The Promise of San Jose

I do like give and take; it’s healthy, it’s in my nature, and I believe that is the tradition of San Jose—a hallowed one. But if our next mayor’s race becomes the traditional American election, one full of personalities but short of vision, replete with attacks, more thunder than light, then we all lose.  Our city needs the next campaign to be about ideas and issues rather than platitudes and endorsements and who is the “nicest.” With that goal in mind, I’d like to speak about issues and an idea or two—those things that we need to be the focal points of the next mayoral election, namely growth, a big park, safety and ethics.

These candidates must know the real state of our city, and it is not an abstract concept for demographers or political scientists, pundits or headline writers. It is real, something that provides the muscle and sinew of how we live—the essence of this place: confidence and peace of mind.

Growth

We are not learning from history. The development tail is again wagging the dog. This is the issue that has advanced and bedeviled our community for sixty years.  We must grow but it must be sensible. It is no secret that “let’s make San Jose better before we make it bigger” and “let’s stop growing out and start growing up,” were the successful slogans of two recent mayors. Why? Because they reinforced moderation and common sense, not blind boosterism or mere greed.

In Coyote we are now in the process of creating a city the size of Milpitas, and who it benefits here is an open question.  If we are sacrificing the quality of life, worsening traffic and lengthening police response time just to provide a few thousand more homes, I fail to see the positives.

The jobs and housing imbalance—remember that topic?  Apparently few do; no, now Coyote is the mantra, howl and all. We are planning 20 million square feet in north San Jose.  Isn’t it funny that the traditional strategy of balance—good in our city, in business, in life—is never spoken of anymore. The city council not only is failing to provide the answer, they don’t even seem to know the question to ask. If left unasked and unanswered it will produce a harsh reckoning.

How about some balance on BART? Don’t get me wrong, I’m in favor of it, but let’s not destroy the village to save it.  And when it comes to the construction phase, don’t forget the last time we tore up downtown. Never gloss over that painful experience; learn, please learn.

And one other thing on transit: the city has committed to funding a long-needed connection to our airport.  The issue is what to connect, the light rail system on First Street that operates today, versus a people mover system to the unfunded BART terminus planned for the mythical Santa Clara Caltrain station, involving a tunnel under the landing field.  David Pandori and a neighborhood group thought of the light rail connection; it’s a good idea—certainly the one that makes the most sense.

Our Big Park

No, not the baseball one. We have a great beginning on our own Central Park, perhaps 1000 acres, from the watershed of the Diablo and Santa Cruz Mountains to the center of our city; one to rival Olmstead’s in New York or McClaran’s Golden Gate. Let’s connect all the creeks and rivers and trails of our valley to it. And, remembering that the transcontinental railroad was built in less time than the spur light rail line from Campbell to downtown San Jose and that we are all mortal, move more quickly and do it now!
Safety

We are the safest big city in America but we are not safe enough! Mayors can trumpet polls in national surveys—just don’t believe them. Have you been downtown after 10:30 at night? I hope so!  I have, I live here.  It’s a wonderful place.  Have you called a cop at midnight lately? I hope not. Our police department is the best, but you might be shocked if you make that call. When it takes the chief of police to remind us of where we need to be going as a city and what our plan should be, that says two things: fine chief, sad city vision.  Cindy Chavez has led the city council in the right direction on this issue, but there are miles still to go. Within the last year a university student was nearly murdered in a gang knifing downtown. You didn’t read about it in the paper. You should have—it’s real and frightening.

Ethics

In the recent movie, “Oh Brother where Art Thou,” the Governor of a small southern state is assailed during a heated election, by reformers, and one of his advisors in his tarnished, corrupt administration says, “hey, Gov, we got to get us some of that ‘reform.’” He looks with distain at the sycophant and replies, “We can’t get any reform, you damn fool, we’s the incumbent!”

But we do need some of “that reform” now—it’s a San Jose tradition. Honesty, intellectual and otherwise, is not a virtue to be discovered in the dictionary or in the obligatory ethics seminar. It is like a Supreme Court justice once said of pornography, “I know it when I see it.”  It is not present at our City Hall.

More worrisome, we have so surrendered codes of good conduct that we have now arrived at the most institutionalized corruption and, professionally, the weakest administration in the history of the city. They are connected. They must not be accepted.

