Archive for December, 2011

2011: A Year of Accomplishments!


Thank you for supporting Martin-Fontana Parks Association as a member and with your sponsorships and donations.   We also thank all of you who had the time to come out and actively volunteer in our planting and clean-up projects this year.  We now have over 50 community members who have become Adopt-a-Park volunteers to work in our neighborhood park.

January 2011:  MFPA began negotiations with PG&E on their list of 26 trees slated for removal by the end of February.   We successfully narrowed the removal list to four mature trees and three saplings along the Villas fence line, for a total of 7 trees.  Others were trimmed or placed on a “watch” list for 2012 evaluation.

  • January 2011:  MFPA held its first General Membership meeting and elected its first Board of Directors for 2011-2012.
  • May 2011:  Using $1500 from PG&E funds for tree replacement, we planted 18 new 15 gallon trees in agreed upon areas of TJ Martin Park between Coleman and Meridian.  Our agreement with PG&E has stated that for every tree they remove, they will reimburse MFPA $75 for tree replacement or restoration of the area.
  • June 2011:  As part of the Lucky Shares Program, we distributed Share Cards in the community to Lucky shoppers.  To date, we have received nearly $500 from the use of these cards by our supporters.
  • July 2011:  The Restoration Committee completed a three to five-year Master Plan for restoration and enhancement projects in the parks.
  • August 2011:  “Heart of the Park II” raised $1700 from new memberships, member renewals and the raffle donations. Your membership does count as we work with the City and PG&E to preserve our trees and enhance our parks.
  • September 2011:  In June 2011 MFPA met with the City Arborist, asking that a grove of multi-trunked oaks in Jeffrey Fontana Park be proclaimed a “Heritage Grove” and placed on the City list of protected Heritage Trees.  The City Council voted to do so in September and MFPA will raise funds to place a permanent marker near the Grove.
  • October 2011:  Two restoration projects were completed in Jeffrey Fontana Parks.  The first was Island A, a native CA plant area designed to enhance the bare dirt area west of the dog park – an area under the power lines where we are restricted and cannot replace trees.  The second was planting CA native plants from the tot lot east to Golf Creek on the east side of McAbee.  Nearly $2500 of your donations was used to fund this effort.
  • November 2011:  Martin-Fontana Parks Association received a formal commendation from the San Jose City Council for our efforts to save our mature trees and enhance and restore areas most affected by PG&E tree removal.

2012:  A New Year of Challenges

 PG&E has already sent a crew out in the parks in early December to evaluate the trees for removal and/or trimming by the end of February.   Our negotiations team is preparing to meet with PG&E in the next two weeks to begin 2012 discussions with PG&E.  We will be actively working to promote trimming of all trees with no more removals.  We have already lost 16 trees in the parks over the year from disease and storm damage.

  • Join us on January 7:  The Board of Directors and Restoration Committee are hosting a “Community Walk Through” of TJ Martin and Jeffrey Fontana Parks.  We are looking at areas that need improvement and locations where trees may be planted to replace those removed by PG&E or lost to disease or storms.  We have heard from some park neighbors about projects they would like us to consider.  We want to hear from you, too!  Join us at 9:00 in TJ Martin Park between Weimar Ave. and Fleet Street.  We will walk eastward toward Meridian and note down your ideas of areas which need attention.  At 10:00 we will cross Meridian and walk Fontana Parks from Meridian to Almaden Expressway.  From this assessment and your comments, we will build a project list for 2012 to be prioritized and budgeted.
  • January 2012:  The second General Membership meeting will be held Saturday, January 21st at the Villas from 10:00 to 11:30.  All members are invited to attend to hear an update from the Negotiations Team, discuss projects to be considered in the parks for 2012, and elect four members to the Board of Directors.

            Current Board Members:

Larry Sasscer, Mike Kalashian, Pat Wagstaff, Linda Wilson, Dick Stevens, & Bob Heldt. (Not shown, Vince Piazzisi)

  •              Linda Wilson, President through 2012
  •             *Mike Kalashian, Vice President running for election for a 2 year term
  •              Bob Heldt, Treasurer through 2012
  •             *Pat Wagstaff, Secretary running for election for a 2 year term
  •             *Vince Piazzisi, Representative at large running for a 2 year term
  •              Larry Sasscer,  TJ Martin Representative through 2012
  •             *Dick Stevens, Fontana/Villas Representative running for a 2 year term

Nominations for the * terms are still open.  Any member who would like to become a member of the Board of Directors is invited to call Pier Maggianni at (408) 410-5166 to have your name added to the ballot.  Please do this before January 14, 2012.

