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Biter

Mea Culpability

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WITH THE FLURRY of recent apologies from city leaders over this scandal or that scandal, Biter just has to exhume the often-disputed phrase from Love Story: Love means never having to say you're sorry. If that's the case, maybe our dear leaders don't love this city at all.

On Jan. 18, San Jose City Councilman Terry Gregory resigned and apologized for the recent hysteria surrounding the various gifts he received and didn't report. "I came to office believing I could stand up tall for the hopes and dreams of City Council District 7," he said. "I still believe in these principles, but unfortunately I am no longer able to stand tall for my community. For this I am genuinely sorry."

The same day, City Manager Del Borgsdorf likewise apologized for the botched technology contract with Cisco Systems for the new City Taj Mah-Hall, saying it was indeed his responsibility to take necessary corrective actions and ask for forgiveness. Of course, we're talking about $8 million worth of forgiveness here.

Councilman Dave Cortese then made a posting to gadfly website SanJoseInside.com, quoting Henry Kissinger: "There cannot be another crisis next week. My schedule is already full." Cortese continued: "That pretty well sums up how I feel as a dedicated, but saddened, elected official at City Hall these days. The administration behaves like a hurtling, lost, out-of-control spacecraft with lame-duck commanders (or perhaps commandeers) and an ill-equipped flight crew desperately trying to re-enter the atmosphere. As it does, it has been scattering its own appendages as the debris of scandal all over San Jose."

And, of course, we all remember when Mayor Ron Gonzales publicly apologized for covering up an affair with his then-aide Giselle Nunez. Everybody's apologizing for everyone else, and in San Jose politics, to be honest, there's plenty to apologize for right now. Cortese seemed to indirectly admit this in his post.

The entire sequence of events reminds Biter of a recent scenario surrounding Belfast, Northern Ireland's monthly newspaper, The Vacuum. The paper released a Satan issue last summer, and religious fanatics who didn't read it accused the paper of devil-worshipping. Anyway, the Belfast City Council—which was actually funding the collective that published the paper—formally asked The Vacuum to "apologize to the citizens of the City and Members of the Council for any offense which may have been caused by previous publications."

So what did the paper do? It didn't apologize; instead staged a "Sorry Day" on Dec. 15 in honor of the City Council's request. "Sorry"-related events took place all day long, and The Vacuum released a special sorry-themed issue.

Biter suggests that San Jose do the same thing—stage the first-ever San Jose Sorry Day, dedicated to the current city administration. Computers will be supplied by Cisco Systems, of course.


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From the February 2-8, 2005 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.




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