San Jose will always survive the single miscreant, the crook, the unethical one, the craven—we always do. The flawed Terry Gregorys will commit political suicide or be unmasked.  But remember the words of Franklin to the inquiry from a man asking what form of government we were to have: “a republic,” he said, “if you can keep it.” Good government, if we can keep it.

Make no mistake, there is a cult of lobbyists and former employees that now play an ever-increasing role in all matters at City Hall.  I cautioned you about this a few years ago.  Some thought I exaggerated; I underestimated.

Chuck Reed, Linda Lezotte, and Dave Cortese have gone up the down staircase on ethics and deserve much credit, and Dave has pressed on accountability for the city manager.  This is not what I and the citizens meant in 1986 when I proposed and they consented to put more power in the mayor’s office. This is not as it should be. It is up to the next mayor to redress this or, here also, there will be a reckoning.

Now let’s give a bit of credit.

Many of the mistakes, ethical lapses, and seemingly illegal activities would never have seen the light of day if not for the crusading journalism of the San Jose Mercury News. I know, we all have things we don’t like about it: too much negative, not enough coverage of our favorite team.  I have been called a dunce and worse on its front page; I have railed at it many times, and will again. But a large debt is owed here—the Mercury fulfilled its public trust. 

Our City

As always in the course of human and political events, the fault lies not in the stars but in us. So as we approach a new year, and a new mayor, let’s look further at our current condition and ourselves.

We all have our duties and silence is not one of them. It is not a virtue in San Jose and it has never been associated with our business community.

And what else can we do while speaking out?  Well, we might set the bar high on ethics once again.  We could include an end to independent expenditures and free campaign workers—no matter who pays for them.  We should never say, “well, everyone is doing it.”
 
And then let’s get back on track downtown, create some magic;  connect our river and creek trails in one magnificent Guadalupe River Park;  make the “safest city in America” title really mean something; and let’s put some sense back into our long-range planning, for our sake and for our children’s.  We can also reach for some special projects that make our city a more exciting place to live, like the Tech Museum, Children’s Discovery Museum, Rep Theater, and Arena.

Archibald MacLeish once commented that the essence of America—its real greatness—was in its promise. We have the bits and bytes of greatness here in this valley, we always have. We just forget it occasionally.  To fulfill the promise would be a fine goal for our next mayor. The banner is waiting to be lifted; the standard lies in the dust.  We can become the city that we want and we can follow a leader worthy of carrying such a banner and such a burden.  The choice lies before us.

Editor’s Note: This piece is an edited, abridged version of the speech given by Tom to the San Jose Rotary Club on November 30, 2005.

37 Comments

  1. Speaking the truth always carries risks. Others are joining now.  I will continue to do so – enjoy your sleep, Mr. Walker.  TMcE

  2. As a result of this morning’s Merc story, there have been a number of City Hall hallway conversations that the Brown Act may have been violated by Gonzo and a number of City Council members.  The fear by Gonzo and some Council membes is that more details may become available to investigator Graham that will reveal State law violations by Gonzo and others, including the City administration.  This would have serious legal consequences, including the “approval” by the Council of the Norcal increase.

  3. Yes, we should take care not to let BART construction destroy the downtown it’s meant to serve.  But how is that possible with the line as designed now, since it will require tunnelling under Santa Clara Street, likely cutting-and-covering in most spots?  What in particular shall we do about it?  What have we “learn, please learn”ed from the transit mall project and other tearings-up of Downtown?  How does one say, “Let’s build BART, but let’s not tear up Downtown”?  Damage from constructing the Santa Clara Street route is inevitable, unless, in order to tunnel without disturbing the street level, costs are blown up even more than they’ve already been blown up.

    I might mention the Caltrain Metro East option does not have this problem—and it directly serves the airport, too.  And it’s high-speed-rail-ready.  And it’s far cheaper.

  4. Tom, with you as an exception, I think Mark Purdy got it right when he recently wrote that the problem in this town is that its leadership over the years has been stuck in small town mode when it should have been thinking on a world class scale way back when the population was less than half what it is now.

    The current field of candidates for Mayor doesn’t seem to have the drive or the charisma to get this town out of its funk.  Unfortunately I think this is going to continue to be a problem due to the largely suburban environment that perpetuates the production of more unworldly types among us who are content to eat at McDonalds and watch sitcoms all night.  I am so tired of the focus on neighborhoods.  Yes, I want services to be up to par, I’d like my street swept more often than it is, but that should be automatic.  The focus needs to be on building a tax base that will make it easy to provide the necessary neighborhood services and fix potholes, etc.  Why is Adobe the only major high tech company downtown?  We need more Adobes there.  John Sobrato is patiently waiting for an Adobe-type single occupant for his empty building.  Companies should be fighting to move in there and something needs to be done to make dowtown more attractive to them.  Maybe this is a Bush-style trickle-down theory, but if tax revenue can be generated through downtown development, the neighborhoods will surely benefit.

