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OMVNA Newsletter

March, 1999
Volume 11, Number 2

OMVNA Monthly Meeting Update

History Corner: Secret Societies

The Downtown Committee

Spotlight on Rosemary Stasek

Neighborhood Art

The Old Mountain View Neighborhood is bordered by El Camino Real, Shoreline Boulevard, Evelyn Avenue, and Highway 85. The Old Mountain View Neighborhood Association consists of residents interested in preserving the quality of life in our neighborhood. Together we can make a difference -- join us!


OMVNA Monthly Meeting Update

by Tim Johnson, Secretary

OMVNA monthly meetings are attended by OMVNA officers and other concerned neighbors who share an interest in addressing neighborhood concerns and helping to make Old Mountain View a better place in which to live. The following is a summary of some of the current projects and activities discussed at the February meeting. For more information, please see the complete set of OMVNA meeting minutes posted on the OMVNA web page (www.omvna.org). OMVNA Monthly Meetings are on the second Wednesday of the month, 7:30 p.m. in the Reading Room of Trinity Methodist Church, corner of Hope and Mercy. Please join us!

  • UPDATE ON LATE-NIGHT SATURDAY ACTIVITIES AT THE PORTUGUESE HALL: OMVNA continues to work with SFV lodge officers and neighbors to address concerns over late-night activities at the hall. Noise from these activities has been a concern to nearby residents.
  • NEIGHBORHOOD GRANT PROGRAM: OMVNA has submitted a grant application to the City for funding a neighborhood emergency supply depot. If granted, the $1,500 fund could provide emergency supply kits for about 50 households. American Red Cross disaster preparedness materials would also be included. Future OMVNA newsletter articles will be written on the topic of neighborhood emergency preparedness.
  • ADOPT-A-PARK PROGRAM: OMVNA is exploring the possibility of using the City of Mountain View's Adopt-A-Park Program within the neighborhood.
  • MERCY-BUSH PARK: OMVNA is committed to ensuring that the design and development of the Mercy-Bush Park be included in the City's goals for the coming year. Funding has already been secured for designing and building the park; all that remains is to schedule this work.
  • KNIGHT'S PHARMACY: OMVNA has been looking into the matter of debris collecting outside Knight's Pharmacy at View and Dana Streets. The City is aware of code violations and has received numerous neighborhood complaints. The problem is being addressed and no further action is required by OMVNA at this time.
  • STEVENS CREEK TRAIL UPDATE: The City Council has approved funding to study Segment 2 of Reach 4 of the trail - the section between Yuba Drive to Mountain View High School. Segment 1, which has had some local opposition, was scheduled for renewed discussion by the City Council on Tuesday, March 16. Segment I covers the creek section between Landels School and Yuba Drive. It was also reported that Steelhead fish have been seen in the creek. There is concern that Steelhead spawning not be disturbed by work on the trail. OMVNA will continue to monitor these activities.
  • MAY GENERAL MEETING: Mark your calendar! A general OMVNA neighborhood meeting will be held on Saturday, May 15. The meeting will address current problems and opportunities facing the neighborhood, including traffic management.

History Corner: Secret Societies

by Lisa Windes

"In no other civilized land in the world is the fight for survival so menaced by the unexpected and the terrible as in the United States, and in no country is there a feeling of so much insecurity, loneliness, and fear of tomorrow."
Judah J. Shapiro, circa 1900

Forty million people immigrated to the U.S. between 1880 and 1920. Roughly half the population participated in secret fraternal organizations in 1927. The oldest organizations were the Masons and the Odd Fellows, but there were over 800 other fraternal societies by 1920. These societies integrated new immigrants into American culture; members learned to express their opinions, vote, and conduct meetings. Dues paid for fellow members' burial expenses and cash payments to widows and orphans at a time when there were no labor unions, fringe benefits or social security. Members also enjoyed the social prestige that came from participating in an organization's public events and secret rituals.

Mountain View boasted 20 lodges in 1907. The first lodges were the Masons, founded in 1868 and the Odd Fellows, founded in 1876. The societies seemed to have universal appeal: charter members of the Odd Fellows included a constable, farmer, storekeeper, saloon owner, school teacher, sailor, and a hay baler. There were many other groups in town to choose from, including the Ancient Order of United Workmen, which originally formed to unite the conflicting interests of railroad labor and management, but decided a year later to provide insurance for its members instead.

The Loyal Legion was a short-lived society open only to Union Army and Navy officers and their firstborn sons. The farmers attended a fraternal trade society called the Grange. The Ancient Order of the Hibernians, a New York-based organization for Irish Catholic men, had a lodge here too. The political incorrectly-named Red Men offered to initiate "pale faces" into their "tribe." Mountain View also was home to a "grove" of the United Ancient Order of Druids, whose 43 charter members pledged in 1917 to follow the teachings of Merlin the Magician!

