When I was mayor, I bought my cars locally at Lon Normandin’s or Don Lucas’s, I shopped at Ed Mosher’s in the Fairmont, Teel’s jewelry there too, Navelet’s, and Valley Fair, but never crossed the Maginot Line that separated San Jose and Santa Clara, and therefore consciously made my decisions to provide the most sales tax to our city, San Jose, which was trying to sustain services like libraries and parks. It seemed the sensible thing to do, and after all, I thought, if you can’t find it in San Jose, it isn’t worth having.
The recent discussion called “Soul of the City” in the Mercury News, funded by the Knight Foundation, provided some interesting things about citizens’ feelings about our city and region. Number one, they wanted more entertainment venues—for that I read HP Pavilion, the Fox Theatre, REP and other arts groups in the Downtown, as well as Santana Row, the Los Gatos, or Campbell. They probably meant some locations outside of this city too, because only sales tax receipts really take into account where one city begins and another leaves off. Basically, they want more city in the city.
I get it; I think this study did too—kind of. What is it about relaxing at a Santana Row café or strolling down Santa Cruz Avenue or attending a Sharks game that makes you feel so good? Well, you sure know it when you see and feel it (as a Supreme Court justice once said about pornography), but how do you find it, really find it? It seems that 29 percent of the folks in this valley feel good, but what about the rest?
And of that first group, do they really feel good about San Jose, or are the suburban communities surrounding us in their minds? This is a real conundrum.
As we continually advocate and search for new ways to improve our city, make it more of the place that we want it to be, we must constantly think of new ideas. One of these is the Public Market that my family and others are proposing for the San Pedro Square area—take a look at it in the next month or so, there will be a web site and a lot of publicity. It may just what the study ordered.