    I say, stop focusing on the boring suburbs and start working on fixing this town’s image.  My friends in LA said it best, we are the 10th largest city in the US so when are we going to start acting like it?

  5. Tom,

    You’ve spelled out a great agenda for the candidates to follow during the next election cycle.  Let the debate begin!

    It remains to be seen who has the “agallas” to pull it off.

  6. Tom,

    I agree the next Mayor must be up to the task, have a vision, the ability to implement a strategic agenda , the character to lead, and an ability to prioritize.

    She might also end up being the nicest person with the most endorsements—the traits are not mutually exclusive.

  7. Good one, Rich. Is there another woman going to run for mayor? You can’t be talking about Cindy since she would just be Gonzo II and very few sequels turn out very well. But, maybe you are talking about Cindy since you and she have yet to admit what Gonzo has done was wrong, unethical, and insulting to the people of SJ. I hope you are talking about another woman because the only one currently announced would be 4 more years of the same.

  8. About the report on Ron and how he misled the public on Norcal: if he and much of the City Council did this to Norcal, you must demand to know what is being hidden from the public on the the baseball and soccer stadium proposals, the BART project, and any other pet projects involving your city tax dollars.  I strongly sense this is the tip of a very big iceberg.

    As to the Mayor’s race: voters in the city should be looking at candidates from other parties (Libertarians, Green Party, American Independence, et al.) besides the usual Democratic or Republican-backed choices.  Start demanding that the local press feature profiles of EVERY candidate running for Ron’s office – not just the candidates from the two big parties.  Think about it: you don’t base your soft drink choices on Coke or Pepsi, and you don’t base your beer choices on Bud, Miller, or Coors.  You do not have to take the choices that are given to you.

    It might seem wacky to some, but we need to start looking at candidates from other parties.  Who knows?  Perhaps one of their candidates might have the leadership San Jose needs if it is to be a good, liveable city for everyone.

  9. Tom,

    I completely agree that we need to connect our creek trails.  Connecting the trails would provide needed recreation opportunities, help keep our citizens fit and active, and foster the movement of people in and through downtown.

    I also see this as related to another pressing issue facing the city, namely building a downtown stadium. As the City Council considers sites for a soccer stadium (which I support) and possibly a baseball stadium, they need to consider what to do regarding the Los Gatos Creek which runs by the proposed lots.  By building out the creek trail in conjunction with a new stadium, San Jose can create a truly unique experience.  I for one would love to be able to walk down a newly built section of the Los Gatos Creek trail to get to an Eartquakes or Sharks game.

  10. How do SJI posters feel about the taxpayers subsidizing a stadium for the Earthquakes?  Do you think it’s a good idea or should the city, SJS and the Quakes go back to the drawing board with Spartan Stadium?  Second question: Location.  If a soccer stadium were built – Is the proposed site viable or should a soccer stadium be built at the fairgrounds in lieu of a concert hall?

  11. Much as I don’t think it should be, having a major league franchise is a sign that a given city has “arrived.”  We’re sorta kinda getting there with the Sharks, it would be nice to get the Warriors, but it’s clear that baseball and not soccer is going to get the most recognition for SJ.  Anybody ever watched “Monday Night Soccer” on ABC?  Nope.  Anybody watched the soccer “Game of the Week” or whatever each Saturday on NBC?  Nope.  You’ve gotta go high into the cable channels for soccer.  If it’s exposure you’re looking for, soccer isn’t going to provide it.  Mark Purdy was right again when he said fixing Spartan Stadium is the right thing to do for the Quakes.  People need to persevere and aim high and keep trying to get the A’s down here.  Rules can be changed, as witnessed for the new DC team.  Any fool can see that if the Giants claimed Oakland/East Bay as their territory in exchange for giving up SJ, they’d “own” a huge fan base that’s closer to SBC/AT&T park than are the fans in SJ.  It’s really a no-brainer and MLB is simply in denial about it.  Show them the potential dollar signs and we’ll have the A’s here as soon as we can get their park built.

