Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The new San Jose Light Tower is moving forward

San Jose is a city that has been in search of an internationally recognizable landmark for quite some time. Fortunately, a grassroots organization has come together with a mission to do just that. The San Jose Light Tower Corporation (SJLTC) is a nonprofit with the goal of building a world-class iconic structure that will represent our city for generations.

The project is broken down into four phases, and is surprisingly far along.

Phase 1 - Launch the Documentary: The Light Between Two Towers 

FUNDED. This exciting film by Thomas Wohlmut ties the historic San Jose Light Tower (built in 1881) to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It has been in the works for 8 years and will finally be complete in 2019. The film will be part of the promotional campaign for building a new tower that will represent the San Jose of today and tomorrow.

The Light Between Two Towers - Trailer from WMS media Inc. on Vimeo.

Phase 2 - Site Selection 

FUNDED, IN PROGRESS. The Light Tower Corporation initially evaluated six different sites in Downtown San Jose. When seeking city council support earlier this year, they received unanimous approval from all 11 seats. Now, we have a final candidate and that is the Arena Green (photo below). This location would highlight San Jose's flagship park and would be easily accessible from the SAP Center and Diridon Station, which is destined to become the busiest transit hub on the West Coast. It would also sit in the middle of some 10+ million SQFT of new development that will be built over the coming decade or two.

By December 4th, the City Council will decide whether or not to approve the location. The odds are looking quite good so far.

Phase 3 - Idea Competition

FUNDED. This one is hot off the press. On Sunday the San Jose Light Tower Corporation held a fundraiser to launch this next stage, an international competition to find the best design concept for the tower. It does not have to look like the 1881 historic tower, in fact it may not look like a traditional tower at all. As a wild futuristic example, the tower could be made out of drones. We are in the innovation capital of the world, it should be creative and reach a bit into the future.

The goal of the fundraiser was to secure the remaining $300,000 required to launch the competition. It may have helped that four (!) San Jose mayors were in attendance, but the goal was nailed.

Phase 4 - Construction

TBD. After the design competition, we will have some idea of what will be included as part of the project and what the costs will be. The preferred location supports a structure up to 150 feet tall, but there may be ways to add virtual height such as with creative lighting or projections. As soon as any new details are available, we'll provide updates ASAP. If you are interested in contributing to this exciting project, you can donate over here.

A New Iconic Monument for San Jose from WMS media Inc. on Vimeo.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Home Security Alarms Being Ignored In San Jose Area

Home alarm calls in San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara are being ignored, potentially affecting hundreds of thousands of people.

In conjunction with October’s Crime Prevention Month, Deep Sentinel recently unveiled new findings that due to the high number of false alarms, tens of millions of Americans run the risk of having their alarm calls go unanswered.

Of the cities surveyed within the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro area, 50 percent have a no response or no guaranteed response to an alarm call. This leaves 77 percent of residents (1,287,293) in those surveyed cities at risk should an alarm be triggered.

Deep Sentinel’s announcement can be found below.
Tens of Millions Living in American Metros Not Fully Protected by Home Security Systems

Deep Sentinel ranks the top 20 metros showing the likelihood of home alarms going unanswered 

PLEASANTON, Calif. – October 11, 2018 – Deep Sentinel, a company delivering an unrivaled, next-generation approach to home security, today released results of a new study that focuses on the lack of response to home security alarms within key metro areas across the United States. Deep Sentinel surveyed major American cities and sampled a portion of surrounding metro areas on their alarm response policies and found that every day, tens of millions of people run the risk of having their alarm calls go unanswered.

Ranked by the number of residents potentially affected by a “no response” or “no guaranteed response” to an alarm call in the surveyed cities, the top 20 American metro areas at risk are:

1. New York-Newark-Jersey City
2. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim
3. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugarland
4. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward
5. San Diego-Carlsbad
6. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington
7. Philadelphia-Wilmington
8. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood
9. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue
10. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara
11. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario
12. Sacramento-Roseville- Arden-Arcade
13. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn
14. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale
15. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis
16. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise
17. Salt Lake City
18. Boston-Cambridge-Newton
19. Fresno
20. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater

Read the full study here to see data used to determine rankings.
Ranked at #1, the New York-Newark-Jersey City metro highlights the severity of the problem. Deep Sentinel surveyed 19 cities in the metro area and found that 21 percent have a “no response” or “no guaranteed response” to an alarm call. This leaves nearly 9M people at risk of having an alarm call go unanswered.

To see the key findings of all 20 metro areas in the report, click here.

Law enforcement agencies are inundated with false alarm calls (up to 95 percent), draining resources from their respective cities. This has resulted in many cities and agencies across America adopting policies that they do not respond or they don't guarantee a response to alarms.

“Because the overwhelming majority of home security alarms are false, there is a ‘boy who cried wolf’ mentality surrounding these calls,” said David Selinger, CEO and co-founder, Deep Sentinel. “It’s unfortunate because many of these calls are legitimate, but can go unanswered, leaving people and their property at risk. Deep Sentinel is dedicated to putting an end to false alarms and ensuring that when an alarm is activated, it will be taken seriously.”

To read the entire study and to learn more about Deep Sentinel, visit www.deepsentinel.com.

