News Of The Week: This Is Your Captain Speaking

For those of you who rely on San Jose Inside as your primary news source (who doesn’t?), here’s some interesting stories from other publications.

From Ronn Owens to the red carpet ...  I know Tom doesn’t want to act too much like the proud father, so I guess it’s up to me to let you in on the news that his daughter Erin’s movie is having its world premiere this weekend at Cinequest.  In the Mercury, Bruce Newman gives a brief description of her documentary, “The Search For The Captain” and details a few others by local filmmakers.

I’m told that at least one of the members of the San Jose Inside team puts in an appearance in the documentary, but since I haven’t seen any cameras around the office, I don’t think it’s me.

After not meeting last week (wouldn’t want to rush anyone back from the three day weekend for Presidents’ Day), the council got right down to business and voted to… sell a few buildings, reports Rodney Foo.

That was about it.

Actually they did some other stuff.  Including one really big thing.  Despite the fact that “they have no idea when or how San Jose’s grand airport expansion may be fully financed,” as Aaron Davis writes, they voted to increase its size by 60%.  That’s right, they voted to make the part that’s getting bigger even bigger.  Apparently, this increase is about the size of the convention center and arena combined.  I’m going to ask John if he knows where to get a good deal on a tent.

Too bad they sold those downtown buildings for a loss of $1 million.  That money would have gone a long way towards, well, finding the $2.8 billion the project is likely going to cost.

At least when it gets up and running, the airlines will be able to talk to each other.  Andrew Hamm reports in the Business Journal that the airport is soliciting bids for a computer system that all airlines can use in order to make things more efficient for tasks such as assigning gates.  A system to make different parts of a building communicate sounds like a great idea to me.

In the neighborhoods this week, the North Willow Glen Neighborhood Association is trying to get the railroad to be a good neighbor to the community.  Alicia Upano reports in the Willow Glen Resident about the attempts to get Caltrain to be just a bit more open to dealing with the residents and the help that Council Member Ken Yeager has been providing.

Finally this week, City Attorney Rick Doyle is watching the Supreme Court closely to see how they will decide a recent case concerning eminent domain, The Fly reports in Metro.  “We’ll have to take a careful look before we move forward with any type of eminent domain cases where we give the property to a private developer,” they quote him as saying.  What were they doing before?


  1. Neighborhood News – District 7 Neighborhood Leaders group formed 2 months ago will be meeting Tuesday, March 8 at 7 pm – Tully Library 880 Tully Road to discuss details of planned Candidates Forum to be held on a Saturday afternoon late April or early May prior to June 7 special election.  Co-sponsored by Asia Law Alliance, League of Woman Voters, Latina Coalition, NAACP, and United Neighborhoods. It will be live broadcasted in English, Vietnamese and is planned also in Spanish. Mayor Gonzales will address the group at their monthly meeting ( 3rd Thursday of month ) March 17..

  2. Sad, our city officials and council have raised building and use permit fees for small buisinesses to all time highs in the name of cost recoupment. 

    While at the same time they are just giving property away to developers?  Who of course won’t lease to a local small business. (at least these developers are local for a change).

    Rumor has it; when Susan Shick left for you hard earned retirement and city pension…. She sold her 950K home for 85K.

  3. Let’s hope Erin’s film sparks a movement (sorry, these terms just work so well) to eliminate the pile in the plaza.

  4. Albertson’s on Santa Clara and 7th is a garbage can. I quit buying food there unless if have to. They overcharge shoppers and they make a fortune in profit: low-overhead, high-prices, low-quailty. This Garbage Can doesn’t even re-invest its obscene profits back into the store or the neighborhood. Yet, Chavez and others claim to address the issue.

    Look at other Albertson’s around the city or county Chavez and others to learn.

  5. Why doesn’t the Merc add up how much money Gonzales has lost or wasted to date on people, projects, etc.?

    Why does the Merc pollute Downtown San Jose with that hideous sign? We are not in Las Vegas.

  6. Mark T-
      Better yet, I hope Erin’s film encourages San Jose to move the Fallon statue to the Plaza, where it should have been all along!

  7. Hey MercuryNews Sign Eyesore,
    Why are you getting so worked up?  What’s a few million here and there between our visionary (aka the mayor) and a few golfing buddies?

