New Law Allows Curfew on Communications Hill

The late-night drinking, drugging and open-air gym sessions at Communications Hill may soon come to an end. Or at least ease up a little.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed off on a law that empowers San Jose to enact a curfew on the hillside staircase.

Senate Bill 236, authored by Sen. Jim Beall (D-San Jose), allows the city to monitor the stairs as they would a public park. Until now, the walkway has been designated under the state vehicle code as a sidewalk, which are legally open to traffic 24-7.

Social media and word of mouth turned the south San Jose stairways into a destination for people all around the Bay Area. Problem was: the stairs were never designed as a public park.

Visitors overwhelmed the neighborhood, taking up all the street parking, trampling public landscaping and littering. The most shameless reportedly had sex in the open, to residents’ dismay.

Exasperated neighbors called on local leaders to help deal with the crowd, but there was only so much the city could do. So they appealed to state lawmakers, who advanced this special bill allowing the city to change the public service easement.

“The goal of the bill was to protect the families who live on the hill,” Beall explained. “Those households needed help and the city’s hands were handcuffed by a statute that prevented them from taking effective action.”

This new law takes effect Jan. 1.

“SB 236 allows the city of San Jose more freedom to control the stairwell to stop crime,” Beall explained.

Beall introduced the bill in February after hearing an appeal from city leaders about the issues that had plagued the stairs for the past five years.

“I’m grateful to Sen. Beall for his leadership on SB 236,"Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a statement, "which will allow the city local control to successfully operate the staircase to the benefit of both the community and those who use the facility."

Jeremy Jones, president of the neighborhood's Tuscany Homeowner's Association, said the new law comes as a huge relief to residents.

"Over the last five years we have watched the grand staircase go from a peaceful amenity for residents to a Bay Area tourist attraction, which is not what [it] was ever designed to be nor has the infrastructure to support," he told San Jose Inside. "Because of this, residents deal with all types of issues such as litter, graffiti, parking, drugs, and noise disturbances. We look forward to the implementation of this curfew and hope it will bring the relief residents are asking for."

UPDATE: The city sent out the following notice on Oct. 6, indicating that staff will bring a proposal to vacate the easement in January.

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 8.45.20 AM

Jennifer Wadsworth is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

68 Comments

  1. Mayor Liccardo is a bad mayor on several issues. He is worse than Mayor Reed by several orders of magnitude.

    The issue of the staircases at Communication Hill came up severl times at “RULES” especially, during the perennial dunderhead Mayor Reed’s watch.

    The San Jose Police could have easily stopped the acts of property damage, drug use / dealing, noise and rampant butt sex but were not ordered to do so. Community Service Officers could have easily patrolled this area bringing grief to the deviant behaviors but, they too were not ordered to do so. Parking Compliance (another failed service) could have issued many citations to deter illegal parking but did not. Why? Ask the former Vice-Mayor-do-nothing Madison Nguyen (this was her District-D7) or pin down Mayor Reed or the rest of the worthless Councilmembers who just twiddled and twaddled their thumbs hoping this problem would go away and when it got worse they shoved this issue upon the state dufi to solve. Enter stage left, the beared bozo Beall and SB 236. Yeah, let us all rejoice at government’s effective responsiveness.

    San Jose has become a regional slum under Mayor Liccardo and his cronies on a very far left of communism council.

    San Jose is only going to get much, much worse as the communist ideology of providing free housing, utilities and permanant supportive services to vagrants and to some of the social miscreants that occupy Communication Hill staircases increases-all at taxpayer expense.

    There is no leadership on Council-just comrades pandering to the media every chance they get.

    David S. Wall

      • I’d love to smoke what ever you’re having.

        And then you have the obvious city hall shills that plague every social media blog concering san jose mismanagement. Shane is that you? Or perhaps PLO sliding one of hiis usual back door comments.

    • You know I hear that you speak on darn near every issue at City Council meetings…that and it seems like you are always writing letters to council members and such. If our City Council is so awful, why haven’t you tossed your hat into the ring? Just wondering…

      • He has , a few times already . San Jose needs people like David Wall . He is a very informed resident , and has no problem calling B.S. on City Council for their MANY , MANY Missteps. San jose would be a much better place if all residents were as concerned about our failed city , like he is

        • Has he actually served? He does sound pretty far right. The times I’ve heard him speak, he also seems to lack any sense of compassion.

        • Except he believes all homeless should be put in jail and that the city’s problems are all caused by illegal immigrants. He would make a great running mate for Donald Trump.

    • Andthe mayor has only been in office for how long? Sounds like a far right Republican comment here he. Hasnt even been in office that long to have any city wide effect such as you say. GAL

    • When was the last time SJ had a republican mayor? The stone age? That’s why. Too many liberals, too many democrats. Not enough common sense.

      • Easy there, Thomas Paine. Anyone who believes in a right-left dichotomy and allows it cloud their thinking on issues is a bad citizen. Stop being a bad citizen.

  2. Far out man, Sex, Drugs, Rock-en Roll ! How do I get there and please explain why the city had no jurisdiction there?
    It must belong to someone.

  3. I had heard about the scene and it sounded like something from an apocalyptic zombie movie…with drug crazed people running around half naked and screaming, sidewalk orgies, sirens wailing, etc. I was a little bit hesitant, but curious so went to check it out. Instead I saw a few couples walking together and chatting quietly, and a few joggers mostly on the trail. I thought maybe I went at the wrong time, and since I had a pleasant walk, decided to go back a few times, at different days and times. It was always the same. Dead quiet, peaceful, well lighted at night, and seemingly safe, with just a few walkers and joggers. I never had problems finding legal parking, and I did check for signs.

