Rants & Raves: 2010

Best of times? Worst of times? Both? How did our fair city do in 2010? What were the highlights and low points from where you sit? (Holiday bonus points for the SJI commentator who comes up with the best high-point for the year: What’s the one thing that happened over the past 12 months that made you glad you got out of bed that morning?) 

23 Comments

  1. As a longtime Dodger hater (yes that’s right I truly hate them), the highlight of the year had to be when, back in July I think it was, Giants manager Bruce Bochy pointed out to the umpires that Dodgers’ substitute manager, Don Mattingly, had inadvertantly made a second visit to the mound. Under the rules, this obligated the Dodgers to immediately remove their pitcher, Jonathan Broxton from the game. This led directly to the Giants winning that game which, had they lost, they might well have come up short in the NL West and not gone on to win the World Series.

    2nd Place; Larry Ellison winning the America’s Cup for little old Golden Gate Yacht Club.

  2. > What’s the one thing that happened over the past 12 months that made you glad you got out of bed that morning?

    Joe DiSalvo being named President of the Santa Clara Board of Education because he was the only Board Member not pissing on another Board Member’s leg.

    It’s going to be a great year for progressive education.

    Some times the Gods hear our prayers.

  3. All,
    Could you please assist in not only get the word out, but write, call, and attend County Meetings regarding the scheduled deletion of this vital program. http://www.sccvote.org/portal/site/ohr/agencychp?path=/v7/Human Relations, Office of (DEP)/Child Welfare Ombuds

    67% of its clients are poor or low income minorities, and a larger portion,76%, are women. It is so very important that this program is not deleted. They help thousands of people with all kinds of problems regarding child welfare. Often times this is the only venue they have open to them to protect their rights.

    Here are the contact numbers:
    Board of Supervisors:
    http://www.sccgov.org/portal/site/scc/aspecial?path=/v7/SCC Public Portal&contentI; d=be0a08dfd33f6010VgnVCMP2200049dc4a92____

    County Executive:
    Jeffrey V. Smith
    County Executive
    70 West Hedding Street, 11th Floor
    San Jose, CA 95110
    Phone: (408) 299-5105

    Thank you, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    Christian

  4. Our city is a disgrace and done a horrific job during the last few years.  It starts with a decrepit downtown that is a financial blackhole for the city since it has failed miserably.  The 3 billion dollar bill is due for the whole city and its residents.  What a colosal disaster on the city’s part.  The city had a good intention to rebuilt its downtown but never followed through to complete its redevelopment with more housing, offices and hotels to provide critical mass and more bodies to support businesses and help them thrive.  One needs to look at New York City.  It’s working in NY, not San Jose because it’s not dense enough.  Density is king.  They could use market forces and finances as excuse for not completing the development of downtown to make it as success, but it going to cost all of us in the long run for the incompetion of downtown and not allowing it to reach its full potential.  In other words, the city shouldn’t have taken this task to rebuild downtown unless they can complete it.  Completing the downtown revitalization in the future and putting things on hold due to slow economic slowdown is what kill downtown, period and allow debt collector knock on the city’s door.  Time to pay up!

  5. My top moment of 2010 was definitely the Giants winning the World Series! smile

    A close second for me was the underdog San Jose Earthquakes defeating the New York Red Bulls in the MLS playoffs on national TV (ESPN2, ESPN2-HD and ESPN Deportes) to advance to within one game of the MLS Cup final.

    The San Jose Earthquakes advancing to and winning the MLS Cup would’ve undoubtedly provided me with my #1 moment of the year just as had happened in both 2001 and 2003, but I suppose that’s something to look forward to in 2011.

  6. Mayor Reed is trying his best to solve the budget problem that the city is in.  Ex-mayor Ron Gonzales, really put the city in a mess when he sold out to the unions over pay and benefits.  What a loser he was.

