Eric Johnson

Eric Johnson

Posts by Eric Johnson

Larry Pegram: New Financial Revelations

Eighteen months after leading the local battle against gay marriage—and shortly after an aborted plan to move to Tracy and run for U.S. Congress—Larry Pegram promised that his campaign for San Jose City Council would be about fixing the city’s pressing money troubles, not social issues. Since that time, Pegram has emphasized his commitment to balanced budgets and cited his own credentials as a professional financial planner.


Canadian Sharks Attack US

San Jose hockey fans must deal with a conundrum this afternoon, as the United States and Canada battle for Olympic gold. Do we root for the US team, or root for our home team?

Four San Jose Sharks—Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Dany Heatley and Dan Boyle—make up the backbone of Team Canada. They have been key to Canada’s success, working together in what TV announcer Kenny Albert has called “the San Jose connection.” Only one Shark—Joe Pavelski—is playing for Team USA.

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Pelosi and Friends in San Jose

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi covered a lot of territory in a brief visit to the San Jose Rotary’s weekly lunch meeting today—from the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy to the empowerment of young women (the subject of her book, “Know Your Power,” which she signed at the event). But she clearly wanted the audience to take home one message: “We must have health care reform.”


City Council Passes Budget

Jennifer Maguire, San Jose’s budget director, has worked for the city for for 18 years, and says she has never seen anything this bad. And she is not hopeful that things will improve fast. “Most economists are predicting a slow recovery,” she said ruefully.

Maguire addressed the City Council as it prepared to vote on the 2009-2010 budget. Within the hour, the Council would unanimously approve Mayor Chuck Reed’s Budget Message, as well as the Operating and Capital Budgets. But leading up to the unanimous decision, which closed an $84.2 million shortfall, Maguire was one of many local leaders who adopted a solemn tone while making dire predictions.


Tony West’s Triumphant Return

Introducing Tony West today at the Rotary Club of San Jose’s weekly meeting, Larry Stone reeled off a list of his old friend’s accomplishments: graduate of Harvard, where he was editor of the Harvard Political Review; law degree from Stanford, where he was editor of the Stanford Law Review; former special assistant to Attorney General Janet Reno; former member of the San Jose Planning Commission; and “two-time unsuccessful candidate for local public office.”

When Stone, the longtime County Tax Assessor, mentioned that last item, a couple of groans were heard among the friendly crowd of Rotarians. “Well, Tony,” Stone quipped, “it all worked out for the best.”

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Fatality on Light Rail

KLIV is reporting that a VTA Light Rail train struck and killed a pedestrian last night on the First Street line. Jennie Hwang Loft, VTA’s public information officer, confirmed that a fatality occurred between the Civic Center and Japantown/Ayer stops, but would not confirm that a pedestrian was hit.

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Electric Car Wars

Fisker Automotive, designer and builder of boutique hybrid and electric vehicles, came to enemy territory yesterday to debut its Fisker Karma at Santana Row, and to announce the opening of a Silicon Valley retail outlet. But the news was eclipsed by the announcement today that Fisker’s rival, the Silicon Valley-based Tesla Automotive, inked a big-money deal with Daimler Motors.

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Mayor Calls for Salary Freeze

Mayor Chuck Reed today called on all City workers to accept a wage and salary freeze this year to avoid 150 layoffs in the face of the City’s $77.5 million budget shortfall.  “I’m calling for all our bargaining units to agree to true zeroes this year,” Reed said in a statement released this morning. He specified that this would mean “no wage increases, no step increases, no merit increases.”



Lew Wolff: Bye-Bye Oakland

You read it here first: The A’s are coming to San Jose. “Lew Wolff knows San Jose.  He’s made major investments in our downtown and knows that a ballpark at the right site will be a major boon to San Jose’s downtown and citywide economy.” That’s from a column by Jude Barry, written for SJI four years ago—on Jan. 11, 2005.

In recent weeks, our friend Jude’s prediction has come closer and closer to fruition, and today the A’s may have taken one more step toward a move to the South Bay.