Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Casa Ramirez
It's time to make The Neighborhood View more interactive...so let's start by inviting our neighbors into our homes. Take a picture of your favorite holiday decorations...your tree, your lights, your house decorations, your store or shop, your street lit up at night or your family Christmas picture and send it in. Write up a short note, talking about your family traditions and we'll post them online. This will be a great way for us to share the holidays and get to know eachother a little better.

Send words and photos to:

Share, don't be shy

Monday, December 11, 2006


National Hispanic University students Carla Estrada and Juan Villalobos play the part of Mary and Joseph during Las Posadas at NHU.

By Len Ramirez

Families, the faithful and students gathered at the National Hispanic University on Sunday afternoon (12/10) to take part in the Mexican holiday tradition of Las Posadas.
"We have to keep the tradition alive" said Maria F. Hernandez-Schabbing, one of the organizers who helped make this a festive, colorful display of Christmas culture.
Las Posadas is the re-enactment of the holy family's epic search for lodging in Bethlehem at the time of the birth of Christ. 18-year-old Carla Estrada and 18-year-old Juan Villalobos, both NHU Freshmen, superbly played the part of Mary and Joseph, leading a procession of angels, musicians and Aztec dancers through the NHU quad. Tradition dictates that the procession makes stops along the way at several doorsteps where Mary and Joseph ask for shelter in song, the reply is also sung, but there is "no room at the inn", so the procession moves on. Finally, shelter is found and a song of thanksgiving is sung. In this case, the procession ended with a rendition of the Jose Feliciano Christmas classic "Feliz Navidad."
The event also included a street faire with games and prizes, and a spanish mass that featured a beautiful Ave Maria, sung by San Jose teenage recording artist Manuel Romero.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


A tagger has already marked the wall in front of the California P.E.O home, aka Maguerite Terrace .

By Len Ramirez

The end is near for the California P.E.O. Home on Kirk Avenue.
"All residents will have been moved to a new home by this Saturday" said Randy Eilts, spokesman for the home, by telephone. "It had been a trickle of people moving out since word of the closure was announced back on April 12th."
Eilts said closing the home, which housed 37 women and is also known as Marguerite Terrace, was a difficult decision for the P.E.O's Board of Directors to make. But he said the board concluded that it was no longer financially feasible for the home to remain open.
Although the front building was remodeled a few years ago, most of the rest of the facility was in need of upgrades such as heating, cooling and roofing. Eilts says remodeling all eight buildings in the entire 40-plus year-old facility was not "financially viable."
Eilts also said the property has been put up for sale, although he would not divulge the asking price on the property. He did say "We're still taking offers" on the land.
It is doubtful that any new owners would continue using the property as a nursing home, given the condition of the facilities.
The property sits on 4 1/2 acres in San Jose city limits and is zoned for the current use, but some neighbors have already expressed fears that the property could turn into another large and dense housing development, such as the ones recently built on Alum Rock and Story Roads.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Some of the many volunteers who helped make Linda Vista a better place to be.

Linda Vista is already a California Distinguished School, Saturday was a good example of why.
About 100 people from the school community showed up on a gorgeous Saturday during the holidays to pick up shovels, rakes and brooms and spend the day beautifying the already scenic campus.
Together with several members of the Linda Vista teaching staff, Principal Paddy Douglas rolled up her sleeves to help create retaining walls and gardens clustered in three areas around campus. One of the areas will be a vegetable garden the students will tend to learn more about science and nutrition. "We're also going to make a mural" Douglas said. It will be on a wall backing up the garden and it will have a "farmworker or agricultural" theme.
It was a total team effort as several Linda Vista families showed up to help out. Several students spent the day, side by side with their parents and teachers to make their school a better place to be. Helping to make it all possible are the kind folks at the Alum Rock Orchard Store, Payless Rockery and Mission Concrete who donated materials and the expertise to pull off a beautiful job.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Councilmember Nora Campos and James Lick Principal Bill
Rice are joined by young people for the ceremonial lighting
of the village.

Wow...this was a fun night!
For the first time ever, Alum Rock neighbors gathered to celebrate the lighting up of the village for the holidays. About 150 people surrounded the stage in front of the former Brasil Auto Repair shop as the sun was setting on Alum Rock Avenue. The James Lick High School choir and band, under the direction of Music Director Tomoko Nakajima, provided carols and music to set the perfect mood. The students were all dressed in festive gowns and tuxes for the occassion and they looked and sounded sharp.
Yours truly was honored to be the Emcee for the night's festivities (thank you CBS 5, which let me off early to participate!). Neighbors sipped Starbucks coffee and mingled with Village shopkeepers who donated several great prizes for a raffle. Santa took Christmas wishes from kids in the old Karate studio. The U.S. Marines stood guard over a Toys for Tots bin that was quickly filled with gifts for needy children. And the crowd listened to James Lick Principal Bill Rice describe how his school (and my alma mater) is on the upswing.
And speaking of upswings, San Jose City Councilmember Nora Campos, whose office organized the event, spoke of how this is a milestone in an ongoing effort to restore pride and prestige in Alum Rock. She also mentioned that some deals are in the works to bring even more businesses to the Village in the next year or two, adding to the Village's ambiance, and making it more of a destination for the community. Those will certainly be big announcements in the future, but for now, let's enjoy what we have in the Alum Rock area and support the businesses that support our community. Bravo to all involved, and for those of you who missed it, mark it down for next year because this will be an annual event that is not to be missed!

Saturday, November 25, 2006


By Andrea Flores-Shelton

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
My husband and I took our son to Alum Rock Park early Wednesday morning and we saw a certificate had been given to the park by Sunset Magazine for being in the Top 10 Thanksgiving Hikes of 2006. Yesterday, at my parents’ house I picked up their Sunset and found that Alum Rock Park had been ranked #5. We are so blessed to have this place - #5 or not, in our backyard. It was a gorgeous morning and we had the place almost to ourselves.

Here is the write up:Fall days linger, especially golden, in the east-west-running canyon of Alum Rock Park. The east San Jose sanctuary offers both mellow strolls and muscle-taxing climbs through its 720 acres. Opt for the flat 2.5 mile Creek Trail, which follows Penitencia Creed, from the park’s entrance to the handsome stone bridges at Sycamore Groves’ mineral springs. Or for a more challenging 3-mile trek with vertigo-inducing views-and the chance to see deer, rabbits, and quail- Take South Rim Trail from Inspiration Point, where natural beauty and quire inspire genuine thanks-giving.

