The Great Monte Sereno Fence Conspiracy

The results are in and the sound and fury are subsiding: the Mexican Heritage Plaza is still in the red, the San Jose Police Department arrests more minorities than their ratio in the population, and people are still skeptical of sports facilities. And, in a news flash from Monte Sereno, neighbors are fighting over a fence. There does not seem to be much else of excitement in the paper these days.

Looking to the east and the Mexican Heritage Plaza, it is clear that a board of volunteers has the primary responsibility of raising and donating money; it is equally clear that like for many citizen volunteers, this responsibility may have been too much for those charged with the effort to raise funds for the troubled institution.  That and an overly ambitious set of charges are the sources of the very difficult situation there.  Although there is at least a clear view of the reef, I do not know if the ocean liner can alter course to avoid a horrendous collision. In fact, it may have hit already.

Turning to the San Jose Police Department, it is not now, nor has it ever been, an enforcement arm of the INS—period.  This is a longstanding policy. Doing the work of the INS would fracture the important relationship between the immigrant community and the SJPD. The police depend on the community’s involvement in reporting crime and assisting them in their investigations—in short, to be a part of the solution.  The presence of felons or drunk drivers in the community, legal or illegal, should never be tolerated.  Any lessening of the effort to protect ourselves from injury or death is foolish and feeds the worst type of jingoistic baiting on the immigrant issue.  The blathering of O’Reilly, Limbaugh and naïve, misguided immigrant rights advocates should not be allowed to affect the situation. Those that are a threat to others should be incarcerated or otherwise removed from the world of normal, decent citizens. I’d also like to point out that more minorities are arrested and jailed than their ratio in the population all over the country (there are a number of books on this issue).
Finally, I have a few words to say about the great soccer stadium conspiracy—an issue that has managed to get the blood boiling in every dedicated conspiracy addict.  This is a case of too much information in the press—too little of it from primary sources.  Since all the deal points are in the news, I see little reason that this matter should not get as much coverage as the great “fence issue” in the Grand Duchy of Monte Sereno.  I hope all the problems of our valley are as trivial as this and are as easily solved with a good dose of sunshine.


  1. Hugh – while San Jose and other places have problems of great magnitude, others – read Monte Sereno – worry about fence heights and barking dogs.  I wish our problems were only of that scope and scale. I think the feuding neighbors and the City of Monte Sereno have solved the problem.  TMcE

  2. “Finally, I have a few words to say about the great soccer stadium conspiracy—an issue that has managed to get the blood boiling in every dedicated conspiracy addict.  This is a case of too much information in the press—too little of it from primary sources.”

    The use of “conspiracy” is usually a way to smear proponents of whatever issue is involved, but our former mayor concludes his analysis by personally calling for more information from primary sources, ie, Mayor Chuck Reed and City Manager Les White.

    No one is alleging that a conspiracy exists, but a lot of people are wondering how Reed intends to put his “sunshine” and openness into the real world.

    A developer’s Memorandum Of Understanding is not a throw-away piece of paper—to the contrary, it starts to frame a proposal that will affect SJSU, the City of San Jose, the General Plan, and the loss of more employment lands to residential development, a trend that needs close scrutiny far away from an exciting proposal for sports.

  3. I don’t know why there is so much discussion of the matter of Illegal Immigrants and their interaction with the law.  And further, why does everyone automatically assume that when the words Illegal Immigrants are mentioned—it means Mexicans.  Don’t forget—there are others in this situation—Chinese, Philippinoes, Serbians, Iranians, just to name a few.  What we need in San Jose is to have the Police enforce all the laws equally regardless of the nationality or heritage of the person breaking the law.  If they do that—there is no problem.

    I’ve heard (so this is just hear say) that the San Jose Police have a “don’t ask-don’t check ” policy when it comes to whether a person is Illegal or not.  As an example, if a person is stopped for a traffic violation and they don’t have a valid driver’s license, insurance coverage, the Police don’t check further if they appear to be Illegal and they let them move on—no violation.  If this is so—- than it’s the Police who are breaking the law—or worse yet—they are determining the law and also making the decision as to which law to enforce.  Can you imagine this—- yet if I were pulled over—the police would ask for my driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance.  Yet when a potential Illegal is stopped and he can’t supply the necessary information—they let him move on if they suspect he’s an Illegal?  Is there something wrong here —the legal citizens are bound and subject to the laws—but the suspected Illegal persons are not.  Think about that one for awhile—-

    Concerned Citizen

  4. Mercury News is garbage with crummy editors.  There’s no focus on downtown oncesoever!  Mercury used to be a good source of news back in 70’s and all the way until 1999.  Ever since, they lost their way and became so out of tune with the community.  Therefore, you get nothing but boring news, no excitement about what’s going on downtown and having a report on how it’s doing.  Mercury News is just a junk now.

