, Classroom Teachers, Firefighters, Senior Citizen Organizations." It also tells me when the polls open and even what my polling place is.

Concerning all the rest of the items on the ballot, the ones for or against which the Guide did not receive any money, what the group did was look at the polls and endorse all the most popular choices. The goal, of course, is for the typical voter to take a look at this list, recognize some positions that he or she agrees with, and decide, "Well if this thing supports Candidate X and opposes Proposition Y then I guess their other recommendations must be good, too."

I do not think that very many people will actually be persuaded by this mailer, but what concerns me is that twelve campaigns would pay into a group whose goal is to succeed by explicit deception.  Tommy Travers

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10/28/04 - An open letter to the Alum Rock Community and JLAR (John Leyba - Alum Rock) supporters:

We are coming into the final stretch of this campaign season. Although I have come to expect nasty politicking this weekend based on what I have seen in previous campaigns in East San Jose, I have to tell you, I've already seen it all: One hit piece, three nasty rumor campaigns, disappearing signs, and pursuant intimidation attempts.

But we are not deterred.

I was informed yesterday by a retired community member and JLAR volunteer that some of one of my opponent's signs were taken two nights ago and deposited on the candidate's lawn. The associated rumor is that I did it, which is absolutely untrue--I don't even have time to sleep anymore between this campaign and fiscal year-end at Agilent, much less waste my time with removing others' signs. This happening to ANY candidate is absolutely horrible and not the kind of politics we ever want to see in Alum Rock. As such, I want to make clear the importance of ethics once again, as I have stressed to my campaign committee members and volunteers since the beginning. We will take the high road at all times. There is no value in winning if one has to hit below the belt. So we haven't, and we won't.

To protect the investment of my supporters and discourage sign theft, last week I announced a $300 bounty on information leading to the conviction of anyone caught stealing one of my signs. Effective immediately, I am going to extend that offer to include the other Alum Rock candidates' signs as well.

If anyone catches on film the theft of ANY Alum Rock board candidate's sign without the property owner's permission (or the permission of the campaign), and we can charge the thief with the associated local, state, and federal crimes (stealing political signs is a BIG deal beyond petty theft), I will award $300 to the person handing over the evidence. Of course, the evidence must be on camera (stills or video) and contain identifying information that will assist police in making an arrest.

I want to remind the entire community that this quest for the short (ARUSD Board Trustee) seat is very much a three-way race, and that it's incumbent upon all of us (candidates, supporters, and voters) to enforce an environment of fairness, integrity, and ideas dedicated toward improving education in Alum Rock. This is not a popularity contest, and the person with the most or the fewest signs on November 2 won't necessarily win. Let's keep this above board and focus on what matters to this community: our messages, the different experiences and talents we each bring to the table, and our shared passion for changing the Alum Rock Way, both before the election and for years to come.

Thanks for your attention, John S. Leyba, Candidate for Alum Rock Union School District Board of Trustees

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10/26/04 - Dear Editorial Staff, San Jose Mercury News:

With regard to the 10/25 editorial about KIPP Heartwood in Alum Rock School District, thank you for bringing attention to the positive things that Alum Rock School District is doing. However, you forgot to mention that if it was not for the tremendous effort of P.A.C.T. (People Acting in Community Together), the KIPP program might never have come to serve Alum Rock students. By missing that important point, your readers don't have an opportunity to applaud the work of those community members who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make dreams come true for the hundreds of parents who have chosen to participate in the small autonomous school movement. Tanya Freudenberger

NNV Note: Don't hesitate to copy us on your letters to the Mercury News - sometimes we can publish them even if the Mercury News doesn't!

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10/1/04 - Thank you for the excellent articles on the hospitals. I do agree with the expansion of Regional but that will take YEARS, and in the meantime the excellent staff that has been assembled for the Trauma Unit at SJ will have dispersed to other hospitals, leaving no backup for downtown or our area. And what about the Residency Doctors program? It takes time to prepare for setting up these essential services, and time is being taken away. HCA was VERY underhanded in reneging on their pledge to keep SJ Hospital open for three years so provisions could be made for these transitions. I am very suspect of HCA's promises because they have forfeited their credibility for concern for San Jose's medical needs.

And, I thank you for running the piece on Eleanor Roosevelt. My, that was a looong time ago. Wonder what she would say about the politics of today.

I didn't read all of the topics, but I am so glad Pombo's folly is still being targeted. I love your paper, and thank you for letting me be a part of it.  Carol Schultz

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9/27/04 - Dear Friends and Neighbors,

This election I am asking for your attention to our local school board races. These past few years have seen more changes in the direction of the Alum Rock School District. While good academic progress is being made, I am very concerned about the climate of our school system which has become less user friendly, more autocratic, and more separated from our community.

While our leaders apply solutions to our challenges, the needs of our community and the needs of children suffer. Many of the recently hired members of our staffs are from communities far from here. Many of those who live in our community have been laid off, pushed to retire, or forced out. The personal investment and caring are missing from many of our leaders. Staff members are being treated with disdain and disrespect. Community members are not truly welcome and are shut out of our local processes. Things are not well in our community schools, and though the test scores rise, I believe the underlying health of our community is threatened. Over the past 10 years I have seen many families move from the area or take their children to other school districts and private schools in disgust. The backbone of our community is literally disintegrating. Quietly, folks have left to find better options for their children and families.

The local schools are ours, a reflection of us, and our values. If we wish for change we must assert our leadership and resume some position of control over the decisions that will shape our community for the next 50 years. As we speak, 4 parcels of land are being considered for sale, lease or ? in the Alum Rock School District; all of Miller School property 7.1 acres, half of Ocala land 13 acres, part of Chavez field, and the entire back half of Joseph George land including the entire track, 6 acres. Additional land on other campuses is also being looked at for sale. This has been done with autocratic direction to a 7-11 committee, pretending to meet the letter of the law but not the spirit of the law, as the separate (from general board meetings) and focused community meetings to inform us of this proposed sale are not being held or advertised. There is no published Facilities Master Plan and 3 years projected enrollments, not the recommended 20 years projection.

Never before 2000 has there been so much interest by political forces in our local school board race. Never before has so much political money been sent in to support certain candidates by those who stand to gain something from the sale of our land. It is ironic that in the face of Mercury News articles about ethics, (See Mercury News editorials Feb. 10, 2004 and March 10, 2004 about lobbying activities and school land and finance issues) our school board continues forward with the very consultants and actions being questioned in those articles.

This election I am again supporting candidates that will represent our children and our community and their involvement in our schools. There is one 2 year seat and two 4 year seats, a total of 3 seats open for Alum Rock and two seats for East Side Union High School District.

I am supporting the following candidates:

John Leyba, 2 year seat Alum Rock
Lalo Morales, 4 year seat Alum Rock
Tanya Freudenberger, 4 year seat Alum Rock

Craig Mann, 4 year seat East Side High School District
Cecil Lawson, 4 year seat East Side High School District

There is much work to do and raising money for school board races is difficult. All of our candidates need money for their campaigns. In 2002 one of the successful candidates received all of the donations from local politicians with almost no community support.

When I ran for my seat on the Alum Rock board the candidate statement was $400. Now due to expanded translation requirements the same statement costs $2060! When I bought signs in 1998 I spent $600 on 400 signs, those same signs are now $1700! The costs to get the message out have tripled and methods for campaign finance need to be looked at due to the challenges with undue influence from special interests on our Board members!

While supporting and endorsing Lalo Morales and Tanya Freudenberger, I have chosen to work directly for John Leyba on his campaign for the two year seat in Alum Rock. John is a bright young man who comes from our community (graduate of Lyndale and Joseph George) and has graduated and returned from Dartmouth College to work locally as a financial analyst at Agilent Technologies and to support his home schools and community. John is bilingual, Spanish/English, has a varied work background that will help, and world travel experience that lend a global look at what we can and should be doing for our children. John comes from a local family and has a nephew that will start Alum Rock schools next year. John’s ideas are logical and fresh, he has the analytical skills, energy, passion, and time for a position on the Alum Rock Board. Click here for his Web site.

Please look carefully at the candidates as a position on the Board is challenging requiring skills and objectivity that represent our children's interests first. Board members should listen to our community and protect children first, not political buddies and consultants.

Sincerely, Gaye Dabalos, Former Alum Rock Trustee and Board President

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9/21/04 - Well it’s been three almost 4 months since I graduated from James Lick High School. I was not planning on attending college this fall but plans always change. I received a call this summer during my day camp job at the East Valley YMCA from the Art Institute of Los Angeles. After weeks of interviews, paper work, financial aid, and talks with my representative I will now be attending the Art Institute of LA in Santa Monica to obtain my Bachelor of Science in Video Production.

With one phone call I decided to take the biggest step in my life and change everything I had planned. I spent four years in the Media Magnet at James Lick working in front of and behind the camera, countless hours editing, scripts, papers, ideas and I did so with the worst equipment but I do not regret one moment of it. My biggest influence to stick in the program was my teacher, Mr. Jesse Medina. He always made me laugh yet he taught me so many things even just as a TA. Now I am taking the steps to one day be a director and I hope that I can make James Lick proud to have had me as an alumni. Good luck to everyone in the future.  Jasmine Hatch, Class of 2004

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9/11/04 - I am in San Diego, and Google got me to your newsletter because you mentioned Klaus Radtke's book, which I was trying to get a link to. However, something about your stories just caught my eye and so I read some more.

The story about your wonderful feline pal Simon and his last year touched my heart. Your lovely photo from the issue before (the fox story) and the painting from the photo were so tender. We have an old orange tabby, too, who may survive for some more days of basking in the sun like your lovely Simon loved to do, and who I hope is fortunate in his time of passing, as your lovely Simon was.  With true sympathy, Kay Stewart

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8/15/04 - I have been keeping track of developments on the Proposed Mt. Hamilton Range Freeway connecting Patterson to San Jose. I used to be a resident of Fremont, and recently moved to Mountain House. From what I see, many people in your community are literally militant when it comes to keeping this freeway out of Alum Rock. I would like to enlighten you on the history of this project.

