|Rep. Richard Pombo's Rad Road||Our
Gorgeous Hills -
Pre 6-Lane Freeway
never happen in your lifetime."
"But, Mom, what about my kids ...?"
On a cold day
in San Jose
Nelson at Johnny
Roger's Ranch in
San Antonio Valley
and Friends at
The Junction in
San Antonio Valley
Click on a thumbnail to view larger photos
|Neighbors Voice Opinions on Rep. Richard Pombo's Rad Road|
|San Jose Budget Concerns Will Not Affect Alum Rock Library by City Councilmember Nora Campos|
|State of the County by Santa Clara County Supervisor Pete McHugh|
|County Budget Cuts to Hit Sheriff's Department Hard|
|Orange Bridge Railings: Vote Count, NNV Comment|
|ARUSD - Small Autonomous Schools Get Go-Ahead|
|People Acting in Community Together (PACT)|
|San Antonio Valley - A ride over the hill in a '67 Mustang by Ed Allegretti|
|Serving New Neighborhood Voice by Brad Clawsie|
|Preparing for the Presentation High School Fashion Show by Stephanie Stapleton|
|East Hills Parks For Hikers and Runners - Grant County Park by Brad Clawsie|
|FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
There was quite a buzz at New Neighborhood Voice around Valentine's Day, but it wasn't sweetheart messages that came pouring in. Early on February 13th, NNV sent out an E-mail advisory alerting subscribers to that morning's Mercury News front page article which unveiled U.S. Representative Richard Pombo's plan to build a six-lane highway over the Mount Hamilton range - with its terminus at the corner of Mount Hamilton Road and Alum Rock Avenue!
This news hit a hot button with lots of folks who live on those hills as well as people who live in the Country Club area neighborhoods. NNV subscribers quickly passed the message along to others who they figured would want to know what designs Mr. Pombo has on our hills. Pombo, a Republican who the Mercury News calls "a powerful Central Valley congressman" represents the 11th congressional district which includes Stockton, Tracy, and other towns on the back side of the Hamilton Range. He sees a great need for an easier commute for his constituents to reach their jobs in Silicon Valley.
It's clear that Mr. Pombo either isn't familiar with the Mt. Hamilton Road/Alum Rock Avenue junction or he just doesn't care what his plan will do to our lovely old neighborhood. And he obviously doesn't care either about his project's enormous negative impact on the up-to-now unspoiled hills of East San Jose.
Click here to see an illustration of Pombo's Radical Road. To see what it would replace, click here and read Ed Allegretti's San Antonio Valley story below.
E-mail response to our alert was overwhelmingly negative toward Pombo's plan. Those responses included messages such as:
"…..I could hardly believe my eyes after reading this idiotic proposal. You build freeways around mountains, not over 'em."
"The idea of a freeway connecting with Mt. Hamilton appears ill founded. In fact, however, things like this start as a wild idea and in a few years gain support."
"The ranch land we own on that route will be more accessible which means more poachers, more rustling and just plain trespassers. (Our) ranch behind Mt. Hamilton takes me 90 minutes to get to now and I like it that way."
"Pombo's talking through his ten-gallon hat! Doesn't anyone care about anything anymore?"
"Mr. Pombo believes an expensive freeway across an expansive mountain range, absorbing working ranches and disturbing eco-sensitive areas, all to alleviate the problems of his constituents who make their money here and spend it elsewhere, is feasible. Surely our elected leaders can come up with better ways to spend our money than this 'pipedream.' How about a bridge from the mainland to Hawaii?"
"I believe turning Alum Rock Ave into an access road would greatly change not only traffic but the whole nature of the area. I believe we should have a 'watch dog' committee who could work with our local politicians to stop this proposal at the earliest possible stage. If detailed studies are allowed to be made, we will possibly be too far down the road to stop the freeway."
"As I was driving up Alum Rock Avenue this afternoon, I visually surveyed our beautiful green mountains. A freeway? Come on."
"I think someone should find out how much of the proposed right-of-way land the Pombo family owns. That might derail things."
"I definitely would be very disappointed and disgusted if we have to help pay for this project to improve central valley residents' commute while destroying our San Jose neighborhood's peaceful settings and adding unwanted traffic."
No pun intended, but one response was, well, rather middle of the road:
"I really have mixed feelings about the traffic impact on our wonderful neighborhood. Alum Rock is a state highway but I never expected this to come to pass. The cost going over or thru the hills should be a real issue."
A droll point of view from an older guy in the neighborhood:
"A six lane divided freeway replacing Mt. Hamilton Road as well as widening the existing Alum Rock down to 280/680 will be a great addition and convenience for getting to the Valley and Fresno. Of course we are fortunate that we will never see it in our life time."
A serious point of view from a younger guy in the neighborhood:
"A new highway could dramatically alter property values. Making our area more 'available' to a wider range of commuters could enhance its viability in the long term. I am all for the gentrification of East San Jose. Anything that increases mobility to and from this area I am in favor of."
