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November 22-28, 2006

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Letters to the Editor

The 36-Year-Old Letter Writer

Re page 40 photo-comparison ("36 Year-Old Councilmember," Fly Extra, Nov. 8): Virtually every family member, high school buddy, ex-girlfriend, and constituent of mine has called me in the last three days, laughing hysterically at "The Fly" photos comparing the "36 Year-Old Councilmember" to the "40 Year-Old Virgin." Suspecting that Dan Pulcrano is behind this somehow, my response is as follows: Dan, I hate you, I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.

Sam Liccardo, San Jose

Much like you, Sam, we heard from a lot of amused people about our little District 3 PhotoShop endeavor. You can place the blame firmly on the shoulders of Metro staff photographer Felipe Buitrago, who thought it up all by his lonesome and was seen impishly cackling away one night after-hours while creating it. We loved it, and clearly our readers, did too. Thanks for being a good sport!—Editor

Where We Are

I really enjoyed Gary Singh's column about San Jose in the Oct 25 Metro ("Where Are We?," Silicon Alleys). No, Gary, I'm not here to "let you have it."

As almost a native San Josean, I moved here when I was 8 years old from San Francisco. I've seen San Jose change from the Valley of Heart's Delight to Silicon Valley and beyond. I have fond memories of the San Jose when I could hop on my bike into the endless orchards and eat ripe fruit with my friends until we could eat no more.

You are right, San Jose is a concrete asphalt-covered wasteland of suburbia without a soul. My dear 93-year-old Aunt Virginia once referred to San Jose as a "town with lots of streets leading to nowhere." But San Jose has a lot going for it. Consider:

1. San Jose is, by far, the safest big city in the U.S., perhaps the world. No, New York is not safer!

2. San Jose is a pretty good place to raise kids, with lots of playgrounds and a fairly decent school system outside of San Jose Unified. Sure, our world-class swimming institution training Olympic swimmers is in Santa Clara, but we can fudge the name, can't we?

3. San Jose's proximity to San Francisco (yes, a real city), Napa, Yosemite, the coast, Monterey, Big Sur, Mendocino, Sequoia, Death Valley and the rest of the amazing places California has to offer just can't be duplicated anywhere. Not New York, not Chicago, Miami, L.A. or any other "city" or suburban wasteland.

4. San Jose's access to world-class educational institutions, from Stanford, USF, Berkeley and even our community colleges are second to none. Most communities are lucky to have close access to one such institution.

5. Technical and medical innovation begins in San Jose and surrounding communities.

6. San Jose's year-round climate is exceptional.

Let's face it, San Jose was barely inhabited until the mid-1950s. What can we expect for a city barely a couple hundred years old, Egyptian Pyramids? The miracle of Silicon Valley, like it or not, has put San Jose on the global map.

What bothers me about San Jose are all the immigrants (no, not from foreign countries) that have moved here from places like Philadelphia, St. Louis, Tulsa, Moline and every point in between, that have changed San Jose into what it is today. Many of these people support detestable materialist compulsions including enormous and overpriced monster houses, drive nonsensical Hummers (arrgh!), Escalades (extreme materialist excess), huge trucks which never transport anything much other than patio sets from Home Depot, and other obnoxious fruits of the valley's financial success. Just count the number of BMW and Mercedes passing by while sitting at nearly any San Jose stop light and you'll find incredible material wealth in our fair weather city. (Sure, there's a few good people supporting green causes and buying hybrids—thank you!)

I'll go out on a limb and suggest these are the same people who couldn't care less about what San Jose stands for and has to offer; it's easy to hop on a plane and visit places like London, Paris and Rome and get away from the hysterical madness we call our streets. To take a quote from the U2 song, San Jose is "where the streets have no name."

It is the diversity from the international community finding freedom, an equitable democratic system, peace and financial success, which will help deliver soul to our city. No, plastic monuments like Santana Row do not bring San Jose soul.

Thanks for your column and generating discussion about our great city! If I've pissed anyone off, great, please stop driving Hummers in San Jose!

D.A. Schwartz, San Jose

You Cooked It, You Eat It

Re "The New Prep Craze" (On the Menu, Oct. 25): As the Mr. Mom of two children, I agree with Ms. Rule on every point in her article about this new "meal prep" business except for one: It's not fair to criticize the food. Ms. Rule cooked it herself! Freshness notwithstanding, even Martha could easily overcook a chicken breast and some rice. Meal prep kitchens are no place for a respected food critic. They are for time-starved parents fighting the clock to get homework done.

Tom Scarda, Franchise Consultant, Wantagh, N.Y. Eurwelcome

I am Rob Bennett from the local SJ band Europa. I would like to thank you guys for the great write-up for our band in the mid-October edition, I believe it was Ryan Osterbeck ("Otto Pilot," MetroMusic, Oct. 25). We have been quietly playing San Jose for about a year and half now and this is the first press we have received in the area, so we were thrilled to see our name in Metro. We hope to be one of the many bands to bring the rock back to San Jose.

Rob Bennett, San Jose

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