Evil or Bungling?

Nine Events that Changed San Jose and Environs

1. The day the mayor killed the music.

During Gonzo’s reign of terror against the Bay 101 Club, he banned dancing there. As a consequence, he put the band Black Pearl out of work and took away a ballroom dancing venue for 600 or so dancers, many of them in their 70s or 80s. I enjoyed visiting Bay 101 on Saturday nights to listen to Black Pearl and step on women’s feet. Then the mayor and his gang decided what was best for everybody.

2. Careless flooding of Alviso.

For years the maintenance of Coyote Creek and the Guadalupe River was inadequate, causing flooding downstream in Alviso. This was no accident, but a heavy-handed attempt to steal the Alvisoan’s land and ravish their women.

3. Rape of the Old Town Bell.

This story of the snatching of the Old Town Bell from Plaza Park by Susan Hammer to make way for Quetzalacoatl is best told by Dale Warner. The bell was sequestered in St. James’s Park for years, and finally moved to the fire department on Market Street.

Dale Warner’s account:

4. Quetzalcoatl.

5. Treatment of animals at San Jose flea markets.

Stuffing small cages with 50 birds or so was a common sight. Kathleen Flynn was doing good work to get this stopped last time I checked.

6. The San Jose Airport not being named after Ernie Renzel.

This is a crime. Ernie did the heavy lifting for years to get the airport off the ground—so to speak—and his reward was having his bust moved to a dusty corner in the OLD terminal building

7. Deplorable state of A.D.M. Cooper’s tombstone.

San Jose’s greatest artist is lost in the grass in a less fashionable section of Oak Hill Cemetery.

A.D.M. Cooper’s tombstone:

8. Grumpy people in Campbell.

Campbell is populated by mostly grumpy people who suggest their water is being tampered with by San Jose politicians, perhaps to steal their land and ravish their women.

9. Sunnyvale banning parrots from their Art and Wine Festival.

Shame on Sunnyvale for not allowing William, a handsome green parrot and a friend, to attend the “Festival.” I was half expecting the Sunnyvale police to start arresting sparrows.


  1. Many of us remember that the Serpent statue was meant to be made of bronze or steel or something like that and that the city actually paid for it based upon that material. Imagine the looks when they unwrapped it and found, as a letter to the editor article in the San Jose Mercury stated, “something that looks like a pile of dog doo.”

    Not to worry about that though. I have commissioned myself to add a large broom and a pooper scooper to the area. So that the city can rest easy, I will also pay myself unless I can solicit funding locally.

  2. Don’t forget to thank Anna Ayala for getting San Jose in the national media for the last nine months.  That was huge.  It showed the rest of the country that San Jose is actually in the United States and not in South America or something.

  3. Re #1
    Dave, none of the dancers ever gambled that I could tell, and none of the gamblers ever went into the ballroom with the possible exception of one or two souls who were curious as to how the other half lived. So there was no diminishment in revenue for Bay 101 by having the old folks in the ballroom enjoying themselves. When dancing was banned, the dancers just went home. Which was a diminishement to Bay 101 because the dancers bought booze and food.

    Bay 101 is a clean, well lit establishment and the patrons seem quite happy, and not too upset at being separated from their money.
    I enjoyed experiencing all the excitement of the gambling tables as I walked to the ballroom.

  4. My favorite coffee shop Cafe Babylon had to go out of business because of all of the regulations city hall had put on them ruined their business.  I wouldn’t be suprised if what was being said is all true.

  5. Assuming that Mayor Gonzalez actually, and all by himself, banned dancing at Bay 101, I would like to posit the following as a possible inspiration for so acting:

    A gaming business’s primary purpose is to separate customers from their money while they are entirely absorbed in the diversion of the games.  Some supplemental services facilitate the process of the aforesaid separation and some do not.  Long cherished little luxuries attendant to gaming, such as free-flowing and inexpensive liquor, frequently dumped and swabbed ashtrays, and the attraction of curvaceously comely wait-staff in skimpy attire – all of these delights serve keep the customers eagerly spending and losing at the tables.  Dancing to enjoyable music, which Black Pearl provides, is a non-value-added service that, when offered as a routine, gets the customer away from games and into a wholesome activity that is only a cash drain to the club.  Even the saloon revenue is probably blighted when so many are out on the dance floor and not seated to attend to their sorrows and anxieties at the tables.

