February 6, 2008
The headline on the front page of today’s San Jose Mercury declares Hillary Clinton the winner in California on Super Tuesday. The headline on the local section of today’s San Jose Mercury declares the city of San Jose and San Jose police department as winner’s of the downtown Fat Tuesday Mardis Gras celebration. And that’s because it was a relatively quiet Fat Tuesday in downtown San Jose, at least compared to past Mardis Gras celebrations. There was an impressive police presence throughout downtown San Jose last night with police cars found on virtually every corner and groups of officers streaming about on foot, bike, and horseback. There were the occasional handful of partygoers walking the streets or congregating at intersections but for the most part, it was a low key night in downtown San Jose. This leads me to the main issue of this posting: How do we get downtown San Jose to be the vibrant, thriving, downtown destination that everyone wants it to be? We want downtown San Jose to be a main hub for entertainment, dining, nightlife, and culture in Silicon Valley. We want downtown San Jose to be active and exciting for residents and visitors alike. In past years, Mardi Gras celebrations got out of hand. Fat Tuesday in downtown San Jose included public drunkeness, violence, and property damage that ensued from unruly revelers. Many will argue that these are people who come to downtown from outside areas but that’s beside the point. This year was subdued and mellow as a result of the police presence and word that unruly behavior wouldn’t be tolerated. So how do we move on from these points and move forward towards a downtown that can include a festive, fun celebration? This is not just about Mardis Gras but for any occasion, event, or holiday. Whether its Super Tuesday or Fat Tuesday, downtown San Jose needs to be a safe, inviting, friendly place for people to enjoy. The question is, how do we get there?
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