Property Damage:  MFPA has heard from several park neighbors who are having an ongoing problem with property damage caused by ground squirrels and gophers.  These pests are migrating from the park into adjoining neighborhoods.  Three people in the TJ Martin Neighborhood area have suffered over $500 of landscape damage in their yards.  If you have also experienced problems, please contact Linda Wilson at  If we have a significant number of complaints, MFPA will arrange a community meeting with our City Council Member Nancy Pyle and the Parks Department to try to reach a resolution to the problem.


The 2011 Annual Report for this Blog

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,300 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Vehicle break in at Jeffery Fontana Park

We just got word this morning of someone breaking a car window and stealing a woman’s purse.  The lady was exercising with some Los Alamitos moms around 9:30 am this morning near the Jeffrey Fontana dog park and kid’s playground.  The missing purse is a medium light green one with a brown handle.  Please let us know if you saw anybody suspicious or if you manage to locate the purse.

Please be very cautious about leaving anything of value in your vehicle while out in the park.  Put your valuables in the trunk or cover or hide them from view.  This poor lady is now at home canceling all her credit cards and trying to figure out just what was in her purse and is now gone.

Tips on how to avoid car break-ins:

  •  Do not leave valuables in plain view:
    (GPS devices, lap tops, PDA’s, cell phones, MP3’s, wallets, purses)
  •  Do not leave windows or sunroof open.
  •  Do not leave doors unlocked.
  •  Do not leave keys in the vehicle.
  •  Do not leave the garage door opener in plain view.
  •  Do not leave out items with personal information.
  •  Do not move valuable items to the trunk while in public view.
  •  Slow Down and use common sense before you leave your car.

Enjoy the Holidays but be safe,

Martin-Fontana Parks Association


The Mulch Gang

Spending 2-3 hours with help from over 20 volunteers, we had the bugs on the run last Saturday the 3rd when we spread the mulch over the landscape.  Fueled with free pastries and a pot of coffee donated by the local Princeton Plaza Starbucks, we made what seemed like a hundred trips with the wheelbarrows.

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We are working on having another mulch spreading day on Saturday, January 28th.   We hope to see all you experienced volunteers back to spread the mulch from McAbee to Golf Creek.  Don’t worry, you will all have forgotten  how hard the work was by then.  Just remember all the great exercise you got and how you’ll need to get rid of all those extra pounds gained over the holidays.

Thanks so much for coming out and supported your community parks.

Also, thanks to Margie Heldt & Sunny Wagstaff for provided the photos.

Mulch & Bugs

The City of San Jose Dept. of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services (PRNS) have asked us to post the following explanation concerning the placing and then removal of mulch near Golf Creek:

A Fontana Park neighbor and resident reported swarms of insects in her backyard on Saturday, November 26th, 2011. Being concerned for her family and property she called the City for service.

A Parks Facility Supervisor reported to the scene. The Supervisor determined the insects identified as  Box Elder bugs (See picture at the right) were coming from large piles of mulch on Fontana Park. The mulch was placed at the park in conjunction with a work plan established by the Parks Department and the Martin-Fontana Park Association (MFPA). The mulch is being used to cover the skinned areas for weed reduction and erosion control efforts

With a quick response the City assembled a crew to haul away the mulch piles and ultimately remove the insect nuisance. This action was met with much dismay and many neighbors wanting to know what the reasoning was behind the mulch removal.

Current Status:

On Monday, Nov 28th, Park Facility Supervisor Don Zonic met on site with all the concerned parties including staff from Councilmember Pyle’s office. A coordinated effort was agreed to by all parties on spreading the chip and sharpening the focus on the project. Special attention was paid to the reporting party’s residence to eradicate the insects in the backyard and on the fence.

Mr. Zonic coordinated the arrival of the Bay Area Tree Service (BATS) who originally brought the mulch to the park. They returned with a loader to spread the remaining mulch which achieved the goal of the project, and removed the insect nuisance. All parties were satisfied with the immediate outcome.

Next Steps:

Staff will continue to work closely with (BATS) to ensure all mulch brought to the park is of good quality and is spread in a timely manner and not against adjoining private property.

Park staff will continue working closely with the MFPA on the re-vegetation project including planting and maintenance of native plants. The weed abatement efforts will continue to be a top priority using mulch and other non-toxic methods.