New Neighborhood Voice

Newsletter - Edition 13 - Section 1

February 1, 2004

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Click on a thumbnail to view larger photos
More
photos
are in
Section 2
Great
Mailboxes!
The late
wonderful
John Leary
Sup. Pete McHugh
delivering State
of the County address
See how the new
Alum Rock Branch
Library will look
Councilmember
Nora Campos
assists with
the demolition
Henry and Nora Ribbs Three of Henry and Nora's children -
Alma, Bunny and Evelyn
Alum Rock Feed & Fuel -
History for sale
Maybe even the
truck's for sale?
Airplane
noise
Simon
slips
away
Meet Barbara and
Larry Caskey here
Rafiki's Wi-Fi -
The best place to do
your homework!
Yarrow and other
native groundcovers
Undergrounding
lines at McKee
and Toyon
Crothers Road -
Closed but
not forgotten

Newsletter Headlines

bulletMail Theft Again - Our neighborhood is not the only one victimized
bulletPombo's Road Update - Is Gary Richards acknowledging our opposition?
bulletCADET School at James Lick?  Bigger news - New leadership at Lick!
bulletHistorical Heritage Commission - Work on the proposed ordinance starts over
bulletAs Planes Go Up, Home Values Go Down by Terry Carolan
bulletJohn Leary – Gentleman, Scholar, Artist, Poet ……… Neighbor, Friend
bulletWhat’s In a Name: A chronicle of the Ribbs family by Heather Ribbs
bulletState of the County Address by Santa Clara County Supervisor Pete McHugh
bulletBarbara and Larry Caskey – Hillcrest residents and NNV Founding Sponsors
bulletEyes in the Sky - "The perfect predator" by Dorothy "D.J." Johnson - YSI
bulletNNV Newsmakers: Assemblymember Manny Diaz
bulletThe Californio - Rancho La Polka? What happened to the Indians? by Ed Allegretti
bulletNNV Briefs
bulletLibrary Ballot Measure Set for March 2nd - Current funding is about to expire
bulletRafiki’s Wi-Fi Hot Spot beckons everyone who wants to stay connected
bullet Alum Rock Education Foundation - For the children of ARUSD by Gaye Dabalos
bulletSons of Confederate Veterans - The debate goes on! by Edward Allegretti
bullet110 Years Old - Lyndale resident lived eleven decades by Evalyn Martinez
bulletNNV Web Site Home Page Changes - More buttons under the banner
bulletYou Dig It?
bulletJan./Feb. Hot Topics by UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Bracey Tiede
bulletJudging a Garden by its Groundcover: Native Alternatives by Arvind Kumar
bulletJames Lick Death Valley Field Studies Program Photos
bulletOne Last True Kitty Cat Tale - Simon slips away. Was his friend the fox waiting?
bulletFAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
bulletWhat was all the construction going on at McKee Road at Toyon?
bulletWhat's happening with the closed portion of poor old Crothers Road?
bulletWill you bring us up to date on the old, closed Alum Rock Stables?
bulletWhat's happening now with the Alum Rock Feed & Fuel store property?
bulletWill the Alum Rock Branch Library ground-breaking happen on schedule?
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Mail Theft Again

Our neighborhood is not the only one victimized

Oakland Montclair neighborhood organizes against such crime

NNV Alert: Recently, an NNV reader noticed a very suspicious vehicle possibly casing mailboxes in our neighborhood. The car is an older black, 2-door fastback Japanese model, with two dark-haired young men inside. Keep your eyes open!  Don't hesitate to call 911 if you see any suspicious activity.

Late in December of 2003, NNV sent out a message to our subscribers alerting them to renewed mail theft activity in the neighborhood. If readers had a sense of déjà vu, it was no coincidence. Just about one year before, New Neighborhood Voice began its editorial life with dissemination of information regarding many instances of stolen mail here in the East foothills. At that time, readers responded with tale after tale of missing checks, payment overdue notices, emptied envelopes scattered around and that frightening specter, identity theft.

