Rants and Raves

Welcome to everyone’s favorite free-for-all. What’s driving you crazy or making you happy this week?


  1. New York and the Hamptons. Boston and Martha’s Vineyard. L.A. and Palm Springs. S.F. and the Wine Country.

    An important part of every city’s Mental Map is the vacation and recreational areas nearby—those summer and holiday getaway spots that provide the cooler, usually simpler, outer margin of a community’s borders.

    We’re spending the weekend in Santa Cruz, and I was reminded once again last night of how this ecelctic beachside community is such a strange but effective doppleganger for San Jose and Silicon Valley. While the residential areas are sometimes a dead ringer for San Jose’s older neighborhoods (Victorians and bungalows), the laid back, non-high-tech crazed work environment is a welcome antidote. And perhaps more important for this blog: how well Sta Cruz works as a city: walkable, bikable, great downtown, tremendous parks (in the form of beaches) and—crucially—a spontaneous public experience. Whether it’s on beach, on the street, in the cafe’s, or at the free concerts, a hugely diverse range of people mix and mingle and play and flirt and get along without all the strange tensions we feel in old San Joe.

    I wonder what we think the reasons are. But in any case, Sta Cruz needs San Jose to make it work, and SJ is better for having such a wonderful getaway spot so close to home (and, I might add, easy to get to now that VTA/Amtrak have increased the frequency of the holy hwy 17 flyer—now with wi-fi!)

  2. My thanks to the people who cleaned up the area where Almaden Expressway crosses Curtner Avenue.  The weeds, litter and junk have all been removed, it’s clean as a whistle, at least for now.

  3. RGD,
    Great post!  I’d add the entire Monterey Bay region to SJ’s mental map: Capitola, Monterey/Cannery Row, and Carmel.  And speaking of Cannery Row, read this mornings Merc regarding Alviso and “flood control.”  I was totally shocked to learn that “steam ships” once called at Alviso…what happened to our waterfront?  Hopefully, the citizens of Alviso (San Jose) get their wish and our waterfront is brought back to life.  I can invision Cannery Row-style restaurants looking over the resurrected SJ Yacht Club; high-speed ferry service to the rest of the Bay would be nice to.

  4. #2—you forgot to mention that the Curtner offramp off Almaden Expressway has been closed to traffic for almost nine months, because some public employee idiot decided to tear up an repave it just at the BEGINNING of the rainy season.  So, work stopped for six months while the rains soaked the offramp which had been cleared of asphalt, making it a mudroad.  Does anyone have the name of the complete MORON who decided to start this work just before the rainy season????  Was it the City of San Jose, Caltrans…????  It has been dry for months, but they keep dicking around slowly to get it open again.  This is a PERFECT example of the complete ineptitude of far too many government employees. 

    I’d ask Mr. Roadshow, but he’s such a complete shill/apologist for the various road entities that I’d never get a straight answer from him.

  5. Richard #7,

    Funny thing is with gas prices as they are; the measure is pulling over 80%.

    Bart will be shoved up our A$$ whether we like it or not!

  6. Richard—do provide more details on new BART tax. It seems to me that, after failing to fund bart with the I think 2002 tax, the varioius bueracracies will just keep coming back and back with more stealth taxes until they hoodwink the public into throwing good money after bad. Is there a way to repeal what I think was Measure B and take the initial money back? Or at least cut off the initial tax spigot?

  7. This BART tax idea is truly awful. We voted on this two years ago with the County’s proposed Measure A. Despite a well-funded “yes on A” campaign, this stinker couldn’t even get a simple majority of the vote. The politicians didn’t hear the voters’ message, they just keep trying to put lipstick on a pig.

  8. #2 – Of course you provide zero facts to back-up your opinion. Care to share some facts or should we just ignore your post as a “rant and rave”?

  9. #8 – What is your feverent objections to BART?  Are you another Rose Garden/Willow Glen resident who are worried about “thugs” from the east bay having an easier time getting to San Jose?

  10. Just recieved a note from a friend regarding the new ballot Measure, a “1/8 cent” tax for the voters to OK for BART.he said “it`s like using milk money for the new Lexus”.
      i WOULDN`T GIVE THEM 1/16th of a cent to build BART.This is pure nonsense.

  11. Mongler-  Most of us who oppose BART just think it’s a bad deal.  Too much money for what it is.  I don’t like BART-SJ for the same reason I don’t buy a Bugatti.  No better than a Toyota, but it costs a whole lot more.

