Volume 14, Number 4
Your right to vote is a precious thing. Millions have died to protect it. But the election process that we take for granted rests on a base of volunteer poll workers, and that base is crumbling.
This year's March 5 Primary brought the problem into the light, particularly in Southern California. Some polling places simply didn't open because no poll workers showed up. Discouraged voters either waited for hours or left in disgust. In our county there was a staffing shortfall of about 10%.
March 5 was my first experience as an election clerk. I took 2 hours of training and was assigned to a nearby precinct. Each precinct is normally staffed by four people, but due to the shortage of volunteers, only three were assigned to ours. Unfortunately for the voters, one of three was a no-show. We reached her by phone around 10 AM, and she said she would be there by 11, but she never came or called back.
I'm pleased to report that the inspector and I were able to get some help from another precinct that shared the same room we were in, and later in the day reinforcements arrived. Even though it was a low-turnout election, things were a bit dicey at first because 7-8 AM was the busiest hour in our precinct. In a higher turnout election, we would have had long lines to deal with, and I doubt that everyone would have waited long enough to vote.
If you chose (b), write "Volunteer" on your calendar for Nov. 5, then call the Registrar of Voters at 408 299-7655. You can ask for a whole shift (6 am to 9 pm) or a half shift. More info is available online at http://www.sccvote.org/. You'll earn $85 and the gratitude of everyone who cherishes the right to vote.
Spurred by the threatened loss of one of Mountain View's oldest remaining buildings, the house at 902 Villa, next to Chez T. J., the City Council on April 23 passed the city's first historic preservation ordinance. Council support for the two-year interim urgency ordinance was unanimous.
Despite growing recognition of the benefits of architectural preservation, Mountain View lacked any protection for its historic buildings prior to the passing of the April 23 ordinance. Studies show that historic preservation benefits cities by creating a sense of place, increasing property values, revitalizing Main Street retail and increasing neighborhood livability. All other peninsula cities with significant historic structures have local preservation legislation.
OMVNA did not receive notice of the proposed ordinance early enough to take a position on the proposed ordinance. OMVNA President Bruce Karney, however, did speak during the public hearing, noting that OMVNA was formed to preserve the charm of Old Mountain View and that historic architecture is a key component of Old Mountain View's charm. Members of the newly formed group the Mountain View Preservation Alliance spoke in favor of an interim ordinance, but recommended that the proposed ordinance be amended so as to be less burdensome on historic property owners.
The ordinance was amended to cut fees and other burdens on property owners. As passed, the ordinance will protect approximately 90 buildings listed as historic, the majority of which are in Old Mountain View. Buildings on the list will require a historic preservation permit for major alterations such as demolition or alterations that affect more than 50 percent of the structure. Workings of the ordinance will be reviewed over the next two years while a permanent ordinance is being drafted.
For information about getting involved in historic preservation in Mountain View contact either OMVNA or the Mountain View Preservation Alliance.
Rumble ... RUMBLE … RUMBLE !
It's an earthquake--Do you know what to do? Do your loved ones know how do reach you and each other? If 911 doesn't work, and there is no power - DO YOU KNOW which neighbor near you can help in an emergency? You can learn about earthquakes and how to deal with other emergencies by becoming involved in Old Mountain View Neighborhood Associations CERT initiative. Our goal is to insure that everyone is organized and prepared for an emergency.
We have created a 30-page Neighborhood Resource Guide that will inform you about for preparing, getting emergency supplies, dealing with earthquakes, fire, flood, chemical release, terrorist attack, and information for taking care of seniors, children, disabled persons, and pets. Just call or write and we'll drop off a copy.
If you are really motivated, we can provide extensive training in one or more of the essential elements of dealing with a disaster: Incident command, search and rescue, first-aid, safety, and/or sheltering.
We need volunteers (less than one hour per month) in all neighborhoods, apartment complexes, condos, and homes to help insure that your neighborhood can be quickly organized in an emergency. We have emergency kits and two-way radios to distribute to help in this effort. If you have an association, you really should make this a priority!
Preparation and practice are keys to survival in an emergency. Help us help you. Call Donnie Foster at 650-302-3219 or at Donnie_Foster@tenacityu.com.
On April 28th at Landels School, OMVNA held its Spring General Meeting and potluck. The guest speaker was Ellis Berns, Mountain View Economic Development Manager. Berns detailed the Downtown Precise Plan amendments, current construction projects, parking projects and the recruitment of potential future downtown retailers. The Downtown Precise Plan work plan will be presented to the City Council May 28th.
Downtown construction projects are all underway and on schedule, the Castro at California buildings are due to open this summer. Several plans for a parking structure at Bryant and California are currently under review. Downtown retail recruitment is focusing on a boutique-type grocery store and a pharmacy.
Berns' presentation was comprehensive and well received by all participants.
At its January General Meeting, OMVNA members chose neighborhood preservation, including historic preservation, as one of its top two goals for the next two years. As a part of that goal several OMVNA residents are forming a resource and support group for people interested in restoring their homes in a respectful manner.
This group welcomes those folks who have past experience on house restoration or those folks on the brink of restoration eager to understand what historic restoration entails. The group is open to people with a wide range of experience. Please come with questions about your upcoming restoration projects, resources you have gathered during your restoration experience and ideas on what this group should do in the future.
This group will be holding its first meeting on Thursday, June 6 at 7:00 p.m. at the home of Dave and Velva Rowell. The Rowell home is at 185 Eldora Drive on the corner of Eldora and Calderon. Please RSVP to Velva at (650) 938-0389 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org before June 4 if you plan to attend.
The Mountain View Preservation Alliance (MVPA) is a non-profit membership alliance dedicated to the preservation of Mountain View's historic properties.
This organization is working to assist the City of Mountain View in formulating historic home and building protection that is both effective and sensitive to private property rights.
If you are an historic property owner or a concerned resident with comments on Mountain View's preservation ordinance please contact us via our website at www.mv-pa.org.
Beneath the flagpole in Eagle Park, near the corner of Franklin and Church Streets, is a bronze plaque commemorating some very local heroes. "To our hero dead in World War II, 1941-45. Mountain View Union High School pays homage to the memory of these valiants who gave the last full measure of devotion to their country."
There were originally fifteen names listed, all former students at the "old" Mountain View high school on Castro Street. When the school was torn down in the late 1980's, the plaque (from the class of 1945) vanished from public view for a time. In 1989, along with the school flagpole, it was re-located to Eagle Park, named after the MVUHS eagle mascot.
A second plaque, below the larger one, bears the names of three
The results, augmenting material available through the Mountain View
Though we cannot reproduce all of the fascinating research results here, we can continue to pay homage this Memorial Day to the men whose names are listed on the two plaques: Henry (Marty) Martinez, John R. Kellum, George Mudrich, Charles Dowell Buckley, Joseph Elices, Neil Foland, J. R. Daly, Frank Beales, David Nordberg, George Souza, James R. McCurdy, Keith Canella, Richard McClure, Richard L. Van Woert, Philip Doty, Vincent May, Iwao (Bill) Yamaji, and Charles Frazer.
To increase readership, would OMVNA residents like to send in articles about pets?
Next issue I will have an interesting write-up about my earthquake-predicting yellow parakeet.
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 email@example.com or call 969-8464.
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The opinions printed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of the OMVNA Steering Committee.
Last updated: 6/04/02