Responding to our recent alert, readers are telling us again that many of their mailboxes (and in one instance, a car) have been hit by thieves. There were several instances of mail discarded by the thieves ending up in other people's mailboxes. Some readers can't be sure whether their incoming mail was taken - some of the effects have yet to come home to roost. You can read letters from some of our readers on the letters page of this edition. By the letters, you can tell that the thieves change their methods of operation from time to time. In the past, the thieves were executing their bleaching skills and altering stolen checks to suit their devious ways. Now, it seems that some of them care only about "live" checking account numbers. Yes, just the numbers! They can use your account number on checks they produce.

Obviously we must be much less cavalier (and trusting) about using our checking accounts. A sheriff's deputy told one victim to simply not use checks anymore. There have been advisories to the effect that one should not carry checks in one's wallet or purse. Apparently any check (no matter whether it's blank, used or cancelled) or checking account number can be abused.

The "helpful suggestions" NNV made last year may not be useful any more. We suggested that people have their new checks delivered to their bank branch rather than risking them in the mails. One reader writes that her box of new checks was intercepted and stolen between the check printer's and the bank branch!

More and more readers are installing locking mailboxes with mixed results. NNV is interested to know which brands, sizes and styles our readers are using and whether they feel their mail is safer in them. It seems that it's up to us residents to keep one another informed of the crime on our streets and it's up to us to share ideas of how we can protect ourselves. If we relied solely on our local newspapers or law enforcement, we just plain wouldn't know what we're up against. We must keep our vigilance up and watch out for ourselves and our neighbors as best we can.

Short of suggesting mayhem, will you share your ideas on how we can best cope with this unsettling threat?

NNV gardening writer, Bracey Tiede, alerted NNV to a segment of KGO-TV news which ran on Friday evening, January 16th. One of the topics featured a neighborhood organization formed to address mail theft in Montclair, a hillside suburb of Oakland, within the past year or so. It appears that the neighborhood has had an experience similar to ours with mail thieves thumbing their noses at the residents - their thieves even go to the extent of leaving all the doors of the robbed mailboxes hanging open to announce and emphasize their cowardly crime. The Monclairians decided they were not going to take it any more and decided to get organized!

Among other strategies, they have made education of the neighborhood a priority - now there should be no one in their midst who doesn't know what's going on. And, they've made everyone aware of all the available tools to help protect themselves. They've even arranged with two locking mailbox manufacturers to provide safer mailboxes at a quantity discount. And, probably most satisfying, they've gotten the attention of their local police department and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which, it seems, is the only arm of the USPS which is prepared (though minimally) to document and react to mail theft. Call them at (415) 778-5800 to report thefts; don't even bother to inform your post office branch - theft response is not in their "job description." The Montclair Safety and Improvement Council, as they are known, realize they have a ways to go to get the support and feedback they want from law enforcement, but they have the satisfaction of knowing that they are doing something about the predators who would rather live off them than earn an honest day's wage.

Click here for related mailbox photos.  Click here to read an ABC Channel 7 salute to the Montclair group. Click here for lots of interesting details of the Montclair neighborhood's crime-fighting enterprise.

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Pombo's Road Update

Is Gary Richards acknowledging our opposition - finally?

Pombo's Road over Mt. Hamilton from the Central Valley to Mt. Hamilton Road and Alum Rock Avenue made its way back into the Mercury News in mid-December in Gary Richards' Roadshow column and again in January. A San Francisco reader inquired about "the status of the project." Gary Richards responded that more may be known "in another year." He went on to write that U.S. Representative Richard Pombo, R-Stockton, will be seeking money in 2004 "to conduct a study of constructing a six-lane freeway……into East San Jose."

According to the brief article, "no specific route has been chosen, but Pombo prefers an alignment that would run from I-5 near Patterson across remote eastern Santa Clara County and down the Diablo Range, connecting with Mt. Hamilton Road and Interstate 680 in Alum Rock."

Folks, this man Pombo is serious about building this road! His preferred route would absorb the lower portion of Mt. Hamilton Road and make a six-lane connector road of Alum Rock Avenue all the way down to the 680. Well, there goes our neighborhood.

In the December edition of NNV, we printed a comment from U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, in which she made clear that Pombo is doing an end-run around the "regular process for outlining transportation priorities (which) is through local communities and then the Metropolitan Transportation Commission." She went on to write, "Only by using such processes will community issues be fully discovered and only the highest priority projects be funded."

