August Observations: Jazz Fest, Developers and the Life Expectancy of the Gold Club

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.

• It would behoove the Chamber of Commerce and the South Bay Labor Council to put down the gloves at least until March of 2016, as we all have more to reap through cooperation than confrontation.

• 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.

Rich Robinson is an attorney and political consultant in Silicon Valley. Opinions are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside.


  1. Driving down Santa Teresa Blvd. you pass the southernmost neighborhoods of suburban San Jose, finally punch through a low range of serpentinite hills cloaked in golden grass, and abruptly emerge in another world- Coyote Valley. The dark, fertile soil. The orderly rows of crops. The stately oaks. The quiet. That’s the way God meant it to be.
    You’re right about one thing Rich.
    Let’s resist building out Coyote Valley.

    • They need to maximize development in Coyote Valley with more highrises than Manhattan.  The buildings height should range from 20 stories to around over 100 stories, if not the new world’s tallest.  That way, the housing prices would come way down, and it would be the best way to maximize growth in San Jose.
      Coyote Valley should be San Jose’s and world’s best highrise district with a good balance of offices and housing.  The transportation for Coyote Valley: bikes and bike paths.  It also should be a walking district, too.  No cars needed!

    • Or you could approach it from the 101/Bailey side, where it looks like a big, empty bunch of nothing just crying out for development.

      • Of course Coyote Valley is “crying out for development”. And with the ovine cooperation of the average San Josean the politicians and the developers will inevitably get their way.  So pat yourselves on the back, city blue and Jeeper. 
        If we place no value on open space, on true diversity like a local agricultural economy, or on the natural environment, then we can sit idly by and watch as yet another unique space gets absorbed by McAmerica.

  2. Rich,

    Before you proclaim that “there is no flight of millionaires out of California as a result of needed tax increse here.” I will point you to a article in the San Jose Mercury just 5 days ago titled ” Californians flee to Nevada to escape taxes, agents say.”

    People in California are tbe highest taxed population in the nation when all taxes are factored in. We are now saying enough is enough and leaving for a more reasonable climate, even if the weather is not as hospitable.  California has indeed reached the tax breaking point..

    • It’s not the billionaires.  It is retirees who are cashing out of their lucrative CA homes and setting up shop in NV.  This also occures in AZ, NM etc., the downside is you have to live there—-I prefer here.

      • You’re attacking retirees, most of whom live on fixed incomes for moving to another state so they have more to live on each month? I cannot believe you actually wrote that.

      • First you make pronouncements with nothing to back up your assertions, and then you dismiss someone without bothering to reading his reference.

        If you actually read the article referenced by Michael R, you would see that a real estate agent claimed that “three multi-million” sales were a direct result of Prop. 30.  Like how many retirees do you know that can afford “multi-million” dollar homes?  If you’re retired and don’t have a lot of income, you have aren’t affected by Prop. 30.  If you’re someone like that, then you aren’t moving to Nevada because of Prop. 30.

  3. A sketchy and incomplete news summary at best.

    Nothing about the sudden urgent need for government regulation of rodeo clowns.

    San Jose could show it’s leadership to the nation by being first.

    Think of the potential lifetime damage to the psyches of impressionable children if rodeo clowns could parade up and down Market Street wearing Obama masks.

    Too horrific to contemplate.

    Would the City Council be able to live with itself if an outbreak of sociopathic rodeo clowns hate speech were spewed all over the national media and the Council did NOTHING?

    What is government for?

  4. Instead of the developer land swap, San Jose should institute a new housing moratorium until the city is able to provide adequate services (especially police) to the existing residents.  San Jose has about the lowest per-capita income of the cities in the region because so much of its industrial land has been converted piecemeal to housing.

  5. > There is no flight from millionaires out of California as a result of the needed tax increase here.

    It’s worse than we thought.

    The ruling class, and its drones and sock puppets don’t even realize that there is an exodus of tax victims high-tailing it out of Taxifornia.

    Texas now has four additional seats in the House of Representatives, compared to California’s none.

    The new Texas districts are undoubtedly populated with California tax refugees.

    • Hey, did you know that there is this thing called internet searches, which allow anyone, no matter how lazy, to look up almost any information in seconds?  A quick walk down Google Lane takes one to which shows that only about 11% of the 514,726 who moved to Texas in 2011 are from California.  Which is rather unimpressive since California makes up 12% of the US population. 

      More likely the Texas fertility rate of 2.159 versus California’s 1.947 has a lot to do with those new districts.

    • Well there is no Prop. 13 in Texas.  I hope they are renters, because buying in Texas can cost ya.

      BTW: If they are living in Texas, my belief is that it is not a choice.  Nobody “wants” to live in Texas.

        • Nevertheless, the data shows a net outmigration of $$$, whatever the reason. That does not bode well for our Golden State.

          Texas may lack a Prop 13 to protect businesses from rising property taxes, yet it ranks 14th in property tax burden, not terribly far ahead of CA’s 25th ranking.

          Looking at total state/local tax burden, CA ranks 4th in the nation with over 11% of personal income going to the state, with TX ranked #45 with under 8%.

          And our local schools, especially those located near 4BR houses costing less than $250K, are all that.

          Pull your head out of the sand, or wherever it’s stuck.

        • Cute link.  Go look at the underlying data from the Tax Foundation.  All the Tax Foundation can show is that people move from some states to other states.  They never poll anyone as to why they moved, they just hope you will fill in their lack of evidence with your own thoughts.  To me, it looks more like movement from cold to warm states and from densely populated to less populated.

          Any how, the Tax Foundation chart only examines income tax.  Texas has about the same sales tax as CA and HIGHER property tax.  In fact, Texas has the third highest property tax in the nation.  For most people, sales and property tax have a bigger impact than state income tax.

          As to your Zillow house, scroll down at look at those schools.  3 out of 10 points.  Guess your property taxes doesn’t buy good schools there.

        • Actually, the Tax Foundation chart doesn’t even show what you think it does.  What it does show is that more Californians moved to Texas than Texans moved to California.  A very unsurprising fact given that California’s population is about 50% larger than Texas.  And that the average Californians were richer than the average Texans, also unsurprising. 

          And what does “And our local schools, especially those located near 4BR houses costing less than $250K, are all that.” actually mean?  In educated English?

      • Rich,

        I don’t get your point about Texas not having Prop. 13. There are a number of things that we as Californians “enjoy” that Texas does not have.

        State personal income tax just to name one.

        • Prop 13 should be in the forefront of anyone comparing Texas to California.  Yeah, we have income tax and they don’t but property tax there is a killer:

          CA –  1% of assessed value, maximum annual 2% growth

          TX –  2 to 3% of assessed value, maximum annual 10% growth

          That growth factor is a killer.  At that rate, the tax on your Texan house can double every 7 years.  In California it would take over 35 years.  Any one moving to Texas for a few percentage points of income tax reduction has a very nasty surprise waiting for them down the road.

  6. Regardless of how long The Gold Club survives, can anyone explain how one week before it opened was the first time the city council heard that it was opening as a bikini club? The shock and outrage was almost comical. Was Liccardo asleep at the switch?

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