Five Island Project Becomes a Reality in Jeffrey Fontana Park

Here’s the plan to incrementally introduce NP-Islands in Fontana West-

Monoculture Islands

 

We have a new Address

Martin-Fontana Parks Association
6081 Meridian Avenue
Suite 70 #246
San Jose, CA 95120

You can also reach us at:  SaveOurParkTrees@gmail.com too.

TJ Martin and Jeffrey Fontana Park Maintenance

TJ Martin and Jeffrey Fontana Parks are part of Maintenance District One, divided into three areas, or routes.  Our parks are two of twelve facilities including the Almaden library and community center and four other parks.  The staff caring for all 12 facilities consists of one Gardener and two Grounds workers.  We currently have an unfilled position of Maintenance Assistant that needs to be filled.  Two mowers are assigned to mow the 82.2 acres of turf in the district, so we are assigned every other Friday for our mowing days. On June 13 the soccer field renovation was mowed for the first time.

Irrigation, weeds, and rodents continue to be our worst nightmares.  Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services  are discussing the possibility of creating an irrigation strike team for the city to help with our never ending problems with our ancient irrigation system.

Remember, if you see an irrigation break, or something in the park that needs to be taken care of, send an email, with picture, if possible, to rzahner1@mac.com.

MFPA Vice President, Richard Zahner

 

Tell the San Jose City Council to improve the maintenance of our Parks

 

The San Jose City Council approved some token additions to the 2017/2018 budget for parks maintenance.  We are not likely to see any improvements, as the additions will go to parks that are rated much lower than ours.   There are still NO plans to fund the rehabilitation of neighborhood parks.  If the city council would take a realistic approach to maintaining our parks, we would definitely see some improvements.  Otherwise it will be business as usual in our parks and they will continue to deteriorate.

So how do we get the council to take action that will benefit Jeffrey Fontana and T. J. Martin parks?  The answer lies in LETTING THE COUNCIL MEMBERS KNOW THAT WE WANT TO SEE CHANGE AND THAT WE VOTE.  Here is an example of something that happened during the council’s last budget planning session.  There were a token number of attendees from MFPA and other San Jose park advocates.  However, one group that wanted a budget addition of $183,000 for their cause showed up in force.  They had Tee Shirts that identified them and they took the opportunity to make their two-minute pitches to the council.   The end result was that they got their $183,000 addition.  And by the way, their addition came out of the Park’s budget.

That action was effective but it’s only one way to get the council member’s attention.  Here are some suggestions that all of us could take to make our concerns known:

  • Send hard copy letters to our council member and to the other city council members expressing your concerns.  The letters are even more effective if they are signed by multiple residents.  If there is a pending discussion of parks or park budgets send the letters to the City Clerk as well.
  • Hard copy letters are the most effective but e-mails will also work.
  • Attend the neighborhood budget planning sessions.
  • Attend the pertinent council sessions and be vocal.  All attendees are allowed two minutes to make their points to the council.  You can include PowerPoint presentations if you like.  The atmosphere is not overwhelming and the Mayor and Council members will listen to what you have to say.  The more attendees who speak on the same subject the more effective the message will be.
  • Continue to support MFPA as membership numbers count.
  • Pay attention to MFPA requests for support when they are posted on the web site and/or sent via e-mail.   We will alert you to the important issues.
  • And please consider joining San Jose Park Advocates.  There is no membership fee but you will get timely and insightful information about overall San Jose park issues.  The website is: www.sjparksadvocates.org   Click on “Contact” to add your information.

Remember there is strength in numbers!

Richard Grialou, MFPA Political/Agency Liaison Chair

You Make the Difference!

Thank you all for your park advocacy!  Our members called and emailed city council members and attended  budget meetings to bring city awareness to the desperate need for increased maintenance in our older neighborhood parks.  Your message was heard.  The new parks budget contains nine newly funded maintenance positions city-wide.  This is the first increase in maintenance personnel since 2008!

Our membership now includes 165 family and single memberships, with a total of 353 actual members.  You have allowed MFPA to play a major role in advocating a turn around of the City’s attitude toward parks.  Park maintenance finally was addressed in council meetings and budget talks. We look forward to seeing a gradual improvement in the care of our parks.

 

A big “Thank You to MFPA members, Chuck and Gail Haywood,

 

who have made a generous contribution to the Martin-Fontana Parks Association with the intent that a special fund be established to restore a section of the grass area in Fontana Park making it usable by all park goers.  New water piping, removal of gophers, and new grass seeding would all be part of a long-range plan.

The Haywoods stated in their letter that they remembered a time when kids played on the grass, dogs romped, and couples would sit under the trees or families would picnic.  Our parks can be all this again if we share that dream of how it once was and work to make it a reality.

 

 

If you would like to become a contributor to this effort, please send your contribution to  our new address: 

Martin-Fontana Parks Association,
6081 Meridian Ave., Suite 70 #246,
San Jose, CA 95120.