NNV has seen no opportunities for public comment or any sign of community issues being opened for "discovery." It was one year ago that Pombo's Road was first mentioned in the Mercury News (and subsequently in NNV). Since then, he and his constituents have made a year's worth of progress.

Pombo's Road was featured in the Mercury News' Roadshow column again on Thursday, January 15th. There were several questions and answers on the topic. They revolved around the existing roads which (inadequately) carry Central Valley/San Jose travelers to and from their destinations. Most interesting and gratifying to NNV was one of Gary Richards' answers which said in part, "Pombo's proposal for a new highway has raised an outpouring of both criticism and support." It seems as though an acknowledgement of the opposition to this road has been a long time coming. NNV's hope is that our public lambasting of this transportation travesty, and our readers' letting our legislators know how much we don't want this road in our neighborhood, are adding to this "outpouring" of criticism. We "critics" of the road are no doubt greatly outnumbered by all the people who don't live on Mt. Hamilton or in the Alum Rock corridor and who would gladly sacrifice our neighborhood for a faster commute.

NNV Note: There are some NNV readers who have begun contacting their legislators and talking to environmental groups who want to ensure the integrity of Mt. Hamilton. It will take a bigger, more intense, objection from the people who live here to make their voices heard before the die is cast. Our combined voices will have to be mighty.

Click here and here for Gary Richards' recent Roadshow columns on this subject. Click here for our article on how to contact your legislators.

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Is There Really Going to be a CADET School at James Lick?

The bigger news is that ESUHSD installs new leadership at Lick!

"Nothing less than a complete and total turnaround" will be accepted

According to the San Jose Mercury News of January 20, the ESUHSD is "shelving" the proposal for a cadet school on the Lick campus. Bigger news is that the district is "shuffling administrators at six campuses and will install new leadership" at Lick. The new leadership team will be composed of Bill Rice, a principal at Independence High School, Joel Herrera, principal of the School of Global Economy at the new Evergreen Valley High School, and Rick Esparza, head of the East Side Cadet Academy.

ESUHSD Superintendent Esperanza Zendejas, the Mercury News continues, "has made reforming James Lick a top priority and last fall sent in a team to help the school improve its curriculum and instruction. James Lick has some of the lowest test scores in the district and a dropout rate that Zendejas puts as high as 40 percent."  "It is also the only school in the East Side district facing sanctions for failing to meet annual test score targets set by the state to comply with the federal No Child Left Behind Act. As part of those sanctions, James Lick must allow its 1,200 students to transfer to schools with higher scores and could eventually face state takeover."

"I'm excited about the opportunity to make a difference in the James Lick community,'' Herrera said. "We will accept nothing less than a complete and total turnaround."

Current Lick principal, Bernardo Olmos, will be reassigned to Oak Grove.

Long-time Lick science teacher and parent, Nella Henninger, now retired, ventures, "I think we must take a wait and see attitude again with this change - ALL the administrators. If they can bring about a change in the 'culture' of the school as a whole to bring back a more academic feeling among the students, I think it will be beneficial. If that happens, the morale of the faculty and staff can improve."

Click here for the Mercury News article.

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Historical Heritage Commission Public Hearing

Work on the proposed ordinance starts again - at the beginning

This ordinance can affect any unincorporated County property owner

At its meeting on Thursday, January 15th, the County's Historical Commission began careful scrutiny of the draft Historic Preservation Ordinance which they hope to adopt. Taking into account a great deal of citizen input regarding the onerous and punitive provisions of the original draft, the commissioners (with the guidance of County staff) began by parsing the basic questions and checking assumptions. Most fundamental, they agreed, is that an ordinance is desirable and necessary to designate and protect valuable or historic resource properties in unincorporated Santa Clara County and to implement the County's responsibilities under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). They deemed it important to codify what up until now has been random and confusing attention to historic properties.

We were proud of our commissioner from this area, Edward Allegretti, who was obviously well prepared for the meeting and tried to facilitate decisions and help the other commissioners articulate their positions.

The only organization of such properties now is the County's "Heritage Resource Inventory" which is essentially just a list of properties with a small amount of descriptive and historical data. Properties on the inventory are not currently protected and there is no means of evaluating their status as landmarks.

