Click on a thumbnail to view larger photos
on Alum Rock Avenue
in the Dining Room
|The Charming Kitchen|
|Ed Solis, the
Heinz Rudolf and
|Thank You! Donations Appreciated as NNV Starts Second Year. No NNV in January|
|Season's Greetings: NNV Song, Message from Congresswoman Lofgren Just for You!|
|Lovely 1928 Historic Belknap House on Alum Rock Avenue|
|Historical Heritage Commission Meeting on Proposed Ordinance by Ed Allegretti|
|Responses to Our Questions on the Proposed Historic Preservation Ordinance|
|New San Jose Fire Department Wildland Program Manager by Fire Captain Ralph Ortega|
|Alum Rock Youth Center Ribbon-Cutting and Grand Opening|
|Alum Rock Youth Center - The Model Program for Youth by Ed Solis, ARYC Supervisor|
|Mark the New Spot for Mark's: Famous Hot Dog Stand Satisfying Pent-Up Wienie Passion|
|The Early Days of Mark's Hot Dogs from Roy Terrell, Previous Mark's Owner|
|Notable Neighbor: Ed Allegretti A Renaissance Man If There Ever Was One!|
|Autumn in Alum Rock Park by Dorothy "D.J." Johnson - YSI|
|"Walter the Witcher" Finds Water from Comfort Olsson and Kathleen Boesch Tirri|
|A Heartwarming - and True - Kitty-Cat Tale. Where Was the Cat for Two weeks?|
|Biology Major Marries Med Student - Becomes the "Realestatelady" by Eileen Parks|
|Japantown Farmer's Market: A Great Place to Shop - Open All Year by Pat Accorinti|
|You Dig It?
|The Coffee Cup in Country Club Villa: Be There or be Square! from LaJune Bush|
|NNV Newsmakers: Keith Bush - "Yin and Yang" Move From Highland Drive|
|FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Many, many thanks to our wonderful NNV readers who made a donation toward helping to sustain the newsletter. As you'll remember, last month in the November edition, we asked - for the first time - for some support from our on-line subscribers. Our subscribers who receive the paper version of the newsletter each month already make an annual donation (usually about $10 per year) to help pay for paper, ink and postage. It is gratifying to know that our on-line subscribers also value their New Neighborhood Voice enough to answer our appeal with donation checks or credit card contributions. Thank you very much!
If there are readers who would still like to make a donation, your support would be greatly appreciated. You can make a check out to "New Neighborhood Voice" and mail it to us at 16174 Highland Drive, San Jose, CA 95127.
If you would like to donate on-line using your credit card or PayPal account, you can click on the button below and the transaction will be handled by a secure server. If you want to read more before considering a donation, click here for our new Donations Information page.
Now, to those readers of the original "East - The Neighborhood Voice" who remember that it sort of sputtered to a halt a couple of years ago, the following message may give you some trepidations. We are not publishing a January edition. However, this means only that we need to be able to enjoy a normal December rather than spend it creating the January edition. We will be back with the February edition. If you were on board last summer, you'll remember that we skipped the month of July because we just plain needed a breather. It seems that, in order to keep up our enthusiasm for the project, we need to focus on other aspects of life from time to time. Thanks for your understanding. This edition is longer than usual and we have lots of material for February and we will be back!
Thank you for your support.
Judy and Allan Thompson
Click here for the card - and here's the song:
Pombo's Road Is Coming To Town
(With apologies to Santa Claus)
Oh! You better watch out,
Open your eyes,
You'd better use clout,
I'm telling you guys:
Pombo's Road is coming to town!
He's looking at maps,
Rolling the dice,
He'll ruin our hills -
That's not very nice.
Pombo thinks that we're lying down!
He sees that you are sleeping,
He knows you're not awake.
He thinks that you're too busy,
So…wake up for goodness sake!
So…You better speak out,
Let the man know,
Give him a shout,
Show you're a foe!
