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OMVNA Newsletter

July 2006
Volume 18, Number 5


From the Chair

City Council Meetings and Public Input

OMVNA CERT Summer Radio Drill - Open to the Public!

Summer Alert: Please Water Young Street Trees

Off Castro Street

Mark Your Calendars

Free Ice Cream and Fun!!!

When: Sunday, August 6, 2-4 p.m.

Where: Mercy-Bush Park

There will be lots of ice cream and other treats, a jump house and fun games for the kids, as well as community information booths. Come and join the fun. All neighbors are welcome and the event is free!

For more information, contact Margaret Abe-Koga at

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From the Chair
By Ken Rosenberg

I was thinking about leadership this past week as I attended a company-sponsored meeting in Colorado Springs. A group of people had been assembled that they want to promote as future leaders of the firm. Of course, I was honored to be included, but I never thought of myself as a "leader" per se. I simply do my job and those things outside of my job that interest me.

So what defines leadership in Mountain View? Is the height of leadership a City Council position? Certainly that’s the highest elected position within the City. We even have the honor of having a State Assembly Woman live in the downtown (hi Sally!). Or is leadership defined by those doing the work for the disenfranchised and displaced? If you aren’t aware, we have a leadership development program sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce called Leadership Mountain View (LMV). It’s a spectacular nine-month course that introduces "students" to a wide variety of public and private organizations. You learn how it all fits together — the City, Community, and Charity. The not-so-hidden agenda of LMV is to dispatch new volunteers to the many charities and boards of directors around town. Certainly, those who participate must be considered leaders! Call the Chamber if you have any questions about it.

You can also lead in much more subtle ways. You can get involved in service groups, your church/synagogue/temple, or your homeowners association. You can organize a block party, belong to CERT, or maintain a website for your neighbors. You can submit a letter to the editor of the Voice. You can speak up for yourself and others at a City Council meeting or walk around town carrying a sign for peace. It is these things and more that hold our lovely neighborhood together. How do you see yourself helping out?

If you want to help OMVNA, you could volunteer to write an article for this newsletter. Almost any topic will be accepted. Have a funny anecdote about your child’s school? Send it in! Want to be a movie critic for a day? Send it in! How about a restaurant reviewer? Send it in! Ever write a (really) short story? Send it in! We’re happy to publish your work and make you famous. In a few short months, we’ll also be looking for more volunteers for our steering committee. If you think you want to help our neighborhood be an even better place to live, let us know!

One form of leadership is simply being known by your neighbors as a friend. I hope to meet you at our ice cream social on August 7. I’ll be looking out for you. Let’s make sure and say ‘hi’ to one another while we have the chance.

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City Council Meetings and Public Input
By Ronit Bryant

First things first: if you want Council to know how you feel about an issue or what concerns you have about it, let them know. That is part of how our City is run — not an act of aggression, but a way to participate. You can send emails and you can also come to Council meetings and give public input. I believe that coming to the meeting may have more impact than writing.

Council meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month (often more frequently), with public hearings usually starting at 6:30pm in the Council Chambers, up the first flight of stairs in City Hall. The agenda is published in the afternoon of the Thursday preceding the meeting. To view the agenda, subscribe to receive it by email, check the City’s website at (where you will find a link to the current agenda), or check the "Coming Events" page of the OMVNA website at (where the link to the agenda is usually updated on the weekend before the meeting). You can also call the Agenda Hotline at 650-903-6305, view the agenda on the City Cable Channel 26, or receive it by mail.

You can see the Council packet at the City Clerk’s office starting Friday morning, at the Public Library starting Thursday afternoon, just before the Council meeting outside the Council Chambers, and online (linked to the current agenda).

Members of the public who wish to address Council about an item on the agenda do so following the staff presentation and Council questions relating to the item. The Mayor then asks for public input, and people who wish to address Council line up on the right side of the room. The limit is three minutes per person, and each speaker is asked to fill out a blue card with name, city of residence, and item addressed. If you want to receive further communications about the item, you add your address.

For more information, see

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OMVNA CERT Summer Radio Drill - Open to the Public!
By Aaron Grossman

Our neighborhood CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) will have its summer radio drill on Sunday August 20, 2006 starting at 10am and finishing at noon. It is open to the public and will be held at Landels School. Based on last February’s drill, teams of 3-5 members will have their own team radio channel and send their members at set times to designated nearby locations to collect and prioritize information, report back to the team coordinator, and determine proper actions. We will rotate the role of team coordinator to give more people an opportunity to practice.

