Saturday, January 31, 2015

Saturday Stats: San Jose is One of the Healthiest Places in America

NerdWallet has put together a list of the healthiest cities in America. In order to determine which cities made the cut, the study looked at the American Fitness Index, % of residents that are a healthy weight, % of residents who engage in physical activity, % of residents with health insurance, and the number of physicians and surgeons per 100,000 residents.

San Jose came in a respectable 7th place. SF came in 2nd (due mostly to a high number of physicians per capita), and NY made it to 15th place.

Source: NerdWallet

Friday, January 30, 2015

"Slide The City" Coming to San Jose!

A 1,000 foot slip-and-slide is coming to a very lucky street somewhere in San Jose this June. This is exactly what is sounds like... an inflated water slide three football fields long. To get an idea of the sheer scale of this, have a look at the photos below from the inaugural Salt Lake City event.

The exact date and location have not yet been set. I'm hoping for a spot somewhere around Downtown San Jose, but I'm not sure if we have a hill steep enough in the area. Where do you guys think this will go?

The pricing will range from $15 to $60 depending on how many times you want to go down the slide (one, three times, or unlimited) and the kind of swag you'd like to take home. All passes come with a water gun.

To get on the mailing list and be the first to know when early registration becomes available, just head over here.

Hat-tip to Payge Lyn for sending this in!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Donner Lofts Affordable Housing Community Breaks Ground

MidPen Housing recently broke ground on a 102-unit housing complex at 156 E. St. John Street. The six-story project is on the former site of the Donner-Houghton estate, which was the home of a Donner Party survivor. Unfortunately, the home was destroyed in a 2007 fire.

The apartment complex includes 2,500 SQFT of retail on the ground floor as well as a community gathering space, computer lab, and exercise facilities. In order to lease an apartment, you cannot earn more than $37,700 as the units are designed for low-income workers and formerly homeless people in the Downtown area. The total cost of the project will be $30.8 million and it is expected to be completed by Summer 2016.

Source: SVBJ

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Samsung in San Jose will Beat Apple & Facebook to Achieving Landmark Campus Status

The first Tech company in Silicon Valley to have a truly landmark building when it comes to architecture is not going to be Apple, Facebook, or Nvidia. It's going to be Samsung in North San Jose. At 10-stories it will be the tallest "traditional" tech campus in the valley and also one of the most unique. Each floor will always be at most one level away from an outdoor green space with trees and plants. This will make more sense after you watch the video below.

When completed later this year it will have 680,000 SQFT and home to at least 600 employees.

Source: Venturebeat

Samsung North America Headquarters from nbbjdesign on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

New Milkshake Bar Downtown

Downtown San Jose has just gotten a new type of dessert place that I haven't seen anywhere else--a custom milkshake bar. You start off by selecting the flavor of ice cream and either normal milk or almond milk, and then things get interesting. You can infuse a wide assortment of chocolates, fruits, and candy into your milkshake.

My Milkshake opened up mid-December and it already has a four star rating on Yelp. You can find it at 151 S. 2nd St., in what used to be an Icebee Yogurt shop. While I love frozen yogurt, we had 6 different froyo places Downtown and I'm happy to see entrepreneurs trying something new. Looking forward to trying this place out!

For more info, check out their Facebook Page over here.

Hat tip to Alex Shoor for sending this in!

Monday, January 26, 2015

China's Hainan Airlines is Coming to SJC!!!

This has been a long time coming. San Jose International Airport has finally landed another key route! China's Hainan Airlines is going to launch nonstop flights to Beijing this summer. Hainan is one of China's premium airlines (perhaps the best), with an excellent reputation and a five-star ranking. They are very similar in terms of prestige to ANA, San Jose's other international airline servicing Asia. This will be the very first time San Jose has had a direct flight to China.

The only other airports in the US that are serviced by Hainan Airlines are Seattle, Chicago, and Boston. For the San Jose route, Hainan will be flying a fancy Boeing 787 Dreamliner with 5 flights per week.

These international routes offer a huge boost to the airport, the local economy, and our brand. Hopefully, the combination of ANA and Hainan will attract even more international carriers to the airport. I would love to see some direct flights to Europe, Australia, and South America at some point in my lifetime. Which international destination do you think we'll get next?