A follow-up editorial in the Mercury News on Friday, February 14, titled "Freeway Folly," chastised Richard Pombo and his extreme ideas, but its sarcastic tone left much to be desired. While the sentiments are welcomed by many residents of East San Jose, unfortunately the dismissive tone of the piece may very well encourage Representative Pombo to thumb his nose at the Merc (and us) and redouble his efforts to realize his grandiose plans for this highway. If NNV readers are right, he will charge ahead promoting a freeway study and probably reach the point where detailed studies are prepared (and the die is cast) while figuring that San Jose citizens are contentedly citing the Mercury News editorial - and concluding that the road-over-the-mountain idea is so far out that they have nothing to worry about.
The responses to the original Mercury News article, "Hamilton Range Freeway Plan" (2-13-03, Page 1A) on their letters-to-the-editor page and in Gary Richards' Roadshow column of Monday, February 17, 2003, Page 1B, indicate that plenty of the Mercury News' readers think Mr. Pombo's idea is just swell. Of the three letters to the editor published up to this point, two have been clearly enthusiastic and one negative. Incidentally, NNV sent a My View piece to the editor expressing a negative point of view and it has not been printed. It looks to NNV as though Richard Pombo will read between the lines and figure that he's got a bona fide thumbs up.
The question of a multi-lane freeway cutting through the winter-verdant or summer-golden hills of East San Jose is much more than one of NIMBYism. Those lush hills form the backdrop for ALL of San Jose. They are everyone's "back yard."
A Not-In-My-Back-Yard reaction by the residents of the Alum Rock area is perfectly justified. This area of San Jose would be forced to suffer a radical change of character. Our historic, quaint neighborhoods around Mt. Hamilton Road would become just a bunch of "nice neighborhoods too close to a freeway" and the Alum Rock Avenue corridor from Mt. Hamilton Road to White Road would have to undergo a sea change from a tidy residential neighborhood to a right-of-way for a broad highway. The traffic coming over the mountain and into East San Jose would exacerbate the problem of already glutted streets.
To see his dismal record on environmental issues, catch Rep. Pombo's voting record on the League of Conservation Voters Web site at http://www.capwiz.com/lcv/bio/keyvotes/?id=480&congress=1072&lvl=C. New Neighborhood Voice and many, many Eastsiders are appalled that there are people like Richard Pombo to whom nothing is sacred - not even San Jose's most beautiful asset - the glorious, sensuous mountain range which quietly delights all San Joseans when they lift their eyes unto the hills.
Note: As San Jose citizens mobilize a defense against this potentially tragic intrusion, NNV will keep its readers apprized of community meetings as they are organized. Watch our Community Bulletin Board, which is updated frequently.
As you know, the City of San Jose is facing very challenging times regarding the budget. Prior to the drastic economic downturn, my colleagues and I were fiscally conservative about the things over which we have control. But, in addition to a troubled economy that affects us all, the Governor has proposed measures that effectively balance the state budget on the backs of city and county governments.
The City Council has adopted a budget strategy that is in place to cut costs. The cost cutting measures will be achieved by maintaining a hiring freeze, suspending all spending that is not related to providing essential services for residents and the business community, and addressing how we as a City can more effectively provide services by streamlining processes.
I know there has been some concern regarding the status of the Alum Rock Library Branch Facility Project. Please be assured that our current budget concerns will not affect the progress of this vital project. On February 4, 2003 City Council unanimously approved just over $1.4 million to purchase the property for the Alum Rock Library. As it stands the project will expand the facility from 6,890 square feet to 26,000 square feet, in addition to providing 151,000 books, 43 computers, and various meeting and reading rooms. The library will have a significant impact on our community and has received the enthusiastic support of Mayor Ron Gonzales and the City Council.
But no matter how fiscally careful we are as a City, if the Governor's proposals take effect the deficit will be crippling. Be assured that I am working on a daily basis with the Mayor and my Council colleagues to assure that funding used to invest in our neighborhoods stays in the City of San Jose.
Nora Campos, Councilmember District Five
NNV Note: Councilmember Campos' Web Site, E-mail
Please visit my website below and click on "Pete's Speeches" to read my view on the State of the County that I presented to the Berryessa Advisory Council at their February 10 meeting.
Due to the economic slowdown and rising costs to do business, the County faces a $160 million deficit that does not include the impact of any State or Federal actions to balance their budgets. Although the Board remains committed to maintaining essential services without major service reductions, all programs are likely to have their share of reductions.
To deal with this deficit, the County is also looking into creative solutions, such as economic development and improving efficiencies in service delivery.
Note: It's not often that our elected officials say so much in so few words. Just in case the real meaning of the above is not clear, the three points Supervisor McHugh made at the end of his State of the County speech were (emphasis added by NNV):
In the face of difficult economic times, the County remains committed to maintaining core services and programs without major service reductions.
The County does not anticipate that its financial outlook will change for the better anytime over the next few years due to poor local economy and further reductions at the State and Federal levels.
To deal with this projection, the County is looking into creative solutions, such as economic development and more electronic government, but unfortunately we should recognize that all County programs are likely to have their share of reductions.
We guess we should be thankful he didn't talk about tax increases! Read the next story to see how the County budget cuts will impact the Sheriff's department. NNV
Click here to see Supervisor McHugh at the Miguelita Creek Bridge Opening Ceremony.
As the Mercury News reported last week (2/27/03, Page 1B), Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith is recommending laying off 81 of the department's 550 deputies - a cut of 15% - in response to the County's budget crisis. The key items in their article that we can expect to affect our neighborhoods are the reduced patrols in unincorporated County areas, the expected closing of the East San Jose Community Policing Center and elimination of programs such as the tracking of sexual predators.
