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OMVNA Newsletter

December 2005
Volume 17, Number 8


OMVNA Calendar

CERT Update: Preparing to Face an Emergency Part 1.

Real Estate: Cleaning up Racist CC&Rs

Restaurant Review: Amanor Deli & Bakery

Call for Volunteers: Say YES to YES

OMVNA Calendar

  • Join Us December 12: Monthly meetings are the second Monday at 7:30 p.m. in the Chamber of Commerce Board Room, 580 Castro St., and are open to neighborhood residents.

CERT Update: Preparing to Face an Emergency Part 1.
By Ronit Bryant

Some 45 Old Mountain View residents came to the CERT workshop on November 13 to share their emergency preparedness plans and hear advice and information from Lynn Brown of the Mountain View Fire Department. Here are some highlights of the discussion that took place.

General preparedness

  • Include some cash with your emergency supplies. A good sum to have at hand is $100, but in small denominations (not in twenties).
  • Keep all your important documents in one, easily accessible location.
  • Prepare a checklist of emergency supplies you need to take with you if you have to leave your house.
  • Keep your old prescription glasses with your emergency supplies.
  • Donít forget sunscreen.

Food for emergency supplies

  • Keep away from food that is too salty or that is dehydrated and requires the addition of water to make it usable.
  • Remember to include protein-rich food in your supplies, not just carbohydrates.
  • Include some comfort food.
  • Donít forget a can opener, or else buy cans with pull-up tabs.
  • Periodically refresh your emergency food supply — donít let it go bad.
    One of our neighbors has a database to track expiration dates of his emergency supplies.

Storing emergency supplies

  • A neighbor described her outdoor, waterproof shed that she built with very little help from friends. The shed includes food, blankets, sleeping bags, medical supplies, and even some toys and games.

Making a start

  • An easy way to start preparing emergency supplies is to buy American Red Cross kits for both your home and your car.

Watch for More Preparation Tips in future OMVNA Newsletters.

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Real Estate: Cleaning up Racist CC&Rs
By Ed Swierk

Can you imagine an ad like this appearing in today's real estate classifieds? In fact, similar language remains in the covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&R) documents of homes and subdivisions across the country, including some here in Mountain View. A new state law makes it cheaper and easier for homeowners to purge such language from the CC&Rs of their entire subdivision.

While not quite as public as a newspaper, CC&Rs do see the light of day whenever an owner puts a house up for sale. Anyone who has shopped for a house recently knows that browsing a thick stack of disclosure documents is part of the open-house ritual. There you are, an inhabitant of enlightened, 21st century California, stumbling over a statement like "Ownership shall be restricted to persons of the Caucasian Race forever" buried between the termite inspection and the flood zone report. Race-based housing restrictions were declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1948, so you might wonder why the owners never bothered to remove the offending language from these documents in the ensuing 57 years.

Racially restrictive covenants persist to this day simply because it has cost time and money to get rid of them. Removing even a single line of a CC&R can cost hundreds of dollars in research and recording fees, and each owner in a subdivision would have to come forward individually to make the change.

Since 2001, California law requires a notice to be attached to CC&Rs stating that restrictive covenants based on protected categories such as race are illegal and void. Even so, this notice is often separated from the racial restrictions by many pages and is written in language whose clarity only a lawyer can appreciate. Homeowners may still want to purge the racist text rather than rely on legalese.

After several years of false starts, the California Legislature passed a bill, AB 394, that simplifies the process of removing illegally discriminatory restrictions from CC&R documents. The bill, signed into law by the Governor in September, helps in several ways:

  • It permits the County Recorder to waive the usual fees for recording the modified CC&R.
  • It allows the "master" CC&R for an entire subdivision to be updated at the request of a single homeowner.
  • It requires the County Recorder, rather than the property owner, to seek a legal determination whether the restrictive covenant is indeed illegal.