  12. Here are a couple of questions for the Great Minds of SJI:

    1. Now that the independent investigator has confirmed the findings of the Grand Jury does anyone here think the City Council can muster more than three votes to censure Gonzales?

    2. Will the Council majority formally vote for ANY form of official reprimand?

    I think we know the answers, but it’s going to be excellent theater watching them dodge these ethical bullets.

  13. Note to Tom:

    You were elected under the “traditional American election” meaning you had some personality, were short on vision and there were attacks issued by your campaign.  And, yes, we all lost as a result.

  14. Mark T #6:

    What you probably think as an innocent remark on your part is a huge part of the problem we face here today in California, and many other parts of the nation.

    You said: “Yes, I want services to be up to par, I’d like my street swept more often than it is, but that should be automatic.  The focus needs to be on building a tax base that will make it easy to provide the necessary neighborhood services and fix potholes, etc. “

    Mark, I’m 59 years old.  My parents never owned a home.  They swept the sidewalks and streets in front of their rented dwelling.  Shopkeepers did the same.  Now everyone expects the city to do it.  Have you watched the dowtown street cleaners?  They move like banana slugs in winter.  The granite in the transit mall is a mess.

    Mark, it is not the city’s job to do what you ask.  What you call”necessary city services”  are things homeowners, even renters, and shopowners did themselves amere generation or two ago.  No, Mark, sweeping your street for you is not and should not be “automatic”.  In my neighborhood the older folks still sweep their own street out to the middle, and gather up the debris to rfecycle; as opposed to the city which spreads it around almost as much as the leaf-blowing gardeners, who just shift the debris to the neighbor’s sidewalk and gutters.

    Now it’s all about “entitlements”.  That’s why we have sixth generation welfare slugs out there.  But it’s not just individuals.  Corporate farmers are paid not to plant.  Senator Stevens threatened to resign if they cut off the funding for his pork barrell bridge to nowhere in Alaska.  The full Senate should have called his bluff.  Sadly, it did not.

    Fixing the potholes is a legitimate job for government.  We can’t all as individuals decide what material to use and how to lay it and compact it.  But sweeping your residential neighborhood streets and gutters?  I don’t think that is something any city should have to do, especially when we can’t fix the potholes for lack of funds.

    You want to build a tax base for “necessary” city services.  Taxing and spending is not the answer, especially if you and tens of thousands of others feel entitled to have government sweep out the areas in front of their homes and businesses.  That thinking is why we are so heavily in debt, Mark.

    So, Mark, other than sweeping your street for you, what do you think are “necessary” city services?

  15. You go, Virginia #9!!

    Actually, it would be four more worse years, Virginia, under the Cindy/Phaedra administration.

    But Mark T. might get his sidewalk swept by some city employee @ $25.00/hour billed to you and me.

  16. Tom & Jason #11 have it right, but I fear the lawyers will get in the way.

    Since the 80’s when I started running, I was alwys saddened by the fact that all the levees that border all the creeks that run to the bay were fenced in, inaccessible to the public.  They are agreat resource for hiking and jogging and bike riding.

    But I am equally sure that down the line somewhere a city attorney or lawyer for the water district warned that if some child used the trail and was molested, or some woman using the trail was raped, that the appropriate government entities with charge over the land would be sued.

    And you know, that’s exactly what would happen.  Some lawyer would take the case, and the government entity would either cave in, as they have done in recent cases involving government employyes, and settle; or some jury would find them liable, like they did for the idiot lady who carried a cup of hot coffee between her legs and drove away in her car and got millions from McDonalds.

    So, this great resource has been kept from us all because of the fear that some lone person jogging alone foolishly at night might get injured.

    It is in the power of the legislature to craft a bill granting immunity to public entities who open up their land from being sued by users, not because of a condition they should have rectified, but because of the random act of another.

  17. Mal#14:  Gonzo & Guerra may call for another investigation, since they don’t like the results; just as they called for this one, because they didn’t like what the civil grand jury concluded.

    That sound you hear in the background is the Gonzo-Guerra spin doctors trying to figure out what to say now that two separate and independent groups have found them culpable.

  18. Mark #12,

    Regarding whether or not the city should be subsidizing a stadium for either the Earthquakes or the A’s, I think it depends entirely on the proposal.  If we are just talking about help acquiring land for a project that fits the City’s vision of downtown, then I’m all for it.  However, anything beyond that and the city needs to be careful that the continuing economic benefit will justify the initial cost.  That economic benefit to the city can come in the form of increased business downtown from event goers, a slice of event or parking revenue, etc.  Since a solid proposal has not been put forward for either, it is somewhat hard to judge at this point.

