By Guest Blogger Dave Cortese
Close your eyes and imagine one of the greatest public/private partnerships in San Jose’s history. A $3 billion package of housing, retail and jobs, parks, trails, open space, money for new schools and a new library spanning over 600 acres of true infill lands.
Imagine along with that, new growth limits established for this same area of the city that would allow all of the development above to happen over the next ten years, but no more.
On top of all of that throw in $120 million in transportation improvements including the long-awaited widening of the 101 corridor between 280 and Hellyer Ave, and three all-new interchanges at dangerous backlogged locations like Capitol, Tully and 101. Imagine all of this paid for, including the planning effort, without any taxpayer money involved.
Now, imagine all the tax revenue and jobs this is going to create for the city.
Imagine a process where consensus is reached on all of this and more by 31 neighborhood leaders together with a half dozen of the most successful landowner/developers in the area AND the city planning department, and having them all reach consensus.
Sound like a dream? It actually happened in Evergreen in 2005!
Imagine the city councilmember representing the area bringing this report to the San Jose City Council. Should be a big celebration, right?
Oops! Forgot one thing.
Imagine Ron Gonzales is Mayor of San Jose. He likes to try to intimidate people. He asks developers to pull out, to abandon the process and start all over again with him and a group of political buddies and insiders—so he can get rid of the original participants. He has his courageous lieutenant sneak around warning people not to testify in a public hearing. He tells people nobody consulted him about this opportunity in time, despite the fact that he has, in the past, cast several votes in favor of the process, and has his signature all over documents that say he knew all about it. He succeeds in convincing a majority of the council to stall and delay and play games.
Only in San Jose, when it is time to jump at a window of opportunity, does the Mayor slow things down and send everything to be studied some more. Only in San Jose does the Mayor play political games with multi-billion dollar economic development successes. No wonder we’ve missed so many opportunities as a city… No wonder so many ordinary citizens feel disenfranchised in this city.
Dave Cortese is a San Jose City Council Member representing District 8 and a candidate for Mayor.