If you are curious, the Top 10 Thanksgiving Hikes are:
#10 -Salk Lake City – Bonneville Shoreline Trail
#9 – Denver, Deer Creek Canyon Park
#8 – Sante Fe, Borrego-Bear Wallow Loop
#7 – Scottsdale, AZ, Pinnacle Peak Park
#6 – Malibu, Point Mugu State Park
#5 – San Jose, Alum Rock Park
#4 – Orinda, CA, Briones Regional Park
#3 – Sacramento – C.M. Goethe Park
#2 – Portland, Wildwood Trail
#1 – Seattle, Seward Park

-- Andrea

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


From the Alum Rock Village Farmers Market

Crab Season has begun at the Alum Rock Village Farmers' Market.
Along with the chill that fall brings, comes the long awaited Dungeness crab season in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area. Right now, you can find fresh, local crab than at the Alum Rock Village Certified Farmers' Market.
In December and January, crab supplies are plentiful and the meat is sweetest. Local fishermen including Pham's Fresh Fish, Salter Crab Co., and Stu Fish are now bringing us this season's bounty of seafood, including shrimp, and a variety of fish and crab! The Alum Rock Village Farmers' Market is also brimming with fall and winter vegetables and fruits. From butternut squash to broccoli, from persimmons to pears – year-round, there is no better place to buy fresh, local fruits and vegetables than at the farmers' market. Looking to make an impression during the holidays? Fresh brussel sprouts sautéed in olive oil with fresh garlic and slivered almonds, candied yams, freshly baked herb-potatoes, or orange-glazed carrots should do the trick. Try your hand at making a fresh apple strudel or freshly baked persimmon bread. Decorate the table with a beautiful bouquet of freshly-cut flowers. Or, if you are after artisan breads, savory pies, eggs, kettle korn, orchids, honey, or other locally grown or locally produced goods – come join us!
The Alum Rock Village Farmers' Market operates year-round, rain or shine, on Sundays, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at James Lick High School, 57 N. White Road, San Jose.For more information on the Alum Rock Village Farmers' Market, or to find another farmers' market in your area, please contact the Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association at (800) 949-FARM or go to:

Monday, November 20, 2006


James Lick Booster Club Is holding its annual Holiday Faire on Saturday December 2nd, 9:30 - 5:00 and Sunday December 3rd, 9:00 - 4:00 at 57 North White Road @ Alum Rock Ave.
Handmade gifts and crafts, home decor, fresh hot food, hourly raffle drawings, silent auction, gift wrapping, crafts and activities for kids, pictures with Santa and more.
Booths and tables are still available: 10X10 space for two days $80.00, 1 day $45.006X6 space for two days $60.00, 1 day $35.00. Prices includes assistance in bringing stuff in the gym. Please contact Lynnette for table reservations at lynnetterodriguez@sbcglobal.net or phone her at 408-258-6697For donations for silent auction please contact Monique Frizzell at 408-838-1358 or moniquefrizzell@yahoo.com

100% of profits go to supporting all sports teams at James Lick High School!


From the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office

On November 20, 2006 at approximately 1:06 P.M., Santa Clara County Deputies responded to the area of Metcalf Road and San Felipe Road in unincorporated San Jose on a report of a possible plane crash.
The pilot, a 46-year-old man from San Jose, was on a leisure flight in his private plane when he began to experience mechanical problems. He notified the control tower of his situation and began to prepare for an emergency landing. He began to circle over the area in an attempt to locate a safe place to land. While circling he heard a loud noise and the engine failed. The pilot acted quickly and located a small pasture to land his plane. During the landing, the small plane’s landing gear struck a rock and flipped onto its top.
The pilot was able to exit the plane under his own power safely. He contacted a near-by plane via a two-way radio and informed a fellow pilot of his situation. He began to walk northbound towards San Felipe Road while his fellow pilot contacted 911. The San Jose Fire Department located the pilot walking in the area and evaluated his medical condition. San Jose Fire Department Personnel medically cleared the pilot at the scene.
The National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) was contacted and will complete an independent investigation of the incident.


By Judy Thompson

Last week about fifty James Lick High School music students hopped aboard a city bus for an unusual destination in downtown San Jose. Along with their teacher, Tomoko Nakajima, and volunteer chaperones, they set out for the famous, much ballyhooed, extravagantly renovated California Theatre on First Street. What was the big draw? A rock concert perhaps? An educational film?
How about a special full length midday matinee production of the opera, The Barber of Seville, presented by Opera San Jose for a theater full of middle and high schoolers? Kids descended on the ornate theater from every direction. Some arrived in school buses. The Lick students good-naturedly hoofed the several blocks from the First and Santa Clara Street bus stop arriving just in time to be seated as the pit orchestra struck up the overture.
Does this sound like a dynamite combination – a theater full of teenagers expected to sit still for a looooong musical story with a decidedly goofy plot? Well, you would have been wonderfully surprised at the polite demeanor and mature audience manners of the Lick students – and the rest of the young theater-goers!
The Barber of Seville (written by Rossini in 1816) is sung in Italian although the setting is Seville, Spain. Mercifully, there were English supertitles. After the performance, I heard some Lick students mentioning the similarities between the Italian they heard and the Spanish they know. Good listening!
The English translations threw some arcane vocabulary words at these youngsters. Who knew that Figaro the Barber was a factotum? This Latin version of Jack-of-all-trades didn’t faze this young audience. They were rapt as they experienced the drawn-out comedy even through some of its repetitive passages.
After the performance, Ms. Nakajima counted noses outside the theater and off we paraded to the eastbound bus stop on Santa Clara Street. I heard no carping about the highbrow musical experience. I think James Lick music students are mature enough that they thought the opera was pretty darned cool!


By Elizabeth Driedger

This is just a reminder to folks interested in continuing the AlumRock Neighborhood Coalition that we will be meeting up at the "NextSteps after NNV" meeting called by Gustavo Gonzalez this Monday night, (11/20) at the Roberto Cruz library from 6 to 7 pm.
A couple of weeks ago some members of the ARNNE e-list responded to the post about keeping the Alum Rock Neighborhood Coalition (ARNC) alive as it was recently announced in the last issue of the NNV that its members were putting away their paint brushes and hedge clippers for the last time. The consensus on the e-list was to meet up at the NextSteps meeting. A former lead member of the ARNC has indicated that he will be attending and can give us background on the structure and history of the organization. We will also discuss any new ideas for the organization's future.
Here are few of the quality of life issues for Alum Rock (from specific to general) that come to my mind:
-Litter along Alum Rock Ave and McKee Road
-Savemart shopping carts strewn along McKee Road
-Food/Garbage amassing in the Savemart parking lot
-Infrequent street sweeping on even just the major streets (e.g. AlumRock, McKee Rd, Capitol Ave, White Rd, Story Rd, Jackson, etc.)
-Grafitti/Vandalism (e.g. the abandoned La Bodega)
-Unchecked Development/High Density Development/Lack of neighborhood parks
-Protection/Preservation of Historical Landmarks/Buildings
- or maybe even something like an AR Historical Walk with signs for the landmarks/buildings/historical sites that once were
-City of San Jose Annexation of Unincorporated Pockets/SJRDA Plans
-Having a forum that connects with the already great programs that have recently come into place in the AR area as well as with City of San Jose, local business owners and residents.

Do you have similar concerns and/or wishes? Would you like to have more of a voice about what's impacting your neighborhood? Do you have a few hours of time you are willing to volunteer for your community?Are you interested in rolling up your sleeves and seeing how things can improve when like minded individuals work together? Or how about meeting other people in your community and making friends with people you might never have had the chance to get to know in your corner ofAlum Rock? If you have concerns about the quality of life in Alum Rock and are willing to get involved, I strongly encourage you to come. Please feel free to send me an email to babette1057@yahoo.com if you'd like to express your ideas about ARNC between now and tomorrow evening. I'll print them out and bring them to the meeting. I'll have a sign with ARNC on it to help with any one wanting to gather to talk specifically about the ARNC tonight. Also please feel free to send me an email if you are interested but are not able to come to tonight's meeting. Look forward to seeing you there.

