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San Jose Mayor’s Race Heats up as Candidates Debate

Five weeks from Election Day, the San Jose mayor's race—expected to be the most expensive race in city history—is ramping up. Attack ads are in the mail, media attention is intensifying and candidates are squaring off in public debates. Here's a list of upcoming events.

County Supervisors Consider Proposal for Massive Civic Center Project in San Jose

Plans to develop a 55-acre chunk of land in midtown San Jose into a bustling civic center are moving forward. Kind of. A request for quotations (RFQ) ended up with just one proposal up for consideration at Tuesday’s Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors meeting. It was the only proposal submitted. Other items on Tuesday’s agenda include the allocation of grant money to encourage breastfeeding and a quarter-million dollar request from Rotary Club of San Jose to help build a park.

Six Degrees of Separation from Steve Jobs or the Shoulders of San Pedro Square

We all stand on the shoulders of others in the building of a city or a nation. Nowhere is that more true of our valley than in one strip of San Jose called San Pedro Square. A boy named Luis Peralta traveled north from Tubac, in Old Mexico, fully 1,000 miles, and he settled in this area; the DeAnza Party followed. We move from Peralta to Fallon, Masson, Giannini, Disney, Hewlett and Packard, and on to Jobs in a few short steps and some 200 years of San Jose history.

Pelosi and Friends in San Jose

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi covered a lot of territory in a brief visit to the San Jose Rotary’s weekly lunch meeting today—from the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy to the empowerment of young women (the subject of her book, “Know Your Power,” which she signed at the event). But she clearly wanted the audience to take home one message: “We must have health care reform.”

Newsom Stumps in San Jose

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom delivered an optimistic message about California’s prospects to members of the San Jose Rotary Club Wednesday. With a Kennedy-esque call to “renew the spirit of imagination” that has defined the state, the candidate for governor called California “a state not just of dreamers, but of doers and entrepreneurs.”

The Promise of San Jose

I do like give and take; it’s healthy, it’s in my nature, and I believe that is the tradition of San Jose—a hallowed one. But if our next mayor’s race becomes the traditional American election, one full of personalities but short of vision, replete with attacks, more thunder than light, then we all lose.  Our city needs the next campaign to be about ideas and issues rather than platitudes and endorsements and who is the “nicest.” With that goal in mind, I’d like to speak about issues and an idea or two—those things that we need to be the focal points of the next mayoral election, namely growth, a big park, safety and ethics.

Old Time San Jose Creameries

If you want to make an old time San Josean’s eyes glisten, just ask them about the wonderful creameries that existed during the 1920s, 30s and 40s.  Perhaps it was the competition of so many excellent soda fountains, but San Jose was blessed with the best.

Ethics in San Jose 101

George Bernard Shaw once was asked if he liked the bagpipes. Shaw, hesitated for a moment and then responded that the bagpipes were a horribly difficult instrument to play – it’s a pity that it’s not totally impossible! You might think that discussing the ethics of San Jose City Hall is not just difficult to discuss – but, well, it’s nearly impossible. Let’s look at recent history.

Judge Booed for Chavez Remark

Judge Arthur Weisbrodt drew boos from a handful of San Jose Rotary Club members when he quoted an anonymous source as saying “I would tell the voters that voting for Cindy Chavez is the same as voting for George Shirakawa or Ron Gonzales. The same corruption, dishonesty and back deals.” Weisbrodt was moderating a debate last wednesday between Chavez and Teresa Alvarado in the runoff election to fill former county supervisor George Shirakawa Jr.’s seat.

The Great Constant, Kalra Pension Debate

The much anticipated San Jose Rotary Club debate between Councilmembers Pete Constant and Ash Kalra did not disappoint. Both Constant and Kalra were spirited advocates for their positions: Constant defending Measure B, the pension “modification” measure; Kalra, a lawyer, presenting the views in opposition. By the end of the debate, to the disappointment of many, it was Kalra who gained the most.

Radio Rebuke?

Never mess with Bob Kieve—that’s the lesson San Jose Councilmember Ash Kalra learned after trying to bow out of San Jose Rotary Club’s pension reform debate next week against council colleague Pete Constant. David Ginsborg, a Rotary member and the right fist of County Assessor Larry Stone, says Kalra was scared he would be branded as anti-pension reform in the debate when really he’s just anti-Mayor Reed. But others tell a different tale.

Neighborhoods Send Message to High Speed Rail Authority: Put the Trains Underground

The following is the text of a letter that was hand delivered to California High Speed Rail Authority CEO Roelof van Ark following his Sept. 29, 2010 speech to the San Jose Rotary Club by San Jose Downtown Association Executive Director Scott Knies. In an unprecedented show of unity, the letter was signed by leaders of 10 central San Jose neighborhood associations and the heads of the city’s two leading business associations.

Neighborhood and business groups in central San Jose urge the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) to include an underground option for San Jose in the project’s Environment Impact Report.