    There is certainly enough land in that area for either a baseball stadium or a soccer stadium.  However, the original 3.7 acres mentioned for the soccer site is too small unless you allow them to build north of the fire training center (and over the existing road) The question is whether you could fit both a baseball and soccer stadium.  That would be toughter and raise many more questions.

  19. Someone on another thread writes:

    “When, oh when, is this town going to stop shooting itself in the foot?”

    So given the track record of SJ and it’s shooting of the feet – what’s the hue and cry on this board?

    Let’s get a bigger gun!!  (in the form of BART, baseball, Coyote Valley, etc).

    Were one to pause between foot shooting episodes, one might think that a moment of clarity might strike and that a moratorium on foot shooting might be considered a good idea. 

    As in no new projects over 9 million dollars can be approved without voter consent.

  20. Gus –  I got your note. Can you be a bit more specific, please. I do not believe in negative campaigning. In my first election as Mayor, I used one: I wish I hadn’t. I never did again in any election I was involved in, although I could have rationalized many . As for vision, thanks for your opinion. I did the best I could. And American elections: as Churchill said, it’s the worst form of gov. except every other, or something like that.
      TMcE

  21. Geeze, things happen fast!
    After posting #14 I heard Cindy on KLIV saying SHE would be calling for a censure vote of Gonzales and Guerra, and demanding apologies from Borgsdorff and Doyle!  Yeah, THAT Cindy.
    Interesting turn of events!

  22. I had a chance to read a bit of the report of the independent investigator.  My first question: will Ms. Chavez and a majority of the council now release all the secret emails?  Some interesting quotes from the report:

    Page 35-36 Regarding Norcal’s request to the city for amending the contract:

    “City staff then provided extensive comments regarding Norcal’s draft. Elaine Leung suggested that language in Norcal’s draft letter be modified because it left the impression that there was already a deal between the City and Norcal for the additional payments…What is further perplexing is why City staff would be aiding a private party in this fashion in its efforts to obtain money from the City, rather than solely advancing the interests of the City at large.”

    Bottom page 46:

    “In addition, there apparently are a number of individuals with information relevant to the investigation who may only be willing (because of, inter alia, the fear of reprisal) to provide such information on the condition that their identity remains confidential.”

  23. John, I was just using street sweeping as an example.  I’m out there hosing out my gutters—after the gardeners leave—each weekend and I’m sure a few of my neighbors think I’m nuts. 

    Jason, if a ball park is to be built, and we shouldn’t sacrifice a square inch of the land that’s earmarked for it in favor of a soccer stadium, it has to be an arrangement like the one that got SBC built.  There are plenty of deep pocket companies in Silicon Valley that can pull this off just like the old Pac Bell did.

  24. Steve,

    Yes, staff are worried about reprisals.The higher ups around here have no patience for second opinions or alternatives.. They consider any view, other than the Mayor’s, as “dissent” that must be quashed. The Gonzo formula for making friends of vendors and contractors has eliminated any concern for protecting the public interest.  Pretty sad….

  25. Mole,

    Very sad.  We all know Del Borgsdorf practices the weak form of city manager.  I just never thought about how this weakness must permeate all through city hall, forcing city employees to stay quiet for fear of reprisal.  This might explain why somebody like Ms. Leung is spending her time rewriting Norcal proposals.

  26. Mole and others at City Hall

    You have a perfect way of disclosing who is doing improper, illegal or abusive management behavior at City Hall on San Jose Inside

    Isn’t there a way to name “the higher ups” that ” have no patience for second opinions or alternatives”  without disclosing who you or others are so you are not at risk for reprisals

    Who suppresses “any view, other than the Mayor’s, as “dissent” that must be quashed. ” ?

    Shine some light on the people other than Ron and Joe who are responsible for our city problems, an abusive or poor work envirnoment in city government

    The bullies or abusers will just keep on with their unacceptable behavior unless they are named.

    The public can demand an improper situation be cleaned up if we have names, dates and situations and the City Manager will be required to legally take action or the city will be legally liable for an abusive work envirnoment

    Abusive or illegal behavior partially occurs when no one names who is responsible

  27. I can’t believe that the public response from some of our Councilmembers to our mayor’s ethics violations is to ask him for an apology.

