In the Year 2040

Tomorrow, the City Council will adopt the 2040 General Plan (GP2040), which charts the growth of San Jose for the next 30 years. The Task Force, of which I am a member, met for over four years and held over 60 public meetings. In hindsight, the GP2040 could have been done sooner, however, the scope was too broad at the start and it should have been focused solely on land use.

The GP2040 had several decisive moments where the task force voted to give direction. My preference was more emphasis on land for jobs and slower population growth with higher density. I was the minority on that vote, but I stayed on to be a part of the final product. There has been no challenge to the massive environmental impact report and the GP2040 was approved unanimously by the planning commission in September.

There will be less suburban sprawl with GP2040. Coyote Valley, Almaden Reserve and Evergreen are off the table for more housing. Growing the footprint of San Jose with housing, especially single family homes, only increases the cost to maintain the city for existing residents. However, growth within the existing city infrastructure of sewers and streets is best. Market rate housing at a higher density is best for cities financially due to the aggregated property tax and utility tax. In addition, development within existing neighborhoods will be reduced like subdividing lots, which tend to be the most contentious for residents.

Growth in the plan is focused in the downtown, along transit corridors and the concept of villages. A village may be a “class B” strip mall that you drive by every day. The future is to allow the parcel to be scraped and instead build housing on top of retail and office to create unique areas that are more urban in nature. The village will be granted higher density but must contain jobs.

San Jose residents enjoy experiencing density on their travels and all of the positive attributes it brings, like people walking, biking, pedestrian retail and active open public space. In the past, density was not done well. Much of it was affordable housing that is exempt from taxes and fees or the density was reduced so low there was no critical mass to support retail.

Another feature of the plan is to have four-year horizons to make sure other development is occurring like office, R&D, industrial uses, etc.—and not just housing.

Less will change in the short run for San Jose as new housing may remain slow for years, which is fine by me. At some point, when we reach scarcity in housing, we will really get the financially beneficial housing we want. Building single family home subdivisions or wood townhouses is a net loss for our city, and it uses up too much land. We should maximize each parcel, allowing us more opportunity in the future with the remaining undeveloped or underdeveloped parcels.

The GP2040 is not perfect, but it does put us in the right direction of planning for walking and biking rather than cars. Some may think it is pie in the sky. However, I can say that my own life has shot by rather quickly. Before you know it, 2040 will be here, so it is best to have a plan in place. But don’t you worry, it only takes six votes any given Tuesday to change it.

I have enjoyed serving on the committee these past fou years and would be interested in serving on the same task force in 10 years. But next time I’d prefer to do it as a private citizen.

At 6:30pm next Monday, Nov. 7, a film and discussion about the GP2040 will take place. The event will include the director of planning and the director of economic development. RSVP to [email protected].

At the corner of San Fernando and Almaden Blvd., you will notice a monolithic building with no windows that is being used as a canvas for public projection art. From 8pm to midnight, the “Portal”  transforms into different planets, time devices and different eyes that are recognizable like Van Gogh and DaVinci. This was funded through the city of San Jose for $4,000. Thanks go to the artist, JD Beltran, and Lisa Ellsworth, curator of the Children’s Discovery Museum.

Also, special thanks to Lt. Ta, Sgt. Moody, and Officers Bachman, Ordaz and Roland Ramirez for donating their time on Saturday for a high school homecoming event.

Here is a prior blog on GP2040, two years ago.


  1. just go away already…… and the rest of this “joke of a Council ” have done enough damage to this city. Did you ever stop to think who is going to protect this city ?  We can only imagine how many Police Officers & Firefighters this city will have( already the lowest staffed in the nation , before all the cuts) keep building all the low-income housing , keep giving away millions of dollars in real estate, keep driving alot residents to leave this dump , keep dumping on the city employees that at one time made this one of the safest places to be( not even close anymore) keep blaming everyone but yourselves(Reed and the rest of the clowns) . best of all enjoy this fairytale , people are fed up and thats a fact

  2. with the lay-off of the officers, what will be the projected amount of police officers and firefighters required by 2040?

    When will the southern police sub-station open?

  3. I believe it is a Brown Act Violation to know the City Council will vote before the vote.  It means there have been serial communications on the subject in violation of the Act. 

    Another example of the fine open, transparent leadership of San Jose City Council.

  4. This General Plan you speak of probably calls for way fewer officers doesn’t it. The ironic part is about five blocks away on Saturday morning there were shots fired in Liccardo’s district.  I heard it was the Sergeant of the Downtown Services Unit (DSU) that witnessed the shots fired (heard shots and witnessed people fleeing).  From what I was told, two suspects apprehended and two guns taken off the streets (DSU and Entertainment Zone officers).  With few officers in 2040 we might not be so lucky. 

    Nothing from the Murky News on this. Oh how is that stadium land deal going?  Is Chief Figone done with the questions yet?

    Time to just go away.

    • Let’s get through the next 3 years before we starting thinking about 2040. The mayor and city council are driving the city of San Jose off a cliff. See you in court, unless the citizens of San Jose wake up to lie’s of the this dictatorship. People are waking up!

  5. I think I may re-read this all week to get me to sleep. What a bunch of crap. Just go away.

    By 2040 we may end up looking like a mini Gothom City in the Batman movies, a dark shell with crime dominating and a police force left to brutality. Mayor Reed will come back as the Penguin and, of course, Figone will be the Joker. I will be retired in Hawaii or Florida remembering the better days of SJ, before the professional politician like yourself landed to bestow your “wisdom” upon us lowly foolish commoners…

    • I remember working in San Jose as an “ambulance jockey” in the late 1980’s, what a scary place it was back then. I like the Gotham City analogy, but, who will play the Riddler? were there other villains in the Batman Saga? can you name who will plays these miscreants?

      Gotham City here we come!

    • Hawaii on San Jose retirement funds is a pipe dream.  Parts of Florida are still affordable though.  Provided Reed doesn’t find a way to violate all the legally binding retirement contracts.

      • > Provided Reed doesn’t find a way to violate all the legally binding retirement contracts.

        Why do you think your “retirement contract” should be any more “legally binding” in Obama’s America than any other contracts.

        Obama took over General Motors and told GM bondholders to take their “legally binding contracts” to be paid back and shove it up their exhaust pipes.

        The Obama crime family is busily at work trying to figure out a way to seize all personal 401K retirement accounts and exchange them for social security accounts.  You know: social security, the bankrupt government retirement insurance system.  The one you never going to see any money from.

        The Argentine government did it, and Obama wants the 401K money just as much as the Peronistas did.

  6. 2040 San Jose will look like Detroit.. Abandoned by yahoo google adobe. The computer industry will move to china. San Jose will have vacant boarded up homes. Take a look around its started two libraries and a police station that cost $100,000,000 ? Run by ghosts.
      PO PO what does that sound like.  That’s exactly what your feeding the people who elected you.  How much are you being paid to support the building of a ball park, to rob city worker, you guys have voted to spend at my count close to $50,000,000 on a ball park that you do not have voter approval to build. Baseball is in the red and you want to spend a billion on a club with the lowest turnout in baseball. Do the math your not going to fill the stands with people willing to buy $10.oo hot dogs. After a few years the A’s will file for bankruptcy and walk away from all their debt.  Hey remember how much waste went into city hall. You can’t even Stand on the second floor of city hall when the sun it out. It would make a better place for a marijuana grow. At least the tax payers would see a positive return on their dollar.
        San Jose will be the next Detroit with crime and corruption. PO you like attention maybe you can have your own Pawn San Jose show. a store next to city hall and buy junk from out of work high tech kids.

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