    It occurred to me that maybe claims of a wild chaotic scene had been way overblown. I’m not sure how the article can make such wild claims just based on hearsay, without supporting evidence. Did the reporter actually visit Communication Hill, or just passing on rumors? How does the reporter know people were coming from far way, and not mostly locally….does the reporter have a survey that shows this?

    It seems like there are much bigger issues facing San Jose than a few walkers and joggers. Maybe people would not go there if they had a safe place to walk nearby. Yet if you know the surrounding area, it does not feel safe to walk around. The surrounding area has burned out or widely spaced street lights at night, lack of police presence or any traffic enforcement, lack of shade trees for the daytime, a creek trail which is not lighted at night, and parks that close at night. Communication Hill seems like a refuge, not for the lawless, but instead for nearby residents who just want a safe peaceful walk, and can not find it in the surrounding dystopian environment. A better response from the city would have been to set up something similar to the Campbell Community center track in the local area. Given the popularity of the track, it seems like there is a big demand for a safe place to walk.

      • The attached article also not indicate that the reporter actually visited the site or used any quantifiable data such as data from the pedestrian sensors installed at the site. Frankly it comes across as more of a National Inquirer type story, more for shock value, without substance or even truth for that matter. A “I heard someone say this or that” is not a story, at least if its not backed up with real, and current, actual data.

        • I’m a resident of Communications hill and have been for the past 2 years. Myself and many, many of my neighbors are routinely calling 311 to report late night noise, drinking, drug use, and yes – open air sex-capades when we used to have really nice benches there. In the time that I’ve lived here, we’ve had to request they remove the beautiful benches because people were acting inappropriately on them, as well as request the city provide trashcans because of the litter. There are now hideous gates implemented on the once beautiful staircase because of the amount of work-out traffic. This is absolutely not hear-say. I’ve taken pictures and video of people holding exercise classes on the staircase, shooting (horrible) music videos with the view as the backdrop. We can’t sleep at night with our windows open because of the late-night/early morning antics that go on out there. I’ve personally shouted from my window at the people hanging out at 1 am being loud, only to have to shout at another group of people who arrive at 2 am, etc… Close the window you say? Sure. I do and I can STILL hear them. It’s easy for you to say this isn’t an issue Tom when you are looking at it from a distance and only visit the staircase on rare occasion to “check” up on a reporter. When you live here – like I do – you see the issue quickly and clearly. People doing sit-ups in our driveways, leaning on our garage doors to rest in between sets, or hanging out in our little front yards because they have trees and they’re hot and want shade, they leave their water bottles every where, trample through our landscapes, speed up and down our streets racing to get a parking spot for their workout. It is blatant disregard for the residents that live there. And you say perhaps it’s the residents that live there? No. It’s not us. How do I know? Because every time I confront the people that are being disrespectful, I ask them – “Do you live here?” and I get nothing but foul remarks back and people scurrying off because I’m now calling them out for their rude behavior.

          • Thanks, Melissa, for your accurate portrail. We also live near the stairs and have experienced exactly what you described. Case in point, it is now 11:30pm on a Tuesday night. There are 5 young men sitting on the retaining wall near the stairs smoking and loudly talking/yelling/laughing. Another couple is sitting under a lamppost, but at least they’re quiet right now. We wear earplugs most nights to guarantee sleep. Most people are respectful, but it just takes a few to make things miserable for everyone. Glad that at least soon there will be options to deal with those taking advantage.

          • Excessive neighborhood noise is required to be disclosed by the sellers to potential buyers pursuant to California residential sale disclosure laws. Excessive noise should have been disclosed to all buyers in both The Seller’s Statement and the Transfer Disclosure Statement. Since the excessive noise allegedly has been happening for five years, it was certainly well known before Melissa purchased her home two years ago. So, Melissa, was the excessive noise disclosed to you by the seller as required by law? If not, you may have a remedy against the seller; although the seller may just claim that he/she was not bothered by it or did not consider it to be excessive. If it was disclosed, you have no cause to complain.

          • John I beg to differ – we do have the right to complain. The noise/foot traffic etc. was known to us prior to purchasing. We love our house here, the view, the neighborhood. But just because we love our house doesn’t mean we have to accept the noise and accept that it comes as part of the purchase. This is a neighborhood – not a park designed for over 1000+ people a day to come work out. It was never intended to be that. It was intended to be a neighborhood. So yes, we have a right to complain about the disrespectful behavior and destruction of property that we have to pay for to remedy out of our HOA dues AS WELL AS have a right to love living here for other reasons at the same time. We have the right to fight for our neighborhood to be a neighborhood and not a gym and attraction for loitering and vandalism and littering. Your argument is like saying just because our children are inheriting an Earth that is suffering from global warming and every other terrible thing we’ve done to it, that they shouldn’t do anything to better it and instead they should just shrug their shoulders and accept it as “what is.”

      • I live on Communication Hill as well for the last 5 years. Near the stairs Ive ran the hill hundreds of times at different times of the day and I have never seen any this crazy stuff. Sure some kids smoking, who cares we were all kids getting away to somewhere with a good view to have fun with friends.. You guys are over blowing the situation. Sexcapades? Get out of here!! Ive never seen anything of that. and the foot traffic? its people jogging. Ear plugs to sleep?can you say drama queen! All of you complaining are just people that like complaining. You found something to complain about, pushed for a law to feel important and like you were getting over or winning something. ( Melissa and Cheryl). Even with this law, there will still be people going up there, It just gets me upset that so many people complain about something so small that isn’t even bad. You

    • I appreciated your comments. I live on the hill and it is a wonderful safe community. I don’t really understand the purpose of exaggerating the situation.

