March 2010 BVNA Meeting Minutes
BUENA VISTA NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION Minutes of the Meeting Tuesday, March 30, 2010 At the Home of Loui Tucker and Sabine Zappe at 153 Race Street
Meeting called to order at 7:15 PM
PRESENT: [17 people present] Robert Solis (President) Loui Tucker (Secretary) Sabine Zappe (Treasurer) Christeen Davis
Marcos Montes Sally Henning Beth Kramer Brent Jensen Charlene Lille John Leyba Carlos Ramirez
Steve Rogers Maria W ard Ruth White Michael White
Lara Tran, representing City Councilmember Pierreluigi Oliverio's office
Melissa Wonch, representing Assemblymember Jim Beall’s office
MINUTES - Corrected (Sally Hennings is not VP, Brian Ward is), approved, and will be re-posted.
TREASURER’S REPORT Sabine reported that the bank balance was $750.48 that morning. These are all BVNA discretionary funds. At the meeting, a few more membership checks were received and two checks were also retrieved from the BVNA post office box, which will add a total of $100 to the bank balance. BVNA members are encouraged to mail checks to the post office or bring a check to the next meeting.
REPORTS AND PRESENTATIONS
Lara Tran from Councilmember Pierreluigi Oliverio’s office reported on various issues that
were called to her attention at prior meetings.
Per earlier requests, [No Parking] signs will be placed about every 100 feet on S.
Willard where signs have been damaged and/or removed.
The lot at the corner of Scott and Mayellen that is slated to be an extension of the
existing Buena Vista Park is scheduled for only one (!) maintenance per year. That maintenance will be done in the next few weeks, once there are a few dry days. [Several BVNA members asked about the possibility of getting a dumpster and having volunteers tear down the ratty old wooden fence.]
Several City Budget Meetings have been scheduled and a list of locations was provided. A $116 million gap needs to be closed and neighborhood services are on the chopping block. Residents are encouraged to attend any meeting that is at a convenient date and time, not just the one that is in their area.
The owner of the lot on S. Buena Vista that has the overgrown yard and untended palm trees has until April 22 to correct the problems or face a heavy fine.
Melisa Wonch from Assemblyman Jim Beall’s office spoke briefly to the meeting, passed out some literature, and invited everyone to attend a “Government Reform Town Hall” on Thursday, April 8 form 6:30-8:00 PM at the Willow Glen Community Center on Lincoln Avenue in San Jose. This meeting is to address the State’s budget crisis and provide Assemblyman Beall with input from local residents. She also mentioned that if anyone is having problems receiving unemployment benefits, he or she should contact Beall’s office so his office can intervene.
Christeen Davis with the San Jose Solar Program spoke to the meeting. The two goals of this program are (1) to reduce carbon emissions and (2) to reduce energy use. The
Minutes of BVNA General Meeting 3/30/2010
City has grants to help residents buy solar systems and there is additional financing. The program will begin rollout in August of 2010 for residents and a similar program for area business six months later. She provided several handouts and offered her email and phone number should anyone want to reach her to ask questions.
STATUS OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD
Residents reported on various outstanding problems on their streets.
It was requested that Lara look into having the curbs at Douglas and Willard and Page
painted red. Currently these intersections are dangerous because cars park right up to
the corners and it is very hard to see around the cars when waiting at these intersections.
Nothing has been done about the paving on Page Street. It has been over a year (!) since
the first complaint was lodged when the County paved the street right before that area was turned over to the City. The street didn’t drain properly and lakes formed when it rained so the City came in and ripped up sections of the newly paved street. The street still doesn’t drain properly and now it looks awful too. Lara has tried to connect the City officials in charge of this with Steve who is the BVNA member who lives on that street, but nothing has happened and no contact has been made. [Page Street also needs a speed bump to keep residents from racing down the street.]
The letter President Robert Solis sent to the Food Max store at the corner of Parkmoor and Meridian was received and then lost. Steve asked that Robert please re-send it. Steve also expressed his thanks to the BVNA for the flowers sent for Robin’s memorial service and to the BVNA members who attended.
