Rants and Raves

It’s San Jose Inside’s weekly open forum, where thoughts on any topic are welcome. What’s on your mind?


  1. From the fields of Sunnyvale

    GOLD, GOLD, GOLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    City Management receives 2.5 percent home loans from the city, a city they manage, for 45 year terms.  Every failed bureaucrat in the county should Paint Their Wagon and head for the gold fields of Sunnyvale city management.  This is a town where many people live in mobile homes, and city management has enough audacity to demand input on the stadium project in Santa Clara instead of working on housing issues in Sunnyvale.  Management has no housing issues, their citizens bought them houses.

  2. Fixing our Transit System – Real Options

    The Mercury News had an interesting and timely piece about the poor performance of our Light Rail system compared to comparable systems built with the same technology at the same time in some comparable cities.

    Its not that we’re anti-transit (although a lot of people equate self-importance with the size and cost of the vehicle they drive) but rather that transit planners built a lot of miles of track with some fatal flaws.  Streetcars share the road with cars.  Light Rail has a seperate right of way (which means it goes fast and doesn’t pose the same challenge to drivers.)  The LR route works great from Almaden to Downtown, where I would routinely get from Oakridge to SJSU in 18 minutes and have free parking in the burbs.

    Going through downtown, the short blocks, frequent stations and slow right of ways that had the train stop at every light, means that the transit system goes down to 10 MPH.  Going from S. SJ to Mountain View takes 1.5 hours on LR and 30 minutes on HWY 85.

    There’s an old story about a new college campus that didn’t build sidewalks at first, but let people make their own paths across the grass, and then paved the most popular paths.  Putting in transit is probably a similiar exercise where we need to look at commute corridors as they exist now and create alternative ways to service those corridors quickly and efficiently.  Modes need to connect also (Airport, Train Station.)

    How do we fix this broken system even as we’re about to repeat the same mistakes with BART?

    Think outside the box.  Speed and efficiency are the key to offering a real alternative to POV travel.  Our area is so spread out it’s likely to face the “last mile problem” no matter what, where the trip from home to transit and from transit to workplace door will have gaps that will require walking, biking or other personal investments (sweat equity?) in environmentally responsible commuting.

    We need to bypass downtown for an express route.  All routes need to have express and local trains.  Elevated tracks and underground tracks should be part of the equation (this is an inter-generational investment in the quality of life of our communities and not the place to cheap out.)  Despite the lucrative long-term parking revenues that are threatened by efficient transit connections, the main lines of both LR and BART need to go to the Airport directly, and not on spur lines.  Same for the Train Station.  We should also look to underground transit all along the Santa Clara/Alameda/El Camino Grand Boulevard corridor if we really want to create walkable districts with density and destination value.

    We can repeat for other districts and areas.  Linear parks can serve both transit, bike commuters, hikers and recreational users.  Let’s make a network that makes sense.  I’m tired of having my transit and bike trail choices designed by planners and politicians who don’t even use the system.

  3. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                          
    September 29, 2009                                                              

    Contact:        Gwendolyn Mitchell/Laurel Anderson             Joy Alexiou

                    Office of Public Affairs                           Public Health Department

                    (408) 299-5119                                   (408) 885-4164

    County Proclaims Local Emergency in Response to Pandemic H1N1 (swine) Flu Virus

    SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. —Today, the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors declared a local emergency in response to the pandemic H1N1 virus. The declaration followed a report from County Executive Jeff Smith and Health Officer Marty Fenstersheib regarding the current state of pandemic H1N1 and the threat to the residents of Santa Clara County. The Board’s action also included allocating $500,000 in funds for flu emergency response efforts.

    Human cases of pandemic H1N1 have been increasing in the United States, including more than 2,000 reported cases in California and 155 reported hospitalized cases in Santa Clara County between April 3 and Sept. 15, and 167 reported deaths in California and 8 reported deaths in Santa Clara County during the same five month period. Studies reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predict that H1N1 transmission is likely to persist and increase in the Northern Hemisphere during fall and winter.

    “We continue to take proactive measures to prepare and respond in the face of this increasing health threat by declaring a local emergency in response to the threat of H1N1” said Supervisor Liz Kniss, President of the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. “Decisive action is called for with the expected increase of flu transmission in Fall and Winter. 

    Government Code Section 8630 authorizes the Board of Supervisors to proclaim a local emergency when the County is threatened or likely to be threatened by conditions of disaster or extreme peril to the safety of persons and property within the County that are likely to be beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment and facilities o the County.  The County previously declared a local emergency following the identification of cases of the pandemic flu virus throughout the country earlier this year, proclaiming a local emergency on April 29, 2009, which the Board ratified on May 5, 2009, and later terminated on May 19, 2009.

    “We have closely monitored the local and national status of H1N1, and believe it is imperative that we take the necessary steps to protect our community. The Board’s declaration of emergency will enable us to put needed resources in place to respond to what is likely to be a flu season that will impact our entire community,” said County Executive Jeff Smith. 

    Local surveillance indicates that the H1N1 virus continues to spread through the community and has begun to increase in the last few weeks. Surveillance has shown an increased number of people with influenza-like illness coming into Emergency Departments. Some schools are experiencing increased absenteeism. The Public Health Department is preparing for the distribution of the pandemic H1N1 vaccine, as well as antivirals medications, to try to limit the spread of the virus.

    “Because the pandemic H1N1 virus is a new flu strain, people have little or no immunity and it has spread world-wide,” Fentersheib said.  “Everyone should practice basic preventative measures to help limit the spread of the flu including hand washing, and staying home when sick, and get your seasonal flu vaccine now.” 


    By preparing now, you can help protect yourself and your family later. Don’t forget food, water and medicines that you would want on hand for any emergency. For a helpful list, you can go to http://www.sccphd.org and look for the Home Care Guide. There you will find the information you need to prepare at home.

    Because so many people may become sick with this new flu virus, each individual and family should prepare and have the supplies they may need. During the spring it became apparent pandemic influenza can have an affect on everyday life. Schools may have to be closed again, business may experience high absenteeism, and there may be spot shortages of supplies. Have a plan for yourself and your family in case any of these things happen.

    The following common-sense actions can help to limit the spread of germs and the pandemic H1N1 virus:

    ·      Wash your hands frequently.

    ·      Stay away from sick people as much as possible.

    ·      If you are sick, stay home.  Cover your coughs and wash your hands. And stay away from others as much as possible.

    It will be important to stay informed. Information about prevention and control actions will be shared in a number of ways. Visit the Public Health Department’s web site at http://www.sccphd.org and by the CDC at http://www.pandemicflu.gov for the latest. On the Public Health Department site you can now subscribe to the e-newsletter which will send new information about H1N1 and other Public Health Department activities as it becomes available.

  4. “Stimulus Dollars Needed For High Speed Rail”
    So says todays Mercury News.

    Isn’t the idea of HSR to allow more people to live farther away from their jobs?
    And doesn’t that mean it will facilitate more people living in the Central Valley?
    And doesn’t the Mercury News also tell us that there’s a water shortage and it’s bad for people to live in places that are short on water?
    And is there any wonder why so many people like myself have quit our subscriptions to the hypocritical San Jose Mercury News?
    Because isn’t it just a giant Koolaid dispensing machine?

  5. I’ll have to quit driving for the next 22 years in order to offset the carbon footprint caused by Barack Obama and his massive ego flying to Copenhagen on a fool’s errand.