1. Political Theater
As a political-operative-type person with absolutely no skin in the San Jose District 8 City Council race, I must admit that I’m getting the popcorn ready and melting some butter. That sucker is gonna be Must See TV. All signals indicate labor factions—and one of my fellow bloggers—are coalescing around upstart Jimmy Nguyen, while incumbent Rose Herrera is surely replenishing her war chest for the fight ahead. A couple poor interns will be stuck in dark, lonely cubicles, digging up dirt on each other’s bosses. Welcome to San Jose! Did we mention the convenient airport?
As mentioned previously in this space, there will also be a barn burner for the new State Senate District 15, which straddles the width of the valley and incorporates much of San Jose. Last weekend, Assemblyman Jim Beall took home 65 percent of the vote in a California Democratic Party endorsement caucus, giving him the Party’s stamp of approval over fellow Dem and former Assemblyman Joe Coto. I’m on record saying an endorsement in this race is a massive waste of Party time and treasure, but I’ll say it again: An endorsement in this race is a massive waste of Party time and treasure.
2. Just the tax, ma’am.
Unlike Michelle Malkin, I’ve got no problem with the so-called “Nanny State”. It’s a necessary evil, a byproduct of the general malaise we seem to have adopted as a species. Humans are slow to respond to the very real dangers we ourselves facilitate, and it stands to do us real harm one of these days. Sad as it may seem, we need a little push down the path of survival.
I also take very little issue with so-called “vice” taxes. I believe we have the right to enjoy ourselves in whatever way we choose, provided we’re not hurting anybody else. But as Elizabeth Warren would say, part of that social contract is a small surcharge on potentially damaging goods—alcohol, cigarettes, Dodgers tickets, etc.—which can in turn be used to pay for our schools, roads, cops, firefighters, libraries, parks, and what not. And if an additional tax convinces casual abusers of these “vices” to give them up before they become an addiction, that’s the icing on my socialist cake.
But there’s an exception to every rule...
The intent behind Plan Bay Area’s “mileage tax” proposal is to get us out of our cars. This is inherently a good thing and something we all should be doing. But all the good intentions in the world can’t excuse another regressive tax that hurts the working class. And I don’t know about you, but I’m none too keen on the government peeking at my odometer. While they’re at it, why don’t they tax the minutes I spend watching Jersey Shore? (And please don’t tell anybody!)
3. Dude, what’s up with that?
One day, former Palo Alto Mayor Sid Espinosa announces he’s forgoing a second term on the Palo Alto City Council. The next day, current Mayor Yiaway Yeh says he’s stepping aside as well. It’s kind of disturbing when two bright, young leaders decide that public service isn’t the best application of their talents. It’s even more disturbing when they represent the only minority voices on an already very white City Council, and there isn’t exactly a line of non-white faces to replace them. (Full disclosure: I’m white.)
That said, I’m sure both gentlemen have their reasons, and I wish them well in whatever endeavors they pursue. At least they won’t have to deal with angry bees anymore.
Peter Allen is an amateur blogger and a professional rabble rouser, born and raised in San Jose. He is currently working on the campaign of Robert Braunstein, who is seeking San Jose’s District 10 City Council seat.