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We Need A More Inclusive Budget Process in Fremont

The budget is actually discussed in three separate Council meetings (5/17, 6/14 and 6/21). In the 5/17 meeting I made it a point to note that Fremont’s budget decision process is not an inclusive process. The budget notes that there is a hierarchy where the community is on top, followed by the Council and then by staff. I noted that in my experience this is not actually how the budget is prepared in Fremont.

My frustration with the budget process has not only been that there is virtually no input from the public. I also feel as a Council member that I have little say in the budget process. That the budget is simply presented by staff, there is little discussion, and then the budget is approved. As an example, there was a budget surplus last year. Instead of staff presenting to Council what options we had to spend this on, staff just presented a list of what they felt it should be spent on. This was simply approved by the Council with little discussion. I’ve complained about this a couple of times with no success.
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Fremont’s Human Relations Commission at Pride Parade in SF

prideThanks to Congressman Eric Swalwell for joining Fremont’s contingent in the SF Pride parade yesterday. We had quite a good turnout once again.

Thanks also to Fremont’s very fine Human Relations Commission and Human Services Department for organizing this. We go above and beyond what most cities do in this regard.

Watching the TV re-broadcast of the parade last night the commentators had some very nice things to say about Fremont, noting that this is our fifth straight year of participating. I’m very proud to be part of a city that says loud and clear that bigotry and homophobia are NOT welcome in our city.

Superintendent Morris Joins Protest at Patterson Ranch

 

pattersonHow many school superintendents would come out on a Saturday to speak out against a development that isn’t paying it’s fair share of school fees? I don’t know, but Fremont’s Superintendent did.

I heard that after the recent increase in impact fees adopted by the School Board, the Patterson Ranch developers rushed to the City to get their final building permits to avoid paying these new fees.

Patterson Ranch was the issue that got me involved in Fremont politics over 10 years ago. The impact of this development and others on our schools, roads, etc. is only getting worse.

Proposition 13 Reform Support Not Considered by Council (6/21)

Proposition 13 was designed to help retired homeowners on a fixed income whose property taxes were rapidly rising. It limited the amount one’s property tax can increase annually even if their property values go way up. This was a laudable effort.

However, the rules of Proposition 13 apply to commercial and residential property. Of course, applying Proposition 13 to commercial properties does nothing to help homeowners. It’s estimated that this costs California nine billion dollars a year! (more…)

Kimber Park Finally Becomes Private Open Space

At the June 7 council meeting, one of the issues was whether the Council should designate the park land at the center of the Kimber Park neighborhood as ‘private open space’. A private open space designation limits what the owners can develop on the land. For example, housing cannot be developed on private open space.

kimber_smCouncil had actually already designated this parcel as private open space in 2012. But the property owner sued, arguing that the process wasn’t done correctly. They won which meant the parcel reverted to a status of a ‘study area’, which meant that the Council had to decide again how the parcel should be zoned. Staff began again the process of re-designating the parcel. The Planning Commission heard the matter last month and unanimously supported staff’s recommendation which was to once again zone the parcel private open space (making sure to do it correctly this time). (more…)