For one, Pombo did not start this idea for a freeway. Highway 130 was Originally supposed to connect to Patterson. (AAroads.com) Since this proposal showed up 50 years ago, there was no need for a highway in this location when there were no commuters. Instead of proposing to "unseat" Pombo, why not consider his ideas? Don't get me wrong; I have friends and family that live in Alum Rock. I absolutely do NOT support a freeway cutting through it at ALL. All I am saying is that the Feasibility study going forward may be what keeps the Freeway out of your neighborhood. Alum Rock is way too developed to run a freeway through without demolition of homes. Instead of fighting this plan, support it being diverted. If you look at any topographical maps, you can easily see there are several other "680 Terminus areas" for this proposed freeway.

In my opinion, this freeway needs to be built, and it needs to connect at the 237/680 interchange. If a freeway dumps out at 680 in Alum Rock, it will just add to 680 traffic that already exists in the area. At 237, commuters can access north San Jose via Calaveras Blvd, 680 south (While bypassing most residential areas), and 880 by either Calaveras Blvd. or Montague Expwy, Mission Blvd., or Auto Mall Pkwy. Not only that, but if the Freeway ended here, it would be near the Weller/Mail Bus Hub, and only a few miles from the VTA light rail; potentially lessening the car traffic if Pombo's commuter train idea also passes. Though I do not commute to San Jose, and this freeway would in no way serve my needs, it would make the Altamont pass drivable at peak commute by diverting traffic. We all know this road is feasible, (I 80 crosses mountains, too) and we all know that San Jose is the only large city that has no Interstate that exits the Bay Area. There is no need to bash on Pombo, though he does need to look for a new terminus for the freeway. I guess the only real challenge lies in the wall that will need to be built to keep coyotes, mountain lions, raccoons, rabbits, and deer from being pulverized by 100,000 commuters, snow chain requirements a few times a year, (I know for a fact it happens up there) and a few overpasses to prevent a large wildlife area from being completely cut in half.  Chris Klinkner

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7/31/04 - Re: Help Unseat U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo - Derail "Pombo's Road"

Judy, I think there are special interests who are attempting to use this issue and our fears to promote their agenda. In a more constructive vein, I did a bit of research.

Pombo’s study project was addressed in HR619IH. He has no co-sponsors for this resolution.  This House Resolution was NOT passed. It was referred to the Highways, Transit and Pipeline sub-committee of the Transportation Committee Feb 6, 2003. No action has been taken on HR619 since that date.  There are seven California representatives on the Transportation Committee and four on the Highways, Transit and Pipelines sub-committee. Most notably Mike Honda. Rep. Pombo is not on the Transportation Committee or any of its sub-committees.

I would suggest to anyone who is interested that they contact:
     Rep. Gary Miller, 42 Cong. District, LA County
     Rep. Bob Filner, 51 Cong. District, San Diego
     *Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, 37 Cong. District, Torrance
     *Rep. Ellen Tauscher, 10 Cong. District, Walnut Creek
     *Rep. Mike Honda, 15 Cong. District, San Jose
     *Rep. Mike Thompson, 1 Cong. District, North Coast.
         * -- Member of Highway, Transit and Pipeline sub-committee

Ken Johnson

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7/31/04 - Ken, the people in Pombo’s district are still expecting a road - the newspaper editorials in their area seem to assume that the project will be built. You can read what they wrote as recently as April 2004, I believe, in the articles NNV linked to in our May edition.  Judy Thompson

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7/31/04 - I didn’t elaborate beyond the basics but for HR619 to move forward, it has to be considered first by the sub-committee, then the full committee and then the House, Senate and President. Probably as part of a larger appropriations package or some such. In any case, Mike Honda would have a hand in the process. We will need his support. Since no action has been taken on HR619 since Feb. 2003, I think it’s probably dead.

Even if the language of HR619 passes in some form, it only directs the Transportation Secretary to do a study. With Mike Honda’s help, I think our input into the study would be guaranteed. Rep. Pombo has suggested a highway and a route but that doesn’t mean the study would support a highway or the route suggested.

I think it’s a real long shot for Rep. Pombo and he probably knows it. I imagine he got a request from his constituents and responded.

One side note about only one of the special interest issues. Carolyn wrote “The 11th CD is gerrymandered as a majority Republican district.” This is accurate as far as it goes, but Carolyn’s wording leaves one with the impression that republicans did something underhanded. Carolyn knows this is not true. Congressional districts are established by the California Legislature which is and has been under democratic control. She’s just doing her job.  Ken Johnson

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7/31/04 - Re: Help Unseat U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo - Derail "Pombo's Road"

The article/editorial on unseating Rep. Richard Pombo is one that I feel needs to be addressed for its obvious bias aimed against Republicans in general and against Conservatives in particular. The title and tone of the article left no doubt as to the NNVESJ's political leanings, and the printing of Ms. Carolyn L. Curtis' e-mail punctuated that point.

As a long-time resident of East San Jose (30 years) and as a registered Republican for the last 24 years--after having been a Democrat 6 years prior, I have come to the realization that both parties have plenty of soiled laundry that is in need of a good soaking in soap and water. The case of Rep. Pombo "seems" to bear this out. I am just as strongly opposed to his measure of constructing a highway through this region and will oppose it and him through the representative, democratic process that has served this nation so well--petitions, hearings, and the ballot box. I will oppose him and his measure based on the issues and principles. But to read and/or listen to Ms. Curtis' and the NNVESJ's diatribe of "retaking the House," supporting "Dr. Gerald (Jerry) McNerney [becuase] He is dedicated to environmental protection and to international cooperation," calling Rep. Pombo "Northern California's worst Congressman," noting that he is "financially backed by the oil and energy companies (including El Paso which joined Enron in the California ripoff) and is rated Zero by organizations for women's rights, NEA, environmental protection, retirees, AFSCME, SEIU, postal workers, and AAUW," quoting the Sierra Club in calling Rep. Pombo an "eco-thug," and blanketly stating that "People all across the US agree that the country is headed in the wrong direction," that "Change is in the air. Just look at the success of Fahrenheit 9/11" truly paints the real picture as to who is calling the kettle black.

As a practicing evangelical Christian with strong conservative values I find Rep. Pombo's "alleged" financial support more than troubling but I find his ZERO rating by the aforementioned organizations as equally troubling--and NOT for the reasons one of liberal leanings would think. Financial greed and political graft and corruption is just as deplorable as supporting abortion on demand, same-sex unions and marriage, environmental terrorism, and big union cronyism. And as for the so-called success of Fahrenheit 9/11, yes it was successful--as was Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ." Hence, it seems that the change in the air will either be the expance of ultra left-wing, political correctness (a.k.a. fascist-socialism) in a post-modern society, or the growth of a movement toward spiritual revival and the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (just prior to HIS second coming). Yes indeed, change is in the air.  Gerald Rodriguez

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7/11/04 - My name is Dave Diamond. I left home in the '70s after they straightened out Penitencia Creek Rd. We lived on Dorel first, then the very top of El Grande, where my folks Tom & Marilyn still live. My dad sent me this web site a while ago to tell me about the pinhead trying to build the freeway through your yard. What a fantastic website! Every new page I opened brought an "oh wow, I remember this..." I've been all over the world with the Air Force for 25 years now, and really like having this portal to my past. Thanx so much.  Dave Diamond

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6/16/04 - San Jose Police Department Media Advisory, Burglary Prevention Tips

You are receiving this message from the San Jose Police Department as part of an ongoing effort to provide the citizens of San Jose with the highest level of safety.

Summer is around the corner, which means the burglary season is fast approaching. Nine out of 10 residential burglaries happen because a door or window was left unlocked. In addition, there have been several burglaries of occupied residences. The perpetrators entered the residences through unlocked doors or windows while the occupants were asleep, including multi-story buildings.

The following is a list of burglary prevention and vacation safety tips:

* Make sure all doors and windows are locked, even at night when the residence is occupied

* If you have an alarm, turn it on. You can obtain an inexpensive portable from a hardware store

* Display "beware of dog" signs

* Make an inventory list of valuable items

* Get to know your neighbors

If you are going to be on vacation make sure you do the following:

* Lock all doors and windows

* Place a padlock on the garage door or disable power

* Have a neighbor or family member collect your mail, newspaper and circulars daily

* Use automatic light timers for interior/exterior lights

If you suspect criminal activity in your neighborhood, call 9-1-1 immediately. Cell phone users should call 408 277-8911 for emergency service. For more information on burglary prevention or to schedule a Neighborhood Watch meeting, call the Community Services Division at (408) 277-4133 to speak with a Crime Prevention Specialist.

Sincerely, Robert L. Davis, Chief of Police, San Jose Police Department, Sent By: Ofc. John Carrillo #2378

NNV Note: Unincorporated County residents can also use 911 to reach the Sheriff's Department. Cell phone users can call (408) 299-3233 for emergencies to reach the Sheriff's Department directly without going through the cell phone 911 system.

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6/7/04 - Another great newsletter. Thank you for the hard work and I think taking off July is a just reward. Hope to see some news on the new Library as it progresses ... those new curved glue lam beams look beautiful.

I was dismayed by the negative bus experiences .... I have ridden many times in the last year after jogging down to Rafikis (I usually have to hustle home for a work related conference call) and have never had anything but great service. One guy even stopped for me between stops when I waved in desperation. Everybody has bad days now and then I suppose.  Sincerely, Alan Craig

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5/30/04 - Just here to give you an update on James Lick now that the year has ended... I have personally had the chance to get to know the new administration... Mostly Mr. Rice and Mr. Esparza. As a student I have to say this new administration has worked out nicely... Many students have said that they are happy with the changes... well most of the changes... and we all agree that the new Administration has been doing a fine job of keeping James Lick safe and enjoyable.

As for the students… It’s the end of the year so a lot of students are giddy and ready to head out and get jobs and what not… I personally will be graduating within the next week and am very excited to get out into the “Real World.” I am sad to say that I do not think High School has prepared me for what is to come… I feel that my high school education has been limited to what others feel I need to know rather than what I really want to know and learn. I do understand that we need English and math and what not… but what really kept me in school were my elective classes… first my Media class which I have been in for 4 years... I have learned many things in there that I feel I can use later in life and hopefully make a career out of it… Also my Choir and Drama classes… They made school fun and enjoyable… But I’m sad to hear that a lot of these programs are being shut down next year… actually I'm more angry… I think more kids will be dropping out due to lack of interest. Two English and Math classes?! I personally barely passed math… and I hated every second of it and as soon as I didn’t need it… I dropped it. I think that’s how most kids feel… I also will not be taking any major classes at any college next year… High School turned me off to furthering my education… I now look to others in college for reassurance that I should keep going. It’s hard… There are so many thing put on my shoulders with not only school but life and it's becoming harder to make decisions that will benefit me in the future. I think the district, schools and the administrations need to take a look at their school… Not talking to only the honor students and actually listening to every kid… because they have a lot to say… a lot of ideas… they just don’t know how to go about telling anyone… and they will not go around to district meetings or school site councils or anything… they have too much to lose if they say anything incorrectly…

Life for me in only beginning… I hope to stay a strong supporter of James Lick… as well as the community. After high school I will be working for the East Valley YMCA for the summer as a Camp Aide and I also Volunteer there. I am also trying to be a very big part of the local music scene… actually it's turning into a community of its own… there are many talented kids coming out of the ESSJ community… but they have a bad rap of just being a bunch of kids making noise in a garage… well that is the worst stereotype. These kids are amazing… and I want to help them make their dreams come true… and let the ESSJ community see that these kids need their help, support and love.

One last thing is that I would like to thank James Lick Administration, Staff, Students and the ESSJ community for their support these last 4 years in my life… I hope that I can do for others what you have done for me. Thank you very much.

Jasmine Hatch, Graduating Senior 2004 James Lick High School

NNV Note: Jasmine welcomes your feedback. Please let us know if you would like to write to her. E-mail JudyET@NNVESJ.org.

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5/17/04 - NNV always has articles about local schools, so I thought readers might be interested in this. I don't know if this is allowed to be in the newsletter, but it's an easy way to help the community. Anybody using a Washington Mutual check card can automatically earn money for kids by choosing a school in need in the US. Go to: https://www.wamoolaforschools.com.

Also, you might know that eScrip is another easy way to earn money for schools or other groups. Money is donated every time you use your credit or ATM card. These cards include grocery cards, retail store cards, or the usual VISA, MC, AmEx, Discover. Sign up all your cards and you can choose up to 3 groups. For more information, go to: http://www.escrip.com.  Annamarie Travers

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5/13/04 - I recently came across your site while doing some Google research on the Reid-Hillview airport (RHV).

RHV is an interesting subject since everyone seems to have an opinion but very few actually know how this airport is negatively affecting East San Jose. If you think about it our neighborhood should be the Cupertino of the east, but it is not. Unfortunately, as long as RHV is open East San Jose will never come anywhere near achieving its potential. That is because Reid-Hillview is an economic, social, and environmental disaster for East San Jose, San Jose, and Santa Clara county.

If possible can you please add this link to your web-site. I have extensively researched Reid-Hillview and compiled, and referenced, all my information on this site.

http://www.reidhillview.com/

http://www.reidhillview.com/#9 - Lead poisoning from RHV

Thank you.  Bud Beacham

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4/21/04 - I wanted to respond to a recent article in the New Neighborhood Voice. There are so many social issues that we deal with on a regular basis that are obviously very emotional and it is IMPERATIVE that any form of media provide complete and unbiased reporting OR equal opportunity for discussion from opposing parties. I am hoping and assuming you will put my comments/responses in your paper regarding the article by Pastor Mary Parker-Eves.

First of all, the recent City Council meeting was heavily attended and the large majority was representing opposition to the honoring of the illegal same sex unions for the purpose of benefits to city employees. As far as those that spoke, it was almost equal with regards to how many people spoke for and against the issue. The large majority of those that spoke against it, referenced their concern with the City taking it upon themselves to go against proposition 22 and support offering the benefits.

Keep in mind, the city already offered “domestic partner” benefits to their employees. Also, any homosexual individual employee has the right to enroll birth children or adopted children in their benefit programs. There were some small disparities in what was offered to the dependents of married individuals and domestic partners so the City Council offered to “equalize” those benefits. However, this was again in violation of the legislative process when you consider the current state proposition that was voted by the people. Legally, there are no marriages to honor if they follow the law.

Also, two of the City Council, Pat Dando and Forrest Williams, offered an option that would allow the council to “equalize” benefits for domestic partners. This would have avoided the City putting themselves in the precarious position they are currently in. Make no mistake about it, those that voted in favor of honoring the marriages for benefits had made up their mind prior to the meeting. I have email replies from 3 council members prior to the meeting to confirm that.

As a result of their action, Mayor Ron Gonzales is being targeted for a potential recall campaign and he has now decided that maybe he needs to honor the political process and not his own personal interests.

Please also understand something, when proposition 22 passed with a 62% vote, that was not just the “Christian Faith Perspective”. Christian experts will tell you that only 10% of Californians attend church at all. Unfortunately, statistics also show that only half of that 10% are even registered to vote. Of those registered, only half of those people regularly vote. What that tells us is that it would have been impossible for that proposition to pass relying only on those of the “Christian Faith”. That vote represented the Will of the People and the City Council decided their will was more important.

I am also a Christian and honor and adhere to the only foundations I have been provided. The Bible. Pastor Parker-Eves referenced the perspective of their church. As Christians, I am assuming that they have the same foundations that I do. At the very core of our beliefs is that Jesus was the son of God and he came to die for our sins. Millions have recently seen this portrayed in the movie “The Passion”. As a Christian, I also believe in grace for sinners. I am one of them. However, grace for sin does not mean the sin is acceptable, it just means that I have forgiveness available to me through my relationship with Jesus Christ. With that in mind, I do not hate homosexuals but I cannot accept their lifestyle. It is a sinful lifestyle they have electively chosen. Those “obscure verses” that Pastor Parker-Eves referenced include the very words of Jesus Christ. (Mark 10: 6-9) If I don’t follow the words of Jesus, what do I follow in my faith?? If I don’t follow the teachings of Christ, I would probably be better off calling myself the “Post Modern Church of Love”. That would allow me to “adapt” my beliefs based on the sociologists of the day and what I believed to be culturally acceptable.

I do regret that traditional marriage has been under attack for many years and this has allowed society to diminish the importance of a permanent committed relationship. The breakdown has been accelerated by issues such as “no fault divorce” and the growing perception in society that “I must be happy or I must move on”. Changing the definition of marriage to honor same sex relationships is just another step towards breaking down the design of traditional marriage that was ordained by God. As the traditional family continues to weaken, the moral fabric of our country continues to unravel.

Lastly, there have been thousands of studies done regarding the consequences to children that are not raised in a traditional home and regarding the emotional building blocks that are provided by both a father and a mother. This is undisputable and is one of the main reasons our country is struggling in so many areas such as teen pregnancy and drug abuse.

In summary, it is time for people to decide what they believe. They are being challenged by both sides to respond to what is TRUTH and how they should respond. I encourage every person to evaluate their values at this critical time and respond by voting based on these beliefs.

I greatly appreciate you allowing my comments/responses to be provided to those that have read the article.  Chris Wise

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4/17/04 - Who is going to pay for the state of the art facility? If a Ford will get the job done why go for a BMW?  Griff Lewis  P.S. I think I know the answer but wanted to ask the question anyway.

NNV Note:  Griff is responding to our 4/17/04 Regional Medical Center Community Meeting Special Alert.  Click here to read the alert and here to read about the meeting.

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4/6/04 - Thank you for such an upbeat and positive article about James Lick.  Bill Rice

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3/24/04 - I called and complained about the airport noise.  Yes, I got a recording and three days later received their form letter saying that complaints were minimal.  I'll call again this month.  Karen DeLong

NNV Note:  Click here to read Terry Carolan's article on Mineta San Jose Airport noise creeping into our neighborhood.

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3/16/04 - Having been in a rush while at Long's, I purchased a quart of milk paying $1.69. To my surprise two days later shopping at SaveMart, I paid $2.35 for the same size and type, 2%.

I doubled checked the prices by buying a quart of milk from each store this afternoon. The explanation for the variance was primarily that one supplier had a better product. I find it hard to believe that a shopper even considers the supplier and especially for such a difference with the stores being so close.

People seem to complain about the gasoline prices but I haven't heard anything about milk.  Griff Lewis

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2/24/04 - Grand Larceny Mailbox Theft: On February 5, 2004 or February 6, 2004 an envelope containing three money orders was removed from a mailbox (mine) on Soelro Court. A few days later the postman found the empty envelope on Yona Vista and the Postmaster mailed the empty envelope back to us with a cover letter warning of identity theft. Three money orders, two for $500 each and one for $350, for a total of $1350, were stolen and cashed by the thief. The theft was reported to the Sheriff. The Sheriff claims thieves either generate an ID to match the name on the money instrument (check, money order, etc), or they have business friends who will cash it for them.

