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OMVNA Newsletter

November/December, 2002
Volume 14, Number 8

Why OMVNA?

Welcome to New OMVNA Officers

OMVNA Steering Committee Opposes Limelight Zoning Appeal

Opinion: Limelight Appeal Indicates True Intentions

Do You Love Italy?

Be a Neighborhood Coordinator!

A New Way to Support Landels School


Why OMVNA?
By Ronit Bryant, OMVNA Chair

OMVNA is there to serve neighborhood needs. Let us know what you need, what your concerns are, what would improve your quality of life. Working together, we CAN make changes.

Here's what we propose to do this year for the neighborhood:

1. Generate a list of achievable steps towards neighborhood preservation and downtown development (goals chosen at our general meeting). We'll be doing this at our upcoming Steering Committee meeting. Come help us brainstorm!

2. Implement these steps. Help us turn ideas into reality!

3. Prepare our neighborhood for an emergency (CERT team). The more volunteers, the less work, and the better prepared we will be when the big one strikes!

Here's what we can do (and have done in previous years):

1. Work with City Council and staff to change City codes, develop community resources, and resolve neighborhood problems. How can we help you?

2. Serve as a forum for neighbors to meet others who share their interests and want to work towards common goals. What is your passion?

Choose your level of involvement: you can come to the quarterly general meetings, our monthly Steering Committee meetings, contact us through the website (http://www.omvna.org), and call me at 964-1966. Or come by and chat--you can usually find me in my garden on the corner of Bush and Dana.

Welcome to New OMVNA Officers
By Lisa Windes

OMVNA's Fall Meeting on October 27 was a big success. In addition to great food and interesting discussions with city council and school board candidates, we elected a new steering committee. The new officers are:

o Chair: Ronit Bryant
o Vice-Chair: Alison Hicks
o Secretary: Tom Macagno
o Treasurer: Aaron Grossman
o Community Liaison: David Andrzejek
o At Large #1: Julie Wrobel
o At Large #2: Larry Rosenberg
o Newsletter Co-Editors: Lisa Windes, Velva Rowell

We bid a fond farewell to those who are leaving the committee: Bruce Karney, Anita Grossman, Tim Johnson, and George and Valerie Harris. Thank you for your hard work.

Maarten Korringa, Webmaster and Julie Lovins, leader of the Newsletter Delivery Team will continue to contribute their much-appreciated services.

OMVNA Steering Committee Opposes Limelight Zoning Appeal
By Velva Rowell

At the City Council meeting on Tuesday, December 10th, the owners of the Club Limelight will be appealing the October findings of the Zoning Administrator (ZA) relating to the operation of the Club. As was reported in our last issue, the ZA issued a number of findings aimed at resolving the problems recently associated with the Club's operation (including noise, illegal and under-age drinking, littering, drunken driving, and other alcohol-related misdemeanors) while enabling the Club to continue to prosper downtown.

The owners are now appealing the following three (of the original six) findings:

3. The club is limited to patrons who are 21 years of age and older.

5. There shall be no in and out privileges for patrons of the club.

6. The hours of the club shall be limited to Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.

At the November meeting of the OMVNA Steering Committee, Ronit Bryant was asked to write a letter from the Steering Committee to the City Council encouraging them to uphold the ZA's ruling about Club Limelight. This letter will be received prior to the meeting on December 10th. In part, this letter reads:

"The OMVNA Steering Committee believes that the ZA's findings are crucial to Club Limelight's successful integration into our downtown's safe and friendly business and residential environment. We urge you to uphold all of the ZA's findings and reject the appeal.

At the same time, we support the idea of a teen recreation venue downtown. When Club Limelight first offered Sunday night teen-only parties in April of 2000, the OMVNA Newsletter gave it positive coverage. We encourage the City to offer youths a safe and attractive recreation venue downtown, and we feel sure that a positive solution can be found--within a matter of months, perhaps, with hard work and commitment from the City's staff, youths, and business owners. The OMVNA Steering Committee would welcome such a solution."

If you are interested in reading the full text of this letter, please contact Ronit Bryant at chair@omvna.org.

Opinion: Limelight Appeal Indicates True Intentions
By Tom Macagno

On October 9 the Zoning Administrator (ZA) modified the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) of the Limelight. The action was in response to problems (violence, vandalism, reckless driving, public drinking, public urination, and littering) associated with the patrons of the Limelight. The Community and the City felt the new conditions were a fair compromise compared to seeking the closure of the Club. At the last minute the Limelight appealed the ZA ruling. This appeal is a clear signal the club owners are not concerned with the Club's impact upon the Community.
The problems with the Limelight started over 11 months ago when new ownership took over the Club. It was not until after the ZA hearing that they took any significant actions to address issues raised. During the preceding 11 months the City, Police, Residents, and Community Groups had made them aware of issues. Yet they did not proactively address issues. Now they want us to believe that they are ready to be good neighbors.

