He appeared at City Hall the other day. He came like an avenging developmental angel, spewing bile and insults in his wake. He referenced a Broadway play, “Wicked,” and said “no good deed goes unpunished.” He rocked ‘em and he socked ‘em in a singularly awesome performance. All in the room were transfixed.
Meet Carl Berg.
Although you may not have heard of him, he is one of the wealthiest men in our valley and America. He once owned a soccer team, often appears on the Forbes richest list and, now, he frequently turns up at City Hall. Unlike many other successful developers and entrepreneurs—the Sobratos leap to mind—he is becoming a major annoyance in our city. The Sobratos know how to give back; Berg just seems to want to take. He now lectures the San Jose City Council on their lapses in judgment and common development sense while he contributes liberally to the cottage industry of lobbyists and their fellow travelers in that community of shills and wannabes. Couldn’t he fund a library somewhere, or a theatre? Or just buy another sports team or purchase an island in the South Pacific and annoy the natives instead?
Berg keeps his own counsel.
At a Rules Committee meeting the other day, he blustered that over $10 million had been spent on a study to convert industrial land to homes—another sea of single story neighborhoods—and that he was now disgusted enough with the break in faith to want to reverse course and reconsider the options. How several thousand homes would help the cul de sac of Evergreen he did not speak to. He was shocked—shocked (!) at the bad faith.
Just who is Carl Berg?
More importantly, just who does he think he is?
His land in Evergreen was purchased as industrial to add to our tax base. Now he wants to add more homes and pay less taxes to city coffers—such a deal for a clueless council, he presumes. I guess the fact that our police response time is getting longer and longer, and that our pools can’t be opened in the summer doesn’t bother him much.
Wake up, Carl. You do not own the city and can’t buy it like the lobbyists whose services and laughter are so easily purchased. There is a new wind blowing now and the city is heading in the direction of common sense and good planning. It does not include the purchasing of favors, as Berg attempted to do in the mayor’s election with large donations to the Democratic Party—money that violated the spirit, if not the letter, of our campaign rules. For the record, Berg probably never voted for a Democrat in his life and probably feels that the party is akin to Lenin’s cohorts in their assault on Western capitalism; yet, they are able to be purchased like Hessians of old, to fight the battle for bad planning in the city—so, here’s a pile of money from Mr. Berg.
What a disgrace. What a shame. Oh, and by the way, who is Carl Berg anyway?