Author Archives: Vinnie

Study of NUMMI Suppliers at the AC Workforce Investment Board

I attended the meeting of the Alameda County Workforce Investment Board last Thursday. There was a presentation by a company called Manex, which analyzed the viability of businesses that rely heavily on NUMMI for their business.  Of course, many of these are in jeopardy of going out of business once NUMMI stops operating.

Manex looked at thirteen different companies with a total of over 1,200 employees.  It was estimated that 1,050 of these jobs would be lost due to NUMMI’s closure.  The purpose of their study was to develop strategies whereby these companies could adapt to the closure of NUMMI and find new customers that could keep their businesses going, keeping some or all of the jobs that they currently provide.

What this showed me is that there are plenty of other potential markets for the companies that may have thought of themselves as nothing but NUMMI suppliers.  For example, those companies that make injected molded plastics could make products for the semiconductor industry, solar companies, medical equipment and other industries.  There is a wide variety of manufacturing facilities in the bay area that need suppliers.

Read the rest of this entry

Battle over "Oak Grove" Development in Pleasanton

There’s a very interesting battle brewing over a development in the Pleasanton hills called Oak Grove. It’s a classic case of developer-funded Council members pushing for an environmentally-unsound project that is bad for the city, and not wanted by the majority of the residents.

The Council approved the project back in 2007. A citizens group completed the difficult task of gathering over 5,000 signatures in 30 days to put a referendum on the ballot. The property owners sued to have the signature gathering effort invalidated. It took a long, two year legal battle but the courts ruled that the signatures were valid earlier this year. In response, the Council decided last month to put the referendum on the June 2010 ballot.

Read the rest of this entry

Menlo Park has a Creative Solution for our State's Water Shortage

It might seem odd to bring up our state’s water shortage after a period of very heavy rains, but the state’s Department of Water Resources notes that we are still in the fourth year of a drought and that the reservoirs are still well below their average.  Last year, there was serious talk of water rationing.

Arguably, the best way to save water begins with the design of one’s yard.  This is such an important issue that the State passed the Water Conservation in Landscaping Act of 2006.  Cities must now adopt a water efficient landscape ordinance.  While the City has technically complied with this act, they’ve done little to actually promote water conversation.

Other cities are doing much more at little to no cost to their budgets.  Menlo Park is considering an stronger ordinance based on Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency guidelines.  They may go even beyond these guidelines and apply these rules to new, smaller residences and those doing renovations.  Menlo Park already limits the amount of a homes’ landscaped area to 25 percent and restricts the time at which one can water their lawns.

Read the rest of this entry

Why I'm Happy to be a Member of LEAF

Most of the week I’m busy with email, software development, spreadsheets, Word documents, etc. By the end of the week I long for something real; something I can touch and manipulate with my hands.

That is why one rainy Sunday afternoon in February, I joined many members of Local Ecology and Agriculture Fremont (LEAF) to help trim fruit trees at the Niles Nursery. I also helped rip apart a neglected old church garden in Irvington. Together we pulled out weeds and trash, then rototilled and raked the 30’ x 30’ site into a peaceful blank canvas of dirt. Over the next few weeks LEAF will be installing fencing, laying out drip irrigation, and planting vegetables that will be ready to harvest in late spring.

LEAF is a new non-profit that plans to help start dozens of community gardens around Fremont over the next few years. We will teach people which vegetables grow well together (like “The Three Sisters “- corn, beans and squash) and how to fight garden pests without hazardous chemical pesticides. We will mobilize teams of gardeners to convert land around town to more productive uses than growing fescue grass or oxalis.

Read the rest of this entry