Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Earth Day planting of 18 trees and 7 Ceanothus Shrubs

This family is really getting into it!

I am sure many of you have already seen the results of the huge tree-planting effort by Martin-Fontana Parks Association and Our City Forest in Jeffrey Fontana Park.   Neighbors from all over the South Bay and OCF’s Tree Amigos, came to volunteer their time to plant 18 new trees and 7 shrubs.  This, combined with last month’s (March 31) planting of 16 trees in T.J. Martin and Jeffrey Fontana Park, will almost complete this Spring’s tree planting efforts.  One more effort, next week, on April 28th. The target this time is the garden area across from Glowing Court in T.J. Martin Park.   We will be planting some shrubs and 2 more trees.   We will meet at 9:00 AM at the Jeffrey Fontana Memorial Statue.  MFPA and San Jose Adopt-a-Park will welcome the largest work party ever seen in our parks to plant, spread mulch, clean out weedy areas, and make our parks sparkle!

Thirty six new trees in our two parks…. outstanding, yes?

When an organization does some outstanding work to improve the community, they need to be acknowledged.  The best way to acknowledge your support is to continue your membership and/or make a direct contribution to MFPA to continue these beneficial efforts.  You already know of the target $1,300 to put in a bench, in the shade, by Tree #13.  We are about half-way there.   Additionally, we plan to install an educational CA Native Plant garden in the western end of Jeffrey Fontana Park.  That will require funding.  So come on…. you may not have been able to swing a pick or to wheelbarrow mulch…. but you certainly can write that check!    It is effortless,  why not go to our donation link at the top right of our home page or you can mail it to us using this form and help support MFPA, because you certainly can see and enjoy the benefits it brings to the community!

Patrick P. Pizzo

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.


Officer Jeffrey Fontana Honored

In honor of Officer Jeffrey Fontana,   San Jose Police Officers placed a standing spray of flowers next to the park identification sign on McAbee.


It was 10 years ago today that Officer Jeffrey Fontana was killed.  The Jeffrey Fontana park was dedicated to him along with a memorial and plaque near the tot lot.  He was shot in the line of duty while patrolling the near by neighborhood on the 28th of October, 2001.

Check out our latest Newsletter, she is!

July Newsletter Quarter Two, 2011

A year ago, May 28th, 2010, we were protesting in front of PG&E

Last year’s demonstration

Do you remember us trying to find someone from PG&E who would accept our petition?  Do you remember the looks we got from people looking out of the PG&E Headquarters windows?  Remember going to Pizz’a Chicago

Pizza with the "Green Shirts"

afterwards for a group lunch where Dick Stevens went around the room seeking signatures for our petition?  Who were the three members that got lost trying to find the pizza place?  Remember Pier Maggiani trying to get a permit for us to demonstrate at the very last minute? What were your memories like?

Do you remember our very first Rally a year ago?

Here we were a year ago. The Rally had about 100 people in attendance, with several speakers inspiring people to save our Park Trees. CBS 5,  Almaden Times, & KLIV media were present.

PG&E removes and trims trees in both parks

On the 28th of February, PG&E fulfilled their agreement with our Association, by removing 7 trees and trimming others.  PG&E spokesperson, Kamran Rasheed said that the trees in the parks will be reevaluated next year.

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A year ago on Feb. 11th, 2010

Over a year ago PG&E informed the community that 140 trees would be removed from TJ Martin & Jeffrey Fontana Parks.  We were told it was because of possible power outages due to wire clearances from the trees.  At that meeting many of the residents were outraged by such short notice and by the unnecessary destruction of these healthy trees.  A total of 62 trees were scheduled to be removed from March 22nd to the 25th.

Go back and watch the video from ABC News, Residents fight PG&E to save trees near power lines.

Thanks to community involvement, park walk throughs, and the many meetings MFPA has had with PG&E, a total of only 13 trees have been removed since that first meeting on 11 Feb. 2010.  In addition, our “Heart of the Park”, Tree 13, was saved from the axe.