Elizabeth Driedger
Alum Rock and Capitol Ave neighborhood resident

Friday, November 17, 2006


The Santa Clara County Open Space Authority (OSA) added a key link to its chain of protected lands in the East Foothills of San Jose with the purchase of 233 acres on November 16, 2006. The cost was $2,050,000.
The acquisition, along upper Penitencia Creek east of Alum Rock Park, features steep, oak-covered hillsides and is home to many plants and animals common to the east foothills. Sparing the land from development will help OSA achieve its open space goals of protecting hillsides and watersheds, preserving important habitat for protected species, and providing outdoor recreation.
“Acquiring this property will ensure that the scenic views enjoyed for years by visitors to Alum Rock Park remain intact. It will also expand on City of San Jose’s efforts to protect critical waterways for steelhead trout in the east foothills,” said OSA general manager Patrick Congdon.
OSA currently owns 1,389 acres in the east foothills. Since the opening in 2002 of OSA’s Boccardo Trail adjoining the northern edge of Alum Rock Park, the Authority has been working to expand public access to its holdings in the region. Studies are currently underway, with the help of a $50,000 grant from the California Coastal Conservancy to site a staging area on Sierra Road. This would enable visitors to reach OSA trails as well as a proposed alignment for the Bay Area Ridge Trail, a 500-mile-long regional trail envisioned to circle the entire Bay Area when completed.



Ed. note: The following correspondence was provided by Alum Rock Youth Center Advisory Team Member Tanya Freudenberger. Thanks Tanya!

Dear Team Members:

At our advisory committee meeting of the Alum Rock Youth Center last night, we received some information that might be of interest to you and you might want to share with others:

The Giving Tree activity at the Alum Rock Youth Center will probably be held on Friday, December 15. If you know any family that has children who need gifts from the Giving Tree, please send the (a) name (b) age (c) gender of each child to Danny Perez at the Youth Center by e-mail (Danny.Perez@sanjoseca.gov or call him at 251-5757) no later than Friday, December 8. If you want to confirm the date of the activity, please follow up with Danny

The Viejitos Car Club is sponsoring its 4th Annual Toy Drive on Saturday, November 25 at the Alum Rock Youth Center from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For more information, please contact the group at: https://webmail.cbs.com/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.viejitoscarclub.com.

The Advisory Committee is recruiting new members for 2007. As you well know, Council District 5 has the lowest income population in the City with the largest number of children and largest population of working poor. Out of ten youth centers in the City of San Jose, our Alum Rock Youth Center is third in generating income from fee classes. Why? Because this highly understaffed Center has a great relationship with the community and regularly gets out into the schools and neighborhoods to promote its programs. Why? Because the Alum Rock School District has been highly supportive in communicating activities at the Center to our families. Why? Because the Advisory Committee has continually promoted good will through fund raising efforts which provide money for scholarships, equipment and field trips (for which the City no longer provides financial support). Please encourage community members in your "entourage" to join the Advisory Committee. We meet only once a month for an hour and host three very enjoyable fund raisers a year (remember the comedy show? the pancake breakfast? the Halloween Haunted House?). They can contact me (509-0316) or Ed Solis (Ed.Solis@sanjoseca.gov or 251-2850).


Tuesday, November 14, 2006


By Darlene Tenes

Okay, so this is the story behind the story... I went on to the CBS News website about a week ago for something completely unrelated and a saw a link asking to share "your kitchen memories." I wrote a quick letter and attached a picture. The story was fresh in my mind after having just shared it with some teenagers I mentor. Within two hours a producer called and asked for pictures of my Aunt's kitchen which I thought was bizarre because at the time I didn't even know it was a contest to win a new kitchen. A CBS crew came by last Wednesday to tape the Sanchez (my mother's maiden name) women making tamales and sharing our memories of our beloved abuelita, Mama Luz. Read the original letter below, then on Friday go online to vote so my Auntie Carol can get a new kitchen!


Here is Darlene's touching letter about food and family, tradition and tragedy:

Dear Early Show,
The women in our family — aunts, cousins, grandmas — still gather in a warm kitchen at the break of dawn in an assembly line, laughing and gossiping, while busily spreading and filling hojas (corn husks) to make hundreds of our Christmas tamales. And although invited, the men curiously never materialize until later in the day when it's time to try our tasty creations. It is an all-day process with a role for every person, no matter what the age. These special love-laced tamales are served at our annual Sanchez Family Christmas Party. When we were young this event was traditionally held on Christmas Eve but as everyone grew older, got married, had more kids and were split between the in-laws, we decided to change the date to the first weekend in December so our "immediate family" (50-60 family members) could attend. In 1992 when the party started to wind down about midnight, our abuelita and family matriarch, Luz Gonzales (better known as "Mama Luz") and our step-grandfather left for home. Mama Luz & Gus were a very active and dare I say feisty couple in their mid-80's who never sat still — fishing, cooking, gardening, canning, crocheting and dancing. We received a phone call from their neighbor at 6 a.m. informing us their house was on fire. Phone calls were placed in a hurry and we all raced down to the scene. Cars were parked haphazardly all throughout the street with family members from in and out of town. It was unclear for quite some time whether they had gotten out or not, when we were finally told that both had died in the fire. We were devastated. My Auntie Carol, who was in her late 60's at the time, remarked. "I'm not anyone’s daughter anymore." On the other hand we felt very fortunate that we had all been together as a family in a festive environment the night before they passed away. A closed-casket funeral was held with over 1000 people attending. Mama Luz had retired from her cannery job 20 years earlier. Everyone at that funeral was there neither because she was a high-powered or wealthy woman nor because they worked with her but because she affected their lives with her kind ways and love. I looked around at all those people and thought, "This is a successful person." Being together as a family for our tamale-making days and Sanchez Family Christmas parties means more to us now than ever because you never know when it will be the last time you see someone. — Darlene Sanchez-Tenes of San Jose, Calif.


Imagine driving home on a cold winter's night and being greeted by warmth and a colorful glow coming from our own Alum Rock Village. That's what to expect this holiday season as the village lights up for the holidays! Village merchants will be decked out with lights to brighten up the long winter nights. Please plan to attend a special village lighting ceremony on Thursday, November 30th at 5:00 pm. City Councilmember Nora Campos is organizing the event which will bring together our community for a night of holiday cheer. The James Lick High School choir and band will provide music and carols and yours truly will Emcee a short ceremony marking this significant occasion. The village has had its ups and downs over the decades but this definately marks an upswing. Hopefully, there will be more positive news in the near future about new tenants moving in. And don't forget to patronize the existing village shops and services this holiday season. Tell your neighbors and plan to attend. See you there!

Sunday, November 12, 2006


The Community Room at the Dr. Roberto Cruz Alum Rock Library was filled with music, food, friends and words of appreciation for Allan and Judy Thompson who are stepping down as publishers of the New Neighborhood Voice.
The potluck gathering was attended by about 50 people from the Alum Rock and East Foothills area. Edie Pricolo and Tanya Freudenberger organized the classy event which featured a song from James Lick Music Director Tomoko Nakajima, official commendations from San Jose City Councilmember Nora Campos and California State Assemblymember Joe Coto, and a mild "roast" of the Thompsons from friends, neighbors and New Neighborhood Voice contributors.

