|Is it really true that there will be only two more editions of New Neighborhood Voice?|
|What will the Alum Rock community do without a regular source for area news and views?|
|Did Councilmember Nora Campos ever get her Annexation Answer Book?|
|What about the City of San Jose’s transfer tax when homes are annexed into the city?|
|What will the new retail building look like at the corner of McKee and Vista?|
|What is happening with the Hillcrest “group home” for developmentally disabled adults?|
|What is the big excavation in the yard of the landslide-damaged Alum Rock Avenue home?|
|What did the renovation of Lick’s Administration Building entail?|
|Did the deceased woman found in a garbage processing station have Eastside connections?|
|Is it true that NNV will stop publishing in November?|
|Is it true that Alum Rock Stables is on the market? Could it be subdivided for homes?|
|Has anyone ever heard what became of Christine Silva Burnett?|
|Will people living in county pockets annexed into San Jose pay much higher taxes?|
|Could the County’s proposed preservation law affect homes around Alum Rock Park?|
|I’m looking for space to lease in the Village – do you know about the pink building?|
|What happened after the arson fire which burnt-up the Little League equipment shed?|
|When will the Eastridge Post Office move back inside the mall?|
|Is it still true that a new Home Depot will move into the Mervyn’s-on-Story location?|
|What happened to the pigeons on the utility wires of the Cruz Alum Rock Library?|
|Is there still talk about undergrounding the wires at the library eventually?|
|The threat of “Pombo’s Road” being built through our neighborhood is all over, isn’t it?|
|Do you know how much they’re asking for the new homes where Bill’s Pony Ranch was?|
|Any word on the La Bodega business in the Village? Will that eyesore be fixed soon?|
|What’s the new construction going on in front of James Lick High School?|
|Why didn’t they send an engine from Station 2 to a nearby fire?|
|Why are there so few adult fiction books at the new Cruz/Alum Rock Library?|
|Is it true that a Trader Joe’s is going in next door to the new Costco in North San Jose?|
|Why didn’t Rafiki’s go after the coffee shop opportunity in the Cruz/Alum Rock Library?|
|How is the campaign to get a Peet’s Coffee in the Rafiki’s location coming along?|
|Why don’t we try to get Jamba Juice to move into Rafiki’s old space?|
|Why has the city allowed the promised “La Bodega” site to become such a blight?|
|Is it true that mail thieves robbed the mailboxes on Highland Drive again in April?|
|Are the rumors true that Thai White Rock Café is going to become a Mexican restaurant?|
|Is it true that menu prices at TWRC all went up in March?|
|How can we be sure that the Village doesn’t lose its very best restaurant (TWRC)?|
|Did NNV hear from readers commenting on the February Mt Hamilton Road pedestrian death?|
|What is the final story for Rafiki’s Coffee Hut?|
|Was the new Café.com at the library a factor in Rafiki’s closing?|
|What will go into the empty Rafiki’s shop?|
|Does the Redevelopment Agency help keep rents reasonable and appropriate to a neighborhood?|
|Is it true that Rafiki’s Coffee Hut is going to morph into a Starbucks?|
|Is it true that Rafiki’s was for sale?|
|Do any of our lowlife mail thieves ever get caught around here?|
|Is it true that some idiot was crashing his vehicle through plate glass windows?|
|Does it still look like we’ll be getting a Costco Warehouse store here in East San Jose?|
|Is it true that Anthony Caruso’s project on White Road will have only nine parking spaces?|
|Does it still look as though a Home Depot store will replace Mervyn’s on Story Road?|
|So, what happens to the Mervyn’s business?|
|Is our neighborhood fire station, Station 2, going to be torn down and replaced?|
|What in the heck happened to the burnt-to-a-crisp palm tree on Alum Rock at El Campo?|
|Didn’t NNV say the new structures at Story and Clayton Roads were affordable condos?|
|NNV used to have a photo feature called “On the Road – McKee Road”? What’s up?|
A. Yes, this (October) edition and the next one (November) are the final two newsletters. And, yes, after we publish on November 5th and deliver the final paper copies that week, we will bid adios to our readership. Click here to read our plan.