The radio drill is especially for OMVNA CERT members, but is open to all neighboring residents. There is no minimum age. The only requirements are to bring a positive attitude and a working FRS or GMRS radio - any brand should work. Make sure the batteries are good! If you need help in basic operation of your radio, we will provide that at the very beginning of the drill, so come early if it is new to you. This is a great way to get radio practice before a real disaster hits and we have to respond. The next CERT monthly radio check is Wednesday August 2, 2006 at 8pm on channel 7. For more information contact Aaron Grossman at or cell # 408-202-2802.

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Summer Alert: Please Water Young Street Trees
By Ronit Bryant

We are experiencing days of unusual heat which are stressing our trees, and particularly our young trees. Around our neighborhoods, many of these trees are showing signs of stress (e.g., leaves that are dry or brown). Young trees need to be watered — at least once a week. Remember to give them a good, deep watering to encourage the roots to grow deep beneath the surface.

Remember also to water the trees that the City has planted in the planting strip or public right of way in front of your home or business. These trees belong to the City, but the homeowner is responsible for watering them.

For more information visit, the website of a group of Mountain View residents dedicated to sustaining and enhancing Mountain View's trees through community stewardship, education, and advocacy.

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Off Castro Street
By Shelly King

It was a Sunday, sometime last summer. It wasn’t a particularly remarkable late afternoon, just one of those sweet spots that sticks in your memory between the capital of Peru and when to pick up the dry cleaning.

I was sitting on the steps outside my door, my cat Scout at my feet rolling on her back in that unmistakable cat body language that says, "Might I trouble you for a belly rub?" A few feet away, in the parking lot for my apartment building, some neighbors were dancing an Irish Ceili dance to a gig played off a PowerBook sitting on the tailgate of a pick-up truck. A few other neighbors were sitting around the table in our community garden, which we call the Zen Garden, enjoying a bottle of wine and telling dirty jokes. Our bellies were full from homemade hamburgers and French fries that had been cooked up earlier that evening by our apartment manager. I was reading an unintentionally funny romance novel involving cowboy vampires that had been recommended to me by my upstairs neighbor’s girlfriend who shares a wicked sense of humor with him. As summer evenings go, it doesn’t get much better.

Silicon Valley can be a lonely place, especially if you’re single. It’s often hard to meet people you connect with and, when you do, often harder to find time to spend together. Thanks to Craigslist and other online spots, you can find people who like to do the same things you do, but you do you find those people who enjoy their lives in the same way you do? So I felt myself doubly lucky four years ago to not only fine a great apartment half a block off Castro Street, but also a community of people who have become very dear to me. Most of my friends don’t even know their neighbor’s names. But my neighbors and I remember birthdays, watch each other’s cats, occasionally get on each other’s nerves, and worry when something is amiss in a one of our lives. In a sense, we’re family.

We have an email list that keeps us in touch during the work week, but most of our contact is face-to-face. We talk to each other through open doors and windows. We leave notes for each other, and not the complaining kind. We have epic potluck dinners. We have planted a vegetable garden. We rigged the garden full of Christmas lights for latenight games of Apples to Apples. On the sweltering nights we’ve had this summer, there’s always someone ready for a loud action movie and ice cream.

None of this was planned. The building is charming but has some years on it and more than a few quirks. The apartments are nice and cozy, but also small and a bit cramped at times. And yet we moved in, one by one. We like the quirky building. We like the quirky people. It just worked out that way. Our community grew in the way the best communities do, organically, attracting the kind of people who would appreciate it.

I know that someday this will all end. Something will happen — a new job out of the area, a marriage, a new baby — that will cause someone to move away. I’m sure it will start a domino affect, and soon we will all be living somewhere else. I think of moving myself at times. I could really use a second bedroom for an office. It would be financially beneficial to buy a place. But there are always costs to everything we do. Renting this place may cost me dollars in the long run, but moving away, at this point in my life, would cost me in other ways that are much too valuable. So for now, I will live in this sweet spot, enjoying more unremarkable Sunday afternoons filled with magic.

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Last updated: 8/1/06