Posts Tagged ‘Pacific Gas and Electric Company’

A updated video of the Five Island Project by Patrick Pizzo

These Islands were created by the Martin-Fontana Parks Association (MFPA) to provide alternative landscape features using California Native plants. The five berms, or islands, are situated between Heritage Coast Live Oaks and were finalized in January of 2018.  They are in Jeffrey Fontana Park just across the street from 1278 Oakglen Way in San Jose.

We are eight years old!

Here’s Valli Sharpe-Geisler with a letter from the California Secretary of State office indicating that we were  officially approved as a Non-Profit Corporation as of 10 August 2010!

If you were wondering what were some of the things we were doing back in 2010, here’s a tree rally we held for TJ Martin & Jeffrey Fontana Parks.  Here’s the video .


We were also out protesting in front of PG&E Headquarters in San Jose and during PG&E’s removal of 13 trees.









Have you been to the Islands yet?

Well you don’t have to go far.  Just drop by Jeffrey Fontana Park at the corner of Meridian Avenue and Oakglen Way and you will see our beautiful 5 Islands display of native plants.  Stroll around the Islands, find a plant you like, check the name on the plant ID signs, head to your nursery, and add one to your yard.  Mother Nature will thank you.

Almaden Valley Nursery has a wonderful island displaying some of the plants they have available for sale.

Check out East Bay Wilds‘ Island:

Then there’s DGDG‘s Island:

And don’t forget PG&E‘s Island:

And last but not least, is the Presidents’ Island, so named for the past MFPA Presidents who we want to thank for their generous donations to make this island possible:

In fact we want to thank all these generous organizations for their contributions of either Plants or Monetary donations.  We couldn’t do it without you.


Come on out.  The Islands await you.


Dozens of trees going to be planted in TJ Martin & Jeffrey Fontana parks

Our City Forest demonstrates how it’s done

The following is a San Jose Mercury News article by | | Bay Area News Group on

“The trees will replace those removed earlier this year under Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s gas pipeline safety program.”

“Workers from Our City Forest and the Martin-Fontana Parks Association will provide the new trees during two planting parties at the parks, one on Dec. 16 and the other on Jan. 6. Another couple dozen trees will be planted in the Shadow Brook neighborhood by the local neighborhood association with help from Our City Forest on Dec. 2, according to Councilman Johnny Khamis.”

To read the rest of the story go to Tree Planting.

According to Martin-Fontana Parks Association Director, Richard Zahner, the City’s Parks, Recreation, & Neighborhood Services has committed to provide the water needed to establish the 55 trees. Our City Forest has committed to watering the trees and providing care such as trimming and shaping to assure their survival through the first three years. At that time the trees should be established and should require no more than the routine care provided by PRNS.   In practice the first year will the most demanding, requiring 15 gallons per week.

‘Tree Gator’, a type of plastic water bag

A ‘Tree Gator’, a type of plastic water bag, may be used to control and concentrate the water where it is most beneficial. Watering will be incrementally reduced over the second and third years to promote healthy roots and sustainable growth.

Richard also serves as the Park Planning and Improvement Chairperson for MFPA.


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.

Trees Trimmed

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Here are pictures of some of the trees trimmed at Oakglen Way from Meridian to Burchell. Thirty eight trees were trimmed. The trimming was done for health, safety and appearance.  In addition,  a lot of the trees will now be safer from PG&E as their clearances from the high voltage lines were substantially increased.
The City paid for the work and thanks to Peggy Rudd of Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services (PRNS) who was instrumental in making this happen.

What’s the sag? Pizzo has the answers!

City of San Jose Park naming system - Copy

Folks- Back in 2010, when residents and park users questioned PG&E’s need to remove trees from the T.J. Martin and J. Fontana Parks, Martin-Fontana Parks Association formed. One of our early purchases was a laser-range finder equal to that used by the PG&E Contractor for measuring cable heights, tree heights and clearances. Obtaining this device was invaluable! We were able to confirm/question measurements used by PG&E to justify their safety concerns for this power corridor. I want to share with you a set of data, taken over the last month or so, showing the heights of those power cables, the ones that traverse the lengths of our two parks.

  (Click here for a chart of the data)

The data are the height, in feet, from the ground to the cable, at the lowest point of sag, midway between the towers. You may know that we have 6 spans (tower-to-tower) in our two parks. Using a laser range-finder we have measured the height from ground to the cable ONLY for the lowest of the three-stacked, vertical cables on each arm of the tower; and only to measure the height of one pair of cables (the southernmost ones) on each tower. There are three-towers at each span; and six transmission lines per arm, and two sets of three-high, vertically stacked lines.

Just so you know, the ground is uneven, with elevations and depressions existing throughout the park. But, we always made the measurements from the same point. The towers are of different heights also. That is why the height measurements must be made from the same location each time and this is reflected in the data.

The measurements do have error, even though this is a laser range-finder. I would guess that any one reading has an error of plus or minus 1-foot.  They were taken on different days, at different times; and the day-time temperatures varied accordingly. The temperature range was, maybe, from 77 to 101 degrees Fahrenheit.

So now, look at the data, for one span, for a given line, and for the various days, times and temperatures. How much variation do you see? Remember, the line sag will depend on how much power is being consumed and the ambient temperature. I would say that ambient temperature is really not a big factor! We will continue to monitor things during the winter and will have some lower temperature data come December/January.

These data seriously question the need to have trees no more than 17 foot at maturity. It would be interesting to calculate which has the greater likelihood: a 17 foot tree jumping up out of the ground and giving a high-five to the 230 KV transmission cable, or the cable sagging down to touch the top of the tree! MFPA is looking in to this calculation!

😉 Pat Pizzo   lightning_storm_2

PG&E gets OK to cut pines

County Code Enforcement has given PG&E  permission to remove five “hazardous” Monterey pine trees in Cambria as part of the utility’s periodic “reliability program” of trimming and removing vegetation that could interrupt electrical service and pose a hazard to people and property.

Read more here:  PG&E gets OK to cut pines | The Cambrian |