Or Pombo's Road will come through our town!
He's a little tin horn,
"Brassy" say some,
Route-y toot toot
And rummy dumb dumb.
Pombo's Road will mow down our town!
He'll level the hills,
Bulldoze our views.
He doesn't care,
He's nothing to lose!
Pombo's Road will spoil our town!
The folks in Pombo's district
Will have a jubilee.
They hope to put that road through
At the cost of you and me.
Oh…You better watch out,
Open your eyes,
You'd better use clout,
I'm telling you guys:
Pombo's Road is comin'
He thinks his road is comin'
We hope his road ain't comin'
Message from Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren!
Note: NNV received the message below regarding "Pombo's Road" from Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren's office in Washington, D.C. on 12/3/03.
Congresswoman Lofgren has expressed her opposition to the freeway, saying "I think such a freeway would be an environmental disaster and monstrously expensive." She also mentioned a piece of legislation (H.R. 619) introduced by her colleague Congressman Richard Pombo (R-Tracy) that would direct the federal Department of Transportation to study the feasibility of constructing such a freeway. Lofgren said, "You have my commitment to do what I can to stop this proposal. The regular process for outlining transportation priorities is through local communities and then the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Only by using such processes will community issues be fully discovered and only the highest priority projects be funded."
Click here to read our last article on Pombo's Road.
Only folks who walk along the service road on the north side of Alum Rock Avenue in the 5300 block ever get to see the Belknap House, a true jewel of a historical home. It is hidden from view by a dense screen of trees which separates a quiet little pocket neighborhood from the hustle-bustle of busy Alum Rock.
Art and Mary Logan, owners of the house since 1998, welcomed Ed and Connie Allegretti and your editor to their very special place one evening last month. They graciously led a tour into all the fascinating nooks and crannies of this 1928 American Tudor "cottage" with its wave-patterned rolled shingle roof.
The front entryway is reached through a pair of elegantly simple wrought iron gates which let onto a paved open porch. The walls are stucco with a most unusual biscuit-colored patterned brick trim. The heavy front door opens directly into a beautiful, well-proportioned parlor or living room. The room is large enough that a baby grand piano at one end leaves plenty of room at the other end for two sofas and plenty more seating by the fireplace. The ceilings are coved above a picture rail. The perfectly-scaled, undraped arched windows each frame a view of feathery green shrubbery outside.
The dining room is large and separate from the living room. The rooms flow together visually with the help of the contiguous rich hardwood flooring. The Logans think the floors are oak; they show the character and patina of wood which has been lovingly maintained for seventy-five years. During the era of wall-to-wall carpeting, their beauty was hidden from view.
Probably the most dramatic fixture in this house of many remarkable elements is the enormous twelve-light chandelier which hangs above the dining room table. Ed believes that it's called a "wedding cake" chandelier and he has seen others in historic houses he has visited. The Logans said the chandelier had fallen once - right onto the table below it. There are a few dents in the table which evidence the calamity, but the chandelier is perfectly whole. Not that all the glass shades weathered the fall - two did break into smithereens. However, quite fortuitously, the previous owners had presciently provided exactly two extra shades!
The Logan/Belknap house has a library! This wonderful room is enhanced by a gorgeous wooden ceiling and a marvelous paneled fireplace wall. The fireplace and mantel wall were not original to the house, having been added by then-owners Kevin Anderson and his wife, Charlotte, in the 1980's. The Andersons added their own layers of intrigue to the house as well as much richness to this cozy room. Art Logan showed us the fascinating apparatus which allows the over-the-mantel mirror to swing away from the wall to reveal a large safe. Even close scrutiny would never suggest that a seemingly fixed, integral part of the paneling could have such a hidden treasure behind it. Kevin Anderson may very well have had something worthy of stashing in such a perfect hiding place - he would plead guilty to "conspiring to sell restricted (computer) technology to the Soviet Union" in the late 1980's.