    • Thanks for your comments. I agree and also enjoy many pleasant walks on the hill and yes it would be great to have other safe options to walk. Obviously this type of venue is exactly what we need more of as seen by its popularity. I sympathize with the residents for having to endure the actions of a few bad actors who spoil it for everybody. They hurt the whole community in general. For the most part most of the folks I’ve encountered on my walks are respectful of the residents and their property. Maybe the curfew will help.

    • Wow – what a wonderful and imaginative world you live in with zombies and such. Maybe if you lived anywhere near the staircase – or up on the hill at all – you would realize that there is no exaggeration with the issues up here – if anything they are understated and under reported – I have lived here from the onset (more than 10 yrs) and I assure you that not a week goes by without at least three or more incidents of people doing drugs – drinking – or having sex in front of my house – and when I call the police – they are too busy to respond – so I get to pick up their garbage – stay awake all night – and get stared down when I go out to walk my dog – so sure come take a few trips and think you know how it is – but unless you live here – you’ll never know the reality

  4. Last Wednesday was San Jose’s annual trail (and now staircase) usage count day. As the lead for Communications Hill, our volunteers counted ~900 users of the trails and staircase. And that that was just for our core counting hours of 7AM-11AM & 4PM-7PM. Things were still going strong until at least 11PM. Having participated and led numerous neighborhood cleanups, I can attest to the litter, including dozens of used condoms on the trail, stairs, sidewalks and streets. I also wonder why the climbers and joggers feel the need to toss their water bottles into the bushes and natural areas, given that we were successful in having the city install more trash cans.

  5. From my perspective as an original home owner on Communications Hill, this is very good news. My wife and I love living on CH and enjoy the architecture and amenities. Even though our condo is on the running route, I think it’s great that people from all over can enjoy exercising in such a great place. A totally unintended consequence of the staircase has been abuse by a few irresponsible people. This bill will make it easier to deal with the problem visitors. I applaud those who made it happen.

    • Are you the same John Stufflebean that San Jose Senior governmental auditors as well as Mayor Reed hastened your departure from the Environmental Services Department payroll for alleged corrupt and grossly incompetant administrative activities?

      David S. Wall

      • I suppose I should respond in case anybody ever reads this. Here is a link to the ESD audit, the purpose of which was to quiet the critics. It made a few good recommendations as all good audits do, and found no lack of competence or mismanagement, and certainly no corruption. (There were never any allegations of that.) The core finding was that it was difficult to attract qualified technical staff given the city’s compensation schedule and this was causing a variety of problems. http://www.sanjoseca.gov/documentcenter/view/3131

  6. Melissa:You don’t like noise, and who does? I know I don’t. But you admit that you knew about the noise before you purchased. So, you bought with eyes wide open. You undoubtedly paid less than you would have paid in an area of Communications Hill that was farther away from the noise. You sound like the folks who buy near SJC, then complain later about the airplane noise. They have no cause to complain either, because they knew they were buying a house near the airport; just as you knew you were buying a house where there was excessive nighttime noise. You could have bought elsewhere, but you didn’t. Instead, what you want to do is buy cheaper due to the disclosed noise, then whine and demand a change in the conditions under which you knowingly purchased. Self-entitled people like you who want to change the rules to suit your purposes are one of the things that’s wrong with this country. Yes, people like to be free of nighttime noise. Had you bought without being told about the noise, I would agree with you. However, you bought knowing about the noise, so you do NOT have JUST cause to complain. So, either move, or stop whining and buy earplugs. But I am sure that with your mindset you’ll never get the point.

    • John you are incredibly self-absorbed and absolutely have no clue about what it’s like to live on this hill. As I mentioned, we purchased close to the staircase so if you knew anything about this neighborhood you would know that means we have an amazing view of the valley, which also means we paid a premium and didn’t get a “deal” because of the noise. So – since you are obviously commenting from a distance – it’s best you leave this fight to the people who actually have something at stake and stop being judgemental as if you had any clue. It sounds like I refuted your argument pretty well and instead of responding logically you prefer to make unfounded personal attacks because you have no other avenue. So “grown up” of you. I applaud your insight.

      • Melissa you realize your house is in the flight path for SJO don’t you? My friends and I are RC glider enthusiasts, not sex crazed orgy’ist. We do our best to be respectful of residents like you, but I’ve spent a lot of time on the hill opposite the staircase, and I can’t see how all the planes, cars from 87 are noisier than people.

        It’s just science, a jumbo jet coming in for a landing is going to be 100 times noisier than a handful of people. I think it’s the source of noise that bothers you, not the noise itself.

        • Michael it absolutely is the source of the noise that bothers me because it is incessant, and it’s not just noise. It would bother you as well. Would you prefer to sleep with ear plugs in in your own home every night? Or perhaps have to endure going without ear plugs because you have young children in the house and have to be able to hear if they cry out in the middle of the night? Are those my only options?

          The planes that fly overhead are slightly noticeable and once they pass it’s done. It’s perhaps 30 seconds and with windows and doors shut at night, it’s barely audible, same for the 87 traffic – can’t hear it with everything shut. Being under the flight path doesn’t bother me, nor other residents as there are never any complaints about that. The noise from the people who hang out on the trail and staircase from sundown THROUGH 3 AM, 4 AM, laughing, yelling, talking loudly carries through shut windows and doors because of proximity. We are 100 yards or less from the landing of the grand staircase. And it’s not just the noise complaints – it’s the littering and the vandalism of our community. It’s the blatant disrespect for the neighborhood. It’s the car break-ins, the violence, the public sex, drinking and general trashing of the place we call home. It’s the blocking of our driveways, parking in red zones and damage to our landscaping that we spend a lot of money to maintain. It’s the crazy speeding and danger to the children that live there. Thank goodness many of our homes have that secondary gate before the street, but not all home designs have that. Is it going to take someone being run over for this problem to gain the proper amount of attention it deserves?

