Cinco de Mayo Comes to an End

Cinco de Mayo won’t be quite the extravaganza it normally is. San Jose’s annual parade and festival has been canceled.

Mounting costs and a lack of cooperation from the city were reasons cited for the cancellation, according to the American GI Forum, a veterans group that puts on the celebration. The organization says the event has become a money pit.

The GI Forum and the city began to clash over the costs to put on the event after the 1997 festival, when almost 400,000 people attended and some partook in violence and vandalism.

Cinco de Mayo, or May 5, commemorates the victory of the Mexican militia over the French army at The Battle Of Puebla in 1862. The date is commonly mistaken as Mexico’s Independence Day, which is Sept. 16.

Read More at the Mercury News.

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.


  1. I can’t get upset about this. If San Jose is too poor to put on a fireworks display for Independence Day, there’s no reason to celebrate a holiday from another country.

  2. “If”
    By George Berlin

    If San Jose could make their Cinco de Mayo parade a large celebration like St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York,

    If San Jose could build a Grand Central train station like New York,

    If San Jose could make Guadalupe River Park & Gardens an urban oasis like Central Park in New York,

    If San Jose could make the SAP Open a world class tennis event like the New York Open,

    If San Jose could be a beacon of light for immigrants like New York,

    If San Jose could make HP Pavilion a hub of entertainment like Madison Square Garden in New York,

    If the San Jose Sharks could become a storied franchise, like the Yankees of New York,

    If San Jose could do all the things New York has done for the past four hundred years, then we will still feel inferior to San Francisco.

  3. Damn.  I am going to miss watching the police helicopter flying up and down Story Road between downtown and White Road.  Back and forth, late into the night.  And I am going to miss having all the 280 exits being closed between downtown and the Berryessa Road exit.

    Isn’t there some way the city can come up with money so this important event can be held?

    • Oh goody.  I got to watch the police helicopter last night, 5/5/11, flying around Story Road.  Thanks all you wonderful, peaceful people who are always causing trouble. 

      I have an idea.  Try graduating from high school and going to college.  If you are female try making it to at least 18 before having children, and get married first.  It really is not that hard to be useful instead of useless.

      Good luck.

      On a positive note, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Indians are moving into East San Jose.  Their culture is one of respect, not disrespect.  So, we are seeing East San Jose improve.  The best part is they do not blast their music so that everyone in the neighborhood is forced to listen.  I have never understood the logic of playing music outside instead of inside.  I guess it is just part of the culture of disrespect.

  4. Why don’t we have a falcon baby parade at City Hall along with a Burning Man ceremony with Pete Constant and Pierluigi dressed in snake skin lighting the bonfires!

  5. Another badly run San Jose community organization who felt entitled to get city tax dollars rather than raise their own money as the good community non profits do

    Goodby, don’t come back until you earn how to raise money and manage your events and festivals

    San Jose is too poor to put on a fireworks display for our Independence Day, provide adequate public safety or other city services.

    Cutting off all the badly managed community groups tax subsidies is a good idea, we need to cut off more

  6. Who Cares about it? 

    I did hear that Pete Constant did want to put on a Fishing-Surfing-Weight Lifting-Wrestling Expo as his part of the Holiday Parade. 

    I understand it was his goal to show folks how to Triple Dip, cheat the system and commit Disability Fraud. 

    He was heard saying that he wants to wrestle in the next Olympics and has been training secretly and that his back is CURED!  After he drank a special potion given to him by an “OLD” evil witch, wait that was Deb Figone…

    Old Frank

  7. What about the Veteran’s Day parade?  Since 1919 San Jose has been able to host a parade honoring our nation’s veterans.  The parade survived wars and a depression.  Will a poorly managed pension system cause the end of such a long tradition in 2011?

  8. I guess these misinformed comments should not surprise me given the number of 95125ers that express their views on this site.

    Continue enjoying your wine – we won’t bother you.

      • Huey played it right off the bat.  And your “violin” comment didn’t help.  As more and more of our people get an education (outside of Bellarmine, Presentation, and Santa Clara) and become professionals, you’ll have to deal with us.

        • (Sarcasm)

          You are so correct home boy!  How dare those 95125’ers put down our cultures!

          Next time my race elects a pope, I will officially protest and whine that the city didn’t respect my cultural heritage.

          We should be given the same freedom as everyone else to run rampantly down Santa Clara street setting cars on fire, while driving 20mph under the speed limit in our Lincoln Continentals. Blaring Pavoratti, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Louis prima with the bass turned up SO LOUD that you can’t figure out which song it came from.