Source: SVBJ

Sunday, January 25, 2015

"Changing Boundaries: The History of San Jose" Screenings at Camera 12

Did you miss the premier last week for Changing Boundaries, the first feature length documentary about San Jose? Well you are in luck. Camera 12 will be screening the film on February 5th, 6th, and 7th. You can get your tickets now by clicking here!

Changing Boundaries: The History of San Jose

Opens 2/5/2015
Coming to: Camera 12 Downtown - Buy Tickets

Director: Tricia Creason-Valencia 

Synopsis: CreaTV San Jose, Norman Kline Productions and History San Jose present Changing Boundaries: The History of San Jose – the story of the working people, political leaders and dreamers who built the City of San Jose. Narrated by local actor Daniel Wilson, and featuring an original musical score by Grammy nominee Robert Berry of Soundtek Studios, this first-of-its-kind documentary features interviews with key historical figures, from farmers to civic leaders, including Tom McEnery, Blanca Alvarado and Norm Mineta. Other notable interviewees include historians Terry Christensen, Nannette Regua and Steven Millne. Produced by Norman Kline and CreaTV San Jose and directed by Tricia Creason-Valencia, the film’s production includes a key collaboration with History San Jose, which provided archival photography and documents. 

Running Time: 80 Minutes 
(plus 8-10 minutes of trailers) 

Official Web Site: 

MPAA Rating: NR

Advance Showtimes

Camera 12 Downtown Buy Tickets 
All Seats $5.50 Before 6:00pm; $8.50 Evenings (C12 Only)!
Thu-Fri, Feb. 5-6, at 7:00pm; Sat, Feb. 7 at 2:00pm

No Free Passes or Discount Cards. 

San Jose Lands One of the Most Expensive ZIP Codes for Housing

This is not a duplicate post from yesterday, although the topic is along the same lines. Movoto ranked the 95120 zip code--which is San Jose's Almaden area--as the 10th most expensive housing zip in the country. If you are renting here, you are likely paying around $3,395.

The study looked at median home value, median gross rent, and median selected monthly homeowner costs in order to create the ranking.

Source: Movoto

Saturday, January 24, 2015

SoFA Market Good News and Bad News

Okay, so I have some bad news and some good news regarding the SoFA Market. Let's start with the bad news. The Falafel Bar is closing down and they are going to temporarily shut down all of the SoFA Market except for Vero's coffee on February 1st. Okay, now the good news. The reason why they are shutting down the space is to accelerate construction for 4 new vendors. These will include Downtown's first Ramen shop, Japanese tapas, Hawaiian Poke and Burgers, a top secret dessert place, and the long awaited Fountainhead Bar. Let's call it SoFA Market 2.0, and the ETA is late March - April.

Here was the official announcement post from the SoFA Market Facebook Page:

When we bought this building at the end of 2011, it had been vacant for more than a few years. There was little street life in the neighborhood perhaps with the exception of the San Carlos and 1st St corner. The idea of a a communal space or a neighborhood market came about as a way to help activate a street devoid of retail businesses. We envisioned a group of like-minded vendors committed to creating a vibrant urban scene and interested in locally-sourced and organic products to come together and make something out of this empty space.

It's been a long road. Building downtown has never been easy and it wasn't easy for us. The financial risks were huge and finding tenants for an unproven concept was especially challenging. But we have made significant progress, albeit slowly.

A couple of pioneering vendors signed up from the start and have weathered the pains of opening a new venue with us. Falafel Bar will soon leave the market, unfortunately. But Veros Coffee, with its affable owners Omar and Veronica Quinonez, will keep marching on (if you haven't had their highly-crafted, artisan espresso-based drinks or pour-over coffee, you really ought to try; just watching them make a joe is a joy in itself).

4 more vendors have signed up late last year and with this opportunity, we are going to push the reset button. Except for Veros Coffee at the front, we will shut down the rest of the market temporarily for a couple of months starting on February 1. This allows the construction of these new businesses to proceed in the fastest way possible.

When we reopen, you will see a new SoFA Market. There will be a diverse offering of quality food: ramen and Japanese tapas (with beer and sake to wash them down), hawaiian poke, burgers and skewers, and some very interesting dessert products (this last one we can't yet divulge). And of course, there will be The Fountainhead Bar.