 

Notes from Martin-Fontana Parks Association President, Rod Carpenter

These last few months have been a very busy time for your Parks Board of Directors.  We have been holding meetings with the City Park’s personnel seeking a letter of understanding as to what our relationship is in keeping our parks the way we would all like to see them.  It is our hope we can share a positive outcome with all of you by the time our next newsletter comes out.

The Board of Directors has purchased a Gopher X machine to help eliminate the infestation of gophers within our parks.  This will supplement the efforts of the Parks Recreation and Neighborhood Services Dept. in the months to come. It is our goal to eliminate the many holes that riddle our grassy areas and make it impossible to walk on.  Training will be given by the City’s PRNS Department and if you would like to be trained and want to volunteer your time in this effort, please let us know.

 

Robert Braunstein, a member of our Board of Directors, has produced a 30 second video spot which features the efforts of the Martin-Fontana Parks Association.  If you haven’t already seen it, just click on the video below and let us know what you think of it.

 

Thank you to our member negotiating team dealing with PG&E, led by Dick Stevens and Richard Zahner, in bringing to a conclusion another successful outcome in saving and preserving the life of the trees in our parks.  Also a thank you to PG&E for hearing our concerns and eliminating only those trees that were of necessity.

I am pleased to announce that our Board of Directors will be honoring its many volunteers on Saturday, September 16th.  Invitations will be mailed in August.  Volunteers are the life-blood of our organization and we look forward to saying “thank you” to these very special people.

Rod Carpenter

 

One dying Oak tree removed & others trimmed

Here are photos of the dying Blue Oak near the dog park being removed and others being trimmed (see previous posting)

The Blue Oak was likely impacted by the drought and had succumbed to a bark beetle infestation.

What is the Martin-Fontana Parks Association about?

The Martin-Fontana Parks Association has been established to raise and provide funds to preserve and enhance the beauty of TJ Martin and Jeffrey Fontana parks with the City of San Jose.  We do so in a manner that’s compatible with the delivery of safe and reliable power under the transmission lines in the parks. We are dedicated to the preservation and enhancement these two parks. These parks, with their beautiful native Oak trees, are in Almaden Valley, San Jose, California. Any funds generated are specifically used for pruning and enhancing the vegetation in them.  Won’t you please join us in achieving these goals by becoming a member?

Please watch the video below to see what our beautiful parks look like.

Martin-Fontana Parks Association’s Negotiating Team Saves Our Trees – Again!

Your Martin-Fontana Parks Association has completed the annual negotiations with PG&E to protect our trees. We have successfully protected a large shade tree PG&E had planned to remove.

Tree #11 at the corner of Golden Oak Way and Knoll Park Ct. in Jeffrey Fontana Park

Dick Stevens, Greg Caillet, Mike Kalashian, Vince Piazzisi, Sunny Wagstaff and Rich Zahner comprised the MFPA Negotiating Team (NT) that negotiated the 2017 vegetation management plan with PG&E. Scott Carlton of PG&E met with the NT to present PG&E’s 2017 tree removal and trimming plan in late May.

The PG&E plan was not dramatic in scope. The plan was to clear small vegetation around the transmission towers, removal of small volunteers that would eventually interfere with the power lines, trim Tree #13 (photo below)

Tree 13 at Golden Oak Way & Castello Dr. in Jeffrey Fontana Park

and removal of a healthy tree (Tree #11) under the lines in Jeffery Fontana Park at the corner of Golden Oak Way and Knoll Park Ct. Scott walked the park with us as we inspected each area, tree and bush that he recommended be trimmed or removed. He provided some data on wire and tree heights to support his recommendations.

The Team reviewed his plan and did some measurements and reviewed history of each tree to verify the accuracy of the PG&E plan. Vince repeated the wire and tree height measurements to verify the clearances claimed by PG&E and Sunny provided pictures of Tree #13 and #11 from previous negotiation sessions. Our conclusions were that the clearing of small brush and volunteers is appropriate, the trimming of Tree #13 is needed, but the removal of Tree #11 was not justified.

The dead Blue Oak tree just to the west of the Dog Park

In addition Mike suggested we add to the PG&E work plan the removal of an apparently dead large Blue Oak tree just to the west of the Dog Park and adjacent to the walking path. MFPA had an arborist from Bartlett Tree Experts inspect the tree and he confirmed that it will not survive and will become a hazard.

On June 6th Dick Stevens submitted a counter proposal to PG&E agreeing to the four actions on removal of volunteers and trimming of Tree #13 but requesting trimming of Tree #11 instead of removal. He also included the request that PG&E remove the Blue Oak.  On June 20th Scott accepted our plan as presented and notified us that PG&E’s contractor will do the work around July 10th. All the work will be paid for by PG&E.

Our next step is to have the members of the NT witness the work and confirm it is done in accordance with the approved plan as submitted by MFPA.

The Board of Directors thanks Dick Stevens for taking the initiative on this year negotiations and the association members who contributed to the effort.

Thanks to them, they achieved our mission of protecting trees in

TJ Martin & Jeffrey Fontana Parks.