    You know what burns my toast is that these “projects” will never stand on their own.  Not only will we be forced to pay at least 4.2 billion for BART, we (taxpayers) will *forever* be on the hook to pay for BART operating expenses.

    As it is currently for Lightrail.  Measure A funds that were meant for development of *new* projects are instead being diverted to pay for Lightrail operating expenses.

    The airport, downtown (God knows how much of downtown is subsidized annually by taxpayers), and any project you can think of is being hung around the neck of taxpayers “to infinity and beyond”.

  8. Ed, I agree the Fallon staute belongs in the plaza but with the inept leadership of this town you know we’d get taken to the cleaners just on moving expenses for that undertaking.  I do think the Mexican American population is feeling a lot more secure these days and that Ms. Napoli could have trouble organizing a credible protest this time around, but too many backwater types will have a problem with spending the money to put Fallon where he rightfully belongs.

    The downtown Lucky-now-Albertsons has suffered from deferred maintenance from the day it was built.  Hey, when the bulk of your clientele are bums or low life who don’t appreciate a clean and inviting store, why maintain it?  I use the term “clientele” loosely since some of them probably just loiter there and don’t have the money to buy anything.  When I asked a friend of mine who had just bought a place in Naglee Park what he did for groceries, he said he goes to Midtown Safeway.  And even that place rivals downtown Albertsons as a low life draw so I guess you can expect any grocery store in or near the downtown to have this problem.  Points for Safeway for at least maintaining their store.

    Let’s hope Gonzo’s arrogance and underhanded behavior has effectively put an end to his political career.  But remember, this isn’t the first council that has been bad about money.  Remember the $60 million that was just plain lost, gone, up in smoke with nothing to show for it?  Ineptitude is the rule rather than the exception for leadership in this town.

  9. Mark T – Actually, the 60 mil was lost while I was Mayor – a notable financial disaster. We fired 7 people, dept. head types, sued the dishonest brokers( got 29M.), and instituted the most rigid and conservative investment policy in the nation.  I took a good bit of the heat, as it should be, and decided then and there to ask the people to change the form of government to put power and accountability in the same place – the Mayor’s office away from the City Manager.  But no two ways about it – it was a horrible mistake; I was the guy at the top.  The citizens gave the Mayor the power – for good or ill.  I like to think that although I made mistakes, I never made the same one “twice.”    TMcE

  10. POSTSCRIPT TO 60 MIL — 5 years later, the same broker group bankrupted Orange County with lossed in the Billions. No one learned much there.  As my Dad, used to say, “Go into politics, Tom, it’s one of the few places where you will be smarter than most of the others!”  TMcE

  11. Actually, Scott Herhold had a good commentary today on the “The Search for the Captian”. I have not seen the movie and probably won’t get the chance.  But, he does say that the movie goes a little light on some of the real problems of our former good Mayor (after all—we can’t expect her to critisize her family too much). Doesn’t the blame for the political firestorm so many years ago fall on everyone?  Was a failure to build consensus and a lack of insight a problem?  Is Herhold correct?

  12. From what Herhold says:  I can’t see the movie and get a true picture.  That is the problem.  It is not objective.  What do others say?

  13. Here is what Herhold says:

    But she puts the most sympathetic gloss on the central truth of the Fallon affair. It was more about Tom McEnery than the statue.

    Tom McEnery, however, wasn’t just a victim of the Fallon affair. He was the guy who invited it.

    A mayor with better antennae in the minority community might have commissioned a statue of Chavez. A more deft coalition-builder might have been able to get Fallon through after installing art to honor Hispanics or Indians.

    So… who is one to believe? (remember many of us paid little attention to this at the time). A family members rendition or a newspaper columnist?  The answer is easy. 

    By the way it is Ms. Casual.

  14. Was that a trick question about whom to believe – family member or newpaper columnist? How about supporting what you think is correct? This issue is another case of that people are going to believe what they want and then find others to support that belief instead of objectively looking at the situation. At least she invited both sides to speak.

    This should not be an issue of Mexican heritage vs Irish or whatever else heritage. Both can and should exist harmoniously and just because we have a large mexican population should not mean that we ignore the contributions of Fallon because he is not. He raised the American flag – shouldn’t that be recognized? It is an piece of history and not subjective.

