April 2012 BVNA Meeting Minutes
BUENA VISTA NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION Minutes of the Meeting Tuesday, April 24, 2012 At the Home of Karen O’Mara at 379 Menker Avenue
Meeting called to order at 7:15 PM
PRESENT: [13 people present] Members: Brian Habekoss (President) John Leyba (Vice President and NAC Representative) Loui Tucker (Secretary)
Sabine Zappe (Treasurer) Jose Gonzalez (Director) Robert Solis (Director) Brian Ward (Director)
The minutes of the March 27, 2012 meeting were posted section. The minutes were approved.
Joe Carpenter Steve Kline Karen O’Mara Ed Yu
Michele Beasley with Greenbelt Alliance
Frances Reyes representing Pierluigi Oliverio’s office
on the website and the yahoo group files
The current balance is $1027.01 of which $534 is CAP Grant. Three membership checks are waiting to be deposited.
PRESENTATION BY GREENBELT ALLIANCE
Michele Beasley made a short presentation about Greenbelt Alliance operating in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Their current focus is on getting developments that are the right size and right place for the current environment, and also maintaining a significant green belt around the Bay area. They contributed heavily to Vision 2040 which the San Jose City Council approved in November.
Urban villages is one way San Jose is accommodating growth. Typically this means infill areas near existing or planned transit. We now have the West San Carlos South Bascom Urban Corridor Master Plan (also known as "First Urban Village"). Greenbelt Alliance wants to get neighborhoods and local residences involved in advance of the initial meetings.
They do an analysis of the existing neighborhood – what and where are the businesses, where are the residences, where are the bike lanes, on-street parking, transit, etc. – and create a picture of what's already in place. There will be a "Community Conversation" at SJCC to get people involved. There will be a walking tour on Saturday, April 28 from Luther Burbank School down West San Carlos to Bascom and down Bascom to Scott, then back to end at Time Deli. The walking tour will not cover the entire area, but will look at a slice of it. They are working with San Jose State students who are interested in urban planning. The goal is to be involved early on in order to get residents helping in the planning of this Urban Village.
Joe Carpenter mentioned that it would be nice to get existing projects finished. He specifically mentioned the Scott Street Project and the City's original plan to provide signage that Scott Street is a bicycle route. 80-90% of the work on the Scott Street Project was done, but the signage for bike route never happened. The excuse given too often was there are "limited funds" and other projects "take priority."
Other plan details were never completed such as the bathrooms and parking and street lighting at O'Connor Park. Historically the City makes promises to do things and then does some things and picks and chooses not to do things that are inconvenient. Alternatively, some powerful people lobby
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the Council to NOT do what they don't like. The City moves on to the next project and doesn't look back at what wasn't finished. Joe Carpenter said he has copies of plans, blueprints, emails, etc. for the West San Carlos Business Revitalization Plan. that Michele can review.
Steve Kline suggested that some of the San Jose State students working on this might review existing and past project plans and evaluate what has and has not been completed.
Mention was made of the request to move the traffic light from Saddlerack and/or Auzerais to Douglas and the City's consistent response: no money, sorry.
Greenbelt Alliance wants to use this "First Urban Village" as a template for future developments. If there are in fact already a lot of plans in place, those plans need to be identified and unfinished items highlighted.
How many times has the City said they are going to "X" and then "Oops, sorry, we're going to Y instead." It destroys trust when the City promises, renegs, and then asks for the residents to get involved in the process yet again. A little slippage is expected, but when the residents get the shaft over and over, they get battle weary. Seven Wounds neighborhood seems to have survived the battle and still has a positive attitude. What did they do differently that worked?
There is no shortage of great ideas in the community. The City stymies these ideas over and over and over. Planning Department consistently says "we're not comfortable with the level of risk." Joe himself has gotten burned out, tired of trying. On the one hand the City cries "No Money" and "No Resources" but then finds money for what they want to do.