We asked our contacts in the Sheriff's office four questions. They didn't respond in time for this edition but we think the answers below are safe bets:
The purpose of the Sheriff's department media blitz about the reductions was both to inform the public and to enlist support to minimize the budget cuts. It's never clear if the source or the media is exaggerating at this point.
Yes - unless we Eastsiders all raise a big ruckus about it!
According to one source, the "Mt. Hamilton area" means the vast rural mountainside above Alum Rock Avenue. However, if the deputy assigned to our area is called away to address a fracas on the mountain, he or she will not be available here for several hours.
No, no one is really assigned to Neighborhood Watch now and, in their short-sighted approach, they can't afford to maintain and promote Neighborhood Watch.
We'll let you know if the Sheriff's department responds to our questions or objects to any of our answers. Meanwhile, now that they have invited the mail thieves to our neighborhoods, keep your eyes on your mailboxes.
The final E-mail vote count regarding the color of the historic railing sections on the Miguelito Pedestrian bridge was as follows:
|Keep the historic railings orange||3|
Repaint the historic railings brown to match the other railings
Get rid of the historic railings altogether
However, this meager count does not reflect the many other solutions which readers suggested such as putting them in storage or erecting them in Alum Rock Park or somewhere in Alum Rock Village. Many people really didn't feel strongly enough about the color to vote one way or the other. There seemed to be quite a lot of comment which didn't settle on a color.
There was discussion among NNV readers as to the location of the reclaimed old railings. Some people thought they should be used to lead up to the new railings at the pedestrian bridge's west end - and they thought that was how the County planned to use them. According to County Project Inspector Paul Jensen, the old railings are too low to meet safety standards and cannot stand alone - anywhere. This really begs the question - how could those railings have been sufficient to keep vehicles and pedestrians from going over the edge since 1920 when the bridge was built!?
NNV did not cast a vote as to orange or brown railing paint because it seemed neutrality should be maintained, but if truth be told, orange would have been your editor's choice. From the moment the first lacy orange section was leaned up against the new utilitarian brown railings, the shiny, luscious hue provided a welcome bit of eye-candy amid the sea of brown. Even when six of the bright sections were positioned on either side of the brown railings, they struck your editor as unique and colorful public art. So, perhaps about the time that downtown San Jose's ill-sited Fallon statue is moved to Plaza Cesar Chavez (which is the site for which it was designed) the County will repaint the old bridge sections in delicious, mandarin orange once again. (But, like … don't count on either one!)
Click here to see your editor and the brown historic bridge railings.
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
A pet project of PACT (People Acting in Community Together) has been given the green light by the Board of Education of the Alum Rock Union School District. In February, the board voted unanimously to adopt PACT's "Small Schools" proposal. Plans are being made to create several small, autonomous schools probably within an existing elementary school building or in currently unused space. These first new small schools would serve as the model for future expansion into more and more schools if the premise that kids thrive best in small settings bears out. According to PACT's Diana Wilkerson Graham, it's too early to tell if Linda Vista, our neighborhood elementary school, will be a small school site. The process for determining which school sites will be used for the project has not yet been determined.
PACT members traveled last year to New York City where they viewed Small Schools successfully underway. There, the large unwieldy school system was realizing great educational benefits by providing smaller, self-managed schools where parents and teachers work together to creatively optimize students' education.
Beginning with a target group of kindergarten through third graders, each small school will have its own curriculum emphasis as well as its own principal and staff. Rather like magnet schools in some aspects, the various schools, each with no more than 250 students, will stress academics or music or the arts or whatever the parents agree they want included in the curriculum for their children. Teachers will be encouraged to think beyond "by-the-book" methods. Each school's parents and teachers will be involved in choosing appropriate staff.
PACT's hope is that bringing fresh ideas such as this into the long-troubled ARUSD will provide the change in character and morale which the fractious district needs to move beyond its negative reputation. There will be no extra funding provided for the new schools, but funding from outside sources will be solicited. If there are still any "angels" out there left with discretionary funds to dedicate to a very worthy experiment, this project has their name written all over it!
Deep in many Mercury News articles covering community crusades, the acronym PACT pops up with regularity. Many MN pieces have covered PACT endeavors to "hold elected officials accountable" right here in our neighborhood or in the greater Eastside. Recently PACT's involvement with new sidewalks to Joseph George Middle School was mentioned in NNV and just above in this issue, one of PACT's latest crusades, "Small Autonomous Schools" for ARUSD is featured.
Some of us have attended PACT "actions" here in local churches. Many have been appalled at the seeming rudeness, impatience and audacity with which PACT leaders treat our local elected officials, but nearly everyone is pleased as punch when it becomes obvious that their methods usually get official attention focused and grudging commitments made by the politicians who are publicly "pinned." No politician wants to say "no" to a roomful of constituents and media reporters. Down the road, PACT holds them to those yes answers.
Why do local elected officials allow themselves to be publicly brow-beaten by PACT? It seems that PACT and our local governments have a "covenant" in which officials promise to make themselves available to the community via PACT. Besides, if an official who has been invited to take part in an action doesn't show up, PACT lambastes his/her empty chair in full view of the public and press! PACT does play fair by assuring that its actions are held when the politicians are available and prepares them in advance with the questions which will confront them.