About Deep Sentinel
Deep Sentinel delivers an unrivaled, next-generation approach to home security. LiveSentinel™ 24/7 video surveillance guards, armed with artificial intelligence, computer vision and wire-free cameras, confront intruders within seconds of them entering your property and notify law enforcement if necessary. Deep Sentinel’s intuitive and affordable home protection platform is the only system equipped with advanced technology to actually prevent burglaries, auto break-ins and package thefts before they occur.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Two new stores at MOMENT (San Pedro Square Garage)

Two new vendors are now operating in San Pedro Square. Earlier this year, 4 new retail spots were created on the first floor of the San Pedro Square Garage facing restaurant row. The spots are reserved for local entrepreneurs, preferably women-owned. The new stores are:

  • Hapertas and Company opened Aug. 16, offering “classic bespoke goods for the modern gentleman.”  Owner and designer Jill Evan’s inventory includes neckties, bow ties, pocket squares, cuff links, scarves and leather goods, all hand-crafted in California.  This is Habertas’ first brick-and-mortar location and the first products for men sold at MOMENT. Online sales are at hapertasco.com.
  • Empire in the Air, a community-based clothing brand, opened in early September.  The six-person creative collective will focus their shop on apparel, including shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, dresses and accessories. They will also bring in speakers and workshops.  Styles can be viewed at empireintheair.com.
Both stores will be open until at least January. Check them out next time you are in the area!

Source: SJ Economy Blog (also includes tidbits on a new Salon and Spread Deli coming Downtown)

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

October 2018 Downtown Dimension Highlights

The OCTOBER 2018 Downtown Dimension is now available at:
In this edition:
  • Downtown Dimension editors sat down with Gary Dillabough to discuss Urban Community, which has invested almost $120 million on 10 key properties downtown.
  • Plans are coming together for the College Football Playoff weekend in January 2019. The national championship game could bring as many as 100,000 people downtown.
  • The city has placed its first buildings on the new neglected-building registry.
  • SJSU will get a new science building.
  • YOU are invited to SJDA's Annual Meeting, Oct. 12, 8-9:30 a.m. at San Jose First United Methodist Church, 24 N. Fifth St. 

Always available:

  • Live and Local SJ supports live music in the center city.
  • Traffic alerts keep up with lane and road closures and openings.
  • Maps of downtown commercial property availability and development proposals.
  • Boom City: SJDA continues to update the roundup of new downtown building proposals and west side acquisitions.
Downtown Dimension is a leading source for information about downtown San Jose news, events and businesses.  Subscribe with a simple email to sjda@sjdowntown.com, subject line: Subscribe. 

For information about downtown events, also subscribe to Downtowner Online.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Halloween Haunt 2018 at California's Great America

I have been going to Halloween Haunt since its inception 11 years ago--along with most other Halloween events in the area. This year, they did an amazing job and overall the event is perhaps the best it has ever been! I attended the media preview day, which was also open to the public, and sampled all of the mazes and rides firsthand.

One initial general comment, the decorations are far more impressive than previous years.


All of the restaurants inside the park are open during the event. There are some special Halloween treats like the Black Widow Churro Sundae pictured below. Before the park opens, there is an all-you-can-eat "Boofet" with bloody mary grilled chicken, peppercorn tri tip, and spaghetti primavera. My favorite item were these adorable pumpkin breads stuffed with cream cheese. The "Boofet" costs $17 per person and also gets you early entry into the park.


This year there are 8 mazes to choose from scattered throughout the park. To avoid backtracking, I would recommend going counter-clockwise starting with Chaos House then the Wax Museum and so on.

There is one brand new maze this year called Tooth Fairy, and I found it to be the scariest maze that Great America has ever done. Production values were excellent and the actors were on point. This was easily my favorite for the 2018 season.

Madame Marie's Blackout was my second favorite. While the maze itself is similar to last year, you run through it in the dark with nothing but a dinky flashlight to guide you through.

Backwoods, CornStalkers, Roadkill Roadhouse, the Wax Museum Chamber of Horrors, Zombie High, and Chaos House are all back, some with minor changes. The only one I would skip is Chaos House with a nonstop annoying strobe light and skimpy decorations. It's a shame since the 3D Clown maze that preceded it was exceptional. Backwoods was my 3rd favorite, which features an open marshy atmosphere and thoughtful design and acting.

In addition to the mazes, there are three scare zones in the park where actors will scare you as you are walking around. The new one for 2018 is themed around Jack-the-ripper.


Almost every ride in the park is open for Halloween Haunt. If you haven't been to the park in a while, I would recommend their newest rides such as RailBlazer (fastest coaster in the park with a 90 degree drop and many inversions, photo below), Gold Striker, and Mass Effect: New Earth. Old favorites like Flight Deck (I will always call it Top Gun in my head), The Grizzly, Psycho Mouse, Drop Zone, and the Demon are also running.


They have five shows this year. An opening ceremony, Ed Alonzo, Nytewalkers, Blood Drums, and the Sideshow. Ed Alonzo is absolutely worth seeing, especially since he has quite a bit of new material this year. It's a nice blend of magic tricks, comedy, and musical performances.

Nytewalkers features amazing acrobatics and stunts in the middle of the park (photo below). Blood Drums is percussion-based musical performance and Sideshow is a series of freakish acts that will give you nightmares.

In summary, Halloween Haunt has something for everyone--except kids, you really shouldn't bring them if they are under 12. The event runs on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights until the end of October. The hours are 7pm to 1am on Fridays and Saturday and 7pm to 12am on Sundays, which are also the least busy days. You can learn more and buy tickets over here.