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09.23.09

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Silicon Valley News Notes

Soccer and Baseball

At a highly anticipated banquet dinner last Saturday, San Jose Earthquakes owner Lew Wolff showed a 10-minute video presentation that included architectural designs of a proposed soccer stadium across Coleman Avenue from the Mineta San Jose International Airport. Quite a few movers and shakers attended the gala affair, including many folks normally indifferent to the Earthquakes. Carl Guardino, president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, delivered the introduction, gushing that Wolff would lead Quakes fans to the Promised Land and finally secure a permanent stadium for the team. Because the dinner took place over Rosh Hashanah, Guardino cited the biblical story of Joshua and Caleb to hail Wolff as one who knows how to conquer and defeat enemies. He literally compared Wolff to Moses. "Wolff is a man who concentrates on the opportunities, not the obstacles," Guardino said, perhaps subtly referencing his own endeavors to bring BART to San Jose, as well as the movement to lure Wolff's own Oakland A's to downtown San Jo.


Paper or Plastic?

Looks like we'll be hearing that question for a bit longer in San Jose. And while Councilmember Sam Liccardo was at the forefront of the plastic bag ban, he is now backing off and joining Mayor Chuck Reed and Councilmembers Nora Campos and Kansen Chu on postponing the ban until an environmental review. SaveThePlasticBag.com, a website run by attorney Stephen Joseph and paid for by plastic bag manufacturers, sent a threatening letter to the city, demanding that San Jose conduct an environmental review of the problem before enacting anti-bag laws. According to Joseph, the environmental impact of alternatives to plastic bags is worse than the plastic bags themselves. Sure, as many as 1.37 million discarded bags were collected from the shoreline and streams leading into the nay during last year's Coastal Cleanup Day (the figures for last weekend's event have yet to be released). Of course, 1,100 of the bags were collected along Coyote Creek, and it wasn't even the worst offender in the Bay Area. Paper would be worse, they say. While the city plans on banning paper bags too, that may not be enough for SaveThePlasticBag.com. It wasn't enough for Oakland, which put its moratorium on plastic bags on hold because it wasn't willing to pay $100,000 for an environmental impact report. Is Liccardo bowing to pressure from the bag lobby? Or did those that pushed for this ban jump the gun without doing any research, because other big cities were doing it and they wanted to be a member of the cool crowd?

 

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