At the YSI Wildlife
What's this Park
What vehicle is
How long is
Tom Diamond -
He liked to see
This is how we were
Gil Decker led
|It’s That Time Again - We're ready for our third year and we'd appreciate your support|
|Editorial: Still Confused About the ARUSD School Board Election? No wonder!|
|Qualities of a Great School Board Member - Put CHILDREN first by Gaye Dabalos|
|Voters to Decide on Countywide and Local Ballot Measures by Supervisor Pete McHugh|
|Editorial: Improved Regional Medical Center Will Improve Quality of Life in East San Jose|
|Local Land Use Decisions Made in Sacramento? by Rebecca Elliot, League of Calif. Cities|
|The Universe is Made of Stories, Not Atoms - Remembering J. Gordon Edwards|
|Girl Aids in Local Holdup - Picnic Followed by Robbery in Alum Rock Park (June, 1935)|
|YSI Supporters Enjoy Lavish Treat at the Deckers' - Event benefits nature programs|
|Notable Neighbor Dennis Nahat - Artistic Director of Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley|
|San Jose Fire Station 2 – Part 3, History of Station 2 and the Empire Engine Company|
|You Dig It?|
|Producing Wine in the East Foothills? Family-style Vista Vineyards by Ed Allegretti|
|FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)|
Whoa! Can you believe that New Neighborhood Voice has been your neighborhood voice for two whole years now? Next month's (December) edition will be the first one of our third year! As we said last year, it has been such a terrific "growth experience" (heh) and we are gearing up for another year of news grubbing, researching, meeting attending, writing, editing, picture taking, web site building and neighborhood cheerleading.
We hope you have enjoyed watching and helping the newsletter grow from a few pages to sometimes as many as thirty! As you probably know, we have enjoyed the support of nine area businesspeople who generously sponsor NNV. We hope they will all want to re-up and continue helping to sustain NNV. However, it is also time to ask for a little help from our on-line subscribers as well. We hope you can think of New Neighborhood Voice as being rather like public television or radio. Like those entities, NNV needs donations to survive. We create the newsletter as a community service, our wonderful (and much appreciated) writers and photographers all are unpaid volunteers - as are we.
We'd appreciate your support!
We’d appreciate any donation (even as little as $10 or $15 will help) and we try to make donating to NNV as painless as possible. No pledge breaks or drives!
E-mail subscriptions to NNV will continue to be free, of course, just as public TV and radio are, so donations are completely voluntary. We will continue to ask for a $10-$15 per year donation from our subscribers who need a mailed, paper copy every month.
Our plan is still to make just one annual appeal so we won't be asking again until this time next year - if we decide at that time to continue with the newsletter.
It’s easy to make a donation. NNV now has a bank account in its name so you can just make a check out to "New Neighborhood Voice" and mail it to us at 16174 Highland Drive, San Jose, CA 95127.
If you prefer 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. NNV is a Verified PayPal Member.
The PayPal secure server will be used for this transaction. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can make a Credit Card donation and set up your own PayPal account at the same time.
If you want to read more before you donate, click here for our Donations Information page.
Here are some statistics for our first two years. NNV had:
• 21 editions (we actually plan to do ten editions in this next year) - all archived on our Web site
• 10 "Special Alerts" to let readers know about important events between editions
• About 65 volunteer writers who contributed more than 170 stories or poems - not counting the ones we wrote
• So many photos on our web site that we can’t even count them now, thanks to many volunteer photographers
Your comments, suggestions, Letters to the Editor and events for our Community Bulletin Board are all welcome at any time. Just e-mail JudyET@NNVESJ.org. Please put "Letter to the Editor" in the subject line if we can publish your message on our Letters page.
Thank you for your support.