  5. Dear San Jose:

    I just want someone to tell me which laws are real, and which ones are not.  The government is going to waste billions building a border fence when all that is required is to make hiring a person who is here illegally a prohibitive cost of doing business.  Do we really live in a world where you are not allowed to ask for proof of legal status/residency when hiring someone?
    Just read in a past issue of the SJ Business Journal that if the A’s move to Fremont, the San Jose Giants might have to leave town.  Seems there’s a rule in Major League Baseball that the big teams can dictate to the minor league teams.  Given the owner of the A’s is trying to broker a big real estate deal with the city, why doesn’t someone in the city demand the concession that the SJ Giants be allowed to stay!

    Pete Campbell

  6. CC: The police work to protect people. They do not work for exclusivity in our little America Club. Those illegals that break laws and are deported often just end up back here in a couple days. It’s a waste of time for cops to enforce such laws if they do not immediately impact the safety of the American public. That’s why there are seperate agencies for such matters, though their usefulness in that area is just as questionable. If you’re just looking to pound your chest and wave your flag, though, you can do that elsewhere.

  7. Regarding the police department and immigration laws:

    1. Prior to the issue becoming politicized, SJPD officers turned otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants over to the INS only rarely, primarily on those occasions when their illegal status was made an issue by a citizen (this, I’m told, typically involved Mexican-American citizens turning in “wetback” neighbors who annoyed them, boyfriends who betrayed them, or laborers owed money for their hard work).

    2. In cases where an arrestee’s illegal status became known, either the arresting officer or the jailer would see to it that the INS was notified. This had nothing to do with racism or selective enforcement; it was simply a case of enforcing the law without regard to whether the law was local, state, or federal. Laws regarding military deserters and AWOL personnel were enforced in an identical manner.

    3. Assisting the INS on raids was as unremarkable as was assisting any other outside agency.

    4. Tom McEnery’s attempt to address this issue responsibly is betrayed by his portrayal of it as involving the “immigrant community.” Nonsense; SJPD has officers who themselves belong to the immigrant community. No, the community in question is the illegal alien community. The problem confronting the police is precisely the illegal status of these people.

    I don’t know what might qualify as the opposite of jingoism, but I think in this case Mr. McEnery’s omission of the word “illegal” comes pretty close.

    5. The oft-cited concern about fracturing the police department’s relationship with the illegal alien community is a convenient exaggeration. A significant percentage of police calls involve people who fear the police for reasons unrelated to citizenship, and officers have long been entrusted with the discretion to do the right thing when encountering victims with arrest warrants, complainants addicted to drugs, witnesses living in violation of Section 8 housing rules, etc. If this community of citizens can be served without resorting to prohibitive policies, so too can the community of illegals.

    6. Policies, such as those intended to isolate the INS from local police officers, do unacceptable damage to the administrative arm of our government. Law enforcement officers, no matter the agency, serve a common cause, that being to maintain the rule of law. The biggest threat to that cause is not lawbreaking, which is recognized as inevitable, but lawlessness, which in this case is the breakdown of government. A hands-off policy of any kind creates a bipolar reality and undermines officers’ sense of mission.

    Federal laws are not made by mayors or police chiefs; they are made by representatives sent to Congress by the people. A federal law, if no longer wanted, can be changed by Congress; if deemed contrary to the Constitution, it can be overturned by the Supreme Court. The very same system occurs at the state level, where again, laws are enacted as part of a system of checks and balances.

    Checks and balances, words far more important than anyone’s rhetoric or politics.

