San Jose Mercury News: A tale of two 'states'

an Joseillercum Hews

A tale oftwo ‘states’
To Mayor Gonzales, city is in great shape; in Supervisor Beall’s reality, county faces problems


Jose Mayor
Ron Gons^es’
annual State
with Congress
City gathering was,as has become the custom,a

hand or on video to add political heft, and civic awards

handed out by the dozens.

It was a feei-good event Gonzales’speech was lyperboli-

cally upbeat in stark contrast with the more somber,prob
lem-oriented State ofthe County address by Supervisor




able housing

center in

Jim Beall a day earlier.
‘"The state ofthe city is spectacular,” Gonzales declared
in his speech Thursday at the convention center.“San Jose



Road In

has momentum!We’re on a roll, baby!


Some ofthe bragging iras justi

fied. The mayor hailed additions to

the housing supply.


conserve electricity in its 157 build

ings was clearly practical; the sug-

gekion that all the pow

Construction started on
bOOO new homes in or

er needed in Santa

Clara County be

reasonably near down

ated here seeme<


town;building permits


homes dtywnde; actual
and proposed invest

energy creation are

issued for 4,500 new
ments in affordable

But ringing calls for

much in vogue "Never

again will we allow out-


housing and new of

of-state generators to
turn offour lights,” Gov

fices and hotels under

way in the city's center.

At the nei^iborhowi level

— and

most voters live in one neighboihood
or another,so this is meat and pota
toes politics — the mayor hera

homework centers and graffiti re

moval and a citizen service caD cen

ter. He talked about crime preven

tion,calling San Jose “the safest big
dty in America”—but neglecting to
mention that in January the dty h

more fire deaths than in aD oflast

WhBe Gonzales focused on ac

complishments both actual and

claimed,BeaB devoted most ofhis

comthents to problems imperiling

the county and its cities,including

San Jose These included what he

eafled the crisis ofhousing afford-

abflity, the energy shortage,, and

needs for preventive health programs,drug treatment and remov-

It was not quite clear how BeaB

expe^ the coimfy to increase the

' as development deost entirely made by

cities, but he sounded as though he

would Bke to alter that “We need to

rethink the county’s past role and

His caB for county government to

Graffiti vanishes quiddy in San Jose these days...

Gr^ Davis said in his

State ofthe State speech.‘T believe
Silieon Valley should become more

energy self-suffident.” Gonzales


The m^or has taken consider

able heat for opposing construction
ofa Calpine generating plant in San
Jose,and as though to offset this,he

talked at length ^out what he c^ed
"rtie San Jose Smart Energy Plan.”

(Could the title have been prompted
by a recent Mercury News editorial

It sounded as though Gonzales
wiB accept pint-sized “clean and
green” power plants in San Jose’s in

dustrial areas,to serve companies
Bke Cisco,whBe wishing off on other

cities the big generating plants that
ipply electricity for homes in San

Jose,Watch for this to be offered as
a “regionaT plan.

It was on the subject of downtown

that the mayor was most selectively
selfcongratolatory:“Last year I said
that downtown is hot This year—

it’s sizzBng!” he proclaimed.As evi
dence, he cited an agreement which
wBl bring a ni^tclub to San Jose
(with a public subsidy)and haBed
yet another large redevelopment

contract with yet another large real

undoubtedly wfll affect San Jose this

estate developer; ifit sounds famil
iar, ith because it is, and who Imows,
maybe this time it win work. But

year.“We Imre a strong economy,”

led near the propcBed new
dtyhaB,the downtown core still has
an acute shortage ofparking
Granted,downtown is a glass half
fuB/halfernpty, and I can’t

mayor for boc«ting his city. Signifi

oftn^r new building is in pro-

gre^ Mqjor rerxivations oftwo his-

be financed partly with dty money,

ofBART to San Jose, and whBe be

continues,cut back on plarmkl ex

ing the tax to finance it, he d^o-ves

UEaary with San Jose State.
Birt I thought it odd that Gonzales

sees a connection between the econ-

I onw and the city.
As thou^ they were accomplish

ments ofhis administration, Gonza

current downturns in the nationk

les took credit for voter decisions in
the last election to create an urban


played no visible major role in pass

budget doDars.The mayor also

from the mayor.But it would ave
been nice to getsome hint that he

than first estimated, thanks largely

Tb be sure,Gonzales was the first

mayor to devkop a concrete vision

considerable credit for persuading


rrewdowntown City Hall, which win
cost ntore than $100 minion more


pansions. Cisco is San Jose’s largest


did not even menOon the proposed

done for traffic refief” as though de

were at hand,rather than a daade

could affect San Jose as profoundly

VaBey.And a deeperring economic
downturn almost certamly would
put a paH on downtown redevelop

build and share a major new

economy in genoal and technology
profits in particular, althou^ both

liverance from cong^on already

as Lockheed’s cutbacks once hit the

partlywith private funds.And the

It seerned odder stffl that Gonza
les took no note whatsoever ofthe

Wen,yes.But both Adobe Sys
tems,the angle large technology
presence downtown,and Osco Sys
tems,which Gonzales is counting on
to anchor development ofCoyote
VaBey,have recently lowered their

employer.Any retrenchment there

■ toric theaters,the Jose and Ibx,wifi

to redesigns the mayor wanted

responded And we delivered,” he
said,taBdng about “Vliat we have

earrnngs firrecasts, and could,ifthat

cant privately finmiced devebpment

braries and parka, and to extend

BART to San Jose.'We listened We

he said “AtkI as the capital ofSilicon

VaBey,San Jose is an essential loca
tion for h^jtech.”

meanwhile,even with one new
garage imder construction and oth-



... And so do downtown patkmg spots.

growth boundary, to buBd more U-

Gov,Davis to add mOfions of state

^ raisal much ofthe money for the
park and Hbraiy campaigns.

Whatapplies there also affects
any assessment ofhis performance
in general He has been fortunate to

hold the office during flush timeo

and it is impossible to know precise

ly what to credit to his skBl and what

to a good economy. Unfortunately,if
we’re now in a downturn ofany du
ration, we may have a better oppor

tunity to find out

SobEMer is editor oftheMervury

Copyrighted material reprinted with permission. For educational use only.

A comparison in the tone and content of the State of the County Address by Supervisor Jim Beall versus the State of the City Address by Mayor Ron Gonzalez.

Credited Supervisors


James T. Beall

Content Type

Newspaper Article

Resource Type







District 4


Mercury News




San Jose


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