Judy and Allan Thompson
If you read the Mercury News’ articles and editorials about the Alum Rock United School District throughout the month of October, you may feel as though you’re getting a good jerking around. First they were somewhat mystified about Superintendent Anaya’s sudden decision to retire. Next, they blamed two current board trustees, Kim Mesa and Lalo Morales for the hostile relations which caused Dr. Anaya to make his decision. And, they cited Trustee Esau Herrera as “… Anaya’s biggest supporter (who) has always been a lightning rod for controversy.”
Next, the Merc made its recommendations - presumably based on their “looking for candidates (they) think will be constructive, responsible board members” for ARUSD. NNV was very gratified to see that they recognized John Leyba and Tanya Freudenberger as “excellent choices” and recommended them. NNV has been supporting John and Tanya all along. But, would you believe that they also recommended (albeit with some reservations) that Lalo Morales be re-elected to his four year seat to “lower the odds of more surprises”? Well, is he “constructive and responsible” or is he someone who “seemed to dwell … on slights and disagreements” with Dr. Anaya? And, suddenly, in their recommendation editorial, Trustee Esau Herrera is characterized as “a domineering and divisive presence on the board” and that until he “is pushed aside, there will be no stability.” Strong words, but it looks like the Merc reporters finally got the drift!
Our understanding of the exchanges between Dr. Anaya and the trustees is that Kim Mesa and Lalo Morales ask serious questions of the Superintendent in order to protect the district from lawsuits and overspending on consultant fees. Far from being troublemakers, they take their responsibilities as trustees seriously. One frequent attendee of board meetings says that “… all (Kim and Lalo) have ever done … is ask for more information than they are being given.”
Dr. Anaya seems to be thin-skinned and lets his ego get in the way of managing his duties. It is probably a blessing that he has chosen to leave. The tension on the board has eased and as Tanya Freudenberger suggests, (the board should) “let go of the past, move forward in a spirit of cooperation and set targets for the near and near distant future that serve the best interest of the children.”
With Tanya and John on the ARUSD Board of Trustees, and, yes, with Lalo Morales reelected, they and Kim Mesa can arrive at a strategy to eradicate the hostile environment and, most importantly, work to loosen the hold of the old boy network which weaves its private political agenda into the affairs of the district. And, perhaps Esau Herrera will step down as gracefully as Dr. Anaya is doing and let more new voices bring their strengths to the board. The troubled ARUSD school board does not need “a lightning rod for controversy” such as Mr. Herrera or his “domineering and divisive presence.”
Click here for a few ARUSD election photos.
I had the honor of serving this community on the Alum Rock Board of Trustees from 1998 to 2002. An Alum Rock Administrator told me upon my election, that I had a steep learning curve ahead of me. But until my term was underway, I had no idea what the "CURVE" would look like.
I have often thought that the community should have a list of necessary qualities from which to identify a great board member. Skills possessed and skills developed along the way are critical to success or at least survival on the board. My service for the Alum Rock Board on the County Association of Board Members was the greatest opportunity for me to observe the behaviors of many so perfectly suited for service to their communities. These are the qualities I observed of the most successful and respected board members.
A good board member is: respectful, visionary, educated, thoughtful, curious, tenacious, patient, persistent, honest, quick thinking, and able to keep confidential matters confidential.
Good board members must have: solid effective experience in real world activities such as; business, parenting, and negotiating. They must maintain a consistent professional demeanor, possess strong analytical skills, have good public speaking skills, have effective time management skills, be team players, and have the ability, capacity and courage to address and deal with personnel issues affecting the management of the Superintendent in a timely manner.
A good board member comes with something to give the collective whole of the board, not looking to gain something as a result of board service. School board service is not a good place to build a resume.
Board members must:
Put CHILDREN first in all decisions. The most important question board members will ask is, "Is this decision good for a majority of the children in the District?"
Be informed, learn from all perspectives on pivotal issues facing the community, go outside the community to see how other boards have dealt with problems and challenges, and create a network of support and expertise to draw from when faced with tough decisions. Read the board packet!!! Speed-reading is an invaluable skill. Board members must have the time to read all of the information in the board packet and school district mail. This is volumes of reading material and must not be taken lightly. The job is to oversee and supervise the entire school district but most importantly the Superintendent. Reading skill determines how much time will be needed keeping up with the materials that must be reviewed.