    Too bad they had to put an ugly statue in the place of what could have had a beautiful one. For asthetic purposes solely, the Fallon statue should be there and people need to move on!

  15. Hey Downtowner, I think you’ve said it all with the above entry. 

    The noisemakers are supposedly going to be picketing at the Rep when this film is shown.  They got their pile in the plaza so what is their beef now?  This is a group that definitely needs to move on.

    I was also amused by a TV report on this film that said few people are interested in this.  Probably because nobody wants to address the issue of what ended up in the plaza.  Everybody knows what it looks like, everybody thinks it’s an embarassment to this city (except the noisemakers who like pit bulls can’t let go of this one cause and start putting their energy into bigger issues in their corner of the community) but nobody will come right out in the media and say it, or ask that something be done to relocate it.

    It’s clear to me from what I see in this forum that people do care and want to see something done about this.

    For now, maybe we can just poke fun and somehow get a steam machine mounted on top of it.

  16. P.S. Tom, I know you were at the helm when the $60 mil was lost but I also know you want only the best for SJ and you’ve got my respect as a guy who got a lot done to improve this town’s image (I have read “The New City State” on top of witnessing the downtown tranformation for myself) so couldn’t bring myself to point the finger at you.

  17. Interesting that a TV station would do a story on something few people are interested in. That’s an interesting premise.
    I suspect there’s a lot of interest just below the surface. The Fallon statue seems to touch a raw nerve with a lot of people in San Jose as an issue that has never been resolved to anyones real satisfaction. 
    Here’s a question: Will any of the Mayoral candidates, announced or otherwise, have anything to say? 
    Chuck? Dave? Cindy? Pat? Jim? (Not you Andy!) 
    I’m not holding my breath, but it would be nice to see some leadership.

  18. The problem with most politicians is that they won’t take a position on anything contoversial.  They have no guts.  Arnold is one of the few.  Tom was one who would do what he thought was right regardless of consequences, Fallon statue, take blame for a bunch of buearocrats who lost 60 million.

  19. Arnold take a stand on controversial issues? Must be a differenct Arnold than the acting governor we have in Sacto. He doesn’t take a stand on anything—he makes a show of it, pretends to be interested, says one thing, does another, but always collects money. He’s turning into Gray Davis but with a flair for show biz. He’s becoming as embarrassing to the state as SJ leadership is to SJ.

  20. Our state was maxed out on the embarrassment meter well before Arnold arrived on the scene.

    Nancy, Barbara Boxer, Barbara Lee, and the legions of nutjobs we have representing us have been doing quite well on the embarrasment front.

    How in the world would you ever know if Arnold was doing a decent job – you think our ‘fair and balanced’ media here in the Bay Area would report it?

  21. Oh, I get it. People who speak out and stand up for controversial issues like Lee, Boxer, etc. are nutjobs, but Arnold, a guy who hasn’t met a dollar he didn’t like, is OK. There are many sources for news—relying on any one source is not wise, but when many sources report that all is not well in Sac town, a person can make an informed decision.

  22. Erin’s documentary offers an interesting perspective on both the story of the Fallon statue, and San Jose’s recent political history. I hope that it will eventually be seen by a wider audience in San Jose. It’s a real discussion-starter.
    For those who saw it: the “stree debate” at the Farmers Market was priceless!

  23. I really enjoyed watching Erin’s documentary this weekend.  It was well done!  I actually made an extra trip to “drive by” the statue.  I can’t believe the taxpayer dollars spent to keep it in storage.  AND now I know the reason behind that empty triangle at the end of Plaza de Cesar Chavez.  Can we post a little plaque that says “Formerly a site for public art”? 

    If you have an opinion about SJ politics (if you are here you do) or want to debate a piece of SJ history, you don’t want to miss it. I believe it is showing Monday and also in SF at another film festival.

  24. OK, after reading comment #27 it has become clear that our resident Fox News talking head Frank Furter must not have ever seen “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” or he wouldn’t be using the handle he has chosen.

    How do you hide those fishnets and heels from your cronies, Frank?  I think your hero in Sacramento has a term he usually applies to democrats that would fit in perfectly here.

  25. H. Burger,
    You’re right I haven’t seen it – but I appreciate the heads up from the deviants on this thread nonetheless.  Have a nice day.