August 2011 BVNA Meeting Minutes
BUENA VISTA NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION Minutes of the Meeting Tuesday, August 30, 2011 At the Home of Linda and Robert Solis at 359 Mayellen Avenue
Meeting called to order at 7:12 PM
PRESENT: [14 people present] Members: Brian Habekoss (President) John Leyba (Vice President and NAC Representative) Loui Tucker (Secretary)
Sabine Zappe (Treasurer) Jose Gonzalez (Director) Shelby Palms (Director) [arrived near the end] Robert Solis (Director and NAC Representative) Brian Ward (Director)
Jordan Dancer Tull Jordan Jens Hansen Michael LaRocca Marco Montes Linda Solis
MINUTES - The minutes of the prior meeting had not yet been prepared and could not be approved.
Treasurer’s Report: $962.27 of which $534 is CAP Grant. Discussion: Could the bank account be moved from Bank of the West? After some
options were voiced, it was agreed to honor neighborhood businesses and move the bank account to the First Tech Federal Credit Union on West San Carlos. Burbank Del Monte NAC uses the credit union, as does SHPNA.
DECISION: Brian and Sabine (as President and Treasurer will make an appointment to go together and open the new account first, Sabine will write a check for the amount in the Bank of the West account, then the old account can be closed. Once that is done, Loui will make the appropriate change to the PayPal account.
PRESIDENT’S REPORT: Brian and John reported on an earlier discussion they had about how to make meetings
run more smoothly, make them more productive and positive, reduce the amount of venting. The plan is to have reports that cover (1) background, (2) update/status, (3) proposed solution(s), and (4) deadline for completion.
DECISION: This plan was agreed to by the participants at this meeting.
PARK EXPANSION UPDATE: John met with San Jose Parks staff on August 15. The Plan for the Park Extension is
95% ready. John will send around write-up. 1. An item that was discussed was the “lattice gazebo with tables and benches”
(hereafter referred to as “The Gazebo”) that was to be placed against the back fence, next to the house. It was felt this location, far from the lighting and street traffic, could create a problem by becoming a gathering place for “ne’er-do-wells.”
The City staff wants to move The Gazebo to one of two possible places: (a) in place of the climbing structure; or (b) up near the outside fence along Scott Street.
One option is to move the tables by the street, between the "racetrack" walkway running around the park and the fence. We would keep the same trees there and lose the arbor.
Another option is to move the tables between the climbing structure and the lawn, in which case we would lose some green space.
The last option would be to replace the climbing structure with tables.
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Discussion revealed that while some seemed to like the idea of moving the tables to the area by the sidewalk, they were more than willing to sacrifice the climbers if it means we get an extra table. If the tables replace the climbers, we wanted at least one shade tree there.
DECISION: It was agreed to replace the climbing structure with a few tables like the ones in the other part of the park, with a tree or two in lieu of The Gazebo. John will contact Evelyn.
2. Several guy wire options were discussed:
(a) the $40,000 option that means changing the “triangle” to a “rectangle”
(b) Convince a house north of the park to grant an easement to PG&E to put
up a different pole in their backyard and attach the guy wire to it.
(c) Install a metal and/or spun concrete pole that would not require a guy
wire. The bad new is they cost approximately $80,000!
(d) Wrap the guy wire in foam or rubber so if people run into it they will not
(e) Burying the wire? It is prohibitively expensive to bury existing utilities.
There are grants and programs that bury utilities on perhaps a dozen streets in a year, and it will be a big important street, not a neighborhood street.
DECISION: We will probably wind up with Option (a) as all the other options are either unlikely or too expensive.
3. The City wanted to know how soon the BVNA members can start volunteering. The initial response was: Build it and THEN we will volunteer.
On further consideration, it was stated that the park is frequently a mess - trash can overflowing, graffiti, litter, etc. Why can’t we volunteer now? Some residents such as Marco are already doing some drive-by cleaning, keeping an eye on problems. We should get a copy of the City’s checklist, then set up shifts based on the current list of volunteers we have gathered. We can assigned teams to monitor the park for a week, and they should go by the park every day on the week of their assignment.
There are limits on what we can and cannot do. We cannot use Round-up wherever and whenever we want to. We cannot power-wash graffiti because it can cause toxins to flow into the drains. We need to get the City’s Checklist and report what we find and the City will fix problems.
DECISION: We will organize the existing volunteers as a show of good faith.
4. We discussed the problem with having a storage shed for maintenance equipment. Such a structure can become a taggers’ target. Would a bike locker be better because it is smaller? It was reported that bike lockers can become homes for the homeless (they will break the lock and move in.) What about purchasing something like a chest and burying it?
DECISION: Perhaps this discussion should be delaying until the park extension is completed. For now, just tell the City staff that we want the park plans to NOT indicate a storage shed.
5. What about having electrical power on site? The park will not have its own lights, just the lights on Scott, but what about an outlet for power tools?
DECISION: It was agreed we should ask for the installation of an electrical outlet.
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6. What about doggie bags and their dispensers (recent article in the San Jose Mecury- New about the City eliminating funding for these bags). We still want doggie bags. Mike LaRocca said Friends of Rose Garden has lots of bags for the asking.
DECISION: John or Brian will contact Friends of the Rose Garden about getting a supply of the doggie bags.
7. We have a fund with the San Jose Parks Foundation, and they are currently holding $4500 for us. Additional funds will accumulate as residents make donations to the Parks Foundation.