Be open to new ideas and to challenges presented by the staff and community. A defensive attitude prevents the flow of communication so necessary to promote understanding and cooperation.
Leave ego and personal agendas at home. Board members are one member of a five-person team. There is no I in WE. Great teams are made up of members willing to help each other out, slow down to explain and be gracious even when they vehemently disagree. Recognize the benefit of the expertise and information that team members bring to the table. Board members may disagree, they may come from different places in their lives but they must have a rounded perspective to guide decisions. A five person board of diverse perspectives, cultures, and philosophies can bring a rich opportunity for the best decisions, decisions that benefit CHILDREN.
Leave personal needs and wants at home. Separate the board self from the personal self. If they have children in the schools, they must remember that issues with their children are dealt with as a parent, not as a board member. If they have friends and business associates that have helped them get elected, they must still place the needs of the Children ahead of the needs and/or wants of friends and business associates.
Know when to stop talking. Respect the time needed to get the job done. Meetings must be focused on the business at hand and are not a platform to self-aggrandizement or a place to publicly chastise District staff, fellow board members or persons in the community.
As you evaluate candidates for board service, please keep the above skills and behaviors in mind. If you do not personally know board candidates, find a friend or community member who does. Your votes for school board candidates are the most important local decisions you make. Board members make decisions that affect your property values and the quality of life in this community.
Remember that this service is not a club or PTA. School board service is business supervision of the largest employers in our community. For Alum Rock School District, that means overseeing a budget of 110-125 million dollars and management of approximately 800 employees. The East Side District has a budget of 180-200 million dollars and approximately 1500 employees. These are big corporations with big challenges needing professional focus and resources from our community. Your thoughtful consideration of the candidates is very important.
Click here for a photo of Gaye at the ARYC 1st Anniversary Celebration.
On November 2, Santa Clara County voters will elect federal and state-level officeholders, one Superior Court judge, and many local city and school district officials. They will also decide sixteen State ballot measures, three Countywide measures, and a number of important local measures. To help prepare voters, I will briefly describe the Countywide and local measures slated for the ballot.
Measure A proposes to amend Santa Clara County Charter Section 709, which requires the County to pay the prevailing wage. The section now does not specify, however, whether the prevailing wage includes comparison with the private sector and the employer’s cost for pensions and health benefits. Courts have interpreted prevailing wage to mean base pay only and to include comparison with private sector employees. The proposed measure amends Charter Section 709 to specify that the comparison must only be made with public sector employees. It would also amend “wages” and “rates of pay” to mean total compensation and would include base pay and all employer-paid contributions for employee benefits.
Measure B proposes to amend the County Charter by adding Section 715 and would take effect only if Measure C also passes. If voters pass Section 715, it would allow the Board of Supervisors to require voter approval of arbitration panel decisions in labor negotiation disputes at the next general election. If voters approve the arbitration decision, it goes into effect within thirty days of the election. Any arbitration decision that voters disapprove would become nullified, after which the disputing parties may resume the bargaining process anew.
If passed, Measure C would give County employees represented by the Correctional Peace Officers Association (CPOA), Government Attorneys Association (GAA), and Registered Nurses Professional Association (RNPA) binding arbitration during their contract negotiations. If the County and one of these unions reach an impasse during negotiations, the measure would require selecting a three-member arbitration panel. The panel must choose the last offer that either the County or the union submitted on the issue at impasse. The panel’s decision would ultimately become binding, and both parties would share the expenses of the arbitration process equally. For this dispute resolution process, these unions would give up the right to strike, but they may still refuse to cross picket lines.
San Jose’s Measure S, if passed, would renew for ten more years a special library parcel tax that would otherwise expire in 2005. The measure would impose a $25 tax per single home in the first effective year, with a sliding scale for other types of property.