People Acting in Community Together calls itself a "faith-based" organization and, indeed, it grew out of churches whose members were tired of seeing little guys being routinely marginalized and dissed (especially disenfranchised) by condescending People in Elected Office. PACT's LOCs (local operating committees) meet in church buildings and their large public meetings (actions) are often held in church sanctuaries, but faith-based does not mean sanctimonious and the group is far from pious!
PACT embraced the neighborhood organization, PARC-S.O.S., when the struggle was waged to get the attention of City and County elected officials focused on the Highland Drive/Crothers Road landslide which cut off the Alum Rock Avenue entrance to Alum Rock Park. PACT agreed with the community that it was not fair for our local governments to turn their backs - leaving a neighborhood twisting in the wind as its disintegrating streets were barricaded to traffic. PACT sympathized, too, with all the Eastsiders who were turned away from their longtime entrance to the park. PARC-S.O.S members (those neighbors impacted directly and indirectly by the road closures) hadn't made much progress until PACT showed them how.
It took many research meetings and several actions at St. John Vianney church and Alum Rock United Methodist to accomplish the goals of seeing the landslide addressed and securing the commitments of County Supervisor Pete McHugh and City Councilmember Manny Diaz. At the largest of the actions, where several hundred people from our neighborhood filled the sanctuary of Alum Rock United Methodist, the audience saw and heard firsthand the attitudes of our elected officials as they responded to the challenge from the community.
Some members of the audience got up and angrily walked out when they felt that PACT was leaning too hard on the elected officials and their entourages. PACT procedure allows only a couple of minutes for the officials to present their answers to (admittedly) "shaded" questions. While a time limit sounds arbitrary, that's exactly what's imposed when citizens are allowed to speak publicly to the City Council or County Board of Supervisors at their meetings. It works both ways, folks! And, besides, everyone knows that our silver-tongued politicians would LOVE to take the opportunity to schmooze, ad infinitum, at someone else's meeting.
PACT actions do not go to the trouble of putting the politician in the humiliating position which the San Jose City Council does - where the mayor and councilmembers sit high above the supplicants who deliver their two minute entreaties into a balky microphone while looking up at the distant (sometimes in more ways than one) deciders of their fate. However, if PACT could easily make such rearrangements, they probably would. They have long known the importance of positioning and how it can empower people - or cripple them.
PACT listens to the community. As crises develop, citizens seek out their neighborhood's PACT LOC, explain the situation and ask for help to organize the community to rectify the problem. Often what needs to be done is to get the attention of busy elected officials and sometimes to overcome their indifference.
PACT is famous for its "one-on-one" strategy where they ask their own members and the extended community to speak in person with their neighbors to define the problems which resonate in the community. Eventually consensus and focus are reached and tangential issues are marginalized or eliminated. The organization bends over backwards not to waste time at their actions. Sometimes their zealous attention to the clock steps on the toes of citizens who would like to express their points-of-view in such a public forum. PACT would never win a popularity contest!
PACT's involvement in our neighborhood has helped to bring about the improvements to Alum Rock Avenue east of Alum Rock Village (they're responsible for the stop light at Kirk/Fleming and the middle turn lane), improvement to the children's safety in Linda Vista School's drop-off and pick-up zone, the community center at Joseph George Middle School, changes for the better in the leadership of the Alum Rock Union School District, and, of course, the building of a retaining wall which allowed the reopening of damaged Highland Drive.
Current St. John Vianney-Alum Rock Methodist LOC projects in our neighborhood include the new sidewalk to George School and shepherding the creation of the youth center which is being built at Pala Middle School. PACT has seen the need for a safe after-school place for kids in the Alum Rock Avenue/White Road area for many years. They've lobbied for this project for so long that the original bunch of kids it would have served are all grown up and have school-age children of their own! The temporary signage on the property says "Pala Youth Center," but PACT feels very strongly that its eventual name should reflect an inclusive center where young people from all the area schools will be welcomed. At the moment the name is up in the air.
PACT listens to problems large and small and goes to bat for affordable housing, health insurance for kids and betterment of our troubled schools. To bring an issue to PACT or for more information, call (408) 998-8001 or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the PACT Web site at http://www.pactsj.org.
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Have you ever driven up Mt. Hamilton Road? Maybe you have cruised as far up as Rancho Grandview restaurant to eat some of Lucy Ciccerelli's cheese cake or Mt. Hamilton chicken? Possibly you have driven further up to hike or cycle at the Grant Ranch Park? Some adventurous folks I know have gone to picnic at Smith Creek (where there once was a small hotel and store) or even to the top of the hill to see Lick Observatory, where James Lick is buried underneath the main observatory. However, have you ever wondered what exists on the other side of Mt. Hamilton?
If one day you decide to drive over the hill you will find yourself in what is no doubt the last true ranching area of Santa Clara County. Driving down the descent from Mt. Hamilton you will be entering San Antone Valley, as the locals prefer, on what is called San Antonio Road.