    • Chuck Reed was a council when Ron Gonzalez was shagging his aid. Reed voted for every contract that increased pay and benefits that he disparages today. Don’t be so quick to let him off on that fact.

  7. The day, last year, that most made me glad that I got out of bed?

    The day I discovered that Martin Luther King Library is not only the largest public library in San Jose, it is also the SJSU library—I actually have direct access to a university library!

    No more interlibrary loans for a week with no renewal!  No more depressingly sparse local collection of reference works!  No more lack of intellectual nourishment!  Civilization at last!  (I was living in rural Nevada.  They did their honest best to serve as many subjects as they could, and they were extremely, amazingly good at it.  They just hadn’t run across anyone who wanted the subject I was researching, before.)

    The second-brightest day I had last year was also library-related:  The day that I discovered that my San Jose Public Library card gets me access to Safari Books Online (the technical-reference e-book service of O’Reilly and Associates).  I’d been coveting that service for years, but could never justify the cost of subscribing to it.

    Now, I can actually catch up on technology that I’ve missed over the last few years.

    • Hi Kyle,

      I was so happy to read how much you appreciate your local public library and all it has to offer.

      The Martin Luther King Jr. library is a great San Jose State/City of San Jose collaborative partnership that offers the public as well as students access to university material in an iconic building.

      The surrounding SJ branch libraries serve the nearby communities and provide wonderful learning opportunities and community programs for diverse groups. Many job seekers use our libraries, and the library has a stellar literacy program as well: Partners in Reading, which helps bring reading skills to anyone interested in improving their reading and comprehension.

      The Library leadership team continues to do an amazing job of making dollars stretch in order to serve the public in the best ways possible.

      Last, if you or anyone on SJI is interested, there are various “Friends of the library” groups who would really appreciate any volunteer time or treasure you can donate. Check them out at:  http://www.sjpl.org/friends

      Tina, an avid library fan

    • I have been to Nevada and to Arizona and have visited their libraries and I am with you brother.  We are civilized in San Jose. 

      If you like what you saw, wait til next year. The city is trying to run a $40M system for only $30M. Instead of 375 headcount, the library got 300 this year.  They’re looking to cut more next year.  The November 2010 budget proposal for example looks to reduce hours from 47 to 30 hours/week.  This will decimate services and programs.  It will however save the city about $2M a year or about $2 for every man, woman and child in San Jose.

  8. Ask the same question above a year from now and my answer will be the day Major League Baseball freed San Jose from the restrictive/un-American territorial rights of the San Francisco Giants (you know, that team playing in the smaller burgh 45 miles to our north/northwest).  That day and decision is out there somewhere in 2011, and it will be a great day indeed for our fine city.  Free at last…Free at last!  Thank God almighty, San Jose will be free at last!  Happy New Years everyone!

  9. I agree, Mayor Reed has a rough job on his hands. It appears that he is going to make major changes fast to chip at the budget issues. He won’t be popular but he may succeed at getting the job done.

    You will always hear the most complaints from the departments who have been grossly compensated at management levels.

    I see changes on the horizon boys.Time to change things around here.

  10. I’ve never posted here before but felt compelled to share this information about the loss of a dear friend and local Architectural Historian George Espinola 1961-2010…R.I.P.. I first met George in 1984 as he came to work at the firm I was at right out of school that year.  Right from the start it was a pleasure working with him and we became good friends and worked other places together over the years.

    George was a Frank Lloyd Wright scholar and really knew his history.  He taught me a lot and put it all into perspective for me. Only 49 years old when he died suddenly George was wise beyond his years.

    After living in Hanchett Park George became curious about a prairie style house near him and this is what started his research which culminated in a history book documenting the early work of Architects Wolfe & McKenzie circa 1907 and earlier.  That firm produced a high volume of work in downtown San Jose during that period and George was able to locate and catalog most of it for us.  His book is no longer in print but I’m thinking it should be reprinted because it is a major historical documentary on not only the buildings but also the people who owned and occupied them.

