Monthly Archives: May 2024

Fremont Voted Happiest City

Fremont, CA, adjacent to Silicon Valley, has been voted the happiest city in America. It is a city with beautiful scenery and the ability to live and be a part of the community. 

In an interview with Fremont’s Mayor, Lily Mei, she mentions that she “wants to be a part of the solution rather than a part of the problems.” It is very clear that Mayor Mei is very dedicated to keeping the city that she represents happy and healthy, and frequently boasts about things she and her team have been able to accomplish throughout her term. 

Speaking of accomplishments, Fremont was recently recognized by the Department of Energy, also in the interview with Mei, she says, “We were just recognized by the Department of Energy as being the first so-smart platinum city in the United States.” Which means that Mei and her team were trying to get people to go solar, and “give people incentives through solar app plus.” 

For example, she expressed the importance of building a downtown event center in order to bring the community together. In the interview, Mei states, “Since it’s opened, we’ve had at least 180 rentals and about 800 events there, so things like that can bring the community together.” 

Lily Mei prides herself on the diversity within the community, she states that “We [Fremont] have one of the nation’s largest Asian community by percentage.” Fremont also hosts Indian Heritage events, as well events for other communities. 

Fremont has 64 parks, said Mayor Mei, as well as seven East Bay Regional Parks and Trails, and has built 500 units for senior living, with a bunch of activities for the seniors who live in Fremont, too. 

Mayor Mei takes immense pride in community events too. Speaking of which, the city of Fremont had it’s second annual Restaurant week, an event from March 22- March 30 catered to finding new diverse restaurants. Fremont will also be hosting bike month, as well as a July 4 parade. 

Mayor Mei said that it was “her second and final term as mayor,” and she is focused on education. Fremont currently holds the title as having the only School for the Blind in the state of California, and one of two Schools for the Deaf.

Lily Mei believes that the biggest part of a community is unity and that it is a great place to call home. Fremont is home to so much cultural diversity, religious or otherwise. Fremont is also working on affordability and cost of living.

Greg Rees vs. CLPCCD: Uncovering the Decades-Long Dispute

What initially started as a wrongful termination allegation has now spiraled into a
nearly two-decade-long discourse between Gregory Rees and the Chabot Las Positas
Community College District (CLPCCD).

Gregory Rees, former Chabot College Campus Security Officer, and his colleague,
Gregory Correa, former Chabot College Maintenance Technician, shared their experience through the ongoing conflict in an interview with The Spectator.

The offices of Vice Chancellor of Human Resources, Wyman Fong, and the
Chancellor of the District Ron Gerhard were contacted, however, they declined to comment as they are “unable to comment on personnel matters.” The district provided a 20-page partially redacted document from November of 2023, the latest public record available, in lieu of commenting.

While the document is redacted to protect Rees’ privacy, it addresses several
allegations made by Rees in regard to different CLPCCD Board of Trustees members.
Rees and Correa presented 25 documents detailing various incidents that are alleged to
have occurred involving both current and former Trustees and Chabot employees.

In addition to his role as Camus Security Officer, Rees also claims he acted as the
district’s internal affairs investigator at times. During our interview, he stated, “It was my
responsibility to make sure all of our local and district rules were obeyed and followed,
particularly when it came to accounting procedure and so on.”

In its public record, the district confirms Rees’ employment, stating, “Rees was hired as
a temporary short-term Security Officer in 1987, a position that was renewed annually until he was given a permanent position as Security Officer in 1992.”

The following paragraph was redacted, but the document goes on to state, “Rees was
reclassified as a Business Services Officer in 1995.”

Rees disputes this statement, claiming that he was approved as a full-time employee
before 1989. He also noted that he was on duty during the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989.

Two men standing together observing.
Photo provided by Greg Rees of him and Officer Jack Bishop on campus in 1989 inspecting damages from the earthquake

Another one of Rees’ claims is that he is owed three reimbursement checks in the
amount of $1400 each. He claims that two of these checks were in Wyman Fong’s
possession, and the third was in Ron Gerhard’s possession.

To receive these checks, Rees was allegedly presented with a 19-point document in
which he was to agree to all 19 conditions to receive these checks. This document was
claimed to have been presented to him by former interim Chancellor Susan Cota.

According to Rees, “When [Cota] had returned as interim chancellor, she apparently
drafted this 19-point document and then assigned brand new Vice Chancellor of Business Services at that time, Ron Gerhard, to present that document to me along with the check.”

He stated, “To receive that check, I had to acknowledge those 19 points,
initial each one, and then sign and date the bottom. One of the points that was made is that I had never been wrongfully terminated.”

Chancellor Ron Gerhard’s office responded to a request to comment on this claim
saying they were unable to comment on personnel matters.

The district provided a public record listing 23 allegations made by Rees. Allegations 7 through 10 address checks totaling $4,200 that Rees claims he was due.
These allegations date back to February 2009, which is well beyond any statute of

The document further addressed the allegations, stating, “[Rees and Correa] also
allege Penal Code violations that would have been within the jurisdiction of law enforcement authorities to address. [These allegations] do not concern issues within the Board’s authority.”

Though the district claims that Rees’ complaint is beyond the statute of limitations,
they neither confirmed nor denied the presentation of a 19-point document to Rees.

Another significant incident that Rees and Correa discussed was an alleged assault
by Chabot College Vice President of Administrative Services Dale Wagoner. Correa claims to be a witness to the alleged assault that happened on Dec. 6, 2006.

Rees alleges that during a conversation with MacGreagor Wright and Jack Bishop immediately outside of the former Campus Safety office, Wagoner came in and assaulted him. Unbeknownst to the two other alleged witnesses, Correa also witnessed the incident.

