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.

Now, many can quibble on the route, the ridership figures, the campaign secrecy (vastly overplayed in my opinion)—but one thing is clear: Without Carl Guardino and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, this measure was DOA, a non-starter. They live up to their name—they led.

Mayor Chuck Reed and Councilman Sam Liccardo must get a large share of the credit—and I am sure they will, but probably in the next life; they were doggedly pushing until the end.

Is this the end?

We will know when the final votes are counted, chads and all. It is quite an election.

And on an unrelated note, the ACLU has once again entered the downtown fray with a naive and confusing opinion.

I remember in the early eighties when Downtown was plagued by prostitutes and johns, making the south Downtown neighborhoods unlivable. The students at Notre Dame High School were solicited on their way to class, Lowell School was under siege at night, and the residents could not get into their driveways as the condoms piled up on their lawns.

The ACLU, an organization I admire and which has fought so many worthwhile battles, took the position that these hookers and johns had a right to congregate and do whatever they wanted. Easy to voice such opinions from the manicured lawns of Palo Alto and the tree-lined enclaves of the Grand Duchy of Monte Sereno. They regarded this as some Jane Fonda or Shirley McClain movie set—just innocent sex.

As the violence and murders escalated, the citizens made their point and the DA and the courts and the San Jose PD responded. The city was rendered livable again, thanks to the citizens of those neighborhoods.

It will get quite interesting as a leader of the Downtown Association has also suggested a version of a citizen review board. This DTA and the Chief are now in a big-time battle. It will be a lively week.


  1. Tom,
      Everyone is forgetting the High Speed Rail from LA passed with flying colors.
      I believe the voters have realized we need to begin building our infrastructure (rail).We need to reduce our use of gasoline and rail is a good beginning.
      Tom,one question I have for you,“how do we make sure the BART program doesn`t become a Boston Big Dig”. How do we hold the staff at VTA accountable when they tell us the total cost to bring BART to San Jose will be $6 billion? What will happen to the electrification of CalTrain? Will VTA finish the Light Rail to East Ridge? Tom, your thoughts.

  2. Not only did the state approve HSR, but the North Bay approved the SMART rail and Los Angeles County approved the massive Measure R. I think a lot of people know transit is the new wave and the right direction, but I hope we don’t just settle for having BART as a figure of our attitudes on public transportation.

    I echo the sentiments of the Mr Zappelli in that this project should not be the end or even the sole focus of VTA’s efforts to make many neighborhoods more connected to each other. We still need other projects and a drive to consolidate housing and jobs near our new infrastructure. We aren’t dropping billions of dollars on a trophy train.

  3. 1 – Seems like you should have had answers to those questions before you voted “yes” on this measure.
    That’s the problem—we don’t have the answers and there is nothing to hold VTA accountable.
    Here’s to hoping the measure does not pass.

  4. “Is this the end?”

    You must be joking.  We don’t even have a financial plan yet.  If VTA has any clue how they will build BART, they certainly aren’t bothing to tell anyone.

    The last such plan had a 3 billion dollar hole.  In the last two years, that gap has grown.

    Reed and Liccardo are both on the VTA.  In practice, Reed and San Jose control VTA.  It’s time to hear how they plan to pay for BART.

  5. #4 Greg,
      We were promised by the VTA General Manager we would see that financial plan at the December 2008 VTA Board meeting.
      Tom, do you forsee any reason we should not see the financial report at the December meeting?
      Greg, the $6 billion price tag for BART sounds like a great deal for a 16 mile BART system with BART parking lots.
        The Measure B 1/8th cent sales tax covers the cost to operate BART,“BART Police,BART train operators and maintenance.All operational costs.
        Greg, they told us they could deliver,give them a chance to deliver on their word.

  6. Hopefully BARTWATCH can now start a date pool on the inevitable press release: “We underestimated costs—need another $4.3 Billion in sales tax to finish BART”

    I’ll tentatively put my money on September 4, 2009.

  7. Tony # 9—we’ll save a plate for you when VTA comes back for more $$ in a couple of years, and then again when the glowing ridership projections/fare box revenue fall far short of expectations.

  8. VT-A, VT-A, VT-A, VT-A, VT-A, VT-A, VT-A, VT-A, VT-A, VT-A,

    I think its time we ask the question who is going to give the Yes on Measure B concession speech.

    I personally nominate Greg Perry. The dude dropped 17K on a losing effort. The least he deserves is some face time.

    Just keep it short. That’s all I ask in return for this support.

  9. 6 – And what do we do when they don’t deliver on their word? Just say, “too bad”? It’s a little late at that point to realize what a mistake this poorly crafted measure would be.