A. ARNNE (Alum Rock Neighborhood Network E-list) is up and running. Click here to read about it and join the group.
A. Yes, finally. And some Lyndale residents and others have it now also. Click here for your copy (big PDF file).
A. Well, significance is in the eye of the beholder’s pocketbook, we guess. We understand that, when a home in San Jose is sold, a transfer tax amounting to $3.30 per $1,000 is assessed. That amounts to $3,300 on the sale of a one million dollar home. It’s usually paid by the seller at the close of escrow. The County has no transfer fee.
A. It will be a one-story structure with lots of windows on McKee and some facing the driveway on the west side of the building. The exterior color scheme features warm browns and olives accented by natural wood siding and stone trim. It will be quite close to the street rather than being set back the way the old gas station/produce store was. Parking will be in the rear. Click here for a rendering.
A. Nothing is happening because the plan was withdrawn. Some Hillcrest residents are heaving a sigh of relief because they dodged what they perceived as a major threat to their way of life and property values. It cost a large consortium of Hillcrest homeowners a total of $30,000 to $40,000 to achieve this end. Click here to read the article in last month's NNV.
The advocates for the home which was to be installed in a single family home in this “nice” neighborhood have moved on to other communities where their vulnerable clientele will be welcomed.
A. A new custom-built 4,000 square foot home is being built there in
front of the old house where the young Goode family lived until the landslide
began pulling the house apart. The man who bought the property about eight years
ago is having the new house built for himself and his family. He’s not sure
whether the old, damaged house can be salvaged, but, if it can be, there will be
two houses on the one half acre (double) lot. Click
A. NNV reported that the project would be completed early last spring. However, the staff wasn’t able to leave their temporary offices until just before school started in August. The drab old building received a major make-over right down to its bones. The entrance was upgraded nicely and the old marble steps are now complemented by fresh soft-green double doors. A major improvement took place in the entry hall which had been a barren space surrounded by anonymous solid doors which always seemed to be closed. Now there is a classy reception desk giving a welcoming ambiance to what used to be unused space.
New carpeting and furniture – much of it in cool shades of green – replace old, worn-out furnishings. The attendance desk is newly outfitted. Principal Bill Rice’s office, his secretary Sheri Bonacorso’s office and the small conference room all are fresh with simple new desks, chairs and tables. One of Lick’s best original features, the large windows facing the East hills, continue to illuminate all the bright offices on the front of the building.
A new driveway and visitor parking lot were constructed in what used to be an awkward front lawn area. It’s now possible to reach the entrance of the Admin building without traipsing around the perimeter of the lawn! New sod and landscaping plants were installed shortly after the start of school.
Click here for photos.
A. Yes. Drivers passing the corner of Alum Rock and White Roads might remember a diminutive woman selling copies of the Mercury News early in the morning as recently as last February. The body of that small woman, Kelley Rose Daniel, was found by refuse sorters in Sunnyvale. She was the estranged wife of Henry Enos. According to the Mercury News of September 26th, “Her family asks that donations in memory of Daniel be made to the Emergency Housing Consortium, sent either directly or through a PayPal link on the Web site. The address for [mailed] donations is Emergency Housing Consortium, Resource Development Department, 2665 N. First St., Suite 210, San Jose, Calif. 95134."
Click here to read more about Henry in the last edition of NNV.
A. Yes, indeed, we are retiring from publishing just as soon as the November newsletter comes out on November 5th. We hope someone else will want to start a new publication. Click here to read our plan. Meanwhile, one of our reader/contributors, Andrea Flores Shelton, proposes that our readers might like to communicate via an “Alum Rock E-List Serve.” Please see her article at the beginning of this edition and let her know if this is something in which you would participate.
A. Yes, it’s true that the owner of the property, Don Hamilton, put the property up for sale for about $1.2 million. The agent marketing the property is NNV Sponsor Mark DeTar of Intero Real Estate Services. A potential buyer came along almost immediately. That buyer was not BABTT which hoped to buy the property at a “conservation” price they might be able to afford.
