Call before the Housewarming Party

About twice a month, I get an inquiry from someone who is considering purchasing a home in my council district. I think it is good idea as it shows they are doing their due diligence.

Councilmembers are often the conduit in which information flows about neighborhoods. We are on the receiving end of emails, phone calls and conversations at the grocery store where residents share information and perspectives that they often do not want to vent in a public forum amongst their neighbors. Thus councilmembers are able to have both a top-level and detail-oriented perspective of the neighborhoods in their districts.

The inquiries are generally the same from prospective residents, as they want to know about the current and future status of the neighborhood. They ask questions like: Will the road will be paved in the near future? Does the street have a lot of car traffic? May I chop down the tree(s)? Will new stores be coming to the neighborhood? Will the public school be closed to reduce traffic? Will industrial buildings with their noise and truck traffic stay or go away? What is going to happen with that empty lot? Does the street culture allow for privacy or is it a “chatty” neighborhood?  There is never a better time to be candid with someone that is going to purchase a home. Same would be true for renting however inquiries from people that rent are less frequent.

Some of the prospective residents take my comments and say thanks and I never hear from them again, while others have purchased their new home and in many cases I have a developed a new positive constituent relationship.

In 1993, I moved into a condominium development. My condo was located in a transitional neighborhood that had its fair share of crime. I was told a lot of things about the area including that the area around the condo would be an “artsy” area within a few years. I was also told that a park would be built across the street. The reality is, it took almost 10 years to build out the140 unit complex and unfortunately the rumored park that was supposed to go across the street…is still not there.

Professional Realtors are good people working hard for both buyers and sellers. However, disclosures cannot possibly cover every angle of a neighborhood. Realtors do not control government, recessions or other private property owners.

Cities are constantly evolving and changing. But it seems that significant change is at a snail’s pace with a flat economy, and neighborhoods are more likely to stay the same versus experience radical change. So in conclusion: If you’re looking to move into a neighborhood and you’re curious about the surrounding area you should contact your respective local elected official and ask for their viewpoint.

32 Comments

    • Yet another misinformed strawman.  By the way, how do you save money if you don’t have any to start with?

  1. Council Members get calls.  I appreciate your philosophy.  According to Scott Herhold, who relies of conservative blogs to get stories, a council member like Barry Chang needs to set and be quiet.

    Now, did you know that on July 28, 2011, the State Mining Board issued a citation to Lehigh Cement, but Mr. Herhold chose to suppress that information which proves Barry was right.

    Why?

    Is Mr. Herhold uncomfortable with our city council because there are too many Asian Americans wanting to seek proper environmental justice.  It seems he is uncomfortable with them.

    • I am not sure how Scott Herhold’s recent evidence-free smear shot at Councilman Barry Chang is relevant to this thread, but the corruption underlying the Merc’s role in this needs examination.  It’s a scandal.

      It’s odd that this entirely dishonest, uncivil attack is based on claims of civility.  What a perversion of honest reporting.

      I’ve seen the pattern unfold a dozen times as stage-managed by the Merc, and it almost always comes in threes.  First, there’s an uncivil, deceptive column by an ignorant, and barely literate, know-it-all at the Merc. [Done.] Second, a vicious ghost-written letter or statement by an outsider.  [Done.]  Third, an editorial telling the candidate for liquidation to “step down.” [Expect soon.]

      But the question is about the Merc’s role in setting up this campaign to get Barry Chang.  If you don’t know, the Merc has long since gone past the point of reporting the news.  Now it acts as a conduit for special interests of all kinds.

      The cement manufacturer and its alleged pollution seem to be one of many focal points for Chang.  It is a foreign-owned power in the local Chamber of Commerce with branches in various parts of California. 

      It appears that the state has already found the company to have pollution problems, and it is curious as to why the Merc is smearing the messenger instead of chastising the problem.

      We’ve seen this kind of scandal before at the Merc, and I hope Chang holds on and fights back to gain the time to tell his side of the story.

      • Jim Cunneen decides that Barry is a problem.  County Exec actually demsbded to know why a citizen was interested in this matter after he wrote a letter critical of Chang, which the Lehigh people, who are connected to the state GOP through the Houston Group, who works with the County zexec, to smear Chang.

        Sandra James, who was quoted in the Merc as critical of the Asian American majority on the Council (see the article on Fred Chan), also contacted Herhold, and the hit piece is written.

        count the number of articles which Herhold has written critical of Asian American political leaders (over a half dozen).  Ty Greaves who is a long time GOP leader in Santa Clar County and a supporter of Chuck Reed, joins in.

        Jon Fleischman, who is he?

        Fleischman is.a GOP consultant and a friend of Cunneen,and he printed the story for Cunneen.  Now, comes the scoop.

        Daily Fetch

        Who is he?

        By a process of elimination and matching Facebook writing styles, with this Barry Chsng matter, the most likely person who writes Daily Fetch,  is Rich Robinson.

        • Scott Herhold writes a column on Anna Song detailing how rude she was to Colleen Wilcox.

