BUENA VISTA NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION Minutes of the Meeting Tuesday, April 27, 2010 At the Home of Loui Tucker and Sabine Zappe at 153 Race Street
Meeting called to order at 7:02 PM
PRESENT: [18 people present] Members: Robert Solis (President) Brian Ward (Vice President) Loui Tucker (Secretary)
Sabine Zappe (Treasurer) Beth Kramer Marcos Montes Sally Henning
Michael Larocca John Leyba Carlos Ramirez Ruth White
Guests: Lara Tran, representing City Councilmember Pierreluigi Oliverio's office Kurt Darrell, representing City Councilmember Pierreluigi Oliverio's office
Ester Mota, City of San Jose Fernando Lopez, City of San Jose Heather Keag, City of San Jose SNI
Amber Brandom, Star Foster Family Agency George Graham, San Jose Police Department
MINUTES - Approved as presented and posted. TREASURER’S REPORT Sabine reported that the bank balance is $846.27. These are all
BVNA discretionary funds.
REPORTS AND PRESENTATIONS
Lara Tran from Councilmember Pierreluigi Oliverio’s office introduced Kurt Darrell who
would also be working on neighborhood issues.
The Ohlone Project is making a neighborhood presentation at the Korean Palace on West
San Carlos at 6:00 PM Tuesday, May 4. San Jose City Planning Staff will be there, along
with Green Republic representatives to provide a status update.
Ester Mota and Fernando Lopez are with the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force.
Phone numbers: 277-2741 and 690-2165. They focus on middle school and high school intervention, the goal being to help young people change their lives. They are the working “on the ground” working with youth and their families. They are action oriented because “suppression isn’t the only weapon” - intervention and prevention must be used too. They also provide “after-care” when a gang murder takes place in order to prevent a cycle of violence, unrest, retaliation, increased lack of trust. All are encouraged to call them with concerns and questions. They provide workshops on gang prevention and the BVNA expressed an interest in setting up such a workshop.
George Graham is a San Jose Police Department Lieutenant and the “Area Commander.” He is in charge of the “Western Division” which extends from the Arena to Cupertino and from the San Jose Airport to Hamilton Avenue. He works Sundays through Wednesday 3:00 PM-1:00 AM.
He talked about a specific local incident that took place on Wednesday April 21 at 9:30 PM in which a young couple (15-year-old girl and 20-year-old boyfriend - neither gang members) were walking the area. A car approached, questions/confronted them, stabbed and shot the young man who died at VMC. A vehicle fitting the description of the one being driven by the assailants was located and they have solid leads. Graham said “I am am confident that this case will be solved in the very near future” and arrest are imminent. He mentioned that this officers clear about 95% of their cases.
Minutes of BVNA General Meeting 4/27/2010
He suspected the assailants were drunk and driving around looking for trouble. Typically gang members look for gang members in other gangs or suspected to be in other gangs. Gangs fight over territory and retaliate for grievances, slights, injuries, money, drugs, etc. The girl in this case still lives in the neighborhood, but he feels the risk of retaliation is very low.
He advised anyone seeing suspicious behavior or gang-related behavior (such as fights) to call 911 immediately. He advised young people to always walk in pairs or groups. If confronted, run to the nearest door and yell “CALL 911.” He also suggested everyone avoid walking around alone at night.
There was a brief review of the local gangs: Norteños (from northern California) who identify with the color red and the number 14; Sureños (from S. California) who identify with the color blue and the number 13
The Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force again mentioned the 1-hour “Introduction to Gang Prevention” which BVNA officers said they would call to schedule.
5. Amber Brandom spoke to the group about Star Foster Family Agency. She is a social worker and they specialize in placing children age 12-18 who need foster care. Star Foster Family Agency is a non-profit that started in 1976 with a Home for Boys. She believes her agency is a form of gang-prevention because they are frequently called upon to foster children who were in bad situations and provide parental mentors who can teach the children to trust. Their goal is to re-unite the children with their birth parents and to help them after they “age out” of the foster care system. They expect their foster parents to make a lifetime commitment, not just an “until they turn 18" commitment.
Star Foster Family Agency is looking for foster parents (you cannot have a criminal history). Star Foster Family Agency has no funds for advertising, so it is up to individuals to use word-of-mouth, inexpensive flyers, etc. Anyone can help with a donation or by letting her agency know of any place or event where they can put up an information table and talk to people about becoming foster parents.
“What are the chances of adoption?” Families have 18 months of free reunification services to help them prepare and qualify for reunification. Reunification depends on the actions (and inactions) of both parents. The County has babies and very young children. Star Foster Family Agency has older children and frequently has siblings who need to stay together. Foster parents are a form of gang prevention. It is said that trouble kids are attracted to gangs because they provide a sense of family and belonging – which is exactly what foster families provide!
STATUS OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Residents reported on various outstanding problems on their streets. 1. There was a brief discussion of Steven McVay’s vacant lot on South Willard and the
possibility of using it or a part of it as a community garden. Loui reported that she had emailed Steven about the idea and got one in return asking for a few days delay because of “some things pending regarding the property.”
Minutes of BVNA General Meeting 4/27/2010
2. Loui also reported there was a dumpster on the southwest corner of Leigh and West San Carlos that is being used as a dumping ground. The area around the dumpster regularly has mattresses and broken furniture. Can the owner be contacted and told to keep the area clean and free of dumped items?
The Park extension lots at Scott and Mayellen. Still no response from Parks & Recreation Services. No meeting has been set up regarding the real grass versus artificial turf issue. John Leyba is looking into having BVNA officially adopt the park. While it may not guarantee that the park extension will have real grass, the adoption would probably give us “political points.” There was also a discussion of getting the City to provide a dumpster so that the neighborhood residents could tear down the existing old wood fence, and clean the lot. Lara is working with City staff to provide the dumpster and coordinate the efforts. It was noted that all activity on parks and libraries are frozen until the City’s budget crisis is resolved.
Beth has been given materials from prior Home Tours and has expressed a desire to contact neighbors about putting their homes on a future BVNA home tour.
Robert Solis is temporarily in charge of the NAC (Neighborhood Action Council). There will be a special election in a month. Is anyone interested in getting involved in the NAC? John Leyba said he would be interested.
Organizations have contacted the BVNA regarding speaking at future meetings. These organization include a Parks Foundation (a non-profit raising funds for local parks) and a shopping service. If anyone has suggestions for other speakers, they should get in touch with Robert or Brian.
The parking strip on Moorpark between Leland and Leigh has 5-foot high weeds that are threatening the health of the newly planted (fall of 2009) oak trees. Interested parties are encouraged to gather at 10:00 AM on Saturday, May 1 and bring gardening tools.
Robert Solis thanked the people who donated to the American Cancer Society Relay-4- Life. Anyone else interested in donating can do so on-line or by giving him a check.
Robert is also going to be trying out for a part in the local stage production of Sweeney Todd. If he gets the part, he will need to miss several (3-4) months of BVNA meetings.
Brian announced that he is having knee surgery again and will also be studying for the Bar exam this summer so will not be attending BVNA meetings in May or June.
The next BVNA meeting will be on TUESDAY, MAY 25. The meeting will be at the home of Robert and Linda Solis at 359 Mayellen beginning at 7:00 PM. John Leyba has offered his driveway for the June meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:06 PM.