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OMVNA Newsletter

April, 2002
Volume 14, Number 3

 OMVNA Spring Meeting & POTLUCK!

Sunday, April 28, noon - 2:00

Landels School, 115 West Dana Street
Outdoors, behind pre-school

Featuring Ellis Berns, MV Economic Development Manager

· POTLUCK PICNIC - Bring a ready-to-eat dish to serve 6-8 people. Drinks, desserts and utensils & plates will be provided.

· OMVNA General Meeting will be held.

· Ellis Berns will discuss the Downtown Committee, Downtown Development, Economic Recruitment and Parking.

OMVNA Goals for 2002

Sidewalk Replacement Problems?

MVPA Update

March 5, 2002 Election Results

The Downtown Beat

What Would YOU Like to See?

History Corner: Mountain View Post Office

OMVNA Goals for 2002
By Bruce Karney, OMVNA Chair

At the General Meeting on Jan. 26, OMVNA residents participated in a goal-setting exercise, the first of its kind in several years for OMVNA. Of the six focus areas we identified, two emerged as clear priorities. The number one goal was "neighborhood character preservation," and "downtown development" was number two.

These two headings don't adequately describe the tenor of the discussion, so let me expand a bit.

The character of a neighborhood is a hard thing to define. We think of our neighborhood as "charming" or "friendly" or "walkable", but what aspects make it so? The OMVNA Steering Committee spent a great deal of time in the last two years wrestling with this, even convening a focus group to provide input on specific proposals that we could have taken to the City Council. The focus group felt OMV's charm was very important to them, and were strongly in support of taking action to preserve it, but could simply not agree on any specific steps or planning guidelines to accomplish this. Frankly, I don't think we'll be able to move forward on this without fresh ideas from new people who have a passion for this topic. Please call or e-mail me if you'd like to be involved ( or 964-3567).
The goal about downtown development has to do with the kind of shops that will go into the new retail space that is about to come on the market. People at the meeting wanted a grocery store, a drug store, and "neighborhood-serving retail" rather than more businesses, such as restaurants, that cater to the people who work, but don't live, in Old Mountain View. At our next General Meeting, Ellis Berns of the City of Mountain View will share information with us about plans for the development of downtown and give us some ideas on how we may be able to influence what happens. I hope you'll be able to attend -- please see the announcement on Page 1. [at the top of this page --Webmaster]

Send e-mail to or write me at 833 Bush St., MV 94041.

Sidewalk Replacement Problems?
By DK Foster

Have you recently had your side-walks replaced? We just finished having our sidewalks replaced as part of the City's maintenance plan. During the process, the workers accidentally broke our sprinkler system, as well as some of the walkways we had. Good News Bad News. They fixed the obvious, but things still didn't work. We had dirt in the lines, a line broken in the middle of the yard (due to the pulling of the shovel), buried sprinklers, and more broken stepping stones after the repair. The sprinklers now spray everywhere but the parking strip. Gotta laugh!

We had to be fairly persistent, and not everything is done, but it will be.

Even though this work has been completed in your neighborhood, you can contact Mountain View inspector Tom Piffero (903-6329) and get him to respond to problems. Do this as soon as possible. Check out your sprinklers and do a careful inspection of the completed work, especially around the periphery of your property. It may save you problems later on.

MVPA Update
By Jean McCloskey

MVPA (Mountain View Preservation Alliance) continues to move forward in a very positive fashion with regards to historic preservation in Mountain View.

At the March 26 Mountain View City Council meeting, Nick Perry gave public testimony on behalf of MVPA. In addition, Alison Hicks and Jean McCloskey presented information on two handouts on the economic benefits of historic preservation (and architectural standards for non-historic buildings) at a joint planning meeting held April 2 for the Downtown Committee and EPC (Environmental Planning Commission).
As far as upcoming events for MVPA, the Mountain View City Council will have a public hearing on April 23 to consider an interim urgency ordinance requiring that any significant alterations or demolition plans to certain buildings be reviewed by the City Council. The ordinance will cover about 94 properties that the city has compiled into a new binder in the Planning Department. This listing reflects the properties from the book Now and Then, the Walking Tour Guide and a historic homes list that the city has had.

While the list is incomplete, we still think it is a positive start. For a more complete list, please visit our website (URL at the end of this article).
With regards to the house at 902 Villa, for the time being, there are no plans to demolish it. This is good news since this structure is still not officially protected. The house is in good structural condition, but in need of cosmetic touch-ups. A new retail store has moved in - be sure to check it out and let's hope it's a store people will want to support.

MVPA also needs your participation! PLEASE PLAN TO ATTEND THE APRIL 23 CITY COUNCIL MEETING. We will need to have a strong MVPA presence. We expect there will be opposition to the council adopting an interim ordinance and we've got to do our best to show community support for such an action. We will provide an update on April 23 closer to the date.

