Well the consultants and pundits are receding into the background, thankfully. It is now time to check the battlefield for casualties and then look at options for the future.
Paramount to our valley, the path to mass transit is very bumpy in our valley. The excruciating narrowness of the loss of the BART sales tax measure is something that will not soon be forgotten by the losers—Mayor Chuck Reed, Carl Guardino of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and rising star Sam Liccardo laid it, and all, on the line. And in an incredibly close miss, they saw the hopes of a complete BART system dashed—for now.
When Governor Alf Landon was asked how he felt about his landslide loss to FDR, he responded, “Son, you don’t lose much sleep second guessing, when you only win Maine and Vermont!” The proponents of BART are now in that tough position of wondering what they could have done differently for a few more votes. And: what now?
First, and I believe obvious, is the fact that in these tough economic times, very little, probably nothing, could have changed the dynamic. The campaign was as well-run and enthusiastic as humanly possible.
It was a fantastic effort, thwarted.
It is time for a total reassessment of BART. To just run BART to Berryessa, the Old Flea Market, would be both foolish and costly. Other plans, other options, are necessary, including a look a the current route that totally misses our job-rich North San Jose Industrial base. We should look at how the project can really serve San Jose State University and our Downtown and also how to make sure that we maximize the dollars and demand efficiency from VTA. It is time.
On the positive side, the recent election gave us a President who knows and cares about cities and the value of this unique valley—much can come from those two salient facts. It gave us a new hospital that will server our citizens well. It preserved needed resources for the San Jose City budget and these will be desperately needed to keep our city livable.
And on the new-faces front, it gave us two new supervisors and two new Council members. Let us hope that they are diligent and sensible— I have high hopes for all four. We will be needing a lot of solid judgments from these four in the future.