Peter Allen

Peter Allen

Posts by Peter Allen

San Jose is the (Arts)Place to Be

I often hear it said that San Jose lacks culture. I’d like to say that the speaker is invariably not from around these parts. But more often than not, I hear it from San Joseans. It’s reached the point where I’m not surprised anymore. In fact, I have a speech polished and ready to go for these very occasions. When you’re wearing an Arts Commissioner badge, it never hurts to be prepared. Thankfully, some news arrived at last week’s monthly commission meeting that will add some heft to my argument.

Read More 4

Pride of the Bascom Community

Tomorrow is a big day for District 6. After 13 years of waiting—the past three of which were spent staring down a fully-functional yet sadly dormant shell—we finally get to see the Bascom Library and Community Center open all of its doors to the public. For residents of Blackford, Buena Vista, Burbank, Del Monte, Shasta/Hanchett Park, Sherman Oaks, and Winchester, the 2pm ribbon cutting at 1000 South Bascom Ave. will be the culmination of a protracted struggle with City Hall, and the district’s own councilmember.


Chuck Reed: Our Republican Mayor

Mayor Reed should come out of the closet. No, not that closet. I’m talking about the closet inhabited by local politicos who call themselves Democrats, because it suits their electoral ambitions despite plainly conservative fiscal—and social—values.

Read More 8

For Whom the Beall Tolls

The state Senate race last year between Jim Beall and Joe Coto split local Democrats’ allegiances. In the end, Beall won easily. But last week, as Democrats held caucuses across the state to elect delegates, Beall faced off with up-and-comer Evan Low.


A More Conservative San Jose

This week’s inauguration of Republican Johnny Khamis to the San Jose City Council is a bittersweet moment for yours truly. On one hand, I’m disappointed to have worked on the losing end of the District 10 campaign last fall, and as a lifelong Democrat, I’m frustrated that my hometown’s leadership has shifted further to the right. On the other hand, we were already there, and at least this gives me something to write about.


In Defense of the Arts

Six years ago, I found some friends and formed a band. Two years ago, I joined the board of a local theater company. And last year, I took the opportunity to fuse my passions by applying for and being appointed to the city of San Jose arts commission. The common reaction when I tell people about my moonlighting gig goes something like: “What does an arts commission do in a city with no culture?”

Read More 7

Three Ways to Improve Electoral Math

In a state of more than 18 million registered voters and a city of nearly one million people, it’s easy for any one person to feel insignificant. That’s why it’s important to remember that we’re all in this together; that our collective opinions add up to something greater than ourselves; that this grand experiment called “democracy” works best when we all stand up to be counted.

Read More 1

Three up and Three down

August is on the horizon, which means the local political landscape is about to heat up. Campaigns will kick back into gear, ballot initiatives will pit voters against their more indulgent neighbors, and a couple of the more intriguing local elected officials will call it quits.


Post-Primary Election Awards

Now that we’ve all had a little time to absorb the results of the June 5 primary election, as well as the fallout in a few key races, it’s time to dish out some awards. As you might expect this time of year, there’s a baseball theme.

Read More 2

The Downward Spiral of Local Politics

It happened first at the county Democratic Party’s annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, when one speaker compared the tactics of Mayor Reed, the Chamber of Commerce and other supporters of Measure B to those of the Nazis that he recalled from a visit to the Holocaust Museum. It happened again yesterday, when four councilmembers signed a memo asking Mayor Reed to sign a declaration with over 200 other U.S. mayors signaling our city’s support of same-sex marriage. A woman stood up at the Rules Committee meeting and compared the tactics of these councilmembers to those very same Nazis. Is this what we’ve come to in one of the most diverse and dynamic communities in the world?


Keep on (Food) Truckin’

Every Friday night since February, a couple thousand of my neighbors and I get together for dinner … in a parking lot next to a freeway in a semi-industrialized area of Willow Glen. These days, life is good for foodies all over the Valley of the Hearts Delight. That’s because the gourmet food market has gone mobile, and it’s coming to a VTA Park-and-Ride near you.

Read More 0

The Long Decline of Political Parties

A couple weeks back, I received some troubling news from the California Moderate Party. After three years of toiling in the weeds of The Golden State’s political fringes, Ash Roughani finally decided to throw in the towel on his latest effort to establish a genuine, grassroots third party. As a Democratic activist, it would seem odd for me to lament the loss of what could only have amounted to another siphon of progressive votes at a time when the left is so fractured that we can’t capitalize on our own victories. But the failure of the Moderate Party is just another symptom of the slow death of the political party system as a whole.

Read More 5

City Should Get its Priorities Straight

I was a little bummed out Tuesday afternoon. I had my popcorn ready. I had my browser pointed to the City of San Jose website. I was keyed up to watch the council discussion of an update on progress with the city’s economic development priorities. Essentially, the city’s current economic strategy has been condensed to a five-point plan—as if we don’t have enough of those. To be frank, it should really be a one-point plan.


San Jose: Tale of Two Cities

We San Joseans are a schizophrenic bunch. We’re all for economic development, but we consistently complain about noise generated by the airplanes, traffic, and sporting events that come with it. We’re pro-environment, but we’ll drive our Hummers to shop in Campbell or Milpitas, so we can have plastic bags to pick up our dog droppings. We’re pro-innovation, but we do very little to attract the startups and R&D projects that form the backbone of our region, and we add insult to injury by embracing the misnomer “Capital of Silicon Valley.”

Read More 6

An Open Letter to Larry Baer

Dear Larry: We need to talk. It started a few years back, when Lew Wolff got it in his head that Oakland wasn’t the best home for the ballclub he’d recently purchased. The A’s play in a rundown stadium in a decrepit area of town in front of a dwindling—albeit loud and loyal—fanbase. The organization’s limited revenue stream prevents it from building a consistent winner and essentially makes them a ward of the league. Enter San Jose.

Read More 4