Look for our re-opening in the late March - April time frame.
Please bear with us. We believe in downtown San Jose and the SoFA neighborhood in particular. We are in this for the long run, and if this were easy, everyone would have done it already!

Saturday Stats: San Jose Has Most Expensive Rent in the US

This news is going to hurt a bit, but then again I'm guessing you are already aware of the situation. The San Jose Metro now has the highest average monthly rent out of any metro are in the country at $1,807 per month. You can see the top 20 list below. San Francisco is right behind us followed by Washington DC, San Diego, Los Angeles, and New York/New Jersey.

Source: I Heart SJ, Business Insider

Friday, January 23, 2015

KALEID Gallery Kicks Off 10th Year With New Works

The South FIRST FRIDAYS Art Walk kicks off its 10th year on February 6th. KALEID Gallery will have two new solo exhibitions of all new work by Michael Borja, and Fernando Amaro, Jr.
Come out from 7–11pm and meet the artists, enjoy live music and check out all the venues downtown San Jose.
KALEID Gallery
88 So. First St.
San Jose, CA

Thursday, January 22, 2015

ASML Moving Santa Clara office to San Jose

ASML is a supplier of semiconductor manufacturing equipment that is currently based in Santa Clara at 4211 Burton Drive. The company is growing quickly (specifically this division that was formerly Brion Technologies) and has decided to move to 92,000 SQFT at "THE Campus" on Trimble Road. This office complex benefited from a $26 million upgrade last year and sits in a prime location in the middle of the Golden Triangle (the largest tech cluster in the world). For more info, hit the source link below.

Source: SVBJ

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Sourisseau News: Fruit Labels in the Valley of Heart's Delight

The latest edition of the Sourisseau News provides a looks at historic fruit labels going back to the late 1800s. It would be nice to have some more murals honoring these like the one we have across the street from the San Pedro Square Market. Completely unrelated, but did you know the Fruit Cocktail was invented in San Jose?

Fruit Labels in the Valley of Heart's Delight from WMS media Inc. on Vimeo.

Our January Sourisseau News video, sponsored by Linda L. Lester, helps us to forget the Winter Solstice and the icy north wind that whistles outside our windows. Instead, we get to languish in artful visions of the Valley of Heart's Delight— as preserved on the colorful labels which adorned the wood fruit crates and cans that shipped our bounty near and far!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

TWO BUCK Tuesday at KALEID Gallery

From Phantom Galleries:

Join us for our monthly artists and quirky people get together featuring live art, demos, and $2 original art to take home!
Tuesday January 20th 7–10pm
free & open to the public
Participating artists:
Al Preciado
Jay Cee
Mark Martinez
James Pollard
Erica Atreya
David Mejia
Noggin Mojica
Silk screen demo by Nelson Barneond
Sculpting by Dug Stanat
Skateboard art by Joe Perea
KALEID Gallery
88 S. 4th St.
Downtown San Jose
free street parking after 6pm.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Knight Cities Challenge Names Finalists

The Knight Foundation is sponsoring the first Knight Cities Challenge, which is a call to make the over two dozen communities across the US more vibrant places to live and work. The winners of the challenge will share $5 million in funding to turn their ideas into realities. There were over 7,000 submissions and from that pool the Foundation selected 126 finalists. Of those, 8 of them were submitted for the San Jose community, which you can can find below along with the press release.

San Jose Finalists

San Pedro Squared by San Jose Downtown Association (Submitted by Scott Knies): Transforming the ground floor of a parking lot in the San Pedro Square to build momentum around economic revival of the area by introducing ground floor retail to the garage. [Josh: love this one!]

Civic One by The Tech Museum of Innovation (Submitted by Maryanna Rogers): Inviting the public to both imagine and test solutions for one significant city issue every year.

Crowdsourcing Three Creeks Trail Design & Development(Submitted by Scott Lane):  Involving the Willow Glen community in designing and maintaining San Jose’s Three Creeks Trail.

Knight Houses by Houslets (Submitted by Tim McCormick): Prototyping and deploying low-cost, modular, off-grid housing and workspace units to serve as civic building blocks to accommodate events, projects, creative space or the homeless.

Local Government Fiscal Assessment Tool (Submitted by Peter Furman and former Mayor Chuck Reed): Increasing transparency by designing a suite of tools to open up city budgets and make them comprehensible to the average person.