With the advent of the automobile and television, as well as life and medical insurance benefits in many jobs, the societies lost popularity and were criticized for

their exclusivity. The Masons and the Odd Fellows, however, have survived and maintain their lodges in Mountain View.


The Downtown Committee

by Julie Lovins

A new "Vision Statement" for the Downtown Precise Plan describes a commercial district that is more user-friendly to everyone who visits it. The Committee very much wants to see all basic services provided here, in a pedestrian-oriented setting. It is also stated that traffic patterns should not stress Downtown neighbors.

Despite the business opportunities that the new Transit Center will bring, Downtown merchants are united with neighborhood residents in their concerns about the traffic and parking implications. I hope we will be able to come up with some creative solutions. Consideration of access to the Transit Center other than by private car (or on foot!) is definitely on the agenda.

By the time you read this, I hope that the short- and mid-term portions of the "work plan" that the Committee has agreed on will have been approved by the City Council. In early March, all members will also be going on staff-guided tours of the east and west boundary portions of the Downtown area, where there is expected to be a lot of residential construction in the years ahead. The Downtown Precise Plan will be revised to incorporate the latest thoughts on zoning for these areas. Stay tuned for a neighborhood workshop, probably in April, as we work on this!

Please contact me with your thoughts on any of the above, or other Downtown matters, at 964-0368 or lovins@concentric.net


Spotlight on Rosemary Stasek

by Anita Louis Grossman

With this issue of the OM VNA Newsletter, we begin a series of profiles on neighborhood members actively involved in civic activities such as City Council and Commissions.

I've always liked Mountain View, but after talking with OMVNA friend and neighbor Rosemary Stasek, I think we're darn lucky to live here.

"Mountain View is Ground Zero," says the newly-elected Vice Mayor. "It's like being in Princeton in the 30's when anyone who was in physics was there. This area is incredible. Where else in the U.S. can you walk into a MacDonald's and find a veritable base of high tech talent? In recent years, many of the truly exciting technology developments have happened right here in Mountain View."

She continues, "To be here in this place at this time is really special."

Rosemary certainly has grounds for comparison. The Pennsylvania native moved to the Bay Area seven years ago after launching her career in computer network systems administration in Los Angeles. For over five years, Rosemary lived in the Whisman/Middlefield neighborhood, and witnessed, first-hand, the area's dramatic evolution. She moved into Old Mountain View about a year ago.

Stoked by her desire to actively work on behalf of the community and her very favorable experiences in Leadership Mountain View, Class of '96, Rosemary put in her bid for a seat on the City Council ... and won election. Says Rosemary, "It still is amazing to me that after only four years of living in Mountain View, that I could be accepted and elected to the Council. That says a lot about Mountain View and how welcoming the community is."

So how's life after 2 1/2 years on the City Council? "Very, very busy," says Rosemary, who clocks in close to 25 hours a week for her civic activities. And that's in addition to her full-time job as a web developer for Web TV! "I have a new perspective toward time," says Rosemary. "Whereas a few years ago I might have been impatient about process, I now see the value of taking time to sort through the issues and considering the long-term impact our decisions will have."

In addition to her work on the City Council, Rosemary is involved in causes to improve the lives of women around the globe. She recently went to Cuba as part of a women's delegation. She also loves to travel. Last year she visited Holland, which she describes as very tolerant, orderly and a place where "things work."

Sounds a lot like Mountain View!


Neighborhood Art

Mark your calendar for this year's free tour. Open Studios of South Bay Artists is coming to Old Mountain View (and surrounding cities!) on April 24 - 25 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The 13th annual three-weekend event includes over 340 artists from Santa Clara and San Mateo counties:

April 17 - 18 showcases artists in Southern Santa Clara County

April 24 - 25 features sites in Mountain View, Los Altos, Palo Alto and Sunnyvale

May 1- 2 covers San Mateo County art

Free tour maps to all participating studios are available from local book stores, art supply centers, the public library, and all exhibiting artists. Participants from Old Mountain View are also offering a Local Walking Tour to venues in our immediate area. Contact any of these neighborhood artists for maps:

  • David Anderson, 421 Bush
  • Marsha Burdick, 748 Mercy
  • Jovani, 736 Mountain View
  • Kim Korringa, 756 Eldora (Kim shares space with artist Nancy Banks)
  • Pat LaFleur, 456 Bush
  • Pig Wings & Promises, 247 Velarde (Jacqueline Ernst shares space with artists Liz Allen, JaKi Sungail, Debbie Turpen)
  • Marilyn Wheeler & Robert White, 181 Centre, #7

The Open Studios Program began in 1986. Visitors are invited into artists' work spaces to speak with them informally and purchase their artworks directly. Open Studios is an especially wonderful opportunity for introducing children to the world of visual expression. For questions, please call Jacqueline Ernst at 965-0869.


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Last updated: 6/23/99