Three Quick Hits for a New Week

This week’s quote was a bit unusual in that it comes from the redoubtable Scarlett O’Hara, but how else to emphasize the incredible stupidity of the former Executive Director of the Redevelopment Agency, Susan Schick. I remember how several members of the Rotary Club suggested that I was too tough on her when I criticized her plan in 2001 to seize over fifty pieces of private property, our citizens “land,”  in an astonishing, wrong-headed and aggressive plan invoking eminent domain in San Jose.

It had taken us a generation to win back public support and ease the resentment that classic big-government assemblage of property and condemnation had done in our city. Fueled by some mistakes I made in the Auzerais area, Schick erased that goodwill in one arrogant year.  Her feckless edict was exacerbated that day by a few members of the Rotary Club who thought that such criticism should be more muted.  What misguided defenders! 

I followed that with a strong attack on the attempt to dig up Chavez Plaza for three or four years to build a parking garage.  As I said then and say now, wherever Schick is – floating on a sailboat in the Caribbean perhaps – she neither knows nor cares about San Jose. However her bosses, the mayor and council, remain and hopefully have learned something.

On another foolish front, as the city looks for more restaurants to subsidize – this time in the new City Hall – many small businesses wonder why the help does not go to the little people who have weathered so much on South First Street and Market Street. Why do the subsidies not go to establish a book store or for other uses that would compliment, not injure, those same dutiful business owners, many from ethnic minorities?  The last two giant grants of city assistance went to the restaurants that most directly compete with ones we already have. Send a memo to Ms. Schick near Arruba.

Last but not least, last Sunday’s “Mercury News” editorial, as pointed and caustic as any seen in recent memory, issued their opinion of the Gonzales inspired rebuttal to the scathing grand jury report.  It condemned Ron Gonzales in language that reminds one of the attacks on the excesses of the Watergate era or, locally, the Terry Gregory affair.  It is striking and ominous to consider both the rebuttal and the editorial attacking his “self righteous tone. ”

There is one significant item that still remains to be seen: the reaction of Ken Yeager and his council colleagues to the news that they indeed, as Ron Gonzales has said, knew “everything” about Garbagegate.  And it also remains to be seen, just how much they can take before they express some genuine outrage on this issue. It seems that the council’s boundless patience is eternal on ethics issues.


  1. We’re getting more and more like Louisiana, where in a recent election both the mayor of New Orleans and the governor were under indictment while running for re-election

  2. Hey, eminent domain is a big issue these days.  Now, a developer can seize any home if the cities feel they can pay more for the property (tax revenue).  Also, we have groups using tax payer funds, the American Planning Association, which has declared that they want to EXPAND the use of eminent domain.  On commissions, we are now recruiting ex school district administratorsn that are experienced in eminent domain matters.  It is not all a conspiracy, and we should not think it is, but it certainly a case of the city with the large tower, and the city of with the mission and the council members of happy talk and not citizen involvement, looking the other way.

  3. johnmichael, the problem, as I see it is that unlike New Orleans and the State of Louisianna, the mayor isn’t under indictment.

  4. Galvey has a good point.  I have heard absolutely nothing to indicate the Civil Grand Jury has been asked by anyone to do anything to Ron.  Does anyone know if it has?

  5. The point about where is the council outrage is too easy to require explanaition.  In a term-limited political world it is better to wait it out and fscrea and holler during the next election cycle than to pursue the point in a a timely manner. 

    If an uproar took place now, and the Mayor were forced to leave office, then one of the sitting candidates for mayor would move from candidate to incumbant for a brief time.  Thisis too lucrative a post for any of the combantants to give over to another.  The political calendar forces them to stay mute or at least only mildly outraged to protect their future options.

    Term limits forces the candidate out but it also means one’s outrage is measured by the calendar not the offense. 

    Not a good solution and it leaves no one truly accountable.

  6. Yes!  Get a few Barnes and Nobles downtown, maybe a GAP or Banana Republic…come on people! How hard is it to think on those lines!  God knows I love the restaurants, but yes, don’t put in a chain right next to a mom and pop. You are basically telling them to just screw yourself and all the money you sunk into this place.

    Very Easy to Understand – you have a good point.

  7. I just can’t understand the new paper the people of san jose for not throwing this guy out of office.  You bring up again his leadership in having that woman head redevelopment.  She was a joke.  Wish you could call her to testify on what she knows about what was happening and if the Mayor forced heer to do some of those stupid things.  What has this guy done right?