          Herhold does this every time.  The column about the rude elected official, and some member of the American Leadership Forum makes a mark.

          Chang has managed to annoy the American Leadership Forum, which Cunneen also works with, and the treatment begins.

          Notice how Herhold has never done an article on the American Leadership Forum?

        • American Leadership Forum receives funding from oil refeneries and cement plants.  Their Silicon Valley Office houses a foundation run by Jim Cunneen and aided by Rich Robinson as well as Sandra James.

          Jeff Smith has, according to SCCA minutes, engages in a parternship with ALF.

          Herhold is one of the members of the American Lwadership Forum as was Jon Fleischman.

          Barry never had a chance.

          They ordered Barry on toast just within a three day period, Jeff Smith to Cunneen to Fleischman to Herhold.

          Colleen Wilcox was also a member.

        • All of this commentary about Barry Chang has nothing to do with what Pierluigi was talking about.

          Or does it?

          Oliverio was making the point that a good council member reaches out to people by helping them understand the community.

          Granted that Pierluigi is a hard working, decent man, who does care about his constituents.

          Barry Chang has been attacked by bloggers who work for the Republican Party down in Orange County.

          Fleischman runs the Orange County Republican machine.

          Why would Scott Herhold get stuff from Fleischman?

          Because Herhold is meter maid for the establishment, he does what he is told.  No integrity whatsover.  A few days afer Barry Chang got smeared, Herhold wrote one of these “young boys in the Midwest pieces.”

          Summer of 42 and A Christmas Story were a lot better stories, Scott, try to make up material that is at least fascinating.

          The guy probably had some grain alcohol in a jug before he drove little Scotty and crashed the car.

          Yawn!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          Getting back to Oliverio and Chang.  They are both trying to serve their constituents in a passionate manner.  A state letter vindicated Chang, and Herhold did not follow up.  Instead he wrote about being in a ditch in a crashed De Soto.

          Council members owe their constituents their interest and their passion.

          Columnists like Herhold write for parrot cage liners.

        • Herhold had his story, the nasty little chinese council member who does not understand how this country operates.  Barry Chang was singled out as the fellow too mixed up to deal with the poor little quarry that is hampered by all these regulations, and the county executive who is overworked and has to deal with nasty, little Barry.  It all fits Scott’s views of minority politicians.  He has had it for years, a view that Asian American council members are sweet and lovable, and dance, but are bascially irresponsible children who can never fully appreciate our form of government, and never phone their employee when they are late for work.  Herhold moves in the ethical twilight of Cunneen and others who live in Almaden Valley, and have no worries about large polluters.  His attack on Barry Chang is similar to the one Walter Winchell did on an African American singer who demanded to be seved at 21 with the same respect as the whites.  Herhold had a message in his column, know your place!  We came to this country seeking the American ideal, of respect and fair play, and some operative for the quarry named Herhold attacks us when we speak out.

        • I love Jim Cunneen!  He was one of the best reps we had here in the Silicon Valley.  Helped get the sound wall up on 85 or 87 I forget.  Instead, we have do nothing Honda as a congress member.  What a waste.

        • Barry Chang was an excellent school board member.  He ran for city council, and Jim Cunneen along with Pat Dando wanted someone else, but Barry won on the platform of seeking change.

          Herhold could care less.  He does not like council members who want change, if he or his country club friends do not like it.

        • Flyers have been dropped all over Cupertino with copies of the letter Barry Chang.

          He is getting the treatment.

          Chang will soon be asked to resign or apologize.

  2. I think contacting the City Planning Department would provide a more informed
    and longer range view of what is being planned for development in any particular neighborhood. City Planners have a city-wide perspective on future developments that might impact a neighborhood, rather than the parochial view of a council member.

    • As one of the people who emailed Council Member Oliverio, we found his interest to be heart warming.

      I read this post by Pierluigi, and my wife and I, over some iced tea remarked how civil and how nice Pierluigi is to write about this,  He does respond to constituents, and we think he is the type of council member we would invite in our home and have a coffee for him.

      We are seniors, and we want to some things about the expressions of civility that Pierluigi has made, and the rudness of some people who are critical of him.

      The Mayor of another city wrote to some seniors about their fears of losing their post office, and they were so impressed with his interest.  We find Mr. Oliverio to be a refreshing and very nice man.

      Indeed, the treasurer of some local political committee and his friend, a nasty fellow on Cubbles, wrote a comment that seniors have no right to complain about the post office, they can just get more exercise walking to Walsh.  I have to ask, when do we stop tolerating the vicious and nasty attitudes of these so called citizen groups who are made up of bullies.  One nice man who works for the county was told by this nasty fellow they were going to “get him” for supporting an issue.  We understand one of the non profits told this guy to get anger management counseling when they found he was throwing their cards at people at meetings.

    • Stay away from all of San Jose. It is going downhill fast. Try Cupertino. Hey Pier…you should stop blogging and get to work trying to solve real issues like the budget.