Correa stated in the interview that “l saw that event. I had heard there was something
going on. I heard [Wagoner], that’s what I first heard. And instead of going out and looking, the doors are right there, I just leaned back and looked.”

He continued to share, “I go, why is Greg being pinned? And [Wagoner] is over him,
and pushed him maybe six feet backward.”

Rees and Correa both claim that there was no formal investigation done by Chabot
or the district. However, Rees did end up filing a police report with Hayward Police

Before Rees filed a police report, Wright, who was serving as the Director of Campus
Safety at the time, according to Rees, declined to provide a witness statement. Unfortunately, Bishop, a retired and now deceased Campus Security Officer, declined to provide a witness statement as well.

When asked for comment on the situation, Wagoner stated, “Mr. Rees’s claims are
totally fallacious. Never touched him…the interaction where he claimed the assault was all
verbal, and voices were not raised, it was matter of fact dialogue, nothing more.”

The district’s response to these claims is, “Allegations 21 and 22 relate to an alleged
assault by a District manager [Wagoner] against Rees. This is a reference to an incident that occurred in December 2006. Rees’s assault allegation was investigated by the Hayward Police Department; the Alameda County District Attorney decided not to prosecute.”

The following few sentences were redacted, but the last sentence in the paragraph
states, “These allegations also do not concern issues within the Board’s authority.”

Another claim by Rees is that his wife, Sandi Perry-Rees, was sexually harassed. Rees claims that Perry-Rees had been called his “warmongering whore wife,” by Rees’
former supervisor, Vice President Farhad Javaharipour, of Chabot College Business

Rees claims that there was another witness during this incident as well who is unavailable to comment due to health concerns.

The district addressed this claim in the document, stating, “Allegation 18 relates to
alleged sexual harassment of Rees’s wife ‘years ago’ – again, beyond any relevant statute of limitation. They also do not concern issues within the Board’s authority.”

Rees and Correa have attended countless board meetings to address these
incidents and claim to possess substantial evidence in support of their several grievances.

A man named Greg Rees standing at a podium, addressing a group of people.
Screenshot of video from Public Comments during district meeting by Greg Rees
A man named Greg Correa standing at a podium, addressing a group of people.
Screenshot of video from Public Comments during district meeting by Greg Correa

Despite citing potential violations of specific board policies and federal laws, the board
maintains a firm position regarding its lack of authority in Rees’ and Correa’s claims.

Rees’ final statements in our interview were about his intentions with the district
moving forward. “Until an injustice has been properly satisfied and justice has been served, I’m not going anywhere. At some point in time, the district is going to have to honor my request.”

He continued to state, “I’m investigating everybody and anything that has to do with
me, mine, and so on. One way or another, this is going to get taken care of.”

Correa plans to call for a federal investigation. He also stated, “I’ll never leave [Rees’]
side, because [the district] knows that we’re right. They just can’t face the truth, and the truth will set you free, and I’m free.”

The district’s final statement in its provided document states, “For years, Rees and Mr. Correa have appeared at the Board’s monthly public meetings making appeals for justice that have been laced with accusations, finger-pointing, and occasional profanity. Rees’s right to Free Speech is unquestioned, but the efficacy of monthly, vituperative attacks on Trustees over stale claims those Trustees were not even involved in, and that the District had no opportunity to defend, is elusive.”

Rees responded to this statement by stating, “I have not used profanity in my Public
Comments other than to accurately describe incidents. It is also my First Amendment right. I took the time to conduct some research with CA School Board Trustee Associations. The bottom line is that per their legal counsel and court rulings, we can criticize any district employee or trustee. No matter how harsh that criticism is or described.“

As the outcome regarding Rees and Correa’s demands for justice is uncertain, it
appears that both sides are holding firm on their positions in this dispute.

Part-Time Teacher Health Benefits

Part time health care options for faculty will drastically improve next year. The District and the Faculty Association (FA) have signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)  that will extend to part time faculty, the very same benefits that are provided for full time faculty.

As of now, the District offers health benefits to those who don’t have access to coverage through another source, Kelsey Piaz, who is an adjunct instructor in Communication Studies, and the part-time representative on the Faculty Association at Chabot added, “the role of the Faculty Association is to discuss issues that directly concern the faculty within the Chabot-Las Positas District.”

These changes to health benefits will be effective in Fall 2024, which are the same benefits that are provided to full time faculty, as previously stated. These changes are more accurately described in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Both the MOU and Collective Bargaining Agreement are available on the District HR website.

Enrollment periods for part time faculty occur twice a year, as staff must re-enroll for benefits. To receive benefits, faculty must be eligible, which, according to the FA, means “that staff must work 40% or more over the past year, and affirm that they don’t have paid health care by another source.” The eligibility requirements will remain the same, except for a minor change involving the eligibility year, including the summer term for the July open enrollment period.

The memorandum of understanding, is a document that applies to the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District, as well as the Chabot-Las Positas Faculty Association (FA). In this document, eligibility criteria, medical plan, and enrollment, payments, multi-district part time Faculty, continuity of coverage for part time faculty, and continuing eligibility and cessation of eligibility are thoroughly evaluated, and discussed. The MOU was signed by David Fouquet, the FA President, and Ronald P. Gerhard, the Chancellor of the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District on December 12th, 2023.

Recognizing who made this possible, Chancellor Ron Gerhard, and Vice Chancellors Wyman Fong and Jonah Nicholas, all of whom acknowledge the importance and influence of implementing this new system for part time employees who need it.