The Sheriff warns that mailbox thieves generally steal OUTGOING mail that residents place in the mailbox. Often the victim even raises the red flag on the mailbox. This makes the thief's work even easier. Outgoing checks usually contain check payments made by the resident. The Sheriff says the thieves scope out the postman's schedule, and tend to visit the mailbox hours before the mailman usually arrives. If you have mail that needs mailing, it's better to place it in an authorized mailbox.

I always thought it couldn't happen to me - but now I realize that it happens everywhere. So be careful, neighbors!  Bob Junger

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2/23/04 - Dear Neighbors, I encourage you to attend the meeting sponsored by Nora Campos, regarding airplane noise in our community, this Wednesday, February 25th at 6:00pm. The meeting will be at the Alum Rock Youth Center at 137 North White Road. Aircraft noise in our area has increased significantly in the past two years. This is largely due to flight patterns that do not conform to those recommended by the San Jose Airport’s Noise Monitoring Center and are unnecessarily random. Airports and officials in places such as Raleigh-Durham Airport in North Carolina have taken a very proactive role in regulating noise levels and flight procedures to benefit their communities. This Wednesday’s meeting is your opportunity to make our Council person aware of your concern for our area. We hope that Ms. Campos will carry that message to the City and the airport.

Our airport is a reality we all have to live with, but that does not mean that our elected officials should be slack in doing what is possible to preserve quality of life for all residents. Your voice counts and it matters on this and other issues affecting our neighborhoods. Please take the time to act on behalf of our community.  Sincerely,  Terry Carolan

NNV Note:  Click here to read Terry's article and Councilmember Campos' response.  See our Community Bulletin Board for more information on this meeting.

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2/22/04 - We have just finished reading another great issue of the NNV. This is especially important to us because we are spending a great deal of time in our other home in Tucson, AZ. But our first love is our wonderful Alum Rock neighborhood. Your efforts to keep all of us apprised of the developments and threats to the quality of our neighborhood provide a great service. Please keep up the work and remember, " Illegitimus non carborundum." This is fractured latin which means, don't let them wear you down (this is the polite translation).  Doug & Penny Lowe

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2/1/04 - Thank you so much for your article and photo of John Leary. He was an old and dear friend and a fellow clay lover who encouraged and supported me in my artistic endeavors, particularly my love affair with clay. He will be greatly missed by all those who loved him.  Sincerely,  Martha Kokes

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2/1/04 - James Lick High School - Can it soar again?

I have the answer to your question. Yes, it can! I believe people give James Lick a bad name for being on the East side and being known by gang affiliations. But if you spent a day with me, you would see how I see James Lick. I chose James Lick out of every school in the East Side Union High School District. I joined the Media Magnet Program and I haven't regretted it yet. I love the Comets with every inch of my heart. Even though the class of 2004 (Seniors) aren't very spirited, I think it's because we are the guinea pigs of the district. So we lack spirit, but we are very liberated and have something to say - just no one to listen to us. I would like to meet with you and show you the school in my eyes, looking past the test scores and dropout rate (which isn't accurate). Let me show you what True Comet Spirit is. My name is Jasmine Hatch, I'm a senior at James Lick High School.  Jasmine Hatch

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1/31/04 - I just saw the new edition of NNV this morning. Very nice job, as always. I again have to compliment you on the service you are providing to our community.

You did an excellent job on the final touches for the article I wrote and many thanks to the person who put the labels into the flight path map. That really helps. It was also a valuable addition to include the link to the flight tracking website and I loved the accompanying blurb.

I was happy to see a response from Ms. Campos, and I am certain that her meeting is driven by this article. I did not expect her to agree with me if she did respond, but I think it is notable that she does not dispute the basic assertions of the article except in the semantics of "flight path." She is correct in stating that the official flight paths decreed by the FAA have not changed, but the flight patterns have changed a lot and this is what I contend can be controlled.

I can not stress enough how important it is for there to be a good turnout at the meeting on 2/25. If there is little community response, Ms. Campos will rightfully go back to City Council and report that the barking is just from a local crank (me). I would do the same thing if I were in her shoes.

I would like to make an appeal to all your readers and others in our community to attend the meeting. This is the one and only opportunity we will have to start some momentum on this issue. This meeting is about more than the airplanes, it is about the significance our area plays in the consciousness of our officials as decisions are made. The landslide is another issue of the same kind. As noted in this edition, the road is still closed after 6 years!

I intend to contact CAAP to see if they would have some members attend as a show of solidarity on this issue. They are also more informed than I am on the history of this topic. I welcome suggestions you may have on mustering people for this event.  Thanks again. Terry Carolan

NNV Note:  Click here to read Terry's article and Councilmember Campos' response.  The meeting will be on February 25, 2004, 6:00 PM at the Alum Rock Youth Center.  See our Community Bulletin Board for more information.

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1/2/04 - We noticed on Dec. 2 that we didn't have any incoming mail in our box. This is most unusual, as we always have a big pile. We asked our 2 adjoining neighbors if they noticed anything unusual with their mail ... but they had not. About a week later we heard from a friend who had sent us a check that the police had caught some men who were trying to cash a check on his account. They had used his numbers and printed up a check. It was just luck that they were caught and arrested .... someone in the store became suspicious of the check. The police also found a couple of other checks of ours in the crooks’ possession. It is definitely scary.  Betty & Noel Gassett

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12/31/03 - Please don't use my name or address in case the mail thieves have the audacity to read your wonderful newsletter. I have done almost all of the things you and others have suggested to prevent identity theft.

Recently two things happened. One, preprinted checks with my address and account number, but someone else's name have been cashed all over town. Two, my check reorder was intercepted between the printer and the Wells Fargo branch on Capitol where I was to pick them up. Even after closing my accounts, the thieves are trying to cash the checks. I was notified by the postal inspector that three people had been arrested with some of my checks in their possession. I spoke to a member of the San Jose police department and he said that the district attorney will not prosecute these identity theft cases unless a finger print is required for check cashing. It seems there are too many of these instances to prosecute. So, even with a number of precautions, anyone can access your checking account. The officer's advice, don't use checks at all. Thanks,  NNV Subscriber

NNV Note:  Our policy is to publish a name with all letters but, occasionally, when warranted, we will publish anonymous letters from NNV subscribers who include their name and specifically request that it be withheld.

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12/31/03 - Yesterday, Dec 29th, we returned from 5 days in Southern Calif. to find several pieces of mail that belong down the street, Enchanto Vista.  2 of the 4 had been opened.  We will certainly follow your advice and hope that none of our mail ended up in someone else's mail box, or in the hands of the thieves. Since we were gone such a short time, we did not stop our mail. Some of our mail was in the box as well as 2 pieces from our across the street neighbor. 

Please feel free to use the incident as a letter to the editor. My husband has been taking in John Leary's mail since he passed away and says that some of John's mail was apparently in the box belonging to the people whose mail we found in our box. So it looks like someone is going from box to box. It may be a widespread problem .... perhaps children or teenagers if this has happened during school vacation time.  Penny Pollock

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12/30/03 - I met a man who lives on Chula Vista at the post office on McGinnis today as I picked up my stopped mail who told me about another huge fraud problem. He said someone took the effort to fill out a "forward mail" card, and all of this man’s mail started going to a mobile home address in San Jose. He suspected that the mobile home owner was not who actually filled out the card, but could be a location where the thief would pick up the resident's mail. The police are involved with that fraud case with the Postal Inspector.  Sonja Troncoso

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12/30/03 - Another Heads-Up: I had a theft out of my car in my driveway a few weeks back. It had to be in the early morning hours … they took money and my bowling shoes and some keys ……… I did tell the Sheriff's office and they said they'd patrol more frequently.  Judy Schneider

Note:  This theft occurred on Alum Rock Avenue near the San Jose Country Club.  Judy is responding to the NNV alert this morning on Mail Thieves Are Back in the Neighborhood.

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12/27/03 - THANKS sooo much for the wonderful story that you wrote about my DAD (Well! Well! Well! "Walter the Witcher" finds Water), he would have been very happy about that! You did a WONDERFUL job of writing it and you made him sound so very special as he was in my life as well as my family and everyone else who knew him.  THANKS again!~ Kathleen Boesch Tirri

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12/6/03 - Thanks for producing the NNV. My wife and I enjoy learning more about our neighborhood and neighbors. We really appreciate the efforts of all our neighbors who are working on their properties, displaying art and supporting the community. It makes this a very nice place to live.

I believe one reason people leave the neighborhood is because they want the best schools for their children. We appreciate your efforts to present James Lick high school in the best possible light. However Lick ranks in the lowest 10% of schools in our state which doesn’t have the best schools in the country. This is not encouraging for a child that hopes to attend one of the finest, most competitive colleges in the country.

Our daughter is currently attending Linda Vista elementary school. It is clear that discipline issues make a big difference between the better classes and the not so great classes. Perhaps a military style school is a good idea for students that are constant problems? I would also support video cameras in all classrooms. Smaller classes would help too. Teachers should teach, they shouldn’t have to police the students.

On a different subject I am surprised there was any support for the orange color of the East Highlands entrance sign. Orange reminds me of highway workers and vehicles. I confess I do love the orange California poppies, but the orange sign reminded me more of a highway construction area than a California poppy. My thanks go to those who keep the sign freshly painted.  Take Care, Carl Wohlforth

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12/4/03 - You are doing a marvelous job of reporting local and historical news that we have been missing. We did not realize that such an informative newsletter was being published, so we quickly accepted the offer in the NNV to subscribe. You have more news than Mario the barber, and that's saying a lot!!!  Gene Bockmier

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12/1/03 - Thank you for the November article “Boesch Hall” (What’s behind the covered bridge on Penitencia Creek Road). The history on the property is very interesting. As you mentioned in your article, the property is for sale. I am the listing agent and wanted to forward my information in case you had inquiries from anyone who may be interested in purchasing the property. Thanks again for the great article.  Kindest Regards, Kathy Nowak, Alain Pinel Realtors, 408 354-1235 ext 643 direct.