A great deal of time and discussion were spent on whether designation of a property as a historic landmark could be made without the consent of the owner. Could such a property owner be able to stop the process by submitting a "formal, written, notarized objection" to such a designation? And could the County Board of Supervisors override the property owner in the case of a major resource being lost to demolition or inappropriate alteration? These are among the first questions being hammered out by the commissioners.

Discussions of the revised ordinance were cut short by the new 9:00 PM time limit for County Building meetings. This commission plans to start their meetings an hour earlier (at 6:00 PM) and to have monthly, rather than bi-monthly, meetings until they catch up with this and other business. The next meeting will be on February 19th at 6:00 PM - see our Community Bulletin Board for more details.

From NNV's perspective, it appears that the commissioners and the County staffers who work with them are carefully considering public input - especially regarding the potential hardships which would have been imposed by the original draft ordinance. That draft included reams of material and all of its provisions must be considered and addressed by this commission before a citizen-friendly and equitable ordinance can be adopted.

Commissioner Allegretti's comments on the meeting

The following comment on the meeting was sent to us by Commissioner Allegretti: "In my opinion the most important aspect of the proposed Ordinance will be discussed at the next meeting on February 19th. I say the most important aspect because this is when the commission shall initially (after all of the aspects have been reviewed, the Ordinance in its entirety will be voted on by the commissioners and then forwarded to the Board of Supervisors) discuss any authority an owner may have or not have over having his property designated landmark/heritage status. No doubt there will be some debate on this issue. Public input has been vital and will especially be vital when this is discussed at the next meeting. My personal hope is that owner-occupied properties, as compared to those owned by large corporations or other organizations, will have especially strong protections and safeguards for those who live in and own these designated landmarks and heritage properties. Of course, if the owner isn't given authority to stop the designation process, the future meetings will be more important because what is a landmark/heritage property will actually be decided, what an owner can or can't do will be decided, what controls the county will have over the property will be decided, and more. This Ordinance can have negative or positive impacts on private property and on our community as a whole. It is important that folks become involved and give their input."

Click here for the Santa Clara County Planning Office Web site for the proposed ordinance. Click here for our December articles 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.peak@pln.co.santa-clara.ca.us

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New Neighborhood Voice Founding Sponsors

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Lifestyle Properties, Call Ellen Rauh at (408) 929-1925, www.lifestyleprop.com

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Caskey Country Club Properties, Call Larry and Barbara Caskey at (408) 926-5400

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E.M.S. LLC, Environmental Management Systems, (408) 501-4200
A full service construction & demolition cleanup, hauling and recycling company

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Eileen Parks, Windermere Silicon Valley Properties, (408) 251-5860
"When the follow through counts, call Eileen" - or e-mail Restatelady@aol.com 

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Keith Bush, Artist/Sculptor, (408) 923-6666, www.keithbush.org 

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MBA ARCHITECTS, Marvin Bamburg AIA, (408) 297-0288, www.MBA-Architects.net 
Residential, commercial, industrial, historic preservation & mixed use projects;  marvin@mba-architects.net 

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Mark DeTar, REALTY WORLD DETAR PROPERTIES, (408) 729-9000
Call or click today WWW.MarkDeTar.com or e-mail MdeTar@amffund.com 

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As Planes Go Up, Home Values Go Down…

Airplane noise in our Eastside community

Councilmember Campos hosts meeting Feb. 25, 6:00 PM at ARYC

By Terry Carolan

Most, if not all of us, have enjoyed the convenience of San Jose's airport at one time or another, but the airport may be having an undesirable effect on our neighborhood and our lives.

In the past couple of years, residents of East Foothills communities may have noticed an increase in noise from commercial jets. This is because flight patterns during typical conditions have shifted further and further east and now are commonly over, or very close to our neighborhoods. I have had people in our area comment that they thought it was their imagination. It is not. They're here and your participation is all that will prevent this from becoming a serious problem.

Since 1997 there have been several significant events in regards to air traffic in the South Bay. These included;

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A forty million dollar plus expansion of the San Jose Airport. Key to this expansion was to have two full length runways with the ultimate objective of accommodating more flights.