          Let me be clear – the residents have no issues with the people that come to walk, exercise, enjoy the view RESPECTFULLY – like yourself and your friends who try to be as respectful as possible – and observe the sun-up to sun-down curfews. It’s EVERYONE ELSE who is disrespectful. Unfortunately right now, the disrespectful out number the respectful dramatically. If you want to continue to be able to come to our neighborhood and fly your gliders, perhaps you would like to help our efforts and help the residents get others to respect the neighborhood. Because it is just that – a neighborhood, where families live, and children play, and people come home after a long day of work. I’m sure if the shoe were on the other foot, you wouldn’t appreciate strangers hanging out in your driveway damaging your property. Heck, I’m sure you get pissed if someone doesn’t pick up their dog poop in your front yard.

          I don’t understand why we’re such bad guys for wanting to see some attention and protection from the city when that’s part of the city’s responsibilities – to help ensure neighborhoods are safer and the people who live there have their property respected.

        • I find it comical that people think this is a “handful” of people. During peak hours we counted 900+ people in ONE DAY, and that wasn’t for every hour – just from 7-11 AM and 4-7 PM. And that’s with the high temps we’ve had these past 2 weeks. Imagine the surge of people when the temps are pushing mid-90’s.

  7. It is just so sad that people are so trashy. It just seems to be the San Jose way. You forget how filthy it is here (all the litter) until you go elsewhere. People here make fun of the flyover states, but they are clean and the roads are well maintained.

  8. Great! Now, can we do the same with the 7-11 at 188 North 6th Street? The drinking, panhandling, loitering, urinating, late night parking lot parties, and trash are unacceptable in our residential neighborhood!

    • This 7-11 has been a public nuisance for several decades and should be shut down immediately using the same argument a bar on N. 13th street was shut down..

      This business enterprise proximately causes the diminution of surrounding properties values as well as additional tortious injuries.

      Councilmember Liccardo (D3) did not do anything to reslove this horrific assault to decency and do not expect Councilmember Peralez (D3) to do much of amything positive to remove this blighted business form your neighborhood. Although, give him a reasonable chance at solving this problem first.

      There are other properties just as bad if not worse-visit St. James Park and know Councilmember Liccardo (D3) only gave a few free rent vouchers to vagrants instead of having the Police go in there to crush the criminal element and to bring this Park into submission. St. James Park is a festering sewer just like the 7-11 you have correctly referenced.
      There are other similar properties throughout D3 and the city.

      San Jose has become a festering slum and the Council panders to treating this vermin and their contagions as if these miscreants are on an endangered species list.

      Special note: check out the “garbage and or trash pile” of discarded mattresses, furniture, and other assorted debris, “illegal dumped” on the North West side of North 6th Street approximately 35 feet north of Santa Clara Street, right across from the Tower (City Hall). You can’t miss this mountain of debris. From city hall just walk across the street.

      I have reported this illegal dumpsite to Rules, CED and to Councilmember Peralez’s Office (D3) for several weeks-and it remains there still and is growing in width and height.

      D(3) Home Owner you and your neighbors need to hire an Attorney to file claims against 7-11, the City of San Jose and any other defendants your Attorney will reccomend to be enjoin in the action(s).

      David S. Wall

      • We are doing just that, David. We are working with RLEI on filing a claim in Small Claims Court, and are backed by Raul Peralez’s office. I agree that not enough is being done to protect actual residents and homeowners who cannot afford to move away from the dangerous and disgusting elements this City offers. If we think it’s bad now, wait until the redevelopment of Santa Clara Street pushes the filth and transients further into our neighborhoods. We need to fight for a better quality of life!

        • Your battle plan involving small claims court can be effective but, beware. You must have several individual causes of action to make it really financially hurt and or destroy 7-11’s business activities at 188 N. 6th Street. You still should consult with a licensed Attorney concerning your issues as applied to small claims court to protect your legal rights and to thorughly crush this 7-11 out of exisitence.

          You should be very concerned about Councilmember Peralez’s position on providing “Free rent, Free utilities and permanant supportive housing” for filthy vagrants” at taxpayer expense. Consult with our D3 neighbors on South 2nd Street. The “city” under Mayor Liccardo’s communist iinspired direction, voted to spend $53 Million dollars to construct a 134 unit complex with a health clinic on the ground floor to provide permanent supportive housing for up to 268 vagrants; illegal aliens, drug addicts, sloppy whores, mentally ill people and drunks. The $53 million is just for the proposed structure-there could be cost overruns. This figure does not include “Operational costs” which will be in the millions per year given to special interest “Non-Profits” who permit the Mayor and Councilmembers to sit on their respective “Board of Directors.” There were many Councilmembers who voted for this crap including Councilmember Peralez. Property values surrounding this government sponsered “flop house” will plumet downward.

          Further, the Plaza Hotel is being acquired from the Successor Agency to the Redelopment Agency to House more Vagrants, et al., for free. This property was aquired by the former RDA for a little over $3 Million dollars and change. The purhase price by the City of San Jose is $2.4 Million and chandge for a loss to the taxpayers of over $967,000 and change. Councilmember Peralez voted for this communist housing crap too.

          Later today, I will enter onto the “Public Record” reccomendations to revoke 7-11’s liquor and business licenses-a variation of a former battle plan used to erradicate the El Tarasco Bar located at 801 North 13th Street-almost a year ago to date!

          I also live in the slum and ghetto infested D3.

          David S. Wall

          • Correction:

            The Plaza Hotel fiancial figures I provided are in error. These stated costs are for a RDA property at 226 Balbach Avenue as declared in the Successor Agency’s Long Range Property Management Plan.