    So, SJI, I ask you: if one set of laws can be ignored, is any set of laws immune from interference? What should SJPD officers do if next week the police chief declares the DEA and federal drug laws off-limits? Think it can’t happen? Well, had the DEA been incapable of operating in Ruleville, Mississippi last year, Chief Robinson and Assistant Chief Mitchell would still be extorting drug dealers, and still distributing crack cocaine.

    And let’s not forget: forty years ago the president, in response to the resistance of local authorities to federal laws, sent armed troops into the South to see its laws respected. That this was done to the cheers of the very same compassionate liberals who today scorn the enforcement of federal immigration laws should surprise no one who has been paying attention.

    Well folks, which way will you have it? Will we be a nation of laws and professional law enforcement, or will we be left to suffer the whims of those who believe in the moment but stand for nothing?

  8. From what we have been told, a civil grand accusation has been prepared and sent concerning Les White and Chuck Reed.

    Gee, Chuck only lasted three months before someone found him involved in a secret deal, while Les White managed to get one prepared on his shady dealings less than 1 year in office.

    Maybe they can get Ron’s lawyer.  Anyway, Lew Wolff has also been named, and with the Selig administration, an owner involved in a grand jury investigation has to give up his team.

    Bye bye.

  9. One local blog is carrying the comments of Spartan Stadium residents that Don Kassing said at a football game at the stadium recently that “there are too many poor people living around here.”

    Wolff and Kassing are not being asked to clarify comments like these that have been made by both of them on separate occasions.

  10. Tom said:  “The presence of felons or drunk drivers in the community, legal or illegal, should never be tolerated.”

    The penalty under U.S. Code Title 8, Chapter 12, makes quite clear that illegal immigrants have committed a misdemeanor the very moment they set foot on U.S. soil.  Further, if they are employed, then they have, de facto, used counterfeit documents to obtain that employment – another misdemeanor, possible felony if they have engaged in a conspiracy with others to obtain and/or create said fraudulent documents.  Driving without a license – another misdemeanor, possible felony if fraudulent documents were used to obtain a seemingly ‘valid’ license.  Etc., etc., etc.  California law is rife with examples of misdemeanors being turned into felonies if enough of a ‘chain’ of misdemeanors is committed.

    The kicker, though – any illegal alien who has entered the country after already having been expelled is a FELON.

    Bottom line:  Illegal immigrants, ALL OF THEM, should be rounded up and collectively sent back to their nation of origin, whereupon they can wait in line with the remainder of their countrymen who, for some strange reason, decided to do it the right way.

    The main problem a lot of folks have with illegal immigrants is not the presence of an ‘alien’ culture in their midst, so much as a feeling that the great majority of those people have jumped the line to get into the U.S. ahead of others who are still patiently waiting in line in their native country, but whom are being collectively denied the chance to enter the U.S. because the illegals have snatched that chance for themselves.

  11. #5 hits it right on the head: If the San Jose Giants (which, as far as I know, receive no city subsidy and not sweetheart land zoning deals) are booted by Lew Woolf’s Fremont A’s at the same time as we are negotiating a stadium gift to him, something is way wrong. Please please say it isn’t so.

  12. # 8 – point #5

    How large is ” illegal alien community”  in the San Jose and what planet or galaxy have they come from? 

    I have only seen aliens on the Sci Fi channel where can I see legal or illegal aliens in San Jose? 

    Do they really have large heads, scale like skin or pointed ears like Spock?

    Do they out number the illegal immigrants,  legal immigrants or legal aliens?

  13. #11 Appropriate comments.

    Tom said:  “The presence of felons or drunks in the community, legal or illegal, should never be tolerated.”

    I have to go one step further and say any illegal caught in the commission of either a misdemeanor or a felony should be arrested and the INS or ICE should be notified.  If the law looks the other way and passes on the arrest because the person is illegal and they “DON”T want to ASK”  then the law is corrupt and the policies need to be changed or violators fired from their sworn duty.  If they carry through on their duties, and enforce the laws that are on the books—- problem solved.

    Concerned Citizen

  14. Tom said: ” the San Jose Police Department arrests more minorities than their ratio in the population…”

    I am bemused and amused by the notion that somehow crime and arrests are expected to be exactly the same as a particular group’s ratio to the population. What nonsense!  How can any rational person expect that the crime rate among a particular group will exactly mirror that group’s ratio to the general population?