Thirteen of the fourteen school district measures seek approval of bonds or parcel taxes for education-related purposes. The funding will maintain or improve the quality of educational programs and/or facilities. Bond measures require 55% approval and parcel taxes require two-thirds approval to pass.
To obtain more information about these ballot measures or other election issues, please go to www.smartvoter.org. I encourage all registered voters to study the measures and candidates carefully and vote on November 2.
NNV Note: Information on measures not related to this area has been deleted.
October 20, 2004
At a time when the County already faces severe budget deficits, the Board of Supervisors needs flexibility to make prudent fiscal decisions. By voting yes on Measures A and B, and no on Measure C, voters will help preserve that flexibility.
Measure C’s binding arbitration proposal could cost taxpayers more than $100 million over the next five years. Measure C would take away the Board’s authority to determine employee salaries and benefits and give it to outside arbitrators. The arbitrators could force the County to pay higher wages for a select few highly paid employees. As a result, the County would have to cut back on other necessary services such as health care, child welfare or public safety.
Measure B offers an important safeguard to Measure C. It gives voters veto power over any binding arbitration agreements the Board determines are too costly. Measure A would amend the County Charter’s prevailing wage section to restrict comparisons to public employees in Santa Clara and five other Bay Area counties. It would also include all employer-paid contributions for employee benefits and not just salaries.
I urge voters to support Measures A and B and defeat Measure C.
Supervisor, District Three
Santa Clara County
NNV Note: The San Jose Mercury News also recommends voting Yes on Measures A and B and No on Measure C (10/18/04, Page 8B). NNV and the Mercury News both recommend voting Yes on San Jose’s Measure S.
The yammering and seesawing of “the hospital situation” in San Jose leaves us East San Joseans holding our collective breath waiting for the next chapter. It seems that it’s not just in our own best interests to have a trauma center at Regional Medical Center on Jackson Avenue, it’s most evident that our county needs to have more trauma coverage than can be provided by Valley Medical Center (on Bascom Avenue near the 280) and Stanford Medical Center (21 miles north of San Jose) since the downtown trauma center at San Jose Medical Center is being dismantled.
Unfortunately, so far, our County functionaries are effectively blocking plans
of HCA (Hospital Corporation of America, the owners of Regional, SJMC and Good
Samaritan hospitals) to expeditiously move the trauma center from SJMC to
Regional by requiring a rigorous certification process which could take up to a
The latest wrinkle in the discussion was reported in an article in the 10-22 Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal. In the piece titled “Trauma looms in trauma care,” writer Troy May reveals that the County’s plans to put all its trauma care in “two baskets” (Valley and Stanford), may be jeopardized. Stanford has made a formal agreement with San Mateo County to offer trauma care to its south County residents. This may render Valley and Stanford unable “to handle the 2,000 trauma patients that San Jose Medical Center has cared for each year.”
Bob Sillen, director of the Santa Clara County Health & Hospital System is quoted in the article as saying, “I’m anticipating there will be times when both trauma centers don’t have (the necessary) capacity and trauma patients will have to be taken to a hospital in another county.”
Mr. May went on to write…“no discussions have as yet taken place whether Eden Hospital Medical Center in Castro Valley or any other trauma centers outside Santa Clara County would be willing and able to absorb the overflow.” Castro Valley? The contretemps over designating Regional as a certified Trauma Center could have our County sending us to Castro Valley???
There are many hard feelings and bruised egos involved in the closure of the downtown community’s long-time hospital. It’s not difficult to understand that they don’t want to lose the close-by services they have enjoyed. East San Joseans have pretty much stayed out of the fray – we never asked for an improved Regional Medical Center at the expense of the downtown hospital and trauma center, but now the reality of the situation is that HCA is closing SJMC.
We need to support Regional because it’s our only hope for a good medical facility with trauma care for either downtown or the East Side. The people of Berryessa, Evergreen and Milpitas use the services of Regional, too; we and they can advocate for expedited County approval of Regional’s plans which also include ambitious expansion and more comprehensive care which will benefit the entire area.