The property probably isn’t suitable for subdivision so, if the neighborhood is lucky, it will remain rural with one house on it rather than several McMansions. BABTT is out of the picture unless the property comes up for sale again in the future and the seller is conservation minded.
A. Yes, in a small item in the August 17th edition of the Mercury News (p. 3B) it was revealed that Ms. Burnett had pleaded no contest to a charge of “a single misdemeanor count of appropriating lost property, which carries a maximum $1,000 fine and six months in county jail.”
Ms. Burnett’s sentence? Forty hours of volunteer work. Say what? Unless there’s a typo in the Merc, (which is possible, of course) she will have to prove she did one-work-week’s worth of community service and she will be on probation for two years after that.
The crime at the time was ballyhooed as a serious breech of “City Hall ethics” which immediately landed Ms. Burnett out on her ear. What a surprise that it earned such a wimpy slap on the wrist. Was it a big deal – or not? Perhaps we’ll never understand how the city works, hey? By the way, Christine Silva Burnett, was an excellent staffer in Nora Campos’ office and was a pleasure to work with.
A. Well, according to a woman who came up to the Farmers’ Market ARVA booth when NNV was manning it one Sunday, that’s exactly what will happen. She seemed rather upset that NNV wasn’t more anti-annexation. We asked her to get in touch and share her information with NNV readers. Unfortunately she just disappeared into the crowd and we’ve never heard from her again.
We did ask pro-annexation reader Andrea Flores Shelton to respond. Andrea, who has worked for County Supervisor Blanca
Alvarado as a Senior Policy Aide, writes:
The smaller pockets that will be annexed over the next few years should only feel the voter-approved bonds (i.e. Library, Parks, etc.) which the County already has people paying for – it would be an exchange not an addition, is my understanding. Property taxes will NOT go up. Sidewalks and streetlights are not paid for once annexation is approved but through gradual means that may not be on the backs of the residents. I am working on getting the Annexation Answer Book (from Councilmember Nora Campos or Blanca Alvarado’s office) because these rumors are way off. But, without an official message, the rumors will continue. But, if you look at the City’s phasing plan, annexation of the large portion of Alum Rock isn’t even discussed. It won’t happen in at least 5-10 years, if that.
Andrea says her opinions may not reflect those of the Supervisor and are shaped by her experience as a resident and past work experience. Click here to read Andrea's pro-annexation article.
Francis Zamora, San Jose Councilmember Nora Campos' Communications Director, sent us the following as soon as he saw this FAQ:
"There will be
no reassessment of property as part of annexation to the City of San Jose and
therefore no increase in Property taxes. There will be slight changes to the
Special Assessments which are collected with property taxes. Special assessments
are a charge levied by a public authority to pay the cost of public improvements
such as streetlights, water and sewer infrastructure, and libraries. Typically
there is a minimal increase in the amount paid for these purposes in the City
compared with the County. The changes vary according to the particular area but
in no case is there a 40% increase in the amount paid for property taxes (where
there is no change) and special assessments (where there is a minimal
With regards to the Answer Book, Councilmember Nora Campos has made getting the Annexation Answer Book out to the community a priority. We've been informed by the City Manager that the Answer Book will be available well before the end of September. This book will be available on the City's Website, distributed at community meetings and mailed to residents."
Click here for Councilmember Campos' memo to the City Manager regarding the Answer Book, which is intended to answer all these questions related to annexation. Click here to read our article on annexation in the May edition of NNV (this article includes maps of the "county pockets" planned for annexation in this area).
A. Absolutely yes to the former question. Unfortunately no to the latter question. According to an article in the August 14th Mercury News (P. 1B) “the proposed law … would prohibit demolition of all historically significant – and even ‘potentially significant’ – buildings” in such areas. “A register of landmarks and potential landmarks would be compiled. Once a building was on the list, it couldn’t be altered or destroyed without county approval.” The ordinance “would allow properties to be protected over the owners’ objections.”
