As a councilmember, I interact with many different people on a regular basis and have a chance to observe the different stages of life.
One day I might meet a newly engaged couple and, behold, they are married with kids who attend the local elementary school. Or it could be a young family and the next thing I know I am shaking their son or daughter’s hand at a high school graduation ceremony.
It is sad to witness divorce. I see divorcees out and about individually in the community, helping with their child’s education but carrying the stress on their face. Sometimes people ask me why we build apartments in San Jose and who would actually live there. Well, in many instances it is divorced spouses who have to start over and are looking for a place nearby.
Monitoring the plight of a small business can be a pensive process, as the owner takes the risk to open a retail store only to close the doors after another bad year. I am amazed how people want “cute” little stores to visit but then will go to a chain store when the small business charges 10 cents more. Even more problematic are those people who buy online to save on sales tax and yet still wish for more retail stores. Personally, I like to walk into a store, which is why I don’t purchase items online.
Other observations come from hearing people speak candidly about San Jose—things they would never say in public. Some of these thoughts are good and some are bad, but they’re mostly positive because the people acknowledge they have the freedom to move elsewhere if they choose.
A final observation is when good people you know from the community pass on in this life. Some live a full life surrounded by family and friends, while others leave too quickly like a resident in my district who died last week at 43 from cancer. Not the youngest person I’ve known but the most recent. He was generous with his time both in little league and PTA, and all he touched will miss him.
From my observations, I’ve come to realize that we have a good city. Although it is not perfect, it is still a place we call home.
Pierluigi Oliverio is a San Jose Councilmember for District 6.