    Mr. Callendar decries arrests of minorities who have committed crimes because those arrests exceeded their ratio to the population.  I don’t suppose it ever occurred to him that people who get arrested are arrested because they are suspected of a crime.  Did it ever occur to him, and others, that perhaps members of certain groups commit crimes in excess of their ratio to the population?

    I’d venture a guess that crime rates among the poor exceed crime rates among the middle class and the very rich (leaving out under the influence and drug possessions, of course).  Does that lead to a valid conclusion that if cops arrest a lot of poor people that they are discriminating against the poor? To Mr. Callender and his ilk, I suppose the answer would be yes.  Not to me.

    Same thing with arrests involving force.  Excessive force should never be tolerated, but few of us are on the streets deciding what precise level of force is necessary under the conditions at the moment.  Messrs. Callender, Jackson, and Sharpton will, however, come along later, never having been at the scene, and pontificate on what should have happened.

    Many arrestees have grown up in difficult, even dangerous conditions.  To survive to adulthood in a difficult and perhaps dangerous environment I’d say many of them adopt a more confrontational or violent attitude and demenaor than the more fortunate among us.  I was a white kid who grew up in Inglewood, and while in high school I passed daily through The Crenshaw, a hotbed of minority gang activity, on my way to school either on the bus or hitchhiking.  You bet I adopted a different demeanor and attitude in those surroundings.

    Those growing up in poor, tough neighborhoods also tend to have less respect for authority in general, and the police in particular, than the more fortunate among us. I have little doubt that leads to more confrontation/violence directed toward cops when they come to arrest these folks.

    I’d venture a guess that minority populations probably make up a larger percentage of the poor than do white folks.

    The very small statistical difference between ratio to the population to the ratio to arrests can easily be explained by the above facts.

    Mr. Callender has called for a federal investigation.  Can the appearance of the opportunists Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, who haven’t held a real job in years, if not decades,  be very far behind?

    When my son was at Harker, he came home one day whining to me that he and a classmate had violated school rules, but that since only my son was caught, only he was punished. Snitching off his classmate was out of the question.  I asked him if he indeed violated the rule, to which he replied yes.  I responded that he should stop whining, accept his punishment for his transgression, and that he didn’t get a pass because his fellow student was not apprehended.

    So, Mr. Callender, if a white man and a black man commit a crime together and they only catch the black man, is the black man supposed to get a pass because the cops didn’t apprehend the white guy?

  15. If #9’s allegation of allegations is true, why is no one but him reporting it yet?  You would think the Mrcry would be trumpeting this from the heavens the way they’ve reacted to the “soccer conspiracy” already.

  16. Well, JD is not only a beer belly who wants a stadium, and wants other people to pay for it, but he attacks undocumented people that seek economic equality in a land where JD and his kind employ them for repairing his toliet (knowing JD that is a frequent issue), but he wants to kick them out of the land where they came for decades prior to him being here.

  17. I’ve been around SJ and environs for a very long time, and don’t remember that the Murky was ever worth reading. Bad writing, no news, buds with the power brokers, and Joe Ridder led the charge against BART from the very start because… would lessen his control of the province. Today, a”slow news day”, there are some local stories that could be as interesting as Anna NS: the WHOLE story about the University Neighborhood Assn. project at 3rd and William. Lots of taxes spent on moving yet another “historic” bldg., next to a new office, taxes lost when Uni NA hijacked a Planners’ approved project from a developer; and creating another big city payroll to fund when the “project” is com-plete, with all the latest amenities, including underground parking. Today also, no news worth printing and yet no story on what Parks and Wreck is spending thousands on on 4-11-07 as the weeds grow in city parks. They’ve got a budget; they have employees; they have supervisors—even big salaried honchos at CH; what fun to read a hard-hitting story in the Murky-News about the P&W operation the citizens imagine they’re owed. Even the faithful volunteers at the History Park get no materials, equipment, plans or schedules for the great job they do.
    Best story of all—why there really isn’t any budget gap in San Jose, just way too many unevaluated employees underemployed. I hope I don’t keep hearing about what a great job they’re doing. I don’t think SUNSHINE ought to be focus in San Jose govt.; it ought to be REAL accountability George Green

  18. #9- “From what we have been told, a civil grand accusation has been prepared and sent concerning Les White and Chuck Reed.”

