2009 was a challenging year. San Jose government had its decline in revenue in addition to suffering from an overall structural budget deficit. Many families in San Jose lost their jobs and still continue to struggle in finding another one. All of us have been impacted by the Great Recession of 2008-2009 in some way.
With the eye of the Great Recession’s hurricane ideally behind us, I look to 2010 as a year that government gets back to basics and provides the needs of the community, not the “wants.” For example, government should concentrate on how it will replace retiring police officers,(100 police retiring this year, which is double the normal rate) keep our libraries open and simply pass a budget that takes care of the basic things you would expect the city to provide as stated in the city charter. Basically, the things that you pay for as taxpayers.
I turned 40 in December. I spent my birthday with family and long-time friends. Many of my friends I have known since age five, from kindergarten in San Jose Unified School District, which equates to knowing most of my friends for more than 30 years. The majority of my friends are not political in their occupations and nearly all of them have never been to a San Jose Council meeting. Instead, they are teachers, nurses, Realtors, attorneys, tech folks, blue-collar skilled tradesmen, stay-at-home parents and—as my Mom likes to point out— most are married with children.
Many of my native San Jose friends have a very positive outlook towards San Jose. Their views are somewhat different than what I hear in my council office, where, typically, I hear alot about what is wrong with our city or questions as to why things aren’t done differently.
My friends income levels vary—some own the homes they live in while others rent. However, they all share similar dreams of San Jose’s future. Although they strive for a better city in many ways, they strongly believe that San Jose is a great city today. They are proud that we continue to have one of the safest big cities in the United States, and of our supportive of our police department. They like the small-town feel throughout the City even though we are a City of a million people, enjoy the great weather and, even with a recession, believe this region is still the best place to be by their standards.
When I spoke to my friends at my birthday and over the holidays in December, there was consensus that building the Arena and bringing in the Sharks were great decisions and because of that both female and male are positive on the chance of major league baseball in Downtown. They enjoy going to our Downtown for the Children’s Discovery Museum, Tech Museum, Christmas in the Park and look forward to the reopening of Happy Hollow Park and Zoo.
Most importantly, is they said that they have a choice of where they can live which is why they chose San Jose. That is an important point to remember, since if a person really dislikes where they live then they can simply relocate as many people do all the time.
2010 will carry its challenges and there will be many tough decisions for the council and for individual families. However, I hope the worst is behind us. They say flat is the new up and with that we don’t expect big growth next year but maybe over time. The city on the other hand will take 2-3 years to recover as it takes awhile for revenues to return to municipalities.
I wish you and your family happiness and health in 2010.
Saturday, Jan 9 at 9am is the next volunteer day in our San Jose Municipal Rose Garden. 600 bare root roses will be given away to volunteers who arrive before 9am compliments of Star Roses. See you there.