A Better Way

San Jose City Council Special Ballot Measures Meeting
(MP3 Audio 6/19/2008)

Vice Mayor Dave Cortese commenting on Resolution No. 74459
Firestation #37 – Lincoln Glen Park

02:23:23 – start of excerpt

Vice-Mayor Dave Cortese

>> Councilmember Cortese?

I am going to vote no on this, and real quickly try to explain through a little bit of personal, old personal experience where my thinking comes from.

When I was growing up, most of you know this, I grew up in an agricultural environment here in San Jose, Santa Clara County. We had a business, it still exists, called Cortese Brothers which was interrelated entities that farmed a lot of different orchards and properties.

I will never forget for some reason, being a pretty small kid, my father needed a little bit of a larger water trough because he had some livestock that he was adding to one piece of property. He brought my uncle over who was managing the other piece of property and he said, look, I need your water trough because it is bigger. You are going to get mine and let me explain. My uncle cut him off and said let us cut to the chase. I already know what you are going to tell me, you are going to tell me I am getting a better deal. Let us make the decision whether we are going to do it or not. The point being he was not getting a better deal. I am not sure what was better off or if the livestock there were more important than the livestock at the other location, and all that stuff. That is what is going on with the Fire Master Plan.

I have to say this, I resent the rebuttal that you have to think of the whole city. First of all, I campaigned for Measure O while I was running for city council in 2000. In 2002, the public safety bond, one month before the election, had no money raised. It was doomed for failure, literally nothing in the account. I was asked a month before the election to become the honorary chair which meant I got to do the fund raising.

I raised $60,000 for that campaign. I did it because I believed and I was told the Fire Master Plan was ready, finally after years. It was finalized and nowhere in there, as Pierluigi was talking about earlier, did it talk about cannibalizing park property or eliminating fire stations, or police facilities for that matter.

So, I endorsed it, and worked really hard to sell it to the public over the last month before the election, telling them this is the way it is going to be if you approve this.

Now, people say if you are saying park lands should come before fire stations, and sometimes district issues need to be weighed against city-wide issues, that somehow I cared enough to go out and endorse the original program.

And it seems like what keeps happening, it happened in Evergreen, is only because there is not enough money now in that bond that we keep hearing over and over again, trust me, this is a better deal. We are losing another fire station, but trust me, it is a better deal. We are losing some parks and recreation property, but do not worry, it is a better deal.

There is a better way to do it. The better way to do it is to get the money somewhere else. I just do not buy the fact that there is no other property available, other than parks property, to do this that is going to make it work. I simply do not buy that. When we need to widen the road, when we need to put an interchange in, when we needed to find a substation in South San Jose for our police department, we have always been able to find property that is for sale that we can acquire to do things we need to do. That original Fire Master Plan had different locations and had different configurations for where things are going to be located. My recollection is that it generated excellent response times.

Pardon me if I am a little suspicious that all the sudden this is a better deal even though we get less fire stations out of it ultimately and we end up having to cannibalize parkland to do it.

02:27:39 – end of excerpt


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