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December 1, 2014
Update from Vinnie Bacon
Fremont City Councilmember



I can't believe that the holidays are upon us. This is a great time to send an update email! It's very important to me to make sure that Fremont residents know about their government and the decisions that affect our community. My goal is to provide this information through multiple channels including this newsletter, my blog, facebook posts, etc. I hope you find this useful and take the opportunity to get informed and involved! 

I'm always happy to answer any questions you may have via email at vinnie@bacon4fremont.com.  Sometimes it takes me a while to reply, but I do try to reply to all of the emails that I receive.

THANKS again to all of you for your support in making Fremont the best city it can be!!
A Disappointing City Council Meeting

At the November 18 Council Meeting, the Council made three decisions that I do not believe were in the best interests of the City and, of course, I was on the losing end of the vote.
  • Connolly's Shopping CenterThis shopping center is located on Fremont Avenue in Irvington - a major commercial thoroughfare. The owner of the center wants to convert Connolly's (a furniture store) and several surrounding businesses to residential. I don't believe it is a good idea to allow residential development on a retail shopping thoroughfare simply because the owner believes he can make more money that way. Instead, the City should promote investment in our retail shopping areas to make them more attractive and viable. Unfortunately, Council ended up voting 4-1 to allow the applicant to move forward.  (I cast the sole dissenting vote.)  Fortunately, this was not a final approval of the project but it is a step in that direction. I believe this decision sends a message to commercial property owners that if they let their properties deteriorate enough that the City will reward them by allowing them to convert the use to housing. This sets a dangerous precedent and could lead to even fewer viable retail areas in a City that is already sorely lacking in attractive places to spend time.
  • Council Grant Program (CGP) - I made a referral to have Council create a $100,000 fund to provide assistance to various non-profits in the City such as the Fremont Symphony, the Fourth of July Parade, community gardens, etc.  I was pleased that staff's analysis showed that this could be done in the current fiscal year.  My motion to move forward with the fund didn't even get a second.
  • Historical Buildings at Ardenwood - There were three historic buildings that were moved to Ardenwood Park about 30 years ago.  The East Bay Regional Park District (EBPRD) didn't act to refurbish these and now requested that they be demolished.  The City's Historic Architecture Review Board (HARB) denied their application.  The decision was appealed to the City Council. Council voted 3-2 to allow the demolition.  Unfortunately, all three historic buildings will now be demolished. This again sets a dangerous precedent: if you let a historic building fall into disrepair, the Council will reward you with the right to tear it down.
Council Facebook Page

I will be posting more regularly about Council activities to my Facebook page. I hope you'll take the opportunity to stay on top of the latest news!  You can 'like' the page here:

Future Council Activity
  • December 4 - Mission Peak Hiker Fees - This liaison meeting between the City and the East Bay Regional Park District will discuss the implementation of hiker fees at the Stanford Avenue entrance to Mission Peak and other issues related to East Bay parks.
  • December 16 - Mission Palms Commercial Building - Public hearing to consider a commercial development at Mission and Mission Tierra.
  • December 16 - Beachwood Townhomes - Public hearing on an 18 townhome development near Fremont and Ferry in the Brookvale area.
  • January 13 - Alder Avenue - Public hearing to approve a 17 lot residential subdivision in the Centerville area.
Previous City Council Actions

Here are a few of the recent City Council decisions that have been made.
  • September 16 - Kimber Park (aka Mission Hills Swim and Tennis Club) -  The property owner proposed a new, very large Club to replace the existing facilities. Local residents were concerned that the scale was not appropriate for this residential neighborhood. I agreed and voted against the proposal but the project was approved by a 4-1 vote.
  • October 14 - Habitat for Humanity - Habitat for Humanity proposed a 30 unit affordable housing development in the Centerville area (next to the new fire station). Habitat has a track record of very high quality development throughout the Bay Area and I'm confident this will be a nice addition to the area.  This was approved unanimously.    
  • November 4 - State Street Mixed Use Development - This is the project that is to kick off development in the downtown area. It will contain condos, townhomes and a full block of retail along the future section of Capitol Ave. (west of State St.). This passed unanimously.
Getting Notified About City Council and Other Key Meetings

I posted this in my last email but it's worth repeating with some updates.  You can also watch the City Council meetings live on Channel 27 and previous meetings are archived on the City's website.  
  • eNews Subscriptions - The best way to keep up with the City's activities is to sign up for eNews subscriptions. You do this by going to the City's email list management site.  This site allows you to subscribe to many different mailing lists.  Just like my emails, you can unsubscribe at any time.  I would suggest at least subscribing to the City Council agendas list which only generates a few emails a month.  You can take a quick look at the agenda for every City Council meeting and drill down into the full reports if desired.  There are also categories for the Warm Springs Community Plan, Downtown development, and many others.     
  • Open City Hall - This is an innovative section of the City's web page that staff has put together.  They post various topics on which community members can post their opinions.  I find it very helpful to read all of these comments to understand what the community's concerns are about a particular issue.  You can read more about this here. The current open topic is "What kinds of acts of compassion best reflect your idea of a compassionate city?"
  • Facebook, Twitter, etc. - The City has a number of social media sites for various City departments.  You can see a complete list of these here.  I would particularly like to highlight the Nixle notifications.  These are from the Police Department on various topics and are quite informative.  
  • New City Website - The City of Fremont's website was updated a few months ago.  You can read more about this here. 

Of course, there are many other Council actions that I've left out here.  If you have questions or comments about any of these, or any other issues, please feel free to contact me.  I can't promise to resolve all of the City's problems, but I will definitely listen to your concerns.

 

Sincerely,

 


Vinnie Bacon