            The use as stated for the Plaza Hotel and vote by Councilmember Peralez is valid.

            I apologize for the error and confusion.

            David S. wall

          • David, will you join us? We are having another meeting with city agencies about this 7-11. We need all the residents we can get to join in on a small claim so that 7-11 corporate cannot ignore us. $75 that will be returned, with the potential of thousands won, and a cleaner, safer neighborhood. Game?

          • Hi David, I was almost hit by a car walking toward city hall yesterday, because of being forced to walk on the construction side of North 6th instead of on the sidewalk next to Horace Mann Elementary. I contacted the principal of the school about the stench, human feces, aggressive panhandling, and illegal camping on the school ramp, and she told me that they are pretty much under seige, and no city official, nor police will help them. There is an HMNA meeting on Thursday, and I will loudly bring it up. I advised the principal to start a petition for security and patrolling from the district and police. This is an elementary school, and they are having difficulty keeping it clean and safe for children! Simply not acceptable!

  9. Such a shame I have lived on comm hill for 6 years the whole reason why I bought in the area is cause of the trails and stairs to workout on.. To me the biggest issue is the massive construction that is happening at 6 am this morning sending asbestos dirt and dust into the homes up there.. I have come home to expensive art that has shaken off the walls and the noise and shaking of the heavy equipment is far more bothersome then the people being active on the hill sure there is a lot of young kids smoking pot and having sex on the hill but they seem to be very respectful about were they smoke. And the worst thing is the city put up that awful looking gate I ride my bike to and from work and some times like to carry my bike up the stairs now it is hard to get up there with the gate and almost one way path up the stairs it is beyond dangerous.. I could almost garentee nobody has spent more time up on the hill shooting photos and logging over 2000 miles a year jogging on the hill I feel like I am being punished.. If. People are the issue then why build more Houses

  10. Also I have been disturbed by more residents kids throwing house party’s then random people on the street.

  11. I used to live up there and this problem is real, but it varies widely depending upon how close your home is to the stairs.

    Years ago I had suggested the city zone the staircase and trail as a park, thus implementing an enforceable curfew of 1 hour before and after sunset. In addition to the curfew, city park regulations pertaining to the municipal code could also be enforced such as no smoking and no drinking. Along with this, the city could also institute a trespass ban as punishment along with a fine on all offenders who receive citations for any of these violations, for a set amount of years. Now, the officers who are paid by the Tuscany Hills HOA to patrol at specified times could do walking enforcement and write citations instead of just telling them to leave if no other violations were present.

    The other facet needed to go along with this approach, and it killed me when the city fumbled this, would be to change many of the “popular” parking locations to be either strictly residential, or time restricted permit parking. This is something Santa Cruz successfully does near many of its beaches. Instead of this, the city just said “NO PARKING” in some locations, and added a 9pm to 6am time restriction on others. This created much more competition for parking and often times I could not find on street parking near my home.

    In general, I could almost not go one day without running into a carload of people hotboxing, drinking, harassing my dog, or couples having sex in their cars, on their cars or out in public..

  12. Melissa:

    Your reading comprehension level is suspect, so this missive may be quixotic.

    Mr. JohnMichael O’Connor clearly stated and accurately stated that you do not have “just cause” to complain–a legal term–about the noise problem you have been experiencing in your neighborhood, as you readily admit you were aware of the situation when you purchased your property. You then erroneously chose to conflate “just cause” with your “right” to speak out against the noise and seek mitigation of that problem.

    Regardless, I hope you will soon get a good night’s sleep.

    Meanwhile, if you were not the one who is truly self-absorbed, you would be aware of a much bigger problem in a neighborhood very close to your own: rampant prostitution. Criminal elements are well aware of San José’s depleted police force, which has led those in “The Life” to flock to that neighborhood. Therefore, I find it laughable that you think your Camelot on Communications Hill is under siege.

    If you were cognizant of the bigger picture and not self-absorbed, you would be aware that eleven homicides and 17 attempted murders have taken place in roughly a six-square-block area in the heart of downtown San José in the last few years.

    If you were not self-absorbed, you would also be aware of the rash of burglaries that took place in the Almaden neighborhoods over the past couple of years. Criminal elements took advantage of our police department’s lack of a burglary unit to follow-up on those crimes.

    You also appear unaware of San José history that pertains to what you view as an idyllic setting under assault by those who exercise, as long before Communications Hill was saturated with homes, many of which are uninspiring properties and others a downright eyesore, it was frequented by runners.

    Orben Jones’s (Strunk & White punctuation rules) Willow Glen cross country teams come to mind, which produced not only stellar harriers but stellar citizens, one of whom went on to be dubbed the fastest member of the U.S. Secret Service. This unnamed individual, who served two administrations, got that fast by doing repeats on Communications Hill in high school.

    Unfortunately, your sense of entitlement is now being unduly rewarded by Senate Bill 236. Our lawmakers in Sacramento and Governor Brown have far more pressing issues and concerns than to have spent one minute on the Communications Hill issue. It is, however, truly unfortunate and pathetic that no adequate remedy to your noise concerns and other stated concerns could be found at the city level, but incompetence has long been endemic at San José City Hall.

    Finally, it is so ironic that you state Communications Hill “is a neighborhood–not a park,” yet SB 236 “allows the city to monitor the stairs as they would a public park,” according to Ms. Wadsworth’s reporting.

    Go figure.