Click here for our first Regional
meeting report which describes the proposed changes at Regional and concludes, "Basically,
if the City and the residents don’t accept (and support) HCA’s
plan, we won’t have any state-of-the-art hospitals nearby – either here or
Caskey Country Club Properties, Call Larry and Barbara Caskey at (408) 926-5400
E.M.S. LLC, Environmental
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Windermere Silicon Valley
Properties, (408) 251-5860
Keith Bush, Artist/Sculptor, (408) 923-6666, www.keithbush.org
The financial planning firm PW
Papier, (408) 747-1222
Citizens actively engaged in neighborhood decision-making know how much time and effort it takes to track land uses issues at City Hall. You attend meetings with council members, developers, and neighbors; gather information, make presentations. Some of the decisions made are in your favor – and sometimes you go home disappointed.
How would you feel if local land use decisions were made in Sacramento and you had virtually no say in the process? Think this can’t happen? Think again.
Imagine this scenario - A developer presents a plan to your city council to build a high-rise apartment building in your neighborhood of single-family homes. The Council denies the application for a variety of reasons, one being the lack of support services for the new residents. The developer appeals the council’s decision to the state’s Housing and Community Development Department (HCD). HCD overrides the council’s decision and allows the developer to move forward with the project. This could be a reality if SB 744 (Dunn) becomes law.
Or this; your neighbor constructs a three-bedroom, two-bath “secondary” or “granny” unit on the lot behind their home. They didn’t ask for neighborhood input, nor require planning department approval. In fact, your neighbor was only required to follow minimum building standards and the council is prohibited from exercising any discretionary review over the unit. This too could become a reality if AB 2702 (Steinberg) passes this year.
Assembly Bill 1866
Last year AB 1866 was approved. This new law allows construction of second units and granny flats without calling for public hearings. AB 1866 allows local governments to apply only narrowly defined health and safety standards and prohibits the application of local development standards that could stop or scale back the scope of a proposed development. It also gives developers a big edge in lawsuits. AB 1866 clearly places the private interests of developers ahead of all other public interests.
I hope by now you have an idea of how legislation, either passed or currently winding its way through the State Capitol can or could affect your neighborhood and your quality of life. Your city council or board of supervisors will be powerless to respond to your concerns because they will be bound by a state mandate.
League of California Cities
Don’t despair! It isn’t too late to get involved. The League of California Cities invites you to be our partner and work to protect local control by joining the recently formed Citizens for Local Control (CLC). If you want your voice to be heard – if you want to stop Sacramento from usurping local zoning and planning control then Citizens for Local Control is definitely for you.
The League is working to keep residents in the “information loop” on issues affecting local control. Our goal is to provide timely facts on bills before the Assembly and/or Senate that will impact zoning and planning in our cities.
CLC will provide you with updates on significant legislation introduced on the state level and on issues that should be decided at the local level. You will receive the date, time and location of public hearings in the Capitol on pending state legislative proposals, budget issues, or other matters affecting cities and their residents' abilities to address land use issues and provide services at the local level. League action on important legislation will be featured on the CLC webpage, along with basic information such as which legislator is sponsoring the bill, and who represents you in Sacramento.
Members of the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods are already active and concerned citizens. Now you can enhance your ability to make a difference by joining the CLC. Sign up today by sending your name, email address, city and phone number to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our Web site, www.cacities.org.
A unique “service” was held at San Jose State on October 10th to remember the late, great, beloved Dr. (“Doc”) J. Gordon Edwards, Professor of Entomology extraordinaire. Scores of friends and colleagues from academia gathered in the lecture hall of the Science Building for an informal get-together reminiscing on the life of bigger-than-life Doc.