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11/14/03 - I think the idea of a light at Toyon and McKee was a wonderful idea. Whenever possible I like to take Penitencia Creek Road from the Berryessa area because it is so peaceful, tranquil, and rural in appearance. Getting onto McKee from Toyon was always an adventure. Now, with the light, it is a much safer corner.  Chuck Hauptman

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11/7/03 - Some friends of mine recently alerted me to your newsletter on ESJ. I've lived in the area since 1994, but have had my head down most of that time working in silicon valley. All I can say is, wow! And thank you very much for taking the time to put this together. I never realized someone cared enough to assemble the issues and publish them. You are performing a fine service and I look forward to receiving the newsletter and (now) participating in the issues that are important to me.

You said: "NNV is biased toward that new light because we often need to make that hairy left from Toyon onto McKee at high traffic times, but we'd like to hear how other readers feel. We naïvely thought that everyone was hunky-dory with it!"

Regarding the light: I have no problem with its existence. The problem I have with it is the immediate cycle change it goes into the moment someone trips the light. Toyon is a tributary and should not have equal precedence to the thoroughfare of McKee. I agree there are times (morning and afternoon rush hours for example) that turning left onto McKee can be a problem. But why should the light cycle if someone turns right from Toyon onto McKee at 2pm in the afternoon or 11pm at night? It makes no sense to cycle with no traffic. It also makes no sense that the light starts to turn the moment someone trips it. The light at Kirk/Savemart could have just changed to green on McKee at that darn thing will go off the second someone trips it for a left turn. I think a more manageable solution would be to re-time it to:

     - make sure there is a car waiting at the light before it cycles 

     - give a few moments to batch the traffic before it cycles 

     - give it some intelligence with what's going on with the light at Kirk, and 

     - give the priority to the more heavily-trafficked McKee.

Just my .02.  Thanks,  Eric Christenson

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11/7/03 - With pleasure I read the letter in the San Jose Mercury News today (Page 11C) by Peter Slorp.

The proposed Historical Heritage Ordinance, to be discussed by the Historical Heritage Commission of Santa Clara County on 11/20 at 7:00 PM, has potentially great impact on property rights for those citizens living in the unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County. This ordinance, which requires approval by the board of supervisors only and is not something the public will vote on, impacts historical buildings and trees in our county and impacts private property rights. If passed, it will strengthen the powers of local officials to regulate (through the permit process, requirements to maintain properties, possible fines, possible misdemeanors, sometimes requiring professional evaluations at the property owner's expense, and more) those properties they designate as historical properties and trees. This meeting is the opportunity for the public to express their opinion. For more information I strongly suggest that people view the excellent analysis on www.NNVESJ.org (the East Hills newsletter).

Yours truly, Edward Allegretti Member, Historical Heritage Commission of Santa Clara County

NNV Note: Unfortunately, we can't link to Peter Slorp's letter in the San Jose Mercury News because the Mercury News does not put letters on its Web site.  Note the related letter from from Mr. Slorp just below.

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11/6/03 - I live in Morgan Hill as I've have my entire life. In fact, I'm 3rd generation. On the advice of Ed Allegretti, I am forwarding you a letter I just sent to the Historical Heritage Commission. This Heritage Ordinance if passed, will have serious negative affects on our family's plans. I've tried to articulate this to the Commission. You may publish this if you wish.  Thank you.  Pete Slorp

NNV Note: Click here to read Peter Slorp's letter to the Historical Heritage Commission.  He is responding to Ed Allegretti's article on the Proposed Santa Clara County Historic Preservation Ordinance which was published in NNV and then in the Morgan Hill Times.  Click here to read Ed Allegretti's article.

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11/2/03 - I personally think the stop light is a Godsend. I fully expected to be creamed many times making a left turn onto McKee. With all the traffic on Toyon now that Penitencia Creek Road is the Alum Rock Park route of choice, the stop light is even more appreciated. Whether we like it or not, the city traffic is invading our little island of sanity. Martha Kokes

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11/1/03 - I've been using that Toyon & McKee corner for the past 36 years. Obviously with neighborhood growth, the intersection has become busier. When making a left from Toyon onto McKee, one would have to wait for the McKee traffic to clear and this was sometimes difficult during evening rush hour traffic. However there was NEVER a problem turning right onto westbound McKee. Nor was there ever a significant delay turning left onto Toyon from eastbound McKee at any hour.

The remedy for this problem would be a simple traffic light which would allow a protected left turn onto McKee, but whoever was responsible decided to have a left turn light installed from eastbound McKee to Toyon. On several occasions I have seen a dozen cars stacked up to make that left hand turn, extending beyond the turn lane and into the through lane, and this was at noontime!

In addition, cars waiting for the left turn light from Toyon often block access to right turning cars. Trying to solve one problem occurring during a couple hours in the evening has made a bigger, gas and time wasting, problem during the rest of the day.

My solution, assuming that a traffic light was justified at all, would be to eliminate the left turn arrow off McKee. That would give protection for left turns onto McKee from Toyon but not impede traffic on eastbound or westbound McKee at other times. Also, stripe Toyon near the corner to get left hand turning vehicles to stay to the left. Except for trucks and larger SUVs, this would help from stacking up right turning cars.  Tom Diamond

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11/1/03 - Regarding the signal at Toyon and McKee, I think it is good. It was quite daunting to try and cross left from Toyon onto McKee. I only wish that there was a little more room for two cars at that corner, so that people who wish to turn right can do that without waiting for the signal to turn green.  Sonja Troncoso

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11/2/03 - WOW! You did such a GREAT job of writing the story about our "Boesch Hall." You made is sound sooo intriguing and very romantic and all the photos came out just GREAT! I've sent emails with the link to your newsletter to all my family and friends who have email addresses, also to some family members in Switzerland and a printed copy via US mail to my Aunt Martha who's in the "Bar" photo, she is 85 yrs old now, she'll be happy to read about her Mother and Father whom she called "Ma and Pa", also I sent a printed copy to my sister Janice, she doesn't have a computer yet. You sure do have a lot of interesting things to read about and oh sooo many photos too!

Thank-you so much for taking the time to write such a delightful story about our "Boesch Hall." I appreciate it very much and I know my two sisters and my brother will too!

THANK-YOU!  Kathleen Boesch Tirri

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11/1/03 - Have to ask why the animals need a crossing on Alum Rock Avenue? Can't they just cross where they want to? Would they be able to read the sign anyway?

Just don't let them put a traffic signal at McKee and Alum Rock at least not until the new road from over the mountain comes in.  Griff Lewis

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10/30/03 - Many thanks for a wonderful newsletter. You perform a great service to our community.

Although I typically hate to wait for lights to change at intersections, I confess that at the White and Alum Rock intersection, I sometimes wish the red light would remain on just a bit longer. Why? So that I could finish reading all the great messages on the Lick HS lighted board. It's a great way to keep us connected with the Comets.

Keep up the good work.  Ron Hansen

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10/19/03 - Many thanks for your wonderful newsletter. As for Rep. Richard Pombo's Rad Road, this proposal is an abomination and needs to be stopped before it gets off the ground. Do you know to whom we (all your readers who are opposed) should write? Please advise the readership and keep the tip of the iceberg theory in mind. (It says that public officials know that for every one letter received there are usually dozens more who do not write but feel the same way.) Also, the greatest impact comes from: 1. Personal visit; 2. Handwritten, mailed letter; 3. Fax; 4. email.

If it were an effective way to kill this idea quickly, we could circulate petitions and swamp key officials with a mass of signatures.

Look forward to your insights. Thanks, Bernie Kotlier

NNV Note: Click here for our suggestions for which elected officials to contact - and how to do it.

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10/17/03 - Dear Mr. Allegretti, Subject: Changes to Historic Preservation Ordinance

Thank you very much for your important and informative Letter to the Editor in the October 14, 2003 Morgan Hill Times. This is just another example of the ever growing government bureaucracy, taking more and more control of private property from the lawful owners and creating ever more cushy jobs for "tree experts, historical experts, government approved biologists, entomologists, archeologists, Government employees, etc. etc." Everyone of whom sticks the property owner with yet another big fee for the benefit of their "expert" opinions. Where does is ever stop? The City of Saratoga is about to toughen up their tree ordinance to make it virtually impossible to prune or remove any tree greater than 24" inches in diameter at 4 INCHES above grade. The fine is $50,000! This is insanity. Are these people Druids? This amounts to a property taking if you can't even remove a five year old Monterey pine.

We need to have some common sense applied to this issue. As a real estate developer, there is no way that I want to remove stately old oaks from my land, heck they make the property more valuable but these ever invasive and pervasive rules, fees, fines, etc. are really just more levels of taxation. Under the Historical guidelines, all it takes now is one neighbor to state that your building should never change in any way (even if it is functionally obsolete) because they feel it should remain just the way it was when they were children because they have cherished memories, etc. etc. and your project is stopped cold. This very situation happened to my partner in Glendale, even though the City of Glendale strongly supported my partner's planned remodel and reconstruction. The result is the City of Glendale continues to have a tired, 55 year old Class C office building, with high vacancy, in the heart of their proposed new downtown city center, which generates far less taxable revenue than the proposed new hotel and Class A office and retail space. All because of the objections of ONE neighbor.

Thanks again for your letter and please feel free to forward this message to the staff and the Board of Supervisors.  Sincerely, Bob Dwyer

NNV Note: Bob Dwyer is responding to Ed Allegretti's article on the Proposed Santa Clara County Historic Preservation Ordinance which was published in NNV and then in the Morgan Hill Times.  Click here to read the article.

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10/6/03 - To those of us who have known the Walshes for nearly twenty years, they continue to be the most caring neighbors in our very short street.

