Rants & Raves


  1. Every winter there are a few weekends on which hundreds of excited children all over town are bundled up in coats, boots, and mittens and are driven toward Mt. Hamilton by their parents, all of them anticipating a fun day playing in the snow that is beckoning from the hilltops. Every winter the killjoy CHP is waiting for them there at Hall’s Ranch, below the snowline, to dash their hopes and turn them away.
    The reason for the road closure is cited as inadequate parking and limited turnaround areas. Fair enough. But it seems like it ought to be within our power to design some system which would allow San Jose residents to enjoy these rare opportunities.
    What about a few busses to shuttle folks up to a suitable area? On weekends doesn’t VTA have more limited service that would leave some of those new smaller “community busses” free for alternate service?

  2. Why, thank you #4, for advertising our lovely neighborhood. And yes, we in the “housing development” treasure our past link to the beautiful hotel that once stood where our neighborhood is now. Fortunately we still have a historic element in Ryland Pool; also part of the ‘hood:  http://www.vendome.org/rylandpool/

    Happy Sunday!


  3. Mr. Days #4,

    Yes, the corrosive influence of the affordable housing movement existed as far back as 1930. But seriously, that was quite a hotel and I never knew about it before. Thanks for the link.

    Yesterday, on the west side of the valley, some people tried to have some fun in the snow by driving up Mt. Umunhun Rd.
    Unfortunately, there again the people of San Jose, at any time of year, are restricted from enjoying the summit of Mt. Umunhum even though our tax dollars acquired this land for the Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve several years ago. But anyway, about a dozen cars were parked near the locked gate that blocks further vehicular access. Groups of people were quietly walking up the road a bit further to get to the snow. Well, pretty soon here comes a ranger. He stations himself at the gate to prohibit any more of these scofflaws from going up there and having snowball fights with their kids and making illegal snowmen. He calls for backup. When backup arrives the first guy stays there to guard the gate while the other public servant drives on up the road to roust these miscreants.

    Our Government. Hard at work.
    No soup for you!

  4. From Pizzaro’s Saturday Merc column:

    Labor leader Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins and chamber of commerce Chief Executive Pat Dando may not agree on much, but they’ve found common ground in opposing the recall of San Jose City Councilwoman Madison Nguyen.

    The pair of powerful women recorded a public-service spot supporting Nguyen that’ll air Wednesday on KLIV-AM (1590) and KRTY-FM (95.3). The recall election is slated for March 3.

    When two people who are usually opponents say the same thing, it’s probably worth it to listen.

  5. Can we please revisit, SOON!, the stupid two-thirds threshold for passing a state budget?!!  The Grand Obstructionist Party is really starting to piss me off (as well as thousands of others).  Completely ridiculous what’s going on in Sacramento!

  6. “Hey, maybe he’s annoyed that a few of the many accomplishments attributed to Nguyen on labor’s mailer actually took root back when he or Gregory were still at the district’s wheel. Certainly it’s not that Shirakawa, a newly minted county supervisor, counts as his constituents many of the same activists pushing hard for Nguyen’s removal.”


  7. #8,
    Yes indeed, Tony D. Thousands of State employees ARE upset about this hiccup on their paths to riches at the expense of hardworking taxpayers.
    Thank God there are still a few corners of this once great State where the people have the good sense to elect representatives of principle and some understanding of the proper role of Government.

  8. #7 Reader,
    If Dando and Lamkins can actually agree on something, does this mean that may be the Reps and Dems could find common ground and actually pass the State budget? wink

  9. Don’t know if it is true or not, but the irony is worth a chuckle!


    When southern Florida resident Nathan Radlich’s house was burglarized recently, thieves ignored his wide screen plasma TV, his VCR, and even left his Rolex watch. What they did take, however, was a generic white cardboard box filled with a grayish-white powder. (That’s the way the police report described it.)
    A spokesman for the Fort Lauderdale police said that it looked similar to high grade cocaine and they’d probably thought they’d hit the big time. Later, Nathan stood in front of numerous TV cameras and pleaded with the burglars: ‘Please return the cremated remains of my sister, Gertrude. She died three years ago.’
    The next morning, the bullet-riddled corpse of a local drug dealer known as Hoochie Pevens was found on Nathan’s doorstep. The cardboard box was there too; about half of Gertrude’s ashes remained. Scotch taped to the box was this note which said: “Hoochie sold us the bogus blow, so we wasted Hoochie. Sorry we snorted your sister. No hard feelings. Have a nice day.” 

    And you thought California was the land of fruits and nuts!

  10. #10,
    Just plain and simply unbelievable (sickening really).  “Hiccup on their path to riches;” Give us a damn break!  Didn’t realize that lady at the DMV was driving the latest BMW 7-series and had a 10-room mansion in the hills.  By the way, state workers are hardworking taxpayers, I’m a hardworking taxpayer.  In fact, all public employees are hardworking taxpayers.  Where’s the sense of sacrifice and compromise?  Thank God that there are still some corners of this once great state that are selfish and have no sense whatsoever of the greater good?  Again, ubelievable!

  11. Rave!
    Today I joined countless others in helping Madison Nguyen’s NO RECALL campaign. WOW, talk about a turnout—wall-to-wall cars in the parking lot and people in the headquarters, all to WALK precincts (yes, in this weather!) and/or phone bank for someone they deeply believe in.

    It was good to see that she has so many supporters who know that she cares about and serves ALL people in District 7 and San Jose in general. Her decisions may not make everyone happy all of the time (what council member does?) but her heart and head are in the right place, for her constituents.

    I only wish that we taxpayers who don’t live in her district but have the “honor” of helping to foot the special election’s sizeable cost could also go and place our vote.


  12. If the recall forces prevail, Barry Do and Loung the Lunkhead will be bringing in Madison’s staff for interogation.

    BARRY DO TO MADISON STAFFER, do you know why you are here, Madison staff member?

    Madison Staffer, I have been accused of being a counter revolutionary.


    The sad thing is that Barry and Luong actually would do this.

  13. To SJI readers:

    In remembrance of the first President of the United States, George Washington, instead of participating in the commercial celebration, I would like to post the following:

    According to The White House (About The White House-Presidents), in his Farewell Address, he urged his countrymen to forswear excessive party spirit and geographical distinctions.

    A comment he hoped each of us would take to heart.
    Enjoy your day!

  14. #8, part the GOP’s intransigence stems from the fact that only about 1/3 of the proposed “spending cuts” actually reduce funding of government. The other 2/3 is elimination of proposed increases. This is classic government accounting.

    On the other hand, 100% of the tax increases are actual tax increases. That is not what I’d call a “fair” proposal.

  15. #15 opined: “In fact, all public employees are hardworking taxpayers.”  ALL?  Really, Tony?  Go watch ANY CalTrans project for 3-4 hours.  Spend 3-4 hours watching in any government office, Tony.  Go to any court clerk’s office and watch some clerks chat up the filing service employees of the opposite sex while the line waits less than patiently to file a document. Many, perhaps, work hard; all, no way.  They may all be taxpayers, but not all are hardworking.

  16. Ok, I have watched the state budget debacle for too long.  What about a new state law that says, “If the state government fails to pass a new budget before the start of the new fiscal year (July 1), then all publicly elected state officials – Governor, Legislature, etc. – will stop receiving a salary.  When a budget is finally passed, their salaries will be restored.” 

    Note:  I would also agree that the amount of votes needed to pass a state budget in the legislature should change from a super-majority to a majority.

    Employees in the work world are fired every day for not doing their jobs.  Why should it be any different for politicians?

  17. Eric,
    Over the weekend, I read a story by a journalist who, up until recently, ran a popular blog. I never knew the kind of hard work, and the long hours it takes to maintain one. Thank you for all your hard work in doing this for we SJI readers, I appreciate it! wink

    I have a RAVE!
    Christian, me, and some friends of ours spent Valentines night at Comedy Sportz in San Jose. We had a blast! It was the best $15.00 a person we’ve ever spent! Go if you can, you’ll love it.

  18. Never fear, Christian and Tony D.
    Obama’s Porkulus Package will undermine our State Constitution and provide the delirium tremens stricken spending addicts in Sacramento with a fix of freshly printed billion dollar bills.
    The Party will then be free to continue transforming California into a third-world State.

  19. Christian #23 said:“then all publicly elected state officials – Governor, Legislature, etc. – will stop receiving a salary.  When a budget is finally passed, their salaries will be restored.”
    I have been saying that for a couple of years.  But it’s important that the salary they lose for not passing the budget on time is NOT RESTORED.  That’s just delaying payment.  It needs to be taken away permanently for the entire time we do not have a budget.  They only get it again going forward after the budget is passed.  We are the WORLD’S 8th largest economy, and we a technically bankrupt.

    All legislation in the US Senate requires 60 votes.  Let’s try that before we go back to a simple majority.

    Christian went on to say:“Employees in the work world are fired every day for not doing their jobs.  Why should it be any different for politicians?”  Because if it costs $1million just to try to oust one councilmember in one district in SJ, how much would a recall of an Assemblymember or State Senator cost?

  20. #15 Tony D, and #22 JMO

    I contend that no public employees are hard working taxpayers.  Some are hard working and some are necessary, but none are taxpayers.

    People fall into two categories; net receivers, or net payers.

    Obviously some of the receivers are much needed and great at what they do, but let’s not call them taxpayers simply to be PC.  That’s just silly gov’t accounting practices.

  21. The jobs of private sector employees are always at risk that the company for which they work may, due to fiscally irresponsible decisions by management over a period of many years, be driven to bankruptcy.
    Why should public employees be immune from this extremely effective regulatory influence?
    Let the State of California declare bankruptcy. The State would then be forced to make the hard decisions that it has heretofore been unwilling to make.

  22. #29 William-

    Ridiculous.  The gov’t could give .60 cents instead of giving a dollar and asking for .40 cents in return.

    Why do they do this anyway?  Is it so people fall for that silly argument of “anyone who pays taxes is a taxpayer?”

  23. 31 – Wow. I’ve read some convoluted thought processes on this site before, but yours has to be in the Top 10.
    People who pay taxes aren’t necessarily taxpayers? I’d stay and chat some more but the Cheshire Cat and the White Rabbit are waiting for me. We’ll further discuss your “up is down and down is up” theory over tea.

  24. So the US Constitution has 7 Articles and 27 Amendments.  The California Constitution has 35 articles and at quick glance it seems most of them are manufactored amendments from our once greatly progressive reform minded electorate that went further than most of the country by allowing a measure of direct democracy with initiative, referendum and recall.

    Neither the Feds or California can balance a budget if their political lives depended on it, but the feds can print more money and California can’t.

    So did we go to far with these progressive reforms, or not far enough?  Has the time passed to trust that the electorate is smart enough to have a say in their own government with initiatives and referendums?

    A movement afoot in Sacramento that still feels cheated by the failure of a recent measure to abolish term limits wants to try again by going for a full California Constitutional Convention.  They say its time to rewrite our whole government (which I’m sure would change all the ground rules such as term limits, budget thresholds, etc.)

    While I don’t like the motives, I see the opportunity to complete the progressive revolution started in the 1920s.  I’d propose abolishing the two houses and replacing the legislature with a parliamentary system and a ranked voting system that allows at-large (party list) and district represenation to be combined into a diverse legislature that could not be used simply to serve the two party systems vested interest in perpetuating their own power (and using whatever political tricks they can to expand power such as gerrymandering, payouts to loyal constituencies like prison guards, etc.)

    However, as the recent Washington Post article notes about the wave a revision in South America, simply writing a long enumeration of rights into a populist constitution (while also changing the rules to allow populist leaders to become Presidents for life) does not make all those rights any more doable.  You can grant inalienable rights for everything from health care to free education and clean water, but it doesn’t mean it’ll happen. 

    Ecuador even granted enumerated rights to Nature, which doesn’t really stop a single tree from being cut by someone who’s also been guarranteed the right to housing in the same constitution.

    So after they finally pass a crappy budget that spreads the pain and kills the dreams and hopes of all of us Californian’s for another two years, let’s look beyond the bozos in office or climbing the rungs to take over offices and take back out state with some real progressive reforms that brings common sense, compromise and common sense back to the people and Sacramento.

    No on all incumbents in 2010 and Yes on new CA Constitution (unless its a poorly written boondoggle, in which case I’d prefer the devil I know than the one I don’t.)

  25. $25 Million shall be available for tribal alcohol and substance abuse drug reduction assistance grants
    $150 million for “producers of livestock, honeybees, and farm-raised fish”
    $50 million for habitat restoration and other water needs in the San Francisco Bay Area (save the salt-marsh mouse)
    $198 million to compensate Filipino World War II veterans
    $87 million for a polar ice breaking ship (I thought global warming was taking care of the ice)
    $1.7 billion for the National Park System
    $650 Million to the Forest Service for hazardous fuels reduction and hazard mitigation activities in areas at high risk of catastrophic wildfire
    $545 Million for Indian Health Services
    $100 Million for the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Grant Program
    $850 million for Amtrak
    $150 million for the Smithsonian
    $300 million for energy-efficient-appliance rebate programs
    $4 billion for job-training programs, including $1.2 billion for “youths” up to the age of 24
    $125 Million for the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (the place is full of crap)
    $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts (Jesus in a bottle of urine)
    $1 billion for community-development block grants (ACORN)
    $4.2 billion for “neighborhood stabilization activities”

    $650 Million for Digital Converter Box Program, coupons and converter box installation.
    $55 million for Historic Preservation Fund
    $7.6 billion for “rural community advancement programs”
    $150 million for agricultural-commodity purchases
    $1 billion for the Census Bureau (the White House will now count us and tell us who to vote for)
    $1.368 Billion for grants or loans for energy retrofit and green investments in assisted housing
    $40 Million to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for Operation of Indian Programs
    $1.5 Billion for NASA, Science, Aeronautics, Exploration, and Cross Agency support.
    $198 Million for School Lunch Room EQUIPMENT
    $ 9 Billion for ‘Broadband Technology Opportunities Program’
    $1.256 Billion for NOAA, Operations, Research, Facilities, Acquisition, Construction and Management
    $300 million for Violence against Women Prevention and Prosecution Programs’,
    $954 Million to carry out the immunization program
    $545 Million to carry out chronic disease, health promotion, and genomics programs
    $60 Million to carry out environmental health programs
    $50 Million to carry out injury prevention and control programs
    $40 Million for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to carry out research activities within the National Occupational Research Agenda
    $40, Million for the National Center for Health Statistics (are you worth treating)
    $390 Million Dollars for the Uranium Enrichment Decontamination and Decommissioning Fund
    $600 Million Dollars for acquiring motor vehicles with higher fuel economy
    $400 million for hybrid cars for state and local governments
    $34 million to renovate the Department of Commerce headquarters
    $500 million for improvement projects for National Institutes of Health facilities
    $44 million for repairs to Department of Agriculture headquarters
    $350 million for Agriculture Department computers
    $88 million to help move the Public Health Service into a new building
    $448 million for constructing a new Homeland Security Department headquarters
    $200 Million to the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund Program
    $200 Million for direct loans and grants for distance learning and telemedicine services in rural areas
    $6 billion for university building projects
    $4.5 billion for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
    $200 Million for developing and implementing a nationwide Integrated Wireless network supporting Federal law enforcement

    $1.2 Billion for TSA procurement and installation of checked baggage explosives detection systems and checkpoint explosives detection equipment
    $15 billion for boosting Pell Grant college scholarships
    $2 billion for renewable-energy research ($400 million for global-warming research)
    $2 billion for a “clean coal” power plant in Illinois
    $6.2 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program
    $3.5 billion for energy-efficiency and conservation block grants
    $3.4 billion for the State Energy Program
    $200 million for state and local electric-transport projects
    $1 billion for the manufacturing of advanced batteries
    $1.5 billion for green-technology loan guarantees
    $8 billion for innovative-technology loan-guarantee program
    $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects
    $4.5 billion for electricity grid
    $89 billion for Medicaid
    $30 billion for COBRA insurance extension
    $36 billion for expanded unemployment benefits
    $20 billion for food stamps
    $380 million in the Senate bill for the Women, Infants and Children program
    $2 billion for federal child-care block grants
    $79 billion for State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (for bailing out your local politicians overspending)
    $145 billion for “Making Work Pay” tax credits
    $83 billion for the earned income credit…(largely welfare now defined as a tax cut)


  26. Sorry Alice, I’ll try again.

    Minus the accounting which is obviously confusing, there are two distinct groups of citizens, both necessary.

    Those who fund the gov’t, and those who administer the gov’t.  One pays, one doesn’t.

    Is this really that convoluted?