    • I find it quite comical that you feel the need to give everyone a history lesson on the city while you don’t fully understand the issue at hand. We went to the city and they couldn’t do anything about it because it was a zoning issue. Hence, the area needed to be rezoned. We needed the governor for that. So I question who’s reading comprehension ability is truly in question. The only avenue of enforcement we have is to have it rezoned as a park so law enforcement can actually do something about the people that are here well beyond sun down, since it’s current zoning allows for it to be open 24 hours. And if you actually read the bill, you would realize that zoning it as a park also gives us the additional enforcement avenue of having the staircase shutdown completely. So again, I don’t think it’s my reading comprehension that is lacking here Michael.

      Oh yes, the lack of police force to cover all of the crime, prostitution and burglaries that are happening elsewhere … we have been instructed by the city to call 311 when we have vandalism and other atrocious behavior going on in the early morning hours. And what does that do? It pulls police away from these other areas that you deem “more important.” So again, I don’t see how this rezoning is an issue at all, when in fact it will actually benefit the rest of the city, which again, you deem more important. The abundance of calls that come from our neighborhood will actually die down, and allow officers to respond elsewhere. But again, I’m the one who doesn’t understand the situation and is self-absorbed, right? I’m only focused on our neighborhood.

      I find it comical that you point to prostitution and burglaries and other crime and can’t fathom that it is also happening here in our community. A man was viciously beaten with a pipe in front of his wife because he advised some younger kids that they could get a parking ticket for where they were parked. How do you know that the sex that is happening on the trail ISN’T to some degree part of, or has some element of, the prostitution that you are so concerned about? How do you know that we aren’t getting burglarized here in our community as well? Oh that’s right! Because you don’t spend any time here and you actually DON’T KNOW. Allow me to enlighten you, it is all happening HERE as well.

      And so once again, my reading comprehension is just fine. It is yourself Michael and many others who simply read to respond and not read to understand. We have no issues with the respectful workout enthusiasts, and the cross country teams that you seem to adore, who respect the hours and the neighborhood, It’s the rest of the those that come after hours and destroy our neighborhood.

      • Melissa:

        Nothing in my original post suggested that a zoning change did not require assistance from the governor. I merely stated that Governor Brown and other officials in Sacramento have far more pressing issues and concerns to deal with.

        And they do.

        I also went on to suggest that it is unfortunate and pathetic that nothing could be done at the city level to remedy your concerns because of inept leadership that has pervaded San José City Hall for far too long. I, however, never claimed anyone at San José City Hall could rezone anything for you.

        You do, in fact, have a reading comprehension problem.

        You may also be delusional, as you ascribe language or sentiments to me that were not contained in my previous post or even remotely suggested in my previous post.

        You, however, state: “We went to the city and they couldn’t do anything about it because it was a zoning issue.”

        Boy, you are gullible, too. And your gullibility cost taxpayers statewide. Why? Because state officials took up a rezoning issue, which is not the real problem to begin with. Therefore, rezoning is unlikely to offer much in the way of a solution either.

        Wake up, it’s a lack of leadership issue, lady! And it’s a lack of leadership issue in San José, not Sacramento.

        SJPD never needed a zoning change to cite and/or arrest people for disturbing the peace, public urination, public sex, littering or vandalism on your popular stairs or anywhere on Communications Hill 24/7. And the SJPD should not have bothered, as it has other priorities. But now with the wave of your hard fought for and won “rezoning wand” some folks might get cited for trespassing on your precious stairs and such? Maybe. It still will be a low priority call, and it should be.

        If there were better leadership at San José City Hall, cops would not have left the department in droves. If there were more cops on the payroll, maybe there would have been more opportunities for officers to respond to most of your less serious complaints. Most of your complaints are, in fact, not serious and do not merit a speedy police response, especially given the more serious matters the department is trying to suppress on a nightly basis.

        If you had real public safety issues, you can bet SJPD would be saturating your neighborhood at certain times, but you don’t. So they don’t

        For your edification, rezoning is not the answer. What is the answer? San Jose elected officials creating a climate that attracts more police hires. Once that happens, you might see better response times and even citations being issued to people when you pick up the phone to make low priority complaints.

        The cops are not the bad guys here, but the politicians are incompetent, and you are, indeed, a self-absorbed, myopic citizen of San José.

        You probably still don’t get it, but let’s move on.

        I can say with absolute certainty that prostitution is not a problem in your neighborhood, madam. Why? Because I have been researching the issue in San José for a professional project.

        Little scares me. While you’re ensconced at home piling up your petty complaints, I choose to see what is really going on out on the streets.

        I never implied burglaries were or were not occurring in your neighborhood, but I know the Almaden neighborhoods were targeted more than your neighborhood.

        It is horrible that your neighbor was beaten with a pipe, but I know you have not had eleven homicides and 17 attempted murders occur in your neighborhood in a 42 month period. Or anything remotely close to that. Ever.

        It is not surprising that you also completely missed my point in referencing the running community. For your edification, peole were exercising on the undeveloped Communications Hill decades before the homes, decades before the stairs, and decades before you, unfortunately, showed up.

        Mr. JohnMichael O’Connor accurately stated that you knew about noise in your neighborhood but decided to move there, and then you start to complain about it.

        You, indeed, do not see the forest for the trees.

        I rarely post comments anywhere. I certainly have no more time to deal with you. Let others chase windmills.

        .

  13. Just as a side point here…

    Wouldn’t there be some kind of video of the clash between residents and “Orgies on the stairs”? How come residents haven’t produced a video of these clashes?

    • Really? You need a video of it? Imagine this, girl sitting on guys lap, steamed up windows. Good Enough for you?

  14. It’s very easy for people to comment on issues who are either not a part of it or look at it from a distance. Your quest to feel important and educated by commenting on things you don’t truly understand (even though you think you do) is really funny, but also sad at the same time because you are nothing more then an online troll.

