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Farewell to 2 San Jose Legends

I am going to deviate from my usual writing to pay tribute to two people whose lives had a positive impact on our community: Janet Gray Hayes and Carl Cookson. Their accomplishments are many and great.

Rose, White and Blue Parade

The 2nd Annual Rose, White and Blue Parade put on by the Alameda Business Association (ABA) with assistance from the Redevelopment Agency, was a fun-filled day for everyone on Saturday, July 4.  In 1896, The Alameda (one of San Jose’s historical streets, dubbed the “Beautiful Way”) was home to the Carnival of Roses, which continued with The Fiesta de Las Rosas Parade in the ‘20s. At that time, it was second to only Pasadena in it’s size. However, this tradition like the trolley car that used to roll down The Alameda and the historic Hanchett Park Pillars faded away.

Through the motivation of the ABA, the parade was reborn last year, with former San Jose mayors Susan Hammer and Janet Gray Hayes as the grand marshals.

Step Two: The Transition

Just like the man falling off the high rise and yelling at the 89th floor, “so far, so good,” I am happy to report that the Reed Transition is going very well.  The sky is the limit as far as the expectations of many on the multi-faceted committee representing the richness of our city.  From the Environment subcommittee with Judy Stabile and Janet Gray Hayes, to the Public Safety area with Jose Salcido of the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association and Bobby Lopez of the Police Officers’ Association, there is no shortage of ideas and energy. When the Education subcommittee gets the benefit of the county’s Superintendent, Colleen Wilcox, and also Jennifer Andeluz, the co-founder of Downtown College Prep, as well as Barbara Hansen of PACT, it’s a wonderful collision of concepts, spiced with practical knowledge.

Development 101 – Part 3

It is interesting that the words of a past mayor now seem to carry so much weight in the opening decade of the 21st century. Yet these words uttered by Janet Gray Hayes nearly thirty years ago reverberate now as never before: “Let’s make San Jose better before we make it bigger.”

A Tale of Two Polls

The recent poll showing Dave Cortese in first place—and Madison Nguyen in second—for the San Jose mayor’s race must have been a shock to the Sam Liccardo camp. So much so, that Liccardo released his own polling information showing him now in second.

Why Sheriff Smith Won’t Run for Mayor

We dream of the perfect candidate in our business. The right person, at the right time, with resources to win and the perfect fit for the populace and the times. Barack Obama in President 2008, Jerry Brown Governor in 2010, Willie Brown for San Francisco Mayor 1995, and Sheriff Laurie Smith for San Jose Mayor 2014. Only the last scenario won’t happen.

Where Did All the Women Go?

The number of high-powered women in elected office in Santa Clara County has seriously diminished in what once was the Feminist Capital of the World. This dearth of women holding office has led to a decline in the quality of our policies and the ability to provide consensus that leads to progress.

Reed, Former San Jose Mayors Talk Shop

Norm Mineta, Janet Gray Hayes, Susan Hammer, Ron Gonzales and Reed all took part in Monday night’s installment of the Don Edwards Lecture Series at San Jose State University, and each of the current mayor’s predecessors voiced relief that never in their tenures were they forced to deal with the current mayor’s challenges. A full decade of budget shortfalls, a workforce depleted and demoralized, the loss of the Redevelopment Agency and no certain economic rebound in the future was a tall order in every mayor’s eyes. The never-ending pummeling a mayor experiences—from the press, constituents and colleagues—was reiterated consistently in the talk, which retiring SJSU political science professor Terry Christensen moderated.

Crime in San Jose

Despite the recent violent crimes, we are still a very safe city. However, I think it is fair to ask if we are safe enough.  Many would say “no.” When three murders happen over one night; when four knifings happen within a couple of blocks downtown; when more and more people are concerned about the use of police resources in central San Jose; when our murders in one weekend approach Oakland’s, then it is time to carefully monitor the crime situation and make the correct assessments.

Police or No Police

There is much to be concerned about in San Jose these days. We have seen this before in the early seventies, when the vaunted SJPD of today was not quite that organization. It was undertrained and poorly led. Its relationship with the minority community was fragile and the composition of the force did not reflect the makeup of our city. That all changed with the selection of Joe McNamara as chief in 1976, and his particular brand of leadership.