The Thompsons have put the last issue of the New Neighborhood Voice to bed. For the last few years now, they have been overwhelmed by the amount of time and effort required to cover news events and publish the website. "We certainly understand their need to hand the baton over to others. Over the years, this community has been the benefactor of their generosity of time, energy, connections and pure resourcefulness," said Freudenberger and Pricolo in a recent email message about the Thompson's retirement from the web publishing world. The NNV will be missed, but this blog, The Neighborhood View and the Alum Rock Neighborhood Network E-list (ARNNE) are two of the most recent efforts undertaken to provide a community news link. If you would like to subscribe to ARNNE, please send an email to:


Sunday, November 05, 2006


From Tanya Freudenberger & Edie Pricolo
On Sunday, November 12 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the Roberto Cruz/Alum Rock Library Community Room, we are going to show Allan and Judy Thompson just what we think of them!!
In partnership with the Library, a few friends of Judy & Allan and Schuster Es. Thompson invite you to share a joyful farewell potluck and roast to two of the most delightful people on the hill. You are invited to bring yourself, your family, your friends - and of course your food - to the party. It's pretty much a happy family event except the part when Allan puts on the lampshade and dances on the bar (oops, sorry wrong party).
As you have heard (or you could be in denial about this), the Thompsons are putting the New Neighborhood Voice to bed … permanently with this edition. For some time now, they have been overwhelmed by the effort required to cover the increasing need for this community to be heard. We certainly understand their need to hand the baton over to others. Over the years, this community has been the benefactor of their generosity of time, energy, connections and pure resourcefulness. There's not enough money in the world to repay them, so why don't we pay them with love on November 12!
During the "official" ceremony at 3:30 p.m., you are encouraged to share your witty comments about Judy and Allan and NNV -- all of which we know will be offered in the spirit of the appreciation and affection that we have for them. Our community family has relied on their reporting for its one and only source of decent, positive local news for the past four years -- and we will surely miss the special Thompson touch with the retirement of the New Neighborhood Voice.
SUPER IMPORTANT: Please send an e-mail message if you can come. We need to make sure we have enough cold drinks, food and seating for everyone.
Tanya Freudenberger & Edie Pricolooldhippie1747@sbcglobal.net or phone Edie at (408) 258-6753

Thursday, November 02, 2006


A Berryessa family of 3 lost their home and two cars Thursday morning in a devastating house fire.
San Jose Fire Captain David Huseman was driving to work at 5:30 am, when flames from the fire momentarily took his eyes off the road on Highway 680. Huseman exited the freeway and drove to 2220 Belthorn Court where flames were already taking over the two-story house, and threatening a neighboring home.
Other neighbors had already called 911, but Huseman radioed in a second alarm to keep the fire from spreading to other homes. Huseman also woke up the residents of the neighboring home to evacuate them, according to Fire Captain Jose Guerrero.
The family in the burning house had been awakened by the smoke and flames and managed to escape unharmed. The fire was so intense, it also destroyed two cars in the driveway.
Damage was estimated at 700-thousand dollars. The cause of the fire is under investigation but it is believed to have started in the garage. The Red Cross is temporarily sheltering the family.
You can watch a dramatic clip of the fire here:

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Tragedy has come to our Alum Rock Village.
A 45 year old man is dead, and a 15-year old, believed to be the man's son, is hospitalized with serious injuries after a stabbing near the Alum Rock Quick Stop market late Halloween night.
San Jose Police Sgt. Nick Muyo said officers responded to reports that an injured man was at the Quik Stop on Stewart and Alum Rock avenues around 12:14 a.m. today and found the man and the boy wounded in the parking lot.
Police don't know if the man and his son knew their attackers or some how got into a fight with others.
The store's owner, Bob Tabakon, said there had been some sort of scuffle near the pay phones that face Alum Rock.
That pay phone area has long been a place that seems to attract loitering.
Throughout the day today, regulars who had heard the news stopped by the store.
``You guys are part of the community,'' one man told Tabakon as the pair shook hands according to the San Jose Mercury News. ``I am glad you're OK.''
That Quick Stop is used by many of us to quickly pick up some items on the way home, so it's sad and a bit scary to see violence has struck there. Let's see if we can try to do something about possibly removing those pay phones and maybe seal off that narrow walkway between the Quick Stop building and the other buildings in the village. That spot seems to be a constant blight in an otherwise vibrant commercial area.
Anyone with information about this case should call San Jose Police department's homicide unit at (408) 277-5283.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! kids celebrate at Linda Vista

Hundreds of Linda Vista students dressed up for the school's annual Halloween Parade through the classrooms. There were ghosts, goblins, princesses, witches, supermen and darth vaders. Principal Paddie Douglas joined in the fun as a gypsy...but we hope she doesn't wander too far from Linda Vista!

Monday, October 30, 2006


Please join the City of San José’s Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force in partnership with California Youth Outreach at a special gang prevention forum at the Alum Rock Youth Center.

Parents will increase their knowledge in the following:
--Have a greater understanding of the nature of the gang lifestyle and the most common reasons why gangs exist.
--Detecting gang presence by learning to identify paraphernalia and behaviors associated with gangs.
--Why youth join gangs, how they are recruited, and the different levels of involvement.
--Where to get information on community resources and get help.

PLACE: Alum Rock Youth Center
137 N. White Rd.
San José, CA 95127
DATE: Wednesday, November 15, 2006
TIME: 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Children’s activities will be provided for 6-12 years old.
Food & Refreshments Provided

For more information, contact
Esther G. Mota at (408) 277-2741.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


BOO! Halloween night is coming soon and there's a great and scary haunted house to visit right here in the East Foothills. Once again, St. John Vianney is hosting a haunted house that will give visitors a fright or two and plenty of Halloween fun. It's hard to tell who has more fun at this haunted house: the people putting it on, or the visitors who walk through! The house is open from 5 pm to 10 pm through Halloween night and it's a great, and safe place to spend the evening. Admission is only $2.00 and it benefits the SJV Youth Ministry. Also, be sure to watch out for trick or treaters and slow down when driving through the neighborhoods.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) reminds parents and children to walk with awareness and be seen this Halloween. Because the daylight-saving time change occurs two days before Halloween, children will be trick-or-treating in the dark, when it’s harder for drivers to see them.
"A common misconception is that the biggest danger is the candy, when the reality is, the biggest concern is vehicles," said CHP Capt. Lott, commander of the Redwood City Area office.
Statistically, October 31st is the most dangerous day of the year for children to walk. Last Halloween in California, nearly half of all the pedestrians killed and injured in collisions were children.
"Parents should remind children about basic pedestrian safety – walk on sidewalks or paths, cross at the corner or at a crosswalk, obey traffic signals, check for traffic before crossing the street and stay with parents or a group," said Lott. She also advises parents to outfit children with flashlights and in costumes that are bright or with reflective tape, making them more visible.


Several hundred James Lick High School students, families and alums gathered at the school's great new football stadium to watch the Comets take on the Overfelt Royals at the 2006 Homecoming game. Unfortunately for the Comets, Overfelt's potent offense dominated the play, scoring 3 touchdowns by halftime to lead 21 to 0. The Royals went on to win the game 43-6.
Under warm and sunny skies, James Lick Principal Bill Rice led the ceremonies at halftime that included the crowing of the 2006 Homecoming King and Queen and the dedication of the stadium in honor of all James Lick graduates. Mr. Rice said the stadium will now be known as "James Lick Memorial Stadium."
With its synthetic turf and rubberized track, the stadium is now a first class athletic facility. The View has also learned that lights will be added to the stadium next year to facilitate night games for the first time in Lick's 55 year history.
The new athletic facilities are just part of what's exciting about James Lick High School. The school is definately on the move again. Major landscaping changes and a facelift of the administration wing have created a more inviting campus. On the inside, a new media magnet program and a new emphasis on academic achievement are pushing Lick upward. Plus, there was a lot of evidence of a surging school spirit at James Lick High School. Full disclosure: I was in the JLHS Class of '79!