    Are these people kidding?

    An apology is something that my toddler gives when she knocks over the cat’s water dish. An apology is something I give to my wife when I fail to take out the garbage.

    But an apology for costing city taxpayers over 11 million dollars and then lying to the city council, a civil grand jury and to the independent investigator?

    I’m insulted that all Mayor Gonzales has to worry about is facing a meaningless “censure” and to give a forced public apology. The City Council should demand nothing less than a mayoral resignation. To do anything else is a slap in the face of all law-abiding citizens.

  28. #28—The top 3 names are Gonzo, Guerra, and Borgsdorf. The next level are Borgsdorf’s lieutenants who carried out the orders. Then you have the department heads who went along with the orders not to provide complete information to the council (this has happened many more times than just the NorCal fiasco.) There have been a few department heads (most of them long gone) who had integrity and tried to fight this misinformation campaign, but they rarely, if ever, prevailed. You also have to hold a majority of the council responsible since they have chosen to look the other way and make excuses for what has gone on all these years. If the council wanted to stop it they could have. And lastly, the electorate. Anyone who voted for RG the second time is just as responsible as everyone else previously named.

  29. Ok, so given the first hand accounts of the malfeasance that permeates the upper layers of CH – how does it make you feel about:

    – entrusting billions of BART and lightrail dollars with the aforementioned malfeasants?
    – entrusting CH with millions for a baseball team?
    – entrusting Team Malfeasant (aka CH) with hundreds of millions of development dollars for Coyote Valley and North SJ

    If you vote for a BART tax or any kind of city bond or measure you most certainly deserve the mugging you will undoubtedly will get.

  30. I could really care less if people want to bash Mayor Gonzalez for his lack of ethics/morality…but please leave BART and Baseball out of the bashing.  People forget that back in 2000 over 70% of voters approved the BART tax (a tax that would have never passed without BART).  And people forget that baseball is our national pastime; championed by not only Mayor Gonzalez, but almost the entire city council, local business people, and thousands of SJ supporters.  Mayor Gonzalez’s latest scandal shouldn’t put a damper on any of these civic endeavors.

  31. In response to # 28, #30 #34

    Please name specificaly the people in the Mayor’s office or below Del or the specific Department heads and their assistants who edit,. rewrite memos.

    How is what they do inappropriate, illegal, hiding the facts or misleading City Council members / public or abusive behavior rather than normal government activities in following the Mayor and City Manager directions?

    There is a legal difference between rude behavior / aggressive political management   and illegal or abusive illegal behavior so please define who does it and how it is illegal

    We can do somethoong about illegal activities but rude bullying behavior unfortunately while wrong many times is not illegal

  32. #32, it does not matter if 90% voted for BART.  It is still a poorly conceived and bad idea.  BART to San Jose, at least down the East side of the Bay, will never happen. 

    If you want BART so bad, bring it down the West side of the Bay where it will help SingleGal and her friends go between The City and Frisco.

  33. Mole (#28) and Inside (#30) are but two of the many of us that witness the daily push by Borgsdorf’s many assistants to cleanse memos to the Council (and the public) of insider decisions by the Mayor and his staff.  It’s not uncommon for the Mayor’s office to edit/rewrite memos to the Council.

  34. Tony, 71% of voters approved a ballot measure that had something for everyone—funding for Caltrain, light rail, bus service, paratransit, Dumbarton rail, and the airport people mover, plus BART.  The vote was open to all Santa Clara County voters—including Gilroy, where BART will never go.  Why would any voter who’s not anti-transit have voted anything other than yes on a 30-year, half-cent tax that claims to provide so much?  Yet now 2000 Measure A hardly even covers BART’s expanding capital cost.

    It’s not enough to say “Measure A passed therefore voters demand BART at all costs.”  Circumstances have changed since 2000—the economy dove, the federal government justifiably said “no” to funding BART, the cost has risen—and for that matter the vote was for more than just a single transit line.  Given all this, it’s perfectly appropriate to question BART at this point.

  35. Mark T #13,

    Mark Purdy had no clue when he said that fixing Spartan is the only correct way to keep Earthquakes. Spartan can’t be fixed in isolation. It is owned by SJSU, which is being run by beuraucrats like Don Kassing. He has no vision and will not cooperate in a million years. With that strong caveat, Mark Purdy’s statement is a very vacuous one. Getting a real stadium built for Earthquakes is the first step for demonstrating that San Jose is a worthy city.