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The FAA proposing new flight paths into San Francisco, which impacts the air traffic patterns for San Jose Airport and puts San Francisco air traffic over parts of San Jose in certain weather conditions.

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An earlier phase-in of quieter Stage 3 aircraft, promoted by the FAA, but with the trade off that airports would no longer be able to restrict flight paths.

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A shift in flight paths from San Jose International that puts departing planes three to four miles closer to our area than they were and has recently included planes flying at altitudes two to three thousand feet lower than what was typical before.

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A compromise in the night time curfew which now allows some jets to depart at any time. This could pave the way for further compromise, or elimination of the curfew altogether.

bulletThe introduction of an International Terminal increasing the airport from two terminals to three, and therefore more flights in and out, with larger, long range planes.

The prime intent of all these measures is to accommodate increased air traffic. None of these measures have taken any serious account of the noise impact to area communities. Instead, token organizations and half hearted noise abatement programs have been implemented while government agencies keep tossing the issue back and forth like a hot potato.

Like some other airports, San Jose International Airport (SJC) operates under a variance because it does not meet Federal noise level standards. Because of this, the city is required to operate a Noise Monitoring Center. The Noise Monitoring Center gathers information through noise measuring devices and community feedback to determine noise impact. The results are reported to the San Jose City Council and the Airport Advisory Committee, theoretically as a means of improving the problem. However, there seems to be little benefit from their involvement. In 1997, when I moved to the East Hills, airplane noise was a minimal concern. Today is a very different story.

A brief background 

SJC does have a noise mitigation program. As part of that program SJC's Noise Monitoring Center publishes Noise Abatement guides which indicate the recommended flight paths for arrivals and departures. In typical conditions planes depart the airport on Runway 30-R, make a 180 degree turn to the east and either continue south, or loop another 180 degrees to fly to the north. The recommended flight path for planes in this pattern is along the 680 corridor.

NNV Note: Click here for an illustration of the recommended flight path. North is not straight up in this illustration - note the North arrow at the upper right. Runway 30-R is at a 300 degree heading - 30 degrees left of straight North.

In the past the departing planes typically followed a corridor between 680 and Capitol. During the past two years there has been a gradual shift toward the east and towards our neighborhood. As a result of this, it is common for the flight path to be between Kirk/Fleming and Mount Hamilton Road, especially during peak departure times. The main reason for this shift is a technique being used by the San Jose Airport Control Tower to get more planes out quicker. That's great if it's your plane, but not so great for our neighborhood. The other reason is that the Federal Aviation Administration, who is responsible for directing flight paths, is largely unconcerned about noise impact to residents. In my efforts to work with these agencies I have been continuously redirected from one to the other. The FAA claims that San Jose Airport is responsible for the shift in flight patterns, and the airport claims it is the FAA that is responsible. It does seem though that the San Jose Airport Noise Monitoring Center is genuinely interested in working on behalf of the community, but they are nearly powerless. From my experience, they seem to be a token organization put in place only to meet the requirements of the variance.

Why should this matter to you? 

Noise of any kind is usually considered unpleasant, unwelcome and compromises quality of life. Like myself, I believe most residents of the East Hills value the quality of life in our area and this has been a significant factor in the choice to live here. Our quality of life is now threatened by increased airplane noise. Quality of life is subjective and hard to quantify, but in addition to quality of life, there is another significant reason for concern and that is the effect airplane noise has on property value. There have been numerous reports published on this topic and as one can imagine, they are controversial. Here are some examples:

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In 1994 the consulting firm of Booz-Allen & Hamilton, Inc. prepared a report for the Federal Aviation Administration. In two paired moderately priced neighborhoods north of Los Angeles International Airport, the study found "an average 18.6 percent higher property value in the quiet neighborhood, or 1.33 percent per dB of additional quiet."

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In 1997 Randall Bell, MAI, Certified General Real Estate Appraiser, licensed real estate broker, and instructor for the Appraisal Institute, provided the results of his own professional analysis to the Orange County Board of Supervisors. Comparing sales of 190 comparable properties over six months in communities near Los Angeles International Airport, John Wayne Airport, and Ontario Airport, Bell found a diminution in value due to airport proximity averaging 27.4 percent.

bulletA 1996 study funded by the Legislature of the State of Washington concluded: "all other things remaining equal, the value of a house and lot increases by about 3.4% for every quarter of a mile the house is farther away from being directly underneath the flight track of departing/approaching jet aircraft."