Thursday, October 26, 2006


Dear Friends of the Alum Rock Village Farmers' Market,
Your Alum Rock Village Farmers' Market is your best source for farm-fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables and this Sunday - October 29 - the market will feature two cooking demonstrations to show you how to make the most of the season's best produce.At 10:15 welcome special guest chef Nora Campos, Councilmember for District 5, as she prepares a quick and simple recipe using fresh California-grown apples.And at 11:15, firefighters from San Jose Fire Station #2 will demonstrate their 2-alarm Salsa, made from fresh farmers' market ingredients.Councilmember Campos will also help to announce some exciting news about the future of the Alum Rock Farmers' Market. You won't want to miss it!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


A meeting with the City is planned for Thursday to inform neighbors about proposed permanent changes to the entrance to Alum Rock Park.
The purpose of the meeting is to explain to us why the City’s plan to possibly stabilize the Crothers/Alum Rock landslide will be abandoned. The letter we received says that they no longer believe that they can get permits to reroute a portion of the creek to work on the toe of the landslide at Penitencia Creek (which would halt the erosion there). For several years, this has been the plan and it has been the only concession which the City was willing to make. Why would the plan suddenly not be feasible when just a few months ago it was in the works.
The meeting will be at the new Alum Rock Roberto Cruz library at 5:30 this coming Thursday, July 20th. During previous neighborhood meetings, we have become aware just how important restoring the old (upper) entrance into Alum Rock Park is to people in our area. Due to the landslide, Alum Rock Park has effectively become a Berryessa park since one has to access it via Penitencia Creek Road.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


The San Jose City Council approved a plan to build 14 homes plus a half-acre park on the Fleming Avenue property now occupied by The Lord's Baptist Church early Wednesday morning. The unanimous approval, led by East Side councilmember Nora Campos, came at the very end of an exhausting 5 hour meeting that went well past midnight. Once again, Fleming neighbors made a strong showing and voiced their concerns of over-development and unbearable traffic.
The 14 home/park proposal was clearly a compromise measure forged by Campos after numerous meetings with neighbors and the developer, Braddock and Logan. But considering the fact the original plan was to build 21 homes on the lot, it can be considered a major victory for neighbors.
Just before the meeting, Campos issued a four-page memo to the council stating her preference for the home/park idea, plus a long list of traffic calming measures that will begin to take shape this summer. The calming measures include:

-new speed limit signs by August 2006

-upgrade existing crosswalks at Fleming and Mahoney to school crosswalks by July 2006

-conduct a study looking at a possible four-way stop at Fleming and Neves Way

-deploy traffic radar trailer to various locations on Fleming

-work with SJ Police to increase speed enforcement on Fleming

-study appropriateness of the current speed limit by September 2006

-install wheelchair access ramps at Fleming/Story/Marchant court

-resurface pavement on Fleming near Fleming court

-continue work with Caltrans to address traffic back up on Fleming by improving signal timing at Alum Rock intersection

While some neighbors were disappointed that any homes were approved for the lot, the plan softens the blow that more traffic will bring. It does give Fleming some badly needed attention, and an open space that could serve as a neighborhood meeting place and break up what would have been wall-to wall homes on the narrow lot.

The proposed park will be located near the Fleming Avenue entrance to the new development. It will be built by the City and would be designed based on feedback from the community.

Monday, June 12, 2006


Please plan to attend Tuesday night's City Hall meeting in which the development on Fleming Avenue will be voted on by the full City Council. Council members will be voting on a proposal to build 14 homes on the site of The Lord's Baptist Church. The council will be presented with two alternatives: 14 homes with a small green space or "pocket park" or 14 homes with no public green space, just homes.

Several neighbors have voiced concerns about having a park in the neighborhood due to possible problems with undesirables. That's a valid concern, but I think the benefits of a park outweigh the negatives. The strongest reason for a park, in my opinion, is that having it will pave the way for traffic calming measures on Fleming. Traffic and safety have been our number one concern since day one. The park will give the powers that be, an edge in demanding that traffic issues be dealt with quickly.

On the aesthetic side, I think having a small green space will break up what would be wall to wall homes on that side of Fleming. I would prefer that the number of homes be cut down to 10, but under the current plan, that appears to be unlikely. Another reason is that a park would give our neighborhood a focal point to help define our neck of the woods. Plus, it would be nice to have a place where neighbors could meet and discuss issues. We hope to keep the momentum of our collective efforts going after this proposal is voted on. There will surely be more developments on the way, and we need to keep fighting for our rights to a safe neighborhood.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Hundreds of our neighbors turned out for the grand opening of the new Alum Rock Village Farmers' Market at James Lick High School. San Jose City Councilmember Nora Campos and her staff helped usher in this colorful new outdoor market specializing in the freshest organic fruits and vegetables, flowers, crafts and of course, kettle corn! It was the first of its kind event in our area, complete with the festive sounds of Mariachi Mexicanisimo. Many of our neighbors have been missing the once popular produce stand at McKee and Toyon, which closed down a few years ago. This is a great alternative and a fun place to walk and mingle with friends and neighbors. The Farmers' Market will be open every Sunday morning from now until November, so come out and support this great new asset in our neighborhood!

Friday, May 26, 2006


A small grass fire on steep hillsides behind several large homes jangled nerves and raised the concerns of Fleming area neighbors. The fire was touched off at about 2:00 Thursday afternoon behind several homes near Mahoney and Country Tree Lane. A quick response by San Jose Firefighters averted a disaster. The grasses have been unusually tall this spring, due to the heavy winter rains this year. Firefighters say this should serve as a reminder that the threat of fires in our area will be high this year, and hillside homeowners should cut grass and provide a defensible space between the wildlands, their residences and their neighbors. CLICK ON THE VIDEO BELOW TO SEE WHAT HAPPENED!

Thursday, May 25, 2006


In a stunning and unusual move, the San Jose Planning Commission refused to take a position on Braddock and Logan's proposals to build 14 homes on Fleming Avenue. The commission could neither support the plan, or kill it outright, so they left it up to the City Council to decide what is in the best interest of the neighborhood. Both plans--one which includes 14 homes and a 1/3-acre pocket park and the other with just 14 homes on slightly larger lots--will be headed to City Council on June 13th for a final decision.

After hearing testimony from the developer, property owners and concerned neighbors, the Commissioners were split. "I'm really, really concerned (about these plans)," voiced Zito. "In a perfect world, the infrastructure would be in place first," he continued." Commissioner Campos agreed and added, "The question is when will it go in?"

Several neighbors applauded the developer and sellers for their ongoing negotiations, but refused to back down from their main position that 14 homes is still too many on the exhausted county road. Citing a dangerous intersection, increased traffic and inadequate road conditions, speaker after speaker urged the Commission to reject the proposals. The speakers were calm, but adamant while building their case, showing color photos of the regular 1/4-mile morning back up, a diagram of the narrow street and 9 crashes that have occurred within yards of the proposed new intersection.

"What is the plan to fix Fleming?" asked a baffled Zito to planning staff. The staff could only point to an ongoing study by the Department of Transportation that is not complete, blaming the delay on the multi-jurisdictions that oversee Fleming Avenue.

After the lengthy public comment and discussion from Commissioners, Levy made a motion to accept the recommendation from planning staff to allow 14 homes without the park to be built. It took three pleas from Chair Dhillon to hear a second, finally Zito made the second "for the sake of proceeding," he said. Commissioners Levy, Dhillon and Pham voted yes, while Campos and Zito voted against the motion.

The matter will be heard by the City Council on June 13th.

Monday, May 22, 2006


The San Jose Planning Commission will take up the issue of building 14 homes on Fleming Ave. on Wednesday, May 24th, at San Jose City Hall. This is the third planning commission meeting on the subject since January. In the two previous meetings, commissioners sent the developer back to the drawing board to resolve several issues. Dozens of Fleming neighbors have attended the meetings, and we have been the single biggest group at both the meetings we have attended. Let's keep the heat on! To read the Planning Staff's recommendation, please click on http://www.sanjoseca.gov/planning/hearings/2006-05-24/PDC05-061andC05-079SupplementalPCmemo3.pdf

Developer Braddock and Logan will present 2 plans to the Planning Commission, one with 14 homes and a 0.35-acre pocket park, and the other with just 14 homes on slightly larger lots. Planning staff will make a recommendation to support the plan with only 14 homes and no public green space.