The kitchen is up-to-date with marble countertops and generous storage. What was once probably a nearby "mud room" is now a dream of a pantry. It has doors and large drawers and so much storage room that even the four-member Logan family hasn't been able to fill all the space in the five years they've lived there!
Touring down the stairs to the finished rooms below, one finds a quiet, warmly paneled many-purpose room with a complete kitchen and an entire wine cellar wall taken up by a glass-fronted cooler. If NNV readers ever had the pleasant experience of dining in the subterranean dining room of the old Paolo's restaurant on Santa Clara Street, they would recognize the ambience which the Andersons were perhaps emulating on Alum Rock Avenue. The bathroom on this level has beautiful tile and a flowered lavatory bowl. Art pointed out the hefty post and beam construction visible at this level. The house has been carefully prepared to endure all but the strongest earthquakes. It also has an "industrial strength" security system most uncommon in a residence. Of course, this too, may reflect the inclinations of Kevin Anderson, who, by the way, seems to have served his time, paid his debt to society and gone on to prosper in the high tech world.
The upper floor of the house shows much creativity as undereave spaces and dormers are put to good use. The walk-in closet which adjoins the master bedroom is practically long enough to accommodate jogging! A pool table and comfortable seating area are on this level as well as a mini-office tucked away behind closable doors in what was once an upstairs laundry.
Art and Mary both grew up in Oneanta, New York. Perhaps it was natural for them to fall in love with Dr. Lewis Belknap's retirement house - he was a New Yorker, too, with his roots in Oswego. Dr. Belknap was the "proprietor" of the Garden City Sanitarium and Hospital near Roosevelt Park on Santa Clara Street. Interestingly, in an early biography, that location on Santa Clara Street was described as being at "one of the highest elevations in San Jose." Apparently this was before the town of East San Jose, with all its high elevations, was incorporated into the city.
Art Logan describes his occupation as "working for the engineering department for the mask shop at Intel." (Masks are used to make computer chips.) Mary, who works at Borders Books, says that the rooms of their house "inspire" her. They both have enjoyed and embraced the challenge of being good "caretakers" for this home which has been a "County historical site" since the 1980's. Their daughters, 23-year-old Sarah, a graduate of San Jose State where she studied Art History and French, and 19-year-old Emily, who is a student at Cal Poly studying Journalism and Music, made the move to this one-of-a-kind home with their parents from their longtime home on nearby Holly Drive in 1998.
Art and Mary want to follow their long-term plan of retiring to Sonoma County soon. This will mean selling their beloved historic home and moving on. They are sure that the next owner/stewards of the marvelous Belknap house will love living in it as much as they have. Art says that if they could just fold it up and take it with them, he would be one happy man!
Click here for photos of the historic Belknap House.
Lifestyle Properties, Call Ellen Rauh at (408) 929-1925, www.lifestyleprop.com
Caskey Country Club Properties, Call Larry and Barbara Caskey at (408) 926-5400
E.M.S. LLC, Environmental
Management Systems, (408) 501-4200
Windermere Silicon Valley
Properties, (408) 251-5860
Keith Bush, Artist/Sculptor, (408) 923-6666, www.keithbush.org
At the November 20th meeting of the Historical Heritage Commission, the Commissioners again considered the draft proposal of the Historical Heritage Ordinance. I say "again" because a few months earlier the Commission recommended the approval of the ordinance. Due to some concern by members of the Commission and by members of the public, the Commission decided to again review the ordinance before sending it to the Board of Supervisors for their consideration.
Based upon input from the public and from Commission members, the Commission decided the ordinance needs some revisions and they decided to carefully re-review it. At the moment, County staff will consider incorporating some of the suggestions and the Commission will again consider the draft at the next meeting in January. Amongst the considerations and possible changes are: make the ordinance more positive and beneficial to private property owners instead of its current format which is viewed as very controlling and hostile to private property owners, to significantly lessen the penalties for non-compliance with various aspects of the ordinance, better define what actually would be considered a landmark, possibly eliminate the "Heritage Property" designation, eliminate the owner-paid professional evaluations and have the County be responsible for this, to require that properties for consideration as historical can only go through the application process and can only be approved for this status if approved by the property owner, and to establish a procedure to remove properties from the registry.