Referring back to the changes in flight paths described above, planes have gradually moved 3 to 4 miles closer than they typically were several years ago. If the studies are correct, or even half correct, it is safe to say that the impact on our property values could be significant if flight patterns continue to shift our way.

What can you do? 

Call the Noise Report Recorder. Most people do not know that the San Jose Airport has a number for residents to call and complain about airplane noise. The airport and Noise Monitoring Center have done little in the way of public awareness and I believe this is because the fewer calls they receive, the smaller the problem is perceived to be. You can help by reporting noisy planes. I have spent considerable time either visiting, or on the phone with the Noise Monitoring Center and they continue to tell me that they get "very few" calls from our area. Therefore, in their reports to the City Council and the Airport Noise Advisory Committee, there does not appear to be a noise impact problem in our area. Calling the Noise Reporting number is the single most effective way you can participate in protecting your home from this problem.

The Noise Report number is (408) 452-0707. Once the answering machine picks up, hit #1 on your phone and you will hear the prompt "Noise Event". Hit the * (star) key and you will be prompted to leave your name, phone number, address and date/time/description of the noise event. This process takes about one minute. This number is to report commercial jets and not the small, general aviation planes that are also bothersome. I will follow up with another article on these.

You should also contact the office of Nora Campos, our City Council representative. While many good things have happened in our area during her term in office, I was very disappointed with her disinterest in this topic. I was refused a meeting with Ms. Campos herself and was instead contacted by one of her aides who was polite but uninformed and no help at all. In a letter from Ms. Campos' office dated January 21, 2003, she promised to "keep my concerns in mind." Ms. Campos can be contacted at (408) 277-5192. (NNV Note: Councilmember Campos' response to this paragraph is below.)

I have heard our area referred to as a "well kept secret." We all enjoy the rural environment while still having the convenience of the city so close. The overall quality of living here could diminish if air traffic continues to encroach on us. This is an issue that will not go away on its own. Your involvement and participation are key to preventing this from becoming a major problem. Unless residents voice their concerns, you can rest assured the problem will get worse. If it does, you may as well put a few dollars in your savings account every time you hear a loud plane to make up for what your house will be losing in value. Take a minute when you hear an offensively loud plane. Make the call to the Noise Report Recorder at (408) 452-0707. Help preserve our neighborhoods.

Other information This problem is common in many cities in the United States and generates much concern and action from citizens' groups. The following are links to sites for additional information:

Citizens Against Airport Pollution (CAAP) is a San Jose coalition based in the Rosegarden area that has been active for several years. They have an excellent site with a lot of local and national information: http://www.caap.org/ 

The Impact of Airport Noise on Property Value report quoted in this article: http://www.netvista.net/~hpb/propval.html 

The Noise Pollution Clearinghouse contains an Airport Monitor section: http://www.nonoise.org/index.htm 

Citizens Aviation Watch Association is an organization dedicated to protecting the health, safety and welfare of individuals and communities that are affected by the air transport industry: http://www.us-caw.org/ 

If anyone has feedback, questions or is interested in becoming more involved in this cause, please contact me directly at: Carolan@tsoft.com 

NNV Note: Want to see which planes fly over your house? Click here for the SJC Flight Tracking page and then click on "View AirportMonitor." It helps to have a broadband connection to do this and it takes a while for the display to come up. You can see the flight tracks in this area, taken from actual raw radar data, displayed with a delay of approximately ten minutes. Click on a plane to find out the identification of the aircraft type and its altitude. Although the delay is for security purposes, as noted in the instructions, the delay can be useful if you notice an overflight of your neighborhood and need time to bring up the SJC Internet Flight Tracking System. Also, the "replay function" allows you to view past flight tracks during a 3-month period with additional information about the aircraft involved. You'll need to watch for several days with different wind patterns and active runways to see the various flight patterns in our area. The primary question is whether planes are taking off and landing using the northerly runway (300 degrees for SJC) or in the opposite direction (120 degrees) so they are heading into the wind.