The bottom line is that we could have a development similar to the one under construction at Alum Rock and Fleming (next to the Jordan School) on Fleming Avenue. These plans offer no street improvements to our neighborhood.

Can Fleming Avenue handle the additional traffic?

While the plans offer no street improvements, Councilmember Campos indicated that having a pocket park on Fleming Avenue would greatly increase the chances of putting traffic calming measures in place. Possible measures include more stop signs, crosswalks and lowering the speed limit. Nonetheless, a new and dangerous intersection will still be in place if this plan moves forward.

Is having a public green space a compromise that we can live with?

The green space would provide a much needed buffer between the street and big homes. If approved, the walk-in park would take the place of four residential lots located closest to Fleming Avenue. We, the neighbors, would have a major say as to what we would and would not like to see there. It would be maintained by the City and close before dusk.

In your opinion, is one of these alternatives acceptable to our neighborhood? If these plans are unacceptable, what is an acceptable alternative?

Ask yourself, "What can I live with?" "What is in the best interest of my neighborhood?" This is where opinions will vary, but all need to be heard, so a win-win solution can be reached.

These are the issues we must speak to at the Planning Commission meeting tomorrow.

Our item is placed mid-way on the agenda. If you choose to speak, you need to fill out a speaker's card and give it to the tech on the floor. You will be allowed 2 minutes to make your point.

If you need a ride, please respond to this email. To make comments, please use the space below.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, May 19, 2006


About 40 Fleming neighbors gathered last night to hear a tag-team presentation from Carol Hamilton of the City's Planning Department and Jim Sullivan of Braddock and Logan. "We're not here to discuss whether this property will be developed, but how it should be developed and what the design will be," Hamilton said.

Sullivan presented two plans to build 14 homes on the 2.66 acres lot at 143 Fleming Avenue. One design included a nearly 1/2 acre green space, while the other has larger lots and no public green space. Hamilton stated the City Planning Department will recommend the plan with no park for approval. According to Hamilton, maintaining a pocket park of less than one acre would be "too inefficient" since there are limited resources.

However, in a meeting at City Hall with 5 neighbors earlier in the day, Councilmember Nora Campos said she could support the park plan. She also said if a majority of neighbors were to support the park plan, she would be willing to commit funds for park maintenance for a minimum of two years. Perhaps most importantly, she said having a park would greatly increase the possibilties of creating more traffic calming measures on Fleming Avenue. "This is the kind of creative solution that I know about because of my 10 years experience...They will ask me, 'Is this a route to a park?' and I can say, YES!" Some traffic calming possibilities discussed during the meeting with Campos included crosswalks, flashing lights, lowering the speed limit, and electronic speed monitoring signs.

Also in the works is a comprehensive traffic study by the City Department of Transportation to analyze road conditions, jurisdictions, and traffic flow along Fleming Avenue. The study analysis will be complete in 2 to 3 weeks, according to Campos.

Neighbors were split regarding the future of the lot. Some were in favor of the park, while others thought the green space would attract an unsavory element to our neighborhood. However, one thing remains constant: neighbors are all too aware of the traffic and safety dangers along Fleming Avenue. All agreed that adding more and more developments would only make a bad situation worse.

The San Jose Planning Commission is scheduled to vote on the two proposals next Wednesday, May 24th at 6:30pm at San Jose City Hall. They will make their recommendation to the City Council which will have the final say on June 13th.

You can view the proposal on the planning department's website:

Go to www.sanjoseca.gov/planning and click on hearings and meetings. Then click on the Planning Commission Agenda for May 24th (item PDC05-061) .

Please plan on attending the meeting next Wednesday. In the past, a large neighbor turn-out has resulted in two delays and a reduction in the number of homes. We can make a difference!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Here is your opportunity to voice your opinion about the two new proposals Developer Braddock and Logan has submitted to the City. Each plan is designed to bring 14 new homes to our neighborhood on the lot of the current church at 143 Fleming Avenue. However, one plan includes a 1/3 to 1/2 acre "pocket park," while the other does not. Please plan on attending the neighborhood meeting on Thursday, May 18th, at 6:30pm at The Lord's Baptist Church.

Friday, May 12, 2006


There has been a lot of discussion about attaching a possible pocket park to the proposed 14 home development on Fleming Ave. Here is an example of a new pocket park that just opened on William Street in downtown. O'Donnell's Gardens Park is 1/2 an acre, which is the approximate size of what has been discussed for Fleming, although the Fleming proposal may shrink to 1/3rd of an acre to accommodate larger setbacks on the proposed homes. The park is located at 6th and William near San Jose State University.

Neighbors on William Street fought eight years to get this. At this point, we have not been promised anything, and the discussion about whether there will be a green space attatched to the development remains up in the air. Several neighbors have some very justified concerns about attracting an unsavory element to the neighborhood. Others say it would be an asset and provide a buffer for the 14 home development. More photos to come.

Friday, May 05, 2006


In response to strong neighborhood concerns about the development on the Lord's Baptist Church, the developer, Braddock and Logan and the San Jose Planning Department are reaching out to our community. They have scheduled a meeting at the Church itself to go over issues such as housing density, the status of the pocket park, traffic studies, etc. Let's have another strong showing, to send the message that we care about our neighborhood, and want what's best for the area over the long term. PLEASE PLAN ON ATTENDING!

Neighborhood Meeting with Braddock and Logan
Thursday, May 18th, 6:30pm
The Lord's (Korean) Baptist Church
Purpose: to see the revised plans Braddock and Logan intends to present at the NEXT Planning Commission meeting (see below).

Planning Commission Meeting
Wednesday, May 24, 6:30pm
San Jose City Hall

By the way, this is the ONE YEAR anniversary of my PARKED SUV being rear-ended and totaled by an unattentive driver on Fleming Ave. It was an event that proved to me our once friendly country road was changing for the worse.

Friday, April 28, 2006


This letter was sent by Julie Ramirez to the San Jose Planning Commissioners and sums of our feelings and the feelings many neighbors share about the impact this and other recent projects have had in our area.

Dear Commissioners:

Thank you for delaying the development proposal by Braddock and Logan to add 14 homes on a 2.66 acre lot on Fleming Avenue. The lack of a site plan and memo from the Fire Department clearly made this proposal incomplete. Additionally, the last minute change of a possible addition of a park added to the confusion. The delay will allow the Planning Department and neighbors to review the revised plan more carefully.

As you can tell by our overwhelming presence and demand for due process, we feel that 14 homes is still too many. Even though not everyone spoke, 25 people waited until 10:30 pm to witness this hearing. That's significant. We had the same number the last time. Our committment and unity speaks to the significant impact and unbearable conditions this project would have on our communtiy.

I am deeply concerned about the perception that Mr. Levy expressed that 14 homes would not have a significant impact on the traffic issues Fleming residents currently experience. Mr. Levy, I would invite you and your fellow commissioners to witness the conditions first hand, especially during the morning and evening commute hours, before coming to those conclusions.

As many neighbors have expressed, Fleming Avenue is truly a unique stretch of county road that buffers city and state jurisdiction. City traffic and density standards should not be imposed on a county road that lacks the infrastructure to support more and more development. Developers seem to fly under the radar by building so-called "small" projects that would have "no significant impact" according to city standards. But it is like mixing apples and oranges! The cumulative effect of these small projects is that we end up with a bigger mess than already exists.

