It was a scene reminiscent of the movie El Mariachi last night, as men carrying large black guitar cases streamed past police lines and through metal detectors around 11pm at the San Jose Fairmont hotel’s lobby. By that time, the line of people hoping to catch a glance of the 44th President of the United States instead got to spot and spontaneously applaud stars from the 20th Annual San Jose Mariachi Festival Gala Concert & Musical as musicians such as Los Lobos’ Cesar Rosas made their way to the lobby bar.
On Sunday, President Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president in a decade to overnight in San Jose. That may placate some of the people who have been complaining that this president bypasses a city that overwhelmingly supported him and only spends time with the wealthy gods of social media on the Peninsula, who dispense $35,800 checks like ATMs. (Guests at last night’s soiree at Facebooker Cheryl Sandberg’s Atherton crib included Lady Gaga, who presumably wanted Obama to add schoolyard bullies to his agenda, along with repairing the global economy and finding Muammar Gaddafi.) Obama made it to San Jose after 10pm and planned to head back to Mountain View for a LinkedIn town hall at the Computer History Museum.
San Jose was the dateline for new reports of the president’s arrival, and Mayor Chuck Reed was in the greeting line at Moffett Field (which is in Mountain View and Sunnyvale, actually). Truth be told, the only reason Obama was in San Jose was because he needed a place to crash. He’s the fourth consecutive U.S. President to catch some shuteye there, so they know the drill. And the Secret Service office is on the same block. That will disappoint people who got used to President Bill Clinton’s regular jogs down Market Street and jaunts into neighborhoods like Willow Glen, where he bought a book at a now-defunct independent bookstore.
Business was slow at establishments in and around the Fairmont due to the security cordon that shut down Market and First Streets. Shortly before midnight, a profanity-screaming woman was handcuffed on the Fairmont’s back steps near Tova Day Spa and led away. An agent said she was caught stealing soap.