    What the mayor may have been trying to accomplish brilliantly was to provide a helpful cushion of injunction to the club so that they could assure some of their stricken customers that the loss of dancing in their establishment was as heartbreaking to them as it was to many of the public while inwardly rejoicing in the perfectly deniable release from burden that dancing impinges against the cash flow.

    It is a winwin for all concerned except for poor Black Pearl, though I would hope that those performers might find other venues that might better showcase and cherish their talent than a card room, however resplendently looming as it is as a vistapoint from our famous old freeway, ever would or could – just some thoughts.

  6. Eric, how quickly you forget!  Don’t you know that nothing can exist outside the boundaries of Downtown?  Yes, it’s all about Downtown and if you wanna’ dance, go there.  If you want to open a lemonade stand, go there.  Downtown is important above all else… it must be because the City leaders have spent billions down there.

  7. #4. Have you noticed how Chili Cookoffs suddenly aren’t as popular in San Jose as they used to be? Hmm, I wonder why….I just can’t put my finger on the reason…

  8. I don’t know what all the fuss is about. I found a Cows Foot in my Menudo at Casa Vickys. No body’s taking her to court.
      I’ve stopped eating Menudo since I found out that Diabetes is a self induces nutritional disease. Not so good for the Cow as well. Would Menudo be concidered Fast Food if it were served at Wendy’s. Cows aren’t really that fast.
      The bright side is the Ayalas will be on a low carb diet for the next 9 years. The Judge should have imposed a diet of Wendy’s menu for the next nine years. They are living proof that eating fast food makes you do really dumb stuff.
      Didn’t the Merc run a picture of a San Jose politician eating at Wendy’s.
      I cliked on Yahoo, Fast Foods and Diabetes. If I were the Defence Attorney, that would have been my defence.
      The Fast Food Defence.
      Sure put San Jose on the map for Good Police work!!
        See you all at the Gym.
                The Village Black Smith

  9. Eric, I do acknowledge the merit of your clarification, but I still think that you have reinforced my thesis.  With no apparent criss-cross between the ball room dancers/performers and the gamers, then the dancing – with all of its attendant overhead in power, decor upkeep, and wait-service – was likely not a boon to the business cash flow, some food and beverage sales to the dancers notwithstanding.  Buying food and booze as a part of a dancing evening does not usually result in the revenue that would be comparable to the booze purchases that ensue coincident with gambling (otherwise Vegas would sport an Avalon-class ballroom in certainly the larger casinos which I do not think that they do).  That the dancers were observed to be a largely elderly community (“old folks enjoying themselves”) inspires me to opine further that they probably and collectively drank shallowly (quick sips from one drink between long dance sets) compared with the younger gamblers, often so emotionally keyed to imbibe, diving in head first, over wins and losses as I have only casually observed many times.

    Though I can no more dance than I can fly, like you, I honor the dancers and bemoan their disappointment at the cessation of dancing at Bay 101.  I still maintain, though I cannot prove it, that Bay 101 was probably not too chagrinned at city’s subject injunction, if not complicit with it.

  10. Thankyou Eric for the kind words about our music. We too liked very much performing at Bay 101 on Friday nights. It was one of our most enjoyable gigs. A perfect mix of music and dancing. Our audience, as far as I could tell, had nothing to do with the gamblers. For those who havent been to the Bay 101 Club the ballroom/ dining room (and, ironically, it seems to have been built for entertainment) is completely separate from the gambling area. My take was that the crowd of mature well dressed dancers gave the place a classy look, which couldn’t have been bad for business.                                                  We showed up for work one Friday and was told the mayor had shut down the dancing because of some licensing infraction. And that was it for about 250 displaced dancers. By the way it was a wonderful venue for dancing and dining, and has since never been replaced anywhere else in the southbay to my knowledge.                                                                                When I see people who used to dance at Bay 101 they always bemoan the fact it is not happening anymore. We have Ron Gonzales to blame for that. The Bay 101 decided not to fight it for their own reasons, but without pressure from the mayor’s office there would still be dancing at the Bay 101 and a lot of people would be happier on Friday nights.