19 April 2006

San Jose news

This installment comes from San Jose City Hall's Council Chambers, where the third ballpark EIR outreach meeting is being held. There are less than twenty people in the gallery this time, due in part to Soccer Silicon Valley calling off the dogs for now. As new items come up during the session, I'll post them here.

Update (22:15): The Q&A was focused on perceived inadequacies in the Draft EIR. They ranged from expanding the traffic study to cover a larger area and the 6-7 p.m. timeframe, to questions about mitigation costs (not currently covered).

That brings up a source of consternation. While there have been recent updates to the Diridon/Arena and Midtown plans to cover new projects, there's a lack of clarity on how the ballpark will affect more than just the study area. The EIR aims to cover some of this, but there's a general feeling that there's no overall vision. Impacts from individual projects are narrowly studied and focused, so there's no sense of how they are woven into the fabric of the whole community. Whatever happens with the EIR, there will be some heated debate when the Planning Commission holds its hearing on July 12. The first mayoral election will have taken place and the results should at the very least thin the herd for a November runoff.

On the blog San Jose Inside, contributor "Single Gal" started a serious discussion over the ballpark, mayoral candidates, and the city's vision. She brought up candidate Michael Mulcahy and the notion that he may get votes simply because he's so close to the situation. Not to be lost in all of this is candidate David Pandori's swipe at Mulcahy over the weekend.

Yesterday, word came that Adobe is going forward with plans to acquire the 5.5-acre SJWC east parcel. There goes one major piece of a ballpark village, at least a viable piece for commercial use. As for the residentially zoned west parcel, nothing's been announced yet.

One bit of non-San Jose news that can apply universally: Phoenix is losing $3 million per year on a 2,800-space garage built north of Chase Field (formerly Bank One Ballpark). Promises of 90% capacity as a multi-use parking facility never came to fruition. The garage only gets significant use during the Snakes' home games.