Mapping Learning Resources by Institute for the Future (Submitted by Sara Skvirsky): Mapping and sharing community knowledge through a “time bank” where residents can exchange hours of teaching for hours of learning, gain new skills and form new connections.

The Resolution (Submitted by Joshua Johnson): Making civic debates as engaging as televised sports coverage by assigning teams to an issue, crowdsourcing research, and presenting the debate live online

We Run This Space by Somos Mayfair (Submitted by Camille Llanes-Fontanilla): Transforming unused community centers, rundown buildings and empty lots into community-owned and -operated spaces for residents to shape and develop with their own innovative ideas.

The Bay Area Prototyping Festival by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (Submitted by Deborah Cullinan): Creating a large-scale urban prototyping festival that will call on the community to address challenges such as blight and lack of economic opportunity through public space solutions.

Knight Cities Challenge names 126 finalists

Finalists chosen from a pool of more than 7,000 applicants

MIAMI – Jan. 12, 2015 – The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced 126 finalists in the first Knight Cities Challenge, a national call for new ideas to make the 26 communities where Knight invests more vibrant places to live and work.

The challenge received more than 7,000 submissions. Finalists proposed a range of ideas: dinner parties that bring residents together to shape the future of their cities; competitive video gaming street arcades that reenliven public spaces and help establish the next NFL; master barbers partnering with professional landscapers to transform vacant lots; and a cycling journey that will cover all 2,600 miles of Philadelphia’s streets to gather stories of the city. Submissions came from many public and government organizations, as well as design experts, urban planning organizations and individuals focused on making their cities more successful.

Each of the ideas focuses on one or more of three drivers of city success:

     Talent: Ideas that help cities attract and keep the best and brightest
     Opportunity: Ideas that expand economic prospects and break down divides
     Engagement: Ideas that spur connection and civic involvement

All 26 Knight communities are represented in the pool of finalists. A full list is below.

Winners, who will receive a share of $5 million, will be announced in spring 2015.

“The challenge has introduced us to a host of new ideas and people who want to take hold of the future of their cities,” said Carol Coletta, Knight Foundation vice president for community and national initiatives. “Through these new connections we hope to grow a network of civic innovators to take on community challenges and build solutions together.”

Open to innovators of all types, the Knight Cities Challenge asked applicants to answer the question: What’s your best idea to make cities more successful?

Applicants have to follow only two rules: 1) A submission may come from anywhere, but the project must benefit one or more of 26 Knight communities. 2) The idea should focus on one or all of three key drivers of city successtalent, opportunity and engagement, as outlined above.

The challenge is part of a three-year, $15 million commitment that Knight Foundation announced in the fall of 2014.

For more information, visit

Sunday, January 18, 2015

"Changing Boundaries" Premiers This Week!

The first feature length documentary about San Jose premiers this week on January 22nd at the California Theater! The film was made possible by CreaTV, Norman Kline Productions, and History San Jose.

Narrated by actor Peter Coyote, and featuring an original musical score by Grammy nominee Robert Berry of Soundtek Studios, this first-of-its-kind documentary features interviews with key historical figures, from farmers to civic leaders, including Tom McEnery, Blanca Alvarado and Norm Mineta. Other notable interviewees include historians Terry Christensen, Nannette Regua and Steven Millner.

You can check out the trailer below. For more information and to get your tickets, click here!

Mayor Sam Liccardo's Inaugural Address

Sam Liccardo was sworn into office as mayor of San Jose a couple weeks ago. While I try to keep politics out of this job, I think the full text of his inaugural address is worth posting. Sam is an urbanist at heart and many of his views align with the goals of this blog. I'm optimistic that with his leadership San Jose will continue to head in the right direction. Without further adieu, here is his full speech:

Neighbors and friends, I'm thrilled to be with you this evening. Thank you for your patience with the change of tonight's venue. We'd reached capacity at the California Theater, and we didn't want to turn anyone away, particularly since about half of you are my own family members. I'm grateful that we're all now able to participate in this celebration, here, at this Center for the Performing Arts. Of course, I might have slept better on Election Night if we could have persuaded this many people to actually show up at the polls in November.
In my first days on the job, I've already learned that there are several things that Mayors can't control: the size of venues, Larry Stone's wardrobe, and the weather at the Washington-Dulles airport.
As you know, as a result of bad weather on the East Coast, Norm Mineta's flight to the Bay Area was cancelled, and he can't join us, but we are blessed to be joined tonight by several other past San Jose mayors who have inspired many by their exemplary leadership:
  • The inimitable Mayor Tom McEnery, who aroused our passion for a vibrant city
  • Mayor Susan Hammer, who united us, included us, and celebrated our creativity
  • Mayor Ron Gonzales, who emboldened us to invest in our children, our infrastructure, and our future,
  • Mayor Chuck Reed, who instilled a vision of an environmentally and fiscally sustainable city, one responsible to its future generations
To each of the Mayors present—and let me add Mayors Ron James and Norm Mineta, who could not join us this evening—we owe you our gratitude for your service. As to each of you, I've also benefitted personally from your advice. For example, just yesterday Tom McEnery told me that if I didn't keep it short tonight, he'd jump on stage to deliver a five-minute rebuttal.
I also want to thank the love of my life, Jessica, and my parents, Sal and Laura, who joined me on stage. I owe them, and all of my many family members here, much for their support, their good humor, and for their patient love.
Here we are, gathered in an auditorium where audiences come to venerate the power of the human voice. It is here that many have been entertained by the voices of legendary crooners like Ray Charles and Bing Crosby, amused by Bob Hope and Dana Carvey, inspired by the cast of Les Miserables, or profoundly offended by "The Book of Mormon."
Regardless, voice provides context to our communication. In a world in which billions of conversations are increasingly transmitted by emails, texts, tweets, posts, and—yes, even "emoji," voice carries meaning that is far deeper, far broader, and far more human. Voicepunctuates, enlivens, and inspires. Voice gives us our identity—as individuals, and as a community.
As I take office, I reflect on the voices that I hear from San Jose's past and present. Typically, an incoming mayor doesn't inspire confidence in a city by revealing that he hears voices, but they're there.
I recall particularly the voice of a wonderful leader who just recently passed, former Mayor Janet Gray Hayes. A decade ago, Mayor Hayes offered me the best political advice I've ever received. "Sam," she said, "If you're going to get into politics, there are two things you'll need to survive. First, you gotta have a sense of humor, because you'll go batty without one. And second, you'll need a large bladder, because those long council meetings can be brutal."
Of course, we also hear less inspired voices. How often have we heard from pundits who lament San Jose's purported identity crisis? "What is San Jose's identity?" they ask.
To this self-flagellation, I invoke the distinctive voice of Opera San Jose's founder, the incomparable Irene Dalis, who we also lost only a few weeks ago.
A renowned diva in her performing days, Irene didn't suffer fools, and had little patience for anyone who disparaged her hometown. Scott Herhold recently recounted that when Irene made her debut as a mezzo soprano at New York City's Metropolitan Opera House in 1957, the announcer asked how she wanted to be introduced to a global broadcast audience who would be hearing her voice for the first time. Irene insisted, "Well, you'll have to tell them that I'm from San Jose."
Indeed she was –growing up a few houses away from my grandfather's home, Irene Dalis knew San Jose's identity well. She knew it, because she shaped it.
Today, we can stop the lamenting. We're from San Jose. Let's embrace our city's distinctive identity, one characterized by our diversity, our openness, and our culture of innovation.
We are diverse. Almost 40% of us were born in another country. We were a majority-minority city before California became a majority-minority state, and decades ahead of the nation. Our diversity has become a linchpin to our economic success, in a Valley where one of every two venture-backed technology companies has a foreign-born founder. With bold leadership, we can position San Jose to become a global gateway to the U.S., and an American gateway to the world.
But we're not simply diverse; we're accessible. Newcomers do not experience the hierarchical or pretentious social landscape of other cities here. San Jose is open-source—the place where every person can have an impact—indeed, the grandson of a small shopkeeper and a water boiler repairman just took the oath of office to serve you as your mayor. San Jose uniquely provides a path to power for its "firsts": ushering in our nation's first female big-city mayor in Janet Gray Hayes, America's first Asian-American major-city mayor in Norm Mineta, and quite possibly America's first Hispanic mayor, Ygnacio Archuleta, in 1783. In San Jose, uniquely home-grown organizations—ranging from Somos Mayfair to CommUniverCity to PACT to Sacred Heart— embolden residents to speak truth to power, and they get results. Anyone with ganas -- a desire to make a difference—can do so in San Jose.
And we're innovative. Our dynamic social landscape has become the perfect breeding ground for the world's most innovative community. San Jose routinely produces more U.S. patents—over 5,000 annually—than any other city on the planet. As Connie Martinez eloquently puts it, "let's face it, we're geeks." San Jose has provided the launching pad for the geekiest and greatest of ideas, from the disk drive to high-efficiency photovoltaics, from commercial radio to e- commerce, from even fruit cocktail to the Eggo waffle. We are instinctively creative, and our creativity manifests itself in every homegrown source of pride: from bicycle art to Bike Party, from San Jose Taiko to the Taco Festival of Innovation.
"We are from San Jose." Our unique identity has been forged –and we should abide no doubts about who and what we are.
So much for our remarkable past and present. What of our future?