The next MVPA meeting: Saturday, April 13, 4:30 p.m. 575 Oak Street (our meetings are open to anyone who is interested) Contact Jean McCloskey via email at:
The website:

March 5, 2002 Election Results
By Valerie Harris

The March 5 primary brought out voters to overwhelmingly defeat Measure N by a sizable margin. Measure N would have allowed the big box Home Depot to be developed at the old Emporium site on El Camino and Sylvan. No on N captured nearly double the amount of votes that Yes did: 8847 and 4828.

In addition, two neighborhood residents and current Mountain View City Council members, Sally Lieber and Rosemary Stasek and Santa Clara City Council member, Rod Diridon, ran in the Democratic Primary for the 22nd California Assembly District.

Lieber captured 44 percent of the vote, with a total of 11,446 votes; Diridon, a current second-term Santa Clara Council member and the son of a former Santa Clara County supervisor, came in second, receiving 9,304 votes, for about 36 percent. Stasek finished with just over 20 percent of the vote, with a total of 5,262 votes.

In November, Lieber will face Stan Kawczynski, a Sunnyvale businessman and former two-term Sunnyvale City Council member and former Sunnyvale mayor, who was the uncontested Republican primary winner.

The Downtown Beat
By Valerie Harris

As I've mentioned in previous issues of the OMVNA newsletter, the Downtown Committee, which advises the City Council, has started discussion of the second phase of its revision of the Downtown Precise Plan. The results will go to the EPC (Environmental Planning Commission) and the City Council, with accompanying public hearings. In addition, the Downtown Committee is comprised of two subcommittees, one which deals with parking and the other which deals with economic and ambiance issues.

In the January, 2002, OMVNA meeting, OMVNA residents were asked to rank concerns and issues which they thought directly affected the neighborhood. The resulting top concerns were historic preservation of our town and neighborhood, and secondly the development of downtown Mountain View.

Residents of Old Mountain View expressed concerns with the lack of a nice market/deli/grocery store, a pharmacy, and additional, non-restaurant retail. The Downtown Committee Economic Development Subcommittee is studying those very issues.

Improvement in the downtown appearance is another focus of interest. Consultants have advised the city staff about improving signage, storefronts, and giving Mountain View a little more shine.

One example of an improvement can be viewed at the new restaurant, TAGA Japanese Cuisine, at 743 Dana Street across from the Dana Street Roasting Company. Through a small grant from the city, the new owners have added a slate floor entry way and an artistic mural storefront.

What Would YOU Like to See?
By Valerie Harris

If you have a great story, favorite shop, restaurant, gardening tips, pet care tips, or anything else you would like to share with neighbors email or call 969-8464.

History Corner: Mountain View Post Office
By Lisa Windes

(Reprinted from October, 1999)

Mountain View's first post office opened January 18, 1854, in Jacob
Shumway's general merchandise store on the present corner of El Camino Real and Highway 237/Grant Road. After the new town of Mountain View was built near the Southern Pacific railroad right-of-way, the post office moved there in 1871. Mail delivery for rural families began in 1900. John Barney, Mountain View's first mail carrier, served a 25-mile route. The Postal Service required him to exhibit daily weather signals on his horse-drawn wagon. By 1907, there were two delivery routes. RFD 17 was the original 25-mile route, with John Barney serving 150 families. The second route, RFD 18, was 24 miles and served 160 families. The Postal Service ordered the two routes combined into a single automobile route in 1916, the carrier to be chosen from the highest score on the Civil Service Exam. During the ensuing furor John Barney resigned. Maurice Moore became the first automobile mail carrier. He was expected to maintain the vehicle and pay for additional carriers with his salary of $1,608 per year. In 1920, the Postal Service approved two 36-mile routes after Mountain View's postmaster and residents complained of poor mail service to a visiting Congressman. The postmaster's request for delivery to residents of downtown Mountain View was denied because of a lack of sidewalks, street signs, and mail receptacles in the city.

Mountain View Post Office was traditionally an important hub in this area. The post office has served the residents of Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Mayfield (now part of Palo Alto), and Los Altos. In 1905, Mountain View and Palo Alto had the only second-class post offices between San Francisco and San Jose. Mountain View's postal receipts grew to an extent that by 1921, the postal clerk, a Miss Frances Neuroth, had to buckle on a Postal Service regulation Smith and Wesson revolver, complete with belt and holster, to deliver bank deposits. In 1937, our post office was third largest in the county.

The downtown post office has frequently moved to keep up with the growth of this region. Early locations of the post office include the first floor of the Olympic Building (presently the small park at Castro and Evelyn) in 1891, and the Rogers and Rogers Building at 158 Castro Street from 1903 to 1927. The post office moved from 102 Castro Street (now Hunan Gourmet restaurant) to 736 Dana Street (Alberto's nightclub) in 1949. The current post office building opened in 1960. [A new post office building has opened at the same location since this article was written. --Webmaster]

The OMVNA Newsletter
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The opinions printed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of the OMVNA Steering Committee.

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Last updated: 6/02/02