DECISION: Residents are encouraged to make donations to the San Jose Parks Foundation to increase funds for our park.
8. It was suggested that we put up a banner in the park asking for volunteers to help with clean-up and maintenance of the park, provide a contact phone number and email. The City has to approve any banner, and it has to have the City’s logo and the San Jose Parks Foundation logo, on it.
DECISION: We will make arrangements to have a banner made that meets City requirements.
USED CAR LOTS PARKING ISSUE. There was a report that Cars4Less had a silver Mustang with no plates and no registration parked on Menker. Parking Compliance was emailed but responded that if the VIN is OK, they cannot tow – even if car has no plates. They said that if the car moves every 72 hours, don’t bother reporting.
Joe Carpenter sent Code Enforcement the specific City Code section that states used car lots cannot use residential streets for their inventory. Their response: “We don’t enforce that.”
City parking staff was out ticketing cars on Menker, issued as many as 20 tickets on Menker, and there have been no used cars parked on Menker recently. Now the lot employees appear to be parking their inventory on West San Carlos or Mayellen, perhaps on Richmond.
Euro Auto Imports (between Menker and Richmond) has a parking overflow/excess inventory problem and they have recently started parking excess inventory down by Moon Zooom.
Speed Auto Sales (NW Mayellen) had weeds and rubbish on the corner but took care of it with one request (took a few weeks to get done).
Auto Exchange (NE Mayellen) had a dumpster out on street 24/7 that had been tagged and was impacting parking. Very rude staff told John and Shelby to just complain to the city through the appropriate channels and denied the dumpster was their problem. It was logged into CitySource and it moved back onto their lot after the commercial trash day that week.
DECISION: Continue to use CitySource, or take photos and email them in. Report all 72-hour violations and car lot cars parked on residential streets. This is a great data-gathering tool. This creates a database that can be used in a report, evidence to show our Pierluigi Oliverio at some point and ask him for help dealing with this on-going problem?
There is a need for red zones on the ends of the park so that drivers can see around the corner and spot on-coming cross-traffic. Also, many of the existing red zones need to be repainted. Sorry, it is illegal to paint the red zones yourself, or even re-paint existing ones. Can DOT revisit this issue and/or re-paint the existing curbs.
DECISION: Jordan will email Lara Tran.
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STRANGERS LOITERING. There have been small groups gathering on the corner of Mayellen and West San Carlos, frequenty with cell phones. The mostly young men are hanging out by the trees, sitting on neighbor’s stoops. Are they placing orders for drugs at Herbs? Are the reporting vacant homes (“The house at ### Mayellen appears to be vacant - go for it.”) to burglars? Can we call 311 and request a drive-by? Remember that the key words to use are “I want to file a complaint,” and be sure to request a case number.
Also when calling, tell the operator that you wish to report suspicious persons. Typically they will want the vehicle make/model/plate (if available) or the ethnicity/age/build of the person as well.
DECISION: Keep an eye on the problem, monitor it, report it. Bring it up at a future meeting if the problem escalates.
THE RED STAG. The Red Stag bar is also a problem late at night. The patrons are frequently noisy at closing time, laughing, singing, fighting. Hopefully when weather gets colder they will head for their cars and go home.
CROSSWALK AT W. SAN CARLOS AND MENKER. The crosswalk lights at West San Carlos and Menker are largely being ignored. It is frequently deemed safer to jaywalk. Cars just do not stop. They have been known to swerve around and/or honk at and/or flip off pedestrians. Can it be a RED light that is pedestrian activated? How do we make that happen? We do not want the City to decide to just eliminate the crosswalk as their only solution. There was a rumor that the Department of Transportation got a grant related to large streets to put in asphalt- embedded lights. That would be an improvement, but a pedestrian-activated signal would be better.
DECISION: Jordan will email Lara Tran and see what she can do.
NEIGHBORHOOD TRAINING FOR CAP GRANTS. Mike LaRocca reported that Neighborhood Training will be offered on Saturday, October 8. This training is required for recipients of CAP grant funds such as the BVNA. If someone from the BVNA attends this training, CAP grant requirements are met. Example session: “How to deal with problem Property Owners.”
Training is at San Jose State, and it’s an all-day event. Anybody from the neighborhood can attend and there is no cost to attend. It includes a healthy breakfast.
More info on the workshops, who will be presenting, and what topics will be discussed will be available by the next meeting, but mark your calendars.
SAN JOSE CITY COLLEGE. San Jose City College is starting to work with communities surrounding their campus. SJCC police cooperated with Sherman Oaks when they had a recent rash of burglaries. Someone from SJCC attended the most recent NAC meeting and they were told about the trash on the 280 side of Moorpark and they said they would “take it up the chain of command.”
Last year John asked the interim president (Doug Treadway) to treat the neighborhoods in partnership and adopt the areas up to and going across the freeways. This could be something they task their maintenance staff with or put out for community service clubs at the college to do. He was very receptive. We are hopeful that something good will come of their recent attendance at community meetings.
SHERMAN OAKS NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION. A representative from the San Jose Police Department will be attending the September 8 meeting of the Sherman Oaks
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Neighborhood Association at Sherman Oaks Community Center to talk about ways to pro-actively protect ourselves and our homes.
There was a brief discussion on the issue of meeting on the last Tuesday versus meeting on the fourth Tuesday of the month.
ANNOUNCEMENTS. The next BVNA meeting will be on Tuesday, September 27 at a location to be determined.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 PM.