Friends of Santa Teresa Park Meeting, 11/2/17


    • Attendees: Mike Boulland, Kitty Monahan, Greg & Roxanne Koopman, Ron Horii, Kim Gardner, Woody Collins, Larry Serda 
    • We spent a lot of time discussing the situation at the Muriel Wright Center, which is being converted into a treatment center for non-violent individuals with mental illness and/or substance abuse disorders. Ron & Mike have been reviewing a Q&A about it that Mike Wasserman's Chief of Staff John Gibbs has been drafting. This is the latest version, which Mike Wasserman has been sending out to people who inquire about the MWC. We looked at that in detail. Community member Issa Ajlouny, who first brought up the issue about the MWC on Next Door, has also been reviewing the Q&A and had comments and questions about. He wanted to know if we agreed with his comments. We reviewed his concerns as well. Here are issues we discussed:
      • The sheriff's station at the MWC is not a ranger station. The rangers don't use it as such. Can it become a ranger station?
      • We think it's very important to maintain the sheriff's station at the MWC, but what happens when they are all out on patrol? We suggest that there always be a staff member from the sheriff's department there, if not a deputy, then someone similar to San Jose's Community Service Officers. We need to see more clarification about the role of the sheriff's station. Mike Wasserman has talked to the County Executive and County Sheriff about wanting to keep the MWC sheriff's station, since they are the ones who would make that decision.
      • Issa asked about what to do if residents of the center escape. (They are not prisoners. They have served their sentences, but must complete treatment as a condition of their release.) It's not a locked facility. State law prohibits locking it, probably for fire safety reasons. Does that means just the buildings are unlocked? What about the fencing around it? What kind of fencing will it be?Will the gates be locked? Will the neighbors be able to tell if residents escape prematurely? Will they be wearing uniforms? Will they have ankle barcelet monitors (highly unlikely)? 
      • All the residents will be non-violent offenders. Will that include sex offenders, and what kind of offenses would that include?
      • What happens to the residents after they are released? What if they are homeless or have nowhere to go? 
      • Issa recommended that the Q&A become an official document, approved by the BOS, and any changes to it would need to  be reviewed by the community and approved by the BOS. We didn't know if that would be practical or how the BOS would react to that, but we agreed with the intent of keeping the community informed and not have unpleasant surprises. The Q&A does address the feedback process.
    • Treasurer's report: the current balance is $1518.15. There are $1342.07 in outstanding checks, leaving a net of $176.08. Reimbursements were delayed to maintain a minimum cash balance in the bank ($200 required). We will be getting $2380 for the Beautify San Jose (formerly CAP) Grant. We signed the MOU for the grant and will be getting a check from the city. Mike is donating $100 for insurance (see next):
    • Mike bought UNSCC insurance in FOSTP's name for walks he is leading in Santa Teresa Park and New Almaden. He paid for it himself. It's separate from our event insurance, which is paid for by the CAP Grant. Mike used it for a ghost tour in New Almaden last week and got $75 in contributions from the participants, which helped pay for it. He can use it for future walks in Santa Teresa.
    • Curie Drive widening: John Gibbs said that the County is working on putting in an unpaved trail along Curie Drive and moving the fence, so that the road by the Pyzak and Bonetti Ranch will be similar to the stretch along the Bear Tree Lot, which means a wide dirt shoulder. They have $300K for the project. The County can't pave the road and dedicate it to the city due to state laws preventing that. The city would have to do a land swap. If they leave a large unpaved shoulder, what if people park along it? That will narrow the road too. They need to make that a no-parking zone. We need to see the plans.
    • Early in October, the Santa Teresa Spring pond started to drop. While the spring was still flowing, the concrete cistern below it was very low and no longer overflowing into the pond, causing the level of the pond to drop. The cistern collects water from the spring. The water is piped to the Pyzak Ranch and was previously used for irrigation there, but is no longer used for that purpose. Park Maintenance found there was a leak at the Pyzak Ranch. They stopped the leak, and the cistern began filling up again and resumed overflowing into the pond. The pond began to fill up again, and is now overflowing into the storm drain, as usual.
    • Ron showed pictures: construction at the Muriel Wright Center, graffiti'd signs at the Bernal Ranch (some were cleaned up), conditions of the Norred Trail, the Johnson House at the Norred Ranch (including the monkey puzzle tree next to it), Curie Drive by the Pyzak Ranch, Micro Monster Night, graffiti on fence posts along the Hidden Springs Trail, a long pipeline leading to a cattle trough below Coyote Peak, cattle grazing, a makeshift shrine with a statue of Mary on Coyote Peak, our Coyote Peak sign (still clean), a broken fence behind the sign, and Santa Teresa Spring.
    • Woody has been ripping out invasive plants around the park. He's been pulling stinkwort (dittrichia graveolens), which is an invasive non-native weed. He's been cutting down harding grass (phalaris aquatica) from the Pueblo Area. It's been coming out of the wetland.
    • Greg said the trash cans on Coyote Peak need lids. The trash keeps blowing out of them. The lids need to be secured to the cans so they don't blow away or get used as frisbees. Greg picked up trash around the peak, including picking a traffic cone that was thrown down the hill. It originally covered a sharp broken fence pole. 
    • Greg also cleaned up trash around the old microwave relay station at the start of the Rocky Ridge Trail. The station was abandoned and removed a few years ago, but the removal was not authorized by the station's owners. (It may have been done by the County because it was becoming a public nuisance.) There's nothing left but a concrete pad. Greg was wondering about the power poles that were still there along the road leading to the station and if they could be removed. 
    • John Dorrance said that Sunset 4H will be helping to maintain the garden boxes at the Bernal Ranch, but they could use help with 2 of the boxes. Greg and Roxanne called John and offered to help. John will be calling them back. Kim said she could also help.
    • Our December 7 meeting will be a potluck dinner at Mike Boulland's house, starting at 6:00.
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       Created 11/3/17  by Ronald Horii, secretary of the Friends of Santa Teresa Park