So how does the new process work? If you don't have a copy of the CC&R for your subdivision, call the Santa Clara County Recorder at 408-299-5670, weekdays between 8 and 4:30. You may need to visit the Recorder's San Jose office in person to pick up the copy. Or, if you are about to list your home for sale, your real estate agent will obtain the CC&R as part of assembling the necessary disclosures. You can then cross out the illegal language and submit the modified document to the Recorder. The direct line to the division for recording documents is 408-299-5667.

Several web sites offer more details about AB 394:

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Restaurant Review: Amanor Deli & Bakery: 856 W. El Camino Real
by Eli Goldberg

When you walk into Amanor Deli & Bakery, don't be deceived by the clean, nondescript interior or the plain menus. Perhaps due to its off-Castro location in an otherwise desolate strip mall, Amanor remains one of downtown Mountain View's remaining undiscovered treasures. I normally don't shill for restaurants — but this one is truly worth sharing with our neighborhood.

Amanor is the dream of longtime Silicon Valley engineer Nick Gharibian and his wife, Alla. You realize very quickly on your first visit they're not here just to make a buck — they're here because they genuinely love sharing food. Don't be surprised when you're offered the chance to sample different items — or when Nick and Alla greet you fluently by your first name and solicit your thoughts on a new menu item. Or when they talk about making special, off-menu items for individual customers craving home-styled Armenian specialties.

Amanor's sandwiches will evoke your fondest memories of bakeries from Europe. Breads aren't just baked on-site — they're made from scratch entirely by Nick and Alla's hands. Sandwich condiments transcend mustard and mayonnaise to include their homemade basil pesto sauce, and their own garlic cream sauce.

Nick and Alla's enthusiasm is often contagious; customers are usually referred by friends, and are often among the warmest I've met at a restaurant. Perhaps they know they're enjoying something special and are eager to share it. (On one visit, another customer so enjoyed his lahmejoun — a cheese-less Middle Eastern pizza — that he proffered a piece.)

What keeps me coming back to Amanor each week, though, is that Amanor's food doesn't just taste good — it's all healthfully prepared. I've never left feeling guilty. If you've heard of the health dangers posted by trans fats (hydrogenated oils), Amanor doesn't use them. And when you bite in with pesto sauce dribbling from your chin, try not to gloat when realize you've also paid about the same as your friends eating mass-produced meatball sandwiches at Togo's or Subway.

For families or businesses in the Mountain View community, Amanor can also cater upon request. My employer was their first catering customer earlier this year, and I knew we made the right choice when I saw colleagues sparring over the leftovers in the conference room. Even with the generous portions we'd received, not a crumb was left unclaimed.

If I had to offer a criticism of Amanor, it would probably be its informality as a dine-in venue. It can be cognitively jarring to serve carefully prepared delicacies onto paper plates, while clutching a plastic fork. Window blinds haven't yet been installed, leaving the dining area uncomfortably hot on a sunny day. So I usually order my meals to-go, to enjoy in more homely surroundings.

Overall, Amanor offers a rare combination of delicious, healthy food, personable service, and at surprisingly modest prices. If the praiseworthy emails on the OMVNA mailing list offers any premonition, you won't regret your visit.

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Call for Volunteers: Say YES to YES
by Nan Recker

YES reading, a non-profit literacy organization located at Mariano Castro Elementary School in Mountain View, is looking for daytime volunteer tutors to work one-on-one with students in our structured curriculum. No teaching experience is necessary — just enthusiasm and a desire to help students to read! The sessions are 40 minutes in length and each student is offered 2 sessions per week. Currently the program operates on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 8:50 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., however, additional times can be added depending on the amount of volunteers who express interest. The majority of children being served are English Language Learners. Training is available. The lessons are very easy to administer and teach. The children look forward to the sessions and studies have proven that just two sessions a week over a three month period of time has proven to be effective in overall student achievement.

This is an excellent opportunity for you to make a difference in the education of the next generation. The rewards are too numerous to mention, but you will get to work with the students, meet other tutors, and become connected to your neighborhood school. If you are interested in becoming a tutor in this important program at Castro school, please contact Yve Heit. You can reach her electronically by email to or by telephone at (650) 526-3590 x 1905.

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Last updated: 12/13/05