    Tell you what. For those that are attacking the residents who live on Comm Hill you should provide them with your home address so they can go give you a first hand experience of what it is they are dealing with. Maybe then you might have more empathy? Doubt it but hey you never know.

    To say that because there are other issues in the city constitutes not trying to resolve issues in your own neighborhood is moronic. So because Downtown is a mess or because Almaden Valley has an increase in burglaries that means people in other areas need to just stay quiet and let the issues of there neighborhood go unchecked? Come on.

    Give these residents a break. This is there home. If you lived there you’d want to try and do things to make it better right? There is nothing self absorbed about that. Grow up and have a heart.

    Online comments are so interesting to read. It really does bring an interesting part of the psyche out, normally the mean/abusive/sociopathic part. Strange.

    I know the online trolls will bash me to pieces for this (I’d expect that from people who seem to enjoy being jerks and have no empathy) but happily for me I’ve read the article and have no reason to come back so feel free. I won’t be reading it anyway. :-)

    • Hi there Tyler,

      So I decided to ask “Are drunken orgies really happening on the stairs on communications hill?” on an online forum called “Reddit” Since nobody here bothered to provide any kind of picture or video evidence. Quite a few residents chirped up.

      https://www.reddit.com/r/SanJose/comments/3n8s5d/are_there_really_drunken_orgies_on_the_stairs_of/

      Top voted comment.

      jason_rev 13 points 4 hours ago
      Dude I live right here. These people are totally over blowing this. I run it at least 3 times a week at different times and I have never seen any of this super crazy night parties. yes maybe a few kids smoking enjoying the views but damn these old ladies complaining are the type of people that would complain about a door saying “exit only” to a store manager, telling him she wants it to say “entrance” on it because its easier for her to come in that door.

      Now I’ve been coming to SJI for many years. I’ve uncovered that on numerous occasions people astroturfing accounts on SJI, meaning, a single person signs up under multiple users and posts, to give the appearance a lot of different people are concerned.

      As far as I’m concerned, it’s San Jose property. It’s mine, it’s yours, and unless there’s some real evidence to show just how bad it is, I can’t feel good about giving up something that is meant for everybody’s use. Until any of these puppet posters can post some true evidence these things are happening, I hope the council will pass on restricting staircase access.

      PS you should follow the thread on reddit, ALOT of residents are crying bull, that this is way overblown and unnecessary.

  15. I’m wondering what happened to the SJPD officers who were specially detailed to police the stairs and all issues surrounding them. It was one of the very rare time and a half pay cars.

    Communications Hill resident , squeaky wheel and former council person Laughing Maddie Nguyen demanded and received the special treatment getting officerd assigned there during the height of the nonexistent “budget”crisis she was citing while carrying Reed,s water in the Measure B campaign and it’s aftermath.

    Did the money run out? (Doubtful) Did officers just quit signing up to work it? Yes, maybe because they were burned out with all the other overtime demands …maybe they quickly realized that the job was thankless … the usual gripes from residents either (a) you aren’t doing enough, (b) i pay your salary and you are hassling me when you should be going after them..and (c) every enfor cement acrion always comes down to dealing with an adam henry who wants to play whatever card he is holding.

    I only have to look to some comments here to know why time and a half sometimes just isn’t enough.

  16. Hey City Gal….

    The worhtless and comtemptuous San Jose Inside did not leave me a link to your post.

    Please identify the city agencies you and other D3 victims have contacted and or are dealing with to deal with to solve this 7-11 nightmare.

    All I need is their identities and I will FRY THEM, using the grease rendered from their worthless admisnistrative
    buttocks and wriitten and speech given skills that are unmatched by anyone in San Jose-NO Brag, just fact.

    David.

    • Hi David, my two devices have me under different names. I am also “home owner”. We already work with Raul Peralez on this issue, and are having another meeting coordinating other city agencies to help in our neighborhood. Time and date TBA. David Tran is awaiting our dates. I am trying to gather the troops, but it is difficult, as everyone has their own agenda. We need loud, aggressive voices like yours to help, for as you have probably found out by now, one voice in the wilderness accomplishes very little. Many, angry and loud voices cannot be ignored. Will you join us in a small claims lawsuit that hopefully will hit this irresponsible landlord where it hurts?

      • Friday afternoon I produced a writing requesting SJPD and PBCE to produce data (complaints, call for services, etcetera) for FY 2000-2015 concerning this 7-11. The data from this time period can be used in the decision process to close this 7-11 much like the data was used to close El Tarasco Bar on North 13th Street a year ago. If they do not voluntarily comply I will launch (or you and your neighbors could launch) a series of Public Record Requests to obtain the necessary data.

        You and your neighbors should start; attending two Council Committee meetings to give speeches addressing your concerns they are; Public Safety Finance and Strategic Support (PSFSS) and Rules and Open Govenrmnet Committee (RULES) to voice your concerns. And do so repeatedly.

        Also, you must write letters addressed to Mayor Liccardo and Council using the Public Record. Remember to include the issue “Diminution of your property value” that is proximately caused by the 7-11 and the city’s facilitation by permitting this nuisance to go unabated. You are also encouraged to included other examples of tortious injuries that proximately flows from 7-11 and the city’s inaction.

        You and your neighbors need to retain a licensed Attorney to protect your legal rights.

        I have no standing to join your small claims law suit. I do not live in your sector of D3. I only observe this 7-11 as I go to and from City Hall. By the way the “Illegal dumped pile” of mattresses, furniture and other debris on North 6th Street was picked-up. I noticed this on my to city hall to put the writing on the Public Record.

        I also delivered copies of this writing to: Councilmember Peralez, Mayor Liccardo and Director Freitas (PBCE). Saturday, I have mailed a copy to Chief: San Jose Police.