My first trip down San Antonio Road occurred in the 1970's when I was a teenager. My best friend was very proud of his 1967 Mustang and was always interested in driving to new places. One afternoon, after classes, we decided to drive up to the top of Mt. Hamilton. It took us about one hour and many turns to arrive on the summit. My friend, Robert, wasn't feeling so well and because it was getting late decided he wanted to avoid Mt. Hamilton Road and find a quicker route home. He heard that one could reach Livermore easily by driving down the other side. We reasoned this no doubt would be less upsetting to the stomach and a faster way home.
Unknowingly, we started a minor adventure. Since it was late fall and because we were behind the "mountain," it quickly became dark. We drove for at least 30 minutes over cattle guards, past no houses, and past cows wandering along the road. We began to realize we weren't close to Livermore and were no doubt lost. Eventually we saw some lights ahead. As we came closer the road forked. Which way to go? At this fork the lights we discovered were from what appeared to be a bar. Since we didn't know which fork to take, I said let's stop at the bar. "No way," said Robert, "who knows what these people up here will do to us!" Despite my protests he wouldn't stop and we bravely took the left fork. Several miles down the road we came across another bar and still Robert wouldn't stop for directions! Fortunately the road he chose did eventually go along a creek, very far down the valley, which led us to Livermore and back home almost two hours from Mt. Hamilton.
Needless-to-say, I was very curious about this valley and those bars we passed. Not long afterwards I took another trip over the mountain to San Antonio Valley. Much to my pleasant surprise I learned that the first bar, at the fork in the road, was a place called the Junction (the second bar is now closed; I believe it was called the Branding Iron). The Junction is more of a café, and at that time a small store, with a pool table (then it had a juke box, which is long gone because nobody would drive up there to fix it). Near the Junction are the community's volunteer fire house, the ranger station, and the Harney School (the last one room school house in Santa Clara County). Thus, this small hamlet, some hearty ranchers, and much wildlife are what make up San Antone Valley. I further discovered that the right fork of the road leads to Patterson (a very long drive which I took several years later) while the left fork, as I mentioned, goes along the valley until it ends in Livermore. This road is called Mines Road; the road to Patterson is called Del Puerto Road. San Antonio Road was first made in the early 1890's.
At the Junction café it is possible to order a hamburger, a sandwich or maybe something else that is on the menu that day. This simple food is good and filling and no doubt appeals to those bikers and other curious souls who drive along this mountain road (they have no other choice of restaurants!). Yet once I was able to obtain more interesting "eats" at the Junction. One of the main community events in San Antone Valley is the barbecue at the Junction celebrating the end of the deer hunting season. Certainly this is an important day in such a rural and ranching community. At these events, wonderful venison and boar cooked in the ground were served (is there any other way?). Along with large amounts of food, there were large amounts of alcohol available. Since I was serving as one of the drivers for our party, I could not partake of these various libations. This, though, didn't prevent the young men of the valley from partaking liberally. As can be imagined, tempers grow with this increased consumption. It certainly did on that day. My friends, parents and I were actually amazed on how many punches these young men could absorb from their fellow belligerents. We observed at least half a dozen of these men fighting amongst themselves. We felt safe, like the other observers, until they quickly broke, ran to their vehicles, and sped away while proclaiming they were going home to get their guns. My group almost as quickly drove away in our cars, but in the opposite direction. I never learned about the result of the "shoot out" at the Junction!
My mother, who recalled attending round-ups in her youth in the valley, was happy to leave this scene out of the old west. Although I never participated in any round-ups, I did enjoy hearing much fiddle playing at the Buell's ranch once. Years ago they hosted a small "convention" where dozens of fiddle players from around the state came to perform and share their skills. Unfortunately not all events in San Antone Valley were happy for the Buells, who were former neighbors when they lived in San Jose. Their eldest son Jason, whom I often babysat, was very sadly killed one night when he dozed and his car went off Mines Road down into the valley below.
From "Thompson and West's" 1876 atlas and history of Santa Clara County we know that ranchers were in this valley by 1876 because the Kincaid and Cory families are shown as owning land. Other sources list the Paige and DeForest families as early ranchers. However, today, the locals know the Stoddard family as being the oldest ranching family in the valley. The Stoddards are descendants of Paul Gerber who started buying ranch land in 1896. This family still owns several thousand acres (which is needed to raise only a few cattle on this dry land) and the Junction.
Are you curious and adventuresome enough to make the trip over the hill and to have supper at the Junction? Be careful if going up there during the winter, you might be caught in a snow storm as once happened to Gary and Ellen Rauh, some other friends, and to me a few years ago!
Click here to see Ed Allegretti's photos. To see the view, updated every few minutes, from Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton, click on http://mthamilton.ucolick.org/hamcam/.
While many people understand the processes involved in creating and distributing traditional paper newspapers, readers of this publication may be interested in learning more about how local industry is involved in the creation and distribution of electronic media and content such as New Neighborhood Voice.
The New Neighborhood Voice website at www.NNVESJ.org is hosted and served by Yahoo's web hosting service. Yahoo is one of the few major domain content providers still standing after a tumultuous era in which many Bay Area companies became global players in Web hosting, only to vanish shortly thereafter.
NNVESJ.org is brought to your computer desktop from an unmarked Bay Area facility owned by a major telecommunications company. This means that the pages created by New Neighborhood Voice's web designers are "resting" on servers in this facility, and when readers point their browsers at the www.NNVESJ.org domain, the bits and bytes that make up those pages are called up and sent to their computers using fiber optics and phone lines.