He built their house himself - And he played “Stardust” for Hoagie
Friend after friend revved up their Power Point programs or set up a slide show to remind Doc’s admirers just what was so special about this singular man. Each speaker had a personal perspective. Most personal of course, were the remembrances of Gordon’s wife, Alice and daughter, Jane, who remember him as the wonderful husband and father that he was. Alice pointed out that even as Gordon taught, researched, climbed mountains and wrote books, he also built their house himself. Jane related that her Indiana-born Dad had a “dirt collection” at the age of five and was an avid Scout (Diamond Eagle), and a birder as a teenager. She showed photos of her dad playing the piano so, somehow, he also found time to learn to play. Gordon once told NNV that he had played “Stardust” for Hoagie Carmichael. If anyone else ever made such a boast, he wouldn’t be believed. But, with Gordon Edwards, all things were possible, and indeed that was one of his mottos.
Doc was a graduate of Butler University in Indiana and received his PhD in Entomology from Ohio State University following his stint in WWII. He loved to tell the story of going AWOL to Paris at the conclusion of the war. While other soldiers went on drunken carouses, Gordon and his buddies hitchhiked to Paris and returned to their company sober and contrite, but with photos of the City of Light as mementoes of their service. Click here to see a historic photo.
Longtime SJSU Professor
Doc taught at San Jose State for about fifty years beginning in 1949. He ignited a passion in his students even to the point of inspiring at least one lackluster kid to change his major to entomology and become an elite scientist. Somewhere between seventy and eighty of his students went on to become PhDs. His former students described him as “the happiest man” and as having a magnetic personality. His radiant grin was a hallmark of Doc’s – mentioned by just about everyone who spoke.
Eight hours of sleep? Not for Doc.
Sleeping was a waste of time according to Doc. He spent many hours – into the wee ones – with students and colleagues at Spivey’s Coffee Shop on Santa Clara Street. His favorite food was fried hot dogs. He ate DDT to demonstrate its safety – and lived to be 84 years old when he died climbing a mountain in his favorite place, Glacier National Park, in July.
He was a comedian and inveterate letter writer
Doc’s goofy sense of humor was part of his specialness. In the upper left-hand corner of his personal stationery was his sketch of two dung beetles rolling along their ubiquitous ball of dung. He was fond of puns and plays on words. One of his friends cited this one: “Time flies like the wind; house flies like manure.”
Doc was an entertaining comedian. He would start many lectures by eating a handful of mealworms. Sometimes he would break up his students by taking a pair of scissors and lopping off hunks of his necktie until there wasn’t much left except the knot by the end of the lecture.
He commenced a correspondence with Ogden Nash in the 1940’s which was interrupted by their busy lives. Gordon started it back up again perhaps twenty years later as though there never had been a hiatus. It was “on” again!
And he advised Governors and Presidents
There was also a very serious side to Doc’s career. He championed truth in science and lamented the millions of human lives lost to the hysteria over DDT. He and his students/colleagues testified at EPA hearings and they advised Ronald Reagan both when Reagan was governor and when he was president. Gordon spoke to the National Press Club in Washington D.C. As recently as March of this year, he prepared a paper on the fallacious arguments of the anti-DDT extremists and presented it to a medical conference.
Not enough Gordon Edwards' in this world
Over and over, Doc’s colleagues and former students called him “one of the kindest people I ever met.” “His mission was to make the earth a better place,” according to one. And, perhaps most pointedly, one summed up, “A Gordon Edwards doesn’t come along very often.” Too true.
Click here for photos of Gordon Edwards and from the memorial service at San Jose State University. Click here for our article on how he died in Glacier National Park and how he is remembered there. If you'd like to understand more about the DDT references, click here - or just Google "j gordon edwards ddt" (without the quotes) - you'll get over 1,500 references, many of them current because his death has revived the controversy.
(This newsletter is in two sections to reduce the download time for this page)
--------------------------- Contact and Subscription Information
Copyright© 2004 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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Opinions expressed by other writers and contributors are not necessarily shared by NNV.
Copyright© 2004 by Judy Thompson. All rights reserved. Updated 10/29/04.