First, congratulations to Matt Mahan for profitable the San Jose mayor’s race. He wasn’t my selection, however I want him the very best of success.
Mahan received the race for mayor, however his opponent Cindy Chavez didn’t lose. Electorally, San Jose is a story of two cities. One, a voting majority made up of neighborhoods like West Valley, Berryessa, Evergreen, Almaden, South San Jose and Willow Glen. The second metropolis is the downtown core, north and east. The latter is much less prosperous and culturally extra self-identified with San Jose as a significant metropolis. The previous may care much less.
Within the final main campaigns for mayor, this divide has decided the result of elections. All the cash, campaigning, messaging and floor troops haven’t modified this electoral dynamic. Former Mayor Chuck Reed, Mayor Sam Liccardo and now Mayor-elect Mahan profit from this cultural divide, because the neighborhoods are the place the votes reside.
As I grew up in West Valley, it’s in my empirical expertise the neighborhoods see metropolis governance as a formality of their lives, however not as an integral a part of their neighborhood. There isn’t a civic delight in being a part of San Jose within the West Valley. Many would like to be a part of Cupertino, Campbell or Saratoga.
Different neighborhoods comparable to Almaden, Berryessa and South San Jose have the same mentality, particularly relating to downtown. Willow Glen, an anomaly, sees itself as a small village of its personal—with solely the priority that downtown is increasing into the little hamlet, which is obvious by the growing scent of urine on Lincoln Ave.
Nevertheless, those that dwell in downtown, the east and increasing north have a civic delight for San Jose, deserved or not.
West Valley and different suburban neighborhoods are the creation of former Metropolis Supervisor Dutch Hamann, who led town throughout its suburban development interval with the slogan, “construct child, construct.” The only-family dwelling being the defining attribute of those areas and neighborhood delight is outlined by quiet, clear and protected dwelling situations.
These neighborhoods are additionally aggrieved, as they get little consideration—not less than since Mayor Susan Hammer, regardless of the administrations of Mayor Ron Gonzales, Reed and Liccardo. Downtown San Jose has BART, the world, a downtown affiliation, a college and there are efforts to get main employers comparable to Google, Adobe and different Silicon Valley firms.
Metropolis planners envision a ballpark and a Grand Central Diridon Station surrounded by excessive density, if not reasonably priced housing. A worthy downtown modeled after that much less populous, however extra well-known metropolis 50 miles to our north.
The residents of those neighborhoods may care much less they usually don’t need a downtown San Francisco. They need law enforcement officials, clear streets, maintained parks and what occurs downtown to remain downtown.
They like Santana Row, Los Gatos and Campbell to San Pedro Sq.. The world brings some from the neighborhoods into the core, however when the Sharks don’t play it may be a ghost city—and don’t even start to get them began on the price of parking.
Which brings us again to the explanation Chavez isn’t mayor. She had a first-rate marketing campaign, the expertise, the endorsements, the persona and the messages as outlined by the polls. However within the ultimate evaluation, she embodies the concept of an awesome metropolis of San Jose.
That’s not what nearly all of voters within the neighborhoods aspire to. To them, town is San Francisco and they’re pleased to not dwell there.
Suburban neighborhood residents need clear streets, no homeless and police to come back to their door when referred to as. They actually don’t need reasonably priced housing, not less than not of their neighborhood. In truth, they don’t need some other development of their speedy neighborhood that might trigger site visitors.
Such passions of the lots will not be reasonable from a governing or coverage standpoint. Issues that go unaddressed, cities that don’t develop and native populations that don’t evolve finally die. Detroit was as soon as the envy of the nation, however cussed stagnation to the best way issues as soon as have been destroyed its future.
Mahan has his work lower out for him. He has little, if any, council help. That mentioned, no rational individual desires San Jose to fail. It could shock him, however Chavez will work with him as a result of she really loves town and the neighborhood she serves.
In contrast to our present nationwide authorities, San Jose has individuals who can shake arms after a political contest. Given the narrowness of the mayoral election, that dynamic is essential to the longer term success of each cities of San Jose.
San José Highlight columnist Wealthy Robinson is a political advisor, lawyer and writer of “The Shadow Candidate.” His columns seem each fourth Wednesday of the month.