Willow Glen, decades in the future

San Jose City Council is already giving away public parkland to private interests. Next step is to eliminate open space requirements so that developers can build higher density. This also has the added benefit (to developers) of making more parkland available for development. Everybody happy?


Can you see the park?


Hiring a Building Contractor


Wednesday’s presentation at the Willow Glen Branch Library by Dan Mackey, past president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, was very informative. He gave us a list of steps to take before signing a remodeling contract.

Your choice of contractor can make a big difference. You don’t want someone who is never there to supervise the work; just hands it off to his day laborers.

For instance, when adding a room to your home, after the foundation’s been dug, you might find it aggravating to have hired someone who has no care about construction except getting paid.

Yes, the job will probably take longer than expected, and you might have to supervise everything closely. The contractor could hand the job over to a lesser, who will hand it down to a lesser, etc.  At one point you might find the trash pickup guy down in your basement by himself with a power saw, having been assigned to cut a water line which is still filled with water. It will make a mess.

Plan to evacuate one evening when they break the valve to the main gas line. Later, watch in horror as they remove and plug a gas line in your basement without turning off the gas first.

There are things that get installed upside down, and things that get ignored.

The building process need not be stressful, however, if you don’t short shrift the selection process.

Make sure to especially contact their LATEST, FINISHED job. An unprovided reference is NOT a good reference.

Good luck with your construction.

Leaf Blowers

Yesterday, while riding my bicycle on the street, I was distracted by a kid with a leaf blower. He had it aimed at me, so I was about to move into the middle of the street when a speeding car passed close by me. Usually, I would have heard the car coming up behind me, but, as you know, leaf blowers are deafening. I could have gotten run over!

Leaf blowing is ubiquitous in most communities, and many have banned the use of them.

Spend an afternoon riding around on your bicycle and just see if you don’t get dirt blown into your face. The noise is penetrating, too. If you worked at home, like many people now do, you’d get the noise and dust from all directions, not only from yards on either side but from across the street and sometimes from blocks away. These are not the neighbors per se using these machines, but young boys employed by yard services.

What would I have to do to get the City to consider banning the use of leaf blowers?

P.S. The infernal racket is outside my window as I write this. I’ll stop what I’m doing to shut all the windows, but I don’t think it’s my job to personally confront all of the noise and pollution offenders.