The vague references to this hosting facility are deliberate because often co-location facilities host and serve commercial applications and websites that use sensitive personal and financial data (such as credit card numbers). For this reason, it is important to keep the location of those facilities a secret. The facility that hosts Yahoo's pages also hosts information for other websites. Since data is everything to Yahoo and these other companies, the co-location buildings are constructed like vaults. For instance, biometric security and bulletproof glass are common in most modern facilities of this nature.
Inside the co-location facility, which is comprised of seemingly endless racks of Web servers, it is common to see visitors wearing headphones to dampen the deafening hum of thousands of fans pumping cool air through the building. Keeping the building cool is necessary in preventing the servers from overheating. Providing enough backup power is also a special consideration in these facilities due to the high density of concentrated resources.
San Jose is located close to many key "intersections" of the Internet, meaning a lot of global Internet connections come together at several co-location facilities and network access points in the area. There are only a small number of such intersections in the world. These intersections continue a long Bay Area tradition of network innovation that can be traced back to the Stanford Research Institute, one of the first centers to test and establish Internet connections.
Note: NNV considered the offerings of several Web hosting companies before we selected one of the Yahoo small business packages on the basis of the features offered for a competitive price and the best geographical location for NNV readers to access the NNV Web site quickly. We expect good security in this business but let's see what we can find out about our local "intersections of the Internet" and mysterious buildings without windows.
Using the Yahoo search capability, a quick search on "mae west internet" leads us to http://www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/04.22.99/slices-9916.html, which puts us at the corner of Market and Post in downtown San Jose. Now we're only a few feet away from "the second-busiest intersection in cyberspace." Skipping past the references to the 1930s screen goddess, Mae West, we can learn more about today's MAE West and even find the official Home page http://www.mae.net (which, of course, neglects to mention the exact location). MAE West is one of the very few top-level Network Access Points for the Internet and there are many Web hosting facilities in this area and around San Jose. Unfortunately, in these days of heightened security, the location of the Yahoo Web hosting facility has to remain a mystery (it's not in downtown San Jose).
To learn more about how Web servers and the Internet work, you might try http://computer.howstuffworks.com/web-server.htm or http://computer.howstuffworks.com/internet-infrastructure.htm. If you'd rather learn more about the screen star Mae West, just search on "mae west" by itself.
Of course, Mae West didn't really have anything to do with the Internet or MAE West (we all know Al Gore invented the Internet) but there was a WWII era movie star who did invent some of the technology many of use every day when we make calls from our cell phones. And she got a patent on it. Do you know who she was? And how this relates to Alum Rock Park? We'll tell you in the next edition. NNV
Free Wheel of Life Workshop: Bring balance into your life! Discover what’s important to you.
You are invited to a free workshop, Saturday, March 29, 10 AM to Noon, Near Berryessa & Morrill.
Call Susanne, Inner Design, 729-4048 or 718-1698 or E-mail email@example.com
Not Words But Deeds. That is why forty-nine of my classmates and I have the honor to participate in the Thirty-Seventh Annual Benefit Fashion Show.
Presentation High School hosts a fashion show every year; its proceeds go to help students in need of financial aid. In the past, the fundraiser has brought in approximately $50,000 in scholarships. Previous themes include California Dreamin, Girls on the Rise, and Viva Las Vegas. This year's theme is Illusions and for the first time there will be an afternoon show and luncheon as well as the traditional evening event.
The Presentation students who are selected to take part in the fashion show are a reflection of the school motto "Not Words But Deeds." Forty models and nine cast members were chosen from the senior class based on their involvement in the school and the community during their time at "Pres." The show also features the Presentation Dance Team and Jazz Choir.
Currently, parents, volunteers, students and faculty are working tirelessly to produce a fun-filled day at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. On March 28th guests will get all dolled up to enjoy the events -- an elegant luncheon and fashion show, a sit-down dinner, followed by the show, and concluding with a night of dancing, or perhaps both. The special highlight of Presentation's Fashion Show is the grand finale when each participant has the honor of walking down the runway with a significant family member, usually her father. There's not a dry eye in the room.
Finally, after three years of watching from the gallery, I will get to walk down the runway as a student model. But before the big debut, the other girls and I are looking forward to model training sessions led by Linda Lance and Sheila Barrett, fittings at stores such as Aeropostale, Details, Eddie Bauer, Cache, Coldwater Creek, J Jill, Eli Thomas Menswear and Formalwear, Talbot's, Lucy, Lucky Brand, Barbarella, Club Monaco, Wilson's Leather, and Trudy's, hair design by James Craig Haircolor and Design, and makeup design by Preston Wynne.
With so much preparation ahead of me, I am excited for March 28th; however, I will admit that with all the plans and expectations it is a somewhat nervous excitement. I have my worries about tripping on my way down the runway or not turning on cue, but for most of my classmates and me, the fashion show is an experience we have been looking forward to since freshman year. It is a night we get to spend having fun with our friends, one last hoorah before prom, graduation, and college. Personally it feels great to know that my dedication to my school and community has paid off, but even more, I feel both lucky and grateful to be a part of something that will help other girls receive the education and have the experience that I was so fortunate to have at Presentation.