In a effort to mitigate traffic and safety concerns, 2 studies have been launched.
(1) The planning department has agreed to work with Cal-Trans to look at the timing of the traffic light at the intersection of Fleming Avenue and Alum Rock during its peak hours. However, in the course of more than 3 months since the initial deferral, nothing has been done.

Regardless of the outcome of this study, if it ever takes place, I don't believe that the timing change will provide much relief. In fact, it may encourage even more traffic to come our way as opposed to using adjacent neighborhood streets as many commuters currently do to avoid the light.

(2) Secondly, after meeting with concerned neighbors regarding safety, City Councilmember Nora Campos commissioned a traffic study to map out the various jurisdictions, widths, conditions and traffic flow on Fleming Avenue. This data could directly support what neighbors have been saying all along.

The reality is that there are simply too many homes and cars in this neighborhood and our street is maxed-out! It's wide is some spots, narrow in others, side walks sprinked here and there, a paved shoulder here and weeds and dirt there. It is a patchwork of unsightly and dangerous conditions for 2 1/2 miles.

Adding more homes, even a few at a time, has a detrimental affect on the safety of our families.

When considering this development and city annexation, exceptionally careful scrutiny is warranted. The conditions and circumstances of our neighborhoond does not neatly fit into the formulas and standards the city has established to monitor growth. Fleming Avenue is unique--with its mixed jurisdictions and dangerous conditions--and should be treated as such.

Frankly, I believe a moritorium should be placed on all new developments along Fleming Avenue. The communication between county, city and state is clearly non-existent. And until there is a safe system in place, you should say no to this development and ones similar to it. Residents should not be forced to sacrifice their safety and integrity of their neighborhood for the sake of new homes.

For more details, including video clips, meeting recaps and comments, please visit our blog.

Julie Ramirez
158 Fleming Avenue

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Citing the absence of a specific and updated site plan, and a lack of a Fire Department variance, San Jose planning commissioners sent developer Braddock and Logan back to the drawing board on the Fleming Avenue project, a move the developer admitted could doom the project. At least 25 Fleming and Clareview neighbors sat through the marathon meeting Wednesday night at San Jose City Hall which ended near 11pm. "I don't know what we're reviewing" said a frustrated Deputy City Attorney, "What proposal are we considering?" The confusion stemmed from a series of last minute changes and additions proposed by Jim Sullivan of Braddock and Logan. After tough negotiations with the property owner and the office of City Councilmember Nora Campos, Sullivan agreed to reduce the number of homes from 18 to 14 and include a small 1/2 to 1/3rd acre "pocket park" to add open space where four homes would have been located. But the developer did not produce specific enough plans for the city planning department to review and what was submitted was so last-minute, it did not give anyone, neighbors or the planning staff, time to analyze it before the meeting. Then, in response to concerns raised by commission member Zito about home setbacks (separations), Sullivan appeared to reverse course and unfortunately, take the park proposal off the table. Neighbors stated they would accept a smaller park to allow for more setbacks. Further damaging the developer's efforts, other members noted the developer came to the meeting without a variance from the Fire Department to address safety issues which would have been needed to move forward. The developer said he could obtain a variance soon, but the planning commission said it could not approve such an incomplete proposal and they reluctantly deferred the matter until it's May 24th meeting. But Sullivan said that long of a deferral would likely make the deal with the Korean Baptist Church financially unfeasible for his company.


The San Jose Planning Commission will be holding a public hearing on our issue tonight at 6:30pm at San Jose City Hall in downtown San Jose. The meeting takes place in the city council chambers, located on the west side of the rotunda. Free parking with validation is available in the garage underground which can be accessed from 4th street and 6th street.
The proposal has been reduced from 18 to 14 homes with a 1/2 acre pocket park to be jointly developed by Braddock and Logan and the City. This proposal is a significant improvement for the neighborhood, and many thanks should go to all who helped shape it. But it doesn't end there.
While the number of homes has been mathematically reduced, the original plans for the remaining homes remain in place. The city has proposed asking for a variance in the fire code to allow for the smaller than standard turnaround bulb at the end of the proposed cul de sac. The lessons from the Santana Row fire(where several variances contributed to the magnitude and scope of the destruction) are that you cannot compromise on fire safety. This development is going into a semi-rural area with grassy hillsides and homes directly across the street. A fire in any one of the homes could set the others on fire due to their height and proximity to one another.
We feel that a further reduction of at least one more home is needed for several reasons. That would allow for increased setbacks between the proposed homes. Wider setbacks would solve several problems at once:
-it would increase fire safety, allowing the developer to widen the cul-de-sac.
-it would increase fire safety by allowing more defensible space between the homes.
-it would allow wider driveways and solve parking issues.
-it would allow the development to visually blend into the existing neighborhood, where average setbacks are much wider.

Meantime, traffic continues to be an issue that needs to be solved on Fleming. Below is a video taken just this morning showing a traffic jam that grew to 1/4 mile on Fleming at Alum Rock.

Monday, April 24, 2006


Plans to develop homes on the lot of The Lord's Baptist Church on Fleming Avenue now include a 1/2 acre pocket park, according to officials in the office of City Councilmember Nora Campos.
During negotiations with Developer Braddock and Logan, Campos was able to reduce the number of proposed homes from 18 to 14 AND include a 1/2 acre "pocket park" according to her policy aide Todd Rufo. Rufo also said the park would front Fleming Avenue in the spaces previously designated as lots 1 through 4 (CLICK ON ABOVE PHOTO FOR DETAIL). Details on the park's design would still need to be worked out, after input from neighbors.
Keep checking this space for more details and plan on attending a Planning Commission meeting this Wednesday, April 26th, at 6:30 pm at San Jose City Hall.
Please post comments regarding these developments so we can relay them to the Developer and Councilmember Campos.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


Developer Braddock and Logan is submitting new plans for the proposed Fleming Avenue project, downsizing the number of homes from 18 to 14, but the plans do not include a "pocket-park" as requested by neighbors. This revision comes just days before the plans are scheduled to go to the San Jose Planning Commission on Wednesday, April 26th, 2006. While this revision is a step in the right direction, it falls short of the 8 to 10 home plan that neighbors have repeatedly requested based on density, traffic and safety issues on Fleming Avenue. Below you will find the SJ Planning Department memo that recommends approval of this plan. Please read it and comment in the space provided on this blog: ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH THIS REVISED PLAN? LEAVE COMMENTS ON THE BLOG! AND LASTLY, PLEASE PLAN ON ATTENDING THE PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING ON WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26, AT 6:30pm AT SAN JOSE CITY HALL!

This item was heard by the Planning Commission on January 11, 2006. After receiving public testimony, the Planning Commission deferred the proposal to April 12, 2006 to allow the developer to address community concerns regarding density and traffic issues and to address the Commission’s concerns regarding fire access. In response to the applicant’s request for additional time to negotiate with the property owner, the item was deferred to April 26, 2006.
In response to neighborhood concerns regarding density, the applicant is now proposing to reduce the number of allowed units from 18 to 14. Staff has prepared revised Draft Development Standards that reflect the current proposal (see attached). The Fire Department has indicated that fire access issues can be resolved either through a revised cul-de-sac/hammerhead design or via a Fire Variance. Planning and Public Works staff believe that the expanded cul-de-sac/hammerhead options are unacceptable and have recommended that the applicant pursue the Fire Variance option.
At the January 11th public hearing, residents of the area expressed concern regarding the vehicle back-up that occurs on Fleming Avenue during the morning commute due to cars seeking to turn left onto Alum Rock Avenue. Public Works staff indicated that it might be possible to improve the situation by adjusting the signal timing to allocate greater green time to the left-turn movement and agreed to initiate discussions with Caltrans, which has jurisdiction over Alum Rock Avenue. Public Works staff have indicated that they have not yet been successful in obtaining a response from Caltrans on this issue, but that they will continue to pursue the matter.
Staff recommends that the Planning Commission recommend that the City Council approve the proposed prezoning to R-1-5 Single-Family Residence District on the 0.23 acre site as originally recommended, and approve the prezoning on the 2.7 gross acre site to A(PD) with a maximum of 14 units, as indicated in the attached revised Draft Development Standards.