    Here’s an old Metro article I found about the book if you want to learn more:

    http://www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/06.02.04/espinola-0423.html

    George was also working on another related book at the time of his death. George has a significant library of books on Architectural history. I’m thinking that because of his major contribution to San Jose history his book and collection should be placed in the California Room at the main library so other scholars and students can have access to them.
    Seems a fitting tribute for a man who spent a significant portion of his life on this historical work. Did anyone else here know George Espinola or do you have any thoughts on this?

    There is a treasure trove of Architecture history books wasting away in a basement at the San Jose History Museum. Seems those should be unearthed and cataloged and made available. San Jose has such a rich Architectural history but sadly we take it for granted or seem to care little about it.

    • Good comments and a nice tribute. I agree with your idea to supplement the California Room.
      San Jose may indeed have a “rich Architectural history” but it’s almost gotten to the point where that’s all it is- history. Instances of interesting architecture are fairly rare now in San Jose, so it is important that we appreciate what little is left.(Not to mention encouraging and appreciating better architecture going forward)
      The Naglee Park neighborhood springs to mind as one that is chock full of interesting houses, all with unique design, none of them alike, yet all seeming to fit together as a whole.

  11. Published Monday, January 3, 2011, by the Palo Alto Daily Post

    Controversial HSR official is replaced

    In an announcement in the final hours of his governorship, Arnold Schwarzenegger put an end to Rod Diridon’s controversial career as a high-speed rail authority board member.

    Schwarzenegger replaced Diridon, the former Santa Clara County supervisor whose name is on the San Jose train station, with Los Angeles Business Journal publisher Matt Toledo. Diridon, 71, had become a lightning rod for high-speed rail critics after a comment he made last year about “rotten apples” that many perceived as being directed at rail opponents, though Diridon later said otherwise.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/peninsula/ci_16984397?nclick_check=1

    • > Schwarzenegger replaced Diridon, the former Santa Clara County supervisor whose name is on the San Jose train station, . . . .

      Darn.

      I wanted Schwarzeneggar to surround Dirdon’s office with a SWAT time, yell “come out you dirty rat!” with bullhorns, saturate the place with tear gas grenades, send in an assault squad with tasers and nightsticks, goose, club, and gas any one on the premises, and then drag Diridon’s flea-bitten carcass out on the street and pee on it.

      For a creature of Hollywood, Schwarzeneggar doesn’t have much sense of drama.

  12. A highlight for San Jose 2010:

    San Jose’s Municipal Rose Garden awarded “America’s Best Rose Garden”.

    Yeah – take that Portland!

    • RG Resident,

      Thanks for sharing your highlight of the SJ Municpal Rose Garden. It’s an excellent example which I don’t think would have happened if it hadn’t been for the political will and “not-only-can-we, but-we’re-going-to” attitude of the residents, AND the cojones of Council member Pierluigi to stand up to the naysayers.

      Since the residents regularly pitch in, City Staff is hopefully less overwhelmed with all the upkeep and Council member Pierluigi has yet another example of what can happen when the City gets out of its own way and allows true collaboration and creativity to happen.

      Great job, all!

      Tina

  13. I’d have to say 2010 turned into a real emotional roller coaster with doom and gloom budgets, feel good politicians, and some thoughtful civic debates on what we want for the future and how we’ll get there.

    Feels like we’ve taken 3 steps forward, and then another 2 back, but at least where moving and it feels like it might be in the right direction.  I suspect the real tough times are ahead of us, but somehow it seems like we’ve got a shot at making the best of it and not being bested by the trials ahead.  We’ve got a colorful cast of “enlightened leaders” to speak for the 10 districts, a mayor to give direction and collective voice, plenty of pundits and self-annointed spokespeople, and a mess in Sacramento and Washington that in some ways dwarfs the problems San Jose is grappling with.

    Oh well…we got some rain this year.