        David S. Wall

        • Thank you, David. We have been working on this for 4 years, and have the documentation and support of Raul Peralez. Our next meeting will be with other city agencies you mention. RLEI gives legal advice, as they have been through this process before. However, this is the first time a community has taken on a multi-billon dollar, international company! Wish us luck! And, keep in touch, as you have valuable information.

        • You will recieve excellant service from Director Freitas and PBCE.

          I’ll be speaking about this issue at “RULES” this week and if time permits at the City council meeting this comiing Tuesday.

          David S. Wall

  17. My daughter, lives on the Hill. With her Husband and 6 year old granddaughter.
    What the Hell does Gov, Brown, have to do with condoms on the stairs, and empty wine bottles. And Who is Cortese, and Wall ., any way?
    You guys have to much time between wine glasses.
    JMO, kick these guys out of the Loft Bar after 2 glasses of your Pino Noir.2014..

    ghtrer.

  18. Well after a weeks worth of comments, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time to bulldoze the steps, put in lots of low income and section-8 housing for the people with no place to make whoopy with their personal trainers after a hard workout.
    We can fill it with unemployed illegal’s and under-payed San Jose Cops that are too tired to go to work after Mayer Reed cut there pensions to twice what the rest of the world makes.
    Now if we can move some prison guards in to beat the tar out of the trouble makers life would just be great on the hill.

    If someone would give the Black Smith some unleaded crystal glasses maybe we could understand what he’s ranting about!

  19. I lived up on Communication Hill from 2008- 2013 I have seen it all. Sex in cars, litter everywhere, fires being started by people who didn’t live up on the hill but decided to light things in a very dry climate (I have video). I have been shot through my car window with a pellet gun, (driving on the low income entrance side of the hill) it’s still in my arm, in case you don’t believe me I’m sure there is a police report (Sept 09). I have had partying neighbors living above me, I have seen a condo be cleaned out by SJPD because of known affiliations. I knew Madison Nguyen lived up there and knew she did nothing to help. I have seen the CROWDS of people, I have seen classes on Batista Drive, I have heard of cars being broke into. People tend to think that all the bad is on the stairs but it is also some of the people being “rented” to. Unless you live in a town home away from the stairs this place sucks to live. I knew people that sold their homes because of the known activities with out disclosure, to the guy telling Melissa not to complain. If people knew what it was like to actually live up there then they might understand the frustration.

    I have been one of the late night walkers because there are so many people out during the evening. Quiet enough to not disturb anyone because I know what it’s like not to be able to sleep. This whole thing could have been dealt with if gates were put up at the entrances but do you think that the HOA would do that, they wouldn’t even fine our upstairs neighbor for party after party, and fecal matter being found in a our shared hallway- they didn’t even enforce a clean up! So Jeremy Jones, suck it, you are a worthless at your job, this community deserved/s better.

    • Julianne – How can an HOA put up gates around entrances to a community that isn’t privately owned? That would be illegal.

      Also, an HOA isn’t a security force. They can’t bust down doors and kick people out of homes when people are partying or doing something wrong. You should be calling the police for the issues you describe. An HOA can’t help with your complaints.

      The fact that the HOA is even involved in an issue like the staircase is pretty impressive. They are going way beyond what would should be expected of an HOA. Keep in mind there are three or four HOA’s up on Comm Hill. Tuscany Hills HOA doesn’t have a lot of buildings with shared hallways so you may even be describing the wrong HOA.

      I live in Tuscany Hills and I love it here (thankfully don’t live close to the Staircase so I completely understand Melissa’s situation – her situation is very real). I have seen Jeremy at the HOA meetings and I’ve always been very impressed. He shows a lot of care and concern for the community and volunteers a lot of his personal time to try and help on things that aren’t even HOA related. Keep in mind the HOA board members live here too and are all volunteers. Being on the board is not a paid position so we should show them more respect. They are doing the work we all choose not to and hope someone else will just figure it out for us, and they are doing it for free. If you’re that unhappy you should move or run to be on the board yourself. Maybe you could help! Oh wait you did move away so that’s probably for the best. Hope you’re in a better situation.

    • Why is there low income housing in what would otherwise be an affluent community? That just ruins everything. I detest commie social engineering; it always causes problems and burdens responsible people, good citizens, with the anti-social low-class behavior of miscreants.

  20. It seems to me the biggest failure here was to make this a public space in the first place. Why wasn’t the entire community developed as a gated community? A hill is the perfect location for a gated community.

    Because it clearly has become (inevitably, I think) a public nuisance. Not a private nuisance, which is what the detractors are alleging – that it is the problem of the residents because they knew it was going to be noisy because people would be drawn to use this area.

    I wonder if it is too late for the HOA to cancel the easement entirely. If the developer paid for the staircase, and the HOA pays to maintain it, how in the world is the public “entitled” to use it at all? It should NOT have an easement on it, it should be closed to all except residents.

    No, I don’t live on Communications Hill, or even in San Jose any longer. But I have watched this phenomenon occur everywhere unusual topology exists, whether it is for a vantage point, or the workout potential of a long flight of stairs, or even just a “cool” place to “hang out” and be an idiot (smoke, drink, have sex in public) and a nuisance to others. There is certainly no shortage of rude/inconsiderate idiots in this world. And not enough responsible hard working people that simply wish to have what they are entitled by law to have by virtue of being property OWNERS: the quiet enjoyment of the premises.

    Shame on the non-residents using this privately funded, privately supported infrastructure for their own selfish purposes; even if you are behaving yourself, you are using something you didn’t pay for, are not responsible for, and receiving a benefit whose cost accrues to others. You are moochers. Entitled whiny moochers. Probably Obama/Clinton/Sanders supporters.