    I still think we need a high frequency train to the East Bay, but I’d rather not gut the rest of our public transit system to do it.

  12. Richard Mongler: Your effort to diminish opposition to BART by name-calling underscores the weakness of your argument. The problem with BART is simple: it costs too much for its benefit. Do me a favor—as no BART supporter has ever been able to provide me this data: explain to me, from a cost-benefit analysis (that means, Richard, with numbers) why BART is a good deal for taxpayers, transit riders, or people who drive cars. I await your numerical answer, not an effort to avoid accountability with name-calling.

  13. # 11:  What facts are you looking for from #2? He thanked the people responsible for cleaning up the intersection of Almaden Expwy and Curtner Ave. I supose he could send a link to photos of the freshly cleaned area, but that seems a little overkill don’t ya think?

    Re Sales Tax & BART: BART is turning into San Jose’s version of the Big Dig. (although Boston at least got something for their pain and money in the end) 8 years ago we approved a tax increase to pay for BART. We have recieved nothing for our money since.  Now Carl G and the BART lovers want more? Forget it.

  14. #9 Richard,
      First off VTA is on the road to Bankruptcy unless they change their ways quick.
      Secondly BART will Break VTA`s back, VTA can`t afford BART.
      Third,VTA recieved a 1/2cent Sales tax on Measure A in 2000 in addition to the 1/2 cent tax they were already recieving. The money is gone!
      Forth, a 1/8cent sales tax increase won`t even finance continued VTA operations as VTA is operated today.
      Fifth,they have been lieing to us about the cost to build BART to the east bay. They have been using the $4.7 billion cost figure until this year, now they say $6 billion.Still un-believable.
      Sixth, everyone I ask in government,“what will the $6 billion build, the whole 16 mile system or just the tunneling 4.9 miles under downtown San Jose”, all the experts say,“I don`t know”. You ask around yourself see if you can get a good answer.
        Seven, San Francisco was considering tunneling a 1.9 extension and their consultants quoted $1billion per mile. That would mean the 4.9 mile tunneling in downtown San Jose would cost $4.9 billion alone.What about the remaining 11.1 miles, where is that money going to come from?
        Eight, To become a member of the BART system, VTA has to legally guarentee BART $50 million per year for life, just to join,“a membership fee.
        The Chronicle says BART needs new tains, many of the older cars need replacing.If VTA joined BART they would have to kick in their share of the cost of these new cars used elseware.
        Ninth, where will VTA get the money to finance the interest on the Bond to build BART? The BART experts in Berkly believe the San Jose connection to Warm Springs will cost VTA over $15 billion, not $6 billion.
        Tenth, don`t blame the bureaucrats, this projects is being pushed by our insiders that own property all along the proposed BART system.
        Just look at the list of BART supporters and place them on a map, you will see they own a great deal of the property along the BART route.They are looking at their increased property values if BART is built.
        MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION,” how is BART to the East Bay going to relieve our traffic conjestion on US 101,Interstate 280,Hwy 85,87,237,and Hwy 17 from Los Gatos.

  15. What’s bugging me is this proposal to float a bond issue and property tax increase to do seismic upgrading of Valley Med center. It’s not the seismic upgrade which is probably necessary that bothers me but the fact that they’ve larded it up with a proposal for a 50 million dollar facility where SJ Med center used to stand.

    It’s the same thing they did with the last transit vote. I would have voted for extra money to bring BART but they threw everything else on the Christmas tree and it failed. If the hospital bond issue (and increase in property taxes) contains a pork barrel project at 14th and Santa Clara, they lose my vote.

    The site is an excellent place for more infill housing. Let the owner of the property sell it for housing development.

  16. Why is opposition to BART viewed by some as opposition to public transit? BART is crap technology that is expensive due to its uniqueness. What the valley needs is cheaper alternatives using stock equipment on routes that people here will utilize.

  17. Nam Turk #24:

    Opposing the horribly expensive and poorly routed BART-to-SJ extension is not opposing public transit. Did you read the article I linked to in #19 above? The author is a dedicated advocate of public transit as you can see from his web site.

    And the Bay Rail alliance has a much cheaper and better alternative here:

    You don’t have to be against public transit so see that BART-to-SJ is a pig.

  18. #6 Must disagree with you.  He regurgitates whatever mindless line the transpo people give him about anything.  And he drives his dog around in an old gas guzzling, smog producing van.