“Any building over 50 years old linked to historic events or important people might qualify. If a house were built by a prominent architect” or belonged to a notable figure “it could be on the list.” A woman interviewed for the article said, “Just because [some houses] are old or someone famous once lived in them, doesn’t make them all landmarks.”
Although NNV has regularly published articles on the drafting of the ordinance and printed reminders of Historical Heritage Commission meetings over the last several years, only concerned county residents from the Stanford area “have stepped up to oppose the new ordinance.”
Can you still have your say? Only at the Board of Supervisors’ meetings below where probably nothing will change now.
On Wednesday, August 30, 2006 at 10:00 a.m. the Housing, Land Use, Environment and Transportation (HLUET) Committee of the Board of Supervisors discussed the Final May 18, 2006 HHC Draft Historic Preservation Ordinance, and received public comment on the draft ordinance. The HLUET Committee was to forward a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors for consideration this month.
The following is a schedule of the remaining actions on the ordinance:
September 26, 2006: Board of Supervisors Introduction and Preliminary Adoption of Ordinance
October 17, 2006: Board of Supervisors Final Adoption of Ordinance
November 2, 2006: Planning Commission – Follow-up Revisions to Zoning Ordinance Related to the Adopted Historic Preservation Ordinance.
You can see the final May 18, 2006 HHC Draft Historic Preservation Ordinance at www.sccplanning.org (Quicklinks, “Historic Preservation Ordinance”) or you can call Dana Peak, Dept. of Planning and Development Program Manager, at (408) 299-5798 and ask her to mail you a copy.
A. This is supposedly the future home of the “La Bodega” deli and produce shop which has sat decaying for several years. The owners seem to have lost interest in it and only occasionally do some tiny maintenance such as the recent reinforcement of the badly cracked glass in the front windows. The whole community is scratching its collective head at how anyone can be so callous about blighting the neighborhood. We wouldn’t count on the building being “lease-able” anytime soon.
Meanwhile, the old Foothill Printers location at the front of the Alum Rock Feed and Fuel corner is for lease on an interim basis – until construction begins on the new retail project slated for the property. It can be leased on a month-to-month basis – or possibly for a six month term. KAL Investments which is developing the property says there are 1,875 square feet in the shop and they are asking $1.75 per square foot rent. This works out to about $3280 (!) per month if you were wondering. The phone number on the “for lease” sign is (408) 691-2463.
Click here for a photo.
A. Here's an update on the gasoline-fueled equipment fire from league president, Rich Taylor:
We had many generous donations that helped us recover what was lost in the fire. Comcast allowed us to use up to $5000 on their corporate credit card to replace equipment that was lost. We were able to obtain new bases from Fontanetti's Sporting Goods which enabled us to resume baseball games for the kids the same day as the fire. We purchased a new lawn tractor, mower, hoses, and rakes from Lowe's Home Improvement the day after the fire.
The San Francisco Giants donated a pitching machine, 18 sets of catchers’ gear, and several tools for field preparation. The Oakland A's, Taylor Woodrow Homes, and the Esther B. Collishaw Foundation gave very generous cash donations immediately upon learning of the fire. We also received donations from many people in the community including former San Jose Mayor, Janet Gray Hayes.
We still have to replace the storage shed that was burned down. Now that the Little League season is over, we can focus on getting this done.
As a side note, Alum Rock Little League had a great 2006 season. Our Junior Division Giants won the District Tournament of Champions, our 10-year old All Star team won the District All Star Championship, and our 11-year old All Star team came in second place. The 10-year olds then moved on to the sectional tournament where they played against other district champions from all over Santa Clara and Monterey counties.
We have not heard any news as to whether the individuals responsible for starting the fire were ever caught.
A. End of October according to the clerk in mid-July.
A. Anne Stedler, Redevelopment Agency Retail guru says, “I have every expectation that Home Depot will take the Mervyn’s space exactly as they have planned to do. I have not even heard a rumor that Lowe’s will be there. I expect that Mervyn’s will close in October or November, 2006, and that Home Depot will start their construction shortly thereafter.
