The news tends to slow down in summer, but here are some August observations:
• Last week’s Jazz Festival was a tremendous success downtown. Kudos to Noelani Sallings and her crew for pulling off a worthwhile regional event—even a fair amount of folks from San Francisco trekked it down to San Jose for the great weather and fantastic music.
• It’s ironic that the new Gold Club, located in downtown’s historic San Jose Building and Loan Association structure, is where men will now go to lose their savings, which may well necessitate a loan. But for those who are wringing their hands of the immoral invasion, long ago downtown banned nudity and the Internet is a powerful competitor that isn’t going anywhere. I suspect the Gold Club won’t last.
• San Jose now has its own EB5—the California Development Regional Center—with principals Bob Staedler, formerly of the Redevelopment Agency, and Doug Feece getting approved by homeland security. EB5s are federally approved entities for foreign capital investors, which have a goal to help produce jobs in exchange for immigrants obtaining residency in the US. As RDAs are now defunct, EB5s have been used elsewhere to provide needed funding for large projects. As the only federally approved regional center in San Jose—and improvements needed for the Super Bowl in 2016—the business is well positioned to capitalize on that lucrative model.
• Speaking of Super Bowl L, San Jose businesses should start planning for the big event, even if it’s a year and half away. When a Super Bowl comes to a region, Black Friday occurs in February and November. In addition, San Jose officials should meet with their counterparts in New Orleans, who know how to host a Super Bowl.
• Local races for 2014 are already beginning to heat up. In the words of John Oliver of “The Daily Show,” couldn’t we “wait at least until Jon Stewart gets back.” Which, by the way, is only three weeks.
• Wasn’t the decision on pension reform due out by now? Seems like a cut and dry legal question. Does the San Jose City Charter supersede the California State Constitution and the United States Constitution? A first-year law student could answer that question fairly quickly and with loads of precedent to bolster the argument.
• Despite what you may think, the land swap deal being proposed by Tom Armstrong, Chop Keenan and Tom McEnery is a good deal—for everybody. The fact that developers might make some money is not the point. Infill is preferable to building out Coyote Valley. The developers might want to consider higher densities and an affordable housing component, but infill is the way to go. And while the General Plan outlines the general direction of the city, it should not be so rigid as to not allow good projects that benefit the city to go forward. Of course, hiring Susan Mineta wasn’t a bad idea either.
• Finally, Republicans should note that the tax increase on the richest Americans has not caused a downturn in the economy. There is no flight from millionaires out of California as a result of the needed tax increase here. Democrats should note that the sequester, with the exception of a quick impact on the airline industry, has yet to have the public pain prophesied. Meanwhile, both policies have pushed the annual deficit down. Though we would be growing at a faster clip if we had a grand bargain instead of the sequester hatchet.
Rich Robinson is a political consultant in Silicon Valley.