Tom McEnery

Tom McEnery

Posts by Tom McEnery

Safe: What Does it Mean?

Well, we are no longer the safest city in the US—we lost that title two years ago. But much like that absurd slogan, “America’s 10th Largest City,” which some lunatic believed would set us up for great international renown, this title too is not worth the banner that it’s printed on. When it comes right down to it, who cares what a few magazine writers and the guy who makes the banner think? High time to set aside childish things and look to what is important in our city

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Advice from the Best

I was in Ireland last week with a group of Silicon Valley executives and venture capitalists when a chapter from the past came to mind. It concerned the groundbreaking for a new venture launched in Ireland in 1988 by a Silicon Valley pioneer, the venerable Intel, which I attended along with a group of Irish leaders, the American Ambassador, and the eminent Dr. Gordon Moore. It was to be the beginning of what would become the roaring Celtic Tiger that transformed that small island. Intel would rise as the model for Silicon Valley’s rapid expansion in Ireland and Europe. It was good for Ireland and good for our Valley.

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Think Globally, Shop Locally

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.

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Chads and Cads

Well, just when you thought it was over. Measure B—BART, has surged into the lead, with over 600,000 votes cast, at the astonishing percent of 66.67: Amazing does not come close to defining it. And remember, there are still 9,800 votes to count. In my grandfather’s day, a report from the Calvary Cemetery precinct would seal the win—ah, for the good old days.

This victory, if such it is, is as remarkable as any in the history of the valley. It sealed in my mind the undying resolution of our citizens to always vote for the future, to reach for the dream of a better city and valley, even in the face of frightening times.

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On to the Future

Well the consultants and pundits are receding into the background, thankfully. It is now time to check the battlefield for casualties and then look at options for the future.

Paramount to our valley, the path to mass transit is very bumpy in our valley. The excruciating narrowness of the loss of the BART sales tax measure is something that will not soon be forgotten by the losers—Mayor Chuck Reed, Carl Guardino of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and rising star Sam Liccardo laid it, and all, on the line. And in an incredibly close miss, they saw the hopes of a complete BART system dashed—for now.

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A Day When Hope and History Rhyme

Two speeches last night, the Obama acceptance speech and the McCain concession speech, surely give us all a new and deserved reason for feeling very good about our nation, and feed our hopes to turn the page on history, a period that we do not want to revisit and must change.  We received the type of conclusion to this often savage election that we so desired.

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Fighting Our Wars, Paying Our Debts

Well perhaps this is the year that they decide to do the third thing—making some decisions for themselves.

Whom, you may ask, am I referring to? Namely, that vast group of young people and uninvolved individuals who for too long have been AWOL from the crucial moment in any democracy: electing the guy who is going to make the big decisions. They fight our wars, the young, and they certainly are going to pay in a big way for the sins of the fathers and mothers in the current financial implosion. It is now very heartening to see them showing up.

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Council May Need Sobriety Test

The San Jose City Council needs to get a grip on its demeanor in public.  They’ve been a bit out of control with some recent comments. I was surprised but not amazed to see the statements from City Hall revolving around the topic of public drunkenness and arrests by the San Jose Police Department in the Downtown area. Basically, several members were quoted saying they’re appalled at the number of arrests, and the disparity in the arrest rate of Hispanics, far out to proportion to their one-third share of the San Jose population.

It is not surprising that the Council is out of touch on certain issues.  But the situation has become frightening to those trying to live or run small businesses in Central San Jose.

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Mayors and Blackouts on the Debate

Well although tonight is the last Presidential debate,  I won’t pay much attention. This one is over except for the huffing and puffing of the talking heads,  the excuses of the consultants, and the dearly needed change in this country. Even Tina Fey has had enough, vowing to go to outer space if Palin wins. 

But there is one Presidential event worthy of comment that occurred 96 years ago yesterday: Teddy Roosevelt was shot.

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Telephone Taxes, Casinos and Elections

There is little doubt that if measures J and K, our local telephone taxes, do not pass on the current ballot, then the quality of life in San Jose is going to change a great deal—for the worse.

As in most elections recently, real estate interests and developers have put up a large amount of the money. That is not unusual. Yet it seems that some of those interests have not been heard from for some time, the casinos at the top of the list, and they are back in the fray. Along with the Irvine Company, Equity Residential and other big-name donors are two names that we have not heard lately except in court rooms,  legal briefs and city accusations: Garden City Casino and Bay 101.

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