          Oh and let’s not just STOPPING in the middle of traffic to yell at girls.  I’m going to contact cousin Dave and the Italian Heritage Foundation RIGHT NOW.  I might even contact the ACLU, since it’s obviously a civil liberty to demand tax dollars for our Sicilian heritage.

          Yup, I’m with you home boy.  So with you.

        • >>Have you ever been east of the 101?  Dave lived here.

          I have, and Dave still does.  Guess you don’t know him well enough.  I won’t go into my entire history on ESSJ, but I went to Sheppard and James Lick and lived between Evergreen and Alum Rock for 23 years.

          But stereotype?  You’re the one calling yourself “EAST SIDE HOMEBOY” like it’s some sort of badge of honor. 

          I pray that you will learn that there is this huge world outside of your “homeboys” that doesn’t give a rats about ESSJ, or even knows where it is on a map.  You are the one stereotyping yourself.

          I have a ton of Mexican friends, most of them are disgusted by the entire “homeboy” culture, and don’t live their lives glorifying it.  They have education, jobs, and don’t waste their lives crying about how other people are trying to keep them down.  They moved on, something you need to learn how to do.

        • Robert –

          You are an embarassment.  I’m proud to know your cousin Dave.  He is a wonderful man and outstanding public servant.  He has always been supportive of the Latino community and a frequent attendee of La Raza Roundtable.

          Your rant is filled with nothing but stereotypes and a desire to keep us down.

          Have you ever been east of the 101?  Dave lived here.

        • I do wear my neighborhood as a badge of honor.  You try and portray yourself as someone with East Side roots.  You come from a family of land owners.  My family picked in your fields. 
          And what is this nonsense about call 911 on your camera phone.  That may work in Almaden, but not over here.
          You’re not one of us.  To try and use the fact that you have one or two Latino friends does not take away the fact that you make hurtful comments about my culture.
          I wonder why the violence associated with last year’s Bayou Festival in Campbell does not receive the same kind of outrage from you and your sidekick Mr. Howe.  Is it in anyway related the fact that in Campbell it’s considered a few white boys having a little fun?  When do the lynching’s begin?

  9. Rest assured that the gangsters and troublemakers will still arrive after dark… the parade is separate from the shenanigans.

    As with all things, you get what you pay for- and San Jose is not willing to pay for public safety.  The PD is foolish if they are proactive at Cinco, having just been handed pink slips and a pay cut.  The “people” have spoken with Measures V & W, so give them the service they are willing to pay for… reactive.  And when the fires start, I hope the firefighters are on board too… let City Hall burn.

  10. It was the Battle of Puebla on Cinco de Mayo, that kept the French from supporting the Confererate States against the North. This gave Pres. Lincoln the edge. Once defeating the south , he moved a United States on the French at the Mexican boarder, and ordered the French out of Mexico.
    So what does that have to do with blocking every exit to the East of San Jose. NOTHING! Just bad politics.
    The GI Forum have had their way far too long. They controlled every Hispanic Celibration far too long. These were cash cows.Cinco de Mayo 16th of September, San Jose Mariachi Festival.So how did they acquire so much power. POLITICS!!
      It saddens me to see so much testeserone exibited on these days of celibrationg our common heritage.
    Take the politics out of the cash cows, and life as we know it will return to normalcy in our Village San Jose de Guadalupe.
      Our heritage celibrations do not belong to the chosen few, that get the nod to display from the Council.
      We will all celibrate, because we can!
    Thank You, President Lincoln,and The Men and Women that fought and died that day in The Battle of Puebla.

      The Village Black Smith

    • > It was the Battle of Puebla on Cinco de Mayo, that kept the French from supporting the Confererate States against the North. This gave Pres. Lincoln the edge. Once defeating the south , he moved a United States on the French at the Mexican boarder, and ordered the French out of Mexico.


      SO-O-O-O-O-O! ! ! ! !

      Cinco de Mayo is really a REPUBLICAN CONSPIRACY!!!!

      I say, let’s have the biggest and best Cinco de Mayo parade ever!!

      Let’s have George W. Bush as the Grand Marshall!!

      Hell, let’s have giant floats with President Obama spiking a football or throwing a tamale past Michelle.

      Isn’t America a great country!!!!

  11. > Cinco de Mayo, or May 5, commemorates the victory of the Mexican militia over the French army at The Battle Of Puebla in 1862

    What the hell is the “American GI Forum” anyway?

    And what the hell do they have to do with Cinco de Mayo?

    Did American GI’s fight at the Battle of Puebla or what?

    Didn’t Abe Lincoln have his hands full with other wars in 1862? 

    How come the American GI Forum isn’t commemorating Manassas, or Antietem, or Gettysburg?

