Archive for June, 2017

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.

Planting Milkweed Saves Monarch Butterflies

Contact me at: for free plants!!

Vegetation Management Plan for Guadalupe Oak Grove Park?


Patrick Pizzo, one of Martin-Fontana Parks Association’s project managers, proposes timed grazing for GOGP:

A method suggested in the Vegetation Management Plan for Guadalupe Oak Grove Park.  Grazing may be done via goats, sheep, or cattle; and the timing part deals with the ideal time to remove European introduced grasses and weeds, promoting the return of CA native grasses and wildflowers, which once were common in our park.  This improves the wildlife habitat for the birds, animals and insects.  Since the park is enclosed by fencing, all that would be required to exercise this option is to bring in the domestic animals and provide them with water (a plastic tot-swimming pool or bathtub).  These three photos taken in the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge, illustrate the benefit of timed grazing. You are looking out at Vernal pools in the Spring, about mid-March.  An area has been cyclone-fenced to provide a ‘control’.  In this area, the Cattle cannot graze.  What you see is the effectiveness of grazing in removing the European grasses and weeds which fill the fenced-in area and providing room for the native plant seed base to do its thing.  The yellow flowering plants outside the cage are native wildflowers common to Vernal Pools, as are the other ground-plants you see in the photos.  You can imagine the difference in fire-load and, considering the events of last week (a fire in the northern portion of the GOGP), one can see the benefit from timed grazing.

Guadalupe Oak Grove Park fire

When asked in an email about the afternoon fire in GOGP on June 12th , Roger Hurtado, a Workers Compensation Analyst for the San Jose Fire Department, replied that it was a controlled burn.  However, according to Michele Dexter, the Council Liaison for the Office of District 10 Councilmember Johnny Khamis, reported that it was not a controlled burn, but a fire started by a tipped over BBQ being used illegally in the park.  The perpetrators fled the scene, so it is not known who started it.  Thankfully, the SJFD got there as quick as possible, and got the fire  controlled or who knows how far and wide it would have spread.

Sadly, Lee Pauser, who has a web site called Birdsfly, reported that there were 9 Bluebird nesting boxes in or adjacent to the burn area.  Five nestlings in a box on the edge of the burn area were found dead.  Five 2-day-old nestlings in another box deep in the burn area were weak, and or not expected to survive.  Not only were there birds nesting in the nest boxes, but the park has many natural cavities which are used for nesting purposes. There may also have been birds nesting on the ground, or in nests they have built in the trees.  The burn has blackened the hillside that harbors insects that the birds are so dependent on for feeding their young. This loss of local insects now means that they will have to extend their foraging range.

Park Visitors:

With an Excessive Heat Watch having been issued by the National Weather Service for Friday through Sunday across the Bay Area, please take care not to have this happen again.  With the huge mass of dead weeds in the park, yesterday’s event clearly illustrates the problem with the fire-load in the park and the fire department’s ability to deal with the situation. Access to roads, multiple entry points and such, made for a rapid response. Winds were active at the time of the fire, and we were all very fortunate. Thanks to the San Jose Fire Department’s quick response, good coordination, and proper training, they were able to put out the fire before it had spread any further.

Tired of looking at those UGLY concrete blocks in our Parks?

According to an article published by Julia Baum in the  June 16th. Cambrian Resident, artists are being sought to paint murals on park water vaults.  You can read her article at:

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A Budget Letter from San Jose Park Advocates








Here is a letter that Jean Dresden of San Jose Park Advocates is sending to the San Jose City Council regarding the 2017/2018 City Budget.  San Jose Parks Advocates offers these comments on the proposed operating and capital budgets for FY 2017G18:  City Council Budget letter