One issue that everyone who is paying attention to San Jose politics agrees with is that the City of San Jose’s General Plan is outdated and is in need of revamping.
At the August 7 city council meeting, all of Mayor Reed’s recommendations for the General Plan Update Task Force (which included Councilmembers Liccardo and Chirco and me) were supported by the council. The task force is a diverse group of people representing environmentalists, developers, unions and community members, among others.
The General Plan will take time. It is not a process that can be rushed (finishing early does not count here). I will take the time necessary to read the information that is brought forth and ask questions and challenge the status quo. I will also listen to all members of the community regarding their thoughts, ideas and recommendations for the future of land use in San Jose.
Two of the members on the General Plan Task Force were my recommendations to the mayor.
I chose Nancy Ianni, a former council member who served District 6 from 1981-1993, and Harvey Darnell, the current President of North Willow Glen Neighborhood Association. Both Nancy and Harvey are neighborhood advocates who will serve the task force well.
Nancy’s history in San Jose planning dates back over 40 years. In fact, she was one of the founders of the Willow Glen Neighborhood Association back in the mid-seventies when Norm Mineta was mayor. As a council member, Nancy was well liked and respected by the neighborhoods. She led and funded the Mid-town Specific Plan and was part of a community group that stopped the City of San Jose from expanding Willow St., Pine Ave. and Cherry Ave. into four lanes. In addition, she made sure that the Shasta Hanchett neighborhood did not suffer from Arena traffic. Nancy is sharp, witty and fair. Her roots are in the neighborhoods and we are fortunate to have her.
Harvey Darnell was the chairman of Counter to Council and very active in CalSJ, which is a group that protects the riparian corridor (waterways) and advocates for parks. Harvey is not afraid to speak up for what he believes in and has challenged developers and fought for increased park fees. He is genuine and has the ability to see the whole picture, not just what is right in front of him. The task force needs community members with this skill.
The questions that we all should be asking are: How do we want our city to grow? How do we want to define net loss? Is it time to perform an audit of historic buildings?
The General Plan meetings are not set yet, but I encourage all of you to attend and speak when the time comes.