Planning, Building and Code Enforcement

cc: Sue Dillion
Braddock and Logan
1700 The Alameda, #210
San Jose, CA 95126
Revised Draft Development Standards for PDC05-061
Original Staff Report
Location Maps
Land Use Plan for PDC05-061

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


A San Jose Planning Commission meeting has been scheduled for April 26th, 2006 at 6:30pm at City Hall to discuss the future of the Fleming development on the site of the Lord's Baptist Church.

Please disregard a notice that was recently mailed out to Fleming area neighbors about a planning commission meeting on April 12th. San Jose planning officials tell us that the reason for the reschedule is that the developer, Braddock and Logan, requested a delay. The company is still in negotiations with the property owners to lower the purchase price, thereby allowing fewer homes to be built on the property. The developer is proposing to demolish the church and build 18 single family homes on the 2.6 acre site with a cul-de-sac in the middle. Neighbors have been fighting the development plans due to crowding, traffic and safety concerns on Fleming Ave.

These negotiations have been on-going for the last three months, ever since the last planning commission meeting in January. At that meeting, a big turnout and a strong showing of opposition from our neighbors prompted the planning commission to take the project off the fast track.

So far, the powers that be have listened to us because our opposition to these plans has been strong and organized. We must continue to keep up that spirit. This will be a long process, and there could be more delays. Keep checking this site for future updates!

Friday, March 24, 2006


Many Fleming area neighbors have been asking about the status of the Korean Baptist Church project. Thanks for your continued concern! We asked for and received the following update from our councilmember Nora Campos:

In January, the proposed project at the Lord's Baptist Church was deferred for 90-days to allow the developer to address concerns raised by the community and the Planning Commission. Later that month, I met with representatives from the community to discuss their concerns with the project. I presented these concerns to the developer and property owners and asked that they work to address the issues raised by the community. Since that time, the developer has been in conversations with the current property owner to try and reduce the number of proposed units. If an agreement is reached, any revised plan would come back to the Planning Commission for public comment and review. If you have any questions, comments or additional concerns regarding this project, please feel free to contact Todd Rufo of my staff at todd.rufo@sanjoseca.gov or 408-535-4948. As reference, agendas for the Planning Commission are available online at: http://www.sanjoseca.gov/planning/hearings/

As an update on our work on Fleming Avenue, I have asked City Staff to study traffic flow and vehicle/pedestrian safety on Fleming Avenue from Alum Rock to Morrie Drive. This includes an analysis of the concerns and recommendations raised in my meeting with the community. Specific areas for review include traffic speeds, vehicle counts, analysis of stop signs / crosswalks, mapping city / county jurisdictions, and evaluating narrow points along Fleming Avenue. Because several sections of Fleming are in the County, City Staff is working with County Staff on similar data in the County sections. This study is an important first step to improving traffic flow and safety on Fleming Avenue. While I will keep you posted as we move forward, if you have any additional questions, again please feel free to contact Todd Rufo in my office.

Councilmember Nora Campos

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


For DRAMATIC video clips of this fire click on the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRJkjgHzKhw

San Jose Fire Department crews rushed to the scene of a house fire on Fleming Avenue tonight. When fire crews arrived, smoke was rising out of the two-story house at 101 Fleming Ave. Several trucks and fire apparatus blocked off Fleming to fight the blaze. Firefighters used ladders to get to the roof of the home to vent the flames, while others ventured inside the burning home to look for possible victims. Flames and burning debris could be seen dropping around firefighters as they struggled to get the fire under control. This was the second fire on this property in the last few months. The property recently sold and the lot is on the books for a possible subdivision of three homes. Unfortunately, the fire struck at about 6:00 pm, and many Fleming area neighbors were just arriving home, only to find the road blocked off. Traffic was detoured for about two hours after the blaze. The cause of the fire was traced to electrical wiring on the second floor of the home. No one was injured, but three residents were displaced, according to San Jose Fire Department spokesman Alberto Olmos.

WATCH VIDEO:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRJkjgHzKhw

Monday, January 30, 2006


The meeting with Nora Campos went well. She promised to "work with us" and take our recommendations to a meeting she has with the seller and developer next week. She said a "pocket park" could make sense on this lot. Essentially that means the developer would design and build a green area with equipment to meet the neighbors' desires, and the city would maintain it. We recommended no more than 8 homes and various remedies to decrease speed and increase safety:

-reducing the speed limit on Fleming Avenue from 35 to 30 mph
-adding electronic speed monitoring signs, such as those recently installed on Kirk
-adding more speed enforcement
-improving city/county/neighborhood communication and outreach on proposed developments

We hope to learn more after this meeting between the seller, buyer and Nora. So far we haven't heard if either side is willing to compromise.

After our neighborhood and Planning Commission meetings, it has become clear that Fleming needs some added attention. It is now getting that attention.

Thanks to Nora and her assisant Todd Rufo for their concern and helping us work through this issue. And thanks to all the neighbors who's attention and action have fueled this effort. A special thanks to Tony Alexander and Mrs. Priccolo for attending the meeting with us. We need to keep up the pressure to get what our neighborhood needs!


Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Citing an "unbearable" traffic situation on Fleming Avenue, as well as potentially dangerous fire protection issues, the San Jose Planning Commission put the Fleming development proposal on hold for 90 days to give our neighborhood and the developer time to come up with a lower density plan.
At least 30 Fleming area neighbors came to City Hall, held signs and spoke to the planning commission with passionate but thoughtful arguments against the proposal to build 18 homes on a 2 1/2 acre lot now occupied by The Lord's Baptist Church.
Neighbors brought up traffic and pedestrian safety issues, the number of recent car crashes, the cumulative effect of several recent home developments in the area, as well as appealing to the commissioner's sense of doing what's right, not just what may be legally allowed by city codes.
Noting photos showing a 1/4 mile long morning traffic jam, Commission Member Xavier Campos disputed a San Jose Planning Department staff report saying that Fleming has a relatively minor "C" traffic condition. "The reality is, there is an "F" condition on Fleming," he said.
But the one issue that seemed to doom the plan, at least for the short term, is the fact that the San Jose Fire Department recommended against the proposal, due to inadequate space for fire trucks to operate in the proposed cul-de-sac. The fire department's memo against the project was buried in the pages of a 6 month old staff report, but brought to light by Julie Ramirez who studied the document diligently in the weeks prior to the meeting.
"I can't imagine this committee approving this project with the comments made by the fire department" said Commission Member Jay James. "Without the Fire Department's approval, it is not a complete project," he added.
According to developer Jim Sullivan, there are at least two possible next steps for Braddock and Logan: negotiating with the property owner to lower the selling price enabling a lower density project to move forward, or walking away from the deal. Sullivan noted that the 90 day delay crushes the land owner's desire to close escrow by February 1st.
There will most likely be another meeting with neighbors, the developer, the property owner and City Councilmember Nora Campos to decide how to proceed from here.
But one thing is certain, the commission's action to delay this proposal was a stunning setback for the developer, and an incremental victory for the neighborhood.