What voices will our progeny hear? What narrative, what song, what story, will we leave our children as our collective legacy?
For a start, let's hear a bit of the vision of my new colleagues--who represent the future leadership of our city. Councilmember Charles "Chappie" Jones committed in his campaign to ensure that "every resident who wants to be involved in our city will have that opportunity." Councilmember Raul Peralez, who has served our city as a police officer and educator, promised to promote San Jose's, "healthy growth" by "working respectfully together for the collective good." Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco reminds us of our roots, urging that "San Jose allowed my family to pursue the American Dream. I want to make sure that San Jose continues to offer that opportunity to today's families and beyond." Finally, Councilmember Tam Nguyen expresses deep concern about San Jose's "poverty and growing inequality," advocating for a city that is "more accessible to the public."
Each of these voices provides a hint of what is to come for our city.
But "to whom does the future belong?"
That question was famously posed by renowned playwright and San Jose native Luis Valdez, who has joined us this evening with his wife. "To whom does the future belong?" Valdez asked. His answer: "The future belongs to those who can imagine it."
"The future belongs to those who can imagine it." Friends, this is our moment to imagine San Jose's future.
It is in this moment, in the depths of winter, eagerly awaiting a new Spring, when we can dream anew, and stretch our imaginations around a different song, a narrative distinct from that of the familiar, predictable voices around us.
In my first weeks in public office in 2007, I read of a significant milestone for our planet: for the first time in history, more human beings lived in cities than not.
The pace of urbanization is only accelerating. As a result, cities have become the focal point for new thinking about the world's problems, for everything from poverty to crime to climate change.
In the meantime, Congress and state legislatures remain mired in bureaucratic gridlock and partisan bickering. So the torch has passed to urban communities and to creative local leaders to confront the world's great maladies. Across the country, we see cities employing novel approaches to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Portland, boost immigrant-entrepreneurship in Minneapolis, and cut teen dropout rates in Boston.
But we're from San Jose—how will we tackle these challenges? Particularly in this time when San Jose—like so many California cities, bears the burden of billions of dollars of unfunded pension debts, backlogged maintenance, and infrastructure needs—how can San Jose demonstrate its leadership in addressing these challenges in this time of scarcity?
We need to continue Mayor Reed's legacy of fiscal responsibility, to be sure. But we'll also need to think differently about how we govern, and how we serve our residents.
We'll build new partnerships, leveraging the resources and expertise of non-profit organizations and private-sector leaders ready to join us in tackling homelessness or in boosting a 6th grader's reading skills.
We'll engage collaboratively in regional approaches to problem-solving for those issues—like rising housing costs, crime, traffic congestion, and drought—that do not respect city limits.
Above all, however, we will innovate.
In a time of public-sector scarcity, we can only flourish by creating a City Hall as innovative as our extraordinary community. I'm not speaking of innovation in familiar, popularly consumed forms – of ever-larger smartphones or ever-faster data connections. Instead, we will embark on a wave of civic innovation with a human face. What do I mean?
  • Our state faces chronic droughts. But we're from San Jose. We can replenish our underground aquifers with highly purified recycled water, creating a sustainable water supply for generations.
  • A growing income gap nationally divides our rich and poor. But we're from San Jose. We can help to close the skills gap by transforming every city library computer into a career training center to help job-seekers learn English as a Second Language, or accounting, or coding.
  • We face severe shortages in police staffing—and make no mistake, we will compensate our police officers well and fairly for their critically important work, and we will rebuild America's finest department. But we're from San Jose, and we recognize that an effective crime-reduction strategy should also include a summer job for a troubled 17- year-old.
  • Our commutes are crippled by traffic. But we're from San Jose. We'll show the world how to retrofit an auto-centric city into a city built for people – by creating a world-class transit network, re-designing our streetscapes, and by finishing—once and for al—BART to San Jose.
  • We face a crisis of homelessness. But we're from San Jose. We can and we must leverage the Valley's incomparable innovative spirit and resources to end homelessness in our lifetimes.
  • Throughout our nation, people vote less, volunteer less, and participate less. But we're from San Jose. Though novel forms of civic engagement like participatory budgeting and open data initiatives, we can re-connect our city to city hall. Even if only half of the voters felt they prevailed in the last election, our entire city will participate in San Jose's victories in the decade ahead.
Innovation, of course, doesn't come easy. Innovation takes risk, and risk requires courage.
Collectively, we must muster the courage:
to try what has been untried; to open our city's workings to public scrutiny; to allow volunteer energy to loosen City Hall's grip on every task; to collaborate with resolute adversaries; and, above all, to fail, to learn, and to endeavor again.
This, then, is our moment, our courageous moment, to imagine our future. Together, we can chart a new path, and re-imagine our city.
I conclude by extending an invitation to each of you: Join me in re-imagining San Jose. In the weeks ahead, we'll be forming public working groups to shape key initiatives to better support our kids' learning, to broaden economic opportunity, and to improve safety in our neighborhoods. Please join us, and participate in these conversations. We are many voices, but we are one city.
Through our imagining and re-imagining, we can create a bold future for our city, and bequeath a great civic gift to a world whose progress desperately depends upon urban leadership -- our leadership.
And on that global stage, they'll hear our voice—and we'll tell the world that we're from San Jose.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless San Jose.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Saturday Stats: Best & Worst Cities for Finding a Job