A Message from MFPA’s President, Linda Wilson

New officers for the Association were elected at the Jan. 22 General Membership meeting. With the new Board of Directors in place, we are ready to continue our work of protecting the trees in our parks through negotiations with PG&E. The negotiating process has been underway since December 2010, and continued, with the Negotiation Team meeting with PG&E on February 1st.  For 2011, approximately twenty trees are under review and discussion. Throughout this process, we remain committed to our guiding principle of “Trim, don’t Cut”.

In our discussions with PG&E we are striving to reach agreement on a long-term plan for the trees in the parks covering a three to five-year span, and establish criteria for tree removal that reflects the park’s unique “Community Use” status versus the open space zero tolerance stand developed by PG&E.

Other goals of this Board of Directors for 2011 include:

  • Efforts to protect the trees are our first priority.
  • Continuing to build membership. Our strength lies in our numbers as we talk with PG&E and the City of San Jose.
  • Producing a quarterly Newsletter beginning with a February edition.
  • Pursuing grant opportunities to fund enhancement and restoration efforts.
  • Continuing our efforts to protect Tree #13. We reached a one year agreement with PG&E to save the tree until August, 2011. We will work to make this a permanent agreement.
  • Developing a master plan for enhancing and beautifying our parks
  • Working with Councilmember Pyle’s District 10 office and City Park’s Department to further enhance our parks.

MFPA’s New Board

From left to right are:  the T J Martin Representative, Larry Sasscer, Vice President Mike Kalashian, Secretary Pat Wagstaff, President Linda Wilson;  Jeffrey Fontana Representative, Dick Stevens; Treasurer Bob Heldt, and Leslie Dornell,  At Large Representative.

At the General Membership Meeting of 22 Jan, Co-President, Dick Stevens presented a history of  how the Association was formed, beginning with the first trees cut by PG&E in TJ Martin Park on August 9, 2010. This was followed by the meetings, hosted by Councilmember Nancy Pyle, with PG&E and community in February and March. By May 18, a group in the community had organized and began efforts to call attention to PG&E’s planned removal of 140 trees.  In June, PG&E representatives met with Pier and Dick to begin discussions. On July 1, 13 trees were cut, temporarily sparing Tree #13.

By August 12, 2010, the Martin-Fontana Parks Association was formed with a pro-tem Board of Directors. The objective of the Association is to preserve and enhance the beauty of TJ Martin and Jeffrey Fontana Parks working with the City of San Jose and PG&E, in a manner compatible with the delivery of safe and reliable power.

Dick presented the Goals of the Organization for 2011 as follows:

  • Negotiations will continue with PG&E, with the goal of reaching a mutual agreement about PG&E actions in the parks for the next three to five year period.
  • Park vegetation enhancements will continue, including grant proposals for future plantings in all four park areas.
  • Work will continue with the City to have a grove of multi-trunked oak trees in Fontana West declared a Heritage Grove, thus providing some extra protection.
  • Strength in numbers is important when working with the City and PG&E. Membership drives  and fund raising efforts will expand the Association’s ability to be the community’s spokesman and achieve its objectives.

The new Board of Directors for 2011 are:

  • President Linda Wilson and Vice President Mike Kalashian, who replace Co-Presidents Dick Stevens & Pier Maggiani.
  • Treasurer Bob Heldt, replacing Valli Sharpe-Geisler who will now produce the newsletter.
  • Pat Wagstaff becomes the Secretary, replacing Linda Wilson.
  • Dick Stevens becomes the Villas/Fontana Rep, replacing Larry Hinman.
  • TJ Martin Rep, Tom Morse is replaced by Larry Sasscer.
  • The At-Large Rep position will be filled by Leslie Dornell, replacing Pat Wagstaff

Standing Committee Chairs are:

  • Public Relations/Community Liaison, Jean Lamarca.
  • AV/Website, Sunny Wagstaff
  • Membership, Edesa Bitbadal
  • Park Monitoring, Vince Piazzisi
  • Park Management, Pat Pizzo
  • Fundraising, the entire Board

Congratulations to all for a job well done and a special thanks to all the former board members for all their hard work this past year.

Out going former Co-Presidents, Dick Stevens & Pier Maggiani