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The Numbers Game


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CITY OFFICIALS and institutions continue to spout ad nauseum the statistic that San Jose is the "11th-largest city in the country." The city may even pass Detroit on the demographic ladder later on this year, proclaimed Mayor Ron Gonzales. Due to a massive identity complex, everyone keeps calling this place "The largest city in Northern California," as if that meant anything to anyone.

Ex­San Jose Mayor Tom McEnery recently referred to his old post as the "most important job in Northern California." Just about every piece of San Jose propaganda infiltrating our lives these days includes the misleading "11th-largest city in the country" statistic, as if population alone justifies everything.

This is nonsense. Nobody anywhere is going to visit or move to San Jose—or even care for that matter—if itıs the "11th-largest largest city in the country" any more than theyıll care that Fresno is the 36th largest city, which it is, by 2002 estimates.

In his State of the City speech, Gonzales pointed out that if San Jose does indeed pass up Detroit and become the 10th-largest city, then 15 cities with populations less than San Joseıs will have Major League Baseball franchises. This is his rationale for bringing a team here. Again, itıs as if they think population is all that matters.

Now, anyone can manipulate these statistics to support whatever his or her agenda happens to be. Following Gonzales' logic, how about this: As of right now, six cities with populations less than San Jose also have Major League Soccer franchises and will continue to do so. We should too. Since the Earthquakes already exist here, Gonzales should do everything in his power to make sure they remain in town before he starts licking his chops over a baseball team.

All this claptrap is typical San Jose: looking outside for answers to all its problems while ignoring what's already here. So allow Biter to up the ante somewhat: Sacramento, the 38th-largest city in the United States, has a pro basketball team, and we don't. So let's bring the Kings to San Jose. Right now. Start a grassroots effort.

By 2002 estimates, Daly City clocks in as the 236th-biggest city in the country, so let's move the Cow Palace to San Jose. In fact, we should put it at the county fairgrounds instead of the proposed concert hall. Just call it Cow Palace­SJ. It makes sense. After all, San Francisco—only the 13th-largest city—shouldn't be getting all those Grand National Rodeos, dog shows and Exotic Erotic Balls. We need 'em here in San Jo instead. We're a bigger city.

Finally, according to demographia.com's 2002 estimate, Burlingame ranks as the 1,158th-biggest city in the country. Are you following us? It's obvious folks—we just gotta swipe that Pez Museum out of Burlingame and bring it down to San Jose. If San Jose wants to be a major city, it needs a Pez Museum.

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

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

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