WallethHub has put together a list of the best and worst cities to find a job in the US. The company analyzed the 150 largest cities in the world across 16 key metrics. San Jose ended up as the 13th best city to find a job. Our city was 1st in terms of monthly median starting salary, 18th in employment growth, 20th in job opportunities, and 28th in crime. San Francisco was 7 spots below us in 20th place overall and New York City was 90th on the list. For the full list of rankings, head over to the source link below.

Source: WalletHub

Friday, January 16, 2015

Needle to the Groove Downtown

Did you know Downtown San Jose has a record store? Needle to the Grove opened last summer on Santa Clara Street between 9th and 10th, and carries over 10,000 LPs! If you are a music love, collector, DJ, or just want to support a local store, head over there and check them out. You can also follow the store's Facebook page over here.

WWE Hall of Fame Presale

Wrestlemania is taking place at Levi's Stadium this year, but most of the supporting events are actually taking place in Downtown San Jose. Through the end of today, you can snag some presale tickets for the WWE Hall of Fame at the SAP Center using the code TEAMSJ. To get your tickets just head over here.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Three Retail Spots Being Filled at 360 Residences!

When the 360 Residences high-rise tower was completed years ago in Downtown San Jose's SoFA District, it came with over 11,000 SQFT carved out for retail across seven different units. Unfortunately, most have been sitting vacant throughout the building's history. The first unit to be leased went to a Subway on Market Street (to complement the other 5 Subways Downtown I presume). The second was only leased about a year ago to The Sliding Door Company. Now it looks like 360 Residences is finally going to fill up the majority of its retail spaces.

A photography studio called JP Impressions is taking a spot on South First Street next to The Sliding Door Company. I think this will be a great fit in the artsy district and hopefully they will participate in South First Fridays and other SoFA events. On the corner of Market Street we will be getting Voltaire Coffee House--which I believe is an independent store--and a place called Mitea which I think is a tea shop.

After these new businesses move in, there will only be two retail units left at 360 Residences... a huge improvement over the vast empty spaces on the building's ground floor over the last 6 years.

Source: Robertee from the San Jose Development Forum

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Polaroid Fotobars at Westfield Oakridge & Valley Fair

The other day I was contacted by a Polariod Fotobar rep wanting to let us know that they had opened “micro-stores” (giant interactive kiosks) at Westfield Oakridge (and now, Westfield Valley Fair.) During your holiday shopping you may have seen them or event sat down and you’ve already experienced them. But if not.. if the crowds were just too much, you have plenty of time to still check them out because they are PERMANENT additions to the malls.

