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November 1-7, 2006

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Letters to the Editor


Strong Objection to Endorsement

As someone who has been frequently quoted in your newspaper, I strongly object to the manner of your endorsement for mayor. Support whomever you want, but please don't pile innuendo and character assassination on Cindy Chavez and her allies. I wouldn't talk to you either if you dragged my name through the mud.

When you attack Cindy and the Labor Council, it's not the developers, special interests, or even labor officials who get hurt. It's the little people—the store clerks, janitors, hotel workers, construction workers and many more. They depend on the Labor Council to help them fight for health care, housing, and living wage jobs. If it were left to the corporations, working people would be quickly reduced to misery and destitution.

Last I checked, Metro hasn't been out there in the trenches fighting for the poor.

When your reporter interviewed me a couple of years ago for your hit piece on the Labor Council, I declined to criticize them other than to point out that we sometimes had policy differences. In fact I turned over a lot of information on disagreements we had over housing issues. None of this found its way into print, however, as your concern was apparently personal attack, not public policy debate.

True morality is not just open government, although that's a good thing. It is taking care of the poor. Cindy and I have disagreed on lots of issues over the years. But she has always been respectful, patient, and attentive to the needs of the neighborhoods, workers, youth and low-income people. She has met with us repeatedly to help solve problems, all without charging taxpayers for fundraising appearances or lifetime memberships.

Sandy Perry, San Jose

Why Students Had Better Vote

Among other issues, Tuesday, Nov. 7, eligible voters in San Jose will select a mayor and City Council members, including the council representative from District 3 that includes downtown San Jose.

For many students, staff and faculty of San Jose State, elections appear to hold little interest. Students, for example, year to year increasingly fail to participate in Associated Students elections that directly affect them. Local, state and federal elections, apparently, are of little consequence to the average student, too.

However, I argue that this year in particular the San Jose State community can make their voice heard and really help dictate the future of San Jose.

After the scandalous reign of Mayor Ron Gonzalez San Jose is in need of a new direction, and the race between candidates Cindy Chavez and Chuck Reed should be very close. The San Jose State community, could, by going to the polls, be the deciding factor in directing the future of San Jose.

For many years San Jose State and the City of San Jose have not been the best of neighbors. However, with the success of the partnership between San Jose State and the City of San Jose with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library, a new opportunity has opened for the San Jose State community to demonstrate to the greater San Jose area, business, political interests, and the media that the San Jose State community is finally going to flex its political muscle representing a bloc that is 30,000 strong.

That is why I challenge the San Jose State community to unite and vote. Give the greater San Jose community the message that San Jose State wishes to have a voice in the business of San Jose and our future.

If we don't vote, then we only have ourselves to blame.

Ramon Johnson, San Jose

No on A

God help us, my wife and I, loyal Metro readers, and fellow liberal techies, just sold our suburban San Jose house last December and moved into Morgan Hill's Hillside zoning, hoping to build, and now that Measure A has come along, feel helpless that we will lose our property value and be stuck in this 500-square-foot cabin forever. The cabin was supposed to be temporary for a few years while we planned to build something modest (we are not rich), and now we feel like a nightmare is descending upon us.

The "Farmer angle" everyone discusses is valid, but what about the average home or landowner in those two zones who get screwed by Measure A as well? Measure A is not about "sticking it to the Man"—sticking it to the Big Builders, yeah!!" Measure A is about screwing you and me, and anyone who dreams of someday owning a peaceful, quiet place to live.

And before anyone wonders about whether it's "OK" or "PC" to vote Measure A down, bear in mind, Sonoma and San Benito counties (two of your favorite local weekend destinations) have already sent them packing. But this group is systematically trying every single county in California. Watch out, because your friends in Nevada County or Madera may be next.

Measure A is not slow-growth, it is no-growth, unless the area planned is forced into an expensive city annexation—something only big builders can afford to accomplish. So, like any badly written piece of legislation, it accidentally helps big builders, while screwing the average homeowner. The county planning office is very slow-growth, but they hate Measure A because Measure A punishes people for following an already strict set of guidelines which work fine, but also because the Measure is written so badly it will make their jobs a living hell, and the county will be getting sued by private property owners, not builders, forever.

I vote for every single measure that raises teachers' salaries, allows for more public transportation, better schools, etc. Measure A is not "the Time to Rise up and Break the Evil Republican Builder's Backs," Measure A is "Liberals at the Supermarket Who've Been Duped," and I'm afraid this time, they must be stopped.

Michael Smith, Morgan Hill

No on 90

I sincerely hope that the rest of Metro's readers do not fall for the slick demagoguery published by the backers of Proposition 90. I am also very disappointed in Metro and its staff. Vrinda Normand's article ("Blight Club," MetroNews, Oct. 18) was on a par with Wave magazine.

Proposition 90 is not about eminent domain. What this proposition does is define all restrictions of land use as takings which must be compensated by the government or retracted. What does this mean? If Pulte Homes or Del Webb wanted to build 500 homes, a junkyard, and a dirt track on a farm, but land use regulations limited them to 100, the government would have to pay them the difference. If Walmart wanted to build a store on your two lane street residential street, the government would have to let them or pay them the difference in value. If someone wanted to tear down a block of Victorians in the Hensley Historic District, houses just like the article's poor old Patti Phillips', to build monolithic apartment blocks, the only way the city could stop them would be by paying up.

If Proposition 90 passes, look forward to unchecked suburban sprawl's insurmountable demands on public services such as water, sewage treatment, fire protection, roads, transit, schools, electricity, and recreation when developers are free to build whatever they want, wherever they want, whenever they want. This is not scare-mongering. The neoconservatives behind this proposition take care of that with their eminent domain lies.

You think sprawl is bad, right? Vote against the garbage.

Steven Rosen, San Jose

We appreciate your passion, Steven, but it apparently made you overlook the fact that the article in question was, of course, not an endorsement of Prop. 90—nor even a discussion of the measure's merits or lack thereof. For our endorsement of a no vote on Prop. 90, see our election coverage this issue. And that Wave crack, that was just downright mean.—Editor


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