  19. There’s no doubt that Guardino and local big businesses champion BART to San Jose for one reason only.  They’d all like to see an increase in the labor pool, i.e., importing East Bay workers to our Valley. 

    That works out to more competition among workers, which would result in stabilized or declining salaries.  Of course SVLG and company CEOs love the concept even more because it doesn’t cost them a dime – it’s fully funded on the backs of local taxpayers via sales tax. 

    I might add that the East Bay workers get off relatively unscathed, as VTA fare box revenue amounts to a paltry 14 cents on the dollar.  The concept never did make sense to me – our residents paying to import workers from other areas.

    BART to San Jose is another pig, right up there with our new City Hall.  The numbers simply don’t pencil out.

  20. RGD 13,

    Thankyou, well stated.

    Richard 12,

    I am not for or against bart.  Just stating that it will happen whether we want it or not. 

    However, it will be really painful for downtown and those that support downtown.  I went to SJSU during the first street light rail contstruction.  It put so many businesses out of business when VTA built light rail.  And light rail has not done much for downtown. 

    Will Barts billion dollar boon doogle have programs to keep small businesses alive?

  21. We need BART to San Jose. 

    There are better ways to fund projects than sales tax revenues.  We must be creative on both the expenditure and the revenue side.

    But the need for speed is clear.  Every year we delay the price goes up.  So let’s get moving—with the money we have. . .

  22. Greg,Mark and all,
      Try this excercise and see what Answer you recieve. I have hit a dead end when I ask the question.
      Ask any City Council person sitting on the VTA Board,ask any local politician the same question: “Now that you have raised the cost to build BART from $4.3 billion to $6.5 billion,just what will the $6.5 billion buy…how much BART to the East Bay from San Jose. The whole 16 miles, all the tunneling in downtown San Jose, all the BART parking lots, just how much will BART will the $6.5 billion buy???
      I have asked a number of well know politicians this question. I can`t get an answer, it`s a dead end question.
        I asked two promising politicians an additional question. Would you bet your political future on “what we are told” BART would cost,$6.5 billion??
        No one will bet their political futures on the cost of BART at $6.5 billion.

  23. #21:  Even bad taste is protected by the constituion if it’s deemed “speech”. 

    The unfortunate part is that Bubbas & bogots all over this country may not get the satire that was claimed to be intended.  They’ll just say: “see, even the pinheads in New York say it’s true about Obama.”

  24. #33- JMO,
    The interesting thing about this decision is that the City of San Jose might try to pass these kinds of things the same way. I’m wondering if now this ruling has been made, some of the plans I’ve heard discused in chambers might need to be abandoned.

    You are absolutely correct! And the Bubbas, and bigots will do just that. Do you happen to know who owns the New Yorker?

  25. Greg –

    Obviously I agree with you on the BART subject.  That said, to suggest the business community based in Santa Clara County would somehow avoid sharing the cost is a bit of a stretch.  Business, in particular those involved in the high tech/R&D space, would help pay for BART or anything else approved through a sales tax measure. Capital equipment purchases have sales tax charges applied to them just like any consumer’s day to day purchases do.  In many instances, (R&D, server and manufacturing equipment in particular) one piece of equipment can cost a million dollars or more. 

    As for the labor pool argument, let’s look at this realisticaly. The companies in Silicon Valley have a hard time finding qualified workers to fill the positions they need not just in Silicon Valley, but throughout the nation.  We are continually losing ground to a global workforce that is better skilled, increasingly better educated, and generally better prepared for the jobs of tomorrow.  Expanding the job pool to applicants in Oakland will have a negligible effect, if any, on the business community’s hiring pratices.

    I agree with you that BART is the wrong way to go, but to suggest business supports BART today is a bit misleading. Carl does what Carl tells his board they should let him do. This is his legacy project and he has proven to be formidable in rallying support to his cause. He has done some good things for the Valley over the years, but this is one area where I hope he fails.

  26. #21   Magazine cover is flashback to high school days (early ‘70s)and time spent reading the National Lampoon. 
    From what this magazine (New Yorker)has done in the past, this cover should be no suprise. 
    Ones sense of humor may need to be tweaked but this is their point.  Am I to be impressed that you are politically correct?
    Shame on me!

  27. #39- Thanks for the reminder Dave. I guess I should get ready to “tweak,” my sense of humor for the up and coming, “Why women loved to be raped,” joke cover on McCain. I’ll try to hide my PC, and give it a big chuckle. NOT!

    By the way Dave, I have two sisters in Florida. How is the weather there today?