So, I love photography. You may have seen some of my stuff here and there, maybe visited First to Market when I had my photography up (or even in the SPUR office window a few years ago!) so I felt pretty connected to this and wanted to check it out. Especially now that the holidays were over and the malls are back to being just moderately insane again.

I was set up with a meeting with “Fototender” Cory who was super helpful. He showed me all the products you can buy; trendy, colorful shadow  boxes, “rustic”-style or glass and metal prints for a snazzier upscale or even commercial use, and all the neato photo-related holders you could ever want.

The weekend I went, they were holding a promo for 6 free prints. Their standard prints (the size of a Polaroid!) are just $1. They’re printed on a thicker cardboard stock, which makes me feel like they will last for awhile.

Much to my surprise, Team Polaroid hooked me up with some complementary goods. So I sat down and Cory showed me the super easy process to get my photos printed.

First you create a quick account and immediately get the choice to upload from various sites (Flickr, Instagram, Facebook) or direct from your phone. I opted for my phone only as it would have taken me FOREVER to choose photos from my Flickr account. Plus my phone has all the most recent photos and a few favorite older ones saved on it.

After you create an account and provide your cell number to get a link texted to your phone. From there, I easily chose what photos I wanted to upload. The photos will appear in front of you on the computer you’re using. Magic.

From there you can adjust the placement and framing. Go old school with the square format with the thicker bottom border in either portrait or landscape. Or use all the available space and have an equal, thin border.

I noticed one of my photos was a little dark and while the screen said I could do effects/edit - Cory told me that the option had significantly slowed the computers so they had to remove that feature. Kind of a bummer, but at the same time I bet it cut down on how long people sat at the computers. So that said - adjust your photos before you upload!

Once you’ve uploaded and paid for your goods, you take your receipt and hit the mall! Go browse the stores, eat lunch, drink some coffee, whatever else you find fun at the mall to do - go do it. After your prints are done, you will get a text (or email) noting they are ready for pickup. I was told that on average, a small batch of about six photos took around 15 minutes to print. Obviously this would be if there are only a moderate amount of orders ahead of yours and not a super large amounts.

I decided to go with a couple of their black shadow boxes. Black goes with everything, right? These shadow boxes have a metal panel in the middle. All you do is adhere a Polaroid-shaped flat magnet to the back of your photo and plop that sucker into the frame. Voila!

Ok this is where I admit, I probably should have chosen a bunch of San Jose-themed photos for this post right? BUT, right now on my phone it’s full of either photos of my daughter and husband or food photos. So, you get to see those photos instead. But just imagine your own pics of awesome San Jose - easily printed out, slapped into these frames, and displayed.

Maybe you run a local coffee shop and want to include some photos of those super neato latte designs you’ve been creating? Here you go!

Or invite your customers to share their prints with you and you can create a little display. For $1 per print, that’s some really easy customer-love you could provide.

There’s a quote from the press release I was provided that I found interesting…

"Over one billion pictures are taken every day, and Polaroid Fotobar is a fun, easy way to take them from your Facebook timeline to your wall at home," said Warren Struhl, the company's founder and chief executive officer.  “Polaroid Fotobar is all about recapturing the magic and instant gratification of creating cherished pieces of art with your pictures."

It’s true. We’re in such an Instagrammy-Facebooky-world that most of our photos don’t make it off our phones/accounts as often, and thanks to the retro-fun that Polaroid is providing, we can do that for an affordable amount.

And you don’t *have* to go to the mall to print these, you can do it from home and have them shipped, of course. But that might take some of the fun out of it!

I think I might create a little San Jose-related project from this… the hamster is awake and the wheels are turning...

Hey look, it's ME!

Polaroid Fotobar Info:

Westfield Oakridge:
Located near the food court next to Jamba Juice
Monday-Thursday, 10am - 9pm
Friday & Saturday, 10am - 10pm
Sunday, 11am - 7:30pm
Westfield Valley Fair:
Located on Level Two next to The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
Monday-Friday, 10am - 9:30pm
Saturday 10am - 9pm
Sunday 11am - 7pm