1. Park Extension. Robert Solis provided a copy of a letter dated March 30, 2010 that he sent to the Burbank/Del Monte NAC, Councilmember Oliverio, and Heather Keag regarding the need for another public meeting to deal with the Buena Vista Park extension. The letter included a list of specific concerns and issues that will need to be addressed by the City staff before a decision can be made. Robert also brought the original development map that was used in the initial park meetings that called for natural turf.
There was additional discussion at this meeting about artificial turf versus natural grass in the park extension:
How much it will really cost to put in and maintain artificial turf versus natural grass?
Can the community fund-raise and/or volunteer to maintain natural grass?
Does artificial turf kill the soil beneath it?
How long will the artificial turf last, how will it be repaired, and who will do the
What will happen to the park while we are waiting for the expansion to happen?
Can the ugly, rotted wooden fence be removed? Can a dumpster be provided by the City if the residents want to supply the volunteer labor to remove the fence? The City could then put up a simple chainlink fence to secure the property, which would make surveillance easier.
Is grass the only option – can we opt for some other kind of play area instead or a community garden?
When a date has been set for another meeting about the park, Robert will set everyone know. A further comment was made about the “Adopt-A-Park” sign and the fact that nobody ever answers the phone number that is listed on the sign!
Minutes of BVNA General Meeting 3/30/2010
Parks Budget. $18 million is slated to be cut from the Parks Budget, while two new community center/libraries are being built. It is the BVNA’s position that hours at all existing libraries should be reduced in order to spread funds around enough so the new libraries can be opened. The Bascom Library is still scheduled to open in October of 2010. It is important the library open on time, so that any bugs and problems can be addressed and fixed while the building is under warranty.
[It was mentioned that the lot across from the Bascom Library is choked with weeds. Once again it appears that blight is something the City can fine residents for, while City’s properties can be eyesores!]
Changes in Law Enforcement. It has been proposed by various neighborhood organizations that police officers be posted in areas for one year rather than the current six months.
Brian Ward Honored. Robert presented Marie Ward, Brian’s wife, with a plaque to give to Brian thanking him for his service on behalf of the BVNA during his two-year term as president.
New Construction. Coconut Willie’s at the corner of Lincoln and West San Carlos (which burned 5 years ago), is finally being rebuilt.
Smart Meters. There was a lengthy discussion about PG&E’s smart meters that are being installed. Charlene shared her concerns – radiation, privacy (will high-tech thieves be able to tell when you’re away from home?), job loss, etc. – and invited everyone to come to a meeting at her house on Friday, April 2 at 5:30 PM to discuss organizing “SmartMeter-Free Zones in San Jose.” John Leyba spoke at length and shared his knowledge on the subject: there are actually two meters (one for gas which is really a “not-very-bright” meter, and the “smart” meter for electricity), that the meter readers are being absorbed into PG&E and other jobs, and that electricity costs more during the day than at night, etc. Robert suggested people keep an eye on their bills to be sure the meters are reporting accurately compared with prior bills during the same time periods.
Home Tour. The possibility of reviving the BVNA’s Home Tour was discussed. Beth was particularly interested and others were willing to help if someone else would be the leader. Possible dates were discussed - this fall, next spring, next summer - and whether it would be a good idea to piggyback on another local event such as the July 4th Parade of Roses or the Burbank Jamboree, which is currently scheduled for October 2010. Loui offered Beth literature from prior home tours should she want to walk around the neighborhood and approach prospective homeowners.
Naglee Park is having their Home Tour on Saturday, April 24
Our City Forest has a tree-planting scheduled in the neighborhood on April 3 and the
“demonstration” tree will be planted at the White’s home on Menker Avenue. Volunteers are encouraged to attend.
The next BVNA meeting will be on Tuesday, April 27. The meeting will be at the home of Marcos Flores and Carlos Ramirez at 463 Menker Avenue beginning at 7:00 PM.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:10 PM.