A. According to head librarian Nora Conte, the city used some sort of “sound sensors [which] have been placed on the roof. This discourages the pigeons from coming to the area,” she writes. NNV is checking with the City to understand more about how this works.
A. Nora Conte says that Darryl Duffy in Nora Campos’ office will be updating us soon. We are patiently (not really) awaiting his call.
A. Don’t we wish! U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo (R. Tracy) is still planning to build a six-lane highway over Mt. Hamilton from the back of the mountain to a terminus on Alum Rock Avenue at Mt. Hamilton Road. An $8 million feasibility study has been funded.
We recently asked Peter Drekmeier of PLAN (People for Land and Nature, the land conservation initiative) whether the initiative, if passed, would have an impact on Pombo’s Road. Here’s what he said, “The Initiative can't stop state or federal projects, so it wouldn't stop the Pombo freeway. However, it would take away the speculative value of such a project. In other words, developers would be less likely to push for the freeway as a means of opening up the Mt. Hamilton range to a lot more development.”
This is an extremely good reason for East San Joseans to advocate for passage of the initiative.
Click here to read more about the PLAN initiative.
A. Well, these houses have been selling like hotcakes, so you’re going to have to hurry to get one. This Braddock and Logan development had its grand opening on April 29th. Eight of the seventeen homes were sold on that first day! The second release of six homes is expected to sell out immediately this week. Then all that will be left will be the models on Alum Rock.
Eleven houses have been built so far and all seventeen will be completed by July or August according to sales rep Ginny Benetti. Prices range from $875,800 to $898,800. Square footage ranges from 2,172 to 2,382. The three floor plans have either five bedrooms or four bedrooms with loft.
If you want to score one of these homes, you can call (408) 254-8438 and check the hours they’re open.
Click here for a photo (under the mailbox).
A. There is some good news to report. The defunct, ratty looking building at the corner of Alum Rock Avenue and Manning may receive some TLC one of these days. On May 11th NNV happened to pass by the shop and there, miraculously, two men were crouched on the sidewalk studying plans! Of course your editor grilled them on the spot.
The two men were from Duplan Construction and they were there to scope out the place so their company could make bids on the work needing to be done both inside and out. This doesn’t necessarily mean that anything will happen soon, but it does mean that owner Rogelio Ruiz and/or the San Jose Redevelopment Agency got the message that the community is fed up with looking at this crummy mess which blights the Village.
Click here for a photo (under the Sundance Home).
A. To go along with its extensive interior facelift, the main entrance area of the administration building will have a new driveway and parking area for visitors.
Click here for photos.
A. San Jose Fire Department trucks and engines are dispatched from a central location downtown so the fire department can use their resources more effectively. Yes, they usually respond from the nearest station but, if the Station 2 vehicles were busy somewhere else, the first engine might come from Station 19, which is just up White Road north of Penitencia Creek Road. Or it might come up White Road from Station 21 on Mt. Pleasant Road.
Says SJFD Public Information Officer, Captain Alberto Olmos, “Our target time from dispatch to arrival is 8 minutes. From the information I have received, our first arriving Fire Company (at this particular fire) arrived before our 8 minute target time. We always dispatch the nearest available Engine or Truck Company to an emergency. Often during an emergency, what appears to be a certain amount of time is not accurate. Under extreme stress and anxiety, seven minutes may feel like fifteen.”
You can listen to the San Jose Fire Department on your scanner as they and other fire departments coordinate their operations in this area. The SJFD primary (dispatch) frequency is 155.0250 MHz. Click here to read more about Station 2.
Click here for the SJFD Web site and then click on “Station Locations” to see where the SJFD stations are. Click here for the SJFD News and Public Information BLOG. Click here for photos of the SJFD vehicles in Alum Rock Village.
There will be a meeting to discuss public art for the planned new Station 2 on Thursday, June 15, 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM, at the Dr. Roberto Cruz/Alum Rock Branch Library. See our Community Bulletin Board for more details on this meeting.
