BUENA VISTA NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION Minutes of the Meeting Tuesday, August 28, 2012 the home of Brian Habekoss and Jose Gonzalez at 322 Mayellen Avenue
Meeting called to order at 7:15 PM
PRESENT: [12 people present] Members: Brian Habekoss (President) Loui Tucker (Secretary)
Jose Gonzalez (Director) John Leyba (Director) Robert Solis (Director Brian Ward (Director)
Joe Carpenter Mark O’Connor Tom McKay Amy Rincon James Rincon
Guest: Lara Tran, representing Pierluigi Oliverio’s office
The minutes of the July meeting were posted on the website and the yahoo group files section. They were prepared by Jose and edited by Loui. The minutes were approved.
The current balance is $135.62. We should be receiving a $1500 grant for next year. Loui will send out an email to the BVNA members through the yahoo group requesting that members pay dues in order to help the BVNA fund the group’s activities.
There was a brief discussion on the subject of fund-raising.
Can we create a business members category ($50 or $100 dues) and ask local businesses to
join?? Examples within our boundaries include Food Max, Savers, UnoCal 76, Big O Tires,
We could put their logo on our website or create a web page highlighting local businesses
(“We appreciate our supportive businesses!”)
We could offer business members ad space in the next newsletter.
We could get them into the yahoo group so they could be aware of neighborhood issues.
United Neighborhoods is a non-profit. Can they launder donations for us so that people would
be more willing to donate to get the tax deduction?
Action Items: John will draft a letter and Jose will approach businesses. Loui will add button on website and level to PayPal that offers a $100 business level.
THE BVNA NEWSLETTER
Printing and mailing the newsletter is expensive. We should consider having a PDF electronic option. We could also save money by printing our own labels and organizing a mailing party instead of paying for a mailing house. Every door direct mail costs 7 cents per item.
Before considering how to save money, we should start with the important first step: we need members to write articles for the newsletter.
REPORT: MERIDIAN MIXED USE PROJECT.
The developer finally painted over the graffiti and pushed all the accumulated debris to the back of the lot. KTVU Channel 2 used this corner as an example of urban blight in a recent piece. The fencing has been breached in front of the second house from the corner of Meridian and West San Carlos. Are there squatters? Are there scavengers? Can the City require the property owners to secure the property?
Minutes of BVNA General Meeting 8-28-2012 Page 2
No loan has come through yet and that is what is holding up the project. We should keep an eye on the property and email the City or the developer or both when problems return. We should also make sure Code Enforcement has a record of any complaints.
Action Items: Photos are powerful tools. BVNA has a group on flicker.com and members are encouraged to take photos and tag them with tags such as BVNA, trash, code enforcement, graffiti, the company name, etc. Wherever possible, make the photos public. They might be more inclined to do something if it creates bad publicity for them.
REPORT: OHLONE PROJECT
John and Brian attended the recent Ohlone Project meeting. Representatives from Shasta- Hanchett and St. Leo’s neighborhoods were also present.
You can see most of the project on their website. It currently consists of three towers on a sort of pedestal parking lot that will be both above and below ground. We believe there are too few parking places and too many residences but the plan appears to be locked in by the Planning Department.
Many attending didn’t like all the white in the building and suggested brick be substituted. Their drawings show palm trees and there were many objections to them as well. The Planning Department personnel did not respond favorably to requests that they oversee the suggested changes and follow up with the builders.
There were a lot negatives expressed, but it really feels like all the input is going to be ignored. There was a feeling that the developers are not paying attention to neighborhood concerns, that the community meetings were just for show, and the developers will do whatever they want.
Because it is very rare that any community will have the longevity to stay alert during years and years of meetings, developers simply take their time and outlast the opposition. It is the responsibility of those residents who plan to be here for the long term to get the documents, search for the records, keep track of what is said, what they were told to do, what they promised to do, what promises they did not keep. Who else is going to say, “Remember when you said this? Have you done what you said you’d do? Or why did you do it when you said you wouldn’t.” We cannot expect the Planning Department personnel to do this for us. If we can be organized and provide documentation, we can make a difference.
The banner for the park was finally approved and made. It will be put up in the park. The BVNA has paid for it, but the Parks Foundation will reimburse if we get them receipts.
The City was waiting for written approval from the State of the switch from artificial turf to real grass, but according to John, that approval has been granted.
We need the City to move quickly now that winter is coming. It would be ideal if they would close the park over the winter to work on it, and not wait until next spring and then close the park all summer. We have $8000 in the Park Foundation which was required by the City. If it goes to bid, it takes three months, which could mean starting in January. It can be done, but we need to put pressure on the City. They should put it to bid and get it moving on the park
Minutes of BVNA General Meeting 8-28-2012 Page 3
Action Item: John will call Matt and Julie (going over Evelyn head) to request that construction start as soon as possible. Lara was asked to get the Councilmember to talk to them as well.
Action Item: John will get a copy of the receipt to the Parks Foundation. Jim will pay and give check to John.
BASCOM-WEST SAN CARLOS CENTER
The businesses at the corner of Bascom Avenue and West San Carlos are becoming a problem. The building on the corner has a fence around it but it is regularly breached. Fences are not secure so graffiti goes back up as soon as it’s painted over. Savers moved out. Across the street, Babyland moved out. Transients are hanging out in front of the old Savers store so they can use the outside electrical outlet. They play music, lie around on the sidewalk, and generate a lot of trash. The bar (Alex’s) is upset about this and they are trying to get the transients out. Trash is everywhere. Each business is independently owned so there is nobody to call. It would be nice to have a grocery store move in to the space vacated by Savers, but the state of the place makes this unlikely to happen.
What tools does the City have to pressure owners or the leasing agent?
Are there penalties for failure to maintain a property?
If there are financial penalties, why are they not being pursued?
Why doesn’t the City follow up on blighted properties?
If they are not willing to police their properties, do they get to do business in San Jose?
Would they lose their business license?
Should we complain to the Real Estate Board?
MORE MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES
There are more marijuana dispensaries in the area. The Cartex building next door to Calderon’s just got a new one, but that’s in the County pocket. Are there now nine or ten in our neighborhood?
OPENING THE WALL BETWEEN SAVERS AND CHIECHI
There was another discussion about opening the back wall of the strip mall at Parkmoor and Meridian and create a passage from the new Savers location to the residences on Chiechi. The property owner has to agree to it. In 1992-93, this came up the first time, but then it was the post office that had the space, and they needed to be able to secure their property.
With Savers in there, it might now be possible because they would want to make it easier for customers to come to them. We will have to contact the property owner again.
SJSU COMPLETE STREETS PROJECT
Michelle Beasley sent the SJSU Complete Streets Report. It probably cannot be sent out as it is a very, very large file. The good news is that all of our observations and conclusions were reinforced. They outlined some quick wins: (1) put in trees on Bascom; (2) move the bus stop benches so they don’t block sidewalks; (3) paint the utility boxes.
Action Item: Loui said she would put the SJSU Complete Street Project document on BVNA website and in the yahoo group files area, if someone would send it to her.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:42 PM.