As much as I try to stay in a good mood, nothing, other than a Shark loss to Edmonton, gets me as riled as looking at the current seal of the City of San Jose. The basic logo, with the rising sun symbol, was chosen when I was mayor, and I still like it—but the recent addition of the caption, “10th Largest U.S. City,” was a defensive, clueless decision that just shrieks “bush league.” The old caption, “Capital of Silicon Valley,” although a reach, said so much and associated us with the most dynamic entrepreneurial spot in the history of mankind. Apparently, it isn’t reach enough.
Surely, no one in Berryessa, Evergreen or Willow Glen gives a hoot about being number ten in population, and I can just imagine the mayors of those cities above us just quaking in their shoes about our rising stature. Look out, San Diego, here we come! Yet, such out-of-order boosterism and unwise decision-making is certainly known quite well at our City Hall; in fact, this type of inferiority complex-driven error is the calling card of the “gang that can’t vote straight.” Let’s take baseball for example. Neither common sense, nor good financial judgment, nor political instincts, have prevented the City Hall gang from rushing headlong into land purchases, EIRs, numerous publicity miscues, and an aura of contempt toward the citizens
For more verification on this opinion, see the recent poll on the proposed baseball stadium. For some time, I have been very vocal to the well-meaning folks in Baseball San Jose, and have told them in simple terms that, with no team, no owner, and no financing plan, it was insane to push forward. The people of San Jose will bear much and forgive a lot, but open disrespect of the law in our charter—giving them the right to vote on sports facilities—would be too much even for their forbearance.
I know a bit about this, having faced a citizen initiative on the Arena effort in the late eighties. We did not even count the signatures, but accepted the obvious and moved to the election; we made the case in an honest manner and prevailed. The rest, as is often said, is history, and it was a gigantic win for the families of San Jose. As a wise man once said, “Those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it.”