It was pointed out that there are many ways to make this area more walker friendly and more transit friendly, and they are all on paper. Why can't the City just do what's already in the plans instead of working on NEW plans? The idea of opening the Chiechi Loop to the shopping mall at Meridian and Parkmoor which would greatly increase walk-ability in that area of Buena Vista. It would be easier for residents to get their shopping done on foot and there might be fewer shopping carts left on the street.
ISSUES WITH SAN JOSE CLEAN, CITYSOURCED, ETC.
There are currently three different mobile applications for reporting issues to the City. Meanwhile there are some districts that only use paper and pencil or maintain a spreadsheet. Some districts will accept a faxed request or report and others will not. Each district gets an idea, creates a reporting system, but there is no coordination, and no way for data to be viewed city-wide. San Jose Clean, for example, allows you to report, but you can't review your date or the city-wide data to see what's being reported where. If you can't get the data you can't complain. To get data, you have to promise not to use it to sue the City!
There was a discussion of the monthly neighborhood clean-ups. This is something we can do ourselves for our neighborhood without asking anyone's permission or request funds. The last time out, the group picked up two bags of trash and put up the NO DUMPING signs on Willard. Two bags of trash may not seem like much, but that's a lot of litter that IS NOT on the streets!
We can continue to do monthly pickups and coordinate them with Loui's highway pickups, in which case the next one will be Saturday, May 12. The ideal thing to do would be to get people involved and tell them when the next pick-up day is? Pepe took photos that can be put up on website if he sends them to Loui.
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What about the Ice Cream Social in the Park that was being planned? The permit had to be in 45 days in advance and we had to have an insurance certificate. The original May 12 date cannot happen because of the paperwork and insurance. Why not move it to June?
The newsletter needs to go out. It is in the works, but has not been finalized. It also appears that it is going to be expensive, perhaps too expensive, in its current state.
In the past, the July 4 Menker Block Party has been organized by Ruth White but she cannot continue to manage it by herself and wants help from the BVNA this year. Do we want to put our stamp on it? We could move it to 4:00-9:00 PM instead of 11:00-3:00, which would allow people to go to the Rose-White-and-Blue Parade first. There is officially no alcohol permitted, but who's gonna check? We should just let people have small parties on their own lawns nearby instead of pressuring people to join the big group in the middle. The first step would be to get the permit so we can have it take place, and then worry about the details.
DISTRICT 6 ELECTIONS
Steve Kline thanked John Leyba for trying to arrange a debate between Kline and Oliverio. The District 6 Leadership Group members were talking over email to get a debate or two. One is on May 7 at Cory Elementary School at Kenwood and Monroe. The plan is to get other debates organized in different areas to broaden the involvement.
Steve also said he was concerned about reports that some of the marijuana collectives are not paying City taxes. Many are in the county and therefore don't pay city taxes (which represents some careful planning on their part). Herbs is one that Steve Kline is looking at specifically. According to Steve Kline's investigation, there are 32 marijuana collectives that have NOT been paying taxes. If Herbs is one of the ones that is NOT paying taxes, Steve plans to hold a press conference. He believe the City should close the ones that are not paying taxes!
Joe had emails that the palm trees on West San Carlos were going to be allowed to die. There would be no maintenance and no water. All agreed that it is not acceptable for this street to deteriorate. Can we go to the media about this? Each Councilmember has a small but significant fund. Why not get Pierluigi Oliverio (for example) to pay a contractor to do the maintenance on the trees? If you get a lot of "sorry, but no" then we can go to the media. Steve said that, as a Councilmember, he will have the community tell him how and where to spend that money and one mouse click on a web page will allow a site visitor to find out how its being spent!
April 26 – 6:30-7:30 – Community Meeting at Sherman Oaks regarding the CalTrains and VTA metering lights . May 24 – 6:00 – Budget Discussion at the Willow Glen Center
The May meeting is tentatively at Joe’s house on May 22 (the fourth Tuesday). The June meeting will be at John Leyba’s house
Dues are due! Loui will send out something to the BVNA yahoo group list reminding the readership. The meeting was adjourned at 8:35 PM.