    I don’t think you should be writing things like this on a public blogg if it is not true.  It’s not funny. Rumors and gossip hurt credible people, and can damage them professionally.

  19. #5 and #19,
    Couldn’t agree with you more regarding the Murky News!  With the exceptions of Mark Purdy and Katherine Conrad, the paper now has a bunch of clowns as writers/reporters, with Barry “I have no wit” Witt leading the pack at the new San Jose Enquirer!  “Enquiring minds want to know” about every damn San Jose document, regardless if it may harm future business deals.  “Let’s make a mountain out of an ant hill” in regards to Lew Wolff’s stadium MOU to the City.  Only the Merky News could turn something positive (building a stadium without raising taxes or using the general fund monies) into an outrageous controversy!  A few years back they dragged a fine Probation Department (Santa Clara Co.) through the mud (I’m talking to you Karen De Sa!), and now they’re attacking cops and firefighters for supposedly making to much money.  And yes #5, I wish I could hear more about our downtown to.  Maybe one day the Murky News will return to being the fine paper that it once was.

  20. Oh my gosh, all of you who used the term, “illegal alien,” are hereby sentenced to an eight hour class on sensitivity and diversity this coming Saturday.  There will be a final examination and it won’t be multiple choice – instead, it will be a short answer and essay format. 

    On the subject of development, it was bound to happen – looks like we may be facing a drought again after many years.  This time, however, there are hundreds of thousands more in the Valley and rationing will hurt more than it ever has. 

    Interesting that folks believe a healthy local economy is sustained only through growth.  If we don’t do a better job matching growth with available resources, we’ll be importing water from God knows where.  Prepare for sponge baths and thirst!

  21. Some of you have incredible faith in the criminal justice systems of foreign nations, since obviously all countries are just like the US only they’re called something else. If we give them their criminals, those criminals won’t ever come back. Others are so clueless they don’t even know that the INS ceased to exist over four years ago. I can tell there are a lot of PhDs out there.

  22. #17 – How typical of some of the paleoliberals around here to start tossing around the R-word when they’re getting housed in a logical argument.  I didn’t say kick them out permanently, I said they should be gathered and returned to their nation of origin so that they can wait their turn to enter the United States lawfully, like millions of their countrymen are already attempting to do.  I fail to see why anyone has a problem with that.

    And for the record, I fix my own toilet.  Saves on the paperwork hassle.

    #8 – finfan:  “…otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants”?!?  If they are “illegal immigrants,” then by any logical definition they cannot be described as “law-abiding.”  Or is federal law now subservient to the “little bit pregnant” defense?

  23. If the Wolf if planning to cut a deal for some of our chickens, do we a chance to approve the deal before it’s final? As long as we get a chance to see before it’s formalized, let him work.

    Can’t we trust our mayor to negotiate for the greater good of San Jose?

    If I was mayor and was trying to work out a deal in the best interest of the community; sunshine or no sunshine, I wouldn’t want half of San Jose looking over my shoulder through a magnifying glass and microphones from every direction, give the guy a break.

    If this keeps up, our mayor just might want to put those sunshine rules …away in someone else’s drawer.

  24. JD (#24),

    I used the term “otherwise law-abiding” to distinguish one group (those in violation of only immigration laws) from another group (those arrested for penal code violations who are also illegal aliens). Making that distinction was necessary in accurately stating how things used to be in local law enforcement, where available manpower and the reality of street situations made across-the-board enforcement of all laws seldom possible. Now, of course, it really doesn’t matter because our leaders have decided that the law doesn’t matter.

    And to make things even more clear, absent those rare occasions when the issue became highly politicized (typically due to pressure from labor leaders like Cesar Chavez), immigration enforcement has never been a priority of local law enforcement.

  25. Wait a minute. I don’t understand why McEnery isn’t leading the charge to find out what kind of deal Lew Wolff is offering in exchange for building a stadium. It appears he wants to convert Edenvale industrial property for housing. But until now, McEnery has been one of the most vociferous voices against developers who would convert industrial land to housing. And he was one of the most vocal critics of secret deals by former Mayor Gonzo and Vice Chavez. But now that the McReed Administration on the hotseat, cooking up a secret deal, suddenly, he clams up.
    What’s up with that Tom?

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