New Year’s Greetings

Another year. They all seem to blend together at a certain point. Part of the problem of getting older, I guess, is the sameness. But it’s also an opportunity. You can see the similarities with a bit of perspective, and enjoy the way things seems so calm and, even, I venture, understandable. When you look at San Jose, you can’t help but getting a warm and positive feeling. Even in the face of the greatest economic downturn in our lifetimes, people remain positive and even hopeful for the new year.

I like that element of our people. I don’t know whether they carry it in their DNA or acquire and augment it through the excitement of this environment, but those who came in 1898 from Europe are so similar to those who came in 1988 across the South China Sea or India or Latin America. Not just a coincidence, I believe. They just keep coming.

And our efforts to rebuild the Downtown and the tax base, are fed by the same enthusiasm. Our efforts to make the city safer are having good effect. Neighborhoods are strained but retain more than an bit of the Beaver Cleaver look. It’s like the dog that played the piano—it’s not that he plays well that’s amazing, it’s that he’s able to play at all that astounds.

There have been some tough years for our valley; they may be more to come. We have come a long way, and with BART and the Bullet Train stop, there are significant things on the horizon.

And as we look to 2009, I would not exchange any 10 billion dollars of public works for the resilience of ten of our citizens, those same ones who have traveled across the globe to make a better life for their family. I’d bet on them.


  1. Tom,
    I have to admire your optimism. I remember DT being full of prostitutes and drug dealers. Over time it was cleaned up and now we have the SOFA district. It seems to me that the more things change the more it stays the same.

  2. Tom,
      Rebuiling downtown and expanding the draw at San Pedro Square, the Adobe and the Fallon House is a rebuilding of history. A close friend and I were talking about Manny`s Cellar in the basement of the Fallon House and a good question came up;“Did Manny own the Fallon House prior to the change in ownership and the restoriation?” I was told by my friend that he did not believe Manny was the previous owner of the Fallon House, but he couldn`t remember the name of the former owner. I told him I would ask you since you wrote the history of this San Jose histiric home. Can you help? What was the name of the family that used to own this home prior to the restoration ?

  3. The Lantern regards Tom McEnery as a man who dares to dream, and dreams to dare.  Tom did make San Jose a great urban area.  Those of us who are country cousins in Santa Clara also dare to dream.  Ps, Kathleen, I agree, SOFA was a place fraternity guys would sit with lawn chairs and observe which streetwalkers had a mustache.

  4. James #3 – thanks for the nice comments and I hope to shake you hand again one day soon. I have the warmest of feelings for Santa Clara, heck, they even let me go to school there – my Dad thought forever – and to teach at SCU – it is quite a place but I miss their old downtown.  Secondly, to Richard Zappelli on # 2, the Fallon House was owned by a lovely woman named Emilia Mandere, a native and Notre Dame High School grad.  Manny only ran and the business and why the whole place didn’t burn down was mere luck. I remember the busboys living in the 2nd Floor building fires on the floor. Divine providence, but good old days. One day it will be a prime educational center along w. the Peralta Adobe – one day soon.  TMcE

  5. Thanks Tom,
      My friend remembers Emillia`s name.It seems she is related to Joseph Cappa, the owner of the Santa Clara Eine Depot on the corner of San Fernando Street and Third St. in San Jose. The Cappa family vineyards and winery were located on Montebello Ridge, the wine maker was John Ricca from Asti,Pimonte Italy.The Cappa family is featured in Clyde Arbuckles,“History of San Jose” on pages180 and 181 along with Charles La Franc and Pierre Mirassou. I believe charles La Franc was Paul Masson`s Son-in-law. Didn`t Paul Masson have his champagne cellers below the Farmers Union on San Pedro Square.
      Close to the Farmers Union on San Pedro Square,on the same side of the street was the San Jose Pasta Company which was owned by the De Mateai family, relatives of the present city manager, Debra Figone.
      Across the street from the Falon House used to be a very popular Italian Restaurant in it`s day the,“Fior D`Italia”. Regular patrons of this restaurant were well known locals like,A.P.Ginanni of BofA, Paul Masson,Charles La Franc and many other well known local families.The Grocery Store next to the Fior D` Italia used to be owned by the Aiassa family.The two leading Grocery stores in San Jose at the time were both located downtown,The Centeral Grocery on Market and San Carlos and the Aiassa Grocery.The Fallon House also close to the Swiss Hotel which was managed by A.P Gianni`s parents.The Italian population near the Fallon House was pretty large.The Farmers union used to support many of the Italian Farmer families in the area.

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