For Christmas 2002, I made a wish list for Santa on South County’s behalf. I asked for things I thought would improve the quality of life in south Santa Clara County. Here’s an update on how well Santa did fulfilling each item:
• I wish that Union Pacific would allow greatly expanded Caltrain service to South County. We’re already the poor stepsister when it comes to mass transit in the Bay Area; we don’t need the added disadvantage of the strict limits UP reportedly sets on the number of trains Caltrain can send to and from South County.
No progress on this front that I know of, and given the Valley Transportation Authority’s money woes, I doubt that the agency would be able to take advantage of any breakthroughs if they had happened anyway.
• I wish Deena Luce of Forum Club fame would find a copy of “Business Licenses for Dummies” next to the lump of coal in her stocking this year.
I doubt she got the book, but Luce does seem to have gotten the message that violating zoning and business license laws isn’t going to be tolerated here.
• I wish for a new public high school in Morgan Hill by the time my son, now half way through sixth grade, is in ninth grade. Given all the brouhaha surrounding every attempt at forward motion on the Sobrato High School project, I have my doubts.
Although the Morgan Hill Unified School District says Sobrato High School is on schedule – meaning the school will open in the fall of my son’s eighth-grade year – it still remains to be seen if this wish will be granted.
• I wish for Gilroy to find a way to revitalize its downtown. Having twice missed the RDA boat, Gilroy needs some creative, out-of-the-box thinking to pump life into its sorely neglected city center.
Although forward progress is being made in small pieces on this front, no sweeping downtown plan has been adopted, let alone means to make it a reality.
• I wish for sit-down restaurants at the two long-empty pads reserved for them at the northwest corner of Cochrane and U.S. 101.
• I wish for long-term success for Bonfante Gardens. If that means adding a few thrill-a-minute rides, so be it. It would be nothing short of tragic if the park’s beautiful location and spectacular gardens and all the hard work of so many people went to waste.
The first year of Paramount management was promising, but a nasty property tax bill dispute still looms. The jury is still out.
• I wish for the flood prevention work on Little Llagas Creek – delayed by decades – to finally be completed through Morgan Hill. I mean, how long does a city have to wait?
At least another year, it seems, because Morgan Hill is still waiting.
• I wish for Prop. 14 grants for Morgan Hill and Gilroy in the second round of funding next spring.
Both cities were rejected in the second round of Prop 14 grant awards for funds to build new libraries. Hopes are dim for funding for either city from the third and final round next March.
• I wish that the mess the state legislature made of redistricting will be cleaned up by Morgan Hill’s lawsuit. The city is challenging the ridiculous lines drawn by legislators who apparently had political victories instead of the best interests of Morgan Hill, San Martin and Gilroy in mind. Shame on them, and let’s hope a judge will tell them to make it right.
I’m not able to provide much of an update on this wish – my Internet search finds mention of a hearing set for this summer, but I can’t find any information on what came of that hearing. But while I’m sure the wish hasn’t been granted – the cheering from Morgan Hill City Hall would have been hard to miss anywhere in South County – I don’t know if all legal hopes have been dashed.
Santa’s boasts a dismal record fulfilling my 2002 Christmas list – a year later, and not one item can be checked off, save perhaps the Deena Luce request. I’ve just renewed by old list for last year and will assume that the fact that I didn’t have to write a new wish list is the silver lining in this bleak situation.
Santa’s got a little less than 12 month to make these recycled holiday wishes come true before Christmas 2004. Despite the hopeful words for Virginia on this newspaper’s Opinion page before Christmas, I’m not holding my breath.