  10. #9 Tony D
      Remember what you said, remember it well. Also remember what the voters voted for,“a BART from Warm Springs through downtown San Jose turning at Diridon Station and on to Santa Clara and back to Warm Springs for $6 billion dollars”, in addition an additional 1/8cent sales tax to cover ALL operational costs”. No more taxes,no more Measures,No more bonds”. the $6billion pluss the 1/8cent sales tax is all we need.
      Remember Tony what the voters voted for,remember the promice made by all BART supporters.
      For me, the the voters have spoken, that`s enough for me, like the voters, what I was promised is what I expect.No more smoke and mirrors!

  11. Tom,
      In October, Michael Burns said,” we will have the financials by the December VTA board meeting,I believe him.
      Tom, for the record,I am in support of public transportation. I am a firm believer that we in San Jose and Santa Clara County need a lot more than BART to solve our present grid lock problems and, the projected growth given us by the 2040
    for San Jose by the folks at City Hall.
        I have always been in support of more public transportation, but I could not understand why BART should come before a comprehensive transportation plan for the City and County.
        Tom, there is “no more room for any more freeways in this valley”. Just how do you think we are going to find the $$ money to solve the big transportation problem we are facing by 2040. Have you given that any throught.One of our friends said to me,’‘hey Rich,
    I don`t think I`m going to be around in 2040” how about you.Tom do you think you will be around to answer the why didn`t the city plan ahead.
        There is a lot to think about.

  12. OK, I`m a little confused this morning after reading Gary Richards report in the Mercury news???
      ” and that explains the Champagagne Corks popping Friday in front of the old station, and a lot of busy days ahead for officials like Ben Tripousis, the transportation systems manager with San Jose`s Department of Transportation”.“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity,“he said”,“he said to develop a transportation facility that is comparable to the best in the world”.
        Is this the same San Jose we live in? I thought VTA was going to do the BART build out with parking lots etc., etc.? Is this the same San Jose that is having budget problems, the same city that has to cut $20 million from the city budget in January including cuts from the SJPD and the San Jose Fire Department and EMS Services??
        I thought we had serious budget problems? Is the San Jose Department of Transportation going to be exempt from budget cuts?
        The parking lot at Dirdon Station…“A planning study could be underway by April looking at Terminal improvements and parking issues”.The lots at Diridon already fill up early each morning with cars…”.
        This was one of our promices, the BART parking lots were to be built by VTA/BART…is this still true or is San Jose going to pick up the cost of the BART parking lots…which are huge compared to the light rail parking lots?
        Is the City of San Jose going to find money again that they tell us they don`t have? Money for police,Emergency Medical Emergency vehicles for our fire stations, money for more fire stations, money to take care of parks, money to staff our library system,money to fix our roads?
        On one hand our city leaders tell us they are running out of money, on the other hand the same people are once again going to find money needed for another project.

  13. #17,
      San Jose needs a Department of Transportation and it has many good qualified people within it.I for one am very pleased with how they are able to do so much with such a limited budget.They are wat behind with the needs of San Jose, especially the condition of our roads.
      Why they are involved with BART/VTA in any type of duplication of effort is beyond me.
      Why is this department spending any money on BART should be the question.
      VTA told us they have enough money with the $6billion dollar expenditure pluss the 1/8cent sales tax (Measure B) to cover all operational costs.
      Why is San Jose spending any money on BART? Why are Redevelopment Department funds also being used for BART?
        I believe it is time we recieved a line by line list of just what VTA will deliver for the $6billion plus the 1/8 cent tax Measure B money.
        I`m getting concerned something sneaky is about to happen.

  14. Why does San Jose have a “Department of Transportation” at all?  It sounds wholly redundant with VTA, especially if you’re paying salary and benefits for a “transportataion systems manager”.

  15. Uh, Greg,

    You were a one term city council member here in Mountain View. Regarding your comments (item 16) about the city of San Jose having a department of transportation, I’m curious, did you, in your two years on the council, ever notice Mountain View has a department of transportation?

    I guess not. (Hint: Its in the public works division).

    Maybe if you had spent more time dealing with MV issues, you’d still be on the council?

  16. R. Zapppelli: According to EDD, as reported in the Murky News (buried on the back page, I might add), Silicon Valley UNemployment jumped from 4.9% last year to 6.9% this year.  At the same time, government ADDED 3,700 jobs!  There’s something terribly wrong with a growth in govt. jobs in down times.

    Budget/ smudget—they all keep hiring in gubmint

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