Thank you for such a nice article about Brian, a very nice human being.  Dixie G. Sinkovits

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10/6/03 - Judy, just wanted to congratulate you on the evolution of your newsletter, very professional and well thought out. Also thanks for the article on the youth center, can hardly wait for the youth to get the opportunity to use the facility...  Christine Silva Burnett, Chief of Staff, District Five Councilmember Nora Campos

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10/5/03 - Another great newsletter. It looks like things have gone down hill since I attended the BART meeting. It now looks like I actually will be an old man (my kids say I already am).... If BART takes 12 more years I will be almost 70. I hope I live that long. I have to say Ed's stories are probably my favorites. I guess because I had many similar experiences. My grandma used to take us to the park for breakfast she would cook on a Coleman stove, I swam in the pool with the greatest circular slide around (cut my foot on the glass in the pool), smashed by fingers on the giant teeter totters and tried my best to get the big swings as high as possible and launch myself into the air. I checked out animals from YSI during the summers and climbed up to the falls where you weren't supposed to go. We hung out with our friends, motorcycles and cars in the park during High School, which is why it probably got a bad reputation. I rediscovered the park in the last five years when I lost some weight and started jogging.

You can't beat the convenience of leaving my front door and jogging around the country club and into the park. The trails and fireroads are really some of the most pleasant exercise locales you could ask for and that is true year round. Even when it rains and the water is running high you can still stay on the pavement and enjoy the scenery. I guess I may be one of the few that is actually happy the Alum Rock entrance is closed....it has made it much safer to enter the park and reduced the number of people I have to share the park with, especially on Sunday mornings. I look forward to more of Ed's stories and pictures. Thank you Judy for all your hard work making this newsletter possible.  Sincerely, Alan Craig

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9/20/03 - Thank you for adding me to your subscription list. I found your newsletter while I was doing some research on the Internet about the history of Alum Rock Park. It linked me to your newsletter because of some articles that some people in the neighborhood wrote about growing up here, etc. I love the newsletter! Thank you so much!  Ciara Jordan

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9/12/03 - First I would like to say how much I enjoy your eastside info. It's a great service! You really hit a sore spot regarding the mail service. In April I submitted the required form to the post office on McGinness Avenue. After returning we learned that our neighbor who was overseeing our place noted that the mail was piling up so she went to the post office and notified them of their failure to stop delivery and they did begin the service. She also was away during a portion of this same time and she also had difficulty getting her mail to resume as she had requested on her form. When I picked up my remaining mail I spoke with a supervisor who indicated that they were having issues with our regular mail person who was on comp and that we were getting a variety of mail persons for this route who did not check for our request. I indicated to her that I thought they had a serious management problem which she did not disagree with, but she also had no real plan of action except advising me to bring the form in next time and speak to a supervisor directly to assure results (?). We are also dealing with missing mail including some rather important stuff, plus receiving mail for others from all over this valley.

With regards to the newspaper I must say we have had much better luck and it has worked for us without a glitch so far.

Thanks again for your service to the eastside and hope this will help in getting some action from the post office.  Dorothy Caldeira

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9/7/03 - You wrote about the Farmer's Market on Fridays in downtown San Jose and I thought I would mention another Farmer's Market held on Sundays (for those of us who have to work during the week) which is held in Japantown on Jackson Street near 6th Street. I think it opens around 8:30 and free parking is never a problem. During the rainy months it moves indoors, so it's open all year long.  Pat Accorinti

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9/6/03 - My experience with mail service has been anything but wonderful. We live on McKee Road; over the 16 years we have lived here we have received mail for the same number on Alum Rock and Fairway and can only assume that mail we have never received has been delivered to them. It has been a while since we've had that problem, but mail theft has occurred to us and to our next door neighbor.

A few years back a disgruntled gentleman took out his frustration on our mail box and killed it. We replaced it with a locking mail box. The post office refused to take a key to pick up mail, our carrier(s) also refused to push mail completely into the box. When I called to complain, we were basically told, "too bad, there was nothing they could do." We were told to drive to the post office to mail anything.

After years of having to drive to the post office to send out our mail, we replaced the mail box with a conventional non-locking mail box, only to have our mail stolen. Again we called the post office and had a long chat with a "supervisor" who told us that there was nothing they could do about mail being stolen, that we should replace our mail box with a locking mail box and take our mail to the post office to be sent out. He did offer the suggestion that we not put up our flag to signify that we had mail to be picked up, but also that the post office is "not legally required" to pick up mail from our box.

I feel that the reason there is so much "trouble" getting good mail service is that we no longer have the same mail carrier responsible for our route. We don't know who our carrier is, nor do they know us, their customers. We used to be able to count on the fact that our mail would be delivered at roughly the same time every day, by the same person, who cared about us, the customers.  Sincerely, Sandy Carvalho

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8/28/03 - Hello Judy. It was very nice to meet you yesterday. I had a chance to look at your web site today and I thought it was excellent! As the "new guy in town," or at least the JL area as your site calls it, I look forward with great anticipation to the work ahead of me and the future goodness the new Alum Rock Youth Center will bring. I hope we can work together closely for years to come, for there will be lots to report and programs and events to promote. Please feel free to contact me with any question you may have! Thank you.

Ed Solis, Community Coordinator, Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services, Safe School Campus Initiative, City Of San Jose

NNV Note: We met Ed at the tour of the new Alum Rock Youth Center.  His duties will be the overall supervision and coordination of all staff, services, and community involvement programs as it pertains to the new youth center.  Click here to read about the new youth center and here for more about the San Jose's Safe School Campus Initiative.

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8/20/03 - Thanks for the great coverage of Dinner in the Dirt. Your NNV is wonderful. I don't know how you find the time to do it, but I'm glad you do. Anne Dunham, Executive Director, YSI

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8/13/03 - The City of San Jose is currently recruiting for Part Time Park Rangers for the Regional Parks. Would you please post this info on the New Neighborhood Voice. Thanks,  Mike Will, Parks Facility Supervisor, City of San Jose, Alum Rock Park, phone (408) 277-3267, e-mail mike.will@ci.sj.ca.us  

NNV Note: As of 9/1/03, both Full Time and Part Time Park Ranger positions are open.  Click here for the job descriptions for these positions and/or contact Mike for more information about these openings.  NNV is happy to hear that the City is trying to fill some of the park ranger vacancies.  If you know of other job openings of potential interest to our readers, e-mail JudyET@NNVESJ.org.

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8/13/03 - The port a potty is gone. Regardez the power of the press. Alan Henninger

NNV Note: Alan is referring to the porta potty and construction signs by the Miguelita Creek Bridge.  They have finally been removed!  Click here to read our recent FAQ on this subject.  

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6/16/03 - I enjoy your newsletter, even though I live downtown. ( I am often out in the Alum Rock area.) I could totally relate to the lack of mailboxes in the neighborhoods now. They have removed all but one of ours and it is a long haul to it.

I work up near Palo Alto and I can't help but notice that there is a mailbox on just about every corner there.  Sherri Adams

NNV Note:  Sherri is referring to the "Making the Case for Neighborhood Mailboxes" story in our archives.  Use the Back button on your browser to return to this page. 

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6/5/03 - Thanks for an afternoon of fascinating reading. Isn't that Ed Allegretti a kick! I enjoyed Ahmad Abu-Shumays' letter about volunteering at James Lick High School and certainly applaud his dedication and pleasure in his successful effort. His remarks near the end of his letter prompt me to suggest setting up a schedule for cookie donations for the tutoring classes since his wife Abaan's contributions seemed so popular.

All the letters to the editor were interesting too and should stir up some much needed pride and maybe helpers and maybe a little cash too (which can always do magical things).  Clairee Tynes, Placentia, CA

NNV Note:  Clairee is a dear friend of the editor in Southern California.  Her late husband was a high school teacher, coach and superintendent of schools and was the mayor of Placentia for many years.  Now he has a school named after him and Clairee administers a scholarship fund in his memory.  Clairee is also the author of "The Miracle of Bill," a book she wrote about their family's encounter with AIDS.

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5/31/03 - I suspect the success of the Olsson students was as much the influence and support of the parents as the school. The teachers certainly tried to motivate but the parents had to follow it up. Having known Comfort and her late husband as well as some of the children I would say that it would be difficult to find a better combination of school, student and parent working together.

The reference to Clifford's Drug in the picture was timely as Joyce Clifford, who owned and ran the Pharmacy, is written up in today's obituaries in the Mercury. Griff Lewis

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5/6/03 - I only have one question about JLHS, the same question that I put to the Assistant Superintendent of Education of the Santa Clara Union High School District 6 or 7 years ago. My question was answered by a very long pause, and then he blurted out that they definitely did have a strong program and named the only course that he could think of. I was not surprised by his answer.

I had to take him to task, for the answer was not even close to the question that I had asked. He finally admitted that they had no course or course content that would have allowed him to answer my question in the affirmative. I was not surprised, and made arrangements for my granddaughter to go live with her aunt in another state where they made sure the kids had all the basic classes, including the one thing that they would have to deal with virtually every day of their lives, personal financial management. Little things like budgets, credit and its costs, the ways of working down debt like a second job, or better yet save up and pay cash ! The closest the SCUHSD could come up with was "business bookkeeping"!

I wonder if personal financial management is part of the required curriculum anywhere in California.

After a short reflection, what is the dropout rate, how do they compare to other HS in the nation, and how well are their graduates prepared for the real world, including those students who do not choose to pursue higher education. Everything that I read was showcasing those who excel, but we can not allow the others to fall through the cracks. I can not relate to GPA's and do not believe that they can be used to rate performance, as the percentage of 4.0's has gone up drastically since my high school years.