      • San Jose is a horrible city! For decades it’s been mismanaged on so many levels. As a former resident, trust me, other surrounding cities offer you safe & clean environments with competent city resources. Someone mentioned going to the City Planning Department to get informed!?!? They obviously never have, because San Jose’s is among the worst and it always has been, regardless of the economy.

    • City Employee is correct.  Seriously, you should think about living in Campbell or Santa Clara, both well-run, fiscally responsible locales.  While the taxes are likely about the same as SJ, the services far exceed anything SJ has been able to offer for a couple of decades.  Want proof?  check out the third world roads in SJ, check out the shortened library hours and check out the dangerously low ratios of SJ fire and police to citizens.  Why would anyone in their right mind want to move to or relocate within SJ?!

  3. Sounds like Los Altos is the new place to hang out. When 66 cops were getting laid off, Pier was at Larry Stones birthday party (nice house by the way for a county employee) celebrating in fine fashion. I wonder if Larry gave a speech at the bash like he did at the measure V campaign.  I’m sure it was in the tone of, “give them he’ll.” What a great guy.

  4. PLO: I live in the Rose Garden district and while I don’t agree with all of your views, I do believe that you do a decent and respectable job. I might add—Rose Garden is a great place to live!

  5. I have lived in district 6 for ten years now.  I feel that PLO does a great job with his constituents in the Rose Garden and Willow Glen areas.  However, I feel that his West San Jose constituents get the shaft. For instance, look at his 2011 Summer newsletter….Willow Glen and Rose Garden all over it, nothing about West San Jose, and according to his calendar, no events in West San Jose (unless you count Santana Row).  On our neighborhood blog, Pete Constant’s office (District 1) felt the need to notify us of a very high risk sex offender that was just released in the area.  While I don’t hold a very high opinion of Mr. Constant, at least his office felt it was appropriate to let the neighborhood know.  We never received a notification from Mr. Oliverio’s office.

    • D6 Resident,

      I’ve been in your position before, and i have found that monthly communications with the D6 office, through our neighborhood group, would supply the councilmember with all the information he needs to broadcast your events.

      Do you have events in the future? At your monthly meetings, you can make sure the D6 rep. knows about it.  Maybe you don;t have meetings – so what is the D6 office supped to do?

      Melrose (a staff members in his office) always records the upcoming events as discussed at our neighborhood meetings and it gets in his newsletter.

      D6 Resident, you may need to do a little more outreach yourself.  Last I looked, the D6 office does not read minds.

      • You missed the point of my post. Pierluigi touts the wonders of Willow Glen and the Rose Garden mainly, but fails to equally represent the rest of his district, i.e the neighborhoods near Santana Row, which are also rather nice.

  6. There is an urgent fiscal emergency and pension crisis. How can you possibly have time to take phone calls from individuals looking to relocate? Crisis, crisis, crisis. Impending doom. And you are going to parties and taking individual calls from prospective residents. Makes one kinda wonder…

    Pier, you are off-message. The Chamber of Commerce is gonna be mad!

  7. Constituent service is a great way past all the politics and divisive rhetoric bogging down the process at all levels from DC to Sacramento.

    Turn down the talk radio and other drum-beating, sabre rattling rhetoric and look around for what makes a nice community and work with your local representative to fine tune it.

    A lot of politics these days seems to be filled with rhetoric and personal attacks. 

    It doesn’t matter what party you belong to, what culture you grew up in, or even who you voted for in the last election.  The local representatives like Piereluigi work for you and are going to try to help you if you ask. 

    Try it with your own rep, and not just on the city council.  State assembly, state senate, county supervisor, ask about some local projects or government service…give constructive feedback or compliments along with suggestions. 

    I think that kind of political engagement is healthy for democracy and everyone involved.

    And as for Cupertino council member Chang and Herhold, its really up to his constituents to decide if he’s doing a good job speaking for them and addressing their issues.  The whole close the cement plant or whatever thing seems to be classic rich NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) behavior and self-serving to enhance property values under the guise of “environmentalism”, but what the heck, its their town and their representative, so let them hash it out.  I don’t really think their some crypto-right-wing conspiracy against asians, but maybe its just about competing wealthy interests trying to shape public policy for private profit?

  8. It boggles my mind why anyone would want to be in any political position in this country—local, state or otherwise. They’re just punching bags.

    I hope those of you who have nothing nice to say on here are out on the front lines doing what you can to be a source of positive energy and change in the community and not just sitting around complaining and being hateful … I kinda doubt it.

  9. Ridding your bike in Willow Glen is dangerous.  Old city streets and faulty (future growth) planning cause a dilemma when ridding along sidewalks blocked by pedestrian sharing the same level atmosphere. In this wispy neighborhood of Council Member Pierluigi’s 6, you may find a bike rider, or two trying to share the same dreaded path as traffic frequenting a pizza and coffee shop. But just a few blocks away from these downtown hotspot are rumors of gangs and uninsured drivers crashing into parked vehicles and broken windows with jetting wires freed from its ‘council’.  If you don’t like this friendly family environment. Don’t forget there is also Santana Row just a few more miles down the road.