Actions speak louder than words. During the ZA hearing the manager for the Limelight stood up and said, "We are only open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday." Shortly after the hearing, they were open several Sundays. One evening was so rowdy that it prompted a letter to the City from a Castro Street visitor. "If I hear the problems being solved I might visit Castro Street again at night, but until then my wife and me will limit ourselves to other downtowns such as Palo Alto and Sunnyvale [sic]" said the alarmed patron of a Castro Street restaurant.

Again, actions speak louder than words. According to employees of the Limelight, the Club has put in a new dance floor and new decorations, and increased the power of sound equipment. Yet, after 11 months of requesting them to do something about the noise coming from the Club, nothing has happened. If the management were truly concerned about the community they would solve the problem. However, to this day, every time they are open residents must ask them to turn down the music.
With the appeal, the owners of the Limelight are asking the City Council to trust them to be good neighbors. However, their actions over the past 11 months clearly show they will not or cannot take responsibility for the operation of their business. Have we not had enough of irresponsible business?

The appeal will be heard by the City Council on December 10. Please attend the meeting or contact Council Members to show your support for upholding the ZA ruling on the Limelight.

Contact information for Council Members:
Ralph Faravelli: rfaravelli@aol.com
Mike Kasperzak: mkasperzak@mediates.com
Matt Pear: mpear@mattpear.com
Rosemary Stasek: rosemary@stasek.com
MaryLou Zoglin: mlzoglin@aol.com


Do You Love Italy?
By Lisa Windes

Here's a great opportunity to learn about Italian language and customs. The Italian Educational Institute is offering evening adult classes beginning in January 2003. Leading Italo-American educators have formed the nonprofit institute to create more awareness of Italian language and culture in the Bay Area. The classes range from beginning Italian, to literature and history classes. There is even a course in Italian food held at Dal Baffo Restaurant in Menlo Park. Most classes meet at Jordan Middle School in Palo Alto for one evening a week.

If you're interested in the institute's activities and the classes to be offered this January, please check their web site http://www.italybythebay.org.

Be a Neighborhood Coordinator!
By Aaron Grossman, CERT Co-Chair

If you enjoy the newsletter and have wondered how to get more involved with the neighborhood, then we want to talk to you! The OMVNA Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is looking for additional block captains or neighborhood coordinators. Sooner or later there will be a major earthquake or other big problem, and we need more CERT volunteers to be prepared for it.

CERT volunteers have three basic responsibilities. First is attending an annual 2-hour CERT training meeting. Second is handing out safety leaflets and collecting basic information on at least 10 to 15 of their neighbors. The basic information to collect (which will remain confidential) includes a list of local family members and pets, any special medical needs, and out-of-state contacts that can be crucial when calls within California are disrupted. Third is using that basic information to provide crucial local communication and coordination links needed during an emergency.

Volunteers are not required to have medical or disaster training, although they may take training classes in the future if they decide to, and we certainly welcome people who already have those skills.

The training meeting is planned for Saturday January 18 from 10am to 12 noon. The purpose is to meet the team, learn basic CERT emergency procedures, and hand out crew kit "Go Packs" and informational leaflets to the new volunteers. The handouts have very important information for each family, including a checklist of items they need to have on hand for an emergency. The "Go Pack" has over $100 worth of key emergency supplies, including a hard-hat, 2-way radio, covered clipboard, weather-proof LED flash light, and many other items. These kits are available thanks to a generous grant from CFSV (Community Foundation Silicon Valley).

We want this to be a fun and enjoyable project that won't take too much time to accomplish. Some current block captains have organized parties to give leaflets out and collect the information all at one time.

Please contact the CERT co-chairs for more information or to enroll: Aaron Grossman (650-969-4031) aagrossman@yahoo.com or Julie Wrobel (650-960-1310) willyclark@aol.com

A New Way to Support Landels School
By Lauren Zuravleff

Landels Elementary School lies within Old Mountain View, located on Dana Street near Calderon. About 500 students from kindergarten to 5th grade attend Landels and are from a diverse socioeconomic and ethnic population. Nineteen languages are represented at Landels, and thirty-one percent of the students have English as a second language.

This year, Landels PTA (Parent Teacher Association) is funding field trips, library books, music and arts programs, physical education programs, school assemblies, technology, and an accelerated reading program. Old Mountain View neighbors can help support the school by signing up for eScrip.

eScrip is a fundraising program where participating merchants to contribute a percentage of your grocery card, credit card, and debit/ATM card purchases to the school. As you shop at Le Boulanger, Orchard Supply Hardware, Round Table Pizza, and many others, a portion of the proceeds go to the school programs.

For more information, please go to www.escrip.com. The Edith Landels Elementary eScrip ID# is 1802440.


The OMVNA Newsletter
is published by a volunteer editorial committee & distributed to some 2400 homes and businesses by volunteers.

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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: 2/20/03