My comments are not aimed at JLHS, but questions for the education system in California.  W Barr

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5/3/03 - Wow, what a great newsletter....I'm always so IMPRESSED with the content. Thanks for all the info.  Sonja Troncoso

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5/3/03 - I was interested in reading your piece on Lick High. We were in Arizona when the Rodriquez hit piece on Lick was published. I must say I am surprised that he would take shots at a school with a significant minority population since his columns are often anti-Anglo and rife with class envy. In short, Rodriquez is a jerk and no one should waste his or her time reading his columns.

Our two sons attended ARUSD schools and graduated from James Lick in 1988 and 1989. Lick staff were for the most part very good, the exception being one math teacher who retired before he went off the payroll a number of years later. Our sons attended and graduated from universities. The most important education our boys received at Lick came from the many lessons in life learned by associating and developing lasting friendships in Lick's multi-ethnic population. I point this out to our "west valley" friends who make disparaging remarks about the eastside. The lessons learned are not found in any textbook. For this they and we are very grateful.

I am not familiar with Lick's reputation in these times. But I suspect that a lot of the "hill people" are sending their kids to private schools. Comparing the number of autos in the student parking lot to that of the 1980s leads me to believe that students from higher income families are not attending. This in itself is not a negative. It just serves to point out that there may be a loss of confidence in Lick's programs. I thought the mailing that Lick administration sent to the neighborhood served, for the most part, to put Lick in a good light. I think it was unfortunate, however, that mention was made that two San Jose Police Department officers are on campus. One has to wonder why and this sends a negative message. It is not healthy to have this perception in the community. Students have only one shot at an education and few parents are willing to experiment. I hope your efforts through NNV serve to remove any lack of confidence in Lick's abilities to provide a good education to our students. Perhaps some articles written by Lick students and faculty pointing out the positives can be included in future NNV editions.  Doug Lowe

Editor's Note: NNV dropped by the high school on Cinco de Mayo and spoke with San Jose police officer, John Moore, who was patrolling the parking lot. NNV asked him whether Lick was alone in having police officers on the campus. He explained that all the high schools have police presence these days and that their primary mission is to make sure that non-students or other outsiders do not enter the campus. He mentioned that even some middle schools have police officers on campus. He also volunteered that Lick is "a good school with good kids."

NNV also spoke with staffer, Mary Ann Andrade, who clarified the number of police who patrol the school. There are two, but actually only one at a time. Officer Moore is present on four days and another officer comes one day per week. Ms. Andrade pointed out that there is a side benefit to having San Jose Police presence at the school - the students develop rapport with police officers and learn they can be trusted. It was quite clear that John Moore was well-regarded by the students who clustered around him and that he had great respect for them.

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4/30/03 -  If you are a walker, you may have noticed the tire tracks in the dirt by the 25mph sign near the bend in Alum Rock Avenue next to the Country Club fence. Last Tuesday, Mike and I were walking there when a car speeding up Alum Rock did not make the curve, hit the ditch over at the foot of Edgemont, and came 90 degrees over the embankment. He barely touched the ground and hit the trees head-on. It was only about 15 steps in front of us. He was airborne! I ran to the club to call 911. All we got out of the driver before he lost consciousness was that his name was Carlos. We had 3 sheriff’s cars, 2 CHP cars, a fire engine, and an ambulance parked on the wrong side of the road to get him out. And guess what? The cars coming along STILL did not slow down, even with the cops in the road gesturing for them to cool it. Amazing. 

Mike and I had to give statements to the CHP, but they said there was no way for us to find out if the guy lived or not unless it appeared in the paper. Does NNV have any connections in this regard? Ol’ Carlos had to be a complete moron to be driving like that, so I’m not sure whether to feel sorry for him or not, but we’d be interested to know how things turned out. It sure did not look good.

One other thing…..buy a Honda Accord. The thing was still running! And it protected the driver so well there didn’t seem to be a mark on him. His legs weren’t crushed and the inside of the car was intact. He had to be going 40 when he hit the trees. If we had been 5 seconds further down the road you would have read all about US in the paper. We would never have been able to get out of the way. Scared the heck out of us.  Pat Benham

NNV Note: Click here for the Sheriff's Department press releases. As expected, we didn't find anything there for a single-vehicle accident like this.  Likewise, the CHP doesn't publish information on accidents like this.  Click here for the Sheriff's Department media relations page and contact information.  Since we don't have a "police blotter" reporter, we have to depend on readers like Pat to cover the local beat.  Updated 1/7/04.

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4/25/03 - You are certainly doing our community a great service by putting out NNV. Thank you!  Joan & Mike Destro

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4/17/03 - Both our sons attended James Lick High School in the late 1960's and early 70's. Jim and I were extremely pleased with the fine education they received. We heard only positive comments from them regarding their teachers - who did not hesitate giving ample homework plus high expectations. For example, weekly spelling lists for English class were expected to be memorized before regular test days. Then both participated in band, holiday parades, competitions, and football game half-time activities. One year, back-to-back top awards to the band were presented. JLHS provided a solid foundation for college, service in the Army Security Agency, and successful careers plus thriving families.

The following years to the present time remain a question regarding the cause of less satisfaction with the quality of education, unless major changes from the State down (English through Literature and excluding sentence diagramming for one example) have gradually diluted the quality of public schools. Changes must be made; but consistency in the classrooms matter, too. 

Parents must insist that the major subjects return to major status in local public schools. Then, there should be a major change in the popularity of the nearby neighborhood schoolhouse.  Marion Collett

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3/24/03 - To Ms. Judy Thompson, Editor, New Neighborhood Voice

Dear Ms. Thompson:

Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition to a proposed six-lane freeway running from the Central Valley across the Mount Hamilton Range and into East San Jose. I appreciate hearing from you and I agree with you.

As you may know, my California colleague Congressman Richard Pombo (R-Tracy) has introduced a bill (H.R. 619) that would direct the federal Department of Transportation to study the feasibility of constructing such a freeway. I think such a freeway would be an environmental disaster and monstrously expensive. You have my commitment to do what I can to stop this proposal.

Again, thank you for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to do so again if I may ever be of assistance to you or your family.

Sincerely, 

Zoe Lofgren, Member of Congress

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3/14/03 - What a wonderful improvement we've seen on Fleming Avenue between Alum Rock and Mahoney. The newly paved street, complete with curbs & sidewalks is so much nicer for both driving and walking. And best of all, it's much safer for our kids. This has been a project in the works for a long time, and we thank the County for getting the work done, and all the cooperation from the Alum Rock School District, the city, and parents and community leaders working through PACT (People Acting in Community Together) and St. John Vianney's PACT Local Organizing Committee. I think we should especially recognize Tanya Freudenberger, whose dedicated and persistent leadership was key to this project's completion.  Mary Parker-Eves, Pastor, Alum Rock United Methodist Church, 30 Kirk Avenue, San Jose 95127

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3/9/03 - In less than 10 days the Mayor Ron Gonzales will submit his budget and then we will know where he thinks cuts are appropriate for San Jose. Nora Campos will have a very hard time keeping enough funding for library staff, Alum Rock Park maintenance and rangers, Mexican Heritage Gardens or other organizations that create the quality of life we enjoy. I fear that we will become an area of buildings without the staff to “keep the doors open” or to create programs for the public. 

The Eastside has traditionally not communicated with the Mayor in a coordinated manner. The last couple of years have shown we can work together, but the new library process showed we have a way to go to be recognized. I hope with NNV to pass the alert that within the next couple of days many people will let the Mayor and Council know that providing staff for the new library is as important as the building. Rangers in Alum Rock Park or the funds for YSI and the MHG programs are important and must not be cut. 

There are places to cut the budget, but it should not be in those few facilities that provide so much value to the Eastside residents. It may be easy to cut in the Eastside, but it is not fair to an area that has been traditionally under funded. Email the Mayor at mayoremail@ci.sj.ca.us or Nora Campos at nora.campos@ci.sj.ca.us. I know Nora will do what she can, but she can not do it alone.  We have to help by contacting Chuck Reed, David Cortese and other Councilmembers.  Bonnie Bamberg  

See our Contacts page for contact information for the other Councilmembers.  NNV

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3/3/03 - I think Mr. Pombo does not live in the East Foothills of San Jose and does not care about our traffic problems or our property.  I love Zoe Lofgrens quote in the Merc.  Keep it up Zoe!  People listen when she speaks in California.   Gaye Dabalos

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READERS:  How do you feel about the orange-painted bridge railings?  Would you prefer that they be repainted brown to match the other railings?  Please let us know ASAP.  E-mail JudyET@NNVESJ.org or call (408) 272-7008.  The County has promised to act on the community's preference (see County Project Engineer Hosalli Gangadhara's letter below).  

 Final Vote Results (Updated 3/3/03)

Votes
 Keep the historic railings orange 3

 Repaint the historic railings brown to match the other railings

11

 Get rid of the historic railings altogether

2

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3/2/03 - Measure A is good for airport customers because it enables the airport to handle current and future security changes. In the past eighteen months we’ve seen a dramatic change in what our airports are required to do to screen both passengers and baggage. Measure A means that the San Jose airport can implement a screening process that checks bags efficiently creating a better, safer environment.

Measure A helps the airport alleviate congestion in the terminals. Also it is consistent with the policies and actions within the city to alleviate traffic congestion.

Further, I commend the projects that are already underway to relieve congestion around the airport and understand that Measure A compliments those projects.

Measure A adds thousands of jobs to our region. Something that is very important as we all realize that we must have projects in place that help our economy and keep people on the job. Measure A has no funding attached, all improvements must be paid for by airport revenues and are not funded through any taxes.

Vote yes on Measure A, it impacts all of us.  Jane Swift (airport employee)

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2/12/03 - Dear Brad:

I read your article about running in Alum Rock Park and the Boccardo Trail in the New Neighborhood Voice - February 8, 2003. Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences with the rest of the readership of the New Neighborhood Voice. Your article contained valuable comments.