Other points will be considered and no doubt this ordinance will change over the next few months. Members of the public are always welcome to attend these meetings and are greatly encouraged to do so.
P.S.: In January we start the grant review process. The Commission has about $1 million (set aside per law) that we will grant this year to those groups which apply for funds to restore their projects, etc. These groups make presentations and will do so in March. This actually is a very interesting and pleasant meeting because you really can learn much about the historic sites in Santa Clara County. Good handouts and slide shows are presented.
NNV Note: Links related to this report are just below the next article.
In early November, just after the last edition of NNV came out, we sent Supervisor Pete McHugh an "invitation" to answer our questions on the benefits and potential costs of the proposed Historic Preservation Ordinance for our December edition. The specific questions we sent him were:
Why do we (the property owners, residents, taxpayers and voters) need an ordinance like this? What are the benefits for us?
How will it affect us? How will it be administered? Will it decrease or increase the processing time for permits and inspections? Will it increase or decrease our costs and fees?
How does this proposed ordinance fit into the County's current budget crisis? Are fees and fines expected to create additional revenue for the County? Will any additional County employees be needed to administer the proposed ordinance? Will it increase the County's operating expenses? What is the priority for this ordinance vs. other County budget priorities?
It has been a while since Pete has written anything for NNV and we hoped he would take advantage of this opportunity to communicate with his constituents.
Not long before the Public Meeting on November 20th, summarized by Ed Allegretti just above, we received a reply from Supervisor McHugh's staff that said, "Supervisor McHugh believes that because the Ordinance is still in the development phase and he has yet to see anything of what is being proposed, it will be best for staff to answer your specific questions. The Director of Planning Ann Draper has asked the Historical Heritage Coordinator Dana Peak to respond to your questions."
We e-mailed the questions to Dana Peak immediately to be sure she had them in hand and told her that we would be asking the same questions at the Public Meeting. And we thought to ourselves, "Pete's one smart guy! He'd probably like to know the answers to the questions, too!"
At the Public Meeting on November 20th, we asked the same questions. During the meeting, we were assured that responses were being prepared and it sounded as though they would be forthcoming soon. In fact, the Historical Heritage Commissioners (looking very official as they sat in the Supervisors' chairs in the County Board Meeting Room) made a point of getting a commitment from the County staff that our questions would be answered.
As we go to press here in early December, we have not received any answers to our questions. At this point, we can only assume that the answers to our questions aren't any more palatable than the draft ordinance the Commissioners sent back to the drawing board as Ed reported above. However, we are reserving space for the responses right here and we will paste them in when they are received - and we'll put something in the yellow "Breaking News and New Events" box on our Home Page to let you know the responses have been received.
The responses to our questions were received on 12/8/03. Click here to read them.
Click here for the Santa Clara County Planning Office Web site for the proposed ordinance. Click here for Dana Peak's comparison of the proposed ordinance with the current County regulations. Click here for last month's article on this subject and here to read our Letters to the Editor related to this topic. Comments or questions can be e-mailed to Ed Allegretti at EAllegretti@rosendin.com or to the Historical Heritage Coordinator, Dana Peak, at Dana.firstname.lastname@example.org.
(This newsletter is in two sections to reduce the download time for this page)
--------------------------- Contact and Subscription Information
Copyright© 2003 by Judy Thompson, 16174 Highland Drive, San Jose, CA 95127
Phone: (408) 272-7008, E-mail: JudyET@NNVESJ.org Fax: (408) 272-4040
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Copyright© 2003 by Judy Thompson. All rights reserved. Updated 12/9/03.