Click here for more information on this event on our Community Bulletin Board and to link to a photo of the eight Eastsiders participating in "Illusions."
Editor's note: Last month, Brad wrote about running on the trails at Alum Rock Park. In this edition, he writes about the experience of running in vast Joseph D. Grant County Park.
General Information: Grant Ranch is a Santa Clara County regional park, not a city park, so different regulations apply. To get there, you must drive up Mount Hamilton Road for about nine miles until you reach the park. This road is very twisty and you should exercise caution while on it. Grant Ranch has an entrance fee of $4 dollars for all vehicles. The park gates are open from sunrise to sunset. Overnight camping is available. There are washroom facilities in the park and water access.
Grant Ranch is nearly ten thousand acres of hilly terrain encompassing the Halls Valley area on both sides of Mount Hamilton Road. The park is filled with diverse wildlife from deer to wild boar. Lower sections of the trail are forested and higher regions are exposed grasslands. Any time you enter a park this large you should carry a map and have a good idea of where you are. This area is one of the most underutilized resources in the Bay Area - hikers and runners can often spend an entire day there without seeing another visitor or ranger, so you are responsible for your own safety. You should carry water and some food (energy bars, etc.) when in any park this large. Bikes are allowed on some trails as are horses.
Suggested Routes: Grant Ranch has over forty miles of trails available, almost all of which are hilly and challenging. Printing a map and marking your expected trail is a good idea. For trail running, I consider Grant Ranch to be one of the most challenging parks in the area, and serious trainers can complete a full trail marathon in the park. Regardless of distance, the best way to start exploring Grant Ranch is from the Hotel Trail near the parking area. You will want to follow the trails towards the Dutch Flat Trail, which crests at a rest point that provides an excellent view of the entire southeast Bay Area. This is one of the highest vistas available to the public in the region. From this point, you can loop down sections of trail back to the parking lot for a seven mile excursion, or continue on. If you press forward, you will eventually want to meet up with the Hotel Trail again and let it take you through the very hilly Foothill Pines Trail. Aggressive hikers can cross Mount Hamilton Road and explore further sections of trails on the west side of the park, and those intrepid enough will find themselves with a good view of the Lick Observatory on an adjacent hillside. Regardless of what route you take, exercise caution and be prepared. Grant Ranch is very large and it is possible for novice trekkers to get out beyond their range.
Click here for more information and maps.
A. Just the other day, NNV stopped in at San Jose Fire Station No. 2 on Alum Rock Avenue just across the street from Orchard Supply and asked that very question of two helpful firemen. Ever since the news of the SJS fraternity altercation which tragically left a young man dead of a stab wound to the heart, it has been clear that everyone needs to know where the closest trauma center is so that precious time isn't wasted seeking appropriate emergency care.
The answer is not our closest hospital, Regional Medical Center (formerly Alexian Brothers Hospital) on Jackson Avenue between Alum Rock Avenue and McKee Road. Unfortunately the injured fraternity members were taken there - the closest hospital to the park where the incident occurred - in cars by their friends that awful night. It may have been too late for the college student who died - he may have been beyond the help of even the best equipped trauma center, but, perhaps we will never know.
The correct answer is that our nearest trauma center is at San Jose Medical Center, a "trauma hospital" at 675 East Santa Clara Street (between 14th Street and 17th Street). The emergency room and trauma center are reached by turning in at 14th Street. If you call 911 with a medical emergency, the San Jose Fire Department will take you either to SJMC, or to Regional where you may be treated or sent on by ambulance to SJMC.
If you wish to be knowledgeable and better prepared, you should ask your doctor, in advance of an emergency, where you should be taken in the event of a heart attack or serious injury. Or, at least for now, you can call SJMC's general information number, (408) 998-3212 and discuss the options.
Of course, SJMC's days are possibly numbered. Their closing has been announced, but it may not yet be a done deal. A town hall meeting will be held on March 13th at 6:30 PM at Le Petit Trianon Theater, 72 N. 5th Street to discuss the closure. It's quite possible that if SJMC is closed, our closest trauma center will be clear over at Valley Medical Center on Bascom Avenue at the 280!
A. Many people in the neighborhood fondly remember the friendly personal service they received at the little produce store while it was in existence. The staff was always happy to go the extra mile to please its clientele. The variety of produce and sundries was excellent and the store was so convenient to get into and out of on our treks up and down the hill.
Unfortunately, produce stores seem to be an endangered quantity around here. The little fruit and vegetable business in Alum Rock Village also died a sudden death last year. It seems they are at the mercy of their landlords who may have other plans for their properties.
In the case of the Toyon and McKee property, people who have lived here awhile will remember that it was a gasoline station before it was a produce market. If you think about it, the building has that unmistakable look with its wide overhang and set back interior space. If its currently moribund metamorphosis is finally allowed to proceed, the odor of motor oil will once again permeate the air. This time, however, the business will be auto lubrication (and possibly other automotive-related services) rather than a gas station.
A Toyon and McKee neighbor thinks that the achingly slow progress toward opening the new business is caused by the usual betes noires, zoning and permitting hurdles. Please let NNV know if you can shed further light.