NNV Note: Eight minutes is the SJFD general response target time. Obviously their response time will be longer to some distant unincorporated County areas.
A. Head librarian, Nora Conte, says that more materials are continuing to come into the branch all the time. “A significant number of new titles will be trickling in during the next six months,” she promised. She says that many of them will be adult fiction.
A. Alas, no. We asked District 4 Councilmember Chuck Reed’s Chief of Staff, Armando Gomez, if this “answer to a community’s prayer” could possibly be true. He was totally sympathetic to our desire for a TJ’s within hailing distance, but said that the Trader Joe’s folks claim that East San Jose and Berryessa don’t offer the right “demographics” to make a go of a store here. This is the same answer we got when we asked if the new lineup of stores at the renovated Eastridge Mall could include a Trader Joe’s. Both Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods have been actively courted according to Mr. Gomez. Heaven only knows what we have to do to show these desirable stores that we’re here, we like to buy trendy food and we have $$$ to spend!
A. At one point they thought they would expand into the library. As a matter of fact, owner Luke Violante attended early library planning meetings to be sure that the City and the Library honchos knew that Rafiki’s was interested in having dibs on the proposed Cafe.com. However, as time went by, Luke and his wife Liesl, found they were sufficiently busy with one shop without making a commitment to service the library.
A. We’re not sure, but we know that quite a few folks took advantage of Peet’s firstname.lastname@example.org to suggest that our neighborhood would be a super place for them to install a shop. It won’t hurt to jump on the band wagon – you know, the squeaky wheel gets the java! We are hearing vibes that Starbucks might move into the 'hood.
A. There would be too much competition with the new Juice Zone which is one of the promised shops which will be in the new “San Antonio” center several doors behind Rafiki’s. There will also be a Subway Sandwich shop and a New York Pizza business in the new center.
A. The City has bent over backward encouraging La Bodega’s owner to get his project going. Everyone is baffled about its failure to materialize. Owner Rogelio Ruiz has told the press over and over that the project will be underway momentarily. And then, nothing happens. He has certainly lost all credibility with the folks he has “shined on.” The question now is: If he ever does open a business there, will people remember how Mr. Ruiz allowed the building to sit there blighting the neighborhood for years? Will they be so enthusiastic to patronize his business? NNV thinks he’s burning bridges left and right. And, yes, the City needs to do something about the blight!
A. Yes, all the mailbox doors in the area around NNV headquarters were hanging open again on a Sunday morning. People who hadn’t left mail in their boxes were unscathed. People who let mail build up in their boxes lost checks, statements, bills … all sorts of stuff that thieves use to steal identity or pilfer bank accounts. However, please don’t think that your mail is safe if you empty your box every evening. We had mail stolen here at NNV headquarters twice in broad daylight. We would absolutely LOVE to know who it is that practices the MO of leaving all the mailbox doors open like tongues hanging out. He/she/they clearly doesn’t/don’t care if you know your box has been opened. They must not be worried about how soon you’ll discover the crime. Or … are they metaphorically sticking their tongues out at us? Click here to decide for yourself.
A. NNV spoke with TWRC owner, Sophana, last week and found that everything is sort of up-in-the-air. She would like to continue on – cooking super Thai cuisine for the neighborhood – but the future of the restaurant is “unsettled” at the moment. There are some legal matters pending. Stay tuned.
A. Yes, but only by a little bit. Sophana pointed out the new menu and said that the most any price went up was 50 cents. Many prices went up only 25 cents or even as little as a nickel. She points out that portions are now bigger.
A. NNV is not sure we can lean any harder on Sophana, but it won’t hurt to tell her how much we appreciate the restaurant. And we CAN patronize it often.
Click here for a photo.
A. Yes, we heard from several readers and the consensus was that the accident happened most certainly because the driver of the Corvette was going waaaay too fast to maintain control. “That curve is only dangerous when people don’t heed the slow down signs,” observed one. Another reader pointed out the very long skid marks which wouldn’t have been left if the driver were obeying the 10 MPH limit on the hairpin turn just before the accident scene. And, as far as a bicyclist on the road being a factor, our readers figured that detail was thrown in just as a means to avoid personal responsibility. One reader mentioned other accidents at that curve and remembered that a James Lick High School student, Jenny Horn, lost control there and was killed when her car went over the side in the 1970’s. A reader suggested that the speed limit be reduced for all of Mt. Hamilton Road, but he admitted that was a long shot because it’s a “state highway” and we all know that makes it sort of a sacred cow. A longtime reader mentioned sadly that the victim, Elizabeth Melaku, had worked taking care of her aged mother, too, and vouched for Ms. Melaku’s loving care.
A. The sad story was spelled out on the doors of the shop right at the beginning of March. “Going out of business due to financial hardship” was the gist of the poignant, apologetic message. NNV tried to elicit some information from owners Luke and Liesl Violante, but hadn’t had a response as of this writing.
Click here for photos.
A. According to Andrew Mendoza, the Redevelopment Agency’s liaison to Alum Rock Village, Rafiki’s was already struggling to remain open for more than a year … way before Café.com opened. He pointed out that Café.com and Rafiki’s served a different market.
A. Well, rumor had it that the Violantes were unable to sell their coffee business, so no one actually knows what kind of shop will go in there. Andrew Mendoza (see above) says that the RDA team is working with retail brokers to re-tenant the site and they “are confident it will attract a good anchor tenant.” An NNV reader has proposed that Peet’s Coffee open a shop there. See her letter on our Letters page and help her crusade.
A. No, that’s not what they do. They assist businesses with, among other things: expansion, relocation and retention via development help, permit assistance, marketing, tracking and providing broker and real estate contacts. “As for the retail market rents, (they are) similar to the housing market. The rents are ’market’ driven thus the Agency or any other entity cannot influence or negotiate the lease/rent cost,” according to Mr. Mendoza.
A. No, it won’t. At least according to the counter clerk.
A. Well, yes and no. Some days it was and some days it wasn’t. One day early in February, a sign appeared in the front window indicating that the business was for sale. Everyone around Alum Rock Village was bummed at the thought of Rafiki’s changing hands – or closing even! But, then, next day the sign was gone. “Well, is the business for sale – or not?” we asked the same clerk. “Sheesh! I don’t know!” she said, or something close to that. One explanation coming from a regular habitué: the owners, Luke and Liesl Violante, didn’t quite have all their ducks in a row in order to sell the business. But, suddenly, this week there's a "Sold" sign on the door. Bummer!
Click here for photos.
A. Yes! According to Veronica Wildanger of the Hillcrest Neighborhood Watch, one was caught red-handed recently. YESSSSSS! We’ll find out what sort of justice was meted out (if any) and let you know. Anyone for our public stocks plan? Click here for pillory photos.
A. Yes, and no, but almost yes. This creative criminal drove into seven businesses including one on McKee Road. Once inside, according to an SJPD officer, he grabbed the cash register and hightailed it. At last, at break-in numero seven, he met up with a security camera system and bingo! he and his vehicle are identified. At this writing, he hadn’t been caught yet, but it shouldn’t be long before this parolee is back making license plates (or whatever jailbirds do nowadays).
A. Yes, if all is approved by the city, we’ll have a big (approximately 147,000 square feet) new one story Costco wholesale/retail warehouse and tire center and a 16-pump retail gasoline station near the intersection of Automation Parkway and Hostetter Road. While this location is not exactly at our back door, it sure will beat driving out on Coleman Road past the back of the airport – or all the way down to Senter Road nearly to Tully. Yippee!
A. Yes, strange but true. For some reason, the city planning folks think that by linking this little retail center’s meager parking to the city lot behind the Planned Parenthood Clinic, YSI Thrift Shop, etc., there will be sufficient parking for all. People who compete for the spaces in the city lot think that adding Caruso’s customers’ cars to the mix is going to create more mayhem. As it is, all the spaces all around the buildings are full every afternoon and cars are parked up and down Manning Avenue. There is a plan to mitigate some of the parking shortage. Employees of Alum Rock Village businesses will be given passes to park in the James Lick High School parking lot which will relieve some of the crowding. However, not everyone is comfortable leaving their car so far away from work. It will take some persuasion to convince workers that their vehicles are safer in the school lot, which has regular patrols, rather than just outside their doors.