City Councilmember Nora Campos responds:

Thank you for allowing me to respond to the preceding article by Mr. Terry Carolan. I appreciate this opportunity.

Mr. Carolan did contact my office last January, a member of my staff who works on airport issues sat down with him to discuss his concerns. Mr. Carolan is fearful the flight path leaving Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport (SJC) is increasingly moving east toward the San José foothills. Let me assure you, the flight path has not changed. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has established procedures for takeoff and landings, which allow pilots variance to deviate off the flight path for safety reasons. In a letter, I informed Mr. Carolan the FAA sets these guidelines, and the City of San José and the City Council does not have authority when it comes to setting or changing existing flight paths, takeoff or landing procedures. Knowing Mr. Carolan has already been in contact with noise mitigation staff at Mineta San José International Airport, I promise to keep his concerns a part of the discussion as the Council continues to develop and learn new ways of providing noise mitigation measures. I would like to take this time to acknowledge the fact that last October, my colleagues and I were able to pass a resolution strengthening the curfew ordinance.

The new plan prohibits takeoffs and landings between 11:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. by aircraft identified by the FAA that exceed an average of 89 decibels, as opposed to basing these operations by weight as previously done. This is a significant improvement to our prior system and should provide increased protection during the late evening through early morning hours. For the past 2 years, between 800,000 to 1 million people utilized the passenger services offered at Mineta San José International Airport each month. We are the 11th largest city in America, but rank 36th in terms of airport size. The growth of Mineta San José International Airport is, and will be, a critical part of our economic structure.

Meeting scheduled to discuss Airport Master Plan

Because there are concerns regarding this growth, I have scheduled a District-Five meeting between airport staff and architects involved in the planning of the new terminal to inform, answer questions and take input regarding the Mineta San José International Airport Master Plan on February 25, 2004, 6:00 p.m. at the Alum Rock Youth Center. All are welcome to listen, comment and share concerns regarding the plan. If you have any questions, please contact my office at 408.277.5157.

Sincerely,
Nora Campos
Councilmember District-Five

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John Leary – Gentleman, Scholar, Artist, Poet ……… Neighbor, Friend

A bright star dims out on Enchanto Vista Drive

And leaves us a Valentine's Day inspiration

John Leary was one of the first subscribers to NNV. He wrote to the newsletter in the most elegant handwriting imaginable. He phoned with messages of encouragement and appreciation. He was on the list to be interviewed for a "Notable Neighbor" article when he suddenly passed away at age 86 on December 9, 2003.

NNV talked to John's old friend, Howard Shellhammer (Howard lives in the Fleming Avenue - Story Road area) who shared a little bit about John with us. Howard and John, both retired San Jose State University professors, met weekly to discuss their mutual love of writing poetry. John's chosen profession was as a Professor of Art at SJSU. His specialty was Ceramics. A large contingent at his memorial service consisted of John's appreciative ex-students, on hand to show their respect for a much beloved teacher. At the service, also, were a multitude of John's hillside friends - many of them fellow volunteers from Eastside FISH.

In his retirement, John created small sculptures and assemblages (for sale at Gump's in San Francisco), but poetry was what fascinated and renewed him. Howard shared two of John's exquisite poems at the memorial service and with NNV. If you would like a little Valentine's Day inspiration, darlin', you must read "Tell Me You Love Me" which John wrote last year at age 85.

Tell me you love me

Tell me you love me, I'll burst into song,
push all the buttons and pull out the stops
write poems of joy amazingly long
strew all about you bright candied dew drops.

I'll package the moon in silver and gold
tell all the birds to sing in a chorus
to tingle your ears with jubas untold
that call on each star to shine just for us.

We'll fly far away, I promise we will
where no one can find us, just you and me
and in our seclusion we'll have our fill
of bliss through all letters right down to Z.

So tell me again you love only me
and you've got me, my darlin', you've got me.

Click here for a photo of John and another of his poems.

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Click here for Section 2 of the February 1, 2004 Newsletter

(This newsletter is in two sections to reduce the download time for this page)

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Copyright© 2004 by Judy Thompson, 16174 Highland Drive, San Jose, CA 95127 
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Copyright© 2004 by Judy Thompson.  All rights reserved.  Updated 7/18/04.

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