Tag Archives: Morgan Hill

Free, Easy COVID-19 Testing in Santa Clara County!

Residents in Santa Clara County can now get free and easy COVID-19 testing in their neighborhoods.  The county just launched six new and expanded drive-through and pop-up locations at community centers, parking lots, and county health system in Milpitas, Morgan Hill, Mountain View and San Jose.

People get who get tested at these sites pay nothing for the test.

“It’s fast, free and you don’t need insurance,” said Cindy Chavez, President of the Board of Supervisors, urging residents to advantage of the opportunity to get tested in their neighborhood.

“The County is bringing testing capacity to where it’s needed.”

The locations were chosen based on data showing a higher rate of recent cases in these areas compared to nearby areas. By adding six new locations, the county now has at least 46 sites offering COVID-19 viral detection testing.

Frontline Workers  Need Monthly Testing
The county recommends that essential workers (grocery store clerks, food delivery workers, retail associates, first responders, and other frontline workers), who regularly interact with the public to get tested at least once a month going forward, even if they have no symptoms at all. Testing can identify the infection before a person feels unwell or before they spread it to another person with potentially deadly consequences.

“I encourage everyone to protect themselves and their family by scheduling a test at one of our test sites throughout Santa Clara County,” said County Supervisor Joe Simitian. The tests offered are viral detection tests, which diagnose a person who currently has the infection.

Mobile testing services will be available at Rengstorff Park in the City of Mountain View. “We need everyone – including cities, the County, and private healthcare providers and labs,’ noted Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga, “to do their part to help us get through this crisis.”

WALK-UP TESTING SCHEDULE
Walk-up testing at outdoor “pop-up” sites will be available available without an appointment, insurance or doctor’s note, at Mountain View (May 25 & May 27 and in San Jose (May 29).

Monday, May 25, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Rengstorff Park Pool Area, 201 S Rengstorff Ave., Mountain View, CA 94040

Wednesday, May 27, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Rengstorff Park Pool Area, 201 S Rengstorff Ave., Mountain View, CA 94040

Friday, May 29, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
La Placita Tropicana Shopping Center parking lot, 1630 Story Rd, San Jose, CA 95122

DRIVE THRU TESTING SITES 
Drive-thru testing will be available 7 days a week at four county health system locations in Milpitas, Morgan Hill and San Jose. These require appointments which can be made online at sccfreetest.org or by calling 888-334-1000.

  • 1325 East Calaveras Blvd., Milpitas, CA 95035 (location subject to change)
  • 18550 De Paul Dr., Morgan Hill, CA 95037
  • 777 E Santa Clara Street, San Jose, CA 95112
  • 1993 McKee Road, San Jose, CA 95116

For more information on testing go to www.sccgov.org/sites/covid19/Pages/covid19-testing-learn-more.aspx#types.

For information on test sites call 211 or go to sccfreetest.org. The site is available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese and Tagalog.

 

 

San Jose Makes Plans for Coyote Valley

Under the watchful eyes of dozens of community activists who hours earlier had rallied outside on the plaza, San Jose’s City Council held a study session Jan. 22 to discuss plans for Coyote Valley.

The valley is a 7,400-acre swath of farms and undeveloped land extending south from San Jose to Morgan Hill, between the Santa Cruz Mountains on the west and the Diablo Range to the east.

By an overwhelming margin 71%  voters in November endorsed Measure T, which authorized the city to float $650 million in bonds for infrastructure improvements throughout San Jose, including up to $50 million to buy land in Coyote Valley for conservation purposes.

Among the expected benefits are natural flood mitigation, enhanced groundwater protection and wildlife habitat and open space for recreational purposes.

The city must now decide how to spend the bond money. Besides Coyote Valley, the city is looking at what to prioritize with the other $600 million of bond money, intended to be spent fixing roads and bridges and upgrading fire stations and emergency operations.

But the Jan. 22 study session was all about how to proceed in Coyote Valley. And although the voting public spoke clearly in its 71% support of Measure T, developers and Coyote Valley property owners are holding out hopes of making more money by building there. The city could opt to spend less than the $50 million voters authorized, or look for options that would still allow some Coyote Valley development. But, Greenbelt Alliance program director Brian Schmidt told Ethnic Media Services, doing so would “not be following the spirit of the measure.”

Over the course of four and a half hours, the City Council heard presentations organized into three categories: “Land Use Planning,” “Environmental Perspective” and “Development Perspective.” Then, for 45 minutes, the public was allowed a chance to address the council, in one-minute increments per speaker.

Opening the land use planning portion of the discussions, Chris Burton, deputy director of the city’s Office of Economic Development, reminded the council that Coyote Valley development had long factored into the city’s planning as an “employment lands growth area.” As such, it has been expected to deliver tens of thousands of jobs, primarily from an industrialized northern sector of the valley. San Jose land with that designation is in relatively short supply and job opportunities are limited for those without higher education degrees.