Regarding the Boccardo Trail, its trailhead does show up on Alum Rock Park's most recent brochure. The Santa Clara County Open Space Authority also has a trail map specifically for this trail. Both the Alum Rock Park brochure and the Boccardo Trail brochure are available from the Park Rangers in Alum Rock Park.

I would also like to point out that the current schedule for parking fees in Alum Rock Park is as follows: 
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, vehicle fees to enter the park are collected seven days a week. After Labor Day and until Memorial Day, vehicle fees are collected only on weekends. Please also note that this fee collection schedule may be affected by staff availability and scheduling. The pay booth may also be closed due to inclement weather where visitation will be low and not warrant the staff costs for that day. The fee for parking in Alum Rock Park is $5. For addition parking fee information such as discounts or annual passes, please contact a Park Ranger or call (408) 259-5477.

Thank you again for your interest in Alum Rock Park.

Sincerely, 

Mike Will, Parks Facility Supervisor 
Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services Department 
City of San José, Alum Rock Park

Click here to read Brad Clawsie's article about running in Alum Rock Park and the Boccardo Trail.

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2/9/03 - The sky is falling all around us and we are concerned about orange bridge railings?  They have served their purpose and should be discarded ASAP.  Griff Lewis

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2/6/03 - Dear Mr. Gangadhara:  

I've seen recent emails in reference to the bridge railings and a copy of Mr. Jackson's letter to the commission dated January 22, 2003 (please thank him for this reply which is appreciated).   It seems you recently have been trying to save as many railings as possible and are trying to make the community happy.  This is very much appreciated, thank you!  

From the perspective of the historical commission, as many railings as possible should be saved (not necessarily used).  My opinion is use as many as the community wants and paint them the color that the community wishes.  Those not used we request be saved in storage.  If you wish to place a plaque this is a kind suggestion.  You probably should present this request to the Historical Heritage Commission for approval of wording, etc.  

The difficult question is, who represents the community in terms of how many railings and what color?  I'm not sure that the committee appointed by the Alum Rock Neighborhood Coalition really represents the community. However, I'm not saying that they don't.  Since I don't know what this coalition is, what areas it covers, who are their members, and how often they've met, I can't personally give an opinion.  

It would be kind if the New Neighborhood Voice could ask its readers to respond with their recommendations.  I think this would best solicit and obtain the majority view of our community.  My main objective is to please the community who must live with the bridge daily.  

This email can be forwarded to anybody who might be interested. 

With kindest regards and appreciation, 

Yours truly, 

Edward Allegretti, East Hills resident

Commissioner, Historical Heritage Commission of Santa Clara County

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2/6/03 - Mr.Pollock and Dear Residents: 

Mr.Pollock, Thanks for your response. There are two issues here.

 - The first one is the color of the relocated Historic Railing.  If the committee feels that the Historic Railing is to be painted the same color as the pedestrian bridge, this can be done.

 - The other issue is the location of the Historic Railing.  The plan the County presented to the Historic Heritage Commission to obtain their approval showed the Railing relocation where it is installed now.  It is the HHC's direction that the County install the Railing where it was shown when the plans were approved.  Also the HHC has directed the County to install a plaque depicting when the pedestrian bridge was completed, names of the lead agencies, where the Historic Railing came from and when it was relocated.  The plaque is being made and will be installed on the concrete pilaster (pillar) at the south entrance of the bridge.  At this time there are not any options left regarding the location of the Historic Railing.  

Sincerely,

Hosalli Gangadhara, Project Engineer, Santa Clara County Roads and Airports Department  

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2/6/03 - I wasn't at the meeting where the handling of the historic handrail was discussed.  I have talked with someone who did attend and his recollection was that the County was going to paint the handrail the same color of the bridge and put it in an inconspicuous place. 

My personal opinion is that the current color is horrible and the location is ridiculous.  The county has done a terrific job in developing an attractive bridge and footbridge.  The current treatment of the historic handrail only detracts from the esthetics of the project. 

I thought that the historic society wanted to preserve the handrails.  Where they are put is not an issue.  I would prefer that they be put in storage or used on some other project where they would fit.  If the County insists on using them on this project, I would put them on both sides of the downhill entrance to the footbridge and I would paint them the same color as the metal on the bridge. 

The current treatment, detracts not adds to the esthetics of a very well done project.  Steve Pollock

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1/25/03 - First, thanks so much for the NNV.  The effort of you and your contributors is truly appreciated. 

However, I'm sorry I cannot say the same thing for the new Miguelito Vehicle Bridge.  After more than 10 years of daily crossing this bedraggled bridge with it's slap-dash repair, imagine my dismay when the concrete barriers were removed to reveal - a clumsy new affair that resembles nothing more than a cattle guard turned on edge.  With apologies to cattle guards, at least their welding is straight. 

After hearing assurances of respecting the "historic character" of the bridge, were we duped?   Ron Hansen

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1/13/03 - I wanted to let you know of my experience this weekend with mail theft.  On Saturday at 5:30 am I received a phone call from Campbell Police.  The officer asked me if I had authorized anyone to use my Discover card.  I replied that I did not use my Discover card and had not seen it in quite a while.  He had already contacted Discover who reported that cards had been mailed to my husband and I in October.  The thief (who has been arrested) planned to tap into our phone in order to activate the card.  When I called Discover, they assured me that the account had not had any charges - but they also could not explain why they sent out cards without out a request and when we had cards (in a safe place at home) that were still valid.

We had a mail theft incident several years ago where outgoing checks were stolen, bleached, and then cashed at the bank branch we frequent.  The post office inspector general was involved in that case - apparently it was an inside job and they caught the person.  At the time we asked the local post office twice about installing group locking boxes for five homes - and they never responded.  Now, with this incident, we found that the local Orchard Supply does not carry locking mail boxes.  We have, however, found many sources on the net.  Since the first incident, we have not left mail to be picked up at our box and have been troubled by the removal of the collection boxes.   Sue Eichenbaum 

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1/05/03 - I have really enjoyed reading your newsletter.  I would like to thank you for being so courageous as to undertake such a venture.  I have currently taken on the task of trying to safeguard our neighborhood public schools, namely Linda Vista Elementary School.  There have been numerous incidents of "strangers" and stray dogs roaming freely on the campus during school hours.  The school gates remain open constantly.  This is very disturbing to me, as I hope it will be to every parent who reads this.  The lack of concern for the safety of our children is a matter I have made several attempts to discuss with the Superintendent of our school district, but it has been to no avail.  I would also like to mention the condition of the playground.  Why is it that so many other schools are getting new playgrounds and have 3 - 4 adults on yard duty monitoring the children?  While the children of Linda Vista wait in long lines "hoping" to have a chance to play at one of the 2 handball courts or play on the scarcely equipped "jungle gym".  During recess there are only 1 - 2  adults monitoring the 100 plus children.  Please tell me how something like this is possible when we are living in $300,000+ homes?   Where is all the money going and what is being done to provide a safe environment for our children?  Rubi Chenier

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12/14/02 - We went to the opening today at Rafikis and what a fun place it is!!  It is just what we need around here... a comfortable place for friends to meet and talk and on top of that the drinks are yummy!  I saw that they were taking pictures today at the shop and I spoke with the owner, Liesl Violante.  There is quite a story behind the shop.  The owner sat down and showed me pictures of how they expect the profits from the sales of the items in the store will contribute to efforts in Africa and other developing countries.  Very inspiring!  Tricia

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12/11/02 - Thanks for e-mailing us a copy of your "New Neighborhood Voice" earlier this month.  It was interesting and well-written.  Printed the edition out and shared the news with family.  A large part of our history happened on Highland Drive.  May you have much success with the paper; plus a wonderful holiday season!  Marion & Jim Collett

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12/10/02 - Congrats on a very informative first issue.  Wow, there's a lot that goes on around here.  Thanks so much for all your efforts.  Eileen Parks

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12/9/02 - Hey Judy, please add me to your email list.  I get way too many emails each day, but this is one I am very interested in.  Bob Larrabee

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12/9/02 - We've all missed the 'bond' that gives our community strength and cohesiveness that was with our East newspaper --- real glad that you've taken up the initiative.  Milli and Jay Wright

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12/5/02 - Now I finally know what's happening in the JL parking lot!.  Joan Cotta

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12/2/02 - I read the entire e-mailed news today and I am so pleased to have that as a resource to the goings-on in our community.  Thank you so very much.  Kathi Endris

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12/2/02 - Thank you for an excellent, informative newsletter.  It's refreshing to read good and not so good news on the neighborhood portrayed objectively.  I especially enjoyed reading about the Owners of the Rafikis Cafe.  Inspiring story.  Abaan Abu-Shumays

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11/21/02 - Your commitment to communication is valued (by me) and valuable (to our community). Thanks and the best of luck to you in your endeavor!  Susanne McDonough

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11/17/02 - New Pedestrian bridge: I LOVE it! It is well made, and looks like it always has been there. It really belongs there.  Carol Hungerford

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11/17/02 - Great first edition, even if it is not what you planned the real point is information and you did a super job. Thank you,  Bonnie and Marv Bamburg

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11/17/02 - Thank you for the information. This is great.  Anna Ryan

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11/11/02 - We will look forward to hearing from our neighborhood via the newsletter/paper. We will most certainly share our viewpoints. Your time and effort is much appreciated.  Kathi and Mike Endris

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11/11/02 - Good luck and I look forward to your first edition!  Kathleen Kaminitz

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11/6/02 - We both read "East" and missed it when it stopped coming. I agree with you that there are issues that are of concern to everybody in our neighborhood.  Tracy Kelly

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Copyright© 2002-2006 by Judy Thompson.  All rights reserved. New Neighborhood Voice assumes no responsibility for the reliability or accuracy of any information posted on this page. Updated 7/17/06.

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