A. Bud LoMonaco of the Alum Rock Business Association says that James Lick High School will soon have a marquee to be proud of. NNV has long wondered why the Alum Rock area's high school couldn't have a modern electronic sign like the impressive ones at Mount Pleasant and Piedmont Hills High Schools. The old wooden sign had long served its purpose and been removed during the renovation and beautification of the northwest corner of Alum Rock Avenue and White Road.
NNV readers, if they've been able to take their eyes away from the ever-increasing traffic jam at that corner, will probably have noted with some amazement that not only will the corner sport this handsome new marquee, but the site is now graced by several actual palm trees! Perhaps the City is making up for lost time in creating a silk purse out of that sow's ear of a corner, but whatever the reason for the sudden largesse, the community will be most happy and grateful for the change. A dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at the completion of the project. Watch the NNV Community Bulletin Board for the dates of upcoming events.
A. The little old Alum Rock Produce and Market store in the battered pink building on the corner at the eastern end of Alum Rock Village may soon show new signs of life. Actually, it may not be so soon considering how long it took Rafikis to grow from an idea to a genuine destination place, but rumor has it that a deli may locate there one of these days. NNV is not clear at this point whether this deli is still in the pipedream phase or if papers have been signed and agreements made. Also, NNV doesn't know yet whether the new business will be just on the site of the produce store - or if it will encompass the defunct dry cleaning store next door as well.
It's something new to look forward to - another possible classy addition to the neighborhood's tiny piece of charm (a la Willow Glen)!
A. The possibility of preserving and reopening Alum Rock Stables hasn't so far created the stir which NNV thought it might. Only a couple of readers responded to our query - one was all for it and the other groused a bit about the traffic it might cause, but his message ended with a grudging comment that his daughters had enjoyed the proximity to the stables in their youth. He did not imply that others shouldn't have that pleasure in the future.
A close neighbor of the stables property who might be expected to have objections (if anyone would) called NNV to discuss his reservations and to get contact information for Bay Area Barns and Trails Trust. His sole concerns are controlling the fly population and proper manure disposal around the stables. He assured NNV that there are solutions to these concerns - he just wanted to be in touch with Barbara Weitz of BABTT and discuss them with her - which he did. They apparently agreed that such problems are not insurmountable, so, at least for now, neighborhood response would give the stables plan a green light.
Concerns over drainage of the property and past improper dumping activity are being examined at this point. NNV will announce any stables-related public meetings in the newsletter or on our Community Bulletin Board which is frequently updated.
Click here for the BABTT Web site.
A. If you or your pets happen to disturb or injure one of the native critters in our neighborhood - or if you should just happen to run across a helpless or abandoned wild animal, help and sanctuary are not far away.
Once upon a time, the YSI Nature Center right here in Alum Rock Park took care of the rescue and rehabilitation of injured animals, but that responsibility eventually was passed on to the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley. And, not so long ago, rescuing an animal meant a lengthy trek out the length of Senter Road, past the County Fairgrounds, until WCSV moved right adjacent to our neighborhood.
Now, if a hapless mallard duckling drops into your backyard from the beak of a startled hawk, or, if your otherwise gentle kitty-cat mangles a tiny hummingbird or baby jay, there is help available. If a furry animal is killed or injured and its helpless young survive, there are caring people waiting to tend to the wounded and nurture the young until they are strong enough to be released back into nature.
Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley is now at 3027 Penitencia Creek Road, a couple of blocks around the bend west of the intersection of Penitencia Creek Road and White/Piedmont Road. You can phone them at (408) 929-WILD (929-9453) and make arrangements to take the injured parties to their rescuers.
If you find you're on your own until help is available, please keep in mind: don't touch or disturb mammals which may be able to recover on their own with a bit of protection until their mother comes for them. Do protect small reptiles and birds from further injury from predatory animals and humans. Don't attempt to feed or water sick or injured animals or birds. Don't take chances on being bitten by wild animals. After all, they are wild animals and they don't have a clue that you're trying to help them. And, most importantly, don't try to nurse animals yourself - the experts know the right way to do it and they're ready and willing.
And, as you might guess, the Wildlife Center always needs funds (donations are tax deductible) and you may find rewarding volunteer work with animals right here in our back yard. Give them a call! Or visit their Web site.
A. Yes, the current edition of NNV is online at http://www.nnvesj.org/Current.htm and you can access it anytime. The benefits of being a New Neighborhood Voice subscriber include:
You will receive an e-mail to let you know when a new edition of NNV has been published. You can then use the links in the e-mail or the address above to read or print the new current edition. The individual links can be used to select the stories which interest you.
You will receive occasional special editions of NNV when significant events affecting our neighborhoods happen outside our normal publication cycle.
You can be an active member of the NNV community and send us Letters to the Editor and items for the Community Bulletin Board. In other words, you can participate in what is happening in our neighborhoods, rather than being a passive observer.
To subscribe to New Neighborhood Voice, E-mail JudyET@NNVESJ.org with "Subscribe" in the Subject line or call (408) 272-7008. E-mail and fax subscriptions are free. A small donation is appreciated for mail subscriptions to cover postage and mailing expenses.
E-mail us at JudyET@NNVESJ.org or fax to (408) 272-4040. Please limit letters to a few hundred words (shorter items are more likely to be used in the newsletter and read) and include your name and phone number in case we have questions. Contributions may be edited for content and space requirements. Want to write articles or essays? Please let us know!
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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 4/4/03.