The environmental panel emphasized the hope of creating a wildlife corridor so animals can range freely between the mountain ranges. By restoring the valley’s Laguna Seca wetlands and taking full advantage of unpaved ground’s ability to absorb rainfall, the city will be protecting and replenishing the aquifer, they argued, safeguarding the source of a third of the city’s drinking water. Doing so would also help prevent catastrophic flooding such as the city experienced in December 2017 ꟷ and is continuing to remediate, at a cost surpassing $100 million. They also emphasized the value of protecting a natural habitat for people’s recreational use and reminded the council that aesthetic values also can provide economic benefits.

Burton also led the development presentation, with representatives of real estate developer Scannell Corp, real estate investment firm Jones, Lang LaSalle, and Kate Sofis, of SFMake and Manufacture: San Jose.

Collectively, they argued that Coyote Valley represents the city’s best opportunity to attract businesses that can’t afford downtown rents and would otherwise find Newark, Fremont, Tracy or Livermore more attractive options.

In the question-and-answer period that followed, Mayor Sam Liccardo asked them about the added cost developers face due to the state’s VMT  vehicle miles traveled assessment. The VMT factor is a product of the state legislature’s SB 743 from 2013, which San Jose chose to implement in 2018. It will apply statewide by July 2020, part of the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse gases, it imposes a fee on new projects based on their anticipated traffic impacts.

A 200,000- to 500,000-square-foot facility, employing 1,000-1,200 workers, would incur about $17 million in transit fees, the Scannell Corporation representative calculated.

“No matter how much they want to be near San Jose, they’re going to move to Tracy or Livermore,” he said.

“The state (California) may have just decided this for us,” Liccardo replied.

District 10 council rep Johnny Khamis asked how much flooding might be prevented by preserving the open space, and had some pointed questions about the effect of surrendering possible job creation by declining to industrialize Coyote Valley.

An unofficial appraisal of the privately held Coyote Valley lands is about $130 million. The Peninsula Open Space Trust has pledged to pony up what the city cannot and already begun the process.

Other possible sources of funding include FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) and the Army Corps of Engineers, which support flood mitigation efforts.

Dozens of people filled out public comment cards for the opportunity to voice their opinions at the conclusion of the session. Some called for “a balanced approach.” Others bemoaned a “short-term pursuit of tax revenue,” saying “the jobs are not going to be coming full force” because changes in technology, for example, are likely to alter the economic landscape.

Others emphasized the special qualities of the land in its natural state. “This is unique, irreplaceable and also a flood plain,” one said. “Coyote Valley is doing its actual, natural job. Just protect the land and stick with the voters.”

The next City Council meeting, on Feb. 12, will feature more comprehensive discussions about Measure T.  Three council members were absent for the Coyote Valley study session: District 4’s Lan Diep, District 5’s Magdalena Carrasco and District 8’s Sylvia Arenas.

The worst possible outcome, Schmidt told Ethnic Media Services, would be if proposed warehouse development were approved. Such spaces, which provide only a few jobs, would avoid the disincentive posed by the VMT assessment but have an outsized environmental effect by paving over the natural sponge that open land provides.

Some Libraries Offer U.S. Passport Services

Just in time for summer vacation planning, the Santa Clara County Library District (SCCLD) is adding passport services to the long list of reasons
to visit the library. Starting April 2 at the Milpitas Library and April 3 at the Cupertino Library, new passport acceptance facility offices will be open to the public during specified hours. Pre-book an appointment now at www.sccl.org/passport

“Our libraries provide high value to the community,” stated County Supervisor and library Joint Powers
Authority board member, Joe Simitian. “Bringing passport services to the Cupertino and Milpitas
libraries is just another example of how we are always focused on providing important and relevant
services to our residents.”

The new Passport Acceptance Facilities will assist patrons to obtain first-time passports for adults and
children, renewals for passports issued before the applicant was 16 years of age, renewals for expired
passports issued more than 15 years ago, replacements for lost, stolen, or damaged passports, and
provide passport photo services. An SCCLD library card is not required for the passport services,
although one is recommended to utilize all of the travel-related information available from the library.

“Customer service is a cornerstone of the Library District,” according to County Supervisor and
Chairman of the library Joint Powers Authority Board, Mike Wasserman. “There are few places that
offer a welcoming space, resources for lifelong learning, and extended open hours. Planning your travel
and applying for a passport at the library is a natural fit. I’m very happy to bring this level of customer
service to our residents.”

To book an appointment, go to www.sccl.org/passport and select a time and location. Cupertino’s
service will be offered Tuesdays and Thursdays between 1-7 pm and Wednesdays, Fridays and
Saturdays from 11 am to 4 pm. Milpitas’s service will be available Mondays and Wednesdays 1-7 pm
and Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 am to 4 pm.

Once submitted, passport applications typically take between four to six weeks to be processed, with the
option of paying a $60 expedite fee to cut that time down by two weeks. Passports will be mailed
directly to the applicant by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs.
SCCLD has many free resources on travel, cultures, international food, and Rosetta Stone to learn
another language. For a sample of SCCLD’s digital and hard copy tour guides: