I think that after years of writing about San Jose on this site, I have come to a realization about the crux of the problem with things in our city.
Week after week, I have become a broken record talking about what’s wrong, what’s right and how to make San Jose the place we want it to be. Many of you agree and more disagree. Many of you think that I am downtown-centric—you’re right. And many of you think things are never going to be better, no matter what. But I was thinking about why they never will be different. And the reason is that those in power don’t think things are that bad.
Now, I suppose in order to be fair (not that I truly want to be), I should be calling various city council members and the mayor himself to find out why they think what they do. But I believe it’s a breakthrough to realize that they are pretty happy with San Jose. And that is the main issue here.
They sit above the city in a beautiful new building downtown; they go out to lunch and the town is crowded with working folks around the new City Hall; they get in their cars (probably locked safe in a parking garage) and drive back to their nice suburban homes. Then they probably go out to eat at Santana Row, or in Campbell or Los Gatos, and then look at us and say, “What’s the problem? Life is pretty good!”
Well considering the devastating business news that is happening all around the country, yes, I guess you can say compared to Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual, we are doing pretty well. But our leaders don’t see what we see. Is it because they are deluded into thinking that they have done a lot to change San Jose and the job is done? Or do they not look at San Jose through the eyes of a resident, wanting more, seeing problems and wanting them to be fixed? They see task forces, study teams and deliverables, not what needs to get achieved.
I am thinking that I should invite the mayor and some city council members out with me for a night in San Jose. Not only could they probably not keep up, but maybe they would see things from a new perspective. I want them to admit that we are not even close to where we need to be and leave all the jargon behind. The first elected official to do that will gain my respect.
Times are only going to get harder, so in this time we need to really do an audit of where we are, and honesty is the only policy that will work.
Honesty and politics? Well, there’s a first time for everything.