What makes San Jose the “Capital of Silicon Valley?” We’ve driven around the valley as well as attended conferences as well as checked out the restaurant scene at lunch. If one counts the number of tech buildings with full parking lots of expensive cars and highest numbers of Teslas, electric cars and Priuses, the closer you are to Stanford University you are the more likely you’ll find the true Capital. Or in San Francisco. IF one looks at the busy lunch and evening crowd and the amount of people on the streets, it’s similar.
Attending a city council meeting is one way to experience the culture of a city. Attend any Council meeting and see if you get inspired. Or drive around San Jose to discover the Capital of Silicon Valley. If you find it – IT being culture within a booming civil scene – in San Jose, please tell us because up until now we’d find it in cities like Palo Alto, Mountain View and San Francisco.
If one were to look at city council meetings with active community members, it is the same as well. In San Jose you’ll see a gleaming new clean city hall that has more water misting pipes (not working due to drought) than people outside.
Inside in the council chambers you’ll find a very large amphitheater style seating and council members and a mayor that seem easy-going but that gets up, meanders around and sometimes even leaves the chamber for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. The chambers are much larger than most other cities, but it also has had the fewest amount of people in attendance. This is partly due to the time of most of these meetings. The council meetings are approximately 1:30 – 4:30pm. Most other cities have evening council meetings.
We can also determine via revenue per citizen as well – but once again the closer you are to Palo Alto (or SF) the higher the revenue per resident.
Maybe it is the Capital since it is the largest city. Therefore San Jose will act as the leader of the Bay Area. The one to take on the important issues of the day. To move the debate forward. Perhaps to be most responsive to it’s citizenry. But unfortunately San Jose does not do well in these categories either.
As an example, this week there were about five speakers to discuss the fiscal agreement regarding the SAP Center. The council and Mayor Sam Liccardo were mostly not listening, bored or even dismissive of the speakers. Also on the agenda was a topic about the Willow Glen Trestle, for it to seek City Historic Landmark status and to save or demolish it. There were dozens of speakers holding orange signs and at least 30 passionately speaking (but for only one minute each) and about six or seven that spoke out against City Historic Landmark status.
Even with this large (for San Jose) number of speakers, it did not sway 7/10 council members nor the mayor. If this were in Palo Alto or Mountain View, the results might have been dramatically different.
So perhaps this is the truth – that San Jose is the Passive Aggressive Capital, of Silicon Valley. Because even when we have dozens of people show up to a meeting during a work day, the city’s council members – who are supposed to be our advocates – do not bother to listen.
If you’d like to see a video of San Jose, but without street life, please check out this video.
If you like great, old architecture you can find some of it here in San Jose. But you’re more likely to find even more in San Jose, Costa Rica!
Want to get involved? Visit the San Jose City Council website. Here you can find out who your council members are for your district. You can find Mayor Sam Liccardo’s direct phone line. You can see old agendas. You can find upcoming city council meetings. You can just – GET INVOLVED!