Click here for a photo of where they plan to make a connection between the parking lots.
A. Yep! The deal is all but done. We should have a 114,700 square foot store and a 34,768 square foot outdoor garden area just as soon as Mervyn’s and all the other minor shops on that lot can be demolished and replaced.
A. Rumor has it that it may be moving to the Pak ‘n Save location on Capitol at McKee, but it doesn’t seem logical to put a Mervyn’s right across the street from a Target, does it? Pak ‘n Save is closing officially on March 11th. We’ll keep our ear to the ground.
A. Absolutely! (And, most probably.) The old station will be torn down and construction of the new building will start in March, 2007, at the same location. The new station should be open in May of 2008. For a long time, plans called for remodeling the old building, but it was determined that this couldn’t be done in a cost effective manner especially since it would have to be brought up to current standards, according to SJFD Captain Jim McClure.
Because Station 2 personnel and apparatus will need to be displaced during the construction, the start date is dependent on another new station going on-line. Our firefighters will man a modular trailer during the day and sleep at the new station until our new Station 2 is ready for them. Captain McClure says he believes the water tender will remain with Station 2. (For new readers unfamiliar with local history, our neighborhood almost lost Station 2’s water tender last year despite the fact that it’s essential for fighting fires in “Wildland Urban Interface” areas such as ours.)
Click here to read more about Station 2 and here to read about the Water Tender "discussion."
A. Someone was going around the neighborhood torching piles of leaves and apparently decided that this particular palm had to go. (There ARE people who simply have visceral loathing of palms, but NNV rather doubts that the cretin who would set neighborhood things on fire has the intellect necessary to experience visceral loathing.) According to a neighbor, the palm was probably doused with some flammable liquid (otherwise it wouldn’t have burned so luxuriously). The shrubs up against the house near the palm were scorched severely. We’d guess that the owner counted his lucky stars that he had a non-flammable composition roof. Has anyone been caught? Nope, not yet!
Obviously Alum Rock Avenue is never an ordinary place. Not only did this frizzled palm present itself as an unusual spectacle, but two other oddities arose about the same time competing for space in NNV. For one, a poster appeared on a utility pole seeking a pooch called Smooch. A $1,000 reward was being offered for the pretty pup. So, there’s this missing pet. What else was missing was any contact information for Smooch’s owners. There must be more to this story! Then our long-time favorite Alum Rock character, the vine-covered horse’s head near the back of the Marguerite Terrace - PEO home, nickered at us through its bonds. “Ain’t it time to put my pitcher in your newsletter again, girlie?” Well, what could we do but accede to his gentle request? He does look even more bound-up than usual, doesn’t he?
Click here for photos of the toasted palm, Smooch and horsey.
A. Would you believe that our reliable “sources” let us down on this one? As anyone can see, a whole bunch of he-ooge McMansions have been built on that corner. They are so big that it was easy to believe that each one could hold six families. But, we were wrong. So sorry.
Click here for a photo.
A. We would love to be able to feature McKee Road on a regular basis, but we need a McKee Road “regular” to photograph notable (or weird or funny or magnificent) stuff happening “On the Road.” Barring that, we need to have readers point out neat things and we’ll take the photos. We really want to include that important neighborhood thoroughfare to reassure our readers that we’re not a one trick pony which only trots on Alum Rock.
Meanwhile, we came across a beautiful sight on Kirk Avenue near McKee in mid-January. A Vietnamese place of worship brightened up the wintry day with georgous multi-color flags dancing in paroxysms of gusty wind. The scorching pink, tomato red, canary yellow and glowing orange banners marked Tet Nguyen Dan (or Tet), the Vietnamese New Year on January 29th.
Click here for photos of the flags.
Copyright© 2003-2006 by Judy Thompson. All rights reserved. Updated 11/3/06.