    • please don’t get me wrong i love Cinco de Mayo and all the parties that go with it but creating a holiday based on a miltary victory over the French is setting the bar pretty low. 
      The French themselves have Bastille Day, which celebrates what???
      that’s right, essentially a military victory over the French. 
      yep, even the French celebrate beating the French.

  12. The city cannot afford this event, but they could afford $502.000 given to the Hispanic supermarket across the street from city hall.  You know the market, the one that filed for bankruptcy last year.

    Sam Liccardo needs to get in on this parade.  $817,000 to Camera 12.  1 million to the SJ Rep.

    Sam, they only need $22,000 for a parade.

  13. Just have every non-Bellarmine eastside home turd kick in $5- and next year there will be enough money for the Cinco parade.
    But seriously, when you say ‘we are becoming educated etc’ that’s all anybody wants. Responsible self respecting members of the community not unemployed beligerant criminals trashing our home town. I’m latino and it’s embarrassing they way some young men think it’s cool to act ignorant. We need to get ourselves together or nobody will ever take us seriously.

    • OMG, I wouldn’t wrap fish entrails in a Raj blog!  Can’t remember him ever being anything more than a PC sh*t-disturber.  SJI is so much better without his columns.

  14. Violence, Extreme vandalism, 100’s of incidents of wanton destruction -chaos in the downtown at the expense of people whose lives and lively hoods are invested there. Hopefully they can keep it safe and sane this year. It is indeed a shame, but we can’t just pretend this isn’t happening when the violent vandals number in the 100’s!

  15. LOL!  What’s with these Latinos using “us”?  I’m American of Mexican decent. I agree with most of the people here who don’t give a rats ass about STINKO de Mayo.  My family NEVER celebrated it. We celebrate 4th of July, baby!  My brothers (all 7) were in the Navy/Army.  We are 100% proud Americans, and we see this particular day as just another drinking holiday (if you want to call it even a holidsy), like St. Patrick’s Day.

    But this “us” thing?  You don’t represent me, and I don’t represent you. In fact. alot of you DESERVE the bad stereotype you have, simply by your “poor me, I’ve been discriminated against”, anchor baby having attitude.  Further more, since you can’t properly watch your teenagers and teach them any values and to conduct themselves like RESPONSIBLE citizens(?), go back and disrespect your own country..not ours!

  16. Well, the malcontents didn’t disappoint us—- vandalized businesses, shattered plate glass windows, stabbings, ad nauseum.  The good news, they kept it mostly in their neighborhood.  The better news, SJ used to subsidize this event – that’s right we the taxpayers used to pay the east side losers to tear up things.

    • Greg your comment amuses me till I get to..

      “east side losers”

      While I think we share similar views on why the ruckus happens on CDM, I don’t like you saying “East Side Losers”  I know you probably didn’t mean it to apply to everyone from the east side, but it comes across that way.

      Cortese’s are from east side you know.

      If I can cut down the cursing, perhaps you can cut down the horrendously offensive and inflammatory posting?  Thanks.

      To the Mexican American community.

      I know it’s not everyone that causes this…  The ones trying to do right, I know you guys have a huge uphill battle to effect change. 

      My suggestion to you is this.  You need to petition City Hall to make CDM a “Treble Penalty” holiday.  Anyone caught doing the things these “Windows breakers” do get triple time/fines/restitution if they get caught.  You also need to issue a Bi-Lingual statement telling these people they will no longer be tolerated, you are in league with the police, and they will be patrolling on horseback.

      Your people need not get into fights if they start.  I deal with knuckleheads like this weekly.  I hold up my cell phone camera, hit record, dial 911 on the pad and say “I’m recording and I can hit 911 anytime bud”

      Usually that drops it.

      Your organisers need not escalate past that.  Cops will come, make a hefty profit, and you can continue partying.  Other districts can’t hold this type of solution against you, because the treble damage would more than cover the tax cost of having enforcement out there in the first place.

      Keep it up for 5 or so years with the heavy enforcement, the warnings, treble damages.  Also, publish the names of every malcontent in a police blotter in the El Observador. Maybe ask our local Telemundo affiliate to publish the names and photos as well.

      The reason I say this is because I know your Heritage, much like my own places a lot of emphasis on “Don’t get caught shaming the family”

      I think you understand the point now.

      You’re not completely helpless from preventing this from happening in the future.  You just need to work with the city, the community, and the news to make it happen.

      Heck, I’m certain SJI would be more than happy to publish names/photos of malcontent if you had them.

      • I’ll bet every gangsta’ wannabee who caused the trouble lives on the east side.  I meant no offense for those who aren’t punk losers and live on the east side.

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